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What is a Targeted Keto Diet and Is It For Me?

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With a ketogenic diet, the focus is on not eat too many carbs. However, if you’re active, you need to make sure your eating enough carbs – and at the right time! Keep reading to learn about a targeted keto diet and why it may be the better choice for active individuals.

When I first started researching keto (before I dove into the diet itself), I saw a term mentioned over and over: targeted keto diet (TKD).

At first glance, a targeted keto diet seemed like something designed for serious athletes, and I didn’t give it much thought.

Instead, I decided to stick with the standard keto diet (consuming a moderate level of carbs: 40-50 grams per day) since I was breastfeeding. I also planned to stick with my normal workout routine: yoga twice a week, one day of cardio, and 2 days of weight training.

However, I quickly found myself pooping out halfway through my workouts. Worse, as I tried to push on, I sometimes felt lightheaded or dizzy. Definitely not a good sign…

Apparently I was going about things all wrong!

I did a little more reading on the targeted keto diet and realized that this was the plan better suited for me.

If you’re active, a targeted keto diet may be the best choice for you too.

Are you eating enough carbs? Yep, you read that right! Why a targeted keto diet may be a better choice for active individuals than a standard ketogenic diet.

What is a Targeted Keto Diet?

On a standard keto diet, your goal is to keep your carbohydrate consumption under 50-60 grams per day. If you’re doing a strict keto diet, you might even try to stick to 20 grams of carbs or less.

Related: How many carbs can you have on the keto diet?

However, on a targeted keto diet, you consume all or most of those carbs directly before and after a workout.

Depending on how intense your workout regime is and how your body reacts, you may even take in 20 grams of additional carbs on days you exercise.

Who Should Consider a Targeted Keto Diet

Consider a targeted ketogenic diet if you do any of the following activities:

  • Interval training
  • Weight lifting
  • Crossfit
  • High-intensity sports (soccer, tennis, swimming, etc.)

Some experts recommend staying on the standard keto diet for at least 30-60 days before starting a targeted keto diet, in order for your body to become fully fat adapted.

In my experience, my normal exercise routine didn’t work for me on the standard keto diet. To continue with the intense workouts I enjoy, I needed a quick carb boost beforehand.

Even a simple handful of peanuts gave me the fuel I needed to get through my workout without feeling sick afterwards. And I still continued to lose weight.

Your results may be different, and figuring out the amount of carbs your body needs before a workout may take a little experimenting.

What Foods to Eat on a Targeted Keto Diet

The same foods that are acceptable on a standard keto diet and fine to eat on a targeted keto diet.

However, some choose to eat foods before a workout that they normally wouldn’t, like a spoonful of maple syrup or a handful of gummy bears.

Gummy bears in a bowl

That’s because the quick insulin boost from these sugar-dense foods helps prevent muscle breakdown and promotes muscle growth (source).

The most important “rule” when choosing your pre and post-workout snacks:

  • Avoid foods with fructose (fruit sugar)
  • Choose items with dextrose and/or glucose

Dextrose and glucose help replenish muscles, while fructose on the other hand, goes to your liver – which isn’t helpful in this case.

Will the Extra Carbs Kick Me Out of Ketosis?

For a short period of time, yes.

However, if you get right back on your regular keto diet after a workout, you should be fine and you’ll be back in ketosis in a few hours.

Plus, the benefits of an exercise routine far outweigh the few hours spent out of ketosis.

Furthermore, as your body adapts, you may require fewer carbohydrates before/after your workout, so you can get back in ketosis faster.

Learn More About Keto

Are you unintentionally sabotaging your weight loss efforts?? If you're not losing weight on keto, keep reading to learn eight things to watch out for!

8 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight on Keto


  1. Awesome article! I really learned a lot from this. I’ve just started my keto diet last week and articles like this are so useful to me. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I should try doing the targeted keto diet soon!

  3. This is the first time I read about targeted keto diet and this article definitely gave me knowledge about it. Thanks for posting this!

  4. I’m glad I’m now able to put a name to what I was doing and not having to feel bad about eating additional carbs to have a good workout. I’m training for my first 10-mile race and the traditional Keto diet left me wiped out during my long run days. Thanks for giving me perspective with this article!!

    • Oh gosh, I can only imagine how drained you felt after running 10 miles without hardly any carbs! With that much exercise you should be able to start adding some carbs in and still see good results. Good luck with your race! 🙂

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