IF and "bodybuilding"


Don’t let the “bodybuilding” descriptor throw you off. I am just trying to get back into the gym but I have found that my work outs are massively flat on Keto.

I am wondering if working out fasted isn’t the way to go and then just get all my carbs for the day (minus a few at dinner meal) right after in my post work out shake to benefit what little bit I would from an insulin spike.

Trying to get all my food in during the 6 hour window and have sustained 18 hour fasts (or close to) on the average with a 24 hour fast on Sundays.

What do you think?

(charlie3) #2

I’ve been eating whole food, 40 grams net carbs and lifting for two years. In the early months there were definitey low energy issues and even after 2 years I think my body is still getting better at burning more fat and less carbs. After decades relying on sugar for fuel you aren’t going to change to fat burning so easily. I believe it was worth the trouble for me. I did time restricted eating and a one day a week fast the first year, not currently. I may save that for the next time I want to reduce body fat.

Another thing to consider, aerobic work below your aerobic threshold, typical guideline, keep heart rate strictly below 180 - age or what ever it takes to encourage fat burning instead of sugar. Save high intensity for the lifting.

(Windmill Tilter) #3

Welcome to the forum! I’ve been lifting weights fasted for a couple of years now. I usually do a 60hr water fast, then lift. I don’t find any performance difference when I’ve experimented with eating before breaking a fast. That may because I’m more fat adapted, but I don’t know how long you’ve been keto.

If you provide a bit more context, it’ll probably help you get better answers to your question. The suggestions will be different if you’re a 60 year old, type 1 diabetic woman with a BMI of 40 who has been keto for 5 days, or an 18 year old man with a HbA1c of 4.5, and 10% bodyfat who has been keto for 5 years. Helpful info:

Months on Keto:
HbA1c: (if known)
Medical Issues:
Priority: (muscle gain, muscle preservation, fat loss)

The timing and extent of the insulin spike, the timing and extent of carbohydrate consumption, and the timing and quanity of calories consumed are all independent variables which should be adjusted based on the questions above.


Age: 45
Height: 77"
Weight: 248
Months on Keto: Off and on for about 4 months. The couple of times I was firm on it down in FL, had massive cramping issues that I was not good about managing. Mostly fixed that by eating more salt.
Carbs per day: I try to stay under 50. I am not super carb sensitive. I was mostly going to do Keto to trim up a bit (I am probably about 17-18% BF and I would like to get down to about 10-12%).
HbA1C: Unknown.
Medical Issues: None related to diet (injuries related to contact sports).
Priority (in order): Muscle Gain, Fat Loss


(Chris Perry) #5

Im really interested in hearing what people have to say about this. I am in a similar ish boat. Ive been doing keto/low carb for about 7 month, energy has been excellent, I lift extremely heavy training for strongman competitions.

I just added in the fasting…kept the same meal plan and calories but adapted it to 16:8 and I am crashing during some of my workouts.

So I’m hoping someone can look at my stats and advise me as well.

38 years old
7-8 months low carb
20-25 net carbs per day
Fat loss and Muscle Gain

(Windmill Tilter) #6

Wow. If you’re 248 and 17-18% bodyfat, you could probably break me like a twig! You’re already pretty lean, which is a whole different ballgame. Gaining/preserving muscle while losing fat is a lot easier when you’ve got an extra 60lbs like I do.

Given your leanness and that you’re priority is gaining muscle, I’m out of my depth. Maybe @Dread1840 can give you some advice, or point you to some helpful resources. He’s gotten some impressive results, and experimented with carbs as well.


Thank you.

Hoping this triggers some good discussions on there and I am excited to get some good input. Thanks for all your information so far.

Where is @Dread1840


You are a beast dude.

Let’s get this thing figured out!!


I have always been amazed by you guys. Insane weights and ability to move heavy sh*t. Some folks don’t consider it a “sport”, but they are idiots in my book.

(Windmill Tilter) #10

That’s pretty cool! What is you’re training schedule? It sounds like you didn’t experience crashes prior to 16:8. When do you eat relative to when you lift? What are total calories for an average day roughly? You probably have more carb leeway than a typical 125lb person eating 20g carbs, especially given that you’re an athlete. That may not solve the problem though, since the present carb level didn’t seem to impede performance prior to fasting.

The crashing thing is surprising, maybe you can talk more about that. How long are workouts in duration, and how early into the workout do the crashes occur? Is it severe enough to end the workout, or is it just that performance slowly tapers below what you’re accustomed to?

(Windmill Tilter) #11

Dread is just a member here, and he’s probably in the gym training for a bodybuilding competition most likely lol. When you use the @ symbol before someone’s username it notifies them that they’ve been mentioned in a conversation.

He’s done fair bit of experimentation with carnivore, fasting, and carbs cycling while lifting heavy over the past couple years.

(Chris) #12

Aka: asleep ROFL

I’m there now, though haha. Gimme a hour or so I might have a couple things for ya, by way of anecdote.

(Chris) #13

In my limited experience, having tried all manner of fasting and fasted training as well as different dietary approaches and meal frequencies - YMMV. Here’s a few things I can say. Carbs are the optimal fuel for muscle building workouts. There is no science out there that can definitively say keto is equal or better. There’s Virta’s stuff that gets linked here often, but that was done on distance runners and bears no relevance to us whatsoever.

Carbs was a hard pill for me to swallow outside of maybe 30g around training, but after deciding to switch back to higher carb I’m happier for it. Honestly at your lean mass size, if your bodyfat estimate is actually accurate you could do with a carb meal before and after training as well.

To your question @Estorm, I would definitely time some carbs around training. I like to sip on a 20oz gatorade nowadays throughout my workout. But with that being said I think it would still be beneficial to have some ready-to-go amino acids already there - eggs, shake, a little meat.

As far as your goal of getting bigger and losing fat, just eat at maintenance on average throughout the week and get a gram per pound of bodyweight in protein. Few months and you’ll notice big changes.

If you look at some of my threads in the n=1 sub of the progress forum, I’ve done a lot of fasting. While it’s fantastic for weightloss, it’s a big calorie deficit and is a catabolic process (despite popular dogmas to the opposite, of which there is again no definitive proof). I personally prefer to either cut or bulk, but I keep my training the same and do my body composition changes with diet tweaks from week to week, and I’m also planning my entire year ahead of time as far as training and dietary periodization (which I recommend if you really want to hit your goals sooner).

If you want to get more specific I’d love to discuss further. Hopefully I came off in an open-minded manner, which is how I am and prefer to be so if I spoke in any absolutes it was unintentional. Cheers.

Also, this just came out.
10078-71-2020-v71-2020-08.pdf (521.0 KB)
“Dietary Recommendations for Physique Athletes” - This was a 2020 publishing basically for the sport of bodybuilding. It boiled down to evenly spaced meals being important, 4 to 6 for cutting and 6 for bulking.

(Chris Perry) #14

Thanks for the reply! So my training schedule isn’t too crazy, 3 days of heavy lifting a week and 3-4 days ish of interval cardio. Ive been doing 20-30 net carbs daily for 6-8 months now with zero crashes, my strength has been through the roof.

I am usually between 2800-3100 calories a day but have been closer to 2800 lately while trying to break a plateau, but I keep my macros the same. My workouts really aren’t that long, an hour max. The recent crashes since adding in 16:8 have been hard enough that I had to totally change my my work out and just didn’t have the energy to lift heavy, so it borderline shut my workout down.

I generally eat something about an hour before lifting, usually a snack, but since switching to 16:8 its been more like a full meal about an hour before. Im totally fine not being keto but just staying low carb if thats what it takes. Any advice would be much appreciated.

(Chris Perry) #15

Thanks man I appreciate it! I had my knee replaced back in July due to some bad injuries when in was young. I’m already back to where I was pre surgery for my training and looking to make a comeback later this year but I’m trying to lean down to 300lb ish first to take some of the pressure off my new knee. Just trying to save as much muscle as possible while I drop the weight.

(Sebastien Szczepaniak) #16

Interesting thread guys thx for sharing @Don_Q @cjperry81 @Dread1840 @Estorm

Sharing my views and current practise here.
I’m 45, 78Kg, 183cm, 8% BF. French, living in Switzerland.
I come from a triathlon and cycling background but I’ve always pick up weights and enjoyed lifting over the last 20 years. Over the last 6/7 years, I’ve been into bodybuilding a bit more seriously.

Up to Jan 15th 2020, I was IF 16/8 with a regular bro-carb diet, very low in fat, very high in protein (2.5g per kg of body weight minimum…).
Happy with results but always a bit struggling with hunger, mood changes and lack of overall energy outside the gym or on my bike (I still bike a lot for cardio and for fun…).

I transitionnel to Keto on Jan 15th… strict keto, 20g net carbs, reducing my protein intake to 2g per kg, rest in fat. 2800 calories total. While my bike performance suffered a lot (and still does), my weight game did not change really. I am able to push as hard as before, I am mostly working RPT and compound movements. I deadlift 2x my body weight, 1.5 bench press, 1x OHP, etc…

I do not think I am fat adapted yet, but believe from the feelings I have that I am right on my way to it. 5 weeks on…

While I switched to Keto, I kept the same routine i.e. IF 16/8, 20g of BCAAs 10 minutes before working out (so technically I do not train fasted), then first meal right after work out (1.30 pm) and the other around 8pm.

What’s your views on this? is this sustainable with Keto Diet long term? any way to improve this? I was scrupulously following advices from the guy of #ketosavage (Sykes) who is a pro bodybuilder, natty, completely Keto, who is giving really good insights on how to build a physique while Keto.

Happy to hear your views and entertain the thread.


Love this thread and the content. Actual intelligent discussions vs. zealotry about this or that diet.

(Chris Perry) #18

I kind of wanted to throw an update on myself in this thread to hopefully help keep the topic alive. I posted my stats up top previously but long story short I do very heavy lifting a few times a week. I added in 16:8 this past week for the first time. I didn’t adjust my calories (2860) or macros 215 protein, 215 fat, 20-25 carbs at all. My protein was definitely higher on certain days but still stayed in my calorie window. All i did was fit my meal plan into the 16:8 time window. I crashed hard during my first workout of the week, my second went much better but i still faded in the later part of my workout. I did bump my cardio up just a little bit and did sprint intervals on an airdyne bike.

At the one week mark I lost 8lbs. I did carb up harcdcore the night before my weigh in just for one meal but other than that my plan was 100% on point.

Im happy with the 8lbs but I want my workouts and strength to be what it was before when I was doing strictly keto/low carb with no fasting. My plan for this week is to continue to fast, keep my calories the same but try and double my carbs up to 40 ish net carbs by adding a little rice/quinoa/sweet potato and hopefully I can perform better in the gym.

(Sebastien Szczepaniak) #19

Is your workout completely fasted or are you taking BCAA or EAA just before hitting the gym? I would watch out on the catabolic effect of working out totally fasted…
On a separate topic, is there any reason why your protein intake is so high? is this above 2.5g per kg?

(Chris Perry) #20

I have not done fasted workouts at this point, I’ve been making sure that have have at least 2 meals in me before I do a workout because I was nervous of the catabolic effect it might have. I generally have BCAA’s after a hard lift but have not tried taking them before my workout.

As for my protein intake I chose a formula that was higher in protein in an attempt to keep my muscle mass. From my past reading over the years most experts say that you should have between 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound you weigh in order to protect your muscle. As of this weekend i was 340lb or 154kg. Its obvious that I could not reasonably eat 340 grams of protein. Based on body comps my lean mass is around 215-220 so I have just been using that for my protein number, however when I use some of the online keto formulas they recommend right around the same number. Its just trial and error at this point.

I’ve doubled my carbs with week up to 40 net carbs to see if it helps my workouts but I will try BCAA’s before my workouts this week or next. I dead lifted 555lbs over the weekend and didn’t experience a crash so hopefully the carb adjustment is working. Thanks for the ideas!