Carnivore diet and bodybuilding – do they go together? In this article, we’ll explore the potential benefits of a carnivore diet for bodybuilders, as well as the potential drawbacks.
If you are working out and considering starting a carnivore diet, or if you have already adopted one and are looking for more information, read on!
Building Muscle Without Carbs
First of all, let me start by saying that when I refer to bodybuilding- I mean natural bodybuilding.
Obviously, people who compete on the professional bodybuilding stage have different dietary and supplement needs.
But, for the average bodybuilder- who does it for fun, or as a hobby- carbs are really not necessary.
In fact, you can build muscle just fine on a carnivore diet. Since you eat mostly meat- you will get more than enough protein to support muscle growth.
Muscle Mass On The Carnivore Diet
Some claim that without carbs, it’s “impossible” to maintain large muscle mass. But the truth is, you sure can.
When you avoid carbs and your body produces ketones. These ketone bodies (especially beta-hydroxybutyrate) are muscle-sparing.
Carnivore Diet For Bodybuilding Tips
Here are some tips that will help you build muscle and strength while eating a carnivore diet:
1. Stop Counting Calories
Our body is not a closed system and the amount of calories we need varies widely depending on activity level, genetics, and other factors.
Counting calories is a great way to fail at a diet (especially a carnivore diet), especially if you’re trying to build muscle.
Instead, focus on eating real food (meat) when you feel hungry. Let your body be the guide. Some days you may feel like eating 3 large meals, while other days you may only feel like eating one.
If you workout multiple times per week, it’s natural for your body to require more food.
If you start counting calories – you limit your body’s natural ability to adjust and you’ll likely be eating too little. That can effect muscle growth and recovery.
2. Don’t Focus Just On Fatty Meats
It’s very common for people online to say that if you follow a carnivore or keto diet, you need to focus on mainly fatty cuts of meat.
While the concept of focusing on fat is true, it doesn’t mean you need to ONLY eat fatty cuts of meat. If you work out a lot, and your body demands more protein (are you craving leaner cuts of meat?), don’t ignore it.
It’s okay to eat leaner cuts of meat such as chicken breast a few times a week. Follow what your body is telling you. If you start craving leaner cuts of meat- don’t ignore it!
And of course, this doesn’t mean that now you can only eat lean meat. Balance and moderation are key.
3. Get High-Quality Sleep
Just because you are following a carnivore diet and doing bodybuilding- doesn’t mean you can neglect sleep.
Getting enough restful sleep is important if you are trying to build muscle.
Make sure that you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night and that you are going to bed and waking up at the same time.
You may find using blue light-blocking glasses in the evening, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and turning off all screens an hour before bedtime can help you achieve a better night’s rest.
4. Eat Collagen Rich Meat
Remember that when you work out not only your muscles are under stress, but also your joints and bones.
If you want to keep them healthy in a long run, you need to consume enough collagen-rich foods.
Some cuts of meat- like beef shank or beef tendons are very rich in specific amino acids like Proline and Glycine, which will support your joints.
5. Avoid Unnatural Fasting
If you are on a carnivore diet and do bodybuilding- avoid fasting deliberately. Eat when you are hungry until you are full and satisfied.
If you feel like eating 3 times a day- do so. Your body demands energy, protein, and other building blocks for muscle repair and muscle growth.
With time, you will experience “natural fasting”. It’s when you are not hungry for many hours- because your body is very efficient.
Beef, Lamb, Pork, Or Chicken?
Bodybuilders who follow the carnivore diet should eat all different kinds of animal proteins to get the best possible results.
Beef, lamb, pork, and chicken are all popular protein sources for bodybuilders. Each meat has it’s own profile of amino acids and other nutrients that can benefit bodybuilding.
Don’t just focus on one type of meat, mix it up to get the most out of your diet. It will also help you stick to it and keep your taste buds happy.
How Much Protein?
My view on this topic is very simple- just eat meat when you are hungry. If you crave leaner meat- eat it. If you start craving fatty cuts of meat- eat them too.
Tracking how much protein you are consuming is not necessary when following a carnivore diet. Follow what the body is telling you and enjoy.
If you work out multiple times a week- it’s natural for your body to crave lots of meat. The problem starts when you feel guilty about it and start limiting the amount of meat you eat.
I hope this article helped you understand the different ways you can use the carnivore diet for bodybuilding. Make sure to check out the amazing carnivore recipes on my website.