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Bulking With The Cyclic Ketogenic Diet!

Bulking With The Cyclic Ketogenic Diet!

Can you use the Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD) as a way to gain a substantial amount of muscle mass while keeping body fat accumulation to a minimum? Learn how here!
Part 1 | Part 2

In my last article I presented the scientific research pertaining to the metabolic state of ketosis. While in the state of ketosis we come to realize that it is the optimal metabolic state to activate the breakdown of dietary/stored fat. This is one of the greatest benefits of dieting while using the Ketogenic dieting route. Now we know that ketosis presents a highly anti-catabolic environment even while on a reduced calorie diet. So now the question on everybody's mind is, "Can you use the Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD) as a way to gain a substantial amount of muscle mass while keeping body fat accumulation to a minimum?"

The Diet

The most important aspect about using the CKD as a means of bulking is to set your calorie level around 20% (25x bodyweight) over your normal daily calorie level. On a similar note if this causes your calorie level to be too low/high you can always adjust it to fit your individual needs. The best way to consume the copious amounts of calories needed while bulking is to eat a high amount of: steak, chicken, fish, whole eggs, sausage, bacon, and protein and oil shakes. The best way to set this up is to adhere to the "ketogenic ratio," which is some where around 1.5 g of fat for every gram of protein. Your meal planning should consist of anywhere around 5-10 meals a day, that's right I did say 10. This is to constantly keep your muscle cells saturated with the optimal nutrients for growth.

The most substantial difference with using the Ketogenic diet for bulking opposed to cutting is the carbohydrates. During the bulking phase I recommend a 36-hour carb-load, this is to allow a substantial influx of carbs into the muscle but not to over do it. The next major difference is that you are to have 1000 calories worth of carbs, with a good amount of whey protein, approximately two-hours before your Wednesday workout. The main goal of this carb-spike is to allow the person to have a substantial amount of muscle glycogen to maintain workout intensity.

Now as far as the carb-up goes, you can either start with very high glycemic carbs. Then taper down to lower glycemic carbs. The other route is to eat what you want. For a hard-core bulking routine this is what most people will do. If you are going to follow the "eat whatever you can get your hands on" route definitely try to choose the lower fat route. This means if you are going to get donuts, try to find the brand that's lower in fat. But if you know you can drop the fat off at a relatively fast pace, then go ahead and get Nesquick and Krispy Kreme and have a fun time!

Reasons For This Plan

All right, now I'll discuss my rational behind this radical plan. Since you will be carb-loading Friday night into Sunday morning you most definitely want to hit most of your body on Sunday when your muscle glycogen is overstocked. This is the main reason for the carb up (bulking or dieting). The next weight workout will be performed on Wednesday, and I advocate a 1000 calorie influx of carbohydrates (preferably simple) before that. The rational backing this up is that by Wednesday your muscle glycogen should be fairly low, this influx of carbs will restock your glycogen stores substantially and allow you to perform at an optimal level in the gym. The next weight workout will be performed on Friday night before the carb-up. On this workout you should be performing a heavy full body workout, mainly to fully deplete glycogen stores and causes an anabolic stimulus when you start exploding carbs into your muscles.

The Workout

I will not be deeply going into the workout schedule because people respond very differently to various workout routines. The main advice regarding working out is to hit half of the body Sunday when your carb stores are very full, hit the other half of the body on Wednesday after your carb-spike, and then hit the full body Friday (1-2 sets to failure) before the grand carb-up. Another key point of advice is to stress exercises such as, squats, lunges, dead lifts, barbell rows, bench press, military press, barbell/dumbbell curls, tricep pushdowns, close bench, and reverse curls. These are undoubtedly some of the best mass builders around and should be the core of your workout schedule. I highly recommend using different intensity techniques with these exercises. For example, have you ever tried doing a triple drop set with rack dead lifts? I'm talking about incorporating rest-pause and triple drops with compound movements. In another article I'll describe some death defying workouts.

As far as sets and reps are concerned, I highly advocate 1-2 very intense sets per exercise, around 3-4 exercises per body part (more for bigger muscles and less for smaller muscles). As far as reps go, I think anywhere between 4-10. When I go as low as 4 reps they are usually performed very, very slow with a 5 second pause at the peak contraction. They are also usually the first very heavy set in a 3 set drop.

As far as time in the gym goes, keep it to a minimum. Most people like to turn their workouts into a social hour. No, that is not how it should be, just hit your muscles as hard as you can and get the hell out of there! Also, I highly recommend to keep cardio to a minimum, although I do recommend 10 min. warm-ups and cool downs before the workouts. But aerobics can greatly hinder your workout intensity so keep them to a bare minimum. Plus they will not allow you to get the most out of your bulking phase, muscle wise.


As far as the supplements go I highly advocate essential vitamins such as C, A, E, and a high quality multi. But the best supplements I will be discussing are glucose disposal agents. These will allow you to hit ketosis faster, and also allow you to ram jet even more glucose into your muscles during carb-load periods. A good dosing schedule for glucose disposal agents would be as follows:


Vanadyl Sulfate 120 mg split over 6 of your meals
Chromium Picolinate 1000 mg split over 5 meals
Magnesium 1000 mg slip over 4 meals


Vanadyl Sulfate 50 mg with carb-spike meal
Chromium Picolinate 400 mg with same meal
Magnesium 250 mg with same meal

Friday night-Saturday Night

Same as Monday and Tuesday

Another powerful glucose disposal agent is alpha lipoic acid, which mimics insulin. A schedule for this would be as follows:

ALA 600-1200 mg a day in divided dosages

This would be used like the other glucose disposal dosage schedule. 200 mg would be taken Wednesday. The next best supplement to use is a combination of Creatine Monohydrate and Glutamine. These should be taken in high amounts only during the carb-up, to further increase cellular hydration. Creatine should be taken in around 40 g during your carb-up, and Glutamine should be taken in around 60 g along with the Creatine. Both will not be that beneficial during the low-carb portion, so save your money and use higher dosages during the carb-up. If Glutamine is not in your budget, then definitely use Creatine. Many people prefer to use the Creatine with a sugar base. That option will also work very well during carb-ups. This is because most companies will throw in some beneficial goodies.

On a further note, if you are going to be stuffing your face with Donuts during the carb-up, I highly recommend you take 1gram of HCA 30min. before meals. This is so you don't go overboard with your eating, and it also helps push glucose into the muscles and not the fat cells.

A Normal Days Bulking Diet

I am going to roughly outline a normal days bulking diet. The key word is roughly, this is just sample meals for the day, don't follow it meal for meal.

Meal 1: 3-5 eggs, cheese, bacon, butter on the eggs
Meal 2: 2 double cheeseburgers (no bun) with Mayo
Meal 3: tuna with Mayo
Meal 4: 2 double cheeseburgers with Mayo
Meal 5: Steak with cheese
Meal 6: Protein shake with flax oil, Natural Peanut butter
Meal 7: 3 egg omelet with mushrooms and cheese, bacon
Meal 8: Protein shake with flax oil, Olive oil

I repeat, this is just a rough outline not a recommendation. You can add more meals, or less meals. The diet setup is a very subjective thing.


Well, that's all for this article. Winter is coming up very shortly for all of you looking to put on a good amount of mass for your bulking phase. So, gain some mass, keep your body fat down, and have a fun time!

Part 1 | Part 2

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im starting a keto diet at the moment. Im using it in a cutting program at the moment. Im planning on having 1680 calories with 34g carbs 190g protein 79g fat. Are these good ratios?

Feb 26, 2013 11:56pm | report

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Your fat ratios are WAY too low

Jun 1, 2013 8:37pm | report

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You should aim for about 1g protein per pound of lean body mass, this tends to be around 0.8g per pound of total weight.

Either your calories are too low compared to your TDEE, or your protein is too high here. Try not to have a caloric deficit of more than 30% imo.

Set an amount of carbs less than 50g, some people need to be even lower.

Rest of calories should be fat.

If you weigh 175, your protein should probably be around 140g or maybe even a bit lower.

Assuming 35g of carbs puts you at 700 calories so far.

If your TDEE is 2500, imagine you want a 20% deficit = 500, then you would need 1300 calories remaining in fat = about 145g fat.

Apr 5, 2014 6:18pm | report

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and when im overloading on carbs for the short period of time do i really need that much. could i have 300 grams spread between 48 hours?

Feb 26, 2013 11:59pm | report

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No. You really don't NEED any carbs. Just enjoy some pizza, a soda, and a little treat. That's enough carbs to suffice.

Aug 17, 2014 3:32pm | report

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That diet example looks like a whole lot of saturated fat. Very dirty bulking.

Mar 19, 2013 10:34pm | report

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it does, but with minimal carbs, and the ketosis, it isn't really that dirty, and leeds to no fat gain

Apr 1, 2013 8:27am | report

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Man this is confusing... I'm planning on trying a ketogenic diet for several reasons, primarily because I have stage 4 cancer and it's supposed to starve the **** out of cancer cells. I've also always been very physically active, and was about halfway through BodyBeast back in March when I found out about "it." I was pretty freaked out so I stopped with all of my supplements and work outs entirely until I could get my hands on some good information. Anyway, I just started working out again a few weeks ago because I'm doing great with my treatment and I thought I'd see how this particular diet would work if I was trying to bulk up. If anyone is dealing with a similar situation to mine and has any advise in regards to cancer and this regimen, I would appreciate the knowledge. Thanks!

Jul 21, 2013 10:27am | report

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Hope to get ketogenic soon see how much more shredded I can get with this.

Are these sources of fat ok?
Olive oil
Mozarella cheese
Wole eggs
Almond nuts
Wipping cream
Whole milk

Jul 23, 2013 7:11am | report

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They are perfect sources of fats.

Jul 30, 2013 6:24am | report

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whole milk has bunch of carbs in it.

Couple other ones: Mayo, Avocado (has carb, but mostly fiber)

Sep 11, 2013 3:45pm | report

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Oh quite a few issues with the article!
1. Seems to be quite negative comments about saturated fat. You state "..a concern on the ketogenic diet due to the staggering amounts of saturated fats in the diet, although the diet can be centered around healthy fats, what is not as fun as eating a egg and cheese omelet fried in butter with bacon on the side!" Saturated fat is the only food known to raise HDL, the 'good' cholesterol. There's nothing wrong with saturated fat whatsoever. The demonizing of saturated fat started with Ancel Keys in the 1950's yet there has never been a single, well constructed scientific study that demonstrates any downside to consuming saturated fat. After 3 1/2 weeks on the diet I am in ketosis - and I eat lots of saturated fat; eggs, cheese, full fat yogurt etc. And I now run 10k 3x a week after 8 years of no significant exercise because of a bad heart valve (replaced this past February)
2. "Lack of carbos may cause micronutrient deficiency". There's a substantial list of veggies that fit well with the keto diet, providing all the micronutrients the body needs. And in addition, saturated fat from meat is very dense in micronutrients. There have been studies going way back of people going on meat only diets (not meat raised in food factories, but from animals raised in normal conditions) and who had no issues whatsoever.
3. Ketoacidosis is absolutely nothing to do with a ketogenic diet. It can occur in type 1 diabetics who produce no insulin whatsoever. Insulin controls how much fatty acid is released from body fat, and even non-type 1 diabetic people on a ketogenic diet still produce small amounts of insulin, sufficient to prevent massive ketone production from body fat.
4. You imply that a ketogenic diet is a low calorie diet. It can be - but doesn't have to be, that's up to the individual.

In general people should use a ketone monitor to determine their body's reaction to carbs and protein. Too much protein can take you out of ketosis because protein intake can result in increased blood sugar (gluconeogenisis).

Also carbing up before exercise is unnecessary - there are many examples of high performing athletes that stay on a 100% on keto diet. Volek and Phinney have two excellent books ('The Art and Science of Low carbohydrate Living' for everyone and The Art and Science of Low carbohydrate Performance' for athletes. )

Sep 3, 2014 7:19pm | report
Showing 1 - 12 of 12 Comments

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