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Tips for hard gainers?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 09, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Since going paleo, my skinny husband has become even thinner (sometimes down to 112 lbs at 5'5"! Yikes!) He's pushing himself to eat more protein and do more bodyweight work to get muscles going. I suggested that he also up his carbs using starchy sources like sweet potato after workouts.

He used to eat and drink a lot of sugary stuff which is how he was keeping weight on before, I guess. Docs have tested his thyroid and it's supposedly normal.

Any better tips for him beyond "eat more"?

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on May 10, 2012
at 12:35 AM

There's no way anyone can gain a pound of muscle per week, probably not even on steroids.

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on May 09, 2012
at 11:09 PM

Yup, if you end up getting your glucose from protein, why not just eat the darn thing, and avoid the additional stress :) More efficient, just keep it the safe starches.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on May 09, 2012
at 09:44 PM

@Jo60-gluconeogenesis is endergonic. Solely from a thermodynamics standpoint, making glucose from protein is a less efficient way of gaining weight than just eating glucose.

E7e7e1c856d4494d4a1b700b6869df90

(982)

on May 09, 2012
at 07:38 PM

pbo..not sure why you say do not eat more protein as it will make more glucose..but carbs are ok?? carbs=glucose. I would up the FAT and protein before I would up the carbs. without knowing what those Pr/Fat amounts are hard to say why no gain. coconut anything might actually keep the metabolism higher than needed. Very hard to make a comment without knowing something as basic as % of fat/protein/carbs and what the diet model is other than the very very broad Paleo. Kind of like saying I eat Swiss..if you know what I mean :)

85178e006119b00322a2401c494dd3a4

(644)

on May 09, 2012
at 06:18 PM

I'm averaging around 2400 - 2500 calories per day now. I'm just over 5'8" and at 134 lbs for the moment - been gaining about one pound per week over the last month. Couldn't tell you if it's fat or muscle, but I started lifting weights more seriously a few weeks ago, so hopefully there will be some muscle involved. :)

83e08b3e7029521d4ae290a239b82d57

(250)

on May 09, 2012
at 06:10 PM

How many calories are you eating a day? I would consider myself a "hard-gainer" at 6'1" and 155 (44 yrs old). I don't want to gain fat but I can't seem to get any significant muscle mass either.

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2 Answers

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85178e006119b00322a2401c494dd3a4

on May 09, 2012
at 05:05 PM

Have him keep track of his calories with something like fitday.com. I'm in the same situation - unintentionally lost 20 lbs while eating paleo-ish, and now I'm trying to put some of the weight back on.

Tracking calories will remove some of the guesswork and help him to make sure he's eating enough. I don't get super precise about it - I put in the main ingredients of what I eat, and guesstimate portions a little low so I'm erring on the side of eating more.

If he does dairy, you can consider having him drink a couple big glasses of whole milk per day. It's an easy way to get in some calories, and has helped me a lot since I don't have that big of an appetite to begin with.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on May 10, 2012
at 12:35 AM

There's no way anyone can gain a pound of muscle per week, probably not even on steroids.

85178e006119b00322a2401c494dd3a4

(644)

on May 09, 2012
at 06:18 PM

I'm averaging around 2400 - 2500 calories per day now. I'm just over 5'8" and at 134 lbs for the moment - been gaining about one pound per week over the last month. Couldn't tell you if it's fat or muscle, but I started lifting weights more seriously a few weeks ago, so hopefully there will be some muscle involved. :)

83e08b3e7029521d4ae290a239b82d57

(250)

on May 09, 2012
at 06:10 PM

How many calories are you eating a day? I would consider myself a "hard-gainer" at 6'1" and 155 (44 yrs old). I don't want to gain fat but I can't seem to get any significant muscle mass either.

0
2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on May 09, 2012
at 06:15 PM

It's the same as losing weight, it comes down to calories. If he wants to bulk up, eat clean, but unfortunately he will have to eat more. I know you want something better than that, but that is the truth.

He doesn't necessarily have to up the carbs. If he just sticks to strength training, and gets rid of the cardio, he won't be depleting his glycogen stores enough to justify a big increase in carbs.

I would carbs if he feels he is not recovering fast enough, or doing more intense cardio... which if you are trying to bulk up may not be the best idea.

Keep the diet Paleo clean.. for easy way to up calories... coconut milk/butter, nuts, and starchy veggies, etc.

Just eating more protein wont do much unless you weren't getting enough to begin with. Otherwise you body might just this protein to obtain more glucose. Up the fat or carbs.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on May 09, 2012
at 09:44 PM

@Jo60-gluconeogenesis is endergonic. Solely from a thermodynamics standpoint, making glucose from protein is a less efficient way of gaining weight than just eating glucose.

E7e7e1c856d4494d4a1b700b6869df90

(982)

on May 09, 2012
at 07:38 PM

pbo..not sure why you say do not eat more protein as it will make more glucose..but carbs are ok?? carbs=glucose. I would up the FAT and protein before I would up the carbs. without knowing what those Pr/Fat amounts are hard to say why no gain. coconut anything might actually keep the metabolism higher than needed. Very hard to make a comment without knowing something as basic as % of fat/protein/carbs and what the diet model is other than the very very broad Paleo. Kind of like saying I eat Swiss..if you know what I mean :)

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on May 09, 2012
at 11:09 PM

Yup, if you end up getting your glucose from protein, why not just eat the darn thing, and avoid the additional stress :) More efficient, just keep it the safe starches.

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