Does the paleo diet promote muscle gain?
I have read and been asked the question on whether or not the paleo diet can help promote and support the healthy development of muscle mass gain. Perhaps we should start by discussing the effects of optimum gene expression rather than simply evaluating how the paleo diet can help with lean muscle mass building.
Gene expression is incredibly important when practising body recomposition, and can help with the promotion of proper muscle building without any particularly abnormal supplementation or more complicated muscle building techniques such as lots of gym work etc. The balance between lean, healthy muscle which is both aesthetically appealing and lean, healthy muscle that is strong is one we need to focus on and strive towards if muscle gains are the goal.
There is no point in having the most appealing aesthetic physique without actually possessing real world strength that can be used for more than just flexing to impress the ladies, haha. I don’t think there is anything bad with wanting to look good, strong and healthy, but I just fail to see the point in putting on muscle that doesn’t have a real world practical application. Your body works hard, and subsequently you work hard to put on muscle, so why not use it for more than just looking good?
Think of it this way, athletes in most disciplines are lean yet still strong. This is with the exemption of body builders and even weight lifters. Weight lifters however generally have lots of muscle bulk, which is a direct result of the type of exercise they frequently practice. Their large amounts of muscle mass are required to support and lift the unbelievably heavy weights which are part of their sport.
The health benefits of lean muscle
Lean muscle is associated with many beneficial attributes. Blood circulates better, power to weight ratios are better and at the end of the day lean muscle promotes longer life. Think of a bus versus a sports car, which one would you rather be?
In addition to the obvious benefits of being stronger and looking and feeling healthier there are also the regenerative benefits of having plenty of lean muscle mass. Patients who are admitted to hospital who possess a higher ratio of muscle mass to body fat heal quicker and more effectively. Furthermore, muscular bodies are more resistant to injuries related to sudden impacts or falls. This is especially important later on in life where a fall can mean a broken something, like a pelvis. Strong muscles support and control the skeleton, the more muscle you have the more control there is of the body’s movements and so there is more protection against sudden movements.
Different types of muscle gainers
Everyone is different in some way or another, but we all have the same basic code. It is the variations in our genetic make up as a result of the combination of our parent’s DNA that can often determine whether or not we are good at building muscle mass. Some of us are born to build muscle and others are unfortunately not so lucky. The common name given to these poor peeps is hardgainers. They are typically people who aren’t necessarily non athletic, but are those who simply don’t put on muscle very easily.
This doesn’t mean that these hardgaining people are not as strong as those who readily pack on the muscle, the muscle they develop is usually just as strong, it just isn’t as visible. There will be a point however where even a very strong hardgainer will have to start focusing on putting on more muscle mass to continue developing more strength. The trick to developing muscle lies in the hormones which are required to support it. In addition to hormonal optimisation, hardgainers will have to eat more food and work harder than normal gainers or those that gain muscle mass easily.
What hormones are important for gaining muscle on the paleo diet?
The same as all other diet’s hormonal requirements for muscle gains.
Testosterone is absolutely required for the development of muscle effectively. If you are male, you have naturally higher amounts of the stuff so not to worry so much. The trick is to promote its production and release into the blood stream. For women, it’s much more difficult to come by. There is no need to do anything crazy here in terms of supplementation through steroids, which by the way is largely illegal.
Growth hormone is important because it is responsible for yup, you guessed it, building muscle mass. This hormone also plays a role in the reduction of fat in the body, and you want that to be able to actually see those shiny new muscles.
This is a very important part of the trio of muscle building hormones. And interestingly enough, it is dependant on testosterone, which is dependant on growth hormone. The body is very synergistic and many of its systems work with each other to produce an end result. In this case, that end result is heightened levels of muscle mass.
What else is required to achieve muscle gains while eating according to the paleo diet?
Well, all those hormones need some command. They are like battalions and need an instruction to begin operating. That signal begins with engaging in physical stress. A common factor with those people who don’t have enough body mass, or want to gain muscle mass but have a seriously hard time doing so is that they simply don’t work hard enough.
The nervous system is kinda fussy about what it considers a big enough signal to begin the production of and the allocation of resources to muscle gain. Squats, sprints and lifting heavy objects promotes an adequate response to begin building muscle mass. Doing repetitive, low intensity or even high intensity cardiovascular exercise doesn’t do much to promote the generation of new, effective muscle. In fact on the body’s adaptive radar, it does next to nothing.
The only way to get the body’s attention and entice it to pack on muscle is to lift heavy objects, sprint at 100% and really give it a rev.
So try and experiment with some heavy lifting in the form of either body weight exercises or the inclusion of resistance and weight training. You want to really push yourself without causing injury. The same goes for sprinting. Try performing four to five 100% sprints one after the other with a short 2-3 minute break in between each one. Again, if you aren’t used to exercising, take it easy. The body is incredibly adaptive, but there is no use exercising hard if it is going to result in injury.
And here’s to getting strong and ripped!