It\’s a widely held belief that we need carbohydrates for successful workout recovery. Reason being that carbohydrates help replenish glycogen. So if that is the case, does that mean that Building Muscle on Keto Diet is impossible?
So there are several misconceptions doing rounds that confuse a lot of people and especially the ones who want to start with the Keto Diet. Throwing myths around about carbs being necessary to build muscle and that the keto diet can conjure it.
Since the keto diet has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is called a low carb, high-fat, and a moderate-protein diet that many people use to lose weight. And also links with various other health benefits too.
Alas, people assume that building muscle on a keto diet is close to impossible. This is because low carb diets restrict carbs, which are known to promote the release of insulin. So Insulin, an anabolic hormone that helps shuttle nutrients into cells, which helps create conditions that drive muscle growth.
So with all of the conflicting information about this topic, it is easy to become discouraged and think that you can’t get the health benefits of keto without losing muscle mass, strength, and endurance. Luckily, this isn’t the case at all.
Truth is that, with a deeper understanding of how the body works and what it needs when carbohydrates are being restricted it is possible to experience the health benefits of keto, increase muscle mass, and improve exercise performance at the same time. So? no carbs required.
Are Carbs Required?
Yes, of course, they are, they promote insulin release and help restore glycogen in the muscles. As with the carbs, you gain mass quicker, but that’s because you’re also gaining fat. But what exactly is glycogen? You see, it’s a molecule that our bodies use as energy.
So after a tough workout, your glycogen stores become depleted. If in case you are not familiar, it fuels much of your workouts. And we do need to replenish that lost glycogen as soon as possible. And failing to do so is bound to slow down your recovery.
Also specifically, taking carbohydrates within a couple of hours after vigorous training is believed to:
- Increases water content within muscle tissue
- Spikes insulin which is an important anabolic hormone
- Lowers levels of cortisol, a catabolic hormone
- Replenishes muscle glycogen
Still, many of these claims are now being questioned. Also, some are not all-important for the average person.
So How Does It Work Without Carbs?
You can still refill glycogen stores in muscles by following a keto diet, as it is great for building muscle as well. This is because the protein intake is relatively high and you’re unlikely to lose muscle mass.
So even if your protein intake is low, the keto diet can still elicit a muscle sparing effect. Further, the ketone body called beta-hydroxybutyrate, produced by keto-adapted individuals in higher quantities decreases leucine oxidation and promotes protein synthesis.
Besides that, carbohydrate restriction provides an adrenergic stimulus to the body that has been found to prevent muscle breakdown. So in other words, when blood sugar levels are low, the body releases adrenaline, which prevents muscle proteins from being broken down.
Just because ketones and adrenaline can help preserve muscle mass, this doesn’t mean that you should eat less protein. So you must eat the appropriate amount of protein that you need to meet your goals. And if you are unsure of what your nutrient intake should be.
Although putting mass on may be slower on a keto diet, but that’s because you will primarily be putting lean mass on (without the extra fat). So if you need to put total mass on quicker with the keto diet, then you can achieve your goals through other methods.
Post Workout Keto Foods That Help Building Muscle
1. Whey Protein
Amino acid leucine is necessary for muscle growth. Whey protein is your ultimate source of leucine. Since whey is a complete protein meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, including muscle-building branched-chain amino acids. Obviously, you can’t synthesize essential amino like leucine. So you have to get them through food or supplementation.
2. MCT Oil
Medium-chain triglyceride oil or MCT oil is a type of fat derived from coconut oil. So you’ve probably heard of it, maybe even had some. Good thing about MCT oil? When added to some drinks or meals even just a few grams can get you into ketosis pretty quickly.
Pastured high-quality meat is an excellent source of fat and protein. Because of this, it makes a great post-workout meal. Also, Meat is just like whey is it\’s a complete protein.
A cup of avocado contains 22 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein and, 13 grams of carbohydrate. Isn’t 13 grams of carbs too high? Well, not in the presence of dietary fiber. Basically, an avocado has 10 grams of fiber and this fiber offsets the carb load by limiting your blood sugar response.
So, another high-quality grass-fed, wild-caught fish is an excellent source of fat and protein. Also fish, like whey, is a complete protein. Also, fish is super keto-friendly especially the fattier choices like wild-caught salmon or a nice grass-fed rib eye.
Well in addition to protein and fat, salmon also contains the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. Also, Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and minimize post-workout soreness.
6. Green Leafy Vegetables
Macronutrient requirements on keto are simple enough — fat, protein, carbs. So you already know the best ratios. However, Micronutrients are not so simple. So you need dozens of nutrients for everything from brain health to respiration to workout recovery.
Wish to add more fat to your diet without chugging olive oil? It\’s easy, just eat nuts like almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios. As these are all high fat, low carb, keto-friendly snacks. Nuts aren’t just good sources of macronutrients and they’re also good sources of micronutrients.
8. Keto-Friendly Bars
Well, it\’s hard to find a keto-friendly protein bar. But most of them have way too many carbs. That\’s even worse those carbs often come from straight-up sugar. Since too many carbs spike your blood glucose, this raises your insulin levels, which slams the door on ketosis.
Always check the Nutritional Information of the product before purchasing it or incorporating it into your diet.
An egg in nature is a ketogenic miracle: high fat, moderate protein, very low carb. Protein from an egg is the only protein that rivals whey for efficiency, bioavailability, and digestibility. Which means that eggs like whey are a great choice to support your body post-workout.
10. Collagen Powder
While you can use these foods to burn fat, there are things you need to consider if you’re very active:
1. Increasing Sodium Intake
Utilizing more sodium on a keto diet. Among 3,000 and 5,000 mg of this important electrolyte is necessary to maintain normal metabolism and hydration levels, especially if you’re active.
2. Carb Cycling
CKD or Cyclical ketogenic diet involves cycling between the standard keto diet and a high-carb diet. So this helps restore muscle glycogen to greater levels than you could achieve by maintaining ketosis. The approach seems to work better for athletes than standard keto.
3. Targeting Carb Intake
Also, another option is to target your carbohydrate intake around your workouts. This is called the targeted ketogenic (TKD). This nutritional approach was developed to help fuel workouts and improve post-exercise recovery.
The Bottom Line
Though it involves carefully watching your protein, carb, and fat intake, the keto diet can be as effective as traditional higher-carb diets for building muscle. Simply following the above guidelines can help you plan an effective strategy for building muscle on the keto diet.
Get yourself started today with Customized Diet Plans and Stay tuned for more such ketogenic transformation stories, health content, and recipes! Also, don\’t forget to follow us on Instagram for the daily dose of the Keto Lifestyle!