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Thread: Trying to add mass to my frame - struggling!!! page

  1. #1
    MouthDR's Avatar
    MouthDR is offline Senior Member
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    Trying to add mass to my frame - struggling!!!

    Hey everyone, I was hoping for some help and ideas as I'm having a very difficult time adding mass to my body. I've been stuck at about 195 lbs now for the longest time, and despite my best efforts to eat as much as I can (including coconut cream protein shakes) it won't budge. That being said, I am virtually 100% paleo/primal ALL THE TIME. In fact, I would argue that I am 99.999999999999% paleo/primal. With that remaining tiny percentage beyond my control: ie. assuming the meal at a restaurant/friend's place is indeed paleo

    Anyway, I also eat pretty low carb, somewhere in the ballpark of "maybe" 70 grams a day? Roughly? Some days a bit less, some days a lot less. I only occasional eat sweet potato and never eat white potatoes. The question is, should I be worried about increasing my carb intake via sweet potato/white potato? I have a feeling I know what you guys are gonna say but I need that push to get over my fear... The idea of spiking my insulin throughout the day gives me nightmares and I guess what I really am asking for is reassurance that everything will be OK

    BTW, I should have mentioned that my caloric intake is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3500-400 calories, and I lead a moderately active lifestyle. I'm sure I forgot something so please ask away!

    Ahh ha! I forgot to say that I am approximately 7-8% body fat, so I am rather lean at this point. This all happened from paleo, no changes otherwise, and NO caloric restriction.

    Please share your thoughts...

  2. #2
    teach2183's Avatar
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    Are you weight training? To gain weight you need to eat more than what you are to maintain. Weight training will also help.

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    More carbs. LOTS of carbs, fruit being best, milk is also good.
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    I highly doubt you need more carbs but at 7-8% body fat I'm guessing you could up your calories. With that said what are your workouts like and what is your workout schedule? My guess is you are working out to long and to often and need to step it back a bit at least for awhile. Maybe reduce the amount of work you do and up the intensity.

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    charliemathers's Avatar
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    Keep doing what your doing, keep getting what your getting. Eat massive amounts of carbs for a few months and even though I wont ask for a thank you, you will be thanking me. Keep listening to the low carb dogma and you will keep spinning your wheels.
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    You have 2 choices.. Eat more, or burn less..

    I am the same as you though.. Lean, trying to gain & fear the insulin.. I'm very carb & sugar sensitive.. Even too many fruits & certaintly potatoes have adverse affects on my digestive system.. I'm not a fan of the carbohydrate..

    I've turned to dairy in some ways.. Full fat yogurts, & cheeses in my eggs.. Not really a milk guy..

    While gaining, I'm taking 4-5 minutes between my heavy lifting sets (5x5) in the gym.. Trying to ensure good sleep, relax when i can, nap when I can.. Its tough to gain, but for me, gaining with higher fat & lower carb keeps me looking lean, (7-9% like yourself), inflammation down, & just feels better.. BUT does test the patience..

    Just gotta eat more, burn less, & get stronger in your lifts.. not sure how that works into your lifestyle, but you sound very discipline & on paper, looks like you're pretty much dialed in

  7. #7
    MouthDR's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone and to answer some questions:

    Yes, I am weight training. Heavy lifts, compounds for the most part, 3-4 days per week.

    Fruit? Well, I eat it occasionally, and to be honest, I don't plan on eating a lot of it. And with respect to dairy, maybe I'm missing something but how is that paleo/primal?

    The idea that I need to eat more than I burn isn't applicable. I used to eat around 2800 calories a day eating the standard diet promoted by most "fitness and dieting gurus" and that simply kept my BF too high. I now eat nearly 4000 calories on paleo and am much more lean. If someone could explain how eating 1200 more calories actually leaned me out, I'd love to hear it.

    abc123, I've thought about adding some cheese and Greek yogurts but again, I'm hesitant to add dairy at this point. In my quest for optimal health, dairy just doesn't seem to fit in there and there is something to be said about it's possible detrimental health effects. I'm not very carb sensitive in that it doesn't bother me to eat more of them; I just don't like the idea of having a chronically high BSL, albeit being alleviated by insulin. It's more a health concern than anything. Sure I can just eat an extra steak everyday or a few more chicken thighs but I was looking to add some variety I suppose.

    I think what I'll start with is adding more carbs PWO and see how that goes. Then introduce them for each dinner and go from there.

  8. #8
    abc123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MouthDR View Post
    Thanks everyone and to answer some questions:

    Fruit? Well, I eat it occasionally, and to be honest, I don't plan on eating a lot of it. And with respect to dairy, maybe I'm missing something but how is that paleo/primal?

    The idea that I need to eat more than I burn isn't applicable. I used to eat around 2800 calories a day eating the standard diet promoted by most "fitness and dieting gurus" and that simply kept my BF too high. I now eat nearly 4000 calories on paleo and am much more lean. If someone could explain how eating 1200 more calories actually leaned me out, I'd love to hear it.

    abc123, I've thought about adding some cheese and Greek yogurts but again, I'm hesitant to add dairy at this point. In my quest for optimal health, dairy just doesn't seem to fit in there and there is something to be said about it's possible detrimental health effects. I'm not very carb sensitive in that it doesn't bother me to eat more of them; I just don't like the idea of having a chronically high BSL, albeit being alleviated by insulin. It's more a health concern than anything. Sure I can just eat an extra steak everyday or a few more chicken thighs but I was looking to add some variety I suppose.

    I think what I'll start with is adding more carbs PWO and see how that goes. Then introduce them for each dinner and go from there.
    My personal narrative, related to experience with my body: The newer, high calorie diet / lower carb primal diet you're on is not allowing your body to hold the water that "standard fitness guru diet does.. I followed that diet as well, it comes with some gluten, wheat breads, grains, sodiums.. Contents of calories do have varying metabolic effects on bf & "weight".. I do not believe a calorie is a calorie with regards to a damaged metabolism.. You are eating cleaner calories now that your body utilizes in multiple formats.. Nutrient partioning is different in a primal calorie, than a "rice calorie", or "wheat bread calorie" that the fitness diet suggests.. Primal food is eaten, entire body benefits & sucks energy from leaving less behind for mass gain.. Those "fitness diet guru" calories could be less efficient calories that are easily "held" & "hung" in the body (specifically the carb selections) leading to easier weight gain.. I'm actually researching this as well, curious as you are.. My guess: the cleaner & more efficient the calorie, the more the body demands to store as mass gain.. Too many efficiencies the body can use a "clean calorie" for to leave anything behind that will add weight to the scale..

    Secondly, you may simply not be eating as many calories as you believe? If your carb intake is this low & you're still eating 4k calories a day, I'd be interested to see that menu.. That's a lot of calories everyday, to not include more than 70g of carbs..

    Sounds like you're cleaning your body out now, primal calories, which is a great new foundation.. If 4,000 clean calories a day isn't enough energy to add weight to your frame, you need more calories, or less burned energy.. It does apply to you..

    I personally don't have time (or want to spend the $$) for another lb/day of ribeye to keep pounding more & more calories, so I'm cutting a corner by adding in some full fat yogurt & cheese.. Just adds some calories & my body responds well to it, isn't strictly primal.. I've experiemented & decided "sugar & carbs" are not my preferred calorie booster.. I opt for fat, cheeses & yogurts assist, similar to you looking for that variety
    Last edited by abc123; 08-13-2012 at 09:01 AM.

  9. #9
    Scott F's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone and to answer some questions:

    Yes, I am weight training. Heavy lifts, compounds for the most part, 3-4 days per week.
    That's what I thought given you say you're eating that many calories. I don't know how much volume you're doing but you are spending too much time in the gym. Here's your possible problems: 1 you've maxed your genetic potential. 2) you are giving yourself enough recovery time between workouts. I'm leaning to #2.

    As your muscles become bigger and stronger you are able to tax your metabolism far more heavily. Consequently, it's going to take you more time to recover between your workouts. That's why (or at least one reason) a beginning lifter seems to grow on most any workout but then they hit a plateau. In frustration they up the volume and frequency of their workouts but can't seem to break through that plateau.

    Using myself as an example: All through my 20s and 30s I struggled to get above a 300lb bench. But when I was 47 years old I was doing 365lb bench pressing and warming up with 300lb. What changed? Even though I was doing a short HIT style workout I had in my mind that a person needed to lift the same body part at least twice per week or deconditioning would negate any progress. In my late 40s I didn't care anymore and began to experiment with more rest between lifting sessions. I went to lifting only once per week per body part. A short HIT chest, shoulders, tries on Monday, legs on Wednesday, and back and bies on Friday.

    A problem then set in: all those years of lifting too often and getting bouts over training gave me some arthritis in my shoulder joints and had to back off the heavy benching.

    If I had to do it over, personally, I would focus more on muscle endurance and stamina at the sacrifice of maximum strength potential. Packing on bigger (cut) muscles and seeing the results is intoxicating....but it isn't very primal/paleolithic. You didn't give your height but 195 at under 10% bodyfat is on the upper end of an ideal primal build IMO. The modern bodybuilders, like Arnold and esp a Dorian Yates (excluding a Frank Zane) is a lousy hunter/gatherer build. Consequently, I don't think it's that great for long-term health.

    Oh and btw, I think you could eat a couple 2 or 3 sweet potatoes after your workouts to replenish your glycogen.
    Would I be putting a grain-feed cow on a fad diet if I took it out of the feedlot and put it on pasture eating the grass nature intended?

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    If you want to gain weight, eat more. Your fear of insulin is unfounded. You are, by your account, an extraordinarily healthy individual with about zero risk or getting diabetes or something. A healthy body is designed to handle carbs, and insulin is not a "bad guy" - it is an essential hormone for managing your energy use. As long as you are insulin sensitive, which you must be based on your descriptions, you have absolutely nothing to fear from the mighty sweet potato.

    Dairy is primal, but not paleo. Mark himself has dairy in moderation, and his cookbook includes butter, cheeses, etc. You might consider adding in sour cream, natural cheeses, yogurt (plain of course) and butter, at least. But if you truly want to gain weight, drink a liter or more of whole milk per day.
    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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