How Much Protein Should You Eat When Building Muscles on a Keto Diet?

by: Agatha Singer

The keto diet is rapidly gaining in popularity, mostly due to its efficiency in weight loss (Experimental & Clinical Cardiology). However, as a bodybuilder it is necessary to be doubly careful with this diet. You can grow muscles despite reducing carbs but only when the rest of your diet plan is balanced in the right ways, and those ‘right ways’ entail making sure that you get the recommended daily amount of protein and other macros. Do bear in mind though that the recommended amount depends upon the intensity of your workouts.

How Much Protein Do Bodybuilders Truly Need in Their Keto Diet?

You need to consume the exact same amount of protein on the keto diet as you would with any other healthy meal plan. Always remember that the amount of protein athletes require is higher due to the extra exercise involved. However, consuming too much of it isn’t good for you according to research published in ISRN Nutrition.

Therefore stick to the recommended doses, which are:

  • 1.3g per kilogram of lean body weight if you exercise moderately.
  • 1.6g per kilogram if you are on a heavy exercise routine to gain muscle mass fast.

As the keto diet is low in carbs, you should understand that your body will not be able to get the fuel that it is accustomed to. This is why it is essential to make up for this when designing your meal plan. Usually your body gets the energy it needs to grow muscle from carbs, but in this case you will need to increase the total calorie intake in order to get that important fuel. And whilst it is entirely necessary, you need to ensure that your intake of protein remains at the recommended levels.

You need to remain mindful that it’s not only the protein intake that you should watch closely. At the same time you must ensure that you ingest a healthy amount of fiber, due to the increased risk of developing hemorrhoids on the keto diet. Fortunately many of the fiber-rich foods that should be included in this meal plan are also sources of protein, for example eggs, seeds, nuts, and poultry. Thus it is easy to create a well-balanced and healthy keto diet plan that will help you to build muscle fast.

Keto Diet for Bodybuilding: Sample Meal Plan

Breakfast options:

  • Eggs with bacon and spinach or tomatoes
  • Omelet with goat cheese and tomatoes
  • Omelet with homemade avocado salsa and bell peppers
  • Greek yogurt with peanut butter
  • Keto milkshake (try this recipe)
  • Sausage with cheese and bell peppers
  • Ham & cheese omelet

Lunch options:

  • Ground beef with tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and lettuce
  • Grilled chicken with bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and mayonnaise
  • Slices of ham and cheese with seeds or nuts
  • Guacamole, salsa, celery sticks, and nuts
  • Chicken salad with cheese and extra virgin olive oil
  • Shrimp salad with avocado

Dinner options:

  • Steak with eggs and/or salad
  • Fish with spinach and eggs
  • Burgers without buns (use beef and bacon with cheese)
  • Chicken with cream cheese and pesto, served with some veggies
  • Meatballs with cheese sauce
  • Pork chops with broccoli and parmesan (try with steamed asparagus as well)
  • Salmon with cauliflower rice

The best snack foods for the keto diet are nuts, seeds, and power balls made with an extra serving of different fats such as these. But take care not to raise your calorie too high.

You also need to remember that the keto diet is good for you only if the fats you consume are healthy. Therefore it is essential to avoid deep fried and limit fried foods. Eliminate processed foods from your diet completely. You will also need to stick to steaming and grilling as your main cooking methods.

If you do need to use cooking oils, stick to olive and coconut options. You should also use sour cream and homemade mayonnaise for seasonings with your salads. And don’t forget that low-carb or not, you do need to eat some veggies and fruits. Stick to broccoli, tomatoes, berries, and bell peppers.

Overall, any bodybuilder can start on the keto diet without compromising their ability to gain muscle. Various studieshave shown that this can work, but only with the right workout routine and a healthy meal plan. Be aware that the keto is not a long-term solution. For many people this diet is quite challenging, and if it doesn’t agree with you don’t force your body to accept it.

I’m Agatha Singer, a work-from-home mom of two little nuggets. My interests range from the latest business management trends to healthy living and adventurous traveling. I always stay open to new ideas and expertise to make my writings handy and captivating for you. I’ll be happy to see you on my blog: