Hey Paleoheads, I have been skinny most of my life (I am still young) partly due to stress and lack of appetite, partly genetics. I have found a ton of appetite lately tho, and Paleo in reinforcing it! I am 6ft and weighed 157 at my peak which was lean muscle. Now after some stress I am 136 and just as lean, but without the muscle ;)
What's the deal, how to handle the extra calories (carbs?). What to do on workout days, potatoes as pre workout? Again carbs after?
Edit: I'm 6 foot by the way. Read below for an update! Paleo rocks for building muscle for skinnies! (not that skinny anymore ;)
From a diet perspective, try to get .7-1g of protein/1lb of lean body mass and start shooting starch like there's no tomorrow. Some would recommend more protein but from what I've witnessed/experienced, getting as much protein as your body can process efficiently followed by making up the rest of the calories in starch and fat is a smarter way since much of the excess protein will be converted to glucose via gluconeogenesis anyways. What you're looking for is a calorie surplus with as healthy food choices as possible that do not mess with your health markers. I think the way I've outlined is a smart way to go about it, nutritionally.
As far as strength training goes, lift 2-3 times a week VERY heavy with low reps(6-10) and 3-4 sets per exercise. Try to get at least 2 exercises in per bodypart. We're aiming for hypertrophy, which can have similar goals to strength increases but more volume can be applied for maximal muscle growth.
Edit: Deadlifts and Squats should be at the centerpiece of your strength training since they do more than any other exercises to shock the CNS and trigger release of growth hormones. Also, keep the movements to simple, compound movements. Leave the cutesy stuff to the bodybuilding mags.
I am reporting back some months later. I now weigh 165 (versus 136 in February). My main carb sources have been rice and white potatoes (sweet potatoes are somewhat exotic and expensive in Holland). I have been on an off on milk. Milk is easy, but not as light on my digestion and mucus, so there's a good reason for paleo to discourage it IMO. My mood has generally stabalized and been more uplifting (or generally more manageable and observable which is actually more important) and I attribute it mostly to nutrition.
If you are looking to gain strength and weight, you must experiment with bananas, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white rice, brown rice, yams and cassava.
Up until two months ago (most of my gains) I have not eaten too many carbs at all. (below 150g a day). Now I frequently am above it due to energy and muscle recovery. But protein and fat has remained high in my diet, especially after 5pm / 7pm.
Once you find your way, it will work even for a super skinny dude like me (and YOU!)
Oh yeah, train for STRENGTH. 5 reps. 3 sets. (check out starting strength). I have been doing the German Basic Program: (+ Kettlebells)
A: Squat, Bench, Row B: Deadlift, Pull-up, Press Train 3 times a week (unless you do additional Sprints/Kettlebells, then do 2 times)
Emphasize squat, deadlift, and press, de-emphasize metcon workouts. Regular burner metcons are just driving with the parking brake on if you're trying to gain weight.
Eat like it's your f'ing job, of course.
How about D.E.A.D. - Dozen Eggs a Day?
Here is some info that may help you:
Eat as much paleo as you can. I eat sweet potatoes post workout and I am usually fine pre workout.
For progress, I would lift with a standard 3x5 linear progression for as long as you can.
What type of routine are you doing?
you should probably consult resources specifically devoted to teaching people to increase their lean mass, written by people with lots of personal/coaching experience, and filter that through a paleo lens rather than through paleo resources.
A low carb high fat diet can work just as well to normalize underweight as overweight. Make those extra calories fat. Cream and cheese are tasty if you do them. There is a remarkable transformation from underweight to normal reported with photos in Lutz's "Leben ohne Brot".
There is no magic to gaining at your size. Get on a strength training program you enjoy, it honestly doesn't matter whether it is Power Lifting, Body Building, Oly lifting etc... at your size they'll all do you.
Eat more and more and more....
Look at a week of normal food, whatever you normally eat. Double it. Finish with a can of coconut milk.
Do for 6-8 weeks and if you aren't broke or fat, repeat.