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Putting on mass

by (129)
Updated about 6 hours ago
Created May 22, 2010 at 2:18 AM

I'm interested in gaining a decent amount of muscle mass with heavy compound lifts and the right diet. Standard Starting Strength answer is GOMAD, and I've done that for a while (I seem to tolerate dairy very well, thankfully.) I'm just curious if any of you have advice for a more paleo, low carb way to effectively do weight gain. Or if weight gain is my goal, do you think I even need to avoid dairy/milk?

I'm 22, male, 6'0'', about 165# right now and in decent shape but not hugely ripped--12-13% body fat, probably.

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11478 · May 22, 2010 at 10:19 PM

@Glenn, good points. @ahh, whey protein promotes insulin release, and many bodybuilders take whey powder, but I don't know if it promotes growth as effectively as whole milk. You can use yourself as an n=1 experiment.

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129 · May 22, 2010 at 9:42 PM

I'm going for strength--not interested in bodybuilding! Do you have any information whether the dairy fat/protein in cream and so on have the same growth effects have milk?

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3268 · May 22, 2010 at 9:18 PM

Ed, you've got your biology a little mixed up. Sarcomeres are simply units of the myofibrils, both of which are part of the contractile element, and relate directly to strength. I think you meant "sarcoplasmic" hypertrophy, which refers to the non-contractile elements of the muscle cell. None of these are "connective tissue." I think the distinction between size and strength training is a bit overblown (every natural bodybuilder I know is also quite strong). By and large, though, I agree with your recommendations. Happy lifting!

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3268 · May 22, 2010 at 9:08 PM

Robb is a very good resource for paleo strength trainers.

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377 · May 22, 2010 at 7:59 PM

I'll second the stronglifts program. It's free, simple, effective, and -intense-.

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11478 · May 22, 2010 at 2:14 PM

The GOMAD approach is a high-carb, high-insulin method of weight gain. A gallon of milk contains nearly 200gm of sugar. You will gain fat at the same time you gain muscle. Some bodybuilders like to gain weight in the off-season, then cut bodyfat for contests. A more paleo/primal approach would be to avoid insulin spikes (with resultant inflammation), and attempt to gain lean mass without the fat. This is a slower, but ultimately a more healthy process.

If you tolerate dairy products, you can utilize the fats and proteins from dairy without the carbs, by consuming cream, butter, ghee and whey protein. Of course, dairy is not paleo, but you're already consuming dairy.

You have to ask yourself whether you want to emphasize size or strength in your training. Strength comes from myofibrillar hypertrophy, while massive size comes from sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (edit, 5/22/2010, corrected due to Glenn's comment below). For strength, a low-rep program, such as Stronglifts 5x5 ( http://stronglifts.com/ ) would fit the bill. For size, a higher rep bodybuilding program is probably what you're looking for. Of course, you can combine these approaches if you like.

Finally, you can consider creatine supplements, which were discussed in an earlier thread ( http://paleohacks.com/questions/1037/creatine-and-paleo ).

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11478 · May 22, 2010 at 10:19 PM

@Glenn, good points. @ahh, whey protein promotes insulin release, and many bodybuilders take whey powder, but I don't know if it promotes growth as effectively as whole milk. You can use yourself as an n=1 experiment.

187657ec9b2b8b32730f68c5602698af
129 · May 22, 2010 at 9:42 PM

I'm going for strength--not interested in bodybuilding! Do you have any information whether the dairy fat/protein in cream and so on have the same growth effects have milk?

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98
3268 · May 22, 2010 at 9:18 PM

Ed, you've got your biology a little mixed up. Sarcomeres are simply units of the myofibrils, both of which are part of the contractile element, and relate directly to strength. I think you meant "sarcoplasmic" hypertrophy, which refers to the non-contractile elements of the muscle cell. None of these are "connective tissue." I think the distinction between size and strength training is a bit overblown (every natural bodybuilder I know is also quite strong). By and large, though, I agree with your recommendations. Happy lifting!

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377 · May 22, 2010 at 7:59 PM

I'll second the stronglifts program. It's free, simple, effective, and -intense-.

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377 · May 22, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Check out Robb Wolf's mass gain experience write up. There's some good info in the comments section.

http://robbwolf.com/2008/10/24/mass-gain-experience/

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3268 · May 22, 2010 at 9:08 PM

Robb is a very good resource for paleo strength trainers.

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220 · May 22, 2010 at 7:00 PM

I did Starting Strength and GOMAD last fall for 10 weeks. Other than the milk, my eating was pretty strict paleo. Based on my own experience and those of some people I train with, I have not seen a more effective way to quickly gain size and strength. Of course, ingesting a large amount of sugar and the extra insulin production that milk causes is not healthy in the long term, but for me it was a reasonable trade-off.

For reference, I was about 5' 11" 170lbs with 8-9% bodyfat when I started and in ten weeks got to a little over 180 at maybe 10% bodyfat. My back squat and deadlift went from 205 and 305 respectively to 285 and 375.

You can certainly use a low carb diet to make similar gains, but I think it is just a lot easier to take 2-3 months to build strength by whatever means necessary and dial back in your diet once you've reached your strength goals.

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1015 · May 22, 2010 at 1:54 PM

I been lifting for over 20 years now and GOMAD is the best protocol I have seen. The milk works so well for many reasons beyond macro nutrient composition. It is a liquid and more easily absorbed by the body and it contains "growth factors" that help you (and cows) grow. I always view putting on weight as a trade off. Possible short term damage to your health in exchange to reaching your aesthetic goals. Of course, drinking GOMAD is in addition to eating tons of solid food everyday. Just pretend you want to be 200 lbs. Most people I know would be aiming for 200 grams of protein per day in solid food form. That is something like 5 chicken breast per day. Then you add in carbs and fat of choice. I would stay away from supplements such as creatine and etc unless your trainer or physician says otherwise.

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551 · May 22, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Best way for me has been eating more meat (fattier cut of meat) and drink more coconut milk.

Training with low reps (3-5) has been great too.

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0 · May 05, 2014 at 1:25 PM

obviously this question is old so Im going to ask what you did and how it worked out for you i am in the same boat @ahh

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