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Keto exercise – Why you should start and some ideas

The keto diet is a great way to lose fat and improve your general health. However, if you want to go one step further and improve your fitness level, then why not combine exercise with keto. In this article, we’ll look at some reasons why you should include exercise in your daily life as well as some ideas to get you started.

Do I need to exercise on keto?

Short answer: no!

Long answer: You don’t need to include exercise, even if you’re goal is to lose weight! I lost around 50kg on keto without any exercise (besides from walking). It wasn’t until I had lost most of my weight that I started to incorporate some basic exercise.

Why should I include exercise?

Everybody has heard the benefits of exercise before but let’s go over them again in relation to keto:

  • Lose weight faster – always remember CICO (calories in, calories out). If you burn more calories than you’re eating then weight loss will occur. By working out your burning more energy than just being sedentary.
  • Build and retain muscle – calorie restriction on any diet will mean that you will lose some muscle mass as well as fat. Exercising (especially Anaerobic exercise) will help to build and maintain muscle.
  • Improve sleep – as you get healthier, you may find that you need to sleep less as your body is not expending the same amount of energy as before. Exercise will help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
  • Improve body image – when losing weight your body shape and composition will change. If your muscle mass decreases too much you can end up looking unhealthy. Exercise can help to find the perfect balance between body fat percentage and muscle mass.
  • Improve mental health – this is a big one! During exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body. It can really help when you’re not seeing any movement on the scale and feeling a bit defeated.
  • Increase your chances of living longer – improving your general health through exercise can reduce your chances of dying early from common causes such as heart disease and some cancers.

Three main types of exercise

Now that you’ve heard some of the benefits of exercising on keto. You need to decide on what kind of exercise you want to include in your plan. While any exercise is great, there are various types of exercise that provide particular benefits and can help you with your goal.

Cardio (Aerobic) exercise

running on keto
  • Duration: Long
  • Intensity: Low
  • Goal: fat loss
  • Benefits: improve cardiovascular health and can lead to an increase in fat burning.
  • Examples: jogging, walking, elliptical, Zumba, dance, cycling, rowing

Everybody has probably done some form of cardio exercise in their life. Whether that be cross country in school or running from the rain. It’s a great place to start and can improve your general fitness levels as well as stamina.


Couch to 5K (C25K) – a program for beginners that breaks down the training of completing a 5km run over 9 weeks. Each week involves 3 runs and is great for people who have never run before. You can view more information about it on the NHS website (here). There are also many phone apps available that can track your progress.

Join a running club – most towns (and even villages) in the UK have a local running club that you can join. It’s a great social activity and many members will be happy to share tips and tricks. Check out or your local town/village boards for meetup times and places.

Join a class – many gyms offer classes that you can join. It’s a great way to work out and have fun at the same time.

Anaerobic exercise

strength exercise workout on keto
  • Duration: Short
  • Intensity: High
  • Goal: muscle building
  • Benefits: improve strength, body composition and metabolism.
  • Examples: Weight lifting, HIIT

One of the best forms of exercise to do (in my opinion). Lifting weights will improve your general endurance, stamina and metabolism. It can also improve your body image as it can help to retain, define and increase your muscle mass.

I know many people want a slim figure and think if they lift heavy weights then they will start looking hench. That’s only really going to be the case unless you specifically push yourself to go that far! For the masses, anaerobic exercise at its core will leave your body stronger and more defined.


Join a gym – get a gym membership and sign yourself up for an induction. Staff will show you how to safely use the machines and equipment. They can also offer advice on what to do and where to start. If you want to go one step further, get a personal trainer (PT) to make you a plan and hold you accountable.

Workout at home – if you don’t want to go to a gym for any reason then you can always workout at home. Most exercises will require some form of weight (usually dumbbells), though there are plans that just use your body weight. YouTube is a great place to get started. Some of the ones I’ve done include:

Join a workout class – sometimes it can be hard to motivate yourself to workout. Joining class can be a great way to hold yourself accountable and even meet people on the same fitness journey as you. Most gyms offer classes, some may be free or cost extra on top of your membership. You can also check out your local billboards and listings for group workouts that happen outside in parks and green spaces.

Stability & flexibility exercises

yoga flexibility exercise
  • Duration: Variable
  • Intensity: Low
  • Goal: increased flexibility and injury prevention
  • Benefits: improve core strength, balance, alignment and better control of movements.
  • Examples: Yoga, stretching, balance and core conditioning

This type of exercise may sound like the least important one but it can improve every other type of exercise. They can be done on their own or before/after your main workout.

Improving your core and flexibility can improve your muscle range of motion. Helping to prevent injuries and muscle soreness. In the same vein, stability exercises can help to improve your alignment, promote better muscle control and strengthen them.


YouTube videos – there are thousands of videos online that show you how to complete yoga poses and improve stability. Some of the ones I’ve tried include:

Smartphone apps – if you’re after a guided workout, then there are many apps available for all devices that guide you through a range of plans for any fitness level. Examples:

Join a Gym class – many gyms offer Yoga and core strength class. Great if you don’t feel motivated when working out alone. Invite a friend and have a bit of healthy competition!


Hopefully, this has given you some great exercise ideas to try! If it’s your first time exercising in a while then start with 30 minutes three days a week. As you feel more confident and your stamina increases, try mixing up exercise types.

By combining both the keto diet and exercise, you should be able to reach your goal even quicker! Whether that is fat loss, muscle gain or just to be healthier.

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