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Once again - Muscle Gain / Bulking Questions

by (30)
Updated about 18 hours ago
Created August 04, 2012 at 2:33 AM

Hi everyone, I've been a follower of primal/paleo for a few months now and absolutely love everything about it. Now, however, I am interested in packing on some weight (predominately muscle but I understand some fat may come along with it). Unfortunately I am one of those people that need around 4000 calories a day if not more to gain. I have read every thread I can find on PH and elsewhere but can't find a very direct answers to the 2 questions I have...

1.) Considering how much I need to eat to gain weight, I don't know if carb cycling is optimal as it would require a ridiculous amount of carbs in a day to hit 4000 calories (not to mention it would be difficult to enjoy the meals I like if I'm trying to keep fat extremely low). So the numbers I've come up with for training days are 200-250 g fat; 200-250 g carbs; and over 250 g protein...quite substantial, I know, but I've been training for quite awhile and know what my body needs to gain (never tried while paleo though, only "healthy SAD"). Is having carbs and fats so high at the same time going to cause any problems for me? I certainly don't want to sacrifice my long term health for immediate gains.

2.) PWO question...I tolerate dairy very well (took it out for the first 30 days then reincorporated) so I've tried having around a quart of raw goats milk (as suggested by Robb Wolf) immediately after my workout with a scoop of whey protein followed by a couple of sweet potatoes and Cinnamon. Is this enough starch / too much sugar to gain quality muscle mass? Also, is the fat in the milk going to cause protein / carb absorption issues? I know this sounds silly considering my milk consumption but I am trying to avoid white rice and white potatoes in attempt to minimize inflammatory foods and stick as close to "paleo protocol" as possible (no one definition of this, I know but you get my point).

I guess I am just looking for other experiences, advice, or science that could help guide me further in this attempt. Thanks!

About Me: 22 year old male; 5'10"; 170 lbs; estimated 7% BF; work on my feet 5 days a week; 5/3/1 training 3 days a week; hill sprints 1 day a week; no allergies or health restrictions. Oh, and first time poster on PH!

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15976 · August 05, 2012 at 1:16 AM

Ice cream has sugar?

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20908 · August 04, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Ice cream has lots of sugar and crap in it. For GOMAD it's not just that the milk is full of calories, it's that there are tons of growth hormones in it too - that's why it can turn a baby cow into a big cow quickly. So I'd go as clean as possible and just go with good whole milk with nothing else added.

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15976 · August 04, 2012 at 9:17 PM

I'm actually digging around that site now. Cool. Never heard of it. They don't have a ratio that has high enough carb in their carb/fat bit, though:( Custom I suppose. Fun to play with though.

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15976 · August 04, 2012 at 9:16 PM

I used to do cinnamon on top the already baked and chilled sweet pots but chili? Sounds awesome.

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15976 · August 04, 2012 at 9:15 PM

I know what you mean. I'm constantly trying to find lower fiber ways if getting all my food in. In our situations though modern processed foods can come in handy: you can get tuff that's stripped of fiber etc that for you might just represent those extra cals. I've had to leave my sweet pots and squashes aside for a while because it was just too much fiber. White rice is helping me big time. Corn tortillas too. I've started drinking a bit of my cals too: whey+coconut water, Gatorade, home made Gatorade mixes, etc.

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15976 · August 04, 2012 at 9:11 PM

I'd agree that, if possible, GOMAD is without a doubt the fastest, simply way to gain. I don't drink milk - don't feel good on milk, never have. However I realize that many do. For them, GOMAD gets it done cheap and simple. I can get up into 3300-3500 cals daily and still enjoy it, with real whole foods. But north of there and I'm with the OP, it gets difficult and unappealing. I think GOMAD would help with that bit. What about just eating a ton of ice cream after a your meals. That'd take you easy into the 4K range.

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20908 · August 04, 2012 at 8:27 PM

I can't do milk without getting sick, so I haven't personally tried it. There's a guy at my gym who wanted to go from 180 to 200 this last month before he goes back to college. I told him about it, and a week in he's up 5 lbs. Just do some research on it, Rippetoe has a bunch on it, he swears it's the only way to gain bulk and he can tell which of his lifters do it and which don't.

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30 · August 04, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Thanks, I'll try them but honestly I prefer keeping my sweet and spicy more seperate

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30 · August 04, 2012 at 7:36 PM

I came across that site too when I started looking back into bulking since becoming Paleo. Problem is I found far more sites / sources that recommended more carbs for anabolic effects, less fat gains, etc...I was hoping I'd find more of a consensus if I asked directly but I guess the fact is - everyone's different

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30 · August 04, 2012 at 7:35 PM

Have you tried it to any success? I can't afford raw grass fed but if it would cause me to gain like 10 lbs of predominantly lean muscle mass in a month or something extreme like that I'd take the risk of pasteurized...

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30 · August 04, 2012 at 7:33 PM

That used to be my old approach but it was miserable...carbs are so difficult to eat alot of and also when I did it before it made me TOO regular to the point that all the carbs (quinoa, rice, beans, etc) were coming out basically undigested. Sorry if TMI :(

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2262 · August 04, 2012 at 6:57 PM

I am partial to cumin on sweet potatos myself :)

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30 · August 04, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Thanks a bunch for the input! I definitely can't afford GOMAD w/ raw goats milk. I'm re-evaluating and have got my fats close to 200 and carbs up to almost 300. However, if I try to get fats any lower I'm going to have to replace tasty ground beef & salmon w/ leaner things like chicken breast & tuna which I'd rather not do...I've spent the last 4 years being deathly afraid of fats (things like whole eggs & red meat) and would rather not go back to that. I'll keep tinkering though...thanks again

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887 · August 04, 2012 at 2:49 AM

Welcome! U must try chili powder on your sweet potatoes! To die for.

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8 Answers

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10 · August 04, 2012 at 4:04 PM

I don't think cycling carbs is really as important as keeping track of your macros. Check it out: http://www.paleobulkingcutting.com/site/macros-for-paleo-bulking-and-cutting/

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15976 · August 04, 2012 at 9:17 PM

I'm actually digging around that site now. Cool. Never heard of it. They don't have a ratio that has high enough carb in their carb/fat bit, though:( Custom I suppose. Fun to play with though.

125d32aea89e7249575e104196c11648
30 · August 04, 2012 at 7:36 PM

I came across that site too when I started looking back into bulking since becoming Paleo. Problem is I found far more sites / sources that recommended more carbs for anabolic effects, less fat gains, etc...I was hoping I'd find more of a consensus if I asked directly but I guess the fact is - everyone's different

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15976 · August 04, 2012 at 3:12 PM

You need surplus calories.

Eat one gram protein per pound body weight. However much fat and carb you want but know that eating a ton of carbs is very anabolic given you have that good training surplus.

I were you I'd do 400 or grams carb, one gram per pound of bodyweight for protein and the remainder in fat.

Generally in your situ I'd say protein and carbs are the most important, fats after that. Always remember though that you need extra calories calories. It's a lot of food and it ain't easy.

Forget that carb cycling, just eat carbs all the time.

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30 · August 04, 2012 at 7:33 PM

That used to be my old approach but it was miserable...carbs are so difficult to eat alot of and also when I did it before it made me TOO regular to the point that all the carbs (quinoa, rice, beans, etc) were coming out basically undigested. Sorry if TMI :(

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15976 · August 04, 2012 at 9:15 PM

I know what you mean. I'm constantly trying to find lower fiber ways if getting all my food in. In our situations though modern processed foods can come in handy: you can get tuff that's stripped of fiber etc that for you might just represent those extra cals. I've had to leave my sweet pots and squashes aside for a while because it was just too much fiber. White rice is helping me big time. Corn tortillas too. I've started drinking a bit of my cals too: whey+coconut water, Gatorade, home made Gatorade mixes, etc.

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2707 · August 04, 2012 at 11:05 AM

The main thing you need to do is make sure that your diet supplies a caloric surplus, and that you are providing your muscle stimuli to grow. If you do that you will gain mass. End of story.

Now, there is always ways to optimize. I would definitely have the majority of your excess calories be from carbs, due to their anabolic effect, and for the to help supply you with the type of energy you need for your workouts.

If you are fine with milk, and have a good source of goats milk, go for it, this will definitely help you grow. Milk has got it all: carbs, fat, and protein.

But to address your specific question, 250g of fat and carbs, is fine for the most part. Obviously a lot of mainstreamer's will tell you that is way too much fat, and your body is likely to store those excess fats.

I would not split it so even, I would try to up the carbs a bit, but once again as long as your in a caloric surplus, you are on a sane strength training program, you will gain muscle. The key of course is to minimize fat. Just try to monitor your gains and adjust accordingly.

Everyone partitions excess calories differently. So you will have to see what your body does and tinker.

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30 · August 04, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Thanks a bunch for the input! I definitely can't afford GOMAD w/ raw goats milk. I'm re-evaluating and have got my fats close to 200 and carbs up to almost 300. However, if I try to get fats any lower I'm going to have to replace tasty ground beef & salmon w/ leaner things like chicken breast & tuna which I'd rather not do...I've spent the last 4 years being deathly afraid of fats (things like whole eggs & red meat) and would rather not go back to that. I'll keep tinkering though...thanks again

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20908 · August 04, 2012 at 3:25 AM

If you can tolerate milk, then the GOMAD diet is the quickest way to gain mass (Gallon Of Milk A Day). Check out Mark Rippetoe's comments on GOMAD. I don't advocate it's the healthiest thing (even if you are getting super clean organic grass fed milk), but if you want mass gain without drugs or supplements, then that's the key.

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30 · August 04, 2012 at 7:35 PM

Have you tried it to any success? I can't afford raw grass fed but if it would cause me to gain like 10 lbs of predominantly lean muscle mass in a month or something extreme like that I'd take the risk of pasteurized...

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73
20908 · August 04, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Ice cream has lots of sugar and crap in it. For GOMAD it's not just that the milk is full of calories, it's that there are tons of growth hormones in it too - that's why it can turn a baby cow into a big cow quickly. So I'd go as clean as possible and just go with good whole milk with nothing else added.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73
20908 · August 04, 2012 at 8:27 PM

I can't do milk without getting sick, so I haven't personally tried it. There's a guy at my gym who wanted to go from 180 to 200 this last month before he goes back to college. I told him about it, and a week in he's up 5 lbs. Just do some research on it, Rippetoe has a bunch on it, he swears it's the only way to gain bulk and he can tell which of his lifters do it and which don't.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc
15976 · August 04, 2012 at 9:11 PM

I'd agree that, if possible, GOMAD is without a doubt the fastest, simply way to gain. I don't drink milk - don't feel good on milk, never have. However I realize that many do. For them, GOMAD gets it done cheap and simple. I can get up into 3300-3500 cals daily and still enjoy it, with real whole foods. But north of there and I'm with the OP, it gets difficult and unappealing. I think GOMAD would help with that bit. What about just eating a ton of ice cream after a your meals. That'd take you easy into the 4K range.

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15976 · August 05, 2012 at 1:16 AM

Ice cream has sugar?

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0 · May 27, 2014 at 1:22 AM

I'm currently doing the same pwo lol except with some added bcaas, and I'm doing strong lifts currently 138 5'10'' and 15 years old have added like 2 lbs already in 2 weeks (not much of which is fat)

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0 · September 01, 2013 at 11:09 PM

PaulRomasco,

In response to the fact that you tolerate dairy: You can try supplementing on a whey protein made by BlueBonet Nutrition: It comes from non-GMO, no rBGH, grass fed cows and is not processed at high heat (you can check it out for more details). Another whey protein that is the least «non-paleo» is made by Ergogenics Nutrition. This could be a good immediate post-workout protein source. You could mix it with organic milk, or whatever quality milk product you can afford/have access to. As for the rest, I'm having the same difficulty gaining weight: We're in the same boat! Remember: Let's push that human body right to the max, but let's not do it in a way that can jeopardize our health!

Hope this helps a bit! Keep us posted on your progress.

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2949 · August 04, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Good questions. I'm transitioning from a recomp to a clean bulk, so I don't have much experience. I'm doing about 80% of TDEE on rest days, and eating almost until I'm nauseous on workout days. In case you haven't heard, google LeanGains, that's the method I'm using.

1) Since you're healthy, it should be no issue getting that much fat or carbs. Carb cycling might be beneficial, but if you have problem eating that many carbs PWO, adherence to your diet might become an issue. Follow your bodyfat, as excess fat on calorie surplus days is easily stored as bodyfat. 2) Again, you're healthy, so nothing to worry about. GOMAD as stated is a widely used method of bulking. If you go GOMAD, try to get some decent milk from cows which are not fed antibiotics and other nasty stuff.

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78422 · October 19, 2012 at 2:23 AM

Keep in mind, muscular size is associated with higher reps while muscular strength is tied to lower reps. Find out more here

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