Trainer says to eat more carbs to lean out?


Good news, I have lost over 40lbs on Keto. I am about 10-15lbs from my ideal body weight. However my body fat is 33% while my BMI is 25%. I’m 5’6 157lbs and 47 years old. I work out 2-4 times a week strength training and Pilates type workout. My trainer says I need to start eating more healthy carbs (and protein) to gain muscle and lean out. I’m not sure what to do? Any advice would be appreciated.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #2

Others on this forum who are more knowledgeable specifically about body building on keto will respond more specifically, I’m sure. What I want to point out is that carbs don’t build muscle. Carbs build fat. Protein builds muscle. To get your 33% body fat down you need to continue what you’ve been doing to lose the 40 pounds already. It gets harder to lose fat as your overall weight approaches your goal, so you might have to reduce your fat intake to force the final fat burn off. But not by much. The final proportion of fat/protein to eat to attain muscle gain I will leave to those who know better.

PS: you might attract the knowledgeable ‘muscle’ people more readily if you changed the title of your topic from what it is now to something like:

Trainer says I need to eat more carbs to gain muscle - wha???


Thanks. I might have taken what he said out of context as he has told me to increase my protein but that I still need to start incorporating more healthy carbs to lean out.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #4

Trying to build muscle while trying to lose fat makes matters more complicated. Since you want to lose only another 10-15 pounds, you might be better off to do that first. Then do the muscle work. But I still recommend awaiting more knowledgeable folks to respond.


I’m guessing that he wants you to replace some of the fat in your diet with carbs - that’s pretty standard advice in the fitness community. FWIW if I want to lean out some then I drop the fat a bit & increase my protein but I don’t add carbs. If you’re fat adapted & have some body fat to spare you should be able to tap into your fat stores to make up for any shortfall in calories. I’m at a fairly low BMI & body fat so I only do it for a month or so here & haven’t had any apparent issues with metabolic adaption & the like.


He doesn’t know much about keto but acknowledges that it is working for me. He is definitely of that old school high carb for fitness mindset. I am fat adapted. Been on keto 6 months. I will try reducing my fat and increasing the protein. I have enough stored fat, that’s for sure, lol. What should I am for fat wise given my height and weight?


I go for a pretty short, sharp & brutal cut but I don’t have a lot to play around with & I want in & out as quickly as possible. Given you’ve got more recomp to do I’d start out with a smaller reduction in fat calories, take your time & see how you go - if you start off too hard core you leave yourself no room for tweaking. I’m not a trainer though :grimacing:

(Cristian Lopez) #8

I see where he is going, I would suggest replacing his context of “healthy carbs” with a “a lot of green veggies” to add bulk to your meals and hence make you eat less. Though It’s not my favorite thing to tell people “black and white to eat less” as there are so many other factors that play into losing fat. I’m currently standing 10% body fat, eating a paleo/keto diet with incorporating fasting daily to switch over to ketones most of the day.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #9

I’m a believer that “healthy carbs” is a myth. Carbs in KETO foods are not the healthy element of those foods. Those foods are healthy in spite of their low carb count. I agree with @amwassil, I don’t believe carbohydrates build muscle, protein contains the building blocks of muscle, amino acids. Carbs are sugars. They build fat. What is your trainers definition of healthy carbs? Potatoes, grains, fruit? These are insulinogenic foods that cause any extra fat you have in your diet to be stored while you burn off those carbs, and the fructose causes fatty deposits around your organs. This is anti weight loss, the insulin will push lipids into your muscles along with the glucose. This creates insulin resistance in your muscles. The longer you do this more fat accumulated inside your muscle tissues.

Think about beef as an example. When a cow eats grass the cellulose ferments in the ruminant gut and is converted to fatty acids. A cow eating grass is in ketosis, it is living off of fat.

Grass fed beef has lean muscle structure without much fat trapped in those muscles. Now look at grain finished beef. It has lots of fatty tissues imbedded in its muscles, what we call marbling. Wagyu beef muscle is about half fat! They are given lots of beer everyday. The two types of beef look radically different. Grain fed cattle is living on carbohydrates instead of fatty acids (ketosis) has become insulin resistant due to high carbohydrate consumption. They are not meant to live off carbohydrates any more than humans, cats or dogs.

This happens in our bodies as well. Eating carbs will bulk up your muscle appearance, but are those muscles actually stronger than leaner muscles? I definitely don’t believe it’s healthier by any stretch of the imagination. Many keto lifters report flatter less rippled muscles but are still very strong and I believe in a superior state of health. I definitely think you should get to your desired body fat percentage (more relevant than weight). You want to loose fat not weight. If you are lifting you may end up weighing more than you do now with a lower body fat percentage. That is much better than just loosing to a goal weight that you have in your mind. You are doing recomposition now. I would keep doing what you are doing, I don’t think your trainer has an understanding of keto or the benefits of staying in ketosis. What you are being advised to eat is just the same old “healthy diet” dogma. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Ken) #10

It’s pretty tough to gain muscle and lean out at the same time. That’s why Cuts are designed to maintain muscle while losing fat, not increase it. It generally takes a caloric surplus to add muscle, and a caloric deficit to lose fat. If you’re currently losing fat, you should concentrate on that until you lean out. Then, you can worry about adding muscle. You’ve also got the old Bodybuilding saying going for you, " Lose fat, Look BIgger".

(BuckRimfire) #11

It’s likely that your trainer is simply a victim of the “fat burns in a carbohydrate flame” meme. That idea is pretty widespread, even though it doesn’t have any basis in the reality of human physiology.


That saying was taught to us in physiology class.

(Scott) #13

If you have been losing fat and keto is working for you I say don’t increase carbs beyond your comfort zone. I am comfortable in the 50g zone mostly due to veggies and wine but I am just shy of maintenance with about three pounds to go. I also run and workout several times a week so that my give me some added headroom.


When I started this WOE I was at about 42% fat so it’s definitely on its way down. I want to lose the remaining 10-15lbs which is definitely getting tougher. I’m going to try reducing fat though it’s not a huge number for me at the moment. I have a bigger problem eating enough protein. I avg 60-80g a day and need to be closer to 100g.

(Dirty Lazy Keto'er, Sucralose freak ;)) #15

Based on MPE, Id say, eat more Sucralose :slight_smile: lol :slight_smile: JK.

To be completely honest, I think eating less cals, than your expending, is the best (only) way to lean out. The thing that is so great about Keto, is that because one feels so much more satiated, its much easier to take in less cals, and not feel like your starving to death between meals.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #16

Busting a myth that continues in the keto community still after years. I bought into it with all the misinformation surrounding weight loss coming from the flawed CICO myth, much of it on this forum. It it persists among a majority of ketonians! Once again Ken Berry MD breaks it down into simple terms for common folk. A calorie is not just a calorie and restricting them for weight loss just doesn’t work. When I was stalled eating more broke that. Let’s all stop repeating misinformation about having to eat at a deficit to lose weight! In truth it’s harmful and works against you.

Everyone needs to watch this who believes you need to eat at a deficit to loose weight. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Susan) #17

Nice, David, I have bookmarked this to watch later =). Thanks.

(Scott) #18

Ever since I left caloric deficit behind and went keto I have ignored calories. It take a lot of time to weigh, count and log calories so when I realized it was not necessary it freed up some time. I lose weight or maintain just fine limiting only carbs.

(Failed) #19

This is great, thank you for posting it. :heart:

(BuckRimfire) #20

Was any evidence taught for it, though? The experience of Atkins and keto dieters seems to prove it wrong, and there’s nothing I know about the biochemistry that suggests carbs are involved.