Nutrition & Health

Muscle Building Benefits of Keto Diet for Bodybuilders

Perhaps you are so far convinced that you cannot build muscle with the Keto Diet, do you think you need to follow a traditional diet rich in carbohydrates in order to build muscle? Do you think that keto is not suitable for drying or not for bodybuilders?

In fact, you are wrong and you should not believe these myths. In this article, we will teach you how you can easily gain more muscle on a low-carb diet suitable for those who follow a keto diet.

Keto Diet for Muscle Building

There is a common misconception that you need carbohydrates to build muscle. So does that mean you can’t successfully build muscle if you are on a keto diet?

The ketogenic diet requires you to eat a minimum of carbohydrates. The method of building muscle and gaining strength based on high amounts of carbohydrates has turned out to be an outdated method.

In fact, the keto diet can help you increase strength and build muscle, and at the same time, it will help in burning and eliminating Fats accumulated in the body.

Now, there is a large group of bodybuilders who have been able to build muscle and increase its mass and strength without relying on carbohydrates.

To Read: Intermittent Fasting: All you should to know about it

The importance of ketones in building muscle

The importance of ketones in building muscle

A common misconception is: You need carbs to build muscle.

Most traditional bodybuilding nutrition plans focus on the need to eat carbohydrates to build muscle.

And yet, we often hear from bodybuilders about the need for sugars to increase insulin levels and create the response that helps you build muscle.

The truth is, you can build muscle on a low-carb diet if the diet is applied properly.

Studies have shown that doing physical strength training alongside a ketogenic diet can increase lean muscle mass without gaining weight. Study.

But this does not happen overnight, at first. You have to switch from using sugars (carbohydrates) as an energy source to using fats (ketones). Adapting to the ketogenic diet takes time. About one to four weeks.

Why may you suffer from weakness on the Keto Diet?

When you are in the first stage of the keto diet, you may not be able to exercise with the same intensity when you were eating carbohydrates. This is because your body switches from breaking down sugar for energy (glycolysis) to breaking down Fats and converting them into ketones.

To successfully build muscle on the ketogenic diet, you need to follow this diet long term.

Since your body will accustomed to burning glucose (from carbohydrates) as its primary source of energy throughout your life, it will take some time to adjust.

When you restrict the amount of carbohydrates you eat, you must find another source of energy as an alternative. And with the ketogenic diet, ketones are the body’s major source of energy.

The longer you stay in ketosis, the more efficient your body’s metabolism processes and the ability to burn ketones for energy, and thus, your abilities will become better at exercise.

By training the body to eliminate ketones produced by lipolysis, the density of mitochondria (chondria particles in cells) will improve. This will give you the ability to train faster and for a longer period.

Once you become fully keto adapted, your body will accumulate more energy molecules known as “adenosine triphosphate (ATP)” from the fats stored in the body and from the fats you eat in your diet.

Also, studies have shown that a low-carb, high-fat keto diet will protect you from losing muscle mass.

This means that once you have fully adapted to Fats, your body will prevent itself from breaking down muscles even when burning fats.

Do you need to eat more protein?

Do you need to eat more protein?

One of the biggest concerns about building muscle on a keto diet is that increasing your protein intake will take you out of ketosis.

There is a process called “gluconeogenesis”, in which your body converts excess proteins into sugars in the bloodstream. These sugars will prevent you from producing ketones.

But what many people forget to take into account is that the body and mind need sugar to survive.

Even if you are on a ketogenic diet, you need to eat a little of sugar to fuel some specialized types of neurons (especially brain cells) that can only function with glucose.

So why should we follow the ketogenic diet if we need glucose?

While we may need glucose to survive, we need little of it.

At present, many people over-eat carbohydrates that cause resistance to the hormone insulin, and this prevents the body from burning the stored fats for energy.

This leads to a significant increase in fat amounts and an increase in blood sugar.

When you follow the ketogenic diet, you will be providing your body with enough glucose (from Fats and proteins) that it needs to stay alive.

And ketones will give you a more efficient source of energy that allows you to build muscle and produce protein without worrying about excess body fat.

To Read: Harms of Alcohol on Bodybuilders 

How much protein should you eat?

The amount of protein you should eat varies depending on your level of physical activity.

Here are general guidelines for protein consumption for people following a ketogenic diet:

  • Sedentary (no exercise): Eat 0.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.
  • For a little exercise: 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight.
  • Moderate exercise: 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
  • For intense exercise: 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

It is common for people following a keto diet to need fewer proteins to build muscle. Perhaps because a ketogenic diet increases satiety. In other words, you won’t eat much when you are not hungry.

Do you need more calories to increase muscle mass on a keto diet?

Tracking your caloric intake is the fastest way to reach muscle building or weight loss goals.

To grow muscles if you follow the ketogenic diet:

  • You should get an extra 150-500 calories over the number of calories you were getting.
  • You should consume about 0.5 grams of protein per 1 kilogram of lean body mass as a minimum.
  • The rest of your calories should come from healthy fats.

To build muscle, you need more calories than your body burns.

Therefore getting more calories plus eating enough protein will help you achieve the physique you are working for.

A ketogenic diet plan for building muscle

On the ketogenic diet, we encourage you to consume 20 – 50 grams of carbohydrates a day right before or after a workout. This amount is for the entire day.

This will allow your body to use this fast glucose in order to endure and continue exercising, and when you eat just the right amount, your body will quickly burn those carbohydrates and you will return to ketosis immediately.

This approach only works in people who have already followed the ketogenic diet for at least a month before applying it. It usually works especially for people who get very intense training.

But in general, the amount of carbohydrates you should consume depends on the intensity of your exercise.

Here is an estimate of the amount of carbohydrates you should consume based on the activity you do:

  • People who do high-intensity workouts can consume 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
  • Athletes preparing for sporting events can consume up to 100 grams of carbohydrates per day.
  • The average person who exercises four to five times a week can get as little as 20 grams of carbs per day.

Foods rich in magnesium and potassium and allowed in keto

It is important to provide your body with energy by eating foods rich in ketones and nutrients to ensure that your body performs at its best during exercise.

The magnesium-rich foods that allowed in keto include:

  • Spinach.
  • Almonds.
  • Dark black chocolate.
  • Avocado.
  • Cashew nuts

The potassium-rich foods that allowed in keto include:

  • Spinach.
  • Broccoli.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Salmon.

Increase the amount of sodium on the keto diet

One of the biggest mistakes people make when restricting the amount of carbohydrates they eat is reducing their sodium intake.

When you restrict carbohydrates, your body excretes more electrolytes than usual. Especially during the first few weeks, especially sodium electrolytes.

If you exercise while on a keto diet, try to increase your sodium intake, especially before exercise.

Sodium is essential for keeping muscles healthy and is essential for nerve activity, and helps regulate muscle contraction, improve nerve function, and increase blood volume.

Both the ketogenic diet and exercise contribute to water and electrolyte loss.

If you do not consume enough electrolytes, you may suffer from a condition called keto flu (called by that name because its symptoms are like those of the flu).

The minimum you should consume of sodium is 5,000-7,000 mg per day.

You should also take 1000 – 2000mg before exercise to improve performance.

Yous should not increase sodium consumption depending on your goals of gaining weight or building muscle.

Instead, focus on increasing your sodium intake if you are sweating more than usual or if you are just starting a keto diet.

Tip: Adding sodium to water in the morning or before a workout can be of great help with training. If you feel you get tired quickly in the gym, you find that adding more salt will help you last longer during your workouts and you will need a shorter rest period.

To Read: Abdominal Muscles: Training and Appropriate Diet for it 

What Kind of Sodium Should You Eat?

The best approach to replacing lost sodium is to eat a mixture of sea salt and seasoning salt.

This mixture will give you enough sodium for your workouts plus potassium from the spice salt to help you hydrate.

Get energy for exercise

Aside from maintaining a balanced intake of electrolytes, you may continue to feel a slight decrease in performance after restricting the amount of carbohydrates you eat, especially if you are an athlete.

If you’re struggling with a workout and need an extra boost, here are great pre-workout tips:

  • 20 – 30 grams of high-quality Whey.
  • 5 – 15 grams of fat.
  • 1 – 2 grams of sodium.
  • 5 grams of creatine, if needed.
  • Drink a cup of sugar-free coffee.

They should be consumed 20-30 minutes before training.

Why is this useful before exercise?

  • The amino acids in proteins help build muscle.
  • Fats give you an instant source of energy.
  • The sodium will help you last longer during your workouts.
  • Creatine increases your strength in the short term.
  • Both Fats and proteins will raise your insulin levels enough to put your body on stimulation to build muscle.

Sugar-free drinks rich in electrolytes

Many bodybuilders like to drink electrolyte drinks throughout the day. These drinks should be sugar free and contain the electrolytes sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

Be careful not to drink any drinks high in sugar, as they will help you out of ketosis.

Tips for building muscle on keto

You learned a lot in this guide explaining how to build muscle on the ketogenic diet.

But how do you simply incorporate and apply everything you’ve learned?

Here are some actionable tips:

Reducing the amount of carbohydrates

Remember, carbohydrates are not essential for building muscle. In fact, it appears to hinder that.

Here’s what you do: Monitor your diet and limit your daily carbohydrate intake.

If over 15-20% of the calories in your body come from carbohydrates, then you are probably not in ketosis. This will not help you build muscle.

Do not worry. You only have to replace carbs with healthy fats (like nut butter) and healthy proteins (like whey protein). Then recalculate your proportions again.

Eat enough protein

It is possible to follow a ketogenic diet, even if you are protein deficient. However, without too much leucine in your blood, you cannot build muscle as much as you want.

Fortunately, it’s easy to increase your protein intake:

  • Eat more meat, fish and eggs.
  • Take a whey protein powder or collagen protein powder.
  • If you are vegan, and you can’t eat high-quality whey protein, consider the plant-based proteins found in legumes and peas.
  • Eat snacks rich in protein.
  • And of course, adjust your protein intake to make sure you are getting enough of it each day.

Do physical strength training

If you do moderate or light exercise, you cannot achieve your muscle building goals. You must do intense exercises.

Here are some more intense workouts that help build muscle:

  • Gym exercises in gyms.
  • Yoga.
  • Rowing.
  • Jogging increases the hormones necessary to strengthen and build your muscles, just like the male hormone testosterone.

Take a creatine supplement

As we know, it stores glucose sugar in muscle cells in the form of glycogen.

A low-carb diet depletes these glycogen stores, and strenuous workouts do, and this can lead to feelings of fatigue and lack of energy.

To solve this problem, you need to take a creatine supplement.

Creatine helps you increase and maintain glycogen stores, and creatine usually stated in the diet of any athlete.

Besides improving glycogen, creatine – a safe and natural compound – also helps:

  • Build muscle and increase strength.
  • Preventing muscle loss associated with aging.
  • Increased stamina.
  • Enhancing cognitive performance.

How should I take creatine?

The best way for you is to take Creatine monohydrate, which is the common, cheapest, and most beneficial form.

To Read: Creatine :what you should know about it

What not to do if you want to build muscle on a keto diet?

What not to do if you want to build muscle on a keto diet?

There are many misconceptions that many fall prey to when exercising and eating a low-carb, high-fat diet.

The cyclical ketogenic diet

A common belief is that eating an amount of carbohydrates once or twice a week can help.

This method known as the cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD).

Although CKD may help you gain muscle, it is best not to try it until you become more experienced with the ketogenic diet.

When you are new to the ketogenic diet, taking the CKD approach will backfire on you.

It is when your body is used to burning carbohydrates as its major source of energy.

Eating more carbohydrates each week will hinder your progress.

Your body needs time to adapt to efficient ketone use. It may take up to a week or more before your body gets used to burning fat as energy.

This what happens when you eat carbohydrates at the end of each week when you are not adapting to using Fats as your principal source of energy:

  • On average, it will take two to three days for you to return to ketosis after you stop eating carbohydrates.
  • Once you eat carbohydrates, you will be out of ketosis.
  • Next, your body has to reset the carbohydrate depletion cycle from the liver to generate ketones again.
  • This cycle, in conjunction with the transition to ketones, means that you will only be in ketosis for one to two days a week.

You should first stick to a low-carb, high-fat diet for at least a month before considering increasing your carbohydrate intake.

After the month is over, most people can skip the 15-gram daily intake of carbohydrates once every month rather than every week.

One of the principal reasons for adopting a cyclic ketogenic diet is the belief that you can eat whatever you want – like pizza – without worrying about affecting your diet.

But this is a very common misconception. Fast food, such as pizza, is high in carbohydrates.

To Read: Pre-Workout Meal – What and When to Eat?

Eat unhealthy meals from time to time

Most of us want some rest, binge on junk food, and then go back to the ketogenic diet again.

But it is wrong to do so, as it will impede your progress and delay the achievement of the goals you are striving to achieve.

For example, if you want to lose 20 kilograms of weight, the more unhealthy meals and junk food you eat, the longer it will take to reach your goal.

Conversely, if you are observant and follow a diet that guarantees you stable energy from healthy sources, you will progress quickly and achieve your goals more efficiently.

Training with abstaining from eating

There is a common misconception that training along with abstaining from eating will help you burn more fat.

This is a misunderstanding and may be Counter Productive to your fat loss goals.

Your body always needs energy.

When you train without eating, you may lose fat but you may lose muscle mass.

If you are doing intense exercise, animal protein such as beef protein combined with healthy fats will give you enough energy to do a better exercise, this will help you burn fat without losing muscle.

You may lose weight while training, but you may also lose muscle mass in the long term if you don’t get enough energy through food.

Focus on ketones only

Just because you produce ketones doesn’t mean you are losing weight. Overeating will harm your training efforts and your goals, such as losing fat and building muscle.

Instead of focusing on producing ketones only prioritize the growth of lean tissue.

By eating protein and healthy fats to get enough energy, your calorie intake should match your overall body size, not just the level of ketones in your blood.

The goal should be to lose body fat and improve overall body composition, not just overall body weight, including muscle mass loss.

Does having ketones mean you are consuming them?

Often people confuse having high levels of ketones with burning them.

Here are some factors that contribute to an increase in the production of ketones in the body:

  • Eat foods that contain Fats.
  • An amount of fat in your body.
  • The level of exercise you are doing.

Having high levels of ketones does not mean that you are losing fat.

Ketones are a source of energy, and when you first start a ketogenic diet, it is natural for your ketone levels to increase.

This is because your body not fully equipped to use ketones as an energy source, so ketones remain in your blood or excreted outside the body rather than used as energy.

But if you consume the right amount of calories and follow the keto diet properly, then ketones will not build up in your body, because your body will already use them as their major source of energy.

As you continue to follow the ketogenic diet, your body will become more effective in using these ketones for energy.


A ketogenic diet can help you build muscle and reduce the amounts of Fats accumulated in your body.

In the past, most sports centers would advocate for athletes to consume lean protein and large amounts of carbohydrates to increase muscle mass. And mostly, this advice was prevalent for a long period.

But modern science supports you not needing carbs to build muscle. Following the above strategies will ensure this.

As long as you carefully monitor your electrolyte levels, measure your ketone intake, and eat adequate amounts of protein, you will feel a significant improvement in your overall fitness.

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