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-   -   Mass Gain w/ Paleo and Wendler 531 (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5912)

Andrew Midmer 12-03-2010 08:16 AM

Mass Gain w/ Paleo and Wendler 531
Wondering what's the best way to gain mass with Wendler as the main strength program with some met cons. Best things to eat while maintaining Robb Wolf dietary habits????

Júlíus G. Magnússon 12-03-2010 08:29 AM

"Robb Wolf dietary habits" - no offense to Robb Wolf, he's awesome, but that just sounds wrong. I can just see myself buying veggies and grassfed meat with a Robb Wolf stamp of approval on it - you know, a sticker with the portrait that's on his website.

Seriously, though. Since we're talking about Robb Wolf, he would tell you to get lean first (if you're not already), eat lots of meat and fat and maybe some dairy depending on how you handle it, and don't do the metcons while you're building mass.

Andrew Midmer 12-03-2010 08:36 AM

Thanks for the response.

For brevity's sake Robb Wolf's dietary habits include: lean meat, veggies, eggs, a ton of coconut flakes/milk etc, zero dairy, zero legumes, zero grain/wheat.

Met Cons are roughly 3 times a week - using Crossfit Football, nothing over 7 minutes.

I weigh 205, 6'6". low body fat. Desired weight is 220, without a significant conditioning trade off.

Arien Malec 12-03-2010 09:03 AM

Boring but big, more of this:


Originally Posted by Andrew Midmer (Post 83702)
lean meat....eggs, a ton of coconut flakes/milk

And sweet potatoes post workout.

Derek Weaver 12-03-2010 04:35 PM

First, what Arien said is a good start. More food, sweet potatoes/yams/starchy tubers PWO and all throughout the day.

Make a choice, stay in condition, or get bigger and get back in condition.

For just about everything you need to know when it comes to nutrition in order to grow, go here:

Interesting stuff in the second part on Paleo, which I am now kind of "meh" on regarding that everyone needs to eat Paleo or they'll die tomorrow:

Bottom line is that by going Paleo, you exclude a lot of foods. Not a bad idea if a lot of foods give you a problem. The problem though is that people equate Paleo with low carb eating, which is not a universal truth. When trying to be athletic, carbs are your friend and should be ingested at a rate consistent with your activity and goals. Don't discount the need to balance out your fat and eat enough protein, but carbs still get a bad rap.

Also, at your current weight assuming 4 workouts per week you'd need ~3000 cals to maintain current BW. Adding 500 cals/day to add 1lb per week (assuming you don't want to go with the GFH approach), you'd need 3500 just to start out. To maintain 220, you're in the neighborhood of 3300-3500 as a conservative estimate, using 15kcal/lb of bw as a baseline equation for maintenance. You may very well end up needing in excess of 4000 cal/day.

Andrew Midmer 12-04-2010 06:29 AM

Thanks for the response Derek,

will definitely check out those links. I went through a phase of measuring, Zone like, and was hitting around 3000kcals, I'm not afraid of carbs and will look to the nutrient dense tubers and squashes to fill out some of my diet, was thinking of adding an extra can of coconut milk to round out the day.

thanks for the help.

Justin Arnold 12-04-2010 09:09 AM

I tried this template earlier this summer, albeit with quite low carbohydrate and couldn't gain any weight, despite a 1000+ calorie excess and almost no "met-con" work. I chock it up to 2 problems: 1) like mentioned here, you need to add way more carbs than 'seem' right on paleo, and 2) 531 simply didn't feel like enough volume.

That said, I felt awesome, and was certainly getting stronger, I just wasn't putting on weight.

I ended up adding in more sweet potatoes, rice, and fruit, doing the weekday programming of CFFB (amateur SWOD and off-season DWOD), and starting up half-GOMAD (on workout days) and the weight gain commenced.

Two things to keep in mind: Paleo (especially low-carb) does an amazing job of managing insulin levels. Insulin is a very anabolic hormone.

The other thing worth note is what Robb said in one of his podcasts with reference to mass-gain cycles. It is probably worth your time and money to seek out a good naturopath and make sure your baseline is good with respect to hormone/mineral levels and systemic inflammation. You could, in theory, eat a 2k calorie excess, but if your cortisol levels are high and test levels low, just gain fat. If you start all of this with everything functioning as well as possible, you'll get the most bang for your buck on food bills. And let me tell you, with that kind of calorie intake on Paleo, they add up quick.

Arien Malec 12-04-2010 10:27 AM


Originally Posted by Justin Arnold (Post 83745)
I tried this template earlier this summer, albeit with quite low carbohydrate and couldn't gain any weight, despite a 1000+ calorie excess and almost no "met-con" work.

No way you ate 1000 calories/day over baseline needs, and didn't gain weight. You were either doing NEPA like a speed freak, throwing off heat like a volcano, or weren't eating as much as you thought. If you aren't gaining weight, you need to eat more.


531 simply didn't feel like enough volume.
Did you do boring but big? (i.e., 5/3/1 for the main movements + 5x10 of the main movements for backoff?). I would be surprised if that isn't enough volume....

Another option is the Dan John variant: do a some heavy squat sets of 20 after the main movement.

(BTW, the 25x20 notation is, I think, either 20-25 reps, or a total joke for the foolish). It's way simple than the article lays out: Just do a heavy set of 20 in the squat, and go home. If you can do another heavy set of 20, you didn't do a heavy set of 20.

Justin Arnold 12-04-2010 11:01 AM

~4000-4300/day according to fitday, "Just north of vag" variant of 531, I ran once a week and NEPA included bouldering 2x. I do "throw off heat", but again, my theory was insulin management was so tight I simply wasn't storing/using much of the calories.

I've done a couple of 20RM squat exercises.. the after effects are quite interesting.

The point I forgot to make about 531 and the volume was that I am far too much of an amateur for it to be the best program. I had (and have) a ton of weight/strength to gain before a true intermediate program becomes the best available option.

Anyway, just my experience/2 cents.

Derek Weaver 12-04-2010 12:56 PM

A few truths:
a) Insulin has gotten way too much credit for its ability to circumvent the laws of thermodynamics. If you have 1/5 of the normal insulin level and eat 1000k/day in excess, you'll gain weight. Something is wrong if you're not.
b) If you're running once a week, bouldering 2x/week, fidget, walk to work or walk a lot while you're at work, your surplus can get blown out pretty quickly.
c) Didn't Cordain even said something to the effect that: If someone is eating Ad Lib while on a Paleo diet, their dietary percentages will likely fall within Zone ranges (not even a paraphrase). Not a low carb diet.--- Okay, this one is a question, not a truth.

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