What is the Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)?

What is the Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)?

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) is an excellent solution for athletes following this type of diet.

We’ve spoken a great deal on the blog about the ketogenic diet – the «keto diet» as you can you here, for example.

It’s a nutritional approach with clear, certain benefits, and can help with certain clinical conditions too (bring overweight, obesity, metabolic syndrome, etc.).

Keto foods

«Keto» foods.

As we noted in the last article about gaining muscle mass on keto, many of you have given keto a try.

Not because you want to get rid of those extra love handles, but simply because it makes you feel better, it’s helped clear up a number of symptoms, or you are convinced that it’s good for your physical and cognitive performance.

There are many athletes within the ketogenic community. But as we’ve discussed before, the ketogenic diet can be a double-edged sword for the athlete.


In short:

  • If you’re ketoadapting, your performance doesn’t have to be impaired.
  • But it’s difficult to reach a point of ketoadaptation that allows point 1.
  • Many people aren’t prepared to wait for weeks (sometimes months) before become fully ketoadapted
  • Many athletes have a clear glycolytic profile and are glucose dependent (CrossFit, Volleyball, speed tests, team sports, etc.).


So, is there an alternative?… It seems so.

What is the Targeted Ketogenic Diet?

Often shortened to TKD, it’s a variant on the conventional ketogenic diet.

In this version, the aim is to make carbohydrate intake more flexible for athletes by taking advantage of certain physiological peculiarities.

Peri training

It consists of combining a moderate intake of carbohydrates when peri-training.

That’s to say, and athlete should consumer carbohydrates before and after exercise; and, depending on the sport practiced, intra-training too.

What are the benefits of the Targeted Ketogenic Diet?

Better high-intensity performance

Better availability of glycogen and glucose for intensity peaks.

And therefore, better performance when training/test intensity rises.

Better post-training carbohydrate repletion (which contributed to greater glycogen availability in the next session).

You can enjoy the benefits of carbohydrates in sports

  • Better post-training recovery
  • Greater anabolic signalling
  • Lower risk of injury and overtraining
  • Better hormonal environment
But won’t this get me out of ketosis? Only momentarily and partially. To learn more about this concept, I recommend you visit this link.

What happens with the carbohydrates on the TKD?

Absorption of carbohydrates

The carbohydrates consumed before training will go almost exclusively to the muscle.

Particularly when you start training and the insulin glucose carriers increase independently in the muscle tissue.

High intensity training

The same happens with carbohydrates consumed during training

Insulin sensitivity

After training, your sensitivity to insulin will be at its peak.

The muscles will be hungry for glucose and less of a magnet for the carbohydrates.

Ketosis «exit»

But let’s not kid ourselves, this will momentarily get us out of ketosis.

There’s little objective data, but physiology tells us that if carbohydrate consumption does not exceed 50-70 grams of net carbs in total, ketogenesis will only stop for a few hours.

How to follow a Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)


Prioritise carbohydrates

Here, take 30-50g of net carbohydrates from a source that allows rapid absorption, such a glucose or dextrose.

When? Around 30-40 minutes before starting the activity.

During training

I would forget consuming carbohydrates unless the activity lasts over 90 minutes and always and when need to increase intensity above 80% of VO2 max.

For example: if today’s training consists of a long two-hour run at a low pace (60-80% VO2 max), I wouldn’t worry about consuming carbohydrates and would rely solely on fat metabolism.


You could have a snack of 20-30 grams of net carbohydrates

Although this intake worries me less because glycogen resynthesis is more effective than we think, even in the absence of exogenous carbons, as it uses metabolites such as lactate or glycerol to resynthesise glucose.


Our physiology is smarter than we are.


Remember that exercise itself is highly ketogenic, which is why your body will be in ketosis after training and only a few grams of carbohydrates will be momentarily kept.

Ketonemia meter

You can test with a ketonemia meter, or with the classic test strips.

Note that if your goal is fat loss (but you want to give a plus to your performance), you have to take into account the extra calories provided by carbohydrates – they’re an addition that you did not take before.

Remember: 50 grams of carbohydrate is 200 kcal.

When to do the Targeted Ketogenic Diet?

The following scenarios would be situations where you might consider starting a TKD:

  • If you’re a strength or high-intensity athlete (the obvious example would be the crossfitter) but trying to follow a ketogenic diet.
  • If you want to benefit from intermittent exposure to ketone bodies but you’re flexible and don’t mind exiting ketosis from time to time
  • If you’ve noted a drop in performance on starting a ketogenic diet.


The Targeted Ketogenic Diet can be an intermediate option between a ketogenic diet and a high carbohydrate diet.

I hope this article’s been useful. See you in the next one. A big hug, and keep on empowering yourselves!

Related Entries

  • What supplements can be taken on a Ketogenic Diet? We let you know here.
  • Is it true that muscle mass is lost in ketosis? Find this answer at this link.
Review of Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

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About Borja Bandera
Borja Bandera
Borja Bandera is a young doctor who focuses on nutrition, exercise and metabolism, he combines his professional activity with his vocational dissemination and research.
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