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Goal: Gain Weight

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  • Goal: Gain Weight

    I would like to start by saying that I am fairly new to the PB concept, and my experience has been limited to what I have read on this site. I have found that an overwhelming majority of the sites readers share the goal of losing weight. I am attracted to the diet for its obvious positive health connotations, and I was wondering if anyone would be able give any insights as to how well suited the PB would be for someone looking to gain lean muscle mass.

    It is increasingly frustrating to read blog after blog that focuses on the calorie in/calorie out hypothesis when I know that model is flawed. I guess that in short I was wondering if it is possible to gain lean muscle mass while following the PB.

  • #2

    Yes, but if you REALLY want to gain muscle mass-you do have to eat-more than you expend. People will tell you that you can gain muscle on a calorie deficit and this is true-but if your looking to add significant muscle, you have to eat a good amount of food along with your training. The challenge with Primal style eating is it tends to satiate your apatite (this is still a good thing) and it takes a lot of fruits and veggies and lean meats to get enough calories. You may feel like you are stuffing yourself-which may be a good thing as overeating in general isn't a very healthy thing to do (and building big muscles isn't very primal unless your an easy gainer-genetically gifted). This is where eating more carbs can be helpful. If you have a hard time getting enough calories/gaining muscular weight, I would add in potatoes and rice (I like oatmeal for this too unless you have a gluten issue). My fellow primal comrades wont like this recommendation but if you really want to gain muscle over and above what your body naturally wants to on a healthy primal diet, it will help.


    • #3

      I am putting on muscle and do not need to lose any weight.

      Don't eat potatoes, rice or oatmeal. Eat lots of fat for fuel (fat has more calories per volume than carbs anyway) and if you are getting this from meat, you will have plenty enough protein for muscle building.

      I eat strict paleo and mostly just one main meal a day of meat. I'm building strength and putting on muscle faster than I ever did while eating carbs, protein powder and creatine. Most of the conventional advice is complete nonsense. I spent years in the gym (pre paleo) for pretty much nothing.

      I do not carb up or eat after a workout either.

      I just work out heavy and regularly. I eat when I am hungry, enough to make me feel comfortably full. If you burn more fuel you will feel like eating more. You don't need to stuff food in.

      I also leave two days (sometimes more or sometimes less) for muscle recovery when I target muscle areas.

      The "Seven Deadly Sins"

      Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . . Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
      Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
      Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)


      • #4

        Wheight loss is not my goal either. I have been putting on muscle and losing fat since I started eating Primal. My wheight is pretty much the same as before(around 80 kg).

        I am down to 3 meals and one snack aday, and many days one of the main meals is pretty small. The old constant feeding of protein and carbs is no longer needed.

        Ton answer your question in short: "YES, gaining muscle on PB is not a problem"

        Good luck!


        • #5

          10climbe-check out John Berardi's stuff for muscle building nutrition. It is sound advice, leans toward primal eating, but incorporates some very well researched ideas that help with muscle gain-like nutrient timing. Thats right, eating carbs, even high glycemic carbs at times, but timed in such a way that you use your muscles increased sensitivity for glucose during and after your workout for recovery and growth. (some don't like this idea because they say it dampens the growth hormone response post workout-but I'm not convinces that response, being transient, does anything to help gain significant muscle). Remember, our primal ancestors likely did not put the high, consistent workout stress on their bodies that you have to do to build significant muscle mass. It would have been a dangerous waste of energy. So strict primal eating may not be enough (certainly does not provide enough calories) for you to put on the muscle weight you desire. Does it make sense that the diet you use to loose weight is the one you use to gain weight? No!(be careful about using a diet that someone who is overweight uses to loose fat and gain muscle-they are likely losing a lot more fat than gaining muscle) However, for some genetically gifted people out there, muscle gain is just plain easy no matter what. All they have to do is eat more and train a little. Unless you are one of these people, don't use them as a model. Also, as I said before, gaining significant muscle mass is not primal. It costs a lot in calories to gain and maintain that muscle-its not easy for most. Grok would have been forced out of camp with a spear for eating more than his share-selfish bastard!


          • #6

            tman's right. In fact, I registered just to tell you the following:

            The PB should not be used as a protocol to gain significant weight. Trust me. I've gone from about 160 lbs at ~16% BF to 180 at 13% BF in the last year. It was very very hard. I tried, at first, to maintain a low-carb diet (Anabolic Diet). When you move into the 3000-4000 kCal range, a >60% fat diet will turn your stomach in knots. It is not fun. As soon as I switched to a higher-carb diet (reluctantly and for weight gain only) I started getting big really fast. Don't worry about getting too fat if you're really trying to bulk. It is UNAVOIDABLE. If you have a tendency to keep weight off, then it won't be an issue. My goal is about 190 shredded and I have learned to accept carbs into my life. You can do the Anabolic Diet and gain quality weight while simultaneously losing fat but it will be at a rate of around 1lbs. or less a month. AD, PB, etc. are a way of life - and a healthy one at that. However, they are not geared towards getting huge and, to that extent, will fail.

            Remember - lots of carbs post workout (waxy maize or malto) with protein, and BCAAs.

            Eat huge (eat all day.)

            Be patient.

   has some good products if you have the know-how

   has good articles and a good community if you can stomach the type that love the iron game and their appreciation for ste... recovery aids.


            • #7


              I'm in the category you seek. A year ago I was a 6', 170lb ultramarathon runner. At that point I started running a lot less, doing a lot more 'CrossFit' style workouts, and eating primal.

              Today I am 6', 186lbs and the same 32" jeans fit exactly the same. Primal diet isn't a weight loss diet, it is a weight normalization diet. If you don't have excess weight to lose you're not going to drop a lot of pounds, but it's going to make your existing weight better. By subscribing to primal exercise laws you can really pack on good lean mass with the primal diet.

              Not relevant to this thread, but in case anybody is wondering how you can run eating primarily protein and fats...very well. I've performed as well or better in marathon and longer events since changing my diet. My most recent race I had almost zero carbs in the three days leading up to the event and performed better than the previous year on a typical runner's diet. If you're not eating the carbs your body doesn't require them to live. Best of luck in your quest!!