Bodybuilder’s Ketogenic Diet Guide

The following article was written by JC634

Background Information

Once your body has used and burned all it’s available glucose that is floating in your bloodstream post-digestion, your body will still need energy and thus will begin to use the last massing of carbohydrate reserves left in your body – glycogen in your muscles and in your liver. This is why you get flat on Keto diets.

Glycogen greatly assists with filling out your muscles hence why bodybuilders who use insulin have extremely well developed and large looking muscles. After your body has used all the glycogen available and you’re as flat as a tortilla, your body will slowly start to produce Ketones which assist in changing the energy source your body requires.

These Ketones float about in your bloodstream, interrupt your natural ATP production cycle (Krebs cycle) and force your body to start turning stored fats into fatty acids which are then absorbed in to the bloodstream and used for the creation of ATP/ADP depending on which state of production you are in (Aerobic versus Anaerobic).

As your body is changing from running on carbs to burning fats, which will take anywhere from 7-14 days depending on your size and body fat percentage, you will be tired, irritable, weak, fatigued and hungry. Once you are in Ketosis, which can be tested for with Keto strips and a little pee, you feel clean, energetic, healthy and satiated all the time. You can look at sweet foods (Brownies and Cookies are my weakness) and not even want them. In fact, the look and thought might make you feel a little nauseated.

Try to make your fat sources as free from Trans Fats as possible. Eat hamburger meat, salad dressing, cheese, organic hot dogs (usually 1 gram of carbohydrates or less), bacon, eggs, steak, chicken cooked in butter and olive oil. Watch your peanut butter and nut intake. Almonds are good for while you’re on the go but only a handful as they still contain about 7-8 grams of carbohydrates per serving. They also contain a lot of fiber which brings the net carbs from most nuts down to about 3-4 grams per serving as fiber does not get absorbed or utilized by the body (only to make you hit the bathroom).

When looking at a food product for carbohydrate nutrient contents, be sure to subtract the fiber in that product from the total carbohydrates to give you the net carbohydrates available to turn in to glucose. A Keto style diet will make it hard to take a dump. It’s best to drink Metamucil twice a day when doing Keto.

Types of Keto Diets

  • Anabolic Diet
  • Standard Keto Diet (SKD)
  • Cyclic Keto Diet (CKD)
  • Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)

Standard Keto Diet (SKD)

Your standard, basic Ketogenic diet, sans re-feeds and carb-ups. This type of diet should not be used for anyone who is physically active but does work well for sedentary people (older folks, parents, office workers, etc). The premise of this diet includes eating less than 30-50 grams of carbohydrates a day, with those carbs all coming from green vegetable sources. The rest of your macros should come from Fat and Protein, with an emphasis on fat being your main energy source.

Calculate your daily calories required to cut at the rate you want to, from that subtract the 100 calories you’ll get from eating 2-3 cups of green veggies a day, and with the remaining calories protein will account for 800-900 calories which is sufficient protein for most, and fat should account for all of the remaining calories. The hardest part about the Keto diet is that we are used to watching our fat intake thinking fats are bad, fat contains a lot of calories per gram so if you eat lots of fat you can easily go over your daily calorie target if you’re not in Ketosis, but for Ketosis you need those fats for energy.


In Layman’s terms, eat as above for 5 out of the 7 days of the week. When it comes to your last day of lifting for the week, before that gym session eat a piece of fruit. You’ll have a great pump and this will kick-start your storage process for carbs. Immediately post-workout begin eating simple carbs (honey, agave, fruits, sugar, cereal, white bread, pasta, etc – but stay away from high fructose corn syrup). Eat as many simple carbs as you can for about 8 hours and then switch to complex carb sources (rice, oats, whole wheat, sweet potatoes, yams) for another 12 hours. All in all you have a 24 hour re-feed once a week that spans the better part of two days since we must sleep a lot while on the Keto diet. Once your re-feed is over, revert back to the SKD style mentioned above – energy from fats and proteins. You will notice that as you go through your re-feed you will all of a sudden become vascular again, less flat, and bloated. Expect this bloat since glycogen holds lots of water, you’re inevitably going to retain a lot of water over this re-feed period but you needn’t worry as you piss it out the day after re-feed ends. Keep dietary fat to a minimum during re-feeds. Insulin is being released and you want to try to store as much as possible through glycogen, not through fat.

Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)

Targeted style. It sounds pretty cool. Basically, on your non-training days you eat like SKD, but on your lifting days you consume 3 grams of carbs for every set you plan on doing at the gym. You can break this carb intake down to 30 mins pre-workout and 30 mins post-workout and consume half of your carbs at each of those points. This will trigger an insulin spike and those carbs you ingest will go strictly to replenishing lost glycogen.

Additional Information

Keto isn’t about being able to eat all the eggs, bacon and cheese you want. You still need to calculate your daily calorie needs and adjust accordingly for weight loss. You can eat too much on Keto and put on weight, it’s just very hard because you really do feel constantly full. Remember, the initial weight drop you experience is from water loss due to that lack of glycogen being able to hold water. The actual fat loss comes later, so hold tight and if you must do a Keto-style diet then stick to it for 2-3 months. Keto-style diets WILL down regulate your metabolism so T3 while on a Keto diet, as well as when coming off a Keto diet is recommended. There is more information about T3 here.

Preparing for Keto

Mentally, tell yourself that carbs must be eaten and that they are not necessarily bad while on a Keto diet. Keto diets spare muscle, you will only be flat, get the idea out of your head that you are losing muscle even if your lifts are less and your endurance is down. Also, check your blood pressure before and after a Keto diet, I bet it will drop a good amount while on Keto. If you are going with CKD or TKD, go two weeks without any re-feeds or workout carbs and then incorporate those additions – so always run 2 weeks of SKD to begin any Keto-style diet.

Ending Your Keto Run

When you’ve decided you’ve had enough beef and eggs for a lifetime and you want to transition back to a normal style of dieting you will need to reintroduce carbohydrates (from complex sources as to limit your insulin spike since you will be very insulin sensitive post-Keto) very slowly. Week one off Keto diet – add 15 grams of carbs to each of the 3 meals you consume per day or 10 grams to the 5 meals you consume per day. Week two off Keto – add 25 grams of carbs to each of the 3 meals you consume per day or 15 grams to the 5 meals you consume per day. Week three off Keto – add 40 grams of carbs to each of the three meals you consume per day or 25 grams of carbs to each of the 5 meals you consume per day. Work your way back to normal carbohydrate intake slowly.

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