Most people start their keto diet journey in the hopes of shedding some pounds. The goal is to eat clean and stay lean. But, is bulking on keto possible?
You cannot find a lot of information about this on the internet, but if you have a fair understanding, you can get an idea if it is possible or not. Is keto diet capable of bulking you up? To be honest, it will be difficult. Keeping in mind that the fat gain should be at its minimum, you also need to mind your caloric surplus.
Can You Really Bulk Up on Keto?
So, a quick answer: Yes, it is certainly possible. In fact, carbs (which are greatly avoided in the keto diet) are not that big of a deal in protein synthesis. This process is the most important one in muscle production. That is not to say carbs are unimportant. These carbs are very helpful in preventing the breakdown of protein that goes straight to anabolism, but they do not have any link to protein synthesis itself.
Unfortunately, it is not that easy. Just because you can jumpstart your bulking session without carbs does not really mean everything will go accordingly. It is much more complex than that.
Carbs are usually raised during this period because the glycogen stores need to be elevated to be adequate enough to support weight training. In the event that glycogen is not enough, the body will try to source out energy from amino acids and fats instead. So instead of being able to increase your muscle mass, you might wound up losing some.
Of course, we can argue that if you are in a state of ketosis, the number of fats and proteins is higher than normal. If they get used up because there are no carb sources available, it would not really be that much of an issue that it would have been.
Normally though, your body utilizes ATP after a few exercises. Once that is done, it uses up the stored phosphocreatine which eventually breakdown glycogen to create ATP again. With the low levels of glycogen due to depleted carbohydrate levels, fats will be used to provide the body with energy. While this seems to be the whole idea of ketosis, it might have an effect on your protein synthesis. The body needs carbs as an energy source and this is necessary to build nice muscles.
There is evidence that the ketogenic diet works well in building muscles while simultaneously decreasing your fat percentage. Unfortunately, there are some questionable things on the research done. Some studies do not provide equal amounts of food to their study subjects. Most keto groups are provided with more in comparison to the control groups. Also, when you want to gain weight, a diet such as a keto aimed to lose weight seems like an ironic option.
Bulking on keto might be challenging because it will be harder to get more fat. The problem is that most people resort to eating more to gain muscle. That is not true. You only need a couple of additional calories to reach your goal.
How Do You Build More Muscle?
Imagine your maintenance is about 2500 calories of food a day. By simply adding around 300 calories, you are all set. Anything beyond that quantity will just be stored as fat in your body. If you do this, you will not have to overeat on fats and proteins just to bulk up. It can be exhausting and quite depressing after some time.
There is quite a concern about how macronutrients may not really affect the body. How the body works is quite amusing. It can do a swell job adapting to changes, big or small.
It is really possible to build muscles while in a state of ketosis, but it is never the most ideal one. It would be a lot easier if you choose to incorporate some carbs in your diet.
What to Do When Bulking on Keto
Aside from the obvious ways of doing keto, namely avoiding carbs and eating lean protein, here are a few other ways to help you in your bodybuilding mission:
Instead of sitting down and enjoying the comforts of your living room, you need to put in the hard work to be successful in reaching your goals. Perseverance will pay off if you continuously do resistance exercises. There is no need to sigh deeply. This type of workout is a lot of fun. Here are some ideas that will work the best while on keto:
- Compound lifting such as squats, bench press, deadlifts, and pull-ups.
- Stretching exercises like yoga or pilates
- At-home bodyweight exercises such as bodyweight squats, push-ups, and planks.
- Running mixed with sprinting
You can mix your work-outs. The variety will surely keep you on your toes, enjoying things as you go.
Trying out supplements. As we have established earlier, you are most likely running low in glucose because the keto diet does not permit you to have enough glycogen stores. That is why incorporating supplements will come in handy.
Creatine, for one, is a good place to start. It caids in glycogen maintenance. Creatine is very safe and natural and it also prevents muscle loss and building muscle and strength. Aside from those benefits, it also boosts your cognition.
Ketosis has a lot of benefits if you have adapted to the keto diet. When starting out, it is natural to lose mass. But, it is only in the beginning. Your body is craving for glucose because it is not familiar with processing ketones yet.
Avoid cheat days during the first few days of your keto adventure. It will prevent you from reaching a state of ketosis as soon as possible. Once your body is accustomed to this method, you can try giving your body a break and eat your favorite food. However, refrain from binge eating. Some people have a tendency to overindulge and lose their way when they do a cheat meal. If you are one of these people, then try not to ruin your diet.