A targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) is an eating strategy designed to induce nutritional ketosis while allowing for precisely-timed carbohydrate intake. Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body switches from using carbohydrates for energy to using fat (including body fat) as its main fuel source.

Thus, ketosis is attained by cutting the number of carbohydrates you eat to extremely low values (usually under 30 grams per day). This forces your body to begin utilizing fat as its “default” energy source. Nutritional ketosis is a desirable state since it triggers quick, sustainable weight-loss. It also suppresses cravings, regulates blood glucose levels, and decreases energy swings.

The standard ketogenic diet (SKD) is represented by a high fat and protein intake, with negligible carbs. A targeted ketogenic diet takes the same approach, with small carbohydrate feedings at specific timeframes.

Ketogenic Diet Plans and Exercising

Nutritional ketosis is a completely natural and healthy state to be in. Many people experience increases in cognitive function and energy while in ketosis. However, one gripe some people have with living a ketogenic lifestyle is lack of strength and endurance when they exercise. While glycogen is a potent source of reserves for intense exercise, ketones and fats are also fuel for your body (and brain).

Surely, you can lose weight without exercising while following a ketogenic diet. Regardless, the majority of people stand to benefit from exercising as well. Following both a ketogenic diet and solid exercise regimen will allow you to burn more body fat and build lean muscle faster. For this reason, a targeted ketogenic diet is advantageous for gym-goers/fitness enthusiasts over the standard one.

Moreover, you should exercise regardless of what diet you follow. If you train intensely, a targeted ketogenic diet will not replenish your glycogen sufficiently enough to support your workouts. Nevertheless, for the typical gym-goer on a moderate exercise routine, this ketogenic diet variation is ideal. A TKD is also great for people who to follow a ketogenic diet but can’t resist the occasional carbohydrate snack.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet Plan

If you want to reap the many benefits of a ketogenic diet while reaching your workout goals, a targeted ketogenic diet might be right for you. A targeted ketogenic diet means you follow a standard ketogenic diet every day. However, on the days you work out, you consume an extra 25-50 grams of carbohydrate before exercise. By doing so, you elevate blood glucose levels enough to support your workout, but without knocking you out of ketosis.

Helpful targeted ketogenic diet tips

  • Aside from pre-workout carbohydrates, it is best to portion your macronutrients over four to six meals each day
  • Follow the usual standard ketogenic diet on days you don’t exercise
  • Eat your carbohydrate-containing meal before exercising
  • Add in an extra meal with carbohydrates before or after your workouts if you don’t recover from exercise adequately 
  • Take-Home Points

Targeted ketogenic dieting entails very low-carbohydrate intake (except before exercising), along with higher fat and protein intakes. Aside from the meal before you workout, avoid foods like oats, flour, fruit, cereal, etc. Throughout the majority of the day, your diet will be mostly animal proteins, nuts, eggs, MCT oil, and cruciferous vegetables.

Thus, the targeted ketogenic diet is generally best for individuals looking to reap the benefits of nutritional ketosis while supporting moderately-intense exercise.

If you exercise very intensely, consider reading our Complete Guide to the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD).