You Need Carbs To Build Muscle
People that tell you this dont understand how muscle building really works its entirely possible to be gaining muscle mass while on keto.
In a simple way, the 3 easy steps to build muscle are:
- Eating enough protein For mass building between 1.0 1.2g / pound of LEAN body mass.
- Eating a calorie surplus You cant build muscle without eating more calories than you need, and these come from fats in a ketogenic diet.
- Training correctly You need to promote hypertrophy in your muscles.
Are carbs good for building muscle? Of course they are they promote insulin release and help restore glycogen in the muscles. With carbs, you gain mass quicker, but thats because youre also gaining fat.
What exactly is glycogen? Its a molecule that our bodies use as energy.
What exactly does glycogen do? Wikipedia explains it nicely:
In humans, glycogen is made and stored primarily in the cells of the liver and the muscles, and functions as the secondary long-term energy storage .Muscle cell glycogen appears to function as an immediate reserve source of available glucose for muscle cells. Other cells that contain small amounts use it locally as well.
As you can see, glycogen is being used as a secondary source of energy, where fats are being used instead of it. Once your body has become adapted to using fats , then little glycogen is actually needed.
That little amount of glycogen you need? Well, it can be created from the protein you eat in a process known as gluconeogenesis.
Building Muscle On Keto: A Complete Guide
The ketogenic, or keto, diet has become increasingly popular.
It is a very low carb, high fat diet that many people use to lose weight and has been linked to various other health benefits.
For a long time, many people assumed that it was impossible to build muscle on a keto diet or low carb diets in general.
Thats because low carb diets restrict carbs, which are known to promote the release of insulin, an anabolic hormone that helps shuttle nutrients into cells, which helps create conditions that drive muscle growth .
Yet, you may wonder whether its true that low carb diets hinder muscle growth.
This article provides you with a complete guide on how to build muscle on a keto diet.
How Long Have You Been On The Ketogenic Diet What Made You Want To Start On It Do You Stay On It Constantly Or Do You Cycle On And Off Of It
I started keto around November or December 2001, after researching on the internet and fitness e-bulletins about some old cutting and contest prep diets form vintage era bodybuilders. I found the works of Mauro DiPasquale , Dan Duchaine intriguing, and those eventually led me to Lyle McDonald and his refinements/adjustments for The Ketogenic Diet.
The diet resonated very much with me, and as my dietary preferences really aligned with the main staples and it seemed easy to transition.
The main reason for trying the diet was because I wanted to really get a lean, ripped physique and I had tried countless diets before, with little success .
At first, I did the classic CKD protocol as suggested by Lyle, because it sounded appealing to be able to eat all the carbs during the weekends due to a carb up. The reality was that I felt horrible and bloated, very much because I did the carb load as most people do, but NOT as it should be done: most people treat it as a cheat day where they eat all the high carb overly processed food that they missed during the stricter days of the week: some pizza, donuts, cake, the usual. A proper carb-load should be done preferably with whole foods, and one should keep fat on the low end during these days. This leaves little room for a cheat day per se.
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Sodium Intake Must Increase On Keto
One of the biggest mistakes people make when restricting carbs is a lack of sodium intake.
When you restrict carbs, your body excretes more electrolytes than usual especially during the first few weeks of keto-adaptation, and especially sodium.
If youre losing steam at the gym while on the keto diet, try, increasing your sodium intake, especially before your workouts.
Sodium is required for healthy muscles, nerve activity, and helps regulate muscle contraction, nerve function, and blood volume.
Both the ketogenic diet and exercise contribute to the loss of water and electrolytes.
If youre not consuming enough, you may fall into the dreaded keto flu.
The minimum you should consume is 5,000 mg to 7,000 mg of sodium daily. Before your training, make sure to take 1,000 mg to 2,000 mg to improve performance.
Sodium consumption doesnt increase depending on your weight loss or muscle building goals. Instead, focus on increasing sodium if you are sweating more frequently or if youve just started the ketogenic diet.
Tip: Adding sodium to your water in the morning or before your workout can dramatically help with your training. If you are quickly getting tired at the gym, consume more salt to improve your workout endurance and decrease rest time between sets.
Will Protein Kick You Out Of Ketosis
Lets see what the research says. In one study, researchers fed seventeen obese men two diets at different times:
What happened? On the high protein Keto diet, the men not only lost more weight, but they also maintained nutritional ketosis.
So yes, higher protein intakes are concordant with Ketos metabolic benefits. And theyre essential for keeping muscle on your frame.
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Carbohydrates Protein And Insulin
Carbohydrates create anabolism largely by setting off a cascade of hormone-driven events. Chief among these events is secretion of a hormone called insulin from the pancreas. Many people realize that insulin regulates blood glucose levels, but insulin is not a one-trick pony.
Carbohydrates and the ensuing insulin response have a great deal to do with muscle growth.
Carbohydrates and the ensuing insulin response have a great deal to do with muscle growth.
It is so multifunctional that many experts believe it to be absolutely integral to muscle synthesisâamong other things. For example, one of insulin’s many roles is driving amino acid uptake in other words, it gets amino acids out of your bloodstream and into your muscles.
Thus, carbohydrates and the ensuing insulin response obviously have a great deal to do with muscle growth.
Maintain Healthy Levels Of Electrolytes
Electrolytes are required for muscle contraction, which is why you should be careful not to be low on them. Those who are still transitioning to ketosis may experience an electrolyte imbalance they lose them via their urine as their bodies drop excess water.
Important electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphate.
Replacing lost electrolytes can be done by eating whole nutritious foods. Low-carb foods that are rich in electrolytes include green leafy vegetables, bone broth, nuts, and fatty fish. Add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt to your water too.
If rapid recovery is needed, have an electrolyte drink. Make your own electrolyte drink at home or buy one thats keto-friendly.
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Are Ketogenic Diets Protein Sparing
To build muscle as fast as possible, most people will need to be in a caloric surplus, which means eating more than your body needs to maintain its weight.
But what if youre in a calorie deficit and trying to lose weight?
One of the arguments in favor of the keto diet is that it has a protein sparing effect, which allows you to preserve more lean muscle mass during weight loss than if you hadnt been ketogenic.
To put the idea to the test, a team of Brazilian researchers took a group of 21 overweight men and women, and got them to train with weights three times a week for eight weeks .
Half the subjects were told to restrict their carbohydrate intake to less than 30 grams per day during the first four weeks. Afterwards, they were allowed to add 10 grams of carbohydrate each week until the end of the study.
The other half followed a more conventional diet, where 55% of their calories came from carbs, 15% from protein and 30% from fat.
Both groups ate a similar amount of protein roughly 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight .
There was very little difference in results between the low carb and high-carb diet groups. They both got stronger, lost fat, and reduced their waist size.
There was also no significant difference in muscle growth measured with ultrasound at the biceps, triceps and quadriceps between the low and high-carb groups.
To quote the researchers directly:
How To Properly Fuel Your Workouts
Aside from maintaining balanced electrolytes, some people may still feel a slight decrease in performance after restricting carbohydrates, especially athletes.
If you need an extra boost, heres a great ketone-boosting pre-workout shake:
- 20-30 grams of high-quality whey isolate or beef protein
- 5 grams of creatine, if needed
- Pour into coffee and blend
- Consume 20-30 minutes before training
Heres why this drink works:
- The amino acids in protein help build muscle
- The MCT oil powder gives you an immediate energy source from fats
- The sodium will help you last longer during your workouts
- Creatine increases short-term strength
- Both the fats and protein will raise insulin just enough to put your body in an anabolic state
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How To Build Muscle On A Keto Diet
Blog> Videos> How To Build Muscle On A Keto Diet
Sports Nutritionist and Personal Trainer /Posted on
The keto diet has become hugely talked about in recent years, and has been steadily gaining its popularity.
While many people use it to help manage their weight, there are those that hope to gain muscle on keto. So, just in case youre one of those people, were going to cover what exactly the keto diet is, misconceptions regarding keto and muscle building and how the keto diet can actually help us to build muscle.
Increase Your Fat Intake
Monitoring your fat intake is incredibly important on the keto diet.
Thats because your body relies primarily on fat for fuel when you limit carb intake and are in a state of ketosis .
After accounting for protein and carbs, fat should make up the rest of your diet.
Both protein and carbs provide 4 calories per gram while fat provides 9 per gram. After subtracting your protein and carb needs from your daily calorie needs , divide the final number by 9 to determine your daily fat requirements.
For example, a 155-pound person on a 2,300-calorie muscle gain diet may eat 110 grams of protein and 50 grams of carbs. The remaining 1,660 calories can be taken up by 185 grams of fat.
These guidelines tend to align with standard keto recommendations for fat intake 7075% of your daily calories (
According to a review of 10 studies, resistance training at least twice a week was more effective at promoting muscle growth than training once per week .
Try incorporating exercises like squats, bench presses, pullups, and pushups into your weekly resistance training routine to encourage muscle growth.
If youre new to the gym, consider hiring a personal trainer to show you proper techniques to maximize your efforts and reduce your risk of injury.
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What Are Ketones Exactly
Ketones are compounds made in your liver. You produce ketones when you dont have enough insulin in your body to turn sugar into energy. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead this metabolic process is called “ketosis”.
The process our body uses to create glucose out of non-carbohydrate sources is gluconeogenesis or GNG for short.
Like anything in life, you have to train in order to become better. The longer you stay on the keto diet, the more efficient your metabolism becomes at burning ketones for energy. Once you become fully adapted to the keto diet, your body will prevent itself from breaking down muscle as youre burning through fat.
Now that you are more familiar with the keto diet, here is a beginner keto meal plan to get you started on the newly trending diet.
Tips For Building Muscle On Keto
To really maximize ketone production and enhance effects like fat-burning, you can combine a ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, strength-building exercises and exogenous ketones. After about 12 months on the keto diet, you may also want to experiment with carb cycling depending on your fitness and body composition goals.
Want to know how to build muscle on keto if youre also practicing IMF? The same rules as above still apply in this case. You should continue to do so strength-training, eat enough calories and protein, watch your carb intake, and use keto supplements if you find them helpful. Because it can be hard to train while fasting, you may need to tweak your schedule so that your tougher workouts fall on days/times when youre eating more. And you might consider keeping a food journal if you suspect that fasting is leading to decreased calorie intake, which will make it hard to build muscle on keto.
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What Is The Best Workout On Keto
On keto, you can quite successfully play sports. Difficulties occur only when your body adapts to a new nutrition style. During this period, you may feel a loss of strength, endurance, and decreased performance. But all this is temporary and passes as soon as the body learns to use ketones for energy.
The keto diet goes well with aerobic exercise. It provides energy for long-term endurance. These include:
- long-distances running
Why is this happening? The body can use fat as fuel without problems during low-intensity training since the energy requirement is not very high. With a high-intensity workout, you need a lot more. It is easier for your body to use carbs as an energy source, including in the form of glycogen stored in the muscles. After all, they are utilized and processed into energy much faster and easier than fats.
Does this mean you cant build muscle on a keto diet? Not at all! You just need to know a few simple rules.
How Much Protein Do You Need To Build Muscle On Keto
In 2016, researchers ran a study to see how people who are doing intense weight training respond to different amounts of protein. They found that the ideal protein intake for muscle gain is 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
A 200-lb. person, for example, would want to eat 160 grams of protein per day. The study found no benefit to eating more protein than 0.8g/lb. bodyweight, and slower muscle gain eating less than that.
Thats a fairly large amount of protein, especially for a keto diet. You may have heard people say that you want to keep protein low on keto and focus mostly on fat intake instead.
You also may have heard that if you eat too much protein, youll trigger gluconeogenesis, which is when you turn protein into sugar to fill up your glycogen stores and muscle glycogen, taking you out of ketosis.
Fortunately, gluconeogenesis is not really a concern on keto . You can eat a high-protein keto diet and be just fine.
To feed your muscle cells and put on lean mass, aim for 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
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How To Build Muscle On Keto Blueprint
I think weve covered all thats needed and proven that you can gain muscle on a ketogenic diet. Carbs arent essential for any of the required conditions, although they may assist the process.
So how to do it?
- Train hard enough. You wont be able to do this initially, but afterwards, youll have more than enough energy to push your body beyond its limits. The longer you stay in ketosis, the better you adapt to using fat for fuel.
- Eat enough protein. How much protein to build muscle on keto? Not as much as a typical bodybuilding diet would prescribe. There are no significant benefits to going over 0.7-1.0 gram per lean body mass. Quality amino acids are a lot more important than quantities.
- Be in a caloric surplus. You can derive those extra calories from your body fat but its a very difficult process. You would have to be very fat adapted to be able to do this effectively. Other than that, on a ketogenic diet, those extra calories would come from dietary fat intake.
- Take care of your hormones. Resistance training, adequate nutrition, essential fatty acids and proper sleep should be your main focus to increase your testosterone and HGH. Cortisol counteracts against anabolism and too much stress makes you actually more catabolic.
Keto Diets And Muscle Building
As the ketogenic diet has risen in popularity with athletes, more researchers are becoming interested in testing the efficacy of this diet for performance.
Lets see how the keto diet performs.
In one study, a low-carb diet was compared to a traditional western diet during a 10-week resistance training intervention in healthy young males. After 10 weeks, the group on the low-carb diet diet group gained 2.4% lean body mass and reduced their fat mass by 2.2 kilograms, changes which were similar to the group eating a normal diet. Wilson2017 However, the keto diet actually led to a greater increase in testosterone throughout the study. This study suggests that when combined with strength training, a keto diet is perfectly adequate for increasing body weight, most of which is lean muscle.
The keto diet has also been shown to preserve muscle mass during trainingdispelling the myth that keto will cause you to lose muscle.
Two studies provide evidence for this. In the first, a group of elite gymnasts adopted a ketogenic diet while maintaining their training routines. By the end of the study, muscle mass was the same, but they actually got leanerreducing body fat and body fat percentage significantly. Paoli2012
Another study provided similar evidence. After 6 weeks on a ketogenic diet, athletes in a CrossFit program experienced no significant change in muscle mass, but significantly reduced their weight, percent body fat, and fat mass. Gregory2017
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