Building muscle on a ketogenic diet

Building muscle on a ketogenic diet
Build muscle on ketogenic diet?

If you follow the blog, you should be familiar with answers to ketogenic diet questions. It is basically a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet with many therapeutic benefits against diseases like cancer, diabetes, and other.

According to research, it is also the best diet for fat loss.
This article will cover the benefits of a well planned keto meal plan and give answers to the long asked question – Is it possible to pack on muscle while on a ketogenic diet.

The short simple answer: Yes, but it will take a lot of effort and money.

In more detail, bodybuilding requires optimising important hormone levels in the body – Growth Hormone (GH) and Testosterone (T), Insulin (IN) and Thyroid Hormone (TH).
Hormones control just about every aspect of our physiology – from appetite and attraction to the nerves impulses we feel when afraid or challenged. They make our personality and are essential to what makes us human.

Hence, when considering bodybuilding, our hormonal balance will determine our muscle building advantage, rate of metabolism, energy levels during workout as well as protein synthesis that repair worn out muscles.


The principal hormone responsible for building muscle size and strength. A high level of testosterone keeps growth hormone production relatively high which helps to burn down body fat and boost protein synthesis for the repair and production of lean muscle mass.

Growth Hormone

This is an integral component that contributes to the repair, and regeneration of bone, muscle and ligaments. in fat burning process in the body. Just like Testosterone, it is the determining factor for cell reproduction, cell regeneration and protein synthesis in humans and other animals. when growth hormone levels are low, it is common to notice muscle weight loss along with body fat which induces a slow rate of metabolism and a slower rate of fat burning.


This is another important hormone that works contradictory to T and GH levels. A regulatory system for carbohydrate and fat metabolism in our body, Insulin is known to do a lot of good and also harm if not controlled properly.

When we consume food rich in carbohydrate, the pancreas is stimulated to release insulin in surplus which deplete GH levels, hence fat burning is reduced (leading to excess fat storage). If we consume this carbohydrate rich foods before or immediately after a workout, the high amount of insulin results in rapid uptake of glycogen (broken down carbohydrate) and amino acids from fats and protein into the muscle, protein synthesis goes to work in building the muscle.

To minimise fat storage on the other hand will require high GH levels and therefore low insulin by keeping carbohydrate consumption at moderate levels throughout the day.

How does this all add up?

The typical keto diet requires consumption of 75% Fats, 20% Protein and 5% carbohydrate daily to reduce insulin levels and put the body in ketosis state.
This is the appropriate state for the body
But close to a workout, the muscle needs less Growth hormones and more insulin which has primary responsibility of glycogen and amino acids uptake into the muscles so it becomes easier to visualise a diet plan that allows for high carbohydrate intake as fuel during heavy lifting while maintaining a high fat diet through the rest of the day to maintain our body muscle mass.

How to Boost Testosterone and GH Levels naturally
For people who cannot get high testosterone levels naturally, rather than switching to supplements that have adverse effects, you can boost your testosterone and Growth Hormone levels by:

  • Resting more between workouts.
  • Periodic training with heavy weight for lower reps by emphasising
  • Anarobic training (resistance) to aerobic training (cardio)
  • Limit alcohol consumption (you shouldn’t be having alcohol if you really are trying to stay in ketosis).
  • Stay away from sugary carbs with your kept diet




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