Is a low carb diet good for building muscle

For most decades, most athletes and bodybuilders assumed that eating sufficient carbs was an important part of gaining muscle mass and stopping muscle loss.

The explanation behind this argument is that carbs raise the release of insulin, an anabolic hormone that ushers energy into muscle cells and helps muscles to grow. Being keto-adapted enables you to synthesize energy from fat in the kind of adenosine triphosphate ATPwhich is what powers your muscles, brain and other organs. Being in ketosis might help prevent muscle loss to some extent also, since in ketosis the body together with your energy-guzzling brain uses ketones from fat for energy instead of protein from your own muscles.

For example, a report published in Metabolism discovered that a very-low carb diet led to a substantial reductions in fat mass and an accompanying upsurge in lean muscle in normal-weight men.

The men switched from their normal diets around 48 percent carbohydrate to a carbohydrate-restricted diet with about 8 percent carbohydrates for six weeks.

During this time period the men were told to take sufficient calories dietary energy to keep their body mass. Is it possible to workout on keto?

Definitely, and you ought to! As discussed more below, weight training is a significant part of creating and retaining muscle on the keto diet and other diets, too. Given what we realize about low-carb diets supporting muscle growth, do bodybuilders do keto ever? Muscle-Gaining Tips about Keto Wish to know how to lose weight and gain muscle on keto?

Listed below are tips regarding calorie and macronutrient intake, along with workout suggestions, which will make building muscle on keto easier: 1. SHOW PATIENCE When starting the keto transitioning and diet into ketosis, you can expect that you might need to have a step back before taking two steps forward essentially. You might also lose some water weight at first due to cutting carbs. With time, the body gets used to being ketosis and creating more ketone bodies, so symptoms should only be short-term and last for about 1-2 weeks.

Doing weight training while following a ketogenic diet really helps to build and retain lean body mass. Five days per week may be a much better goal for more advanced lifters. Either way, make an effort to target the majority of your major muscles, such as for example by performing exercises like weighted squats, bench presses, leg abductions, lat pull-downs, lunges, etc.

BE SURE YOU Eat Enough Calories With regards to building muscle on the keto diet, consuming sufficient calories is key, since at the end of the body your requirements calories to grow new tissue. Concentrate on getting these extra calories from healthy keto fats and in addition protein foods – such as for example essential olive oil, coconut oil, eggs, fatty fish, ghee, butter, etc.

This leads people on the keto diet to fear that they can be kicked out ketosis if indeed they overeat protein, even if they’re watching their carb intake strictly. The key is to consume enough protein to aid growing muscles here, but to keep carb intake low and fat intake high still. Just how much protein do you will need on the keto diet? An excellent guideline: Protein intake ought to be between one and 1.

convert pounds to kilograms

To, divide your ideal weight by 2. For instance, a female who weighs pounds 68 kilograms should get about 68- grams of protein daily. Add bone broth to your daily regimen, that may help restore electrolytes that are lost during ketosis. Additionally, emphasize foods that assist in electrolyte intake such as for example: nuts, avocados, mushrooms, salmon and other fish, spinach, artichokes, and leafy greens. After about 1-2 months on the keto diet, you may also want to experiment with carb cycling based on your body and fitness composition goals.

The same rules as above apply in cases like this still. You should continue steadily to do so strength-training, eat calories and protein enough, watch your carb intake, and use keto supplements if they’re found by you helpful. And you may consider keeping a food diary if you suspect that fasting is resulting in decreased calorie intake, which can make it hard to build up muscle on keto. Josh Axe is on a mission to supply your household with the best quality nutrition tips and healthy recipes in the world Free eBook to improve.

102 Comments

  1. Right now im gaining around 5 pounds on key lifts each week since im beginner and idk if it will slow down because seeing 5 pounds of PR are awesome each? week

  2. According to Berg you dont need a lot of carbs to allow for protein synthesis.

    • SheepAmongGoats he is definelty right y u think all these althletes eat a lot and Actors to get big they ate like 4 k + calories a day

  3. The study you referenced comparing a keto diet with a western diet is shady and should not be taken seriously specially when taking all of the available research into account.

    • Thanks for clarifying things.
      I am trying to to be as undogmatic as possible as such I try to find flaws in every study I find intentionally.
      Association studies and such are way weaker evidence for the superiority of a diet, I agree.

    • Actually the article youre referencing isnt referencing either of the articles I mentioned. The first study I mentioned was Jeff Volek et als Randomized Control Trial at the University of Connecticut listed here: The subjects here were two groups of ultra endurance runners. Of the two studies, this is the stronger intervention due to the pre and post trial measurements of glycogen along with the comparison between the two groups. The second study I mentioned was a 2014 and not a 2017 study and the lead research was Rauch, not Wilson (though he was on the team along with Dominic Dagostino and Jeff Volek amongst others who also participated in the 2017 study). In this study a similar sample size was taken (26) and two groups were split between one group eating 5% calories from CHO and the other group eating 55% calories from CHO. That study was listed here: The study youre pointing out, along with these studies, definitely have their weaknesses, but, due to being controlled trials, also far exceed the power of the way in which epidemiological evidence (a far weaker methodology) has been used to promote other dietary protocols in my opinion. Again, as always, the keto diet is not the only way to go and you can form your own opinions as you wish.

  4. Have tried both keto and high carb.

    Gaining muscle? Dont have low carbs its pointless, throw in sprinting for great fat maintenance and loss.

    Cutting or maintenance? Keto is then very helpful.

    Every bodybuilder on YouTube that praises keto got big via carbs and is maintaining/slowly gaining via keto as at a level theyre comfortable with, dont be fooled.

    • @Warrior Soul Agoge I think a lot of people dont realize how long it can take for the body to become fully keto-adapted too, several months or even over a year for some people. I think gains are harder early on, but as your body gets more used to it, I think gains are similar as with carbs maybe just a bit slower, but it varies from person to person. But I think a lot of people expect better results after a few weeks of being keto adpated, or a few months.

      Another thing is simply that I think a lot of people dont realize, on keto youre likely to consume lower calories in the long run, you have to make sure youre getting the same caloric surplus that you normally would be to get gains, maybe a bit more. Its also very helpful to get plenty of collagen protein, which is probably the best protein for gains for a keto diet, and ghee is great too. I think whey is kind of on the insulinogenic side for protein, I think a combo of enough whey for enough leucine, and collagen after intermittent fasting is a great way to go, Im a huge fan of Bulletproof whey I think its worth the money and has colostrum powder too which has more growth factors than normal milk.

    • Ive done both as a bodybuilder, and for my body, low carb actually worked better. My book Getting to Shredded was actually a high carb approach to bodybuilding and fat loss. I find keto and low carb helpful, but I dont recommend it for everyone. The main reason I talk about it is because so many people lack education on the subject.

  5. There are NO studies showing ketogenic diets provide excellent environments for building muscle. Where did you get that from? Did you make it up? Most studies show ketogenic diets are effective at preserving muscle mass, and a few show muscle loss or small gains. No study has concluded that ketogenic diets are superior or optimal for muscle growth. You dont know what youre talking about. Bad bro science.

    • Very true, Plus it takes a lot longer to adapt resistance training to a ketogenic diet. It took me a full 3 months before I was back to where I was prior to keto, and although strength has definitely returned, Im struggling too much volume, but can do it, just, at a push. The hormonal and gut issues you raise, as well as innumerable neurological and epigenetic factors, other dimensions of adaptation that we know too little about at the moment full stop keto in the end prove equal 2 conventional feeding patterns with resistance training given sufficient time for adaptation, possibly alterations to training style, and possibly also nutritional support for the gut the endocrine system. It isnt simple and we cant make simplistic one-size-fits-all claims about the efficacy of ketogenic diets for resistance training or anything else, because theres too many individual variables involved.

    • That is so true. Unfortunately, too many people need to address issues like leaky gut, too much estrogen, stress levels etc before they can keto adapt. Without adaptation….none of this work and you lose muscle. This is why a lot of folks complain keto sucks for bodybuilding because Fat adaptation is a big factor.

    • Its not necessarily no, but certain positive effects of fasting are achieved with keto, and others are achieved faster through intermittent fasting and keto, like autophagy. One meal a day when youre keto adapted is definitely enough to get significant fasting benefit, if you dry fast most or all of those 23 hours its basically like a 2-3 day water fast. Keto keeps your liver glycogen low, so most likely when you wake up the next morning itll already be depleted, rather than taking most of the day to deplete so autophagy will pretty much happen right away.

    • Another thing to consider, it can take several months or even well over a year to REALLY become keto adapted, early on it probably wont be great for gains. Studies might not take that into account and it can vary from person to person. Some people can be keto adapted at close to 100 grams of carbs daily, where others need to be below 40.

  6. Skipping shoulders is not a good thing boys and girls. Just look at this guy.

    • Raul J yeah man hopefully when I lean down than again I will build good muscle everywhere symmetrically.

    • @Jon Cell oh alright then lol. Yea i have wide back and chest but skinny arms. I also collect fat there along with waist area. Im now getting rid of skinny-fat physique (which i absolutely hate!) i finally feel good after dieting and heavy lifting. I have a friend whos the opposite of me. No chest and thick arms, so he goes through serious strugle to try and build a wide chest, in which i was born with. Genetics is crazy man.

  7. Ive been on keto for 2 months and lost 20lbs which is great, but i lost 10lbs off my max bench. I take a multivitamin, bcaas, and creatine and exercise 60m 5 times a week. What gives?

    • @Michael Hill thats way too low in my opinion for bodybuilding. No wonder you are losing mass. I would try to increase the fat and protein and keep the carbs at 5%. As long as the carbs are low you will continue to shred bodyfat and maintain lean muscle. I would recommend you watch Luis Villasenor also known as Darthluigi..He has many videos and podcasts. He does a modified version of keto to build muscle and he is pretty big. He is very detailed as to what he does and he has a success. He also provides coaching.

    • living yea, im eating about 17-2200 kcal a day which puts me around 60-80g of protein a day at 15ish% of my caloric intake, which is only like .5g of protein per lb that i weigh

    • @Michael Hill at what percentage of body weight do you calculate your macro numbers? Your ratios are perfect. They say .8g per kg of bodyweight for people who are inactive. If you are bodybuilding, it should be 1 – 1.5g per kg of bodyweight. You might need more or less. Unfortunately, you have to experiment until you see positive results.

    • living ahhh ok i get what your saying now, but i track my macros at 80, 15, 5 and im sure im in ketosis cause im shedding fat at a crazy rate

    • @Michael Hill my point is that you could have high ketones numbers showing but youre not using them. If you are not fat adapted then increasing muscle mass wont occur. You could very well be peeing out ketones. Something has to change. I was not answering someone elses question.

  8. why on earth would I want to make myself feel absolutely shite by not eating carbs?Tried it once, enough.

    • Everyone is different. You will feel the effects of lowered carbs initially, especially if you are addicted to/dependant on them. Once ketosis kicks in, youll be amazed how it feels.

    • What’s not to like about having steak, chicken and fish …. it’s just eating good quality food… which you should be doing anyways

    • yea a key to drop your insulin dependence is to take apple cider vinegar makes you feel nothing

    • Dennis Nowland takes 1 to 3 weeks for your body to adapt. After that, you could care less about carbs. Your statement indicates you are probably insulin resistant now and dont know it…

  9. Hello. Im not a native English speaker, and Id like to know if you said glycine or leucine, please.

  10. Im at 14 percent body fat at 203. 62. I want to get down to 11 percent while maintaining my weight. What should I do to achieve this goal?

    • Keto sounds like the perfect diet for you as it is muscle sparing. If you are trying to maintain and get shred you simply need to find the right macro ratio that will help you achieve your goal.

    • Phat Bastard how do you achieve this? Would you eat around maintenance calories. Would this mean slower progress but maintaining weight while changing body composition.

    • Our simply follow a Ketogenic Diet and stay the bodyweight you are whilst lowering your body fat %! There is no valid reason to drop body weight as suggested by Desert Eagle!

    • BunnyBUNGALO seeing as nobody responded I’m under the impression you got an answer for this at some point, but it’s pretty hard to do both at the same time. You can get to 11% body fat, but you’ll probably need to drop to maybe 197 or so(I didn’t do the math as to what one percent is for your body type, just humor me), and then if you want to get back up to 200 you slowly build it back up

  11. for 6 days a week I like to eat high-protein high-fat very little to no carbs…. then one day a week cramdown whatever you want… but I dont stress about ketosis or 40 carbs or 60 carbs or 10 carbs I just dont feel like I need carbs to function and have energy and then one day a week I cram down a bunch of pastries and junk because it tastes good LOL

    • Youre probably taking 4-5 days to readapt to ketosis after every carb binge so you basically only have two good training days to work with, and theyre back to back too. Youll probably do much better picking either ketosis or a regular bodybuilding diet and sticking with it

  12. I do OMAD Keto and supplement with L-leucine two hours after dinner. Adding muscle, no problem.

  13. Yes, low carb and Keto diets are designed purposely to prevent insulin and blood sugar crashes as you would experience on a high carb diet. This way fat loss is easier by depleting the body of as much glycogen as possible. FYI bodybuilders and bodybuilding shows are not good examples for people to reference because they are on steroids.

  14. hey Chris if Im trying to put on a good amount of muscle what would you recommend?

  15. So Sir I am Just trying to quantify the process of gaining muscle on a Ketogenic Diet, I am Pretty Low Fat % I would say 9-10% and Lift Everyday, I genuinely feel much better when I am on Keto as compared to a High Carb Diet Plan, But What would I have to do if I wanted to gain more lean Muscle mass?? Would you suggest Increasing my proteins and fats?? What would be the Ideal way to go about this. Thanks In Advance and Keep up the good work.

    • I watched a video on the Golden Era bodybuilders. These guys were taking in close to 5000 calories on the Keto diet. Its all about a lot of fat.

    • up your caloric intake  and dont go overboard on protein which may lead to gluconeogenesis.

  16. Are there any benefits of a properly portioned normal diet (F/C/P) over a ketogenic diet? Based on what youre saying it sounds like the most optimal diet for the majority of people.

  17. You failed to mention that a low carb diet increases insulin sensitivity, so you dont need as much insulin to have the same effect.

    • @Terje Oseberg Sir,, I am a professional natural bodybuilder,, doing gym about 18 years ,, and doing fasting about just 1 year,,, I think we should talk about it briefly,,, we can both help each other

      You can see a video about me, 36 eggs a day keto diet,,, made by goldenerabookworm

      My instagram handle is amitkumarghoshofficial
      And my whatsapp no, is 9062348881

      Hope u response sir,,, love from India🇮🇳💪

    • @Terje Oseberg Theres a lot of other interesting things about this, having looked into carnivore. Things that compete with glucose for absorption for example, like vitamin C, so you can get enough just from animal foods because of that if doing zero carb. Im sure zero fiber must help things too. Really interesting how these things work out, I think maybe you need half the magnesium and potassium too. Theres quite a bit of potassium in a raw pasture-raised steak, I think like 500mg per half pound or so, so 1.5lbs would give you most what you need in a day. I might just try a 1.5lbs chuck roast a day too, the ribeyes are at least higher fat though so Im getting the mostly raw fat.

      Another thing Ive heard is that carbs are best on their own, even without protein or much anyway. Like before physical activity to boost performance only(like 4 tablespoons of raw honey), or maybe after fasted training to increase lean muscle while youre most insulin sensitive with moderate protein, and zero-carb carnivore mostly otherwise. I think carbs with fats in particular can cause gut dysbiosis. Thats according to Frank Tufano, he didnt mention after fasted training though that was Thomas Delauer.

    • @Brian S, Youre saying that fat and carbs should be consumed separately. Ive heard that too. However Im skeptical because fat isnt absorbed into the body the same way carbs are. Carbs are absorbed into your blood and pass through your liver. Fat enters your lymphatic system and then enters your blood elsewhere. Theres a bit of a delay for the fat that you just ate to enter your system.

      Therefor, if you switch to a low fat/high carb day, youll still be releasing fat from your lymphatic system into your blood while youre consuming carbs.

      The idea of separating the two is so that theres no fat in your blood to store while your insulin levels are elevated during your high carb period. Therefor I believe that keeping carbs and fat separate is something you need to do weeks at a time rather than meals or days at a time.

    • @Pradip Kumar ghosh, Why do you believe that its necessary to consume fruits and vegetables? Do you have a reason, or is it just because youve heard it all your life?

      BTW, Avocados are a fruit, and leafy greens are vegetables. Both are low carb. Some walnuts, almonds, and peanuts are OK now and then as well. But none of this is necessary.

      Carbohydrates and Vitamin-C compete for enzymes in your body, so when you eliminate the carbs from your body, your Vitamin-C requirements are significantly reduced.

      You should also know that fat consists of a glycerol molecule and 3 fatty acids. When you burn fat, youre burning the 3 fatty acids and leaving the glycerol floating around. The glycerol makes its way to your liver where its converted to glucose. The more fat you burn, the more glucose you make. When youve been in ketosis long enough, your blood glucose levels can actually increase while youre working out because youre burning too much fat and therefor producing too much glucose. Of course, it doesnt increase very much because your muscles will start to consume that glucose.

    • @Terje Oseberg thankyou so much sir,,, for changing my mind…
      But,, is it necessary to eat fruits and vegetables,,

  18. People should stop looking at a low carb diet as a keto diet or assuming low carb is keto. Forget low-carb, forget keto, just go carnivore. Nature gave us the meat in its perfect ratio, thats red meat. Roughly about 50/50 split in fat and protein. Remember, Keto was specifically developed to control seizures in epileptic children. Id wager to say that nearly all of us looking at low-carb/keto diet isnt an epileptic child.

    Seriously forget keto, just go carnivore and call it a day

  19. Study are great and all but from what I seen is the guys that go full keto get skinny to me which is a good look for them but not the look I want I havent seen a body that use full on keto and have the physique I admire

    • @Lifetap lol you seriously think he reached that physique by doing keto first?

    • Doing keto will help you to burn as much fat as you want to burn. You can start doing keto, then when you get your fat levels to your own personal preference, you can stop and just maintain by adding some carbs back in.

    • You could just increase your daily caloric intake to get what you want. You dont need to increase carbs to do so.

  20. Superb video and info was spot on, keep up the great work my friend.

    • RXLs PLAYSTATION DOMINATION actually thats bullshit as theres tons of people doing the carnivore diet strictly only meat ZERO carbs ZERO Sugars just MEAT Shawn Baker I believe his is name hes a fucking monster and he only eats meat not a single fucking carb so it dont fuel muscles like people think and he does his endurance workouts

    • Why will it take longer? Carbs have 0 to do with building muscle. Not only that they arent even an essential micronutrient for the human body! Your statement is pure bullshit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go back to playing your stupid video games. Stop spouting your IGNORANCE!

  21. Look up right here on YouTube the larry scott low carb bulking and follow that and u wood put on a shit load of good solid weight

  22. so as for the study of lean body mass the keto would probably win due to the fact that you lose fat and retain muscle and the western version u gain muscle and fat but the study doesnt go all the to the end of the cutting phase so its not really a good measure of anything besides fat loss right?

  23. Been training for 7 years and been deep into low carb and suffered from an eating disorder for quite some time. However, EVERY time Ive been upping up my carbs Ive been making progress like nothing else – thats my personal experience.

    • cause yo u shouldnt just stay low carb indefinitely. you should shock the system with some carb refeeds for sure.

    • @fukthegoog hard to bulk up on low carb high protein diet….protein is too satiating and has an insanely high rate of metabolic expenditure of 35%. So even when you eat at or 500 calories of maintenance you still end up in a calorie deficit

    • Niclas Norby yes becuase your muscle needs carbs to rebuild muscle and energy

    • If youre low carb you have to be high fat, lots of details missing like how long, what sort of progress, are you on roids? Some peoples definition of low carbs is pretty high for a ketogenic diet.

  24. Im 510 172lbs around 12.8% bf, i want to get down to around 9-10% bf, anything you recommend for me?

    • Stay consistent, stay hydrated, and make sure that the food youre eating is nutritionally dense. Remember that 12.8% is a healthy bodyfat, so your body isnt going to just give that 2% up. Youve got to stay consistent with your plan for a while.

    • Darius I’ve been in a .5 lb a week deficit for 2 months and just recently went on maintenance calories. Feel pretty good

    • cipriano lopez yes, but dont go crazy. Too much calorie restricting can cause a lot of problems with your hormones. Or so ive read

  25. I have on the keto since January, but i am on cruise may 7th to the 14th. Even thogh i never drink alcohol i will be eating very good. Do u think that week will hurt me sir?

    • Well its a cruise, so you can really get whatever kind of food you want. That means that you can probably eat ok most of the time. Still you should enjoy yourself with a couple of meals. Id definitely recommend doing intermittent fasting while on the cruise and that should give you some wiggle room if you have a couple of cheat meals throughout the week.

  26. Did you gain strength on keto,beacuse im a amateur lifter and i have fat to lose but every week i gain strength so i was wondering if your strength stopped

    • Yes I did get quite strong while I was still training for strength and muscle mass: I really think it depends on the person though and becoming fat adapted can take time. I benefited from it and got a whole lot from it in both body composition and strength, but Ive also been fat adapted for years.

  27. Too bad all these bull shitters cant post their pics to show how swollen they are compared to you.

  28. The problem is young people are better suited to assimilate carbs than older people, and this is scientific fact. The problem is as you get older your diet and diet habit is about large amounts of carbs. As you get to 40+ carb synthesis is more difficult but the habit is already ingrained. You need to adapt both your diet and your routine as you age. Also how deep you can go as with your hair nails and ears, your joints continue to grow, so your flexibility decreases. Both is the correct diet, its a matter of adaptation due to age that needs to be addressed

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