Ketogenic Diet for Bodybuilding
The Ketogenic diet is not something new and has been around for about 30 odd years and is still used today by some top professional bodybuilders around the world. There are quite a few names, which this diet has like a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet, or the CKD diet as it is now known. When you are on the CKD diet it means that you cycle between eating low carb with high protein, and then high fat with a few days of high carb together with high protein, an low fat.
The bodybuilders who use this type of diet manipulation to get results say that it allows you to build muscle without adding fat when bulking which will mean that you can stay lean all year round. But there are other advantages of using this type of diet when trying to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.
Probably the biggest advantage you have when doing this type of cyclical dieting is that you will create an increase in your serum anabolic hormones quite naturally and you can do this without taking any supplements. The best part is that most of the time you will not be feeling tired because you are short of carbs.
The reason why this happens is because most of time you will be eating a very low carb diet, the difference is that you will put a day or two aside every week in order to carb-up again. You do this because you still want to be able to train with as much intensity as you can.
The specific objective of this type of dieting is to achieve maximum serum levels of Testosterone plus the all-important growth hormone and just as importantly your IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1), which is what can make all the difference when trying to gain muscle fast.
This is similar to the old Atkins Diet that was so popular 30 years ago and is based on the same principals of achieving ketosis and burning fat instead of carbs. The majority of the CKD diet is a high fat with high protein together with a very low carb diet.
But the difference between the normal Atkins diet is that this CKD diet has high carb days together with high protein and low fat nutrition. There are variations on the CKD but the standard way is to go about this is by using the following formula:
5-6 days of low carb.
1-2 days of high carb.
It was mentioned above that you will not be feeling tired and listless when you are running short of carbs, but it must be mentioned here that it will depend on how intensely you train as there are some bodybuilders who find that their gym performance during the workout starts to deteriorate towards the end of what is the low-carb phase of the diet.
But you can adjust this to suit your own specific needs and it is recommended by the experts that you implement an increase in the amount of carbs that you eat in the middle of the week. You will do this in order to replenish your muscle glycogen stores by simply adding another high-carb with high-protein and low-fat day on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
Letís briefly look at the low carb advantage that you get when your carbs are kept low enough your body will start to switch to a fat metabolism and this is called the 'Metabolic Switch'. Switching from a carbohydrate to a fat metabolism has some real advantages for the bodybuilder:
Increased Lipolysis (breakdown of fat)
Decreased Lipogenesis (accumulation of body fat)
Usually it takes about 3 days for the metabolic switch to take full effect. Synthesizing all the correct enzymes and doing it all in the sufficient quantities required to become a fat-burner takes a bit of time. This is probably why some newbies starting the CKD will feel a bit foggy in the beginning.
It is important that you do not start thinking that the whole diet is like this because as you increase your carbs again your energy will be back quickly, and for some people, it will be a lot better than normal. We need to always make sure that you carb up at least once a week as our muscles are just like tanks for glycogen.
This means that they are able to fill up and empty again when we workout. Unfortunately we eat can easily slip into eating too many carbs which will result in these tanks becoming satiated. Some glycogen is then stored in the liver and any excess is converted to triglyceride and stored as fat. This is where traditional high-carb diets can let us down.