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What to Eat Before a Run on Keto: What You Must Know
Keto Diet

What to Eat Before a Run on Keto: What You Must Know

HR_author_photo_Thalia
Written by Thalia Oosthuizen | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on July 22, 2022
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4 min

Running is a high-intensity exercise which requires effort and stamina. Can you run and still be on keto?

what to eat before run keto

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Getting ready to go on your daily run means that you’ve got to fill your body with delicious but fuel-effective food.

So what is the best meal to eat before a run while following a keto diet? Never fear, our keto experts are here to help.

Let’s take a look at running on keto, as well as the best type of pre-workout meals you can have while on a ketogenic diet.

Keto and Running: Can Runners Be On Keto?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is that being on a keto diet affects runners differently compared to other diets. For runners, being on a keto diet may bring about an initial state of heightened fatigue while your body is getting used to the new way of consuming energy.

Our bodies love carbohydrates, and when we lower our carb intake, it can take a while for our bodies to determine a new energy source.

When it comes to the keto diet, that source of energy comes from ketosis and fat-burning.

When starting a keto diet while being a runner, you’ll probably find that you have an initial reduction in energy, but you should bounce back to normal or higher energy levels.

Pairing a running workout with a keto diet also encourages reduced inflammation and reduced recovery time, as well as weight loss.

However, you may find that highly intense workouts are harder to achieve and lead to quicker overall exhaustion.

Best Keto Diet Pre-workout Snacks: What to Eat Before a Run on Keto

What’s best to eat before a run on a keto diet largely depends on the intensity of the workout. Some snacks are better than others. Many runners do carb-loading before running, but that doesn’t work for keto.

You’ll want higher-fat and high-calorie foods for more intense workouts to give your body all of the energy needed to make it through your run (and sustain you at the same pace throughout), as well as improve your fat adaptation.

#1 Nuts and seeds

Whole nuts and seeds are an excellent source of healthy fat, as well as a great, quick, pre-workout food.

Anything from pecans, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, almonds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, or even peanuts (which are technically a legume) can help boost your energy for a run.

#2 Eggs

Egg white protein helps keep your muscles strong, while the fat in the egg yolk boosts your energy and pre-workout nutrition.

Eggs are popular with keto diets, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find recipes that don’t involve a moderate amount of eggs in some way.

#3 Healthy fats 

While the keto diet is high-fat and low-carb, you need to get enough fat, and you don’t want to get your fat source from just anywhere.

A healthy diet includes fats from avocados, fatty fish, olive oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, high-fat cuts of beef, full-fat Greek yogurt with fresh berries, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, or another high-fat dairy product like cottage cheese.

#4 Nut butter

Your favorite nut butter spread can be used to make a delicious pre-workout or post-workout snack and is great to keep in the gym bag.

Almond butter, peanut butter, or any other high-fat butter is a great snack to help improve physical performance while on a targeted ketogenic diet.

#5 Bulletproof coffee

Bulletproof coffee is a very specific type of coffee that has been designed with a ketogenic diet in mind. Bulletproof coffee is both keto-friendly and perfect for optimal performance during your run. You’ll have a burst of energy that is perfect for keto-adapted runners.

#6 Nothing

When you go out for a run, vigorous exercise encourages your body to enter into ketosis faster.

If you go into a run with an empty stomach, you might even be more likely to put energy into ketosis faster as your body burns already stored fats for energy.

Easiest Transition to the Keto Diet

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Electrolytes, Ketogenic Diet, and Running

Everyone knows that it’s important to stay hydrated while on even a low-intensity run, but what people might not know is the importance of electrolytes while running on keto.

During exercise, and especially on a ketogenic diet, electrolytes help regulate your body’s water balance.

In the keto world, your body’s insulin levels remain low. This means your kidneys are going to be looking for those critical electrolytes more often.

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It’s important to keep your electrolyte levels up so that you don’t risk any damage to your kidneys.

If you need help tracking your electrolytes, your progress in your journey to lose weight, protein intake, dietary fats, and more, you can check out the Joggo app.

Joggo is an app designed for runners which allows you to track your progress, get personalized workout regimes, and even tips and tricks to help boost your workouts.

Electrolytes can also help fight off the effects of keto flu, which can happen during the first few weeks of keto dieting.

A Word From Dietitian

With a restrictive diet like keto, many worry that their athletic performance will suffer. Thankfully, running on a keto diet isn’t all that different than running while on a normal diet.

In fact, the lower net carbs of ketogenic diets often allow for greater weight loss, greater burning of fat stored, higher ketone levels, and enhanced everyday function.

Keto foods encourage your body to enter ketosis and burn fat, which it already wants to do while you’re running.

You may experience more exhaustion and fatigue during the first few weeks of running and keto, but after that initial hump, you’ll find that you have more energy than while on any other diet.

Make sure to include plenty of protein powder, keto bars, or protein shakes while running.

If you don’t get enough protein on keto, it can cause your body composition to lose muscle mass, especially when you spend a lot of time exercising.

Conclusion

When you begin a ketogenic diet, you don’t have to give up running!

It may take time for your body to get used to the new energy source, but the fat loss, higher energy levels, and lowered blood sugar will all be worth it in the end.

Once you get through the first few weeks, your body will adjust to keto-adaptation while running.

What to eat before running while on keto? Luckily, there are plenty of keto-friendly foods you can enjoy for a pre-workout snack. A low-carb diet doesn’t mean you have to skip out on all the delicious foods before your workout. 

HR_author_photo_Thalia
Written by
Thalia has always wanted to be a writer, starting her first local newspaper at the age of 11. She also has enjoyed a passion for health and fitness since a young age, playing many sports through her schooling career, and still enjoys biking, running, and swimming today. She studied English Language at University for 3 years, developing a passion for spelling, grammar, and research. She now has over 10 years of experience writing, proofreading, and editing, and has paired this with her love for health and fitness by writing health content.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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