Updated Sep 13th, — Written by Craig Clarke. Medical review by Dr. Frank Aieta, ND. A common belief among bodybuilders is that carbohydrates are essential for building the best physiques. However, carbohydrates have little to do with the success of many bodybuilders. The key to improving body composition is not through little intricacies like eating the right amount of carbs at the right times. The best bodies are built by implementing five simple principles, whether you are on the ketogenic diet or not. What you are really looking for is the tried and true bodybuilding principles that are backed by decades of science. With every workout, you are telling your cells what they need to adapt to. This is why it is always important to make your workouts more challenging little by little.
Believe it or not, it’s definitely possible to gain lean body mass while on the super-low-carb ketogenic diet. But it won’t happen by accident! Here’s what you need to do. When you hear that someone is following a ketogenic diet, rarely do you hear they’re also trying to build muscle while doing so. The keto diet has a wide range of associations these days—fat loss, mental clarity, health and biohacking—but getting huge isn’t usually one of them. But there’s merit, and research, to support running a ketogenic diet to preserve and build muscle, too. Bodybuilders have been following ketogenic diets—if not necessarily by that name—as part of show prep for decades, for instance. But during a growth or maintenance phase? Yes, it can work then, too.
Even though thousands of user testimonials and dozens of research studies have solidified the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet to promote and sustain weight and fat loss, this diet has many more applications than slimming down. One of those applications is for athletes and individuals who want to get leaner, stronger, and even pack on muscle. Should bodybuilders be adopting keto? This article will help to clear the air on the keto diet as it relates to muscle building and dispel some common misheld beliefs along the way. We want to make the case backed by evidence that you can maintain and even build muscle mass while adhering to a strict ketogenic diet. There are a few biochemical pathways that govern protein synthesis. These anabolic growth-promoting pathways are activated by things like nutrients from food and, perhaps most importantly, exercise.