The Anabolic Diet Guide: Build Muscle and Lose Fat Effectively

Introduced by Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale, the anabolic diet promises fat loss while simultaneously building muscle. It’s similar to ketogenic diets, but there are key differences. And even though it was developed decades ago, it’s still appreciated by bodybuilders. Keep reading for more!
anabolic diet

Anabolic Diet Basics

Unlike the cyclic ketogenic diet, which is designed for long-term weight loss, the anabolic diet is only meant to be followed for a few weeks at a time. In addition, the anabolic diet allows for more carbohydrates on training days, as carbs are essential for building muscle. Finally, the anabolic diet recommends consuming more calories on rest days, as this helps to promote muscle growth. While both diets can be effective for increasing muscle mass, the anabolic diet is generally more tailored towards those who are looking to put on size quickly.

Anabolic Diet Phases

There are three phases to the anabolic diet: the maintenance phase, the loading or bulking phase, and the cutting phase. The maintenance phase is when you eat a balanced diet of both carbohydrates and fats. It shouldn’t yet affect your body weight, but should accustom it to the macronutrient manipulation. The loading phase is when you eat a lot of carbohydrates and very few fats in order to fill up your glycogen stores. The cutting phase is when you eat fewer carbohydrates and more fats in order to lose body fat. 

The Bulking Phase

The bulking phase of the anabolic diet is a period of time when people focus on gaining muscle mass. This phase typically lasts until you get to your set body mass. During this time, people often lift heavier weights and eat more protein-rich foods. The goal of the bulking phase is to build muscle, so people typically try to gain weight at a slow and steady rate during this time. 

The Cutting Phase

During the cutting phase of the anabolic diet carb intake is reduced significantly, and fats and protein are increased. This shift in macronutrient ratios helps to promote fat loss while preserving muscle mass. In addition, during the cutting phase, calorie intake is typically decreased by 20-30% in order to create a caloric deficit. This deficit can be achieved through diet alone, or through a combination of diet and exercise.
For best results, the cutting phase should be structured in a way that promotes slow, steady weight loss. This allows the body time to adjust to the changes in macronutrient intake and prevents muscle loss.

The Maintenance Phase

The maintenance phase usually lasts up to four weeks. During this time, people still lift weights and eat some high-calorie foods, but they also eat plenty of healthy foods and make sure to get enough protein. This period is used to get the body used to the macronutrient manipulation.

Macronutrient Manipulation (High Carb/ Low Carb)

The anabolic diet is a nutritional approach that focuses on manipulating macronutrients in order to promote muscle growth and fat loss. The diet consists of alternating between periods of high carbohydrate intake and low carbohydrate intake. Sometimes it’s referred to as a high / low carb diet. During the high-carbohydrate phase, the goal is to consume enough calories and carbohydrates to support intense training sessions. This is followed by a low-carbohydrate phase, during which the goal is to minimize insulin levels and promote fat burning. 
Although the anabolic diet has been shown to be effective for some people, it is not suitable for everyone. Those who are trying to increase muscle mass may find it more beneficial to focus on consuming a consistent amount of calories and carbohydrates each day.

Anabolic Diet Meal Plan

While there are many different versions of the anabolic diet, most plans recommend eating six meals per day, spaced evenly throughout the day. Each meal should contain a source of protein, such as lean meat, poultry, fish, or tofu, as well as healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, or olive oil. Carbohydrates should be limited to around 30 grams per day, and most of these should come from vegetables. The anabolic diet can be an effective way to build muscle mass, but it is important to speak with a physician before starting any new diet plan.

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Sample Meal Plans

Sample bulking meal plan:
  • Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal, 1 banana, 1 cup full fat yogurt.
  • Lunch: grilled chicken breast, brown rice, steamed vegetables.
  • Snack: protein bar, apple.
  • Dinner: pork chop, mashed potatoes, green beans.
Sample meal plan for the cutting phase of the anabolic diet:
  • Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs, 1 cup spinach, 1 slice toast.
  • Lunch: 4 oz. grilled chicken, 1 cup steamed broccoli.
  • Snack: 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup blueberries.
  • Dinner: 8 oz. grilled salmon, 2 cups roasted Brussels sprouts.

Benefits and Risks of the Anabolic Diet

The anabolic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has been used by bodybuilders and other athletes for decades in an effort to build muscle mass and increase strength. The diet is based on the premise that consuming large amounts of fat will promote the release of anabolic hormones, such as testosterone, which can then be used to build muscle. 
While there is some evidence to support this claim, the anabolic diet also poses several risks. Among them is the potential risk for increased cholesterol levels and heart disease. For this reason, anyone considering embarking on the anabolic diet should first consult with a physician to ensure that it is safe for them to do so.

The Bottom Line

The anabolic diet has plenty to offer. If you are struggling to build muscle mass, the anabolic diet may help. The diet is also effective for those who are looking to lose fat. However, the anabolic diet is not suitable for everyone, and it is important to speak with a physician before starting any new diet plan.

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