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The Perfect Keto Diet For You – Exploring 7 Variations

A quick scroll through a keto forum or subreddit will show you how effective it is at changing people’s lives. The before and after photos are dramatic, as are the results for nearly everyone who sticks to the diet. But not everyone who does keto does it purely for weight loss. For athletes, bodybuilders, and those who need every last advantage in the gym, there are several different forms of the keto diet, and knowing which is right for you can give you the edge you need. Explore these different variations of keto and see which is best for your fitness needs.

Your Fitness Goals Determine Your Optimal Version of Keto

For one diet to be the ideal solution for so many people is remarkable. But if subtle changes and adjustments can help you meet a slightly different set of fitness goals, then why not make the switch and adjust your approach? Here are some scenarios that may prompt you to try a different method of keto:

  • If you’ve been losing weight but want to build muscle, a higher amount of protein may be ideal
  • Beginners to diets may find lazy keto or dirty keto easier at the start
  • People who are dedicated to their results will prefer the tracking and detail of strict keto
  • Highly active people may find the cyclical keto diet to be optimal

As you can see, there are different versions of the keto diet to suit different needs. Once you’ve had experience with the fundamentals of the keto diet, like entering into ketosis and eating a low-carb diet, you’ll have a better idea of which form of keto may be right for you.

1. Standard Keto Diet

The vast majority of keto followers who are interested in it for weight loss purposes are following the standard keto diet. This is the essential keto diet where you simply follow the fundamental rules that get you into ketosis. Ideal for beginners and those who just want to lose weight, the standard keto diet is highly effective for just about every type of person.

Who is Standard Keto Ideal For?

Beginners who are just getting acclimated to the keto diet, ketosis, and the fundamentals of the ketogenic diet. Also, those who have had excellent results on standard keto may choose to continue this basic form of the diet.

Rules of the Standard Keto Diet

The rules of the standard keto diet are the fundamental rules that guide your body to the state of ketosis. They include the following:

– No more than 20-50g of carbohydrates daily

– High Fat Intake (75% of your diet)

– Medium Protein Intake (25% of your diet)

2. Strict Keto Diet

Strict keto is for those who are truly committed to their weight loss and is a lot more demanding than the standard version. Rather than simply following the guidelines of the keto diet, strict keto also requires you to track your macros and eat only foods from clean sources. That means no processed cheese and only organic meats, so you have to be meticulous in both your eating and shopping habits to succeed in a strict keto diet.

Who is the Strict Keto Diet Ideal For?

Not everyone will adapt well to strict keto, but if you’re naturally a type-A, detail-oriented personality, then you may thrive on it. Since it involves a lot more planning, reading, and tracking than other versions, it’s only for those with the money and dedication to eat organic foods and meticulously record their macros.  

Rules of the Strict Keto Diet

– Same macros standards but only from clean organic sources, ie. Cage-free eggs

– You must stick to keto 100% with no cheat foods at all

– It’s crucial to track your macros (fat, carbs, and protein) each day on strict keto

3. Lazy Keto Diet

Despite its name, the lazy keto diet is actually more involved than the standard version but is a lot more lenient than strict keto. While tracking is a requirement, you only have to track your carb intake, which is useful in keeping it below 20g per day anyway. Plus, there’s far less emphasis on worrying about organic, clean, and processed foods – Essentially on lazy keto, you’re following the basic tenets of the keto diet but you’re also tracking your carbs.

Who is the Lazy Keto Diet Ideal For?

Although the name implies that the lazy keto diet is for slackers, the fact is that the diet has everything you need to lose weight at a rapid rate. If you’re willing to record carbs and otherwise follow the guidelines to the best of your ability, then lazy keto may be the most realistic option for you.

Rules of the Lazy Keto Diet

– Follow the rules of keto but don’t stress over it too much

– Eat so-called “cheat foods” like processed cheese so long as your carb count is low

– Only track your carbs to ensure you’re still on track to losing weight

4. Dirty Keto

Dirty keto is the answer to those who want to follow the keto diet on their own terms. So long as you’re staying below 20-50 carbs per day, then it’s okay to have a McDonald’s burger with no bun or a package of microwaved bacon. With simple rules and very little stress, dirty keto lets you reap the benefits while enjoying a cocktail at your office party as well.

Who is Dirty Keto Ideal For?

People who don’t always want to avoid the temptations they’re presented with and want to follow keto without being judged are the perfect people to participate in dirty keto.

Rules of the Dirty Keto Diet

– Simply stay below 20-50g of carbs to remain in ketosis

– Don’t stress if you stray once in a while

– Allows room to give into the occasional temptation

5. Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD)

Although many who follow keto would argue that there’s no longer a need for carbohydrates, some athletes need them to enhance their gains and performance. For hardcore athletes, the cyclical keto diet mixes carb loading sessions with standard keto. This gives them the extra fuel for intense training that may not be available on a standard keto diet.

Who is Cyclical Keto Ideal For?

Athletes who follow an intense training regimen can benefit from the periods of excess carb loading, while still staying slim and shredded by following keto.

Rules of the Cyclical Keto Diet

– Standard keto rules with an extra carb loading session once or twice per week

– Intense exercise should accompany the cyclical keto diet to justify the carbs

– Must maintain vigorous workout routine to remain in keto

6. Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)

One step below the cyclical keto diet is the targeted keto diet. Both are similar in that they involve extra carb intake for intense athletes, but the difference lies in the timing. For the targeted keto diet, you ingest extra carbohydrates just before a workout and follow the standard keto diet the rest of the time. This provides extra energy for those with intense workout regimens and also allows them to reap the benefits of the keto diet.

Who is Targeted Keto Ideal For?

Athletes who follow rigorous workout routines that require extra fuel for getting the results they need may benefit from the targeted keto diet.

Rules of the Targeted Keto Diet

– Consume carbs about 30-60 minutes prior to an intense workout

– Sticking with standard keto the rest of the time helps to replenish glycogen stores

– A somewhat lighter version of the cyclical keto diet

7. High-Protein Ketogenic Diet

Since standard keto is a high fat, moderate protein diet, it may not meet the high protein needs of bodybuilders and others who need extra protein. For these people, the high-protein version of the keto diet is ideal. This variation simply alters the ideal amount of macros you should intake so more protein and less fat are consumed.

Who is High-Protein Keto Ideal For?

Whether through a medical condition or due to ambitious fitness goals, there are various reasons why someone may need extra protein in their diet.  

Rules of the High-Protein Keto Diet

– Consume 60% fats, 35% protein, and 5% carbs

– Incorporate more protein into your keto diet for muscle gains

– Preferably choose clean, grass-fed protein sources

Is Another Type of Keto Better for You?

If you’ve been following a standard form of keto for awhile and haven’t seen the results you wanted, then one of the seven other variations may be ideal. Whether you choose to optimize weight loss by choosing the strict keto diet or enhance your workout sessions by trying the targeted keto diet, there is a variation that can cater to your special needs, all while still granting the benefits of being on keto.

Choosing the Optimal Diet for the Physique You Deserve

How you approach the keto diet isn’t as important as choosing to take action and make a change. If you start on one form of keto and find that some aspect or nutrient is lacking, you can always switch to a different approach later. Like most things, diving in headfirst into the keto experience is the best way to get the knowledge and results you need. Those who are serious about their fitness goals will adapt, stick with it, and discover the method that works for them.

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  • George Lattimore Reply

    In reading this article, not sure whether I would use the Cyclical Keto Diet or the Targeted Keto Diet. I would prefer to carb load the night before my cycling (approx 30 miles in < 2 hrs) rather than eat a large meal right before cycling. Any feedback?

    October 12, 2018 at 10:11 am

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