Muscle Up - The Primal Diet Mass Building Experiment: Weeks 7 and 8, "That's an AMRAP!"

(Insert "gun show" joke here)

Following three months on a strict "Paleo" diet of fruit, vegetables, lean meats, some nuts/seeds, and a little starchy tuber here and there, I had dropped down to an adult-lifetime low of 176lbs.  My bodyfat too dropped significantly, but along with defined abs, I began sporting some sweet cheekbones.  Not a good look.   (see "My 90-Day Paleo Transformation")

To remedy the situation, I embarked upon a 60-day project of "mass" proportions, seeking to gain a significant amount of muscle mass without adding too much adipose.  With my sights set on a somewhat arbitrary goal weight of 190lbs, I gobbled up "Primal" fare that included fatty meats, high-fat dairy, and liberal use of the phrase, "cheat day" (see "Going Paleo (and not so Paleo) on the Road").  To get to my goal, however, I knew I would have to beef up my workouts as well.

AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) Crossfit workouts gave way to a significantly reduced regiment of lifting heavy things and taking more rest days that I could shake a pork-rind at.  For the first time in years, I broke my routine into a split that allowed a full week of rest between workouts.  Sacrilegiously, I reserved my "chest day" for Tuesday.

While some minor tweaks, dietary deviations, and adjustments were made along the way, I'm proud to say that I reached, nay exceeded, my goal.

Moving forward I'd like to reincorporate the Crossfit-style metabolic conditioning workouts that I had done previously, hone my boxing skills, and increase my running. These are all things that I simply enjoy and find rewarding. However, my weight-lifting workouts will never be the same. Discovering the joys of MED (minimum effective dose) lifting has been a game-changer.

Starting Weight: 181
60 days later: 193
Difference: +12 lbs

Starting Bench Press: 205lbs
60 days later: 260lbs
Difference: +50lbs

Starting Squat: 250lbs
60 days later: 320lbs
Difference: +70lbs

Starting Deadlift: 245lbs
60 days later: 305lbs
Difference: +60lbs

Starting Weighted Pull-up: 65lbs (plus bodyweight)
60 days later: 100lbs (plus bodyweight)
Difference: +35lbs

Previously on Muscle Up - The Primal Diet Mass Building Experiment...

Week 1, "Beefcake"

Week 2, "Finding the Perfect Physique"

Weeks 3 and 4, "Counting Calories Doesn't Add Up"

Weeks 5 and 6, "A 4-Hour Body?"

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About Unknown

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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  1. Hi Caveman
    I have cut out all wheat products since August 2010 after suffering IBS brain fog etc. since I was a teeny tot. Apart from the occasional unintentional mishap. I noticed a slight improvement, but realized that the problem seemed to lie with other starches as well. I came across the Paleo way of eating accidentley on the net and have fairly recently cut out all other grains. I am pleased to say that my skin has never looked better, and I have shed a lot of the ugly cellulite that has stuck to the top of legs since I was twelve, even though I am slim. No amount of exercise and other ways of eating have done this for me. In the past in order to stay at a healthy weight I had to limit myself to one meal a day as otherwise I would immediately gain weight. I have also had a bout with cancer many years ago and am convinced that it was linked to my diet, the typical high fibre low fat senario. My mom and her family too were always aware of the importance of a healthy diet, and did her best, but it was the wholegrain, low fat, margarine scam diet, and were deceived as are many. She succumbed to cancer years ago as did her mother.
    I have consulted doctors in the past about the stalled concrete mixer that was an excuse for a digestive system, and all they could think of doing was prescribe laxatives! Nevertheless I now eat 3 meals a day with lashings of saturated fats, Yum! I do eat quite a few nuts as I find that they agree with me. My systemic yeast overgrowth has disappeared into the bargain!
    I am now recommending the Paleo eating where and whenever I can. Go well and you do look great!