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Can You Gain Muscle Mass While Eating Paleo?

Hey EveryLastRep.com readers, today’s post is a guest post from Cory at garagegymsetup.com. Cory was kind enough to provide the article seen below. So you make sure you’re kind enough to check out his site! Personally, he’s taught me the phrase “gain train”, see if you can spot it in the article below!

I’m someone who follows a faux CrossFit program, mixed with bodybuilding and power lifting, so in other words I train for aesthetics, strength and fitness. I often get the question “is it reasonable to gain muscle with a Paleo diet?”. And that’s what we’re going to go over, the answer isn’t simple but it’s helpful to those who are willing to make the choices to maintain a proper healthy diet to get ripped and jacked!


I can only speak from my personal experience, which if you’ve read the blog for any period of time you know that “extremes” in any direction are bad. So I personally follow the 80/20 principle. It simply means that you can devote yourself to this “thing” for 80% of the time before you start coming off of the rails after too long. So to counteract that I make time for the 20% and plan for it, this gives me the freedom to indulge when I feel like it and not have a feeling of guilt afterwards or think that all my gains are now gone. This philosophy goes well with the Paleo Diet and Muscle building, because in order to build muscle there needs to be a calorie surplus of some kind to facilitate growth. So if your goal is really to gain muscle and size while following a mostly paleo diet then you need to take full advantage of the 20% of your diet because that’s where 80% of your results are coming from. Now it needs to be said that if you are following a STRICT Paleo Diet (no tubers or potatoes, rice, beans or dairy) you will have one heck of a time putting on mass, it’s not impossible but it’s not easy either. There are plenty of examples of vegetarian bodybuilders who’ve added loads of mass with a veggie lifestyle, that’s not what I would want at all, but it’s not about me it’s about you and what you want from this. So yes it’s possible to gain mass with a strict paleo lifestyle, but it’s much easier and will keep you sane longer if you adapt your diet to your goals and sanity.


The most notable vegan bodybuilders are highlighted on www.greatveganathletes.com
This site shows that it doesn’t take an obnoxious amount of protein powder to get results in bodybuilding. Also this debunks the thought that you have to consume animal protein as your primary source of protein. A little known fact is that there is a minimal effective dose when it comes to protein consumption, also there’s no cap on how much protein your body can take in at once. When debating this I would think of the cavemen, they were not given the luxury of having a container to carry around their mastodon meat in 25g increments. NO! They ate it all when they had it and didn’t think twice about it, and strangely enough they all survived and were big and strong enough to hunt and battle with the widest of beast!

That got a little off topic, but you get the point that getting jacked and ripped with a strict paleo diet is doable. It may not be easy but it’s surely doable.

WHAT I SUGGEST AT GARAGEGYMSETUP.COM (suggestion not doctrine)

I’ve followed the 80/20 approach for over a year now, and have seen results in both directions of weight (both muscle gain and fat loss) depending on how I adjusted the ingredients and quantities. When I started 6 months ago I was a fluffy 178 lbs. I was stronger than I’d ever been, but I was not in any shape to do anything athletically well. I applied the 80/20 principle on a weekly basis to start out, meaning I ate nothing but clean for 5 days out of the week and I mean CLEAN, as in grilled chicken breast and a few beans with green veggies for every meal…every day. BUT on the weekends I let go for one whole day and half-ish, nothing was off limits for one day and then I pulled back for the next day. I lost weight and I looked as shredded as I wanted to be at the time.

Then I started the gain train back up with a little more efficient steam, now I follow a 80/20 diet for the day, 80% clean (Breakfast, Snacks and Lunch) and for post workout its 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes and 2 cups ground beef. I’ve addressed this in a recent post that I’ll link here. And for dinner it’s a not so clean meal with a focus on what the next training day looks like (if it’s a heavy lifting day I’ll carb up and if it’s a speed day I’ll add a moderate amount of carbs). I’ve worked my way up from a 165 lb. bodyweight to a just as lean 169 lb. bodyweight in a few weeks. Again this isn’t doctrine, it’s just what I choose to follow, and you’re going to need to find what works best for you and your goals.

I hope this information was helpful in some way to get you thinking about what you can do to start putting on some QUALITY mass with a paleo esque diet. It bears repeating that this isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, but is certainly within reach of any athlete who is willing to put in the work! I know that Chris does a great job motivating you to get the best out of yourself, and I’m just hoping this post helps to boost you up just a little more! If you’re someone who thinks that muscle building isn’t that big of a deal then we have a great post coming up for you over at garagegymsetup.com! But until then I hope this has added to your life in some way, and me know if there’s anything I can do for you!

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