The Atkins diet philosophy requires an extreme reduction of carbohydrate consumption, with induction being the most strict. The lack of energy provided through food can make many exercises incredibly challenging.
It’s not that the exercises are “bad” or can’t help you lose more weight. The problem is you literally don’t have the energy to effectively complete certain exercises.
Below are the best exercises for the Atkins induction phase, and a few you might want to avoid until you’re further along in the diet program.
If you only have an hour a day to exercise, this is what you want to be doing. It can help build and preserve lean muscle mass which will directly influence your metabolic rate, and daily calorie burn. Resistance training also works well with the type of diet you’re on, and limited carb consumption.
Resistance training will typically allow 60-90 seconds between exercise sets, which will help pace your energy levels without reaching extreme fatigue in the first few minutes. You don’t need to lift super heavy weight to benefit from resistance training, either.
Here’s the basic movements you’ll want to include with your workouts:
Lat Machine Pull Downs
Tricep Push Downs
Related: Atkins phase 1 food list
Body Weight Exercises
Body weight exercises offer similar benefits to weight training, with the main difference being how you progress. With weights, you just add an extra five or ten pounds to continue getting stronger. With body weight exercises you mostly focus on increasing your reps, or reducing your rest periods between sets.
Body weight exercises are also incredibly convenient, and requires limited specialized equipment. You can train anywhere and anytime without needing to head off to the gym.
Here’s a list of the essential body weight exercises you should be doing:
Tricep Bench Dips
Walking is a low impact, low intensity cardio exercise that can help you burn extra calories every day. Using short 15-20 minute walks will allow you to regulate your energy expenditure without feeling like you might faint due to fatigue. That sounds a little dramatic, but if you’ve tried a zero carb diet like Atkins or the Ketosis diet you’ll know what I mean.
The first few weeks of induction will take some getting used to, and high intensity exercises are ridiculously challenging without carbohydrates.
Yoga isn’t exactly a favorite among the weight loss community. What’s even more surprising, is how many people will dismiss yoga even though they’ve never really tried it. While not cardio intensive, it does require you to constantly tense your muscles for extended durations which can help with muscle endurance and stamina.
If you’re a little self conscious, but want to give yoga a try, there are dozens of free videos on Youtube for you to try in the comfort of your home.
See Also: Atkins tips for phase 1 – Induction
What You Shouldn’t Do
Later stages of the Atkins diet will introduce more carbohydrates into your diet, providing much needed energy for certain activities. But during induction, when you’re under such extreme carb restrictions, some exercises are considered non-starters for many people.
The only thing wrong with the following exercises is the energy required which you simply won’t have during induction. Depending on the intensity, and duration, some exercises can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded and quite nauseous while on a severe carb restriction.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is the practice of alternating intensity of your workout to increase your cardio burn rate. You begin at a moderate pace, and then switch to a rapid pace. You would then repeat the process as often as possible.
Here’s a simple example:
Jog for 30 seconds, then start sprinting for 15 seconds. You would then return to a light jog, and repeat the process as many times as you can or until your workout is over.
This concept applies to many exercises, and workout routines, with the P90X training program being among the most popular.
Crossfit is actually quite fun, because you’re racing against a clock and your previous performance. But it’s also one of the more challenging cardio workouts due to the intensity and lack of rest between sets.
Many of the workouts require you to exercise, or move in some manner, for twenty consecutive minutes without a rest period.
Long Distance Running
Running does allow you to control your pace, and manage your energy levels, but most people will burn out within the first 5-10 minutes and begin the long walk home. Runners load up on carbohydrates before a long run, because they know how much energy is required. They load up on pasta, bread, bagels, and basically as many carbs as possible.
That’s something you aren’t allowed to do during the induction phase.
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