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Gaining Mass on a Paleo Diet

by (3614)
Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 21, 2011 at 7:55 PM

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!

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3
1634 · February 07, 2012 at 9:20 PM

6'1" and 145-150 lbs

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3
1634 · November 16, 2011 at 10:24 PM

You mean any specific % of dark chocolate?

Beaafe23c50e311a8c0ea96728abf398
418 · July 23, 2011 at 3:08 PM

I agree so strongly with this post. I feel you.

Beaafe23c50e311a8c0ea96728abf398
418 · July 23, 2011 at 3:08 PM

I am also 6 feet 170!

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5
18427 · June 22, 2011 at 7:37 PM

you mean send you the payment tom. you need to send him the bill.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · June 22, 2011 at 5:31 PM

You're over thinking it. Just eat more of the same paleo foods. Try 40/40/20 protein carb fat at like 3000 cals per day. That should make you grow. If it's not enough then up the calories again. Keep it tight and do it day in day out. No wavering. You'll gain, don't worry. It's simple numbers. Sweet potatoes and meat will grow you like they've grown me and every other person for many many years.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 22, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Send me the bill bro. Send me the bill.

5437163ddf70d4532f196bfb4333753e
3614 · June 22, 2011 at 1:04 PM

I know my body doesn't "need it" but if I hear someone say "you look so SKINNNNNY" one more time, I'm going to blow a gasket! o_O Fitday is great; it's how i realized I was NOT taking in enough calories. I guess, if anything, my question is, what are good "paleo-friendly" foods to add in order to grow. Obviously, I could chug down slushies in order to get calories, but how do I do it without taking a major step back in regards to the positive changes I've experienced since going paleo??? Thanks!

5437163ddf70d4532f196bfb4333753e
3614 · June 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I'll give that a try to boost my carb intake (especially PWO) since, as I just mentioned above, refined sugar sources screw up my sleep and make me feel like crap. (You are what you eat, eh?)

5437163ddf70d4532f196bfb4333753e
3614 · June 22, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I noticed the other "hardgainer" thread after I already posted mine...my bad. Thanks everybody for the replies to my redundant question! The Paleo community is the greatest out there, bar none. I appreciate every comment!

5437163ddf70d4532f196bfb4333753e
3614 · June 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

"avoid crap like tricep kickbacks or machines that make you spread your legs like you a ho in heat" You owe me a new keyboard, you magnificent SOB. Thanks for the help, and the laughs!

254ea62982c287995e11bc3cfd629407
822 · June 22, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Just to add, my answer of being 100% committed to nutrition might seem incongruent with my later disclosure of "eating crazy stuff". I just wanted to be clear that in a time of trying to add weight, you'll want a surplus of what your body needs to grow and is never/rarely lacking...that until such time we're absolutely sure of nutritional composition needs and timing, you'll just have to make your best guesstimates and have more than what the body needs nutritionally, when it needs it. Admittedly, I wish I had been a little smarter about my food choices.

254ea62982c287995e11bc3cfd629407
822 · June 22, 2011 at 2:04 AM

Thanks, guys. Yes, I was done growing...started at 22. And yes, that was eating crazy stuff: like a half pound of pasta with another half pound of meat sauce and a french loaf of bread. So, I had actually gotten up to 278-lbs or so and have gradually gotten down to my present weight over five years through BJJ (and now, recently following a largely paleo-compliant eating plan). Keep going, Ben. If you're taking care of your self, you should be able to make gains for a long time.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 22, 2011 at 1:59 AM

Porn is paleo man!

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d
3717 · June 22, 2011 at 1:44 AM

This is a funny post. I swear I have read many posts on a mass gain and not one has mentioned porn (hetero- or homosexual).

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d
3717 · June 22, 2011 at 1:43 AM

This is a funny post. I swear I have read many poss on a mass gain and not one has mentioned porn (hetero- or homosexual).

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d
3717 · June 22, 2011 at 1:41 AM

I certainly appreciate the cross reference to a similar/same question, but sometimes it is nice for the growing population of hacks to have a clean slate to work with as well. Hit the link and check the answers there but also have potential new perspectives here (e.g. aegix's 110# gain).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 22, 2011 at 1:38 AM

Nekkid pictures of bacon while eating HD.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · June 22, 2011 at 1:29 AM

Incredible gains. Awesome. Was that weight gain after you were done growing as a kid? And over how long? Just curious. At 31 years old I started lifting classic compounds (squat, DL, press etc) and have gone from 154 lbs to 175 and loving it. Still working north but I always keep the bodyweight in check by maintaining or increasing the number of chins I can do. I don't wanna get bigger than I can maneuver yknow? And I feel it's getting harder to move north of this weight. Prolly cuz I'm 31.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 22, 2011 at 12:46 AM

did you up your carbs a lot? How did you gain so much weight? It amazes me.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 21, 2011 at 9:32 PM

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!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 21, 2011 at 9:32 PM

If you're not het, the 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!

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5
18427 · June 21, 2011 at 8:51 PM

yes let's use the Paleo Hardgainers thread for this. This is a dulpicate thread by all definitions. :)

A0b8c4cc369f93ee987ce15b1bf323fe
255 · June 21, 2011 at 8:00 PM

this previous thread for hardgainers is likely helpful: http://paleohacks.com/questions/35405/paleo-for-hardgainers#axzz1PwGZCdA0

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6 Answers

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254ea62982c287995e11bc3cfd629407
4
822 · June 21, 2011 at 8:47 PM

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.

254ea62982c287995e11bc3cfd629407
822 · June 22, 2011 at 2:04 AM

Thanks, guys. Yes, I was done growing...started at 22. And yes, that was eating crazy stuff: like a half pound of pasta with another half pound of meat sauce and a french loaf of bread. So, I had actually gotten up to 278-lbs or so and have gradually gotten down to my present weight over five years through BJJ (and now, recently following a largely paleo-compliant eating plan). Keep going, Ben. If you're taking care of your self, you should be able to make gains for a long time.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 22, 2011 at 12:46 AM

did you up your carbs a lot? How did you gain so much weight? It amazes me.

254ea62982c287995e11bc3cfd629407
822 · June 22, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Just to add, my answer of being 100% committed to nutrition might seem incongruent with my later disclosure of "eating crazy stuff". I just wanted to be clear that in a time of trying to add weight, you'll want a surplus of what your body needs to grow and is never/rarely lacking...that until such time we're absolutely sure of nutritional composition needs and timing, you'll just have to make your best guesstimates and have more than what the body needs nutritionally, when it needs it. Admittedly, I wish I had been a little smarter about my food choices.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · June 22, 2011 at 1:29 AM

Incredible gains. Awesome. Was that weight gain after you were done growing as a kid? And over how long? Just curious. At 31 years old I started lifting classic compounds (squat, DL, press etc) and have gone from 154 lbs to 175 and loving it. Still working north but I always keep the bodyweight in check by maintaining or increasing the number of chins I can do. I don't wanna get bigger than I can maneuver yknow? And I feel it's getting harder to move north of this weight. Prolly cuz I'm 31.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
4
78432 · June 21, 2011 at 9:22 PM

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!

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d
3717 · June 22, 2011 at 1:44 AM

This is a funny post. I swear I have read many posts on a mass gain and not one has mentioned porn (hetero- or homosexual).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 21, 2011 at 9:32 PM

If you're not het, the 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!

5437163ddf70d4532f196bfb4333753e
3614 · June 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

"avoid crap like tricep kickbacks or machines that make you spread your legs like you a ho in heat" You owe me a new keyboard, you magnificent SOB. Thanks for the help, and the laughs!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 22, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Send me the bill bro. Send me the bill.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d
3717 · June 22, 2011 at 1:43 AM

This is a funny post. I swear I have read many poss on a mass gain and not one has mentioned porn (hetero- or homosexual).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 22, 2011 at 1:59 AM

Porn is paleo man!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 21, 2011 at 9:32 PM

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!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78432 · June 22, 2011 at 1:38 AM

Nekkid pictures of bacon while eating HD.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5
18427 · June 22, 2011 at 7:37 PM

you mean send you the payment tom. you need to send him the bill.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3
1634 · November 16, 2011 at 10:24 PM

You mean any specific % of dark chocolate?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
4
15976 · June 21, 2011 at 8:29 PM

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.

5437163ddf70d4532f196bfb4333753e
3614 · June 22, 2011 at 1:04 PM

I know my body doesn't "need it" but if I hear someone say "you look so SKINNNNNY" one more time, I'm going to blow a gasket! o_O Fitday is great; it's how i realized I was NOT taking in enough calories. I guess, if anything, my question is, what are good "paleo-friendly" foods to add in order to grow. Obviously, I could chug down slushies in order to get calories, but how do I do it without taking a major step back in regards to the positive changes I've experienced since going paleo??? Thanks!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · June 22, 2011 at 5:31 PM

You're over thinking it. Just eat more of the same paleo foods. Try 40/40/20 protein carb fat at like 3000 cals per day. That should make you grow. If it's not enough then up the calories again. Keep it tight and do it day in day out. No wavering. You'll gain, don't worry. It's simple numbers. Sweet potatoes and meat will grow you like they've grown me and every other person for many many years.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
1
78432 · June 22, 2011 at 12:50 AM

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.

5437163ddf70d4532f196bfb4333753e
3614 · June 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I'll give that a try to boost my carb intake (especially PWO) since, as I just mentioned above, refined sugar sources screw up my sleep and make me feel like crap. (You are what you eat, eh?)

A6b2acc91a7c5bf9a4a05fb02148476e
0
0 · October 07, 2012 at 12:16 AM

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.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905
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5785 · October 06, 2012 at 11:05 PM

I've been going nuts recently. Massive PWO meals trying to stay 100% Paleo. 3-4 sweet potatoes, raw honey, tons of protein. It's really hard...the volume of food leads to some uncomfortable post-re-feed moments haha.

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