Meal Plan Ideas For Low Carb Diet Bodybuilding

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Fit woman holding a dumbbell and a bowl of veggies

Are you looking for low carb diet bodybuilding meals? It might seem tough to build lean muscle mass when you’re going low-carb. Fun Fact: Dietitians generally recommend bodybuilders consume at least 1.2mg of protein per kg of bodyweight. It might seem tough to go low-carb when you’re bodybuilding. It’s worth noting that certain foods like oatmeal and potatoes not usually allowed on most low-carb diets get a green light for low-carb bodybuilding. However, meal plans should consider ingredients that are lower-carb than normal. If you’re on a diet like Keto or Atkins then it’s critical for your meals to be low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) to get the best results.

The general approach for low-carb bodybuilding is the same as other low-carb diets. For example, you’ll want to avoid options like refined grains, white sugar, and sugary fruits. These foods can cause blood sugar spikes, which you’ll want to avoid when on a low-carb diet. A basic meal plan could include bacon & eggs for breakfast, salmon salad for lunch, and beefsteak/mashed potato/asparagus for dinner. These meals are much lower-carb than average yet provide high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrates. This can help to build lean muscle mass.

Low-Carb Diets and Bodybuilding

Carbs provide the body with instant energy. So it might seem tough to build lean muscle on a low-carb diet. That’s especially true for bodybuilding since training often requires high-intensity workouts and quick energy bursts. Carbs are usually the source of such training.

When going low-carb for bodybuilding is a modified Keto. Some fast-acting carbs like oatmeal and potatoes are allowed. This provides energy for tough workouts that bodybuilders need for strength training and especially when lifting heavy.

In those situations, it’s critical to make sure you have the energy needed for tough workouts. Another one where you’ll need energy bursts is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This is another situation where you’ll need quick energy to complete the sets.

One of the keys to low-carb bodybuilding is getting past the myth that you need carbs to build muscle. Carbs are one of the three important macro-nutrients along with protein and fat, which provide energy for people. They’re also needed for athletes, weightlifters, and bodybuilders.

That said, the main issue is a high-carb diet isn’t needed to build lean muscle mass. It turns out low-carb diets like Keto and Atkins can also help to boost strength, build muscle, and burn fat. These diets turn your body into a fat-burning machine!

The number of bodybuilding following an LCHF diet has been spiking in recent years. It turns out some old-school ideas linking carbs to muscle gains are dated and not solid science.

For example, it’s believed that stuff in carbs called “glycogen” is needed to boost insulin, which triggers a response to building muscle. It turns out that various studies show that the ketogenic diet can help to build muscle. It’s also possible without weight gain.

The caveat is carbs are the body’s first choice for energy. So the body will need up to a month or so to adjust.

Low-Carb Diet Bodybuilding: Meal Plans


Bacon & eggs are a traditional low-carb morning meal for low-carb dieters. You get lots of nutrients including quality protein, healthy fat, and vitamins/minerals.

You can go with any kind of egg. Make sure to cook the eggs & bacon in healthy cooking oils like olive oil. This is a better option versus omega-6 oils that are highly-processed and generally less healthy versus omega-3s.

You could make an omelet with some low-carb veggies like spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes. They’re all low-carb and high-nutrient to boost the meal’s overall nutrition.

You can also get some good carbs from a bowl of oatmeal. The best HCLF option is with full-fat milk and some fresh berries or ½ avocado.


Salad is a good option. Health experts recommend eating salad foods daily. The ingredients are mostly low-carb and high-fiber, which can help you feel full for the whole day. You can make your salads more Keto-friendly with some grilled salmon, boiled egg, and feta cheese.

Here are some veggie/herb options:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions

You can also go with a basic oil/vinegar dressing with spices. Olive oil is one of the best options since it’s high in healthy fats. The herbs are low-carb so you won’t have to worry about carb counts.


The three items you’ll want to include are meat protein, starch, and veggies. You could go with a beefsteak, mashed potatoes, and asparagus, for example. The potatoes aren’t “low-carb” but as long as you’re watching your carb count during the day it’s not a problem.

There are various good protein sources. They include pork, beef, chicken, and fish/shellfish. If you’re vegan, you could go with soybeans.

Most veggies are low-carb, so you can add just about any as a side-dish. The main veggies that are high-carb are root vegetables.

Tips for Low-Carb Diet For Bodybuilding

1. Boost fast-acting carbs before workouts

If you’re planning to do high-intensity workouts, it’s important to consume some fast-acting carbs as a pre-workout meal. Some good options include oatmeal and sweet potatoes. The body uses/processes these carbs quickly so you can get an energy boost for high-intensity workouts.

2. Go super-low-carb on rest days

If you’re on a low-carb diet, then it’s especially important to go low-carbon rest days. You’ll be less active so you won’t need extra carbs for cardio or weight-resistance exercises. It will also be easier to stay in ketosis by going super-low-carb.

3. Boost carbs post-workout

This should be within ½ to 2 hours after your workout. This could be 15g to 30g for example. This will help to replenish blood sugar levels after a tough workout.

4. High-carb doesn’t improve low-intensity workouts

It’s important to note that different energy sources fuel different kinds of exercises. For example, carbs are one of the main energy sources for high-intensity workouts including HIIT. However, studies show that carbs don’t help to boost energy during low-intensity workouts.

In general, if you’re on a low-carb diet, it’s best to focus on low/moderate-intensity workouts. Low levels of blood sugar won’t affect these types of exercises and you’ll have plenty of energy from fat.  

5. More food isn’t always better

It might seem logical that since food can provide energy, eating more food provides more exercise benefits. IT doesn’t work that way. You’ll need some carbs for quick energy for your workouts. This will help to fuel muscles so your body can burn more fat in ketosis.

However, there’s no question that a high-carb diet isn’t needed for pre-workout meals. They could cause blood sugar spikes that you’ll have to burn off before your body starts burning fat. Another factor is heavy meals can make you sluggish, which is bad for low carb diet bodybuilding.

Tips for low carb diet bodybuilding

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