7 Muscle-Building Meals for a Keto Bodybuilding Diet
By: Julie Hand
Wondering if it’s possible to build muscle on a keto version of your bodybuilding meal plan? Good question: after all, some people think the way to bigger, bulkier biceps means increased carb consumption. That’s tough, if not impossible, on a keto diet, where you’re typically aiming for less than 50 grams of carbs per day.
So how do you do it? Follow these keto bodybuilding diet guidelines below, then check out seven keto bodybuilding meals for maximum muscle gain.
Eating guidelines for the keto bodybuilder
Eat more of what you already consume. Maintain the same proportions — approximately 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbs – though eat more so your muscles have fuel to grow. Manipulate your overall food intake by eating more fat to gain more muscle, rather than playing around with carbs. For better performance in the gym, remember to consume the cleanest food sources you can find: grass-fed meats, pastured eggs, grass-fed butter and ghee, pure MCT and coconut oils, and fibrous vegetables like lettuce, celery, and broccoli.
Consume enough protein — but not too much. On a keto bodybuilding meal plan, get sufficient protein to prompt your muscles to grow through a process called protein synthesis. A 2011 review of research found that the ideal amount of protein for bodybuilders was 0.82 grams per pound of body weight. Any more than that didn’t lead to any more muscle mass. What’s more, too much protein on a keto diet will convert protein to sugar through a process called gluconeogenesis, bumping you out of ketosis.
7 keto bodybuilding meals
Here, you’ll find seven keto main course recipes and seven keto side dish recipes, which you can mix and match to create new bodybuilding meals that’ll support your efforts at the gym. The main course recipes are high in fat and moderate in protein, while the side dish recipes are high in fat with sufficient veggies to fill your plate. By combining two recipes (one from each category), you’ll consume sufficient amounts of fat, protein, and carbs to increase muscle mass and still be keto-strong.
Keto muscle-building main courses
Image via Tastaholics
Get a double dose of protein and fat by combining keto favorites – steak and eggs. This keto power breakfast is simple but flavorful, and works for any meal of the day. Tip: The best breakfast steak cuts are flank, skirt and sirloin.
Image via Ruled Me
Ah yes, a keto-lover’s dream: the keto ribeye steak recipe seared in bacon fat. Searing this steak at low heat (<250 degrees) makes this recipe Bulletproof, as far as cooking methods go. The steak comes out tender, laden in healthy fats and protein that will rev up your bodybuilding efforts for sure.
Image via Meatified
As a bodybuilder, your best friends in this keto chicken salad recipe are the chicken and coconut cream, which ramp up your fat and protein intake by the mouthful. Mayo-free due to a secret ingredient, you’ll just have to click on the recipe link above to learn more. Skip the garlic to be completely Bulletproof.
Image via Diet Doctor
This keto salmon recipe tastes just as it sounds — lemony and buttery. It’ll take about 30 minutes to make, though will taste out of this world. You definitely won’t feel you’re skimping on foods as your work on those physique goals. Cook below 250 degrees to adhere to Bulletproof cooking methods.
Image via Paleo Hacks
This savory layered keto egg recipe combines crispy uncured prosciutto, creamy avocado, and tender poached eggs. This happens to be a great recipe for anyone on a workout because you can eat it any time of the day – whether you like eating before or after hitting the gym.
Image via The Healthy Foodie
With a whopping 57 grams of protein, this keto roast beef recipe will delight you if you need to maximize your protein intake to bulk up. It’s a great recipe to make on the weekend, then savor for a few days into the week too, leaving you with even more time to target your muscles in the gym. Eliminate the garlic powder and pepper as seasoning to stay Bulletproof.
Image via The Nourished Caveman
We get it, you’ve been going gangbusters in the gym and need a treat. If you’re craving something gourmet after all that hard work, this keto bacon-wrapped lobster recipe fits the bill. For a truly unique treat, dip the bacon-wrapped lobster chunks in the homemade garlic aioli that supplements this recipe. Go easy on seasoning with red pepper flakes and garlic powder if you’re sensitive.
Keto muscle-building side dishes
This keto turnip recipe adds some hearty, cruciferous vegetables to your plate, while still keeping carb intake low (9 grams of carbs). It’s simple and easy to prepare with grass-fed butter and pink Himalayan sea salt.
Brussels sprouts are somewhat low in carbs and good sources of folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber – all of which make this keto salad recipe delicious and nutritious. This is a great side dish recipe to supplement one of the muscle-building main courses when you want to add some filling vegetables to your meal.
When you want to add a little extra protein and fat to your meal, lean on this keto zoodle, or zucchini noodle, and baked eggs recipe. Zoodles let you pretend you’re eating pasta, so if that’s what you’re craving after an intense workout, try zoodles instead.
Coming in strong with 25 and 27 grams of fat and protein respectively, this keto quiche recipe adds intense flavor and muscle-building nutrition to any meal. You can also eat a mini quiche for breakfast or on-the-go if you get hungry.
This keto green soup recipe is best paired with a low-carb main course – like Reverse Seared Ribeye Steak — because it contains 16 grams of carbs on its own. Remember you can consume up to 5 percent of your food from carbs on keto; though if you need to up your overall consumption while bodybuilding, aim to get more fat in your diet. This soup recipe will help with that, as it contains 34 grams of fat.
Image via Ruled Me
Flavorful and easy to make, this keto broccoli recipe adds vegetable bounty to your plate, without adding much in the way of fat, protein, or net carbs. Pure and simple, this recipe sneaks more greens onto your plate, supplying you with the vital micronutrients (like vitamin C and K, fiber, phosphorus, calcium, and folate) you need in addition to macronutrients (fat, protein, carbs) to build strong muscles.
Image via Genius Kitchen
On a day when you’re in a crunch in the kitchen, you’ll be happy you have this keto swiss chard recipe. It only takes 15 minutes and tastes as delicious as it looks beautiful on your plate. There’s no denying that you’re working hard on your bodybuilding goals, but you certainly don’t need to deprive yourself of nature’s bounty along the way. This recipe makes it easy to find that sustainable balance along the way. Bypass the red pepper and garlic, if you’re sensitive.
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