Before we get to Coach Jakes post I want you to know the weather is getting nice so we will be doing more outside activities. WOD in the Park will be coming back, we are also due for another Ladies Night, plus we have a couple of other events coming up for everyone to get together, have a few drinks and have some fun. Keep an eye out on the White Board in the gym for upcoming event announcements.
Clean Eating for the Hardgainer
Most of us at one time or another have heard the line about how we should be eating: “eat vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar.” This is a fantastic starting point, and a great general recipe for good health, but what about those among us who struggle to get enough calories, or athlete training high intensity functional movements and/or incorporating strength training into their repertoire? These individuals in particular may find it highly challenging to follow a Paleolithic model of eating and not be in a caloric deficit, to say nothing of actually making gains. This is where careful planning and some strategic modifications can come in handy, making it possible to have your (paleo) cake and eat it too.
First we must decide what to eat. John Welbourn, of Crossfit Football fame, has some excellent recommendations on this topic. He basically recommends a diet he refers to as “paleo plus dairy”. The focal point of your diet will be protein sources, consisting of meat, fowl, fish, eggs, and dairy. Supplementing your diet with full fat milk is a great way to get extra calories, and milk has been an effective method of building man muscle throughout human history. For those who have troubles digesting lactose, incorporating fermented dairy such as cheese, yogurt, kefir, sour cream, and buttermilk is recommended.[i] All of these dairy sources are great ways to add extra sources of quality calories to your diet.
As far as carbohydrates go, this will be another area where some strategic implantation will reap tremendous benefits. You’re going to want to eat more carbs than the traditional paleo model, namely copious amounts of vegetables and fruits, along with roots and tubers such as sweet potatoes, yams, yucca, squash, plantains etc. Be creative and try and eat foods that are in season. Try to limit your consumption of starchy tubers to the 3-4 hour window following heavy training. Robb Wolf recommends at least 8 ounces of protein with about 50-100 grams of nutritious carbohydrates for the 2 meals following your training session.[ii] This is just a starting off point, and will vary depending on the size and activity level of the individual athlete.
With regard to how much to eat, more is definitely better. Individuals who train hard once or more a day should have no problems eating large amounts food coming from quality sources. Meals should be frequent, spanning at least 4-5 times throughout the day. Consistency is key here. One of your meals can be a protein shake, but try and eat as much real food as possible. If you are looking to add extra calories to your protein shake, try mixing it with coconut milk, or regular milk, and maybe adding a scoop of oat flower or a banana into the mix.
The great Mark Rippetoe, whom I respect dearly, was once quoted as saying “for weight-gaining purposes, ‘eating clean’ is not a useful concept. Big Macs are.” While I’m certainly not one to question Rip, I have to believe that a happy medium can be found. It is entirely possible, with the right planning, to stay within a paleo-ish model, and still make valuable strength and size gains.
Here are some excellent resources on dietary concerns for the power athlete:
[i] Welbourn, John Bulking Protocol. Talk to Me Johnny, September 2013, http://johnwelbourn.powerathletehq.com/2013/09/06/bulking-protocol-part-1/
[ii] Wolf, Robb, Meal Plans: Paleo for Athletes. RobbWolf.com, 2015
Ring Dip/Muscle Up EMOM.
Every minute on the minute until you can’t do anymore in the minute, do 1 Ring dip or 1 Muscle up.
On minute 2, do two ring dips, or for those doing muscle ups. Do 1 Muscle up with an additional dip(so you’re technical doing 2 dips).
On minute 3, do 3 ring dips or for people doing muscle ups do 1 muscle up with 2 additional ring dips. Then go on and on and on until you can’t do anymore.
10 Deadlifts (Mx 185/135, Rx 225/155, FB 275/180)
20 Lunges (each leg = 1, FB 20 Pistols each leg = 1)
50 Double Unders