Bodybuilding & The Keto Diet

Is the famous ketogenic diet suitable for bodybuilders?

The Keto (ketogenic) Diet is characterised by a high fat, high protein, and super low carbohydrate ratio. So can it ever be suitable (or even optimal) for bodybuilding? Does building muscle demand carbs, or can muscle gain happen with protein and fats alone?

What Is The Keto Diet?

Don’t mistake a true keto diet for a low carb diet. Going keto doesn’t mean slashing carbs and bringing your protein up high. True keto means tracking your response to carb intake and manipulating carbs where necessary to keep yourself in ketosis. Protein should be moderate (not high) and fats should be very high – the majority of your calories.

A keto diet should see 70%-75% daily calories from fats, 15%-20% from protein and 10% max from carbs. And that includes the trace carbs in berries or salad leaves!

It’s important to track your body’s response to the keto diet so you can tell when you are in ketosis. This is the entire point of being keto. Ketosis is a metabolic process where the body burns fat for energy.

The History Of Keto Dieting

Ketogenic dieting has been popular for a while and has plenty of scientific research behind it. This 2015 meta analysis and systematic review looked at keto diets and appetite suppression and this 2018 study looked at the effects of keto on body composition, bloods, and athletic performance in Crossfit athletes

Can You Gain Muscle Eating Keto

If carbohydrates are important for building and retaining muscle tissue, how can keto be a good approach for bodybuilders? Despite misconceptions, there’s actually no evidence to show that people lose muscle on a high fat, moderate protein diet like Keto. Anecdotally, people high energy and good training performance. This may be due to the protein sparing effect, where the body uses fat (not muscle tissue) for fuel. And a good keto diet should mean you are eating sufficient calories to support muscle gain. The human body things carbohydrates are an easy form of energy for training, but they are not actually necessary. A proper keto diet will leave you with lots of energy.

Is Keto Right For You?

Of course the best diet for you is one that fits your lifestyle, that you will enjoy, and can stick to. So if you really like eating carbs and don’t much enjoy bacon, cheese, salmon and avocado then you might struggle to have fun with keto. But if you enjoy high fat foods, can set aside the carbs, and like poring over data feedback from your body then you could do well on keto.

Stock up on high fat foods, get yourself some coconut oil or MCT powder, grab some keto sticks and get going!


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