Bulking With The Cycling Ketogenic Diet

Bulking With The Cycling Ketogenic Diet
By: Jonathan Deprospo

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!

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