What’s up guys, this article is about the reasons why you can’t gaining muscle on Keto. This is a very controversial topic! There’s a lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to muscle building and the Ketogenic diet. I know you’ll hear a lot of people in online forums such as Reddit say that you can build muscle on a Ketogenic diet. Then you hear a lot of people say that you can’t build muscle on a Ketogenic diet.
The research is also confusing. There’s plenty of studies that show that you can’t and plenty of studies that show that you can. You know I think there are reasons that we’re going to talk about in this article for why you can’t gaining muscle. Also, those same reasons are why you see some research that demonstrates a lack of ability to build muscle on a Ketogenic diet.
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The Reason Why You’re Not Building Muscle on Keto Diet.
The biggest thing to take into consideration is that we need to tailor our diet and training by our goals. If your goal is muscle building, then there are adjustments that you need to make to your Ketogenic diet. Those are what we’re going to talk about in this article.
1. You’re Not Eating Enough Protein for Gaining Muscle on Ketogenic Diet.
The first reason why you’re not gaining muscle on Keto is pretty straightforward. One it’s that you’re not eating enough protein. So, protein is it tends to be feared when it comes to keto because of this process known as Gluconeogenesis. This is a process that occurs in the body there where we convert non-carbohydrates substrate into glucose.
Protein can contribute to this. So, protein can be converted to glucose in the body. This is a good process! The processes that we need because our body still needs glucose even if we’re following a Ketogenic diet. This is the same reason why your blood glucose doesn’t go to zero when you’re not eating carbs. It’s because of this process! But what’s important to know about this process is that is it is a demand-driven process, not a supply-driven process.
But your body does not just take excess protein because the supply is there and convert it into glucose. It only does this when it is necessary. So this kind of lack of an understanding of how Gluconeogenesis works leads people to fear that if they have too much protein it’s going to kick them out of Ketosis. This leads to lower protein consumption.
One of the things that we’ve seen in research is that if you are exercising very intensely and following a Ketogenic diet, you will lose muscle if you’re not having an protein. You know we talked about how Ketones and the Ketogenic diet can be Anti-Catabolic. But that doesn’t mean that if you are training at a high-intensity and your protein is really low that you’re gonna get that experience.
Protein is something that you need to make sure that you are repairing your muscles and even building them. So I think for a lot of people out there you just tend to be eating a lot lower protein. Then when we look at the traditional macronutrient requirements of you know 20 to 25 percent of our calories coming from protein 70 to 75 percent of them coming from fat.
We have to remember that these macronutrient recommendations were invented in the 20s when trying to treat children with pediatric drug-resistant epilepsy. That’s a lot different than someone who’s trying to follow the diet and improve their body composition and gain muscles. So just because the diet worked for epilepsy doesn’t mean that that same approach has to be taken when we’re trying to gain muscle.
I think that the 20 to 25 percent protein is too low for somebody who’s trying to optimize muscle building. That you should focus on increasing your protein. You don’t need to worry about having too high of protein. It’s not something that’s going to kick you out of Ketosis. You’re not gonna have harmful effects from it.
There are several therapeutic instances where keeping your protein lower may be beneficial. But I think for a lot of you out there who are just focused on muscle building or improving your body composition, the best thing you can do is increase your protein experiment with it try to get it up to closer to like 35 to 40 percent of your calories. Something that we maybe consider something like a modified Atkins approach. Then see how your body responds, track your progress, and see if that works for you.
2. You’re Not Enough Calories to Gain Muscle on Ketogenic.
In the same category as protein, it kind of leads us into the second reason why you’re not gaining muscle on Keto. That’s not enough calories! A lot of us when we follow Keto, experience the satiety and fullness that leads to us under-eating calories. There’s nothing wrong with calorie restriction.
I think that too many people are probably chronically calorie restricting and severely calorie restricting for too long. But that in general calorie restriction is fine and there are health benefits to it. But if your primary goal is building muscle, then you probably need to focus on making sure that you’re getting enough energy to a lot of your body to do so.
That’s not to say that I don’t think that you can build muscle and calorie deficit because I do believe you can. We’ve seen that in research, we’ve seen the anecdotally, some people experience it themselves, being in a calorie deficit doing DEXA scans after just simply optimizing macronutrients for muscle building.
So I do think that you can do in a calorie deficit. But if you’re trying to optimize it, you want to make sure that you’re getting enough calories and you may want to be in a calorie surplus. When it comes to this you may want to consider tracking. So, Chronometer is a really good app for tracking to make sure you’re getting enough food in. So you should eat enough calories to know help with muscle building.
3. You’re Not Providing the Correct Training Stimulus.
It’s not just about the muscle building, it’s also about the energy to perform well in the gym. So you can elicit those gains. That actually brings us to number three for the reason why you’re not gaining muscle on Keto. That is you’re not providing the correct training stimulus or not providing enough of a training stimulus.
So just as important as our diet is when it comes to muscle building our exercise is also important. If you aren’t do following a training program that is optimizing muscle building, so following a more of a Hypertrophy strength training. Then you’re not going to be maximizing your muscle-building capabilities. That’s something that we really need to consider when we’re trying to build muscles.
If muscle building is your primary goal or it is you know up there as being one of your first and foremost Goals. You need to focus on making sure that your training aligns with that make sure that you’re following a workout program. That is going to elicit more muscle damage, it’s going to you know to produce more lactic acid, you’re going to, be in the higher rep ranges, you’re gonna be putting progressive overload on your muscles and you want to be following a Hypertrophy strength program.
If you’re not doing that and you’re following a strength program, you can still gain muscle on a strength program. But just know that you’re not going to be optimizing muscle building if you’re following a strength program.
4. Electrolyte Deficiency.
When you stop eating carbohydrates, your blood glucose lowers. That causes your insulin levels to also lower. This is a good thing that allows us to tap into fat burning and Ketone production. But this also leads our kidneys to excrete more water which can lead us to dehydration and electrolyte deficiency.
This isn’t a danger or Ketone anyway but it’s a reason why you should replenish your electrolytes and make sure that you’re drinking enough water. Now, one of the electrolytes that tend to be low on a Ketogenic diet is Potassium. This is an electrolyte that plays a very key role in muscle protein synthesis. So, muscle protein synthesis is a process that occurs in the body.
That’s very important for muscle repair and muscle building. We want to have muscle protein synthesis activated when we’re trying to gain muscle. Well, Potassium is a very key regulator in this process of muscle protein synthesis. For anybody out there who’s following Keto and trying to build muscle but you’re an electrolyte deficiency.
Then you’re not going to be able to provide your body with what it needs to build a muscle. So just as important as getting enough calories and protein. Also, making sure your training stimulus is on point having enough Potassium in your diet to allow you to build muscle effectively is going to be very important.
The Bottom Line.
Those are the four reasons why you can’t gaining muscle on Keto. These are also the four reasons why research shows that muscle building doesn’t happen. This is the reason why we did we see that muscle building doesn’t occur in some of these studies that are published.
We have to make sure that we’re optimizing our diet and our training according to our goals. If your primary goal is building muscle, then these are four things I think you need to focus on. If you found this article to be helpful, please share it with a friend that needs to know it.