Tips on Building Muscle on a Low Carb Diet

Do you really want to build lean muscle and maintain those six pack abs, but have struggled gaining muscle mass because you are following a low carb diet? Some people argue that it is challenging to build muscle on a low carb diet because you lack the “fuel” to grow your muscles. Technically, this is partially true, but it does not have to be the case. I am going to tell you why. From my real-world experience, building muscle is a complex process with a number of factors at play, like your exercise regime (e.g., weight lifting), the amount of time you dedicate to resting your body, and your protein intake to name only a few. Also, there are several foods that can be included in your low carb diet that are high in protein, such as chicken and fish. You want to make sure you are putting on lean muscle and this simply wont happen if you are eating foods high in carbs like pasta, potatoes, and loaves of white bread. 

What are some tips to building muscle on a low carb diet? There are a number of strategies to building muscle on a low carb diet. The first and most important tip is to not eliminate carbs from your diet completely, as they play an essential role in muscle growth. Continue to read on to learn how to do this properly. 

Although it can work if implemented correctly, the ketogenic diet may not be the most suited option for you if you want to gain some serious muscle mass. We will explore in greater detail some of the foods that are best to have when trying to keep carbs at a minimum but still get jacked. But before we do so, let’s clearly establish the role carbs play in muscle growth. 

The Role of Carbs in Building Muscle

Carbs play a very important role in the process of building muscle. Basically, carbs help you fuel your body. Your body transforms carbs to glucose, which remains in your muscles as glycogen. Carbs help stimulate insulin, which plays a role in providing blood to your muscle fibres to increase growth. But enough of the boring science behind it all already, let’s get into the foods that have been found to get the best results.

Top Foods to Eat on a Low Carb Diet When Trying to Build Muscle

There is so many low carb foods that you can focus your diet on in order to build muscle. Low carb veggies are key to these diets. So, if you have not already, give veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach a try. Before you know it, you’ll have forearms like Pop-Eye! And we all know how much he loved his green spinach.

building muscle on keto

Of course, there are some carbs that are more beneficial than others when attempting to build muscle. For example, you could try incorporating whole grains and nuts (e.g., almonds) into your low carb diet. As stated, it is no secret that protein intake is a key factor in building muscle mass. Experts suggest eating 1 to 1.5 grams of protein for each pound of body mass, on a daily basis, if you engage in regular exercise at a moderate to high level of intensity. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, then you should plan to have between 200 to 300 grams of protein each and every day. This is possible through a variety of high-protein foods like chicken, red meat, and fish. If you do not think you would like to have these options all the time, do not worry as I have another solution for you below. 

Top Workout Supplements to Include in Your Low Carb Diet Meal Plan

One alternative to always eating chicken, meat, or fish to obtain protein is to use workout supplements, like protein shakes. Protein shakes includes powder of a variety of flavours (e.g., chocolate, vanilla, even cookies and cream, etc.) mixed with either water or milk (your preference). Whey protein powder is ideal and it contains a number of amino acids that will help you achieve maximum muscle growth. With only one scoop of protein powder you can generally get anywhere between 25 to 40 grams of protein per shake. That’s a large percentage of your daily protein intake that does not have to be chicken, meat, or fish. As a bonus, it usually tastes great! Give it a shot!

Another supplement to consider when building muscle on a low carb diet is creatine. What is creatine you ask? Well, it is basically a white powdery substance found in muscle cells, which helps you, produce energy during intense workouts like the one you will be following to build some steady gains from the gym. It not only helps with muscle growth, but your overall strength as well. It is cost-effective (prices typically range from $10 to $20 a bottle), backed by research evidence, and some believe it to be the number one workout supplement in the world. Be sure to add this to your low carb meal plan.  

What are some exercising tips to help build muscle while on a low carb diet? When trying to build muscle on a low carb diet, it is important to keep the number of reps per set lower than what you usually do. For example, try doing 10 reps of bicep curls instead of your usual 20. This will help maintain your energy levels during your workout. This is especially important given that you have less daily carbs to help fuel the workout. 

keto bodybuilding

What are some other exercises that work well with low carb diets? Other exercises that work include heavy compound lifts, like pull-ups, squats, bench press, and deadlifts. Also, do not underestimate the benefits of yoga. Finally, body weight exercises, like push ups and planks), and sprinting are extremely useful when following a low carb diet in order to build muscle and stay lean.

Overall, if you do not know what you are doing in this area, then it can be challenging to build muscle when trying to follow a low carb diet. However, as discussed in this blog post, this certainly does not have to be the case. With just a few tweaks to your meal and exercise plan, you can achieve significant results. 

Be sure to not deprive yourself completely of carbs, as it is the fuel to muscle growth. Be mindful of the type of carbs you are putting into your body. Whole grains and nuts are okay, but of course only in moderation. Try to incorporate a lot of veggies into your diet, like broccoli and spinach. The right veggies with the right amount of protein depending on your current body mass will set you on the right track to a muscular form that you are proud of. Last but certainly not least, your diet should be accompanied with the appropriate exercise routine and workout supplements, like protein and creatine. Following what I have outlined in this blog post is a sure recipe to success. 

If you have followed some of the tips that I have discussed in this blog post and seen results, please let us know in the comments section below.

Ahmed Matar

Not just food lover, I also like to write about foods and diets, especially keto! Finding low-carb food is fun for me regardless of how others find it difficult. Besides having an interest in foods & diets I also like exercising and walking long distance regularly :)

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