Carnivore For Muscle Gain

(Sama Hoole) #1

Anyone here loading up on meat calories with the intent of gaining weight? Since all the fuss is about fat loss, it’ll be interesting to see who’s bucking the trend.

Personally, I’ve found a pure carnivore diet works perfectly fine up to a point, then it ends up wasting all the extra calories. Great for beginner gains, not so good for pushing your physique to its full potential.

(Vic) #2

I defenately lost muscle mass on Carnivore, and a lot of fat.

I am stronger thou, despite looking somewhat skinnier I can lift more and am way faster with better physique .

Still have to be carefull not to hurt my joints, scares and wear dont go away.

Don’t know if thats interesting but there you go.


I found the same to be true. I just couldn’t progress anymore no matter what I did. I added more carbs back in and off it went!

(Sama Hoole) #4

Yeah there definitely seems to be a mass cap in place. I counted 5000 calories at one stage without seeing the scale move.

Having played around with carnivore bulking for a year now, I feel the best strategy is one of the following.

Carnivore + workout carbs
Carnivore + workout carbs + evening carbs

(Kenny Croxdale) #5

Gaining Weight

Regardless of the diet you are on, gaining weight is all about increasing your calorie intake.

Ketogenic Diet

Due to a metabolic condition that I was diagnosed with, I combined a Ketogenic Diet with Intermittent Fasting. That equated to a calorie deficit.

I dropped 17 lbs in 35 days, which wasn’t my intent.

I then decided to gain the weight back while on the Ketogenic Diet. Since Keto restricts protein to up to 25% of total calorie intake and carbohydrates are limited to 50 grams per day. That meant that I needed to dramatically increase my fat intake, which I did.

I gained back around 15 lbs by increasing my calorie intake.

With that in mind, let look another similar example…

The Twinkie Diet

Mark Haub, MS, teaches Nutrition at Kansas State. Haub decided to demonstrate to his class that foundation of weight loss (the same is true with gaining weight) is based on calories; rather than something like the Glycemic or Insulin Index.

Haub went on a Junk Food Diet for three months and ended up losing 27 lbs. Ironically, as per Haub, his cholesterol numbers improved; demonstrating that losing fat/body weight is fundamental with improving Blood Lipid Profiles.

Everything Works For Beginners

When it come to diet, exercise, anything new, beginners excel quickly.

Losing Weight

With most diets, some muscle loss usually occurs.

With that in mind research has demonstrated that,

  1. High Protein Intake In Calorie Deficit

When a High Protein is consumed in a Caloric Deficit diet, more muscle mass is preserved.

  1. Ketogenic “High Fat” Diet

When on a Ketogenic Diet in a Calorie Deficit Diet, more muscle mass is preserved.

One of the primary factors to this is that body fat is primary used for energy, sparing muscle mass. Greater levels of Leucine (the anabolic amino acid) are preserved, even increase in individual on the Ketogenic Diet.

Amount of Protein Per Meal

This is a vital component for all diets, especially a Ketogenic Diet.

Research (Drs Donald Layman and Layne Norton) determined that approximately 40 gram of quality protein per meal is required to trigger the anabolic, muscle building effect in older individual.

Genetic Cap

There is a genetic cap when it come to gaining size, weight, strength, etc.

Training On The Ketogenic Diet

Training on the Ketogenic Diet require a different approach; due the fact that fat rather and glucose is the primary fuel source

The Three Energy Systems

When it come to the Training on the Ketogenic Diet; training need to be performed in two of the Three Energy Systems.

1) Phosphagen Energy System

This utilizes ATP for fuel rather than glucose.

Thus, individual on a Ketogenic Diet, Carnivore Diet or the Standard American Diet will perform equally.

The Phosphagen Energy System is where Maximum Strength, Power and Speed are trained.

Bodybuilding/Hypertrophy Training

Bodybuilding/Hypertrophy Training reside to much greater degree in the Glycolytic Energy System.

However, when on a Ketogenic Diet or Carnivore Diet, Cluster Set Hypertrophy Training allows individual to “Game The System”; eliciting the same results.

Think of Cluster Set Hypertrophy Training as driving a different way home that is essentially the same distance.

2) Glycolytic Energy System

Individual on the Ketogenic Diet and perhaps the Carnivore Diet won’t perform as individuals on a high carbohydrate diet.

3) Oxidative Energy System

Keto Adapted individual usually perform very well in the Oxidative Energy System.

Endurance Athletes performance on the Ketogenic Diet has substantial research demonstrating it effectiveness.

Kenny Croxdale

(Sama Hoole) #6

I get the mechanics of weight gain and all, the cap I was referring to seems to occur earlier than a standard diet. I was racking up 5000 calories a day, which would otherwise be more than enough to push the scale a little further.

In the case of carnivore, there’s a wasting effect with calorie surpluses, which could be due to saturated fat and reactive oxygen species. In any case, ramping up calories feels pointless. It’s one thing to get the calories in. They still need to digest and assimilate.

That’s why combining carnivore with workout carbs could be ideal for muscle gain. But that’s just my take on the matter.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #7

To add muscle, don’t you need foods rich in branched-chain amino acids? I wouldn’t expect that fat would be needed, except to provide the necessary energy for synthesising proteins.

More and more, I’m starting to think we need to get away from thinking in terms of calories at all, since the amino acids in the proteins we eat are not metabolised, under normal circumstances, so there is no point in gauging our protein intake by its energy yield. Of course, they didn’t know that back in the 19th century, when calories were the only thing they knew how to measure . . . .

(Vic) #8

When you eat carnivore there is no dietary glucose. You do need it ready in your blood at all times.
Proteins are prefered by the liver to be turned into glucose over fat.

Carnivores do metabolise protein.
I wander how much? Not a clue?

In abnormal circumstances, like when eating carbs… the proteins become 100% available for other things, like building muscles or being absolutely useless.

Carbing up a bit before a bodybuilding workout makes sense.
I wouldn’t do it, plants are to toxic.
Or maybe full fat milk, it has carbs

(Sama Hoole) #9

The way I see it, optimal muscle gain needs an abundance of energy. If carbs can’t fullfill that role, than there’s no reason scaling up fat can’t achieve the same thing. In effect, it’s some sort of a calorie surplus. But we could call it energy availability :wink:

Where fat might fall short, is maximising glycogen stores, curbing cortisol, and providing quick energy around a workout. So that’s where carbs could come in.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #10

The average loss of nitrogen a day works out to the equivalent of 0.6 grams of protein / kg of lean body mass. My understanding is that the deaminated amino acids are turned into glucose (gluconeogenesis) to maintain the teaspoon or tablespoon normally circulating in the bloodstream, and the nitrogen is turned into NO and used to regulate blood pressure. This doesn’t feel as though the protein (amino acids) are being metabolised, at least not to me.

(Vic) #11

Its not very much indeed10 to 20% of the amount of protein I eat is for glucose. Less then 5% of the calories in any given meal. Thx

One more question.

Say we have 3 sources of protein
-recycled amino acids in the kidneys
-lean body mass

What is the prefered source to metabolise? Food or recycled ?

(Kenny Croxdale) #12


I addressed this in my previous post, “Amount of Protein Per Meal”.

This was also address. On the Ketogenic Diet of with Intermittent Fasting, the body utilize fat more effectively; preserving muscle mass.

Calories are still a vital component of the weight loss or gain equation.

The information that I posted on Mark Haub, MS Nutrition, Kansas State weight loss on the Twinkie Diet and my weight loss on the Ketogenic Diet demonstrated that.

My 15 lb gain in weight while on the Ketogenic Diet via dramatic increase in my fat calorie intake, also illustrated it.

Kenny Croxdale

(Kenny Croxdale) #13

Calorie Count

Yes, calories count.

Glycogen Store In Keto Adapted

Research (Phinney) has demonstrated that Keto Adapted individual glycogen stores are essentially the same as individuals on a high carbohydrate diet.

The issues appears to be that Keto Adapted individual are more reliant and able to access ketones for energy easily.

Keto Adapted individual are less effective at accessing glycogen.

Exercise Programs

One of the keys to a well written Ketogenic Diet Exercise Program is a program that caters to the Phosphagen or Oxidative Energy System; avoiding the Glycolytic Energy System.

Acute and Chronic Cortisol

Acute Cortisol increases in exercise is a good thing. It assist in burning body fat.

Chronic Cortisol increases lead to health issues.

The Three Energy Systems

To reiterate, the one of the determinate factors in a training program is diet.

1) Phosphagen Energy System

This system is used for Maximum Strength, Power and Strength Training Programs.

Individual on a Ketogenic Diet, Carnivore Diet or Standard American High Carbohydrate Diet perform equally.

2) Glycolytic Energy System

Sports or activities that fall into this category require higher carbohydrate intake. Bodybuilding Training fall more into this area.

With that said, research by Dr Jonathan Oliver on Cluster Set Training has demonstrated that this method can “Game The Bodybuilding Protocol”, ensuring training remains in the Phosphagen Energy System.

3) Oxidative Energy System

Research from the 1980s (Phinney) and since have demonstrated that Keto Adapted individual do well in this system.

The Issue

The issue is that a different approach in training need to be applied for individual on a low carbohydrate diet to elicit the greatest training effect.

Training on a low carbohydrate diet as they did on a high carbohydrate diet amount to trying to pound a round peg into a square hole.

Kenny Croxdale

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #14

I suspect that by “metabolise” here, you are referring to the anabolic processes of glycolysis and fatty-acid metabolism, which is basically the breaking down of the starting molecule by combining it with oxygen and ADP in such a way as to end up with ATP, carbon dioxide, and water (the process was recently discussed in another thread). To do the same thing with amino acids means (1) deaminating them; (2) converting them into glucose and/or a fatty acid (some amino acids are glycogenic, others are lipogenic, and still others can be converted to either a fatty acid or glucose); and (3) then putting the result of the conversion through either glycolysis or fatty-acid metabolism, as appropriate.

As you can see the two extra steps cost energy that doesn’t need to be expended in the case of glucose or fat, so the net yield of ATP is less, and therefore the body prefers not to use amino acids in this way, except in extreme situations, such as starvation (we are leaving gluconeogenesis out of the picture at the moment). The body tries to reserve its labile pool of available amino acids (from both food and from recycling by the kidneys) for catabolic processes, such as the building up of new tissue.

As Professor Bikman has reminded us, metabolism consists of the sum total of all anabolic and catabolic processes going on in the body, so speaking of metabolising protein is not exactly wrong, but here the context makes me fear that you were talking about an anabolic, not a catabolic, process. Please forgive me if I’m wrong.

(Vic) #15

I was wondering in a catabolic state, where does the glucose in our blood come from?
ZC woe.

There are recycled amino acids available as we always regenerate.
There is food available.

Lean body mass would only be is a anabolic state of starvation.

(Bob M) #16

Gluconeogenesis. You can eat “zero” carbs and have plenty of blood sugar for most things

I you mean you’re not eating anything, where does it come from, I’d say primarily fat. To me, I’ve always considered protein to be hard to convert to energy, which is why I think it often causes higher metabolic rate in studies, and many studies indicate you can eat more calories as protein with little to no effect.

I’m not sure how much protein converts to glucose. I find it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’ve seen T1s who say they need more insulin sometime (generally, later) after eating a high protein meal. I tried 160+ grams of protein per meal while I had my CGM and couldn’t see a blood sugar increase at all. But, I’d need to do a better test, say 70% fat for two weeks and see what the average is, then 70% protein for two weeks and see what the average is. If Samsung or Apple actually do come out with a watch that can sense blood sugar, I’ll do that test.

I’ve been using a pseudo-TKD for a number of reasons. I call it “pseudo” because it’s typically not a lot of carbs, and I eat them only the first meal after my workout, which is normally about 3 hours after I exercise (exercise 6-7 am, without food), eat about 10 am, usually. I also will eat maybe some more carbs in the evenings of the day I exercise, usually just higher-% chocolate.

It does seem to work, in terms of I feel a bit better just mentally. Does it work muscularly? It’s extremely hard to tell, since muscle growth for a 56 year old male is not fast anyway. I’ve compared weeks with and weeks without this smaller amount of carbs, and my strength is about the same.

I also wonder what the purpose of carbs is? Is it to drive insulin? If so, why not just eat whey protein, which probably drives insulin just as much? Is it glycogen replacement/“over” filling? If so, are you just “puffing up” your muscles? Or is there truly a permanent strength benefit? Or is that strength illusory, so you lose it again once you’re keto for a period?

After trying the Croissant Diet and gaining 20+ pounds, all in my belly, I’m hesitant to eat that many carbs. I’m slowly getting back to wearing my 36 inch pants (was wearing 34s and 36s, with the “bigger” 36s relegated to the back of the closet). So, I’ll try a smaller amount of carbs, but won’t go too high.

I do try his stearic acid + ghee, when I do my TKD, if I have some.

(Anthony) #17

Good on you for sticking with it and giving it a genuine try. I wouldn’t have had the gumption to watch the scale go up that far. I reigned the carbs in after 15 pounds, though a lot of that was bloat and water.

I tried carnivore briefly and had some success, felt great and exercise performance improved. Quit because I was a bit bored with the food choices (which I find so strange since meat and eggs make the major bulk of my food anyway) and I was CONSTANTLY hungry. Like never full for more than a couple hours and I was gaining weight at an alarming rate. I’m confident that it was the 4-5k calories a day I was eating that drove it all, I know they say to trust the process but I couldn’t watch it any longer. I went 4 or 5 weeks, maybe if I stuck it out it would have settled down.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #18

I would venture to guess they were eating carbohydrate as well, if Professor Bikman’s research is to be believed.

(Sama Hoole) #19

I’d say if you can increase the cross-sectional area of the muscle, by virtue of increased water retention on carbs, you’d be able to contract with more force. So it can give you a leg up on muscle gain.

As for insulin, I’m fairly certain the insulin response is higher, or at least longer, on carbs as opposed to any protein. Combined with protein, even more so.

The thing is, you wouldn’t need much to achieve this effect. I’m testing out adding 50g during a workout, and 100g at the tail-end of the day. Fast digesting, low toxicity, no fiber, nothing that will outstay its welcome.

So far I’m at an all time high bodyweight. But I could just be getting fatter.

(Kenny Croxdale) #20

Super Hydrated Muscle

A Super Hydrated Muscle definitely is able to produce more force.

That is one of the underlying reason that Creatine is so effective for many individual. It has to do with…

Cell Voluminizing

In other word, muscle are Super Hydrated.

The same occurs with certain type of anabolic steroids that cause water retention; muscle become Super Hydrated.


This is another method that increases Cell Volumizing in the muscles.

Carbohydrate Loading also produces this effect.

For individual who wish to remain on the Ketogenic Diet one method of ensuring Muscle Cell Volumizing occurs is to increase you sodium intake in your diet.

Specifically, you need ingest sodium prior to your training sessions, perhaps sip it through your training session; dependent on what type of training your are performing.

One of the most effective method of doing that is with…

Chicken Bullion

Most Chicken Bullion contains over 800 mg of sodium and over 210 mg of potassium. It’s a pretty tasty drink. .

Consuming some type of high sodium beverage prior to training ensures a good workout. Also, consuming a high sodium diet is required for avoiding the Keto Flu and guarantees you remain well hydrated.

Kenny Croxdale