You’ve probably heard of ketogenic dieting–how it’s one of the best diets for increasing your natural ketone production and how it’ll help you to get shredded and stay lean while on that cutting cycle.
However, a ketogenic diet isn’t without its drawbacks. One of the main issues a lot of people hate about keto is that whenever they try to start the diet, they notice that their pumps aren’t as good as they used to be. We’ve seen that even after doing a ketogenic diet for 6 months, when your carbohydrate stores have started to replenish, you do get a little bit of that pump back, but you can never have a pump like when you’re on carbs.
This is one reason why people may just quit after a week because they can’t take it–bodybuilding is supposed to feel good! The whole point of doing a chest or a shoulder day is to see your sleeves fill out, which motivates you to do more reps. However, if you’re not seeing that, you may feel unmotivated to exercise at all.
So if you constantly feel down while on a ketogenic diet, you can’t get as many pumps in the weight room, and you don’t see any improvements, it’s a no-brainer why you wouldn’t want to continue keto.
However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel! We’re going to cover 3 keto hacks that not only help you completely overcome that keto barrier, but also help you gain muscle like you’ve never gained while on a ketogenic diet.
1. Don’t Be Scared of Protein
A lot of people will tell you that your protein can’t be high when you’re on a ketogenic diet, because high amounts of protein are going to get converted into carbohydrates, which is a no-no while on a ketogenic diet.
However, our first tip to overcoming the keto barrier is to cycle your proteins. Many keto dieters limit themselves to 0.7-0.8g of protein per lbs of bodyweight, and some even can’t get into ketosis unless they’re more into the 0.6g/0.7g per lbs of body weight range.
While that does help you get into ketosis faster, it’s horrible when you’re trying to gain muscle. You’re never going to get muscle as fast or as effectively when your protein intake is that low.
What you need to be doing is cycling your protein. First, have your normal keto days and find out what protein amount is optimal to gradually get you into that ketosis state. The catch is that you’ll be using two days of the week to up your protein.
On one day, raise your protein to at least 1-1.2g of protein per lbs of bodyweight, and the for the other high-protein day, you can have 1.2-1.5g of protein per lbs of bodyweight. Make sure to keep these two days spread apart. If you do this, you’ll be guaranteed to get better pumps, and it won’t knock you out of ketosis!
2. Try Targeted Ketogenic Dieting
Our second tip to bypassing that ketogenic diet barrier is actually something called targeted ketogenic dieting. It’s just like your regular ketogenic diet, except you’re allowed to have a little bit of carbs just before you workout.
We’ve published a study on targeted ketogenic dieting, and found that people can get away with having anywhere from 10g to 50g of carbohydrates before their workouts even while on a ketogenic diet.
The more endomorphic you are, the lower on the end of that scale you’ll be, so you might take about 10-25g of carbs before you exercise. That’ll give you the pump you need, especially on a leg day.
The great part is that since you’re on a ketogenic diet, you’re super insulin sensitive, so a small amount of carbohydrates is enough to cause vasodilation and get you a big pump on your workout. It also gives your brain a dopamine hit and triggers that reward response before you exercise.
If you’re more of an ectomorph, you might get away with eating anywhere from 25-50g of carbs before your workout. Keep in mind that the dose also depends on whichever workout you’re doing. So, if you’re doing a leg day, you might be on the higher end of that scale, and if you’re doing an arm day, lower the dose.
3. Use the Right Supplements
If you’re on a ketogenic diet, there are supplements that will help you get that desired pump without taking you out of ketosis. We can recommend the following supplement stack to give you that pump you need and cause vasodilation.
Your pre-workout should include: 5g of creatine, 3-5g of betaine, and 2-4g of citrulline. This pre-workout will help you get more pumps in the weight room even while on a ketogenic diet, and it doesn’t kick you out of ketosis.
We hope you enjoyed our top 3 ketogenic diet hacks that will help you bypass that keto barrier. We’ll see you again in the next article!