How To Gain Muscle On Keto

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Steak Is Better Than Protein Shakes

How to Bulk and Gain Weight (Muscle) on Keto

Instead of using nutritionally devoid, toxic waste like Muscle Milk, eat steak.

Muscle milk and many protein shakes are loaded with sugars, carbs, seed oils and four syllable toxins that have no place in our vocabulary, let alone our diet.

And its all for just 20g of protein.

Eating steak and liver post-workout will get you more bioavailable protein, without all the negative side effects.

The Schoenfeld Keto Study

Fortunately, leading hypertrophy researcher Dr Brad Schoenfeld recently conducted his own research into whether ketogenic diets were effective for building muscle. His study found, in keeping with the overall body of evidence, that ketogenic diets werent ideal for building muscle.

However, also in keeping with earlier research, one of the main reasons that the ketogenic diet failed to produce as much muscle growth as the higher-carb diet was that the participants in the ketogenic group, even though they were instructed to be in a calorie surplus, failed to eat enough calories to gain weight.

Dr Schoenfeld summarized these findings by saying, when considering this study in context with the body of literature, a general take-home would be that the keto diet is a viable strategy for losing body fat, but would not be ideal if your goals are to maximize strength and hypertrophy.

Amino Acids Are Essential

All proteins are made up of amino acids. Thats why theyre often referred to as the building blocks of proteins. Without amino acids, we couldnt build muscle.

Especially important to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass are the branched-chain amino acids .

These amino acids are also known as Essential amino acids, meaning that we must consume them in our diet because theyre not produced in the body.

Ingestion of BCAAs, especially the BCAA leucine, stimulates muscle protein synthesis through mTOR and other processes. Fujita2006,Atherton2012,Fujita2007 Studies have shown that the BCAAs in particular are the most effective at causing muscle hypertrophy and preventing muscle breakdown, even more effective than the growth-factor insulin. Shimomura2010,Duan2015

Amino acids are the reason for the recommendation to consume protein after a hard workout since this will maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis and help you recover from your effort. While overall protein balance may be more important for muscle protein synthesis, some data show that consuming 20 – 30 grams of high-quality protein after exercise will maximally stimulate protein synthesis. Make sure to include at least 2 grams of leucinethe most potent driver of protein synthesis.

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What Fuels Muscle Contractions

Your muscles dont work directly on ketone bodies, glucose molecules, or fatty acids. These are just substrates that are used to produce ATP.

ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the principal source of energy that makes your muscles contract.

Your body can store only the small amount of ATP needed to fuel muscle contractions for roughly a couple of seconds. Thats because ATP molecules are larger and less stable than their substrates.

When you start burning ATP, your body launches several energy systems that replenish it. They overlap however, certain systems dominate at certain periods of time.

The systems are:

  • Anaerobic creatine dephosphorylation. Creates ATP extremely fast, lasts for several seconds.
  • Anaerobic glycolysis. Creates ATP fast, lasts for 12 minutes.
  • Aerobic glycolysis. Creates ATP at a medium pace, lasts for hours. Loses efficiency as glucose reserves become depleted.
  • Aerobic lipolysis. Creates ATP slowly, lasts for hours. Becomes more active as glucose reserves drop.

Anaerobic exercise, by definition, uses anaerobic metabolic pathways.

In anaerobic training, athletes who are not on keto are mainly limited by their glycogen stores and by lactate production.

On keto, youre limited by the lack of glucose and hence impaired anaerobic glycolysis. Youre pretty much left with stored ATP and anaerobic creatine dephosphorylation to fuel intense muscle contractions.

Precisely after about 510 seconds, and this number primarily depends on your creatine reserves.

What Is The Keto Diet

Is Keto Good for Building Muscle?

The ketogenic, or keto, diet is a very low carb, high fat diet.

It involves drastically lowering your carb intake and consuming fat instead. This helps your body transition into a metabolic state known as ketosis.

Ketosis occurs when your body has limited access to glucose or carbs, the bodys preferred source of fuel for many processes. To compensate, your body uses fat to make ketone bodies as an alternative fuel source .

To transition into ketosis, people typically need to consume fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day, while getting the rest of their calories from a high fat, moderate protein diet .

Generally, it takes 24 days to enter ketosis if your carb intake is 50 grams per day or less. Still, some people may find it takes a week or longer (


The keto diet is a very low carb, high fat diet that encourages your body to use ketones as fuel rather than glucose the bodys preferred source of energy. Its commonly used for weight loss but has various other possible benefits.

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If Someone Has Trouble Eating Enough On The Keto Diet What Foods Would You Recommend Adding To Get More Calories In A Healthy Manner

The key for a successful keto diet in the context of body recomposition is nutrient density I like to say to my clients that calories/macros are like money one needs to invest them in where they will yield the best results. So, high caloric foods for keto that meet the nutrient density requirements would be:

Salmon , whole eggs, avocado, good quality cheeses , fatty cuts of meats.

If the volume of food is the issue, then adding more meals, or some liquid calories in the form of a protein shake, and adding olive oil/coconut oil can help meet extra calories. But Im not a fan of having people add oils just like that drinking bulletproof coffee or eating gobs of butter is usually not the answer in most cases.

There is an old saying in bodybuilding: there are no easy gainers or hard gainers, there are more so people who overeat and people who dont eat enough.

What Is A Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet is one where your intake of carbohydrate is severely restricted, usually to no more than 50 grams per day.

This leads to a drop in both insulin and blood sugar levels. The amount of carbohydrate stored in your body, known as glycogen, is also reduced.

To compensate for the reduction in carbs, your body uses fat to form ketone bodies, which serve as an alternative fuel source.

Ketones are produced when fat is broken down in your liver. The build-up of ketone bodies in your blood stream is known as ketosis.

When ketone levels rise sufficiently, they end up in your urine. Although Ketostix can be used to detect ketosis, theyre not totally accurate.

In other words, you can be in ketosis, but there might not be enough ketones in your urine to indicate ketosis. One other sign youre in ketosis is when your breath smells fruity.

When they cut out carbs, many people will also increase their intake of sodium, potassium and magnesium, as these electrolytes can be depleted as the body drops excess water.

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Monitor Your Electrolyte Consumption

Maintaining proper electrolyte levels is imperative for optimal athletic performance.

The main electrolytes you should always monitor include sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These are the top three electrolytes youre likely to lose through sweat and urine.

Its crucial to refuel your body with keto-friendly, nutrient-dense foods to ensure your body is performing at its best during your workouts.

Ketogenic-friendly, magnesium-rich foods include:

Ketogenic-friendly, potassium-rich foods include:

You can also supplement with keto electrolytes if you are prone to electrolyte deficiencies or you just want a quick and easy option.

Not All Protein Is Created Equal

Follow My 5 Steps to Build Muscle on Keto

Not all protein is created equal. Veggie based protein is not a substitute for animal protein. Proteins in animal products are more bioavailable than plant based proteins.

Out of 21 g of protein from beef, 14 g are complete

Out of 22 g of protein from beans, 0 g are complete

16 oz of ribeye has 108 g of protein. If you weigh 160 lbs, a 16 oz ribeye would get you to almost 90% of the recommended daily protein intake..

Plants will detract from your performance. Steak and liver will augment it.

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Prepare For The Keto Flu

Expect a temporary dip in your performance days after starting the keto diet. Weakness, fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps are symptoms of the keto flu.

Being completely unprepared for it is one of the biggest keto mistakes you can make.While you may be tempted to continue exercising within this period, its best to rest or stick to light workouts if you can still handle it. Listen to your body to avoid overstraining yourself and getting injured.

How To Build Strength On Keto

The formula for strength training on Keto isnt complicated. Just eat enough protein, lift weights, and give your muscles time to recover between sessions.

If youre looking to gain muscle, bump up your fat and protein calories. Adding 10% more calories to your daily total is a good starting point, but youll want to experiment to see what works best for your body.

As far as the weight training itself goes, you have plenty of options. If youre looking to gain muscle, try a low-rep high-weight program. For muscle maintenance and endurance, look more to high-rep low-weight regimens. And for specific exercise ideas, check out our comprehensive Keto Exercise Guide.

Finally, track all the crucial variablesprotein, calories, body weight, and even exercise sessions with the Carb Manager app. It will help you stay accountable, motivated, and dialed in as you get stronger on Keto.

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Muscle Damage And Keto Post

While lifting heavy weights is the best way to get stronger, its not actually the lifting of the weight that generates most of your gains. Its the lowering of the weight!

Imagine a standard bicep curl. Theres the concentric phase, where you curl the weight up toward your shoulder. And then theres the eccentric phase, where you straighten your arm and lower the weight back down.

Studies have shown that its actually the eccentric phase that is responsible for the majority of your muscle-building. And thats because more muscle damage occurs during this phase, since the mechanical forces are applied to your muscles while in the extended position.

Muscle damage is critical to building muscle – especially the contractile proteins that make up the solid mass of your muscles. But too much muscle damage can inhibit your ability to train effectively. Thus, youll want to segment your workouts so that youre damaging different muscle groups on different days.

This gives your muscles time to grow and recover between training sessions, and allows you to fully focus on correct form – especially during the eccentric phase. And since youre following our muscle-building keto diet plan , youll have plenty of protein to support your recovery and continued gains!

You Need Carbs To Build Muscle

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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.

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Limit Your Carbohydrate Intake

To induce a state of ketosis, carbohydrates should be limited to 20-50 grams in a day. The exact number varies depending on an individuals activity level, carb tolerance, and goals.

The best way to figure out your carbs is by using a keto macro calculator. At the same time, pay attention to your bodys response. Are 30 grams of carbs per day enough? Are you able to increase that number slightly without getting kicked out of ketosis?

Beware of hidden carbs. A lot of processed meats, salad dressings, and cream-based soups contain carbs. At a restaurant, ask the waiter to substitute lettuce for bread or soup for steamed veggies.

How To Build Muscle On Keto

The three most important things to keep in mind when building muscle on keto are the same ones as with any diet:

  • Lift weights regularly. Nothing stimulates muscle growth like weight training.
  • Consume enough calories. If you eat too few calories, youll find it harder to build muscle.
  • Eat plenty of protein. A high-protein diet makes it much easier to gain lean muscle.

Lets break it down, starting with diet.

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How To Make Sure Youre In Ketosis

If you want to make sure youre in ketosis despite eating a lot of protein or want to know if your carb intake is low enough, there are several ways you can check your ketone levels. They show you if you are in ketosis or not.

  • Using urine strips is a convenient and inexpensive way to check if youre in ketosis. They let you measure your ketone levels with a simple home test. You simply pee on a strip, and itll tell you the levels of two different ketones in your urine.
  • A blood ketone meter is a more accurate method than using strips. It is also more expensive. You prick your finger just like with a blood glucose meter. Instead of checking your blood sugar, it shows your blood ketone levels. Of course, you need to be able to handle the sight of blood to use it.
  • A breath ketone meter lets you measure your levels of the ketone acetone. Its a convenient and accurate way to see if youre in ketosis without having to draw blood.
  • The most accurate way is to have a blood test through a doctor, but that would get very expensive very quickly.

Nutritional ketosis means blood ketone levels of 0.5 to 3 mg/dL.28 Any of these methods make sure youre in that range.

Summary: Keto Diet Bodybuilding Success

How to Build Muscle on a KETOGENIC Diet

Many people associate low carb, ketogenic diets with weight loss. And that makes sense, because so many people are currently implementing a keto diet to lose weight. But the truth is, you can enjoy the amazing health benefits of a ketogenic diet and gain muscle. You just need to modify your diet to support muscle growth and train effectively to maximize your keto gains!

If you have any problems building muscle on a ketogenic diet, please reach out to us at any time. Legendary Foods is about more than just delicious keto nut butters and tasty pastries. Were about giving you the tools you need to achieve optimal health. And that starts with having the best information.

So please – feel free. Contact us today and tell us how we can help you achieve bodybuilding success on a ketogenic diet!

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The Pros Of Going Keto

Adequate Protein Intake

Many would say that a true keto diet isn’t that high in protein. A lot of people are on a very low carb diet, but actually not in ketosis because they consume too much protein, which gets converted to glucose. But keto normally provides an ample amount of protein to support muscle growth and contribute to triggering protein synthesis. This is especially true if you’re ingesting a caloric surplus.

Possible to Get Enough Calories In

While you don’t have to be in a caloric surplus to build muscle, it makes the process easier and faster. And it’s absolutely possible to eat a surplus when on a keto diet. After all, fat is energy dense .

Good Hormonal Support

Diets too low in fat normally lead to lower testosterone levels. This obviously won’t be a problem with a keto diet, which will provide more than enough fats for sex hormone production. However, once your body has sufficient fatty acids to support hormone production, eating more fat won’t lead to an equivalent increase in testosterone.

Elevated Dopamine and Adrenaline Levels

A keto diet tends to lead to higher dopamine and adrenaline levels than a diet higher in carbs. This is partly because of the higher protein intake, which is needed to fabricate both neurotransmitters, but also because of the high cortisol level that comes with a keto diet.

Strength Training And Muscle Growth

  • In a nutshell, physical strength is the measure of force your muscles can create.

Your strength is limited by three factors:

  • Muscle properties
  • Recruitment intensity

As you can see, the size of your muscles is just one of the factors that determine how strong you are.

Or, in other words, you can increase strength without growing muscles. Thats why you shouldnt follow a random strength training program.

Both scientific and empirical data suggest that anaerobic exercise with progressive overload in a range of 612 reps works best for muscle hypertrophy for the majority of people.

How many reps exactly should I do, 6 or 12? If keto wasnt involved, I would answer that it doesnt matter too much.

As for keto, the difference between 6 and 12 reps is massive.


Because of the second prerequisitethe energy.

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