Keto Diet & Bodybuilding
How to Get More Muscles on a Low Carb Lifestyle
Before we delve into the talks of how to get started or maintain bodybuilding while you're on a keto diet, let us first do a quick recap of what the diet is all about first.
Carbohydrates are the body’s default source of energy. If the body cannot find enough carbohydrates to continue normal operation, it begins a 2 stage check down to find other energy sources. First, it turns to muscles: but you can protect your muscles from being devoured by your system by making sure you eat adequate amounts of protein. Should your body decide your muscles are not what it's looking for it will then turn to stored body fat instead. As part of the process of burning fat, the body generates what are called "ketones" and when it does that you are said to have entered a state of ketosis.
While there is no denying the effectiveness of the lifestyle in burning fat and the effectiveness of the low-carb diet in helping you lose weight people still have concerns about whether or not they will be able to be both lean and strong. In other words, are bodybuilding and keto compatible? In this article we’re going to take a look at the ketosis diet for bodybuilding.
Things You Need to Know About Bodybuilding on Keto
Before we get into whether or not ketosis and bodybuilding are compatible we need to understand some of the basic principles that underlie successful bodybuilding. None of these have anything to do with expensive supplements or long-lost secrets passed down from the Aztecs. They have to do with physiological and behavioral truths which, if ignored, will leave your bodybuilding efforts stalled at the side of the road. These principles are:
In general, anyone hoping to embark on a bodybuilding routine must take care to eat right, drink enough water and get plenty of sleep.
The 4 Main Principles of Ketogenic Bodybuilding
Now that we have a better idea of the parameters we’re working with how does being on a ketogenic diet affect our ability to uphold these principles?
Here we will be talking about the four things that you need to uphold at all times to be able to get into the state and maintain the body that you worked so hard for.
How to Step Up Your Game Even More...
While adherence to the above principles is crucial to the success of any bodybuilding efforts while on the ketogenic diet there are additional steps you can take if you want to take your body sculpting efforts to the next level. They include:
Since science cannot say with absolute certainty who will enjoy exactly which of these benefits the only way to know if you will is to try intermittent fasting yourself. Keep in mind that your ketosis bodybuilding diet will still require you to meet your daily caloric intake needs in order to build new muscle which means that the meals you have when you break your fast will need to be slightly larger than they otherwise would be. A good way to approach this type of fasting is to try it 16-20 hours a day during your first couple of weeks on the keto diet plan in order to sample potential benefits.
Our recommendation for those bodybuilding during ketosis would be to eat high protein meals 3 hours before and 1-2 hours after your vigorous workout to optimize muscle growth. Just make sure the meal you eat before the workout is not excessively large or you could undermine the effectiveness of your workout.
Or better yet, you can take keto-friendly protein powders to juice yourself up just before a workout. Luckily for you, we've found all the products that claim to be "low-carb" and checked them out ourselves. The product that stands out the most is BPI Sports ISO HD. With no carbs, alternative sweeteners, sugar, or anything that can increase your carb intake, it is proven to be in a league of its own. The taste isn't too shabby either!
Reintroducing Carbs into Your Diet
This is maybe the most controversial aspect of ketosis for bodybuilding but it’s nonetheless one you should consider. There are actually a couple of ways you can reintroduce carbs into your keto diet for bodybuilding in order to aid muscle growth without undermining the state in general. Those methods are:
Important: If you are getting the results you want while on the standard ketogenic diet for bodybuilders, there’s no need to experiment with either targeted keto dieting or the cyclical dieting approach. These should only be attempted if your results using the standard keto diet methods came up short.
Keto for Bodybuilding: The MCT Oil Advantage
When you're in the early stages of your transition to ketosis the fats you consume won't be utilized by the body for energy right away. That's because there will still be ‘legacy' carbs in your system that the body will instinctively draw on. The end result is a transitional period that can last a few weeks and result in your body feeling a bit fatigued and confused. You can help jump-start the transition to ketosis, however (and get your bodybuilding efforts off the ground quicker) by using MCT oil as a supplement.
MCT stands for "medium chain triglycerides." This type of saturated fat is quickly processed by the digestive system and moves to the liver fast where it can then be converted to ketones the body can use when it starts to run short of carbs. The end result is a faster, smoother transition to a state of ketosis. Once you have achieved the state and your body is humming along burning fat instead of carbs you can also give your bodybuilding on keto efforts a boost by supplementing with 1 or 2 tablespoons of MCT oil an hour or two before working out.
Our favorite choice when it comes to MCT oil is definitely Onnit. With a seamless taste, you can easily add this into your meal, coffee, or snack that you choose to. You can get the best price for it here.
Final Advice to Building Your Body Properly
We’re going to wind up this guide with a short list of things to be mindful of in order to optimize your results while on the ketogenic diet for bodybuilding.
Ketosis and bodybuilding can work wonderfully together as long as you are mindful of what you are putting into your system and when and as long as you adhere to the principles laid out both at the beginning and end of this guide. Good luck.