Keto Diet

Keto Diet and Bodybuilding : Does It Work?

keto diet and bodybuilding

Wondering about putting together a keto diet and bodybuilding, or how to build muscle on a keto diet? Good question. After all, some people think that the way to get bigger, more biceps means eating a high-carb diet. This idea contradicts the standard keto diet, in which you typically aim for less than 50 grams of net carbs per day.

So, how do you do it? Start with these guidelines in this article, then try to increase muscle growth on your keto bodybuilding meal plan.

Can I do Keto and Bodybuilding together?

Given the energy demands required for high intensity weight lifting, a ketogenic lifestyle is not really compatible with a bodybuilding program. While it is possible to train on a ketogenic diet, your body will need carbohydrates for serious bodybuilding activities, something that is obviously lacking during ketosis.

You will need five to seven grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight for weight lifting. Based on the carbohydrate intake imposed by the ketogenic diet above, this is fine if you weigh 13 pounds.

Carbohydrates provide fuel for muscles, which store important macronutrients as glycogen to power through strength training sessions. A lack of glucose in the diet means less glycogen stores in the muscles, resulting in compromised athletic performance.

Men and women who lift weights twice or more a week need at least half of their calories to come from carbohydrate sources. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should get your fill of pasta, pizza and white bread. Quality carbohydrates with fiber, such as beans, quinoa and whole wheat bread, are what you should favor.

Can I Build Muscle on Keto?

The typical muscle building diet is high in carbohydrates, and for good reason. Studies have shown that diets high in carbohydrates are the backbone of muscle building. Therefore, it may seem counterintuitive to think that you can build muscle while still reducing your carbohydrate intake significantly.

In fact, for many people, muscle gain with keto foods is achievable and sustainable. With a few small tweaks to traditional keto foods, you can gain weight while eating a high-fat diet. Below, we’ll cover dietary guidelines and caveats to keep in mind.

What are some eating guidelines for a keto bodybuilding diet?

Various adaptations of the keto diet have emerged that are relevant to the actual use of the diet by the general public (especially athletes, etc.). Here are some possible variations:

  • Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): It was commonly used for fat loss before it was classified as “ketosis” – it was also known as carbohydrate cycling. It requires a low-carb day (keto day) followed by a high-carb/low-fat day (‘refeed day’). A “refeed day” restores glycogen levels so that high intensity training can be maintained, while also allowing for fat loss through a low-carb keto day.
  • Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): Ketogenic-based, carbohydrates are provided in structured time increments around the training sessions.
  • High-protein/modified keto diet: It is similar to the standard keto diet, but with added protein due to the increased demands of training.

Best Keto Foods For Bodybuilding


As pleasant as it sounds, getting 75 percent of your calories from fat may not be the easiest task. Adapting a bodybuilding keto diet is not simply a matter of loading each meal with saturated fat-heavy foods such as bacon and cream. Chemically altered trans fats must be specifically avoided.

To stay healthy as you enter ketosis, it is best to consume natural fat sources such as meats and nuts supplemented with a variety of oils (including monounsaturated oils such as olive oil, canola oil, flax oil and avocado; and saturated oils such as coconut oil, butter, egg yolks and those found in red meat). Omega-3 essential fatty acids (mainly from fish oil) should be included in large amounts.


Remember, the main goal in achieving ketosis is to keep protein at 20% of your total daily calories, preferably consuming protein with a higher fat content, while ensuring that the quality of the protein source remains high. For example, dark-colored chicken is preferable to white chicken because it has a higher fat content. Also, be sure to check any processed meats to ensure that the carb composition of such products will not keep you from reaching of falling out of ketosis.


High-carbohydrate foods such as rice, potatoes (and other starchy carbohydrates), and especially monosaccharide-rich carbohydrates such as sweets, fruit juices, and high-glycemic fruits such as bananas, are not suitable for consumption in a keto diet. Instead, aim for low-carbohydrate carbohydrates; for example, cabbage, spinach, and green beans.


Despite what you may have heard, the ketogenic diet is not as counterproductive to long-term bodybuilding progress as many people believe. In fact, when done correctly, the opposite is true. The biggest mistake people make when going on a ketogenic diet is sabotaging the effectiveness of this approach with ineffective planning and poor follow-through. Just like bodybuilding and other things in life, once you think it’s worth it and therefore stick to it, give the keto diet your full attention. Include the right foods and the proper ratios and you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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