Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): A Complete Guide

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 due to the fact that 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 ketogenic diet.

Moreover, you should exercise regardless 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 myriad benefits of a ketogenic diet while still being able to reach your workout goals, a targeted ketogenic diet might be right for you. A targeted ketogenic diet means you follow a basic standard ketogenic diet every day; however, on the days you work out, you consume an extra 25-50 grams of carbohydrate prior to 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 proportionally over four to six meals each day
  • Follow the usual standard ketogenic diet on days you don’t exercise
  • Eat your carbohydrate-containing meal prior to 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).

More Reading: 

The Best Exogenous Ketone Supplements – 2018 Review

The Different Types of Ketone Supplements

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Elliot received his BS in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota and has been a freelance writer specializing in nutritional and health sciences for the past 5 years. He is thoroughly passionate about exercise, nutrition, and dietary supplementation, especially how they play a role in human health, longevity, and performance. In his free time you can most likely find him lifting weights at the gym or out hiking through the mountains of Colorado. He is also the co-founder of Anxietyhack.com and host of the upcoming BioKeto podcast. You can connect with him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/elliot.reimers) and Instagram (@eazy_ell)

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