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.