The Palumbo Keto Diet - 5 Things to Know About It

The Palumbo Keto Diet
5 Important Things to Know Before Getting Started

The Palumbo Keto Diet

Dave Palumbo is a retired American bodybuilder who gained widespread notoriety during the 1990s when he placed highly in some regional and national bodybuilding contests. He also spent several years as Editor-in-Chief of Muscular Development Magazine. Today, he is a well-respected coach for some renowned bodybuilders and is also the founder of his training program known as SMART. Palumbo is known for his keto-centric training methods and has developed his take on the low-carb lifestyle intended to help bodybuilders optimize their muscle building efforts.

What is the Palumbo Diet?

The Palumbo keto diet lays out strict dietary guidelines that adhere strictly to the standard ketogenic diet. Palumbo's plan, however, is tailored to address the specific nutritional requirements of the bodybuilder, enabling them to burn fat while preserving and, more importantly, building new muscle.

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While the Palumbo keto diet is a practical diet plan, many bodybuilders appreciate its hard and fast boundaries as it doesn’t allow for the kind of tinkering or tweaking that could result in the diet losing its effectiveness.

The Dave Palumbo keto diet emphasizes moderate fat, low carbs, and high protein. In that sense, it's a slight variation on the standard low-carb lifestyle because there’s a little less fat and a little more carbs then you would expect from a standard low-carb routine. But the difference is not enough to prevent ketosis from taking place.

The Importance of Protein

Where the Palumbo diet [1] differs is in its insistence on elevated protein intake. Bodybuilding requires a high protein intake to build muscle mass. For most bodybuilders that means multiplying their body weight by 1.5 to get the number of grams of protein they should be consuming daily (for a 180 lb person then that would be 180 x 1.5 = 270, or 270 grams of protein daily). By consuming adequate amounts of protein, you prevent muscle tissue from being used as fuel.

Be Aware of Fat Types


While the Palumbo keto diet relies on fats for fuel just like the standard keto diet the type of fats you consume is important because some are more amenable to building muscle than others.  The body needs essential fatty acids like omega 3 to preserve muscle tissue.

Also, monounsaturated fats are necessary because they can boost metabolism which helps facilitate the burning of fat. Bodybuilders, in particular, need to be aware of these considerations and make sure they get the type of fats their body can use to optimize muscle growth and not just weight loss. 

The bottom line with fats is that if you don't consume enough of the right kind, your body will default to storing any excess fats for a rainy day. And for bodybuilders, rainy day fat is going to rain on their muscle parade every time. So healthy omega 3 fatty acids for muscle gain and monounsaturated fats for more efficient metabolism.

Zeroing in on the Palumbo Keto Diet

As we know the keto diet is a low carb, a high-fat eating plan designed to trip the body over into ketosis so that it burns fat for fuel rather than carbs. While ketosis can be maintained indefinitely without fear, it's a good idea to measure your ketone levels on a regular basis, just so that you can know when you may need to make adjustments. While the standard keto diet calls for moderate protein intake Dave Palumbo suggests bodybuilders will want to up their protein consumption to facilitate the creation of muscle mass. Palumbo's diet also calls for one cheat day per week to further promote the building of muscle mass.

Dietary Requirements

As we mentioned above the Palumbo keto diet will require you to up your protein intake using the formal of multiplying body weight by 1.5 and using the resulting number to indicate how many grams of protein you should be consuming to keep packing on the muscle.

Other dietary requirements of the Palumbo plan call for consuming .5 grams of fat for each pound of body weight and eliminating direct sources of carbohydrates, except for the weekly cheat meals. An average day on the Palumbo plan calls for these nutrients to be divided among 6 meals with total calorie intake reduced to below the recommended daily amount for a person of your size and age. This will help facilitate the loss of body fat. On the 7th day, you're allowed to cheat with carbs, which will temporarily bump you out of ketosis. But the next day you are required to fall back in line with the keto diet recommendations. This in/out of the ketosis process is called "cyclical ketosis."

food for diet packed

Suggested Types of Food

The Dave Palumbo keto diet leans heavily on chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, and fish along with whole eggs. If need be, consider a fish oil supplement to get the necessary amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. Peanut butter and almonds or almond butter are also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Be aware though that they contain carbs so should only be consumed in modest amounts. Don't forget to eat plenty of fiber in the form of fibrous vegetables such as spinach. And finally, avoid all kinds of starch and sugar on regular diet days. You can always look forward to them as a reward of sorts on your cheat days.

Wrapping it up...

man and woman body building bodies

As with the standard keto diet, the Palumbo keto diet will require you to be patient and determined. It’s going to take several days to achieve a state of ketosis, and then you'll probably go through an adjustment period where you feel a bit weak and perhaps lethargic. This will pass however as your body becomes used to the new reality.

Should you notice that fat loss seems to be grinding to a halt at some point on the Dave Palumbo keto food regimen, you'll need to increase the amount of cardio you're doing. But make sure any aerobic activity is the low intensity to prevent muscle loss. 

About the Author

Ryan is a personal trainer, athlete, health enthusiast, and entrepreneur. He is researching and expanding his knowledge about the ketogenic diet. He spends most of his time writing content about his new learnings of the ketogenic diet and shares it on Ketogenic Supplement Reviews. You can find me on: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.