Can You Gain Muscle On Low Carbs?

2 min read

I’ve been gradually transitioning towards a low carb diet over the past few months, and my metabolism is now officially fat-based. I wouldn’t call it a self-experiment. It’s been years of gradually tightening up the nutritional side, which has eventually led me to clamp down on carbs altogether.

Believe it or not, it’s actually easier than piling the calories through a carb-fest of cereal, oats, rice, and pasta. I’ve been down that route, and it just doesn’t work very well. Any muscle gain gets saddled with accompanying energy swings, bloat, brain fog, and inevitable fat gain. 

A high-calorie diet that’s also steep on inflammation is going to wreak havoc on the body. Wheat and sugar are pro-inflammatory foods that are hard for the body to manage at high doses. 

In my case, my brain has always been sensitive and quick to react to issues in the gut, so the margin for error is slight. I’ve shied away for a few years from bulking for that reason. It just gets miserable after a while and I give in to the urge to jump back into a deficit.

It’s still early days to draw conclusions from my diet, but there has been a slight tradeoff in strength levels, which is to be expected. Heavy weights consume a lot of glycogen, so a diet of low carbs may not adequately fuel intense workouts. 

But I’ve been supplementing with dextrose powder during sessions to still give me the ammo to take on the peak sets. The muscles clear out blood sugar during the workouts, and I’ll go back to burning fat in the aftermath.

On the positive side, the meals are smaller and easier to digest, and my brain feels so much clearer as a result. And there’s absolutely no hunger or even impulse to eat in the evening hours. I’m still at a pretty low body-fat %, so I’d expect to still run into periods of hunger during the fasts. But there hasn’t been a peep.

I’m eating at around 3200-3500 calories, with the vast majority coming from fat. I could eat more protein, but that also tends to be pro-inflammatory at excessive doses, so I’ve kept it down to just below the general 1g per lb recommendation.

It’s been going so well, that I’ve decided to extend my bulk out for a while longer, and see just how much I can nail the dietary regime, before I make the plunge again to get the summer physique.

How To Get Carbs Back On Your Keto Diet