Cyclical Ketogenic Diet: The Best Ever Bodybuilding Diet?

Discussion in 'Weight Loss Nutrition and Recipes' started by smawshot01, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. smawshot01

    smawshot01 Senior Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    i brought this over for you tightglutes:

    What would you consider to be the perfect bodybuildingdiet? If such a thing existed it would meet the following criteria:

    Allow you to build muscle without accumulating fat when bulking. You'd stay lean all year round.
    Allow you to lose fat without losing muscle when cutting.
    Induce an increase in serum anabolic hormones naturally (without supplements).
    What would it mean to you and your bodybuilding goals if this diet was not something that only existed in fairytales, but was available to you right now!
    You may have heard of this strategy before, but dismissed it. I advise you to keep an open mind and test it for yourself, many others including Hugo Rivera have tried it with amazing results.

    Origins And Method

    This diet did not originate with me of course. However, because of the massive impact it had on my results, I feel compelled to share it with as many people as possible. I would like to credit the following people for their wisdom before I go any further:

    Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale
    Anthony Colpo
    Gary Taubes
    Dr. Michael Eades
    Dr. Robert Atkins
    Dr. Jeff Volek
    So what is this diet? It's a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet, or CKD for short. CKD basically means that you cycle periods of low carb, high protein, and high fat with periods of high carb, high protein, and low fat.
    The majority of time you will be consuming a low carb diet, with a period set aside each week for carbing-up. This isn't for the fun of it; there are real scientific reasons for this, reasons with exciting implications for the bodybuilder.
    Increasing Anabolic Hormones

    A diet that maximizes serum levels of growth promoting hormones is a dream come true. Specifically we're talking about:

    Growth Hormone
    IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1)
    I'm sure that all sounds good to you. So how do you actually implement a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet?

    For most of the time you will be consuming a high fat, high protein, low carb diet. This is interspersed with smaller periods of high carb, high protein, low fat nutrition. There are variations on the CKD but the standard (and my favorite) way is to implement it in the following way:

    5-6 days of low carb.
    1-2 days of high carb.
    This gives a manageable and sociable weekly cycle where you carb up over the weekend and return to your low-carb diet during the week.

    Carb Up Over The Weekend.

    Please note: Depending on how intense you train, some people may find that their gym performance deteriorates towards the end of the low-carb phase. In this case, it is highly recommended that you implement a mid-week carb-spike to replenish your muscle glycogen stores by having another high-carb, high-protein, low-fat day on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
    The Low-Carb Advantage

    When you keep your carbs sufficiently low, you body switches to a fat metabolism; 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)
    This metabolic switch usually takes around 3 days to take full effect. Synthesizing the correct enzymes in sufficient quantities to become a fat-burner takes a little time. This is why some new comers to low carb diets can feel foggy at the beginning.

    Please do not confuse this short period for the whole diet; your energy will be back up in no time, and for some people, better than ever!

    The Role Of Insulin

    Some of you may have noted that I left out an important anabolic hormone in the above list - Insulin.
    What Does Insulin Do?
    Insulin is a hormone with extensive effects on both metabolism and several other body systems (eg, vascular compliance). Insulin causes most of the body's cells to take up glucose from the blood (including liver, muscle, and fat tissue cells), storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle, and stops use of fat as an energy source. When insulin is absent (or low), glucose is not taken up by most body cells and the body begins to use fat as an energy source (ie, transfer of lipids from adipose tissue to the liver for mobilization as an energy source). As its level is a central metabolic control mechanism, its status is also used as a control signal to other body systems (such as amino acid uptake by body cells). It has several other anabolic effects throughout the body.

    So when does our body produce insulin? Insulin is secreted by our pancreas primarily in response to the carbohydrates in our diet. Since we are keeping carbs low, our insulin levels will also be low. Does this mean we miss out? Not at all.
    This is where the carb-up period comes in. Once a week you should load up on carbs and let your insulin levels spike. Insulin will shuttle amino acids into the muscle tissue, but we also refill our depleted muscle glycogen stores during this time.

    Our muscles are like tanks for glycogen. They fill up and empty again when we workout. Unfortunately when we eat too many carbs these tanks become 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. So why fill them at all?
    Muscle glycogen means better performance in the gym. We load up on it and fill our tanks. By the end of our low-carb period we have once again emptied the tanks and we repeat the cycle over again.

    Growth Hormone & Insulin

    These 2 hormones have a strange relationship. It seems that when one is in abundance, the other is nowhere to be found. We therefore do not want chronically elevated insulin levels as:

    Our growth hormone production will be blunted
    We may overspill our glycogen tanks and start to lay down fat (lipogenesis)

    Fat & Testosterone

    Testosterone and dietary fat have a positive correlation; i.e. diets higher in fat and dietary cholesterol lead to higher concentrations of circulating testosterone.1 We all know how important this hormone is to maximizing our lean muscle gains. You could be throwing away potential gains by consuming a low-fat diet, that goes for the ladies too.2
    How Many Carbs Is Low-Carb?

    In order to become a 'fat-burner', you should consume around 60 grams or less of net carbohydrate per day (total carbs minus fiber). However, in order to determine just how many carbs you personally should be consuming, a little trial and error is necessary.

    The general rule is this:
    Eat the smallest amount of carbs it takes to allow maximum output in the gym.
    This will vary from person to person. Please bear in mind that fat will become your main source of energy and large quantities of carbs are unnecessary.
    If you are unsure, try beginning at 30 grams and adjust as necessary.

    What About Post-Workout Carbs?

    Remember, our goal is to keep insulin low and growth hormone elevated for most of the week. Post-workout carbohydrates will therefore work against you here.
    Apart from blunting growth hormone levels, carbohydrates may do nothing to increase protein synthesis in the post-workout period beyond that which protein can do by itself 3. Take the following study for example:

    The following study took place in the Netherlands, the subjects being healthy young men. The study split the men into 3 groups, each ingesting different combinations of protein & carbohydrates. Therefore the only variable was the level of carbohydrate.
    Each group performed resistance training for 60 minutes and was given either protein or a combination of protein and carbohydrate each hour for 6 hours after training. The amount of protein for all the groups was 0.3g per kg of bodyweight. The protein and carbs varied as follows:

    Group 1 - Just protein, no carbs
    Group 2 - Protein with 0.15 g per kg of body weight of carbohydrate
    Group 3 - Protein with 0.6 g per kg of body weight of carbohydrate
    Protein synthesis rates were then measured for 6 hours after training. The results?

    The intake of protein after training increases protein synthesis.
    The addition of carbohydrate (whether in small or large amounts) to this protein did not further increase protein synthesis at all.

    This is good news for those interested in or currently living a cyclical ketogenic lifestyle.

    What To Eat

    Any anabolic lifestyle is only as good as it is practical to actually live.
    Perhaps you think a low-carb diet is too restrictive. Maybe you've even tried something like this before and failed because you felt that there wasn't a wide enough variety of food. This is understandable.

    In order to experience the awesome benefits of this diet and also make it enjoyable, I am continually searching for recipes and concocting a few of my own. To show you just how tasty and easy it is to live this lifestyle here's a typical 1-day eating plan:

    Whole Eggs Scrambled

    Mid Morning:

    Low-carb wrap filled with:
    (Low-carb tortillas can be bought in some stores and online)

    Caesar Salad
    (With full fat sauce, no croutons)
    Main Meal:

    Taco Salad

    Post-Workout Shake

    Low or no carbs.

    Late Snack:

    Protein bar

    Low Carb Concerns

    When the light of science shines on the concerns some people have about low carb diets, they vanish without a trace.
    Sluggish Gym performance

    Once your body gets fully fat-adapted (3-14 days) this isn't a problem. Also, you fill you glycogen stores once or twice per week.

    Once Your Body Gets Fully Adapted

    Sluggishness Isn't A Problem.

    Saturated Fat and Cholesterol

    Is a high fat/low carb diet increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease? Not on your life! This belief is based on an unproven hypothesis from the 1950's. The surprising truth is that low carb/high-fat diets consistently outperform all others in improving lipid profiles. Typically, HDL (good) cholesterol rises, LDL (bad) cholesterol drops and triglycerides plummit, producing a much reduced risk of heart disease. 4 5

    Brain Fog

    This does not happen to everyone though some experience it only in the initial 'metabolic switch' period. A fat metabolism requires different enzymes to function than a carbohydrate one. Synthesizing the correct enzymes in sufficient quantities to become a fat-burner takes a little time, stick it out.


    So there's no reason to not give this a go. Prepare for some initial water weight loss at the beginning, you'll put it back on every carb-up phase.
    This could be the step you've been waiting for. Take your game to the next level!
    tightglutes likes this.
  2. IronInsanity

    IronInsanity TID Board Of Directors

    May 3, 2011
    I've run CKD multiple times. I obviously believe in it. But I don't think I'd say it was the best bodybuilding diet ever, as everyone responds to it differently.
  3. smawshot01

    smawshot01 Senior Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    how was that setup i sent over your way treat you iron? and i agree what works for some and what some people think is great is horrible for others. you have to find the niche that works best for you
  4. Billthebutcher

    Billthebutcher VIP Member

    Feb 1, 2011
    I agree for me low carb only isn't the best its how you respond.
  5. J-dub

    J-dub MuscleHead

    Feb 16, 2013
    I don't think I'd say its the best diet out there... however it is certainly the easiest I've ever run.
    schultz1 likes this.
  6. IronInsanity

    IronInsanity TID Board Of Directors

    May 3, 2011
    Easy it is! I haven't run it for about a year though because the wife complains it makes me stink lol.
  7. J-dub

    J-dub MuscleHead

    Feb 16, 2013
    LOL... I didn't say it was easy on the wife.
  8. IronInsanity

    IronInsanity TID Board Of Directors

    May 3, 2011
    I used to put down 5 Burger King doubles every day minus the buns.... and drop fat doing it!
  9. J-dub

    J-dub MuscleHead

    Feb 16, 2013
    That was pretty much my diet as well ate a lot of Five Guys and steaks
  10. Turbolag

    Turbolag TID's Official Donut Tester

    Oct 14, 2012
    When I was doing cbl And I didn't have any food on me I would go to Carl's jr. And get their low carb burger. They use lettuce for the bun. And I would ask for the ketchup to be left off.

    It was really good.
  11. Azog

    Azog Senior Member

    Sep 9, 2012
    CKD always worked great for me. I feel good on it and its easy/tasty as hell. I had an impossible time trying to bulk on it tho...
  12. thegreat

    thegreat New Member

    May 9, 2013
    Nice article, very informative in the insulin and gh section. Cheers

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