Any bodybuilders here?

(Joey) #42

Not sure my n=1 experience is precisely on point, since I have not been trying to build muscle. But I’ll share in case it’s of indirect interest to others on this thread.

For well over a year, my workout goals have been to build strength, connective tissues, and ultimately bone density (no medical concerns, just precautionary in geezer’hood).

Eating: diligent keto (20-30g/day in extraneous carbs) since mid-2019; TMAD (first light meal in the early afternoon, then larger dinner) within a 20-4’ish window. Never starving. The clock just wanders over into “time to eat.”

Here’s how my exercise regimen has been going for the past 1-2 years…

Strength workout: 3 different “slow burn” routines rotated once each throughout the course of a week (Upper, Lower, Core) - each of which takes about 1/2 hour. Works out to be one of these slow burn routines in rotation about every other day throughout the week.

Cardio workout: Most alternating days (non-strength days) I do a 10 minute HIIT eliptical routine that features 3 high intensity bursts of 20 seconds - i.e., pushing all out hardest I can possibly go that day - with the rest of the surrounding 10 minutes for warmup/recovery/cool down. I will note that my pulse often gets to nearly 95% of what the chart says my max heart rate ought to be for my age (mid-60s). Hopefully this is because my true cardio fitness exceeds the “average” ( = 220 BPM minus Chronological Age, silliness). Who knows. I never break a sweat.

BFR: With wide elastic straps/buckles (home made), I restrict bicep flow and do dumbbell curls (4 sets: first set of 30, then 15 each subsequent set; each curl takes 2 seconds). I typically only do this BFR bicep workout after doing the HIIT cardio above on those particular days (or less, perhaps 2x weekly).

Results: For me, the combination of all of the above has produced remarkable results. I’ve never felt better physically … I’ve never had more strength/energy - even as a 20-30 yr old.

Body building? I guess. What does my body “look” like? Certainly very trim and fit, but I wouldn’t say any of this was designed for - nor necessarily has served to maximize - building muscle mass. Yet my overall muscle tone and definition is quite clear, and my abs are more pronounced than ever before. Yet, I’m a rather lean 140 lbs at about 6’ 9" ( = BMI of 20-21). Not a body builder look, right?

Now back to earlier questions/replies above about eating…

All this is going down without any meaningful dietary carb intake. Along with big green salads (with dinner), my protein intake includes: eggs, steaks, greasy burgers, cheese, heavy cream, butter, bacon, sausage, corned beef, ham, … you get the idea. Lots of it. Never hungry.

FWIW, there are no days (with or without strength training) that I sense feeling any hungrier than others. Occasionally I even forget to eat anything until dinner rolls around.

Hope some of this is of use to others pursuing good heath and fitness.


(Erin ) #43

Thank you!!!
Sounds amazing !!

I think I’ll try this with heavier fats and protein in my eating window.

I too only do the shorter workouts. I find they work better for me especially the HIIT for cardio, usually only ever do about 15-20 min.

Do you eat a smaller meal outside of the 4 hr window? So more of a 2 meal a day?

(Chris) #44

Bodybuilder here. Haven’t competed but I’m fairly jacked and know how to gain and lose weight with some precision.

If you’re trying to build muscle, why are you doing 20/4? It’s truly counter intuitive in most cases to try to lost fat and simultaneously add tissue - it can work for a beginner eating at maintenance but it is still more “optimal” to pick one at a time and periodize your bulking/cutting strategy.

Despite what many on this forum and other places online like to say, fasting/keto isn’t magic for fat loss at all (this is why there are so many new threads every day from people that stalled after 5lbs lost), they are just easy for some people to get their calorie deficit low enough.

In order to build and maintain muscle you’ll be much better served to spread your protein feedings evenly over 4 meals at a minimum. More is fine, less is not as good. Carbs are also incredibly anabolic and far more muscle sparing than ketone bodies - but I’m sure recommending carbs outside of my not-too-often-updated progress thread would get me strung up. I say this from personal experience as I spun my wheels for far too long trying to gain mass and lose fat simultaneously through keto / carnivore, and only started to see real progress when I reintroduced carbohydrate back into my diet.

I would say the hardest part of your problem is the work shift. If you can manage to eat, train, and sleep with an overnight shift then that’s really good.

Workoutwise I’d point you here to get an understanding of what each muscle needs to grow, there’s a link for each muscle group at the bottom of the page that goes over volume for maintenance and growth as well as frequency guidelines.

Anecdotal evidence:

(Joey) #45

Wow… 20 minutes of HIIT cardio - sounds like that would wipe me out. You rock! :crazy_face:

Yes indeed, these “limited time” workouts are fantastic. So efficient. For decades I was one of those 30-45 minute/daily joggers for cardio while eating a so-called-healthy low-fat high-carb diet. Wore out my running shoes routinely. Sheesh.

Now it’s only 10 minutes 2-3 times weekly for cardio. So much time to kill :wink:

And the keto eating (meat, cheese, eggs, towering salads topped with more meat, fish, etc.) is awesome. Never feasted this much before in life. My internist tells me to keep it up; bloodwork, etc. all looks great.

Answering your question above: My 4 hour “feeding window” can be open for as long as 6 hours, depending when I get around to making some lunch (1-2pm or even later) but dinner is typically around 6pm regardless.

And yes, these are the only two meals eaten daily. No other snacking is needed to stay energized and mentally focused on whatever is going on.

I do drink a single cup of morning coffee (black, with a spoonful of unsweetened 100% cacao powder… <1 gram of carbs net of dietary fiber). Pretty close to zero calories when you do the math, not that I track calories these days.

While that morning caffeine had been essential for many decades, I noticed I don’t really crave it the way I used to prior to keto eating. Who knows whether that’s just psychological or whatever. :thinking: More food for thought.


(Joey) #46

I admire your body-building success! But unless I’m confused about what you’re recommending, I’ll beg to differ based on my reading of the available science…

It’s all about the insulin cycle. And the more often you eat, the more you keep your insulin levels high … and eventually create a level of metabolic insulin-resistance … and then you have more fat stowed away in adipose tissue and vital organs … and down the slippery slide you go.

Your pics are remarkable. Do you mind if I ask: have you ever taken hormone/steroids?

(Chris) #47

Lifetime natural, actually. I get that question a lot, it’s quite a compliment actually! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Insulin resistance is more a result of being sedentary and going overboard with energy taken in. Mcdonald’s sandwiches, doughnuts, etc. Sometimes insulin resistance can occur in bodybuilders during a bulk, but it’s a simple process to reverse. One way is to finish your bulk and start a cut; the other is to take an extreme planned minicut for 4 to 6 weeks in order to re-sensitize, for me, it would be a deficit of about 1000 calories keeping protein at 1g per pound, fat at around 50g for my size, and the rest would be carbs concentrated around training. Following a minicut I would maintain for about two weeks and then go back to massing.

(Joey) #48

I understood absolutely nothing about this explanation. And I have the body to prove it. :upside_down_face:

(Chris) #49

I can clarify in the morning, sorry for not explaining well.

(Erin ) #50

Well it’s not 20 min full HIIT. It includes warm up and cool down so it’s probably around the same 10 min as you.!

I’ll give this a couple weeks and see if I can cut down my BF %


(Erin ) #51

Awesome thanks

And yes I was waiting for that comment …
I think I’ll focus on cutting for 4wks and see if I can get down and then start focusing more on gaining muscle. Trying to do both hasn’t worked very well in the past I don’t know why it would lol

I’m going to check this link out also. Thanks!

(Chris) #52

Bulking (massing): eating in a caloric surplus in order to gain weight, the goal is to gain as much muscle as possible but it’s typically not possible without some fat gain which is ok.

Cutting: eating in a caloric deficit in order to lose weight (have to keep training as intense as when bulking and keep protein high in order to minimize muscle loss).

Minicut: a short, very low calorie phase not meant for true body recomposition, but to reset insulin sensitivity and potentiate weight gain during a bulking phase

Maintenance: eating the right amount of calories to keep weight the same.

So what I typically do is bulk for multiple months, and if my abs start to disappear, I may do a minicut followed by a maintenance phase to reorient massing. After I’ve gained to the weight goal I’m aiming for, I’ll begin to slowly lower calories about 200 at a time per day, usually lowering them again every 4 weeks or when fat loss stalls. Once I reach the goal cut weight, I’ll stop and eat at maintenance again for another month or so before ramping calories back up. When switching to massing from a cut/maintenance, I will again slowly ramp the calories up, about 200 at a time and add more as gaining slows.

This changes somewhat during contest prep, sometimes the cut will last longer and then the week of the show would include a carb up in order to fill out the muscles with glycogen that was depleted during the cut.

(Joey) #53

@Dread1840 Excellent explanation - many thanks for taking the time to lay it out!

I do grasp the anabolic vs catabolic tides… and how one can surf such cycles to one’s metabolic advantage.

I’ve not tried to do so myself. Yet since going keto and changing my workout habits, I’ve managed to lose 4" at the waist and about 25 lbs, while adding muscle to my frame. None of which was my primary intention, but a nice bonus along the way.

I also understand genetic predisposition plays a role in what’s possible for any given individual. As such, I know my ability to develop a body builder’s physique is as limited as is my ability to play pro football (or take up sumo wrestling).

While I admire those who can set/reach such goals, I’d be wise to settle for good internal health while preserving my nerd physique. :nerd_face: