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Top 7 Ways To Build Muscle Mass In Keto

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The ketogenic diet, commonly known as keto, has gained more popularity due to its reputation as a low-carb, high-fat diet used by individuals for weight loss purposes and associated with several additional health advantages. For quite a while, there was a prevailing belief that building muscle on a keto diet, as well as other low-carb diets, was unattainable.

Low carb diets limit carbohydrates, which are responsible for triggering the release of insulin, an anabolic hormone that aids in transporting nutrients into cells. This ultimately fosters an environment conducive to promoting muscle growth.

However, you might question the veracity of the claim that low carb diets impede muscle growth.

Can you build muscle on keto

Research indicates that muscle development can be achieved while following the keto diet. For instance, a study involving 25 young men attending college compared the effects of the ketogenic diet to those of a typical Western diet in terms of muscle growth, strength, and performance. Remarkably, the findings demonstrated that both diets were equally successful.

Additional research has demonstrated that keto might yield comparable improvements in strength and performance to a traditional high carbohydrate diet, all while aiding in the reduction of body fat.

However, if you are new to the ketogenic diet, it is possible to encounter a temporary decrease in strength and performance. This occurrence is attributed to your body adjusting to using ketones as its primary fuel source.

A number of studies demonstrate that achieving muscle growth and enhancing strength is feasible on the ketogenic diet, just as it can be achieved on a conventional higher carbohydrate diet.

These suggestions aim to assist you in arranging a ketogenic diet that promotes muscle growth.

1. Determine your calorie intake

In order to effectively develop muscle, it is essential to consume a higher amount of calories than you expend on a regular basis. The quantity of calories required for muscle growth varies based on individual factors like weight, height, lifestyle, gender, and activity levels.

To start, it is essential to establish your maintenance calories, which refers to the amount of calories you must consume daily to maintain your current weight. This can be achieved by weighing yourself at least three times per week and utilizing a calorie tracking app to monitor your food intake throughout the week. If your weight remains unchanged, this would approximately indicate your maintenance calories.

You also have the option of calculating your maintenance calories by using the calculator provided here.

To effectively build muscle, it is advisable to boost your calorie consumption by 15% beyond what is required to maintain your current weight. For instance, if your maintenance calories amount to 2,000 per day, then consuming 2,300 calories daily will facilitate muscle growth.

It is advisable to modify your calorie intake every month as you develop muscle to accommodate for fluctuations in your weight. Additionally, to avoid excessive fat accumulation, it is advisable to limit weight gain to 0.25–0.5% of your body weight per week.

2. Eat plenty of protein

Proper protein intake is crucial when it comes to muscle development.

Consuming an adequate amount of protein is essential for muscle development as it serves as the necessary foundation. Therefore, it is crucial to ingest a higher quantity of protein than what your body naturally breaks down to promote muscle growth. Research indicates that consuming 0.7–0.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight (1.6–2.0 grams per kg) is the recommended amount for optimal muscle building.

The ketogenic diet sets itself apart from other low-carb diets by prioritizing a significant intake of fats while incorporating only a moderate amount of protein. The inclusion of a limited quantity of protein in the keto diet is primarily due to the body’s ability to convert surplus protein into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. This rationale stands in contrast to bodybuilding diets that often incorporate higher protein levels.

In mammals and other organisms, gluconeogenesis is a vital process that enables the creation of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources (fats and protein) when there is a lack of glucose derived from carbohydrate foods, in order to ensure the sustenance of life.

Even if individuals strictly monitor their carb intake, people on the keto diet worry that consuming excessive protein may result in being removed from ketosis.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to emphasize that a certain amount of glucose is necessary to generate energy for our organs and cells. Thus, a modest level of gluconeogenesis can actually be beneficial, particularly for individuals who engage in physical activities. The main objective is to ensure an adequate protein consumption to foster muscle growth, while simultaneously maintaining a limited intake of carbohydrates and an increased intake of fats.

Keto dieters have expressed worry regarding excessive protein intake as it may stimulate gluconeogenesis. This process involves converting amino acids from protein into sugar, potentially hindering ketone production in the body.

What is the recommended protein intake on the keto diet? A useful guideline suggests consuming between one and 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram, based on your ideal body weight. To convert your weight from pounds to kilograms, divide your ideal weight by 2.2.

For instance, a woman weighing 150 pounds (68 kilograms) should aim for a daily protein intake of approximately 68–102 grams. Others suggest consuming a slightly higher amount, such as 1 gram of protein per pound of lean muscle mass (calculated by subtracting body fat percentage from total body weight).

Nevertheless, research has demonstrated that individuals can maintain ketosis by consuming approximately 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight (equivalent to 2.1 grams per kg) without any adverse effects.

3. Track your carb intake

In a traditional muscle-building diet, the majority of calories are typically sourced from carbohydrates. Nevertheless, if your goal is to remain in ketosis, it becomes necessary to limit your carbohydrate intake. To achieve and sustain ketosis, the majority of individuals typically consume less than 50 grams of carbs per day, although the precise amount may differ.

If you notice that the timing of your carbohydrate intake in relation to your workouts has a positive impact on your performance, you may find the targeted keto diet strategy helpful. This approach involves consuming your daily allocated carbs specifically around your exercise sessions in order to enhance your exercise performance.

If you’re finding it challenging to finish workouts, experimenting with a focused keto strategy can be considered. Alternatively, you are welcome to consume your carbohydrates at the most convenient time for you.

4. Increase your fat intake

It is of great significance to monitor the amount of fat you consume while on the keto diet. This is due to the fact that when you restrict your carb intake and reach a state of ketosis, your body mainly depends on fat for energy. After considering the intake of protein and carbs, the remaining portion of your diet should consist of fat.

By dividing the final number after subtracting your protein and carb needs from your daily calorie needs (as mentioned above) by 9, you can determine your daily fat requirements. It is worth noting that both protein and carbs offer 4 calories per gram, whereas fat provides 9 per gram.

An illustration would be a person weighing 155 pounds (70 kg) who follows a muscle gain diet and consumes 2,300 calories. Their protein intake would amount to 110 grams, while carbohydrate intake would amount to 50 grams. To complete their calorie intake, they can consume 185 grams of fat, which makes up the remaining 1,660 calories. These recommendations closely correspond to the customary suggestions for fat consumption in a standard keto diet, which typically suggests fat should constitute around 70-75% of your daily caloric intake.

In order to develop muscle while following a keto diet, it is essential to determine your calorie, protein, carbohydrate, and fat requirements according to your weight and lifestyle aspects.

5. Resistance train regularly

In addition to nutrition, resistance training plays a vital role in muscle development. This type of training commonly consists of weightlifting or engaging in activities that emphasize strength to enhance muscle growth and increase overall strength.

In a review of 10 studies, it was found that engaging in resistance training at least twice a week yielded better results in terms of muscle growth when compared to training only once per week. To stimulate muscle growth, it is recommended to include exercises such as squats, bench presses, pullups, and pushups in your weekly resistance training routine.

6. Be patient

It is common to experience a decrease in strength, performance, and motivation when initially starting the keto diet and transitioning into ketosis. This may require taking a brief setback before making progress by taking two steps forward. In the first few weeks of the keto diet, as your body undergoes metabolic changes to become keto-adapted or “fat-adapted,” a decline in these aspects is to be expected.

Initially, when you cut carbs, there might be a reduction in water weight. However, as your body adapts to being in ketosis and generates more ketone bodies, any symptoms experienced are likely to be temporary and persist for approximately 1-2 weeks.

There is good news: By being patient and enduring any short-term “keto flu symptoms” that may arise, you will ultimately enhance your metabolism and your body’s capacity to produce and utilize energy.

7. Supplement to support higher energy levels

Supplementing, including exogenous ketones and/or electrolytes, is one way to decrease the likelihood of experiencing fatigue and inadequate exercise recovery.

If you are unfamiliar with exogenous ketone supplements, they are substances that provide ketones from external sources. They replicate the impacts of ketones that are naturally generated by your body during ketosis. The advantages linked to ketone supplements encompass:

  • helping you to shed excess weight
  • controlling hunger and cravings
  • supplying your brain with an energy supply, which boosts cognitive performance
  • helping you to perform physically and recover more easily from exercise

Exogenous ketone supplements primarily consist of or predominantly contain beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), although there exist three types of ketone bodies in total.

Ketone supplements can serve as a convenient option for consuming between meals or as a favorable pre-workout fuel that promptly supplies you with ketones. Additionally, ketone supplements can aid in swiftly and effortlessly reentering ketosis after temporarily deviating from the diet.

It is important to remember the significance of electrolytes in maintaining energy levels and proper muscle function. Including bone broth in your daily routine can aid in replenishing electrolytes that are depleted during ketosis.

It is important to ensure that you consume a sufficient amount of water as part of the keto diet, as it can result in loss of water weight and depletion of vital electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, and sodium due to increased urination. Moreover, it is advisable to focus on including foods like nuts, avocados, mushrooms, salmon, and other types of fish, spinach, artichokes, and leafy greens in your diet to boost electrolyte intake.

To achieve optimal results, it is advisable to steer clear of consuming processed foods such as refined oils, processed meats (particularly pork), cured meats, bacon, and processed cheeses. Nonetheless, do not hesitate to incorporate genuine sea salt into your meals as sodium is an essential mineral that you may be depleting too much of while on the keto diet.

Tips for building muscle on keto

In order to optimize the production of ketones and enhance outcomes such as fat-burning, it is possible to merge a ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, strength-building workouts, and exogenous ketones. Depending on your fitness objectives and body composition goals, you might also consider incorporating carb cycling into your routine after approximately 1-2 months on the keto diet.

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