Does Keto Work Without Exercise?

Have you ever heard the term you can’t out-exercise a poor diet? Basically, that means that no matter how much you exercise, you won’t be able to do it enough to cancel out the effects of a terrible diet?

Will keto work without exercise? You do not have to work out while on keto to experience the benefits as long as you are sticking to the rules of the diet and eating at a caloric deficit.

I know it seems hard to believe, but you truly don’t have to exercise to lose weight on keto. With that said, there are many benefits to adding an exercise regimen to keto. Keep reading to learn more.

Why Does Keto Work Without Exericse?

To understand why you can lose weight with keto without exercising, you have to understand precisely how it works. If you’re like I was in the beginning, you may have learned about keto by specifically looking for a way to lose weight without exercising. I was close to 400 pounds when I started my journey, and any type of workout left me hurting.

When you eat a regular diet that is full of carbohydrates, the food gets processed by our bodies in a certain way. The carbs turn into glucose, which is what your body used for energy. Some of that glucose gets used up immediately, and some gets stored as energy for later. Any glucose that is left over is turned into fat and saved by the body.

If you’re eating this normal, high-carb diet, exercise is almost a requirement since you’ll be consuming a lot of extra calories. If you don’t want that fat stored within your body, working out is one of the only ways to prevent it.

Things work a lot differently when you’re on keto because your body will no longer use glucose for fuel. As you cut carbs from your diet, your body won’t have all the extra glucose to burn for energy. Do you know what happens when your body can’t find glucose? It freaks out! Your body will begin to panic and go in search of something else it can use to create energy.

Your body will keep looking until it comes us with a fuel source that there’s an abundance of and that fuel source is fat. By eating fewer carbs and increasing your intake of healthy fat, you’ll enter ketosis, and body fat will be burned. This is why it’s possible to lose a fair amount of body fat without doing any type of exercise whatsoever.

Should I Skip Exercise And Just Do Keto?

I said that when you’re in ketosis, you’ll burn fat and lose weight, but I never said you absolutely shouldn’t exercise while living a ketogenic lifestyle. While you don’t have to do exercise to lose weight with keto, the fact remains that exercise is good for you. Many health benefits come with exercise. Some of them include:

  • Increased life expectancy – According to the Hindawi Journal of Aging Research, regular exercise decreases risk factors for numerous conditions such as cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease. As a result, life expectancy may be increased.
  • Improved immunity – If you commonly find yourself with a winter cold or are always feeling tired, regular exercise may help boost your immune system. There are several ways this occurs:
    • When you exercise, your stress hormones are released at a much slower pace. Stress naturally leads to increased chances of you getting sick, so the fewer stress hormones you have, the less likely it is that you’ll become ill.
    • Exercise aids in flushing harmful bacterial out of your lungs, limiting the occurrences of the flu or common cold.
    • Because exercise increases your body temperature, bacteria are prevented from growing, which aids in preventing infections.
  • Cardiovascular health – A regular exercise regimen can help prevent coronary heart disease, according to the Oxford International Journal of Medicine.

What If I Exercise More And Eat Fewer Calories?

When someone wants to lose weight, it’s easy to figure that you can accomplish this goal by simply eating less food and exercising more often. It sounds good and makes sense to a certain point, but if your goal is to lose fat, making the mistake of drastically reducing calories and doing more exercise may not work well at first, especially if you’re using cardio as your preferred form of exercise.

This will definitely work if done correctly and with tons of discipline, but this is where most people fail. When you find that you aren’t losing the weight you thought you should be, you may decide to further reduce the number of calories you’re consuming and working out even more. I’ve seen people eat 1,000 calories while doing five miles worth of cardio.

Over-exercising and under-eating will exhaust both your body and your brain. What’s worse is that even if you are eating well under calories burned, you’ll still likely find that you don’t have much in the way or real weight loss because your body panics and starts holding onto fat.

Do I Need To Count Calories On Keto?

A ketogenic diet, when done correctly, is naturally high in healthy fats, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. When you’re eating these types of food, you’ll be eating less than you usually would.

Just because you’re going to be eating less without trying, that doesn’t mean that you can just forget about calories. The calories you consume still count, just not in the same way that you’re used to. I know some people who are eating keto and can go way about their daily calories and continue to lose weight. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.

When it comes to losing weight, the appetite suppressing effect the keto diet gives you is huge. Most people who have a lot of weight to lose won’t have to worry about counting calories when they start keto. Instead, focus on carbs, fat, and protein. You won’t have to be quite as conscious of calories until you either plateau or are close to your goal weight.

Can Cardio Help Burn More Fat?

I totally get it. If keto is working for you and you’re burning fat, how much better would it be to add some cardio exercise to burn even more. Personally, I love low-impact cardio. When I was at my biggest, my routine consisted of going for walks and swimming. Doing these types of exercises are great for your health. The problem comes when you overdo it.

You can look in any gym and see they’re offering the latest extreme spin class or ultimate sweat away the fat cardio sessions. They make all kinds of promises, and you can burn calories, but it just doesn’t work for real fat loss. For most people, intense forms of cardio are hard to sustain, so any benefits are short-lived.

There are several reasons you should cut back on intense cardio sessions, which are often referred to as chronic cardio. The biggest problem you’ll have is that you’ll be hungrier more often. Unless you make it a point to force yourself not to eat, you’ll be eating food more often, therefore increasing your caloric intake.

Your hunger happens because burning all those calories leaves your body starving, and it wants those calories back. This also leads to negative mood changes and an increase in anxiety.

Doing too much cardio can also raise the amount of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that triggers your body to store fat in your mid-section.

What Exercise Should I Do On Keto?

If you’re looking to lose fat and want it to stay away, your best long-term option is going to be weight training. Weight training allows you to focus on all of your major muscle groups and helps preserve the muscle you already have while building new lean muscle mass.

If you want to do weight training, a gym membership will give you access to everything you need. You’ll be able to find various machines to work any part of the body you can think of, and you may have access to personal trainers who can answer any specific questions you may have. Fitness centers often have strength training classes as well, giving you live, real-time instruction.

Going to the gym can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to working out. Monthly fees can also become quite costly. If you want to strength train on your own at home, you have options!

  1. Dumbbells – Dumbbells are my go-to option for at-home strength training. I like them because they’re small and can be used anywhere. Some people have a variety of different weights, but I prefer a set of adjustable dumbbells, so I only need one set that grows along with my strength level. If you’re struggling to stay on track, one of my favorite tricks is to keep your dumbbells by the couch, and when you’re watching television, get some reps in every time a commercial comes on.
  2. Kettlebells – Kettlebells are a little different than dumbbells. They may even be a bit more versatile since a single kettlebell has the potential to give you a complete workout. They aren’t all that expensive and take up very little room. This 3-piece set is perfect for those just starting out with kettlebells.
  3. Medicine Ball – If you want to work on your core, you won’t find many options better than the classic medicine ball. In fact, you can get a full-body workout. You can do so many exercises using your medicine ball. Some of them include:
    1. Crunches
    2. Shoulder press
    3. Triceps extension
    4. Biceps curl
    5. Single leg squat
    6. Rolling push-up
    7. Weighted superman
    8. Lying chest toss
    9. Lunge with overhead press
    10. Reverse swing
  4. Resistance Bands – Resistance bands are the most affordable entry into home fitness equipment. Many people look at the bands and write them off as just cheap pieces of material, but you can sure get a good workout in. They’re also super portable, so if you travel a lot, you can take your workouts right along with you. TheFitLife offers a great set of resistance bands that gives you everything you need to get started.
  5. Bodyweight Exercises – You have everything you need to do these exercises because they’re literally just using your bodyweight. You can get a full-body workout without any equipment whatsoever. Some of the best bodyweight exercises you can do include squats, push-ups, lunges, forearm planks, double leg lifts, and burpees.

Will Exercising While On Keto Prevent Loose Skin?

This is a subject I wanted to touch on because it’s not very comfortable for most people to talk about. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you’ve probably thought about whether or not you’re going to have loose skin as you lose weight with keto.

Unfortunately, if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, loose skin is pretty much inevitable. The younger you are, the more likely you’ll be to bounce back. This, of course, means that for those of us over 30, we will have a bit more trouble.

If you’re significantly overweight, the best way to avoid loose skin is to lose weight as slowly as you can. If you’re doing keto, you already know that there isn’t much about it that’s slow. If you’re doing keto correctly, you’ll likely lose a significant amount of weight in a relatively short timeframe. This shocks your body and can cause loose skin. Fortunately, there are some things that can help.

Exercise – Exercising is probably the best thing you can do if you want to tighten up your skin. To target loose skin, you’re going to want to throw cardio out the window and focus on strength training. The reason behind this is that the lean muscle will take up space where the fat used to be, causing your skin to tighten around them.

Drink Water – Seriously, if you want your best chance against loose skin, drink plenty of water. Water maintains hydration in your skin, which aids in keeping its elasticity. You also get the added benefit of water taking up more space in your stomach, saving you from overeating.

Collagen – The elasticity of your skin depends on the amount of collagen in your body, so supplementing with collagen can only help. One of the best ways to supplement is by using collagen protein powder.

Gelatine – Gelatine and collagen are very similar, so if you aren’t interested in the protein powder, you can try foods that are rich in gelatine like cartilage or bone broth.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C is excellent for the health of your skin because it has multiple antioxidant abilities. It also helps promote collagen production, which helps keep your skin firm. It’s essential to get the vitamin through your diet instead of in a supplement form. Some of the best keto sources include cauliflower, spinach, bell peppers, kale, mushrooms, berries, tomatoes, and broccoli.

Surgery – For most people, surgery will be the last resort, but if you’ve lost a lot of weight, it might be the only way to get rid of the loose skin. There are several different surgeries you can inquire about, depending on what areas of your body you’d like to focus on.

  • Tummy Tuck – For loose skin around your abdomen
  • Arm Lift – For loose skin around the upper areas of your arm
  • Upper Body Lift – For loose skin around your chest and back
  • Lower Body Lift – For loose skin around your stomach, hips, thighs, and buttocks.

Related Questions

Are keto diet pills safe? While keto diet pills are not likely to harm you, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and have not shown any benefit over a traditional ketogenic diet.

Why is a ketogenic diet becoming so popular? The diet promotes stable blood sugar and steady weight loss while being easy to follow and understand.

Will the keto diet reduce your breast size? When losing weight with keto, there’s a good chance that your breasts may get smaller. This is thanks to the fact that you can’t choose where your fat loss comes from.


Derek Masters

Derek Masters is an Amazon best-selling author. After much research, he began keto at 381 pounds in the middle of 2019. Losing 60 pounds and counting, he wants to share what he's learned with others who wish to learn about the ketogenic lifestyle

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