Keto is known for weight loss, not muscle gain. The latter is more often associated with diets that place protein above all other macronutrients. Keto dieters eat less protein than the typical bodybuilder, but that doesn’t mean bodybuilders can’t hit their fitness goals on Keto. A moderate amount of protein is plenty to increase muscle mass while sticking to a Ketogenic diet. Here’s why.
Bodybuilders Traditionally Turn to Protein
Bodybuilders swear by eating copious amounts of protein to score muscle gain. Many follow the rule of thumb that “a person should consume one gram of protein for every pound of body weight.” For someone who weighs 200 pounds, that’s 200 grams of protein every day!
Keto doesn’t let you follow this high-protein regimen. Ideally, people on the Keto diet should get 15-20% of their daily calories from protein. This ratio falls far below the 30-40% of a typical bodybuilder. Eat more than 20%, and the body will convert excess protein into glucose. Even though you’re barely eating any carbs, too much protein will kick you right out of Ketosis.
How to Build Muscle on Keto
Despite sticking to a moderate-protein diet, people on Keto can still boost their muscle growth. Since you’re allowed less protein than the typical bodybuilder, you’ll need to make some wise decisions about the food you eat to get the most out of protein and see huge gains.
Here are three tips to keep in mind as you factor protein into a Ketogenic diet.
1. Add high-quality protein to your diet
When you’re on the Keto diet, think quality over quantity. You don’t want to waste your allotted calories from protein on processed burger patties and protein powders packed with hard-to-digest fillers. Stick to high-quality animal sources of protein because these will supply the nine essential amino acids your body can’t produce on its own. Add high-quality protein options to your grocery list like eggs, unsweetened Greek yogurt, hard cheeses, turkey, chicken and ocean fish.
2. Eat your protein strategically
You might be tempted to scarf down a whole steak right after an intense strength workout. But when you’re on Keto, the best approach is evenly distributing your protein intake throughout the day. The body can only digest a limited amount of protein before it stops contributing to muscle growth. Spread the daily calories from protein across three to four meals. That way, you avoid overloading the body with excess protein that could potentially turn into glucose.
3. Don’t fear calories: embrace them!
Many dieters who want to lose weight focus on restricting their calories. However, a calorie deficit will make it extremely difficult to preserve and gain new muscle. The body relies on calories to build and repair muscle tissue. This means that to experience muscle growth, you actually need a calorie surplus. Eat when you’re hungry—your muscles need it!
Keto Can Keep You Lean and Strong
Keto gives you the best of both worlds: weight loss and muscle growth. By sticking to the recommended ratios of fat, protein and carbs, you can shed the extra pounds while beefing up your body composition. That’s nearly impossible to achieve in a bodybuilder’s high-protein diet. Keto comes out on top once again!
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