The road to 7% body fat

What it feels like to go full keto

Men's Fitness - - Fuel -

FIRST FEW DAYS

You may feel low on en­ergy, lethar­gic and dizzy. Some peo­ple suf­fer from headaches or flu-like symp­toms dur­ing the first few days or weeks thanks to the de­ple­tion of mus­cle glyco­gen. This is the hard part, be­cause you have to avoid eat­ing car­bo­hy­drates to halt the cy­cle of glu­cose-based me­tab­o­lism, even though your glyco­gen stores are dwin­dling and your crav­ings are prob­a­bly in­creas­ing. Your body is used to burn­ing glu­cose, not fat, for fuel, which is why you may find your en­ergy lev­els are low­ered in the first few weeks.

FIRST WEEK

You’ll prob­a­bly see a pretty rapid weight loss in the first week, though this will be from wa­ter de­ple­tion. Glyco­gen is at­tached to wa­ter in our bod­ies, so when you lose glyco­gen, you also lose wa­ter – as much as 2kg of just fluid. Your work­outs may also suf­fer dur­ing the first few weeks; many peo­ple re­port a loss of strength and en­durance un­til their bod­ies be­come more ef­fi­cient at us­ing fats for fuel.

SEC­OND WEEK

Your body will still be adapt­ing to us­ing fat for fuel, but to­ward the end of the sec­ond week and into the third week, you may start to see in­creas­ing en­ergy lev­els. As glyco­gen be­comes de­pleted, your body will start pro­duc­ing ke­tones – some of which are ex­creted in the urine, so you can now start mea­sur­ing the lev­els with keto test strips (avail­able in phar­ma­cies and on­line) to see if you’re at a low enough level of car­bo­hy­drate re­stric­tion.

THIRD AND FOURTH WEEKS

At this point, if you’ve been keep­ing your total carbs to less than 50g per day, you should be in ke­to­sis. Get­ting down to 10% body fat, or even 7%– a truly shred­ded physique – is doable, depend­ing on your start­ing per­cent­age. Your en­ergy lev­els should start to im­prove, though it can take sev­eral months for your body to fully adapt to us­ing fat for fuel. The de­sire to eat reg­u­larly through­out the day to sus­tain men­tal clar­ity will have faded, and your mus­cles will have ac­cess to a near-lim­it­less sup­ply of en­ergy.

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