Following a keto lifestyle is not an easy one, but it is undoubtedly rewarding. Most people who follow keto seem to have adequate information on keto meals and keto diet plans, but the same can’t be said for keto exercises. Hypertrophy exercises that include resistance and weight training are best-suited to those following a keto diet.
Also, many keto exercise plans do not mention enough about bodybuilding or increasing muscle mass. Several fitness enthusiasts assume that bodybuilding won’t be easy as keto doesn’t allow for carbohydrate intake.
However, this is not the case. It’s all about eating carbs in adequate quantities during specific times of the day. Also, when it comes to bodybuilding while maintaining ketone levels, the key is to focus on getting enough protein intake.
In this article, we’ll discuss a few tips and tricks by which you can focus on bodybuilding while following keto.
Keto Food For Bodybuilding
In this section, we’ll discuss two major tips with regards to what you need to consume when attempting to build muscle on a keto diet.
Regulate Your Protein Intake
When it comes to bodybuilding on a regular diet, the first thing most physical fitness trainers will tell you is to increase your protein intake. However, the same advice does not apply to those following a keto diet. Increasing your protein intake to pre-keto levels can be a significant mistake among bodybuilders.
When you’re on a keto diet and increase your protein intake, your body (which is deprived of carbs) can end up converting the excess protein into glucose. This is sure to get your body out of ketosis. Not only does this reduce the fat-burning properties of keto, but it also causes you to feel lethargic and tired during your workouts.
A good way out of this would be to consume enough high-quality proteins to make up for the inadequate protein intake. Ideally, you should consume any protein that contains essential amino acids.
A keto diet doesn’t contain any grains, etc. that don’t contain enough amino acids anyway. Instead, it makes use of different kinds of high-quality proteins that are derived from a variety of meats. A few examples of high-quality proteins that are obtained from meat and other animal-based products are:
- Greek yogurt
- Full-fat milk
If you fulfill your protein intake using these sources, you’ll be sure to stay in ketosis and obtain all you need to build muscle. This is mainly because these sources are rich in amino acids, which not only help increase muscle mass but preserve it as well.
Maintain A Calorie Surplus
If you wish to build muscle on a keto diet, you’ll need to consume some high-quality proteins (like the ones we’ve mentioned above) at least 3-4 times during the day. If you follow this regularly enough, you’re sure to see some great results (when coupled with a strict workout regimen, of course).
However, regulating your protein intake is not enough to increase your muscle mass and achieve a toned, sculpted look. You need to maintain a calorie surplus. We know a calorie surplus seems odd when spoken about with regards to ketosis.
However, you cannot expect your muscles to grow if you do not provide them with enough calories. A calorie deficit will do you no favors if bodybuilding is your ultimate goal here. Therefore, you need to eat in a calorie surplus and distribute your protein intake over the day to build muscle.
Think of calories as the fuel without which you will not be able to keep up with your workout plan or build adequate muscle. Sure, you may end up gaining a small amount of body fat when you follow this, but you can tackle this by staying low on carbohydrates. The main thing you need to bear in mind here is to consume enough calories to maintain your gains on a keto workout.
In this section, we’ll tackle some of the best keto workouts you can engage in while following a strict keto diet. None of these exercises are particularly complex or all that different from regular bodybuilding workouts. However, they are known to be effective on keto which is why we’ll discuss them here.
These exercises are mainly aimed at allowing your muscles to grow thicker. In other words, this workout is what will help you achieve those big muscle gains you see on the average bodybuilder. Hypertrophy exercises help grow your muscle fibers which allow them to appear larger with regular workouts.
Among the most effective hypertrophy exercises are weight training and lifting. These involve various stages of conditioning for tension, damage, and metabolic stress.
Let us discuss a few workouts that are compatible with a keto diet to help you build muscle effectively:
This may well be the most popular form of hypertrophy exercise as they’re highly effective and known to provide users with some quick results. Resistance training on a keto diet can help you pile on some lean muscle mass, which helps you achieve a more toned physical appearance.
You can use a combination of bodyweight exercises (such as squats) and equipment such as resistance bands, etc. to begin your resistance training journey on keto. The key to achieving large muscle gains with resistance training is using a progressive approach during your workouts.
In other words, you need to continually challenge your body and overload your muscles to see some gains in the long-run. You can achieve the same by gradually increasing the weight you lift or increasing the number of reps you’re doing for each exercise. You could also try and decrease your rest between sets to increase resistance.
Another viable method by which you can increase resistance during your training sessions is adjusting the intensity of your workouts. The most common method of adjusting workout intensity is speeding up every movement involved in a given exercise.
Increasing the time you take to hold your position while performing an exercise too can work well at increasing the intensity of your workout. Such holds are generally referred to as ‘isometric holds’.
While resistance training, in general, does involve several bodyweight exercises (such as calisthenics), the most effective method by which you gain muscle is by engaging in weight training exercises. These are mechanical tension exercises that are intense on your muscles.
Using mechanical tension exercises is the best way to build muscle for those following keto and are relying on their protein intake to achieve large gains. For those on keto, lifting heavy weights using small reps would likely be more effective than performing several reps using lighter weights.
The ideal weight training exercises for a keto workout would be about 15 reps of heavy weight lifting. The focus here should be on harnessing as much power as you can for each rep. In doing so, you will be able to increase the amount of weight you’re lifting every few weeks.
Additionally, increasing the amount of power you pump into each rep will help you gain muscle mass reasonably quickly and show you promising results within the first few weeks itself. The applied force maximization that comes into play here is the key to determining whether or not your keto workout will be successful.
Now that we’ve discussed the best exercises for a keto bodybuilding workout, let us discuss another important factor that can determine your muscle gains: muscle damage.
While this may sound foreboding, muscle damage is crucial to achieving muscle gains. Now, your muscles shouldn’t be too damaged in ways that can negatively impact your workout, but there should certainly be enough damage to your solid muscle mass.
A good way to ensure you pile on some gains while damaging your muscles just the right amount is to workout with different muscle groups on different days of the week. This will give your muscles adequate time to build themselves after the damage thereby providing you with some gains.
In giving your muscles some rest, you’re also giving them time to recover from any soreness that resulted from a particularly strenuous workout session. Moreover, trying to exercise sore and aching muscles is sure to interfere with your form. Working out with bad form can do more harm than good to your body in the long run.
In conclusion, following a keto workout regime is not all that different from following a regular workout regime, with a few key exceptions. Focusing on treating your muscles with a healthy mix of strain and rest can help you achieve gains on a keto diet like never before.
Besides, none of the exercises we’ve discussed above are complex or unusual to perform. You will be able to find adequate information on specific exercises online via resources such as e-books.
One such e-book is ‘Keto Fitness: The Ketogenic Diet’ by Epic Rios. This book contains adequate information on bodybuilding for those following a keto diet. Readers are encouraged to follow a specific keto workout that’ll help them build a strong, athletic body.