So, I've been a weightlifter for a long time (mostly the Olympic lifts). Generally, it is common wisdom that you need to "bulk" in order to gain muscle mass. Now, how is this to be done on a Paleo diet? Or, if not, how do you see adding muscle mass while on the Paleo diet?
Eat more. A lot more.
Weightlifters and bodybuilders typically advise to eat more. And what do they eat? Beef and eggs - a lot of protein. You could throw some fish in there if you like.
It's hard to eat that much, which is why a lot of them use protein shakes. Or dairy. GOMAD is a proven tactic, although not paleo. That's a gallon of milk a day, by the way.
Kinda off topic, but when I was a kid, I read Rod Laver's autobiography. His favorite meal? Steak and eggs. He would eat them almost every meal and became grumpy if the hotel he was staying at didn't have it on the menu. He had a massively huge left wrist and forearm and was nicknamed "The Rocket".
This is something that I have been playing with over the past year or so since I've been eating paleo for a couple years and found myself stuck around 180. As a competitive crossfitter I was doing too much met-con type activity so I dialed it back and subbed in a couple strict strength/o-lifting days. Since doing that I gained a couple pounds, but no drastic change. It wasn't until I added more starchy carbs to my diet, especially post WOD that I was able to get up to 190. This proved to be huge for my lifts both O-lifts and power lifts and I would say that virtually all of the weight I put on was muscle. My advice would be to eat at least 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass give or take a few grams extra, and make sure you're consuming some fat at every meal also (coconut milk, avocado, fatty meats from grass-fed sources, butter/ghee, olive oil, and seeds). If you want bulk and strength gains I would advise to add 100-150 g of starchy carb post workout (roots, tubers, bulbs) so that your carb intake consists of glucose (not fructose sources like fruit). Your body will soak this up and help you tremendously with bulk and strength gains. And lastly, just like Dave advised...eat more, but don't be afraid to eat more carbs too if you want to put size on.
You eat protein and fat you will gain muscle bulk faster because of the effect on the skeletal muscle stem cell recruitment and the effect on telomeres and how it congruently aligns endogenous GH release. gH release also in and of itself furthers recruitment of stem cells and those cells tend to have more longevity once formed.
The book Perfect Health Diet explains how fat is actually just as important as protein and carbs since fat is much of muscle tissue and while protein and carbs decrease testosterone, fat increases it. So definitely don't go stingy on any macro-nutrient.
edit: actually don't quote me on that carbs actually decease testosterone, It might just be that the more carbs one eats the less fat one eats and therefore has lower testosterone. Still, the principle applies.
This isn't exactly paleo, but it worked for me. Try to eat a half can of natural peanut butter every day. I know I know, peanuts are legumes. But if you're trying to bulk, and you eat paleo, your body needs more calories and it's already running off a higher ratio of fats to carbs. A half can is like 1300 extra calories and has gobs of fat. Try it, I got bigger and all my lifts went up. I ate Skippy Natural peanut butter, you can buy it at wal-mart for $2 a can.
At least a box of quality Aroy-D coconut milk or cream per day and a good sized yam post workout with some protein (I do whey but your call of course) on top of your other meals with extra fat sources.
That'll do the trick.
What has worked well for me is making a Shake with Protein, 60g flax seeds, crushed berries and a little fruit juice, you could also add 1-2 tbs of olive oil... This is basically a paleo 'mass builder' shake but a healthy version.
I always make a big sweet potato mash with parsnip and carrot for post workout eaten with 3 mackerel fillets.
Use the harris benedict formula to work out your calories needs if you're struggling to put on weight.
I personally target for 3500-4000kcals eating around 75-125g of carbs and I build very quickly.
Make sure you're eating enough monounstaurated and other fats before you go carb crazy, then gradually increase carbs as needed.
This will prevent excess body fat.
I know a lot of people like a formula to work with so this is what makes logical sense to me.
Carbs for male 75g add 100g for every hour of exercise
Carbs for female 50 add 100g for every hour of exercise
Liquid calories! It's one of the biggest reasons people fail to lose weight on a paleo diet so why not use it to your advantage. Smoothies that combine frozen fruit, whey protein, eggs, nut butters, and coconut milk are a delicious and inexpensive way to add an extra meals worth of calories.
when i felt i was dropping weight too quick(i.e. i didn't want to spend a ton of money on a new wardrobe halfway through winter), i started adding alot of starch in my diet in addition to my powerlifting protocol. this leveled out my weight loss- my waist continued to slowly get smaller though so i'm figuring i was losing fat while packing on muscle. now i'm in spring shreddown mode and have removed starches and the weight/fat loss has picked up significantly.
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