Gaining Muscle on a Paleo Diet


fitmama23

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Hi There!

I wasn't exactly sure where to post this question.

I'm interested in any input you have on what a typical day of eating might look like for a female looking to gain about 5-10 lbs (eventually!) of muscle. I've been trying to convert my eating into a whole30/paleo type diet and have always been on the thin side. I have muscle but I want more. Right now I'm sitting at 5'7 1/2" and about 120 lbs.

I just recently was able to adjust my work schedule so that I'm back in the gym. I want to focus on big lifts, low reps, and not a lot of cardio obviously. Is it enough to eat when I'm hungry and just watch to see if gains are made? As I get stronger and my lifts go up, will my appetite adjust/increase on its own?

Just curious if you have any thoughts on female weight and muscle gain on a paleo diet.

Thanks =)

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Obviously weight gain (whether muscle or fat) is a function of eating more than you need to maintain so that your body has something to create the muscle out of. I would say eating when you're hungry, making sure to get in enough protein and carbs, and seeing what happens is probably a good way to go. If you aren't making gains, then obviously eat more. :) If you are, keep in mind that the more gains you make the more you'll have to eat to gain more ... so you might gain, plateau, have to eat a little more, gain a little more, etc.

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Are you concerned with more muscle or being stronger? How big a rush are you in?

Gaining muscle for someone who is not prone to takes a decent amount of effort. I've personally spent a lot of years working on gaining size but I did it with a very specific purpose versus just wanting to aesthetically. In the process I definitely messed up my relationship with food. So take my opinion for what it is worth but I would go slow.....

If you aren't in a big rush - I would focus on trusting your body but in a more agressive way. Look for indicators that will tell you if you are gaining without completely giving up on trusting your body's feed back. Focus on post work out nutrition. I would also never train fasted (you don't ever want to be catabolic while in the gym). If your lifts are increasing and your are seeing positive body comp changes - keep going till you aren't seeing improvement. Make sure you have a good baseline of protein and use fat and carbs as your variable. You don't feel great in the gym or your strength isn't increasing add carbs to your meals and/or increase post work out carbs. If everything is going well and You feel you are definitely gaining size but your waist band is getting tighter then you may want to look at decreasing some fats. I caveat this by saying much of what I said depends on your current food baseline.........hopefully this made some sense

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I have a lean build...think cross country runner. I've always wanted to have a bigger/broader upper body because I'm pretty thin up there. And I wouldn't mind a little more of a butt. ;> I know you can't "spot gain" though. In the past I've sort-of attempted gaining weight/muscle before but for one reason or another, fizzled out. At least now I know what to eat after reading ISWF.

I want to be stronger and want to look more muscle-y. If that makes sense! I think I've gotten scared in the past though of gaining weight, which is silly. I want a bigger upper body but if I feel like the rest of me is getting bigger, I think I freak out.

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Your training plan sounds good and I bet your appetite will go up as you lift heavier.

I've added enough muscle to go up from 185 to 192 over the past 6 months. I noticed the increased muscle mass only over the past 3 months. What might be relevant to your situation is how I'm eating - 3 big meals per day. I eat a small pre-workout snack, but usually don't eat a post-workout meal because I train at home at noon. I just eat my lunch immediately after training. I have been following the ISWF guidelines for portion sizes. More important for muscle gain may be the fact that I stopped training 5 days per week and only train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And my workouts are short and intense. I'm doing kettlebell complexes - 100-120 reps in a workout that lasts about 10 minutes. I'm training only about 90 minutes per week when counting the warm up time. I want to train more, but Geoff Neupert is very clear in his book Kettlebell Muscle that doing more can ruin the program, so I don't. One other addition that might matter... I've been taking Branched Chain Amino Acid supplements before training sessions. When I was working out longer, I put BCAAs in my water bottle and took more afterwards, but it doesn't seem necessary now.

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I just had my husband write a blog post on this on my blog...He is a hard gainer and has always had a hard time keeping muscle on. Since switching to w30/paleo style of eating he has been able to put on 20lb of solid muscle. Heavy lifting + paleo does a body good!

TIps:

Don't focus on your weight. Your priority should be your performance on the big lifts.

Squats and Dead lifts are great for developing a booty :)

Pullups are great for the upper body (start with a band or ring rows and progress to strict pullup)

Sweet potatoes, avocado, and coconut milk will be your best friends

Don't force feed but look for calorie dense foods (such as the ones above)

Shakes are a good option (my husbands favorites are coconut milk + frozen berries)

Enjoy!

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for w30, we advice ppl to stay away from white potatoes b/c they are so lacking in nutrients and very carb dense. However, if that is the worst thing in your diet, than I think you are doing quite well. Based on your goals, they could fit into you plan occasionally. As I mentioned, my husband who is always looking to put on more weight, will eat white potatoes occasionally (i.e. maybe once or twice a month if we go out to eat and sweet potato is not an option). If you do decide to eat a white potato make sure you peel the skin or just don't eat it!

Other good starches are pumpkin, acorn squash, and eggplant

Check out the book Sweet Potato Power for some new sweet potato recipe ideas. Also try making a w30 version of pad thai with spaghetti noodles to change it up some more!

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