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Should Crossfit Athletes Use Ketosis?

As a CrossFit Athlete, Enthusiast or Box Owner you’ve probably heard people talk about Ketosis. There’s a lot of talk about fat loss and brain function but in this post I want to break down Keto in terms of performance in the gym

I get it, you want to be better.

You want to finish WOD’s faster, recover better and realise more of your potential.
You want improvement and you want it yesterday!
For those of you who are coaches and BOX owners, it’s no secret that you want your athletes to see massive improvements without injuries or stagnation.

I’ve dedicated my life to helping myself and others get BETTER and we’ve had big results by innovating and striving for more.

One of the most exciting things I’ve discovered in the last 2 years is Ketosis.
You can enter into the state of ketosis through:

  • Fasted training
  • Extended fasting
  • Low carbohydrate moderate protein diet
  • Supplementary ketones

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is the body’s natural state when energy is required in the absence of stored muscle and liver glycogen.

The body has a small storage capacity for sugar and a large storage capacity for fat.
This fact points to fat as being the key fuel that has kept us alive through the tough times (think about growing carbs in an ice age).

Fat via ketones is the bodies survival fuel which brain and muscle cells adapt to use more of when times are tough.

Ketone bodies are created from fat in the liver when glycogen is depleted.

Research around what this ketotic state is good for has suggested things like:
  • Rapid Fat Loss Through Increased Use Of Fat As Fuel
  • Improved Recovery
  • Consistent Efficient Cellular Energy
  • Improved Concentration and Mental Clarity
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects At The DNA and Cellular Level
  • Muscle Sparing During Training and Caloric Deficit

Why CrossFit Athletes Are Looking At Ketosis

1. Power To Weight Ratio

The fastest way to improve the performance of any male over 8% body fat or female over 15% body fat is to simply decrease their fat levels.

Think about this: You’re going in a local competition but I make you add a 2-5kg weight vest to every pull-up, run, muscle-up or box jump you do. UNFAIR! Well, that’s what most of your clients are training and living through. The fittest crossfit athlete I’ve seen has 6% body fat, he’s a masters athlete, one that you will never see competing who secretly does all the regionals and world games sessions, often scoring in among the best.

No Barbells In Regionals = Power To Weight Ratio Is Even More Important In CrossFit.

2. CrossFit Is About Repeated ExposureBar muscle ups on Ketosis

The top guys are doing lots of WOD’s per day. Partly to toughen the body and develop its capacity to physically tolerate loading, partly to keep all the movements smooth and in the groove.

The mental, learning aspect of the training is part of the reason why you should be interested in ketosis. Think about this from the Palaeolithic perspective – If you’re starving is that a time when you need MORE or LESS brain function? The body isn’t stupid, you go into a super aware, high-performing state when it’s all on the line. If the goal is to wire in all the movements then having the brain in hyper function mode is an advantage.

Research around ketosis improving mental function is a very exciting area.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Destroy Athletes

I’ve seen it over and over and it’s becoming a CrossFit norm. Taking drugs to be able to train and compete is bad news. These drugs are proven to interfere with long-term healing and tissue structural integrity. Improving the body’s natural healing capacity through nutrition and lifestyle is the name of the game for longevity in performance.

Nutritional ketosis, ketones and fasting are a clear path to decreasing chronic and acute inflammation.

4. Fat Adaptation and Duel Fuel

photo credit: WhiteJaune 29 – Peloton into the sunset

Many elite teams and athletes cycle periods of low carbohydrate consumption into their training. This has been researched on a day-to-day basis as well as over weeks or months of lower carbohydrate consumption to push adaptation. They do it for a competitive advantage and for many it works. This approach has been used with AFL, soccer, Tour de France, middle and long distance runners, triathletes, CrossFit and beyond.

Interestingly, recently it’s been reported that the winners of last years Tour De France used carbohydrate together with ketone bodies in their race day drinks to improve performance.

Early studies suggest that this was a smart move and probably contributed to their competitive advantage.

5. Pain and Stress Tolerance

The more pain and stress we go through the more we will tolerate. Trying to avoid pain and stress leads to many of the problems of the 21st century. Still, if your session is about spending time in the “hurt locker” you may as well be doing it at a higher output than previously and improving your times!

Ketones and ketosis help many experience less long-term pain and deal better with short-term pain.

6. Those Using Ketosis Are Loving It

Tim Ferriss – Author and Podcaster has been a massive advocate and has spoken with a number of world leaders on ketosis and ketone supplements. Ketone supplementation and ketosis is a big part of his most recent best-selling book. He doesn’t sell Pruvit ketones, he just loves them. View link here.

Tim Ferriss ketosis

Tim Ferriss – Author, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “human guinea pig”

Joe Rogan – UFC Announcer and Podcaster is a massive fan. He posted about loving them on Instagram and has spoken about ketosis a number of times on his podcast.


Joe Rgoan Ketones

Joe Rogan – UFC Announcer and Podcaster

Amanda Allen – Amanda is a world champion and world leader in the CrossFit community. She now owns the 2 crossfit boxes closest to me here at the base of Mt Warning in Northern NSW. Amanda has posted several videos on Facebook about how ketones have helped her lost weight and never felt more control over her eating.

Amanda Allen crossfit

Amanda Allen – World Champion and world leader in the CrossFit community

She recently posted:

“6 weeks, lost 4kgs without effort or dieting, I changed nothing in my eating, just let things take their natural course! I have unquestionably gained muscle and my performances in the gym are going crazy…my recovery is sensational, seemingly effortless! My energy levels are skyrocketing and I have zero cravings for sweet, shitty foods that fatten my body and make me feel sluggish, fat, tired and confused… I have NEVER FELT BETTER…and I’m only just getting started! If you’re wondering if Keto is for you, I’d say don’t die wondering!!! Inbox me now”

As many of you know Amanda is one of the most genuine, open and inspirational humans you’re likely to come across. If her experience was “no impact” as she expected, she would have said it.

NASA is also using exogenous ketones for various trials they have going on with their mission to Mars program.

7. Geeky Science Stuff

There are lots of scientists working hard to understand Mitochondria Biogenesis, peripheral insulin sensitivity, Lactic Acid Buffering as possible mechanisms for why performance is maintained or improved in a ketogenic state where glucose is harder to come by. Guys like Dr Dom D’Agostino and Dr Jacob Wilson are worth checking out along with Stephen Finney if you’re keen to get into the lab work that is trying to explain the results people are experiencing.

Sigma Nutrition Radio Episode #82: Dr. Jacob Wilson – Ketogenic Diets, Strength & Body Composition

Sigma Nutrition Radio Episode #82: Dr. Jacob Wilson – Ketogenic Diets, Strength & Body Composition

You’re Human Too..

And right now humanity is going through a crisis of sugar toxicity that is reaping a havoc never before seen on earth. It’s an issue for the majority of the world’s population. Diabetes and pre-diabetes have become the norm which means that even as an athlete training regularly you’re likely to have some degree of sugar toxicity due to challenges with glucose disposal.

The best way for you to understand this is to experience ketosis for yourself and then you will compare your usual highs and lows, cravings and dopey times with the heightened state of ketosis.

Ketones won’t allow you to stop training and still get fitter but if you’re doing the work they might just help you to be a better version of yourself. The most common things that we hear back from people taking ketones are:

  • Improved sleep
    Keegan Smith keto recovery and performance

    I’ve noticed huge advances in my performance and recovery thanks to ketosis

  • More mental energy
  • Less cravings for coffee, sugar and junk foods
  • Better recovery from training
  • Getting in the best shape of their life
  • Holding muscle mass and strength with lower training volume
  • Tolerating higher training volume
  • Massive reduction in DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
  • No afternoon slump

Full Disclosure:

I love using and selling Pruvit ketones. Most of RealMOVEMENT community uses them around workouts. I make a solid 6-figure income from the ketone business. While ketones aren’t my primary source of income I’ve helped dozens of people make selling ketones their primary income source and I love helping more people be able to dedicate their lives to inspiring and helping others to live BETTER. I’ve helped over 10,000 people experience ketosis with so many amazing stories coming back it’s overwhelming! I love ketones and the ketone business and will continue to help people make a living spreading this product and message.


Ketogenesis Vs Ketosis?

When your body’s carbohydrate stores are depleted the body will start to try to produce ketone bodies, ketogenesis. For many people this process takes weeks to months for the rusty metabolic pathway of ketogenesis to come to life. During that time people often feel like shit and often conclude that ketosis isn’t for them. Eventually they get to therapeutic ketone levels and they finally understand what all the fuss is about. The problem is the first burst of stress or glucose shuts the pathway off and the battle to return to ketosis starts all over again. Research on chronic development of this pathway is in it’s early phases but anecdotally it seems like ketogenesis takes less time and has no symptoms as the body gets used to using ketones as well as glucose.

Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid

Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid

Ketosis is simply when the body is using ketones as fuel.

How can a supplement put you in ketosis even while you’re eating carbohydrates?

Ketosis is simply when your cells are using ketones for energy. When you use a ketone supplement your body uses them as fuel, therefore you’re in ketosis. If you’re like most people you’ll feel it when you get there.

What happens when there are ketones and glucose in the blood stream at the same time?
It’s early days for research into the duel fuel of both ketones and glucose but early research indicates that ketones are used preferentially sparing glucose and prolonging time to fatigue. There is evidence that blood sugar is better managed by the body when ketones are present.

When should I take it?

I like to use them 30-5 minutes pre-workout.

I have had the best, most focussed, highest volume training session of my life using ketones as fuel.
Khan Porter, Matt Healey, Ben Garard and Hayden Wolfabauer at the old RealMOVEMENT Project HQ

Khan Porter, Matt Healey, Ben Garard and Hayden Wolfabauer at the old RealMOVEMENT Project HQ

Should I cut out all the carbohydrates too?

For people who want to lose body fat or who aren’t training hard, I would definitely recommend a period of low-carbohydrate consumption. I would do this after your first 2-4 weeks on ketone supplements so that your cells have time to adapt to using ketones as fuel before you start to ramp up your bodies ketogenesis.
Should I sell these at my gym/box?

It’s up to you but I’m sure that you will have members who report this as a life-changer. I’ve seen gyms incorporate a ketone challenge into their facilities with no pressure on clients and have massive results. Many of those who use them will be blown away and the second round will have more participants. Alternatively, guys have used 5-day experiences to give a glimpse into the unknown world of ketosis.

Is it natural to be in ketosis? If so why aren’t people in ketosis naturally?

Yes, it’s natural. Your ancestors survived an ice age which means they lived through periods of low carbohydrate consumption. All humans are able to survive and thrive without carbohydrate as long as they get their base requirements of protein and they have fat for fuel. Arctic populations still live and thrive on whale blubber, our domesticated animals are all genetically selected from wild species to have higher levels of body fat than their wild ancestors – chicken vs wild birds, cows vs buffalo or bison.

Most people you see haven’t been in ketosis since they were breast fed. Breast milk has ketones and my wife who’s nursing our 5 month old has constantly high levels of ketones in her blood even when she’s eating carbohydrates. So if you didn’t get breast fed then you missed out on ketones because the supplement isn’t in baby food (there are studies showing that ketones have a dramatic impact on brain development for glucose resistant children). So since breast-feeding you’ve probably eaten carbohydrates and sugar every day of your life. The exception would be if you’re using periods of religious fasting or if you’ve done long endurance events / walks without much food / gels.

What’s the fastest way to get into ketosis?

For fit healthy people, you can get in ketosis by doing 10 minutes of lactic work like assault bike sprints followed by a 2-3 hour walk.

Assault AirBike

Assault AirBike

How can I tell if I’m in ketosis?

Ingesting ketones makes ketones available to the cells, therefore, you’re in ketosis. Ketogenesis is less clear. It’s possible to measure ketones through the breath, urine and saliva. The body actually excretes excess fuel from the body which is part of the reason why being in ketosis makes it so easy to lose body fat.

You’re actually breathing, urinating and sweating out your fat stores in excess of what’s being used by the cells.

Measuring ketones through the urine is not very accurate or useful for non-diabetics. Blood and breath measures are better indicators of how good your body is at producing ketones. Low vitality, liver energy is a common thing that Chinese medicine associates with illness which may be part of the reason why many people experience keto flu when they try to initiate ketogenesis.

Urine-analysis Ketostix

Urine-analysis Ketostix

Ketonix breath ketone-analyzer

Ketonix breath ketone-analyzer

Precision Xtra Blood Glucose & Ketone Monitoring System

Precision Xtra Blood Glucose & Ketone Monitoring System

What concentration of ketones is therapeutic?

This is a tough one. More sugar in the blood doesn’t mean that the cells are being better fuelled by sugar. In fact, it points to insulin resistance and is used as a measure of diabetes. Anecdotally I’ve seen big, fit, lean professional athletes have minimal change in blood ketone levels with exogenous ketones but they’ve also seen and felt big improvements in mental clarity and performance. What does this mean for you? Chasing more ketones in the blood doesn’t make that much sense. If you’re depleting glycogen and not consuming carbs your body will (eventually) produce the amount of ketones you need to function. If you’re taking ketones then your cells will absorb the ketones at the rate that they are capable of / need. Cell membrane function for uptake of nutrients is important in this, however, that’s a topic for another day.

For epileptics and others chasing high ketone levels 3.0 is often the therapeutic target. This usually requires a much stricter approach to the ketogenic diet than an athletic ketogenic diet.

Are ketone supplements expensive?

My answer = No.

You’re worth it. Seriously, try them and see if the investment is worth the change you feel in mental energy, performance, body composition etc. All sorts of money is being spent by people to look good and give the appearance of health – clothes, make-up, perfumes and deodorants, dental treatments etc. This stuff actually helped so many people make a deep change in their lives that it’s unthinkable for me not to offer this to you and give you the chance to offer this to your communities. The cost less than what most people spend on coffee/shakes/wine a week. Nothing in the scheme of our consumer-driven society.

Can I take this on as a business for my gym/family/friends?

100%. I did – It’s changed my life and helped me change so many people’s lives, it’s hard to imagine what would have happened if I was scared of what other people would think about the ketone conversation. I’ve bought my dream house and spent time one-on-one with Bob Proctor as a direct result of the decision to show people this product and the business opportunity that goes with it. I love the fact that I’ve helped dozens of people build 6-figure businesses and drive luxury cars. There will be a lot more people who join this elite group over the coming months and years. If you’re interested in the business side click here to leave your details and have a chat.

What’s special about Keto-OS Vs other ketones/raspberry ketones?

Firstly raspberry ketones are not related and aren’t really ketones. I would never use or recommend them. Other exogenous ketone products beyond Keto-OS? None of them have been used in the military or NASA trials that I’m aware of. The research is all being done with Prüvit products. They are the best tasting and most effective. I’ve trialed other products and can honestly say they’re not close in terms of the quality or results. Price wise, competitors are similar or slightly more expensive. If you trial the product with a friend or as a gym you get free product and massive discounts which makes it much cheaper than anything else on the market.

Where can I go to see more research?

Pubmed / Google Scholar will show you some of the studies. Dr Dom D’Agostino is giving his life’s work to investigating ketone use in cancer therapy while Dr Jacob Wilson and Dr Ryan Lowery are more interested in the impacts of ketones on muscles and performance. These guys are all personally using and doing their research with Keto-OS products from Pruvit, so is Tim Ferriss.

There are studies on human babies, human adults and rats. None that I’ve seen have shown any signs of toxicity or health concerns.

Will I get negative effects or rebound when I stop taking them?

I haven’t seen this. I’ve had periods where I don’t use them and I just feel a gradual decrease in the benefits, then I get a positive jolt when I get back on them.

Who would likely benefit most from these?

Research around any neurological symptoms or impaired energy usage is probably the most interesting as well as inflammation-related conditions which cover a large proportion of the things we label as dis-ease.

The bottom line is Ketosis is a game changer for a lot of athletes, everyday joes & fat people. Is it the answer for you? Should you be doing it all the time or just for periods of fat loss and fat adaptation? It’s hard to say. The reason you’re reading this is that you’re curious. You want to explore your potential and you’re happy to do the work to get there. For you I strongly recommend you try ketosis, experience it and test it with your athletes when the time is right. For most CrossFit athletes now is probably the best time to experiment and make the changes you need to make to be where you want to be for the 2018 open.


Take Your Diet & Training To The Next Level CLICK HERE

Contact RealMOVEMENT on FaceBook If you’d Like A 1 Month Ketone Trial Or If You’d Like To Spread The Word! OR – For US readers.

Others need to contact RealMOVEMENT Direct or Keto Movement


About Keegan Smith

Keegan Smith (Coach KEEGAN), founder of RealMOVEMENT Project and author of Performance Coach Success Blueprint, is a performance coach educator who's worked with Premiership winning Sydney Roosters.

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