Bulking tips


I’m looking for advice on putting on weight whilst following the keto diet. Has anyone had any real success with this? I’m really struggling with bulking up and am beginning to think that adding additional carbs may be the only option?! This is an option I’m really not keen on and would prefer to remain keto all the time. I’ve dabbled with the odd carb up day but haven’t had any great results, just a nightmare couple of days after it as I try to get my blood sugar back in check (I’m T1). Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks.

(Bunny) #2

Gaining weight or lifting?

Anyway this might help:

(Allan Misner) #3

There are three things you can do and remain keto:

  1. Lift very heavy
  2. Up your protein (but monitor your ketones to make sure you don’t exceed your threshold).
  3. Try taking some creatine. It will up your energy for your lifting and you’ll add some water to your muscles.

(Jeff Gilbertson) #4

Watch videos by:

Body by Science author McGuff
Ted Naiman

(Katie) #5

Lift heavy and increase your caloric intake, keeping your ratios ketogenic.


Thanks for the responses. I’m already taking creatine and have been for a while. I’ve now also increased my protein and overall caloric intake and will see if this has the desired effect.


If you haven’t already, check out the KetoGains guys, they are all about keto bulking.

(William B Fenton) #8

I think as long as you got sufficient calories/exercise/rest you are going to bulk, but sometimes it does not seem that way. The reason being is the loss of Glycogen and its hygroscopic qualities.

Right now I am getting back into Ketosis but once I have been in the state effectively for 6 weeks (or longer) I will start a TKD (as a test)

My plan is

Before Intense lifting
T-30 : 2 Units Short Acting Insulin
T-15 : 30 Grams Dextrose / 30 Grams Whey Protein Isolate / BCAA

I am hoping that this timing will also allow me to capitalize on Non-Insulin Dependent Glucose Uptake (Google This)

But to be honest as long as you have the time under tension and all the variables I mentioned are taken into account even straight Keto you should be able to gain lean mass, its just the lack of Muscle Glycogen and therefore lack of water in the muscles that creates an illusion of no gains. Well that and weakness in certain movements

(Karim Wassef) #9

Here is my experience…

Training with limited glucose means that you deplete muscle glycogen and feel weaker than you would with carbs. This is a mental problem if you’re used to heavy lifting and can be discouraging. The only remedy is to push through and put in the lifting work (weight x reps) even if your intensity is lower in the beginning.

Don’t worry about calorie or energy balance. Unless you’re really lean, your body has enough energy to build muscle.

You need just enough protein (nitrogen balance) to trigger recovery. I’m finding that leucine is powerful here. It’s high in eggs so I consume a lot of eggs. Also take a leucine supplement.

Hormones are really important as always. Growth hormone and testosterone are both enhanced with intermittent fasting so that actually helps with gains.

So put in the work, eat your eggs, stay in keto and IF. (That’s my plan anyway.) :smiley:

(Javier Navas) #10

When talking increase Carbs to bulk up, y’all mean NetCarbs or Total Carbs… because I am about to stern eating rice. And I don’t want to lose ketosis

(Ken) #11

Stop focusing on Ketosis. What you need to understand is Lipolysis, of which Ketosis is only a minor part.

Eating carbs will stop Lipolysis, including Ketosis, but only for a short time, depending on what and how much your carb intake is.

Since you want to suspend Lipolysis for only a short period for metabolic reasons, carbs are usually simple and consumed around workouts, preferably within an hour of two after training. This insures they quickly get converted to glucose which is sent to the muscles rather than being converted to glycogen. So, if you want to eat rice I recommend it be part of your post workout meal.

Why are you considering adding carbs? They are not necessary until you are experiencing significant negative metabolic effects, usually after hormone normalization. Make sure you have a real reason for eating them.

(charlie3) #12

“Bulking” is a sly way of saying you need an excuse to eat a bunch of food you’ve been craving lately. Adding body fat is way easier than getting rid of it. Avoid the former and there will need to be less of the latter.

Here is my approach. I came back to lifting 18 months ago after a several decades layoff and vowing not to make the same mistakes as the good old days. Since I’m 70 there’s no time for dumb mistakes like injuries or over training. I figure 25 pounds of muscle in 25 months might be realistic so that’s the goal but I don’t worry if there’s a month or two with no muscle gains. I track diet, exercise, and activity with Cronometer and it seems like all I need is a few hundred extra calories per day at most and may be even that is unnecessary. After 18 months of low carb I certain I don’t need extra carbs. Somehow glycgen is sufficient for the lifting sessions.

Then consider this. If I gain a pound a month, 16 oz., lift 15 times per month, and if every session has identical results, I’m adding 1 oz. of muscle per session, about 3 oz. a week. How is it that eating way more food is going to speed that up? I doubt it. I’m also suspecting that sometimes muscle gains stop because the body has simply decided that, for a time, there are other upgrades and improvements needed that are not about growing muscle and resources are diverted for a while. My secret ingredient is patience. BTW, I do 1 set of 10 exercises every 48 hours in rep ranges above 15, plus walking, plus moderate SS cardio. So far so good.

(Javier Navas) #13

Because I heard that adding Carbs is good to bulk up, but I am affraid to gain. Instead just adding I want to know how and which

(Jeff Gilbertson) #14

I haven’t finished listening to this yet.

But, one thing they did say is that it doesn’t matter if you do heavy weights with few reps or low weights with many reps.

What matters is going to failure.

So, whether you do 10 reps at 100 pounds or 100 reps at 10 pounds, as long as you go until you can’t possibly do another rep, the effect on muscle growth is the same.

That said, my routine is as follows:

Lift heavy weights.
If I can’t do 10 reps, decrease the weight next time.
If I can do over 20 reps, increase the weight next time.

ie … I use the amount of weight necessary to reach failure between 10-20 reps.

I do one set.

I do mostly lower body on Tuesdays, and mostly upper body on Thursdays.

Each trip to the gym lasts about 20 minutes.

I am seeing both muscle mass and strength increase.

I’m not saying this is the only way, only that it is working for me and my schedule.

(Mark Rhodes) #15

Reminds me of Mike Metzner… and come to think of it Jon Little & Doug McGuff.

(Boston_guy) #16

Old-time bodybuilders recommended Casein (long/slow release protein) at bedtime to be full of amino acids to build muscle.

Anything you can do to improve deep sleep will help:

  • normal sleep hygiene: cold, dark, quiet.
  • avoid blue light at night, maybe some goofy orange Uvex glasses.
  • avoid late meals / booze
  • magnesium

(Ken) #17

That’s not necessarily true. It really depends on your metabolic health. For people without derangement and who do not have excessive fat, it may be the case. For them, as well as those with minor derangement, it’s difficult to add muscle and lose fat at the same time. Are you overweight or obese? If so I’d hold off on the carbs if you are still losing fat. If you really want to add in some carbs follow my earlier advice, but remember their intake will suspend fat burning.

(Kenny Croxdale) #18

How to Bulk and Gain Weight (Muscle) on Keto

Thomas Delauer is one of the Ketogenic Diet Gurus.

The information that he presents on this makes sense base on the research.

Delauer quote three research source on this but does not designate the exact source.

However, I have one of the research sources. I emailed to you you a good while back.

Here is the breakdown…

1) The Effects of Ketogenic Dieting on Body Composition, Strength, Power, and Hormonal Profiles in Resistance Training Males The Effects of Ketogenic Dieting on Body Composition, Strength, Power, and Hormonal Profiles in Resistance Training Males. - PubMed - NCBI

Individual were placed on a Ketogenic Diet and Western Diet and compared.

The end result was individuals on the Ketogenic Diet decreased body fat and increased muscle mass more than those on the Western Diet.

The Keto Diet Caveat

Individual were place on the Ketogenic Diet for 10 week. In the 10th week…

“A reintroduction of carbohydrates from weeks 10-11, while participating in a resistance-training program.”

Doing so, produced an increase in size and strength; carbohydrates essentially Superhydrate Muscle Fiber.

Super Hydration (Cell Voluminizing) is one of the reason that Creatine works.

It is also one of the reason for why Dianabol and Anadorol increase Muscle Mass and Maximum Strength.

Carbohydrate Loading also produces the same effect.

2) Research: Protein Intake of 1 Gram Per Pound

I am still trying to find this research.

This research demonstrated that increasing protein intake to 1 gram per pound increased muscle mass under the following condition.

Fat Intake had to remain around 75% of total daily calorie intake.

That means if a 200 lb person consumed 200 gram of protein (800 calories) they would need to consume around 266 gram of fat per day to ensure they remain in ketosis.

That adds up to more calorie than needed. Even on a Ketogenic Diet (Calories Count) consuming too many calories increases body fat.

To ensure maximum muscle mass gain, while minimizing body fat gain, Delauer includes…

3) Intermittent Fasting

Two things are accomplished.

  1. A reduction in calories for the week by skipping some meals.

  2. Greater Muscle Protein Synthesis

Research shows that after an Intermittent Fast, greater Muscle Protein Synthesis occurs.

The body soaks up protein like a dry sponge soaks of up water.

Research by Dr Layne Norton demonstrated this with…

Refractory Protein Feedings

Drs Layne Norton, Gabe Wilson and other determined the greatest Muscle Protein Synthesis occurs when protein is ingested every 4 - 6 hour between meals.

The dogma of consuming protein every three hours is counter productive. “The Muscle Protein Synthesis Sponge” is still wet and unable to soak up protein.

With all that in mind, here’s…

Delauer Ketogenic Diet Recommendation

  1. 10 Week Keto Diet

Go on a Ketotogenic Diet for 10 weeks.

  1. 1 Gram of Protein Per Pound of Body Weight under the following condition; make sure your fat intake is 75% of your daily caloric intake.

  2. Intermittent Fasting

Have some Intermittent Fasting Days to keep calorie down and to maximize Muscle Protein Synthesis.

  1. Week 10 - 11

“A reintroduction of carbohydrates from weeks 10-11, while participating in a resistance-training program.”

This Superhydrates (Cell Voluminizes) Muscle Fiber.

As we know, Dehydration cause a decrease in the muscle’s ability to produce force and decreased it’s size.

The reverse is true with Superhyration/Cell Voluminizing, there is an increase in strength and size.

Personal Experience

Years ago, I discovered this in trying to make weight for the 165 lb Weight Class in Powerlifting.

I went on a Keto Diet, losing 8 pound of basically water weight.

With two week to go before the meet, I was around 173 lbs.

I decided to go back to the 181 lb class. Losing 8 lbs didn’t seem feasible for me.

I went on a junk food, high carbohydrate diet; which I do not recommend.

I weighted in on meet day at 182 lbs. I was bloated and felt like crap.

However, I had one of my best lifting days.

The Take Home Message

Think of Superhydration like your car’s tire pressure.

If your tire pressure is low/under inflated, you get poor gas mileage. With Dehydration you get poor performance.

If you tires are over inflated, you get really good tire mileage. With Superhydration, your performance dramatically increase…

(Sebastien Szczepaniak) #19

Thx @KennyCrox. Very interesting and insightful.

I am currently thinking of going for a bulk after having transitioned to Keto 7 weeks ago.
Do not know if I am already fat adapted but I am around 8% BF now and think it’s time to bulk.
My question is really around the protein to fat ratio.
Listening to Robert Sykes from ketosavage, I would go for a 1:1 ration protein to fat which would translate to me with 175g protein (80Kg bw) and then around 175g fat. Robert has been Keto for 5 years and he’s not saying anything about getting kicked out of Ketosis if going with that ratio.
Reading your message and looking at Delauer, that would be completely different and actually 250g of fat would be need… not only to bulk BUT also to stay into ketosis…

Do you have views? anyone else?
Thx beforehand

(Kenny Croxdale) #20

1:1 Ratio

This is a good general rule of thumb for individual on the Ketogenic Diet to makes sure maintaining the right protein to fat percentages.

175 gram of protein to 175 gram of fat would mean you protein percentage is approximately 30% and your fat intake percentage is right at 70%.

Delauer’s Reference

He referenced what periodical it came out of. However, I haven’t been able to located the exact article.

Consuming 75% of your calories from fat definitely should keep you in ketosis.

With that said, the 1:1 Grams of Protein to Fat should, as well.

The easiest way of making sure it is, is to use a Ketometer to make sure.