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Keto for powerlifting [Article, Free download]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Oct 8, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Keto for powerlifting

Keto for powerlifting

Keto can be a good diet for powerlifter who want to maintain their weight or want to go on a cut. If you are a beginner lean towards the high protein keto diet so that you have the necessary macros in your diet to make your body grow.
Download 5 free batch cooking plans

Keto batch cook

By clicking the button above you can get free access to my free batch cooking plans for keto which I have developed together with my wife. I usually take out 4 hours of my weekend to get the food ready for the entire week for us. There is also one pregnancy-friendly batch cook included as my wife craved the carbs when the little one was growing inside of her. Definitely recommend getting into the habit of batch cooking to save money and time. Also gets you some brownie points at home. The plans should save you a month of research and trial and error. Always consult with your doctor first whether you can eat the foods in the diet you are changing too.  

Overview of Keto 

The keto diet is a relatively new trend which has its roots in the successful treatment of patients with seizures. While this effect seems quite proven other claimed positive effects of the diet like slowing down cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes are still being investigated and the body of long term studies to support these claims still has to grow. 
The basic idea of the Ketogenic diet, or short keto diet, is to replace the carbohydrates in your diet through fat. By this, you want to achieve that your body switches into a state where the preferred source of energy is fat instead of carbohydrates. The effect is that your body becomes a fat-burning machine and you lose weight at the places where you normally store surplus fat. 
To get into Ketosis on a daily basis is very hard. Depending on the diet you are on the usual recommendation is to stay under 20g of carbohydrates to achieve this. You only look at a big of crisps the wrong way and you are already over that threshold. Eating one apple will also have the same effect. Therefore there are different approaches to the diet of which some make it more palatable than others. 
The standard Ketogenic diet divides your macronutrients in 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. Calculate whatever the recommended daily intake is based on your gender, age, height, and weight and distribute the calories on the macros accordingly. This version of the diet is very hard to maintain without changing your lifestyle completely and saying no often when food is offered at social occasions. 
Another take on the keto diet is the cyclical Ketogenic diet. Here you stick to the diet for five days and allow for more carbohydrates on two days of the week. You might as well call it the “I am allowed treats at the weekend” keto diet. 
Another version of the keto diet is the high protein keto diet. Here you apply a split of 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates. This is a version which might be favored by anyone who wants to build muscle. 
Things which you can eat on the keto diet
  • Meat 
  • Fish
  • Eggs 
  • Butter 
  • Cream 
  • Cheese
  • Nuts 
  • Olive oil 
  • Coconut oil 
  • Avocado 
  • Green vegetable 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Peppers 
  • Small amount of berries 
Things which you can’t eat 
  • Soda 
  • Fruit juice 
  • Smoothies 
  • Cake
  • Ice cream 
  • Candy 
  • Wheat 
  • Rice 
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Fruit 
  • Peas
  • Beans 
  • Cereal
  • Lentils 
  • Chick peas
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips 
  • Sauces 
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Mayonnaise 
  • Alcohol 

Pros of the Keto diet 

Keto is said to have positive effects on the following diseases: 
  • Diabetes 
  • Low blood sugar 
  • Epilepsy
  • Alzheimer’s 
  • Cancer 
I am no doctor so consult with your specialist for your specific case before deciding to go on the Ketogenic diet. The body of evidence for epilepsy seems to be strong while I always take the claimed benefits for diets to help with cancer and heart disease with a grain of salt before there is a lot of evidence to support it. If you want to sell a diet you have a way easier time if you claim it slows down cancer. So almost any leaflet of diet spinners claims this. What I can say is that I did see a marked improvement in my wife’s fibromyalgia symptoms when we stuck to the keto diet
What I can also vouch for is that the keto diet helped us to lose weight before our wedding. I went down by 7kg in 2 months and see wedding pictures look fabulous. I won’t talk about my wife’s weight because a wise man just simply does not. What you have to keep in mind is that any diet will work if you stick to it and there is quite a large body of evidence to support that. The weight loss is usually closer tied to the awareness how much food is eaten and a concerted effort to control it rather than the types of food themselves. 
Another benefit of the keto diet is that you can still eat fat. 
Steak? No problem. 
Berries with cream? Yes, sir, here we go. 
Platter of cheese? Bring it on 
If you like meat a lot and want to do a diet, keto is a great option. 
As you eat air of fat there is also a very low risk for you to eat too little calories. Fat is very highly condensed energy which comes in a high calorie per gram count. So eating a lot of fat will get you to your daily calorie prescription fairly fast. This is an area where vegetarians can really struggle without taking supplements. You have to eat a lot of cabbage to make it to 2000 calories. Not so much if you put a nice cream sauce on it. 

Cons of the Keto Diet 

As with every diet, the biggest con is that you are depriving yourself of an entire component in your diet, carbohydrates. If there is no medical reason to reign this intake in, the risk-reward might be a little of. If your main goal is weight loss this can also be achieved, and maybe even easier is you don’t have to change your cooking, by taking control of your portions, cutting out desserts and alcohol. 
There are also claims that the higher intake of fat makes it more likely for you to get kidney stones. Your gut health might also be negatively impacted. 
A big personal downside to the keto diet for me is that it becomes very hard to have a proper side to your main meal. Most side dishes have a lot of carbohydrates in them so you end up only eating the meat and cheese. This went so far for my wife and me that we needed to take a break. It also doesn’t really work when your pregnant. 

Alternatives to the Keto diet 

There are alternatives to the keto diet if you don’t find this appealing. Some of them are: 
The low-fat diet was the trend which was based on studies that a high intake of fat would lead to cardiac arrest and other problems in your blood system. With the surge of the keto diet, these studies are being contested. Still, for decades, low fat was the way to go when you were on a diet. What food producers did not tell you was that they still wanted their products to taste nice so that you keep eating them. Things usually taste nice when they either have fat or sugar in them. When you combine both in a cake it is extra delicious. As food producers couldn’t add fat they opted for sugar. 
If you like sweet things you can try juicing. Juicing is a diet where you only take in food in liquid form in the form of juices. As with every diet, the idea is to cut out certain foods to make you lose weight and be healthier. The main effect is that you switch from stuffing anything in front of you in your mouth to making More deliberate decisions. 
Weight watchers or slimming world are dieting concepts where foods are being attributed points. For each day you get a certain number of points which you can use up. It doesn’t matter what you eat, as long as you don’t go over your daily allowance of points. You can even bank your points and budget for a week. Once a week or month you will meet with your local group to be held accountable for progress. My wife tried it and I went to one of the meetings with her. She didn’t stick long to it. To be honest, me and my wife usually like to do our own thing. For someone who likes to meet with other people to talk about their struggles on a regular basis this concept might be more appealing. There are many examples where weight watchers worked. Again, this is back to portion control, if your goal is weight loss. 


Powerlifting is the sport of the total. Your total consists of the three lifts, the bench press, squat, and deadlift. For each of these lifts you get three attempts in competition. The best attempt for each lift will be added up to form your total. To keep things fair, just like in martial arts, powerlifting works with different weight classes to separate the field based on their size and weight. You find this concept across many sports which involve lifting or man to man combat. 
A big difference to lifting in the gym is that you will be judged. There are three different referees who observe your performance from different angles. They decide whether you executed the lifts according to the standards of the federation you are competing in. Failure to do so will result in the lift bit given. Two out of three judges have to agree for the attempt to qualify. For each lift there are different rules on how they need to be executed, generally, you will get a command and from then on you are expected to complete the lift in one smooth movement without help. 

Pros of Powerlifting

Powerlifting is very easy and low risk as a sport. Even though many mothers of teenage boys and doctors are not huge fans of heavy lifting you are actually less likely to obtain a severe injury from lifting them from team sports or martial arts. This is why powerlifting is very popular with retired athletes. Even if you are injured you can still do reasonably well in the sport and it was probably part of your training anyway.

Cons of Powerlifting

Powerlifting makes you big and strong but might not breed the most agile athletes in the world. It can also be hard on your lower spine, knees and shoulders. It can also become quite boring as you do it by yourself and it is always the same over and over. 

Alternatives to Powerlifting

Alternatives to powerlifting are: 
Strongman competitions are usually outdoors and therefore might be a bit more appealing to you than powerlifting. A special tale on this would be the Highland games which also come in different flavors. Compared to powerlifting each competition will be slightly different. They also usually draw bigger crowds than powerlifting competitions as they are incorporated into some local farming or other outdoor exhibition. The downside is that this sport has no weight classes and therefore tends to be dominated by giants. If you are not six foot tall and weigh more than 120kg you will be hugely disadvantaged to do well in Strongman competitions. 
If you like to work with a barbell but want to be more explosive than Olympic weightlifting might be for you. Compared to powerlifting the lifts are more interesting and the sport is also Olympic which might add some extra appeal for you. Smaller individuals have a fair chance as competitions are regulated by weight class. You will also need less equipment compared to powerlifting as the weights you move are lighter. This means fewer plates and a squat stand instead of a rack. Still, you might not change your barbell more often as you will constantly drop it from overhead. The disadvantage of weightlifting is that it needs a lot more athleticism and flexibility than powerlifting. If you are starting from zero you will have a tougher time to get reasonably good at it.
Lumberjacking is an interesting twist on Strongman competitions. They need more technique and finesse than strongman competition as you have to read the wood and swing the axe accordingly. There is also some engineering involved as some competitions allow to compete with customized chainsaws. As this is more about technique than size you also have a good chance even if you are not a beast. Although being big definitely helps. The downside to lumberjacking is that you need a lot of wood. If you are not in the industry and live in town this might become a challenge. The injury risk is also a lot higher as you will be around axes, chainsaws and wood chips that fly through the air. 

Keto for powerlifting

Keto can be a good pairing with powerlifting if you want to maintain your weight or cut down. For beginning powerlifters, it might not be the best choice in its raw form. Try the high protein keto diet first, so that you still have enough of the building blocks to make your muscles grow and get stronger.

Topics: Keto