6 months in and i have lost 40 plus pounds but I find that I seem stalled in terms of adding muscle mass. I fear that I may have even lost some muscle mass due to a reduction in strength I am noticign since being on the diet.
Any thoughts on ways to reverse this?
While i want to be lean I am trying to uncover the muscle that I created before going paleo, not watch it fade away with the fat even though I continue to lift 4-5x a week.
You should be eating 1 gram of protein for every pound of LEAN BODY MASS... not present body mass. That would be maybe 200 grams of protein in your case. And even that is on the higher end of the scale. It could be as low as 150-ish.
Make sure you are getting enough carbs post workout. They are not the enemy. Starchy veggies will help you replenish your glycogen and you will see better results in the gym. Gluconeogenesis takes 12-24 hours at least to start to replenish glucose, if you're doing a hard effort 4-5x per week, you may be pushing harder than you can recover [over training.] Try dialing back your workouts, maybe 3x per week with your recovery days being actual recovery days not just "reduced effort" days. Do this for a couple of weeks and you should see an improvement in best efforts.
So to recap: Eat carbs from good sources. Give yourself a chance to recover. Dial back your protein if you have to so that you dont squeeze out other macronutrients.
Cut to your ideal weight first. If you say your ideal weight is 205, and you are at 217 right now, go another 12 pounds. This will allow you to start at 'ground zero'. Trying to lose fat and add muscle mass at the same time is possible (i know, cause I did it) but it's slow going and you have to be super dedicated. Also, your body has to be willing to accept that. Mine was, but yours may not be. Your body might be 'confused'. In other words... it may be asking itself, should be adding or shedding?
To repeat myself... I would get as cut as your comfortable with first. Then build muscle from there. This way, your body knows that you have entered muscle building mode. Then keep the high quality protein intake high like LB mentions in his answer.
Personally, I think eggs, beef, starch, and high quality pure whey protein or whole milk (if you are willing to eat dairy) is the surefire way to gain muscle.
I'm a hardgainer, but slowly and surely, I continue to add muscle week after week. I started at 163, then bottomed out at 148. Now I am at 156 and moving back upward. My goal is to return back to my original weight (of when I began my new eating program back in Aug 2010). But this time, I will be ripped and lean at 163, trading fat for muscle.
I've learned to not be in a hurry to 'get there' and instead just take it day by day and stick to the plan.
Oh also, I just thought of something else. How are you lifting? If you want to gain strength (sounds like you are disappointed and have hit a plateau or even began going backwards) then I would recommend making sure that you rep to complete failure every time and don't do too many reps.
What I do is 2-3 sets of 5-6 reps per excercise. As soon as I am able to do 6 reps of any given weight, I increase the weight next time and power through at least 5 reps. Most people don't know that often times that last ONE single rep that feels impossible is where all the muscle/strength is gained. This is because that's when your fast twitch type 2b muscle fibers are recruited to participate the most. This is what 'breaks down' your muscles. Then, in the repair process, it builds it better and stronger.
Last Aug, I began with reps on the bench press of 5-6 reps of 160lbs (my body weight). Now, I do 5-6 reps of 280, and can likely max at twice my weight (I haven't maxed out in months so I really don't know). I'm not trying to sound like a muscle head bragging about my bench press (such a stereotypical thing to do I know). Im saying that this is what is working me.
Ok I think that's enough,
Cheers for real this time. :)
Add lots of carbs. This is apparently a frequent problem on this diet. I lost 50 pounds off of my deadlift while I was eating strict Paleo! Don't worry you will soon recuperate your losses if you add back in the carbs. By carbs, I mean potatoes, tubers, fruit, dairy, rice...any or all of the above.
adding and maintaining muscle on any dietary plan is for the most part dictated on your protein intake.
it's very hard to add muscle while leaning out but it's relatively easy to maintain while leaning out if you're doing adequate strenth training and eating protein at maintenance levels- ~1g/1pound of lbm
gaining muscle on paleo is easy if you are overeating with a lot of protein and starch. being able to do it without adding alot of bodyfat- now therein lies the rub...
I would recommend cutting back on your lifting. Go down to maybe three times a week, with your training being more high intensity. When you lift, how many reps do you do? You should be doing five sets of five. If you can do more than 5-7 reps of an exercise at a certain weight, you need to up the weight in order to gain more. If you can't do 5 reps, lower the weight a little. More info here: http://stronglifts.com/how-to-build-muscle-mass-guide/
Are you doing squats? Do you sprint? Try more exercises that use your whole body. Find a hilly field and pretend you're hunting. :)
Arthur De Vany is a huge proponent of working out less. He's in his mid-70's and approximately 200 pounds. His body is less than 8% body fat. Check out his book The New Evolution Diet for more thoughts on this. It aligns with what our ancestors did--make a big kill and then lazy around for a while.
Do you do cardio/long distance training? If so, I would cut that out, as it is working against your muscle gaining. If you're set on doing cardio of some sorts, do HIIT (high intensity interval training) instead. Outside of it being proven as a more effective method, it also emulates our ancestral patterning as well.
Best of luck!
Another way that hasn't been mentioned yet... and this really works wonders.
Your LBM x 15-20...start around 16 = your calories/day
Use your www.fitday.com account to plan your meals along these lines. Shoot for 1g protein /lb of bodyweight (a little less is fine though as long as at least 35% of your calories are from protein) Don't be afraid to eat fat...a lot of it, about 60% of your calories will come from fat.
Keep the carbs low for 5 or 6 days straight. (below 30g)
Then one day (the day before your heavy day) eat "safe starches" with every meal and the first meal the next morning... i.e. tubers like sweet potatoes or even white potatoes. If you must delve into grains...choose brown rice over white, white rice over wheat, and so on... but it can easily be done with tubers.
On your carb up day you will eat 1g of carbohydrate for every pound of LBM, keep the fat high and the carbs high, don't worry about protein...it will take care of it's self for these meals.
This way of eating works the best with 5x5 since it has a heavy day, a light day, and a medium day with plenty of scheduled days off (nice for cardo to keep the gains lean).
If you are't gaining...recalculate with 17 cals/lb of lbm...then 18... and so on until you are gaining lean muscle with minimal fat gains.
This plan works for burning fat too...just set your calories between 10 and 15 per pound of LBM.
I've never seen this fail for anyone who actually applied it as designed and stuck with it.
I'll echo some of the other answers here. I'm a hardgainer but have absolutely no trouble gaining muscle on paleo. I went from 200 to 165 when I started paleo and now I'm back up to 180 with no increase in fatness, so it's gotta be muscle.
Generally you want tons of protein, some PWO carbs to repleat your muscle glycogen. I'm doing about 5000 calories a day, 3000 from fat, and my only carbs are 2oz of grapefruit juice with breakfast and a sweet potato PWO.
My guess is that you're probably lifting too much. I lift heavy only once a week. The rest is metcons or rock climbing. One week my heavy lifting is 5x5's at about 85% (Squats, Press, Deadlift). The next week my heavy lifting is 3x3 at 90% (Cleans, Snatch, Squats). You need time for the growth hormones and muscle repair to do their work. Once I cut down on volume and increased the weight the muscle just started packing on.
I'm new to this site and came across your post. What program/site is the above screen capture from? I'm looking for an easy "calculator" that I can track my nutritional intake. I was heavy lifter for 30+ years. I became bored and overweight, 285 and discovered CrossFit 2 years ago. I went from the Zone to Paleo about 6 monhs ago and I'm a lean 207. I have lost some strength and muscle mass so now I want to maintain my bodyfat and up my strength/muscle again.
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