A “lean keto diet” is a counterintuitive phrase. The reason is that the keto lean diet can get you lean in the short run, but it simply can’t get you any long term results.
Why? The diet is unsustainable and not a sensible approach to long-run health. If you really care about your health and overall wellness, you should think carefully about the keto diet.
Let’s dive into the keto lean diet and why you’re being misled by those who espouse it. Moreover, we’ll show you how to foster a truly sustainable diet and workout routine to get you lean and keep you lean for life.
What Is the Keto Lean Diet?
The keto is another take on the Atkins low-carb diet, repackaged. It limits your intake of carbohydrates in favor of fats in order to get the body into a state of ketosis.
In ketosis, your body is burning fat as fuel instead of carbohydrates. But in order to get there, you need to eliminate carbs entirely and only eat protein and fat. Because as long as there are carbohydrates in your body, it will try to burn those first.
You can see the logic here. According to the keto, those who want to burn fat and lose weight need to remove carbs entirely from their diet. So, they change their nutrition to accommodate this suggestion.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know about the keto lean diet:
- Should you do it?
- Is it healthy?
- Is it sustainable?
- What to do instead?
- Keto lean diet in the long term and short term.
After you go through the rest of our article, you’ll know the answer to all those questions. You’ll also get a better sense of what healthy nutrition is and how your diet affects your wellness.
Should I Do the Keto Lean Diet?
Instead of falling for what seems to be a quick fix solution, you need a more wholesome way to better health. Keto lean diet doesn’t provide results in the long run. We recommend that you take a more holistic approach and truly invest in your lean body transformation.
You should focus on fueling yourself with whole, single-ingredient foods – that DO include carbohydrates. You will be able to eat some grains, fruit and have a dinner of pasta.
By eating carbs:
- You will actually be full on a smaller volume of food and can decrease your stomach size by eating less.
- Enjoy some of your favorite foods, such as pasta, again.
- In combination with proper exercise, you’ll stay lean for life.
- You provide your organism with all the major food groups.
We do not recommend you follow the keto lean diet if you’re truly looking to make a long-run change to your physique and adopt healthy eating habits.
Is the Keto Diet Healthy?
You have to remember that Keto is just the Atkins diet, re-marketed. It’s widely recognized that the Atkins diet is not good for your health, and neither is keto.
Sure, maybe you’re not eating eggs and bacon every day, as Atkins told you, but the keto lean diet’s premise and approach are the same.
You want to eat a balanced plate and maintain a well-rounded diet for your health — and this is what lean body fitness and nutrition do when pursued correctly.
Our goal at Mission Lean is to get you to reach the anaerobic state of working out, as this is where you can burn the maximum amount of calories and revamp your body at the biological level.
From a nutrition standpoint, when you are training at 80% of your max heart rate (in the anaerobic zone), you consume:
- 85% of calories from carbohydrates
- 14% from fat
- 1% percent from protein.
Therefore, lean body fitness is fueled primarily by carbohydrates. This is exactly why you simply cannot train with a lean body fitness approach and be on Keto.
Glycogen stored in the muscles fuels anaerobic (lean body) workouts — that’s the essence of reaching the anaerobic zone. Keto and Atkins deplete all glycogen stores from the muscles. That’s what Ketosis is: The body is burning fat because it no longer has any carbohydrates to burn. You cannot do anaerobic workouts – lean body workouts — on a Keto diet.
Lean body fitness, the Mission Lean method, is about giving you the carbs to train in the lean body way. Hence, the phrase “lean keto diet” is a nonsense term.
You can’t be lean (every day of the year and for years on end) and be on Keto. Keto may work for a bodybuilder looking to shed weight for a competition, but our goal at Mission Lean isn’t for you to be lean for a day; it’s for you to be lean FOR LIFE!
Is Keto a Sustainable Diet That I Can Follow?
Keto is simply not sustainable and will not get you lean in the long-run. For a sustainable diet, you need to think about your fitness plan and how it interacts with your diet plan.
There are two different approaches to fitness as we see it: lean body fitness versus weight-lifting fitness.
The question comes down to: If you have 30 minutes to work out on a given day, what are you going to do?
Are you going to lift heavy weights, go for a run, or do a circuit of bodyweight exercises and plyometrics? How are you going to train? Once you answer this, you can start thinking about how you should eat.
Mission Lean is focused on getting you to work out for a shorter period of time, but at a high intensity, where you’re raising your heart rate throughout your workout by running or circuit body-weight training that incorporates moves that will keep your heart rate elevated.
This is the opposite to weight-lifting workouts where you’re lifting heavy weights and then taking long breaks between sets. In a weight lifting workout, your heart rate doesn’t stay elevated throughout your training like during lean body workouts.
Ideally, when you work out the Mission Lean way, your heart rate will rise to 80% of its maximum – otherwise known as the anaerobic zone, as we explained earlier.
Adopt a Sustainable Diet Plan in Place of Keto Lean
Living a carb-free life isn’t sustainable. There’s simply no avoiding the reality that a diet that includes carbs is the correct and logical path to wellness–one that will aid your health in numerous ways.
Eventually, on the keto diet, your body will cave. The weight you lost will come right back in a few days. Staying lean forever is about having a logical plan of action and a long term strategy. That’s why you shouldn’t cut out major food groups, especially carbohydrates.
You should focus on eating nutritious foods in the right proportions. This formula will get you on the right path towards achieving and maintaining the best results and is the only way to stay both lean and healthy in the long term.
Look to Europe for the Lean Way of Eating
Think about the way of life in Europe for a minute and the typical diets in countries like France, Italy, and Spain:
Their diets are pretty much ALL CARBS! But the obesity rates in European countries hovers around 25%, whereas, in the US, it is over 40%!
Our co-founder Jon lived in Spain for several years when he competed on the professional tennis circuit.
He noticed the European diet was, in fact, a balanced one (which included lots of carbs) and kept the Europeans lean. But it wasn’t just what they were eating that was giving them these results. It was also how they exercised, which was usually running, sports, or body weight training–much of what our workouts consist of on the Mission Lean program. They were training in the lean body way and eating to match it.
Staying lean means eating wholesome, unprocessed foods for most of your meals, which does include carbs. Building healthy habits for life is the only way to get the long-term results you want.
Long Term vs. Short Term Lean
If your goal is to look very lean for one specific day, then the keto lean diet might work for you.
However, if you are interested in getting lean, losing weight, and keeping it off for good, you will have to take a different approach. Hopefully, this article has shed some light on how you can achieve this with a balanced nutrition and training plan.
It really all depends on how you choose to train — the bodybuilding way or the lean body way (the Mission Lean way). Maybe the keto lean diet can get you lean for a photo shoot if you’re following a bodybuilding fitness program and aren’t training at an elevated heart rate.
But to get lean once and for all, you’ll need to adapt your training and nutrition plan for lean body fitness. This means structuring your diet to fuel these workouts, which will require a healthy intake of carbs.
Follow a Diet That Will Get You Lean and Keep You Lean for Life
If you’re on Keto and trying to get lean, you don’t need to think much about what you’re doing.
Just restrict carbs and eat big protein servings and carb-free food, and you’ll achieve temporary weight loss.
However, as soon as you get off the keto diet, you will put the weight back on.
If you want to get lean and stay lean for the rest of your life, keto just won’t cut it. You will have weight swings with Keto, just like everyone does even though they might not talk about it. After all, is it really possible to maintain such strict dietary restrictions forever? Not to mention the effect it can have on your health.
Structure your diet so that it includes a healthy balance of food groups (carbs too). Start by focusing on your fitness/diet approach, hopefully honing in on a lean body fitness and nutrition plan, like the one we provide on Mission Lean.
Ultimately your meals need to be structured in the exact reverse of what the Keto diet prescribes. Carbs should be the primary fuel to power through lean body workouts and the backbone of your diet. You can even eat out and still lose weight.
Have some pasta for dinner tonight. Eat bread with your lunch tomorrow. And then train with Mission Lean workouts and you will see your health, waistline, and life improve tremendously in the process!
Jon Pearlman is a former standout tennis player at Harvard, ATP-ranked touring pro, and author of The Lean Body Manual. He founded Mission Lean to share his unique formula for lean body fitness and nutrition, an approach that took over a decade to develop and perfect. He is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist.