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Thread: Intro - gaining from underweight page

  1. #1
    prib81's Avatar
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    Primal Fuel
    I'm in a bit of a different position than most. As I mentioned in my intro post, I've had health issues that have ultimately left me approximately 50 lbs underweight. I was turned on to the PB by a couple friends who have both had significant success losing weight following it. After reading Primal Body, Primal Mind and Primal Blueprint, I concluded that I needed to give it a try and officially "went primal" in December of 2009.


    I don't want to just pack on fat (although at this point I suspect that my BF percentage is too low). I am pretty strict nutritionally - no grains at all except white rice (my n=1 experimentation has shown it not to be troublesome and it does make eating out a bit easier) and this only occasionally. No industrial vegetable oils whatsoever. I do eat goat and sheep cheese rather liberally and drink goat kefir daily, but avoid cow dairy as it tends to irritate my sinuses. I eat grass-fed meat/eggs as much as I possibly can.


    I've tracked my nutritional intake on FitDay and typically eat 2500-3000 calories a day but suspect I probably need a fair bit more to gain serious mass. I also probably need a bit more sleep as I get 7-8 hours nightly (usually closer to 7 than 8).


    I have been able to do some bodyweight exercises that have given me decent strength (but not mass so far) gains in just a couple weeks. I like Tabata sprints on the exercise bike - I have started with just 2 20-second sprint cycles and hope to slowly work up to 8 and increase the resistance from there.


    I'd welcome any suggestions and am particularly interested in hearing the stories of any others out there who face or have faced returning to a healthy weight from the severely underweight end of the spectrum.

  2. #2
    ChrisJ's Avatar
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    I am also gaining weight by living primal, though I was only just below the healthy weight for my height when I started. It sounds like you're doing a lot of the right things, and I'd hope that you start to gain some mass soon.


    I wouldn't worry about sleep, 7-8 hours of good sleep is plenty.


    Regarding exercise, I would think that doing 5x5 sets of exercises would help. Keeping the weights fairly heavy for your strength and doing small numbers of reps.


    Do squats, deadlifts, and other exercises that build core strength especially.


    Also, get outside in the sun to do your sprints if you can, it makes it so much more enjoyable, and the sun is good for you!

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    The Big L's Avatar
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    I started a PB diet at "pretty thin" -- about 160 lbs, just over 6' tall. In six weeks I've lost 10 lbs, which was not my goal. I guess if it was all fat loss, I'm OK with it.


    Various methods of bf% calculations seem to think I'm around 8% bf. That seems strangely low for someone who isn't athletic and has a mostly sedentary lifestyle. I'm trying to schedule an appointment to have my body composition more accurately measured in one of those BodPod thingies. Meanwhile, I've started a body-weight based strength training program in an attempt to build some muscle mass.


    I weigh 50% more than you, and you're eating significantly more calories than I am per day. I would think you're eating more than enough to be putting on some weight. And if you're diligent with your strength training, hopefully much of that weight will be muscles.


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    Only just saw this post, it's reasuring to know there are others like me out there.

    I am underweight to a far greater degree and have failed in the past with my attempts to correct this.

    I guess really that I feel the need for a lot more support and reassurance than others.

    Think i'm finally beginning to make a litle progress and I just hope that it continues.


  5. #5
    prib81's Avatar
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    From my cross-post over at PaleoHacks, I decided to order Starting Strength and start downing a gallon of milk a day (GOMAD). I'm sensitive to cow dairy so I drink goat milk, which has slightly higher calories and a slightly more favorable macronutrient profile than cow milk, although it is a bit pricey.


    The exercise program I am following currently uses the One Hundred Pushups plan, adapted slightly. I do squats, pushups, and situps. I repeat each day until I can perform a complete set. Performing sprints outdoors is a bit logistically difficult - I am still on supplemental oxygen from my recent prolonged infection. Although my requirements have lessened, I think strenuous exercise without it would drop by blood oxygen level dangerously low.


    Paleo Butterfly Boy - I'm not sure what your situation is and how much underweight you are. I am 5'11" tall and 102 lbs. as of this morning - at my worst (95) I looked pretty emaciated. You are right that support and reassurance are crucial.


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    You need to start doing heavy weight training or progressing to the next step in the BW training (one arm pushup, muscleups, pistols, etc)...


    imo, it would be easier to gain mass using the program "starting strength" by mark ripptoe


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    Prib81 - 6' & 109lb so I really need to gain.

    I'm doing 5x5 in my weight training which I cant reccomend enough.

    How's the GOMAD approach going? Have you found it effective?

    I'm really reassured knowing there are others out there, and that as of yet nobody has 'slammed' me on the forum about my state. Some forums arent so helpful.


  8. #8
    prib81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurb999 View Post
    imo, it would be easier to gain mass using the program "starting strength" by mark ripptoe
    I got a recommendation for "Starting Strength" over at PaleoHacks as well. I purchased the book and have started reading through it. I am pretty severely de-conditioned so have started with bodyweight exercises twice a week and sprints every week or 10 days. This allows me ample recovery time between workouts - I am increasing intensity each time. Once I can do an ample number of the bodyweight exercises I'll start adding weight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleo Butterfly Boy View Post
    Prib81 - 6' & 109lb so I really need to gain.

    I'm doing 5x5 in my weight training which I cant reccomend enough.

    How's the GOMAD approach going? Have you found it effective?

    I'm really reassured knowing there are others out there, and that as of yet nobody has 'slammed' me on the forum about my state. Some forums arent so helpful.
    Sounds like we're about the same place in terms of current build and "underweightness".

    I tried the GOMAD approach for a few days with the goat milk. I saw no size gains (but a few days would undoubtedly not be enough to determine that) but it was making me extremely bloated and gassy and seemed to agitate my sinuses. I've cut back to 1-1.5 quarts of homemade goat kefir daily and also started taking some amino acids on the recommendation of my chiropractor (the product is called Aminostasis).

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