T Nation

Train like Superman, Eat like a Caveman

Hi there,

I’m new to this, been lurking for a while but never turned to posting.

I’m a professional sportsman based in the UK, playing in a high collision sport and conditioned by a team of Paleo-preaching coaches.

I have been eating in accordance with the Paleo diet for 2 seasons now and have seen significant improvements in body composition.

However, while in intensive training programs, although I make significant strength gains I struggle to put on what is essentially MASS. ( Lean mass, of course). Also, any muscle hypertrophy is well…non existent. BUT, I do feel stronger, quicker, more explosive which is obviously most important. Yet, in a sport where perception is hugely influential in coaching decisions, a handful of extra Kg’s would be hugely appreciated.

Interested to hear your thoughts!


Are playing American football?

That is what I think of when I read/hear high collision sport.

You won’t add size without out surplus calories.

2 grams of protein per pound body weight (at least)

up your calories and adjust accordingly

make sure you’re getting quality carbs and protein before/during/after strength sessions

yada yada yada…

Putting on weight while playing sports is difficult due to the mass amounts of calories you’re burning. You will have to up your calories more than the normal weight lifter to see real gains. If you’re not counting your daily intake of calories and macronutrients doing so can really make the difference.

I used to use fitday.com to count my calories. But if you have a smart phone a lot of them have calorie counting apps now. Good luck man.

I would assume its pretty hard to eat a lot of calories eating paleo. Hats of for the paleo diet, but excluding starchy carbs is just not neccessarily a very good idea for a sportsman expending a ton of energy each day and still trying to gain mass.

Basically, you need an energy surplus to gain weight. If you lift weights while having your energy surplus, you will gain muscle. If you want to gain weight, you will have to eat more, be it paleo or whatever. Just note that some of the strongest and biggest men in the world eat absolutely horrendous food from a “health” point of view, and yet there they are, packing more muscle than everyone else.

Thanks for all your input.

Supplement wise:

Fish oils - 600mg EPA, 150mg DHA per capsule - 6 capsules per day - 2 with each main meal.
Leucine - 5g per meal - 20g per day.
BCAA - 10g pre training - 10g post training.
Creatine - 5g pre training - 5g post training.
Joint support - with meals.

Obviously, Whey post training, Casein pre bed.

Our training format often consists of a weight session in the morning, whether it be strength, hypertrophy or power pased. The supplements are often consumed around this lifting session.

However, the training session (sport specific) in the afternoons often lasts for up to an hour and I feel this may be the period where my muscle gains are suffering.

Any thoughts?


well i did forget to mention, make sure you are counting calories so if you arent growing you know you need more… also get A LOT of calories before/during/after your lifting session.

about the ‘sport specific training session’ just make sure you arent doing it on an empty stomach. it shouldnt be too heavy but a whey/casein mix would probably be ok and have some nuts too for extra calories.

EDIT: if you like them nuts (cashews i believe have the most calories) could help you get the calories you need if you’re sticking with the paleo

Start a food log, weigh your foods and analyse things after a fortnight

Well, if you’re going to introduce carbs (any form, shakes or sweet potatoes or whatevs), then before trainings would seem to be a good place to do it.

If not, you could consider going with a protein shake before training instead of BCAA, just to get more calories in.