We're here to talk about keto bulk and if muscle building and low carb diets can work together. Hopefully, we'll sort out the confusion here.
The vast majority of fitness enthusiasts still believe that without carbs, there can be no gains. That’s really strange since there are so many keto dieters who are shredded and they spread the word about the diet on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, the misconception in question is yet to be broken. However, just because the bigger group doesn’t want to try and see something for themselves, doesn’t mean that you should follow them blindly.
Yes, you can build muscle on the ketogenic diet!
The high-carb paradigm is outdated, and it’s passé, bear that in mind. On the contrary, the keto diet can actually help with the muscle building process.
Low-carb, high-fat – that’s the new concept. Read on and learn how muscle building and keto diet go together.
Do you really need those carbs?
Let’s clear up something first, the traditional way of building muscle worked and will work for some gym goers. The old way assumed that carbs were a prerequisite for muscle building.
To be more precise, carbs have glycogen which stimulates insulin and creates an anabolic response. This, in turn, helps you build muscles. This concept is perfectly fine but it doesn’t mean that you cannot build muscles without carbs.
On the contrary, you can. It is possible to build muscle when you are on a low-carb diet and a good workout regimen. Various studies have shown that a good strength regimen followed by a keto diet not only makes you buffer but it also does that without any excess weight gain.
However, all keto dieters have to know that patience is the key here. The human body has to take time to adapt from the switch. It’s as if you stopped using fuel like diesel for your car and opted for something better instead. The body has to switch from using glucose (carbs) to fat. That’s the idea behind the ketogenic diet.
This period of time that your body needs to get accustomed to the new way of getting the needed energy is called the keto-adaptation. On average, people need somewhere around two to four weeks.
You need to be patient with the workouts since during that time the performance inevitably decreases. This is expected since the body isn’t in top shape during the adaptation.
As it was mentioned above, during the keto-adaptation phase your performance will suffer. It’s due to the switch. Do not try to be as intensive as you usually are with your training sessions during the adaptation phase.
It is in this phase that your body is switching from breaking down glucose for fuel to breaking down fat in ketones. That’s the transition to the state of ketosis. And, that’s why you can’t keep up the performance during the adaptation. Now, if you want to build muscle and keep growing on the keto diet, you have to keep yourself on the diet regimen long-term.
By restricting carb intake, your body needs to resort to another fuel source. That’s where ketones come into play. As time goes by, your body will become better at burning ketones for energy. Consequently, your workouts will become better and better.
You won’t remember the drop in performance. Now, on top of this, when you train your body to get its energy from ketones that come from fat, you also improve your mitochondrial density.
In turn, this also allows you to be faster and train longer. In more professional terms, when your body becomes keto-adapted, it synthesizes more energy from the body fat and dietary fat. And, that’s how you start getting the fuel for your workout sessions.
Remember, it’s important that you remain patient during this period. Many give up when they feel the decrease in performance thinking that it would stay that way. But, that’s not the case. Remain on the track and keep working.
Maximizing Workout Results on Keto
Now that you have basic knowledge of what it’s like to transition from one state into the other and how it will feel like training on keto, let’s see what you can do to boost your efforts. Keto is great if you want to get leaner and stronger but looking for additional ways to kick up your results can never hurt.
- Keto calculator
Remember that carbs don’t matter for building muscle? Well, reduce carbs as much as you can. Use the keto calculator. Input your diet and start tracking your daily carb intake. Do know that if more than 15 to 20% of your calories are carbs, you probably haven’t reached the state of ketosis. That isn’t helping your muscles get bigger. The key here is to swap out carbs for healthy fats and healthy proteins. Then just recalculate your ratios.
- Don’t forget the protein
You shouldn’t cut yourself short when it comes to proteins. Yes, it’s possible to go keto but without enough of leucine in your blood, you can’t synthesize muscles as you should. Now, it’s not that difficult to boost the protein intake. Just eat more meat, fish, and eggs. Always include grass-fed whey protein powder in your smoothies and shakes. Last but not least, look into buying some high protein, keto-friendly snacks. Track your protein intake so that you make sure that you’re getting enough day in, day out.
- Strength sessions
Obviously, you need to start beasting out those strength training sessions. There’s no other way around it. If you want to spice things up and have some fun, try out heavy, compound lifts like pull-ups, squats, bench press, and deadlifts. Also get crazy about push-ups, planks, rowing and sprinting. Go heavy and go intense! Oh, if you’re wondering why you should go sprinting, it’s because it increases anabolic hormones such as testosterone.
We’ve talked about glycogen. That’s the storage form of glucose which is mainly stored in muscle cells. Now, keto diets aren’t optimized for glycogen for serious fitness enthusiasts. If you’re always depleting your muscle glycogen with hard workouts, you have to enhance your supplement game. That’s where you could introduce creatine. It will help you synthesize and maintain glycogen stores. Of course, it’s not only about the glycogen enhancement, creatine also helps with preventing muscle-loss. It increases explosive power and boosts cognitive performance. Look for creatine monohydrate which is the cheapest, most-researched and widely available form of the supplement.
We’ve gone through basics of the keto diet and bodybuilding. You’ve read how the body gets used to the new source of energy.
You need to be patient and persistent. Building muscle the old way isn’t bad but you saw that it can be much better and more efficient if you do it on the keto diet. Remember that you have to keep the carb intake within the tolerant range, stick to your fitness regimen, and also be patient with the keto-adaptation period.
Don’t expect your body to perform as well as it usually does when it’s adapting to new source of energy. Also, once you get used to the new regime, do everything to maximize your results.
Now that you know how, there are other tips that you might find useful besides the carb tracking tip, creatine tip, strength sessions tip, and protein powder tip. For now, learn the basics of doing a keto bulk. These two do go together.