I am an 125 lb male who went on the paleo diet to fix certain skin issues and digestive problems. I have been on an "optimal diet" type regime for four months, with no dairy, starch, fruit and nuts. My diet mostly consists of low starch veggies and lots of coconut oil, 6 eggs, and about 400 grams of any kind of meat daily.
All this hasn't helped much, plus I am getting weaker, skinnier, and less capable of performing intense athletics. If this diet won't fix my skin, I at least want to be able to gain 15 lbs and perform in soccer once again.
This is what I plan on doing, but before I do, I need critical analysis of what I am going to do, and whether or not my approach is the correct one to take.
-I plan to decrease my egg consumption (due to high Omega-6) and increase my consumption of grass-fed meat, maybe up to two pounds a day.
-I am going to experiment with adding starch back into my diet in the form of sweet potato, and squash.
-I will consume fish about twice a week, previously I was consuming loads of it everyday, and noticed my PUFA intake to be quite on the high side.
-I am still hesitant about adding in fruit, deathly scared of fructose, but I might add a handful of blueberries.
-No dairy or nuts...to inflammatory.
-Calories, is a tough one to figure out, because on the "optimal diet" I was consuming about 3200 and just lost weight, instead of gained. Pre-Paleo, I followed a conventional bodybuilding type diet, with about 400-600 grams of carbohydrates almost daily, and I also only managed to gain about a pound in the whole year I followed the diet. I just cant gain weight, but I am tired of being skinny, and weak.
I plan to take a new approach to my training, in hopes of gaining muscle and improving my performance on the field by incorporating a "leangains" type approach with an occasional carb refeed 2 days a week to replenish my glycogen stores, seeing as how soccer is highly glycogen depleting, and my performances always felt better in a fasted state, to some extent, in the first few weeks after going off carbs, but it has all been downhill from there.
I also plan on incorporating a 20 rep squat routine for quick results.
Fast the whole morning until, noon, do 20 rep squat or soccer practice depending on the day.
Have all my calories after the workout.
Then on Saturdays and Sundays, I plan to carb load, with paleo carbs of up to 200 grams a day.
Does this sound like a good approach or am I approaching this incorrectly?
My idea is that consuming all calories after a workout will feed all the muscles the necessary nutrients to grow, and carb refeeds will allow me to replenish my glycogen levels for the week.
I would aim to fix the skin and digestive issues first, and see if the energy level and mass gaining follows.
I had skin and digestive issues, too. Fixing these by adjusting diet also helped me fix energy and weight goals. Just to check that we're defining things similarly--by "skin issues" are we taking dermatitis herpetiformis type rash? By "digestive issues" are we talking excessive gas, almost immediately post-meal, with IBS (multiple bowel movements, incomplete digestion)?
To rectify the skin and digestive issues, I recommend eliminating vegetables as an elimination challenge. I suspect a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). If you eliminate the bacteria food (vegetables) and find a rather immediate improvement in skin and digestion, then SIBO is a likely candidate. A clear cut sign of SIBO is that you will do very badly with starches.
As for the athletics, consider taking a more liberal definition of "fast." I, too, played soccer on a 12-16 hour fast and ate my main meal an hour or two post-game. Now, I'm eating a minor meal four hours pre-game and a major meal post-game. I am getting better results this way. (Better game performance.)
Just my $0.02.
Grass Fed Steak and Sweet Potatoes is a good way to get adequate calories with a true minimal amount of potential allergens. plus its crazy tasty to boot.
To make sure I get adequate calories I eat 1-2 times a day. Only when hungry.
To make sure This happens, I wait until mid afternoon, then I feast like a champ. 1-2lbs of meat, and whatever sides I want, in this case, sweet potatoes. Then, a couple hours later, if I feel hungry I eat a little more. If not hungry, I dont.
The size of this second optional meal is directly proportionate to how I feel hunger wise.
When I switched to mass gain and put on muscle, the second meal had to be pretty large as well.
Id wild guess my calories around 4k+ easily 2.5lbs of meat a day, plus some veggies, and a decent pile of tubers/fat.
I'm certainly no expert, and while a semi-hardgainer with some digestive issues, it sounds like you are in fact a "true" hardgainer. All that said, I think your very detailed and strict plan outlined above will set you up for a significant degree of stress and worry about food (perhaps to the point of developing a disorder).
Eat good quality food and quite a bit of it, especially after workouts. Add in the starchy carbs if you can digest them. Sweet potato doesn't work well for me, but I find that pumpkin agrees nicely. Add in more weights as suggested above. Get your presses and upper body stuff on soccer days.
My main point is don't worry about it too much. Dial in good food and lift heavy weight.