Ketosis is a fascinating process of the body that has so many benefits. It helps you drop fat, heals many parts of the body and boosts brain and athletic performance.
How Ketosis Works
Your body has a two-part energy system. It usually runs on glucose from carbohydrates, but fat-burning is a built-in backup. When you don’t have glucose available for energy, instead of immediately starving, your body switches over to oxidizing (or burning) fat. Some of the fat is turned into an energy source called ketones, but most fat is used directly.
Getting into Ketosis
While one way to get into ketosis is to starve yourself, there is a safer and much more comfortable way to get the benefits of ketosis.
What is the Process?
By severely limiting carbohydrate intake, you starve your body of glucose to force it to use fat and ketones for energy. Very low carb intake keeps your liver from keeping its stores of glycogen (stored glucose) full.
When the liver runs out, you will have a short transition period where gluconeogenesis (creation of new glucose) will bridge the gap while ketosis gets up and running. You won’t primarily use gluconeogenesis for energy creation, though, because it just can’t keep up with the whole body’s needs. It is meant to sustain the most important tissues (part of the brain, the liver and a few other key items) during the transition.
How Long Does it Take?
The short answer is “about two days.” Your liver can store around two days’ worth of glycogen. When that runs out, your body will start working on the switch to ketones and fat.
There are a couple things you can do to burn up that glucose faster so that you can get into ketosis sooner. One is exercising, and the other is fasting. The first will help a little bit, but the second will do much more.
Get Into Ketosis Faster – 3 Tricks
Exercise and fasting will get you into ketosis faster than just eating keto. Taking exogenous ketones will help you get some of the benefits of ketosis before you actually get into it. Let’s go into how these things work.
Your muscles store glycogen just like the liver does. These stores allow you to do things (like breathing and moving) without literally eating constantly. Since they are separate storehouses, you can empty one and get yourself closer to ketosis. That’s where exercise comes in.
If you are pretty sedentary, it will take a while for your muscles to use the glycogen they have stored. Exercising will use up glycogen and help you head towards burning fat. Once you are in ketosis, exercising creates a need for more energy that draws more fat from their stores. Effectively, it will help you lose more weight faster.
HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a great way to do this. Studies have shown that it burns more calories more quickly that other exercise types, and it also increases your metabolism for the next 24 hours. Both these things make HIIT a good addition to your weight-loss regimen.
It should make pretty good sense that fasting will help you get into ketosis faster. If you are not eating at all, you have no glucose storage happening. That means that every last bit of glucose is being put to work instead of being added to. When the liver storehouse is empty, it will jumpstart ketosis.
If you combine fasting with an early workout, you will really increase the rate of glycogen usage, especially if you choose a HIIT workout. Revving up your metabolism would really give you a boost into ketosis.
Whether you work out or not, staying hydrated is an important thing to remember. As you burn off the glucose, water will be released with it. It is very easy to become dehydrated that way. Drink water with a pinch of sea salt added to it to replenish some of your electrolytes.
These ketones come in supplement form, and the word exogenous just means that they come from outside your body. While taking exogenous ketones doesn’t actually get you into ketosis faster, they do give you a boost in energy and brain power fairly quickly. Ketones are a great source of energy, and the brain truly thrives on them.
Since they are a quick source of energy, exogenous ketones (EK) can help bridge the energy gap during gluconeogenesis. Instead of feeling sluggish and slow after running out of glucose and before the fat kicks in, you can take small doses of EK. It will keep your energy up and help you avoid “keto flu” symptoms.
However, you need to avoid using them when you aren’t eating keto though. The reason is that EK increase insulin and stop you from using glucose and fatty acids that are circulating. EKs get used first while the others are stored. If you aren’t eating ketogenically, you’ll actually add to stored fat instead of burning it off. Don’t fall for the lie that they’ll put you into ketosis even if you’ve been eating plenty of carbs.
Don’t expect exogenous ketones to start ketosis if you cheat. The fastest way to jumpstart ketosis is to fast and force your body to use the glucose stored in your liver. Exercising will also help use up the stores and, if you choose to do HIIT, it will boost your metabolism and help even more than regular exercise. Following a proper keto diet will do the rest.