Do You Need to Gain Weight? Try Paleo

For the most part, because it's the chief problem most face by far, people come and follow this and other blogs in order to lose weight (fat), recompose their bodies (lean to fat ratio), and to maintain.

But for a (lucky?) few, that's not the problem. Rather, they are skinny and can't seem to add muscle mass. For that, here's Nathan's story.


Two years ago, I tipped the scales at just over 130lbs. I'm 5'10" and living in Southern California, that didn't make for me feeling especially great about myself when hanging out at the beach. Don't get me wrong, I was not horribly depressed with the way I looked or anything, I just knew I could be better. I have always been the skinny guy, was sick of it and wanted some shape. I started hitting the gym 4x/week and following the "standard" bodybuilding diet of eating as much as I could, with very little effort to make sure it was quality food. Last summer, I was at a solid 150 and quite pleased with myself. On Oct. 1 I crashed my motorcycle and that quickly led into the holiday season, so I went for three months without going to the gym. In the meantime, I had been reading your site and began taking steps toward a paleo-style diet.

Immediately after Christmas, I started in on the paleo diet in earnest. On Jan. 5 I started hitting the gym again, still 4x/week, this time with a modified paleo diet and the difference has been amazing. Before, when doing a tough leg workout I used to get nauseous and/or lightheaded nearly every time from the strain. Neither has happened once since starting up again in January and I've been hitting it harder than before. I only rest 30 to 45 seconds between my sets except for when I switch exercises, when I grab a drink of water and then immediately start back up. My workouts went from an average of 60-75 minutes to 30-40 minutes and are much more intense. I have also been hitting the major muscle groups harder, as you suggest, to help stimulate the release of GH.

I was gaining lean mass previously, but was also gaining a bit of fat along with it. That is no longer the case. I checked my weight after the first week of lifting, 150 dead on. I am not looking to get huge, 170 or so should be good for me depending on how I look and feel. I have not checked weight since after that first week and won't until my birthday in April, but I have seen some great progress in six short weeks, much more than I saw in twice the time with my previous diet. Three of my shirts, which fit perfectly at the New Year, are now too small and I have yet to lose any definition in my abs, which is my only gauge for whether or not I'm gaining fat.

I just wanted to relate that this lifestyle will not only work for those who wish to lose weight, but for those who want to gain weight as well. It is a far cry from the "standard" bodybuilding diet of constant eating, but I have found it to be much more effective… not to mention easier to stick to. All the constant eating takes up lots of time. Instead I am eating good food when I'm hungry, feeling great and seeing great results.

Thank you for all the great information. People I talk to still think I'm slightly crazy but there is no denying the way I feel and the results I see.


Thanks for the great story, Nathan; and congratulations to you for listening to your body and making that your primary guide. It never surprises me. That's because this blog is about the principles of evolutionary biology. That is our guiding light. It should be no surprise that when living in accordance with sound principles delivers the goods every time.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

1 Comment

  1. Chris on January 18, 2010 at 12:22

    This story is very encouraging. I am about the same dimensions that Nathan was, 5’11” and 135 lbs and I have been reading into mass-gaining regimens. The recommended diets sound awful and have caused me to put gaining muscle off. Do you know if Nathan has a blog of his own or any updates since his submission last year?

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