Since going paleo, I have lost 25 pounds and kept it off which has been awesome. I feel great, look younger, and am literally a paleo poster boy. The problem is that I am a hardgainer. I am 6' tall and 170 lbs. I am considering doing a bit of a mass gain (nothing crazy, but I would like to add roughly 10 pounds of lean mass over the next year or so and maintain it). Eating a high fat, paleo diet I can easily go 5-6 hours between meals with no snacks so I guarantee I will never eat enough calories if I let my hunger dictate my feeding. Most approaches that promote gains in lean muscle mass require frequent feedings, especially with calorically dense, neolithic foods (pastas and the like). Any ideas? Thanks a bunch!
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As a 20+ year gym rat and someone who went from a 140-lbs to 250-lbs at about 12% BF (not a fitness model ideal, but I've never worried about "dieting down" for anything), I hope I can give some credibility to my take. Gaining muscle is actually quite difficult for nearly every person and only a very small percentage can do it easily (without drugs).
In order to make it easier, you have to be 100% committed to three things: 1. Nutrition 2. Training 3. Rest
If you're off on any of these, your gains might be greatly minimized. Training-wise, I would emphasize full-body workouts replete with multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts, push-presses, supine bench, etc. Books like Brawn would be perfect.
Next, butt-kicking workouts should bring your appetite up, and you should eat accordingly. Try to eat 1 gram of protein per lean pound of bodyweight.
Lastly, if your emphasis is on gaining weight, I would A) Sleep 8-10 hrs per day and B) cut out any additional cardio, at least during your specific weight-gaining period (then can easily switch to more metcon workouts and eating to cut up).
Anyway, this is what has always worked for me. Glad to give you any more info if desired.
1) Spike the hell out of your insulin PWO. Chocolate is an excellent way to do this. Or you can use my method: 1-2 pints of Haagen-Dazs ice-cream. I am not a hard-gainer, but I think H-D should be in every Hardgainer's toolbox. It's much easier to wolf down than, say, pizza.
2) Stick with the big-money lifts: Clean/Power Clean, Deadlift, Squats (back and/or front), Press (Military, Push Press, Bench Press), Dumbell or Barbell rows, Chin-ups, Farmer Walks, etc. Absolutely avoid crap like tricep kickbacks or machines that make you spread your legs like you a ho in heat.
3) I don't care what Prissy Percy down at Crossfit says. If you are going to put on muscle you are going to have to originally put on some fat, too. You can diet down after that, if you are obsessing over your two-pack.
4) Make sure your T levels are high. If you're het, look at pictures of nekkid womanz. If you don't have any of those, look at pictures of some of the hawt womanz on Paleohacks and pretend they're nekkid. If you're not het, then stare at pictures of nekkid menz or menz on Paleohacks. Don't stare at my butt for too long though bucko. You ain't gettin' none of dat!
dont pay attention to hunger. You are trying to purposefully add weight to your body. Reread that sentence.
Your body doesn't want that extra food or need it. Your body does not want or need to grow. To add lean mass you have to one, lift something heavy enough to create a stimulus that disturbs homeostasis and gives your body reason to grow back stronger, and two, overfeed yourself beyond maintenance calories to facilitate that growth.
Use a counter like livestrong or fitday and track your cals. If you aint growing, add more.
Try eating more fruit as source of carbs. Call me crazy, but I think I'm noticing some size gains from eating more apples and other fruit. Also, Intermittent fasting seems to spur muscle growth. And finally, I seem to gain that bigger look with only working out once a week.
Bring on the protiein shakes with every meal i've been wavering for the past year or so weather i want to be huge and cut or just and adding a shake with every meal has kept me lean enough not to get discouraged but also while seeing the numbers go up on the scale.