Clinical Trial
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The effect of the ketogenic diet on resistance training load management: a repeated-measures clinical trial in trained participants.

BACKGROUND: The effect of low-carbohydrate high-fat dietary manipulation, such as the ketogenic diet (KD), on muscle strength assessment in resistance-training (RT) participants has focused on the one-repetition maximum test (1-RM). However, a pre-specified 1-RM value during an exercise training program disregards several confounding factors (i.e. sleep, diet, and training-induced fatigue) that affect the exerciser's "true" load and daily preparedness. We aimed to evaluate the effect of a 6-week RT program on load control-related variables in trained subjects following a KD intervention.

METHODS: Fourteen resistance-trained individuals (3F, 11 M; 30.1 [6.2] years; 174.2 [7.6] cm; 75.7 [10.8] kg; BMI 24.8 [2.1] kg·m-2 ) completed this single-arm repeated-measures clinical trial. Load management variables included volume load, number of repetitions, perceived exertion (RPE), movement velocity loss, and exertion index. These primary outcomes were assessed weekly before, during, and at the end of a 6-week RT program that included traditional RT exercises (bench press, femoral lying down, lat pulldown, leg extension, and back squat).

RESULTS: There was a significant difference in RPE between weeks ( p  = 0.015, W = 0.19) with a slight trend in decreasing RPE. We found differences in the volume load per week ( p  < 0.001; W = 0.73 and p  < 0.001, W = 0.81, respectively), with an increase in the last weeks. In the control of the load based on movement velocity, we did not find significant differences between weeks ( p  = 0.591, W = 0.06), although significant differences were found in the effort index ( p  = 0.026, W = 0.17).

CONCLUSIONS: A KD diet in recreational strength participants does not appear to lead to performance losses during a RT program aimed at improving body composition. However, the lack of adherence and familiarity with the ketogenic diet must be considered specially during first weeks.

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