High Protein Modified "Keto + Fasting" muscle building with low fat

(Karim Wassef) #1

Planning to try a new approach. I lost 95lbs from 255lbs to 160lbs on Keto and Fasting.

I didn’t feel good losing so much overall mass including lean mass. I’ve since been building up my muscle mass, but I can’t seem to do it without putting on fat too.

I’m at 5’10", 180lbs, 22% body fat now and the plan is to get to the lower teens by gaining 10lbs lean mass and losing 15lbs of fat. Timeline is sometime this year.

The approach is to increase protein (up to 240g) but keep carbs under 20g and reduce fat to 85g (or less) and fast Wednesday-Friday with a protein only shake to not lose lean mass. I’m also OMAD so I need to get all 240g of protein in one meal.

I weight lift every weekday for 30mins followed by 30mins sauna. I use a time under tension approach and plan to move to a push - pull alternating lifting pattern.

This is not really usual keto even though it’s <20g carbs. Protein is 1.7g / lb of lean mass so that’s very high and fat is intentionally low to promote the use of my endogenous fat. I’m fat adapted and I’ve fasted for three weeks continuously, and gotten as low as 33 blood glucose and as high as 9.3 blood ketones.

It’s also not really usual fasting since I’m planning on a protein shake to get over 200g of protein even on fast days. I plan to keep the shake vegan (pea protein powder + Leucine + Carnitine + Creatine)

With high protein, low fat comes a loss of satiety and it takes a lot of self control to limit my fat intake after being keto for years. I find that OMAD helps. I used to deal with carb cravings… those are far behind me but now I have fat cravings.

Karim's muscle gain carnivore adventure
(Karim Wassef) #2

First is the meal plan… For the first four weeks, I’m going to stay with fish and veggies only. So here’s the plan for the eating days:

and here’s the plan for the fasting shake days (3 days a week):

This isn’t really appetizing. There are some tasty elements in there but it’s not the ribeyes and eggs I’m used to.

(Karim Wassef) #3

Here’s my starting point:


This is the third phase of a multi-step progression…

The first was my extended multi-week fast:


The second was my carnivore muscle building phase:


(bulkbiker) #4

I’m guessing the 85g is fat?

(Karim Wassef) #5

correct… thanks for catching that. fixing it now.

(Karim Wassef) #6

This starts tomorrow and the biggest challenge I’m experiencing is how to get so much protein without a lot of fat and make it palatable.

I allowed myself one tablespoon of avocado oil to make a meal but I need to create a matrix that can handle 10 small cans of tuna (or equivalent) as protein - every single day… in OMAD. I’m adding asparagus and mushrooms because they can release a lot of fluid and make a soft base to handle that much protein.

I can go for tuna steaks but trying to avoid salmon to reduce fat.

It’ll be an interesting challenge

(Bob M) #7

Wait, you’re going to try to gain 10 pounds of muscle and lose 15 pounds of fat in the next 6 months? That’s a goal not many can reach. That would be 20 pounds of muscle in one year. I took DEXA scans and gained about 4 pounds of muscle and lost 6 pounds of fat…in one year. You are younger than I am, likely workout more (I have a torn rotator cuff, so there are plenty of exercises I can’t do), etc., but that’s a lot of muscle mass. See this, for instance:

I wish you luck.

(Karim Wassef) #8

I agree. In my experience, you can’t gain muscle that fast unless you already had it before and just lost it.

And that’s what I did. When I was 255lbs, I had a lot more muscle on me too. Out of the 95lbs I lost, I expect that I lost 20lbs of muscle.

When I went down to 160, I didn’t think I could rebuild but I’ve put on 10lbs of muscle over the past 6 months or so… with 10lbs of fat. The plan is to repeat the muscle recovery, but without the fat this time.

I’m 180lbs now and I’d like to stay at this weight but with the composition that’s got the fat mass from when I was 160lbs and the muscle mass from when I was over 220lbs… something like that.

So I’m not really looking to gain muscle, but to regain muscle.

(Karim Wassef) #9

Wifey beat me to the meal prep and made my favorite salmon in creamy dill sauce for Father’s Day… so that’s on the menu now. :smile:

(KetoQ) #10

I, too, have been thinking about cutting and muscle building, and how to optimally eat and fast to achieve that. Came across some info (evidence-based) you might find useful in informing your strategies.

(Karim Wassef) #11

Thanks! I’ll check it out.

I started researching nitrogen balance for muscle building back when I was fasting in March and April. I was losing muscle mass (which came back with gusto) but I wanted to understand it better.

Eating keto helped me rebuild but I also gained fat back when I pushed it.

Here’s an interesting take on the 36 egg diet for example:

36 eggs is 277g of protein, 166g of fat and 29g of carb … so almost keto. It’s also 2500 calories so actually low for most anabolic bodybuilders.

My target is a more humble version (given that I’m 180lbs) at 240g protein, 85g fat … and as little carb as possible.


How are you distinguishing the muscle fiber growth from the glycogen and vascular infrastructure?

And yes please err on the safe side with nitrogen balance. Be alert for any early symptoms of ammonia toxicity, which include alteration of mood and fine motor skills.

(Karim Wassef) #13

There’s no way to distinguish other than measuring circumference of muscles (which I’m not doing yet). I will say that I can visually see more muscle mass and vascularity.

I have been eating high protein for a while and I haven’t experienced any negative effects (yet). :smiley:

But I’ll stay alert.

(Karim Wassef) #14

I remember that video! Yes… I think timing is an important variable.

I think cyclic protein intake is important - that’s why I go OMAD and then eat all my protein. I want to cycle the AMPK (catabolic) state with mToR (anabolic) state.

I also use Leucine as a hard trigger when I eat.

I have considered 2MAD to see if a double trigger would work better - 120g each? This would create two insulin mToR triggers per day and potentially further depress my ketones.

Alternatively, it may be that 240g is not as effective as I’d like because more of that protein could go through GNG and become glucose instead.

(Bob M) #15

Now that, you can do. Much easier to regain muscle. I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger go from running marathons to gaining a ton of muscle mass (let’s ignore whether he used steroids to help this process).

I posted this only because when I was younger, everyone I hung out with wanted to be Arnold. None of us had the genetics, though. Additionally, I would set goals like “I want to bench X by Y” (say, 285 by Christmas), and then I realized that genetics plays a huge role in building muscle and particularly in strength. After years of lifting, I got bigger, but was nowhere close to being a bodybuilder. I was always weak in bench, but OK in squats and not too bad in deadlift, but nowhere near anything that would be close to becoming a power lifter.

I usually hit very high protein right the first meal after lifting, but a lot of times I lift after 30+ hours of fasting. I have eaten well over 200g protein in a single meal. That was a bit high, but none of these seem to affect my blood glucose, as measured by a Free Style Libre CGM. For instance, here are my notes for one meal:

Here is my blood sugar for that meal (European units, multiply by 18 to get US units):


If protein affects ketones is questionable. Very questionable. I’ve personally given up on testing ketones, as I find them to be error prone and I don’t get any benefit from testing them.

(Bob M) #16

Oh yeah, again, good luck and let us know what happens.

(Karim Wassef) #17

I collect blood glucose and ketones and mine seem to align directly with my exercise, sleep and diet.

Unfortunately, high protein depresses my ketones and spikes my glucose… spiking being 75 to 115 … but still, no ketones when glucose gets that high. I’ll post some data there.

(Karim Wassef) #18

with wifey’s preemptive salmon, I’ve had to adjust tomorrow’s meal to adapt:

The salmon is great but I still need 8 small cans of tuna to meet my protein needs. I have ahi tuna steaks but I’m leaving those for later.


Is all of that tuna a good idea?

(Karim Wassef) #20

If it was Albacore, it would be a problem. The chunk light tuna comes from smaller fish like Skipjack or Yellowfin. They’re considered “trash fish” by the industry but they’re substantially lower in mercury.


They don’t taste as good, but they’re very lean too.

I’m going to experiment with shrimp too, but this is the lowest costing fish protein I could find. I don’t usually care about cost, but 240g is a LOT for daily intake requirements.


For the first time since starting my keto+fasting, I’ve been able to halt my lean mass loss, so it aligns with what I expect I’ll continue to need.

I was also concerned with satiety signaling, but forcing myself to push through it is changing that as well.