How To Optimize Your Hormones On Keto
Hormones like human growth hormone, cortisol, insulin, testosterone, and IGF-1 play significant roles in the regulation of muscle and fat mass. Human growth hormone, for example, stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration, making it an essential hormone to increase for bodybuilders. One reason why the ketogenic diet is one of the best diets for bodybuilders is that it tends to increase human growth hormone levels due to how it mimics fasting with carbohydrate restriction.
However, many bodybuilders argue that carbohydrates are essential because they stimulate insulin and IGF-1, which help build muscle. It is true that carbohydrates are potent stimulators of these anabolic hormones, but digging deeper into the biochemistry shows us that carbs are not necessary.
When we workout, our muscle cells become sensitive to insulin and IGF-1 and Human growth hormone and testosterone increase. If you combine that workout with a high protein diet, then the amino acids in the protein will stimulate insulin and IGF-1 release, which will increase muscle protein synthesis tremendously. In other words, carbohydrates are not necessary for building muscle because protein and exercise promote more of an anabolic stimulus.
The Takeaway: To optimize your hormones on the ketogenic diet, consider doing some of the below.
- Eat enough protein.
- Prioritize sleep for optimal recovery.
- Follow a set workout, sleep, and meditation schedule for best results.
Figure Out Your Macros
The three macronutrients proteins, fats and carbohydrates form the big nutrient groups that contribute to the calories we eat. While the calories we consume have a profound effect on the way your body looks, the macronutrient split is equally important in your vegan bodybuilding quest to create an attractive body.
‘A calorie is a calorie’ may be true for mere weight gain and weight loss. But the way these calories break down into each of the macronutrients will dictate how well your body builds and repairs muscle tissue, as well as how much muscle you retain during weight loss.
For anyone interested in more in-depth information about optimal vegan macros I urge you to check out this article later.
For now the short and sweet version will do. To maximize improvements in body composition here’s the optimal vegan diet macro split:
- Consume a high-protein vegan diet: 1.6-2.2 g of protein per kg, or 0.73-1 g of protein per pound.
- Consume a low to moderate-fat diet: 15-30% calories from fat.
- Eat the rest of your calories in the form of carbs.
Anabolic Diet Wrap Up
Dr. Di Pasquale has gained a large following over the years, and much of that started with the influence the Anabolic Diet had on the health/fitness subculture. While the diet does have some sound principles behind it, it does have a few drawbacks and may not be suitable for everybody.
As with most other dieting strategies, it is wise to experiment and find what works for you and your body. Some people might flourish while using the Anabolic Diet and find it keeps them performing better, while others may do better on a more balanced diet that doesnt have large swings in certain macronutrients.
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What Happened By The End Of My Low
Well, Im normally a guy who trains intensely 5-6 days a week for about 2 hours and gets stronger the second hour of a workout. Did that continue? Initially. The first few days were a piece of cake, no problem. Towards the end of the first week, I did give in to lighter weights with more control and feel. I enjoy this style of training, so no biggie.
The first week passed and eating low carb was no problem, but I did find myself cutting my workouts a little shorter than 2 hours. No shame there, I was still doing great. I took the 6th and 7th day off from the gym entirely to rest my body. Im human and I was a little tired, so I listened to my body.
I was also losing weight. It was body fat. Lots of it and fast! I was making sure to keep my protein intake high, giving my body all it needed to maintain and repair muscle. But as I lost body fat and remained low carb my workout performance diminished, but was still insane. Just not for 2 hours. I could lift a lot, just not my best. But my body was progressing visibly from day to day.
Using this motivation, it was easier for me to get from Day 7 to Day 10 and to Day 15 when sure, I had a few cravings. But Im used to those moments, endured, and eventually became more focused upon having an OCD moment and thinking, I have to stop at a good number. 10? 14?
And then it was over.
After my workout, I would reintroduce carbs. Right after I stopped by the store and bought them!
EVOLVE INTO YOUR STRONGEST YOU!
Do You Lose Muscle On Keto
In short, maybe. When you first start out on your keto bodybuilding journey, you might initially lose some muscle and strengthbut only temporarily.
If youve been following a carb-heavy diet, your body is used to burning carbs for fuel. On the ketogenic diet, you want to eat the right proportions of food that will put you in ketosis: the metabolic state in which you burn fat for fuel.
It may take a bit of time to transition to using ketones as your new fuel source, and during that transition, your energy and performance in the gym may take a hit. Fortunately, the transition phase is temporary .
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Ketogenic Diet Positives And Negatives
Like any healthy diet plan, some positives and negatives need to be considered.
One of the positives is that you burn fat quickly. Another is that it will lower the insulin in your body.
Insulin can get in the way when your body tries to use fatty acids for energy, and the reduction of insulin can also release beneficial hormones that promote growth.
Also, since the ketogenic diet is high in fats and moderate in proteins, it can suppress your appetite.
As anyone who has tried dieting before will attest, this is defiantly appealing.
On the other hand, there are some hindrances associated with the ketogenic diet.
On a high fat, low carb diet during the first few weeks, as your body adjusts to burning fat instead of carbohydrates, it is common to experience fatigue, brain fog, and sometimes dehydration which is the body shifting into ketosis.
These symptoms should resolve themselves once the body readjusts, and you can even find yourself with more energy on the keto diet than before.
Vegan Diet Hint: Getting Your Healthy Fats
Packed full of healthy protein, minerals, fiber, vitamin E and essential fatty acids, nuts and seeds are just absolute champions of the nutrient world.
If youre unfortunate enough to have a nut allergy, then youre missing out! Eating a lot of nuts is now correlated with a reduced risk of heart disease, all-cause mortality, and cancer .
Now it’s important to be aware that these foods are also quite high in calories. You will find there are 9 calories per gram of fat compared to a gram of carbohydrate or protein having 4 calories.
That means that nuts and seeds are great for putting on body weight.
But on the contrary, they can be a detriment to weight loss too, as even an innocent large handful of nuts can contain hundreds of calories. One food I suggest everyone should include in their vegan diet is the almighty flax seed.
These are so nutrient-dense that it hurts: one tablespoon provides a vegan with 1.6 grams of omega-3, in addition to lignans which are known for their anti-cancer properties. Healthy vegan fats can come from many places, though, including the following :
Read my full guide on fat sources on the vegan diet and everything you need to know.
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Eat This Way To Build Muscle And Lose Fat
Think it’s not possible to lean out while adding or maintaining muscle? Your diet, or lack thereof, could be playing tricks on you. Here’s how to make it work.
Getting big is one thing. Getting lean is another. And the two simply don’t happen at the same timeâor so the commenters would have you believe.
I’ve worked with plenty of bodybuilders and strength athletes who needed to hold onto muscleâor even build itâwhile also burning fat. And I’ve seen them do it. But it didn’t happen by accident or by shortcuts, it was a question of making the right choices over and over again for a long time.
To be clear, everything here assumes that the basics are in place: You’re eating adequate calories and protein and your training is in line with the goal of burning fat while building muscle.
Got that? Then here’s how you should eat, from the training trenches straight to the stageâor just to your selfie.
Pillars Of Bodybuilding Nutrition
It’s important to listen to your body and give it the fuel it needs to meet your workout goals. Healthy eating produces the best results when you’ve synched it up with a dynamic workout plan like the ones in BodyFit.
Use these five pillars of nutrition as guideposts to help you on your journey:â¯
Eat Throughout the Day: Yes, you can grow muscle or lose weight on three meals a day. But for many of us, it’s more effective to use multiple small meals and healthy snacks spread throughout the day help you fuel your body and keep your blood-sugar levels under control as your metabolism adapts to the stimulus from training.
Limit Processed Foods: Removing high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods from your diet and your life will help you stick to your meal plan. If you’re like most people, you’ll find your workouts feel better, your cravings will decrease, and you’ll see the difference in the mirror!
Stay Hydrated: Drink water and calorie-free beverages to keep your body at peak performance. Avoid sugar-laden drinks that sabotage your body’s defense systems. Craving sweet drinks? Low-calorie branched-chain amino acid blends can be a lifesaver.
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Why Your Strength May Decrease During Keto
When youre in the beginning phase of the ketogenic diet, you may not be able to exercise with the same intensity as you did with carbs. This is because your body is switching from breaking down glucose for energy to breaking down fat into ketones.
To successfully build muscle on the ketogenic diet, you have to follow it long-term.
Since your body has been used to burning glucose as its main source of energy your entire life, it needs time to adjust.
When you restrict carbs, it has to find another source of energy. This is when ketones are introduced as your bodys main energy source.
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The longer you stay on keto, the more efficient your metabolism becomes at burning ketones for energy and the better your workouts become.
In other words, once you become fully keto-adapted, your body synthesizes more energy, also known as adenosine triphosphate , from both your stored body fat and dietary fat to fuel your workouts.
Studies have also shown that the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet has muscle-sparing effects. That means once youre fully fat-adapted your body will prevent itself from breaking down muscle even as youre burning through fat.
The Takeaway On Keto Bodybuilding
“Why you’d choose to be on a keto diet versus any other bodybuilding diet comes down to your individual goals and preferences, but, done right, any of them can get you from point A to point B,” says Smith. “Some people swear by going keto, others don’t like it that much. If you’re curious, your best bet is just to try it.”
Just remember that careful planning is crucial if you want to look and feel good on a keto bodybuilding diet. Chat with a nutritionist if you want to give it a try.
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How Many Times To Eat Per Day
Turns out, it doesnt matter how frequently you eat, whether its 1 meal a day or 7 – the difference is negligible. As a result, you should eat at a frequency that suits you and your habits.
Cant get enough calories in when youre bulking up?
Consider starting the day with a large breakfast and then eating 4 or 5 smaller meals throughout the day. Or, incorporate vegan mass gainers into your diet.
Cant keep the calories down when youre shredding?
Perhaps try out intermittent fasting – this is when you eat solely during a 6-8 hour window, leaving you with about 2 or 3 meals each day if you plan carefully.
Guidelines To Follow During The 1700 Calorie Meal Plan Low Carb
- Plan regarding your weight loss goals and place your efforts in the same direction
- Consult with your doctor or physician before going ahead with this diet plan
- Go for high-fat dairy options instead of the low-fat ones as the latter comes high in sugar
- Stay away from processed and packaged foods to cut down those unwanted calories and carbs coming to your diet
- A low-carb diet may initially attract certain side effects like fatigue, nausea, weakness, or headache, but the same would disappear after a certain time
- Drink enough water in between your meals to keep your body hydrated
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Figure Out What To Eat
Managing this part of the equation is possibly what many struggle with the most. And I won’t lie, and say this is the easiest thing in the world, especially if you’re a beginner in the vegan bodybuilding diet.
For instance, one aspect where difficulties may arise is that plant foods typically are lower in protein. This can make it really difficult to balance your macros and reach adequate amounts of protein in the range of 1.6-2.2 g protein per kg.
Furthermore, It’s absolutely crucial that your plant-based diet also delivers all the essential micronutrients:
Meal : Pre Workout Lunch Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Salad
Were assuming a workout time at around 2 pm, so well be needing some carbs to fuel your workout.
If youre grabbing a sandwich, then opt for one higher in nutrients or do the best you can do.
Include salads in your sandwich whenever possible for a nutrient-dense, protein-packed healthy lunch.
Here we have a grilled cheese sandwich with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and lettuce.
This pre-workout meal will be our highest carb meal to ensure you can work out at a high intensity.
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B Sample Weekend Menu :
- Meal 1 – Pancakes, fresh fruit, and an egg-white omelet
- Meal 2 – Pasta w/tomato sauce, chicken breast, and garlic bread
- Meal 3 – Bagel with low-fat cheese and turkey breast
- Meal 4 – Sweet potato and an extra-lean ground beef hamburger
- Meal 5 – Shrimp tacos served over rice and beans
There are no strict rules on what you eat so long as you are achieving your macronutrient/calorie goal each day. Dr. Di Pasquale just recommends certain foods for each timeframe to provide a template. The Anabolic Diet isnt intended to omit certain foods or food groups. That being said, you will probably not be eating many grains or other starchy carbs during the weekdays, but youll have plenty of freedom for those foods on the weekends.
Vegan Bodybuilding Low Carb Diet Plan
As I was sitting here eating a bowl of vegan kale, cashew, and basil pesto pasta after my workout, I was wondering, Can a vegan diet be low carb?. And not just any vegan diet, but a vegan bodybuilding diet. You know, one where youre trying to get as huge as possible. So, I thought about what I would eat if I was low carb. Then I did a bunch of research to figure out exactly what a vegan bodybuilding low carb diet would look like.
A vegan bodybuilding low carb diet is definitely doable. It is more challenging because vegan foods tend to be higher in carbs, but with proper structure and planning you can achieve various degrees of a vegan bodybuilding low carb diet.
So, Im going to break down, step-by-step, exactly what I found in my research. Honestly, I imagine there are a lot of vegan bodybuilders that would want to go low carb for a variety of reasons. Not me of course. I love my pasta. But, anyways, lets dig into what a vegan bodybuilding low carb diet might look like
but first. Check out this video from Vegan Fitness YouTuber Vegan Physique on what he calls tag-along carbs and strategies for reducing carb intake:
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Add Nuts Seeds And Oils To Your Meals
Nuts, seeds, and oils are full of healthy fats. Seeds and nuts have protein as well. They are great additives to meals. Frying up some broccoli? Throw some shaved almonds in with an olive oil drizzle on top. Making a smoothie? Throw some flaxseed or chia seeds in.
Remember, we are trying to preserve or gain muscle here. Which means we need calories to fuel our bodies and training. Adding nutrient-rich foods like nuts, seeds, and oils ensures that you will be able to hit your caloric goal for the day, especially if you are bulking.
Your Unique Carbohydrate Threshold Level
The best thing about this bodybuilding diet is that its tailor-fitted to your unique metabolic type its not a one-size-fits-all diet. You will find your unique carb threshold level and this will allow you to:
Your carb threshold level can be defined as
The lowest possible daily carbohydrate intake that allows you to function at top level
Since were concerned with building muscle, we need to find the lowest amount of carbs you need in a day to not only feel good but hammer out muscle-building workouts that continually improve, week-on-week.
I recommend you start out at 30 grams per day and adjust from there.Dont make any changes to this for at least a week because you need to make the metabolic switch to burning fat for fuel first. Once this is completed you will be able to tell from your workout performances whether or not you need some more carbs .
I personally average at around 27 grams of carbohydrate per day for 5 and a half days. Some days I take in 35 grams but on others just 20 grams. Going higher or lower is fine, just check your weekly averages. This low amount of carbohydrate is enough to power me through some amazing workouts Ive got bags of energy and feel great.
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