What is the fastest way to get into ketosis? How long does it take to start busting out those ketones and become a fat burning machine? Let’s find out.
Short Overview of Ketosis
For those of you unaware, ketosis is a metabolic state, wherein your body’s default fuel source – glucose – has been replaced by the alternative of fat molecules.
This happens when several conditions are met:
- Liver glycogen stores (100-150 grams of glucose) have been depleted and the liver starts converting fatty acids into ketone bodies. This takes approximately 16 hours or so.
- The concentration of serum blood ketone levels is above 0.5 mMols, optimally not higher than 3.0 mMols.
- Blood sugar and circulating insulin have dropped significantly, while not causing a hypoglycemic response.
There are several ways to cover these conditions and get into ketosis:
- Fast for an extended period of time
- Restrict your carbohydrate intake to close to zero for a few weeks
Both of them are viable options but what we’re after is the fastest way to get into ketosis.
The Easiest Way to Get into Ketosis
But first, what’s the easiest way to get into ketosis? Don’t think that I’m getting sidetracked because it’s relevant and an essential component to increasing your speed of adaptation.
When liver glycogen gets depleted, the liver will then start producing ketones that begin to provide energy to the body. However, during that initial phase, the brain and muscles aren’t able to utilize them successfully, yet.
The reason why it takes time to get into ketosis is that the body is trying to preserve as much back-up supply as possible – to have those slabs and slabs of belly fat. Yea! If it were to start burning its own adipose tissue after just a day of no glucose, it would perish in a real survival scenario. 24 hours is not even a blink of an eye from the perspective of the body. Not even 2 or 3 days.
This initial period of keto-adaptation is characterized by slightly higher rates of gluconeogenesis, that is the conversion of protein from amino acid stores, muscle cells and organs into glucose.
After 3 days, your body begins to realize that this sh#t is real – that carbs have indeed run out and that, in order to survive, it needs to come up with another solution. The brain will then accept ketone bodies as energy and will derive 75% of its energy demands from them. At day 4-5, ketone bodies may rise up to 70-fold.
Why You’re Not in Ketosis
That’s the secret indeed. You can get into ketosis and stay there if you were to fast and not eat any calories for 3+ days. This is the result of your body being amazing at responding to periods of deprivation and shifting into its prime-primal state.
However, this may not happen even if you try very hard. Why? Because your metabolism is still geared towards burning sugar and glucose.
What stops you from getting into ketosis are elevated blood sugar levels and carbo-holism.
Why is your blood sugar high? Because your adrenals are pumping out too much cortisol – the stress hormone – which releases muscle glycogen to shuttle more energy into our actions.
That’s why it’s essential to reduce your overall stress levels during this initial adaptation period. Drink adequate water, increase sodium intake, sleep more, don’t scream at others and take a chill pill.
The Fastest Way to Get into Ketosis
With that being said, how do you get into ketosis as fast as possible? I’m about to share with you some pointers.
- Fast for 3 days. That’s 72 hours. There’s no way around this because you won’t become successfully keto-adapted for the long term.
- Exogenous ketones. Basically, supplemental ketone bodies that elevate ketone levels in the blood. Although they help you to get into ketosis in 1 hour, they’re still superficial because you won’t be able to stay there after the supplement’s effects have run out. Nevertheless, drinking exogenous ketones, such as KetoForce, KetoCaNa or Quest’s MCT Powder during your fast will make your experience more pleasant.
- Drink salted water during your fast. To control cortisol and balance those electrolytes.
- Sleep more for the same reasons. Avoid artificial light at night as to not screw up your mitochondria and keep your brain from releasing sleep hormones.
- Working out may seem reasonable but it can be counterproductive. You don’t need to exercise hard to empty your liver glycogen because they will be depleted within the first day already. You can get into ketosis despite how much muscle glycogen you have so too exerting physical training becomes just another stressor during fasting. Keep doing resistance training but avoid high-intensity anaerobic cardio during the adaptation period. Check out the video on how to workout on keto.
- Start eating keto after your 3-5 day fast. Read what to eat on the ketogenic diet. What not to eat.
This is the fastest way to get into ketosis and start a ketogenic diet as a long term thing. The thing is that keto should be done over the course of several months. It doesn’t work as a short-term quick-fix. You’ll start reaping the actual benefits only after 3-4 weeks. The longer you stay in your prime-primal state, the better and more efficient you’ll become at utilizing your inner bioenergetics.
Check out my KETO // IF program that teaches you how to get into ketosis and stay there through mindful manipulation of your own biology. It includes a 21-day meal plan with the exact quantities and qualities of what you should eat, in what amounts and at what time.
Some extra admin stuff: