Gaining Strength and Size While Going Paleo

Over the past week I’ve received a ton of emails and posts about goals for the Fall Nutrition challenge. Most of the goals were about fat and overall weight loss, but some folks want to gain size and muscle during the challenge. There are a couple things to think about if you’re in the “gain” camp.  At Thermal we do a great job of integrating our strength training into our CrossFit classes, but sometimes its a good idea to consider adding a strength session or two if overall size and raw strength are your goals. We are fortunate to have a dedicated space on site for such training with the “Forge”

The health benefits of Paleo can’t be understated. By limiting carbohydrate consumption we keep our insulin levels at a healthy threshold and are able to maintain lean body mass. The problem for some people looking to gain weight and size is that the reduction in carbs makes it tough to gain. People get on Paleo and suddenly think that all carbs are evil. If you’re looking to gain weight and strength, carbs play a big role especially in your post workout meal. A simple concept illustrating the different ways Paleo can be utilized for varying goals can be understood by considering the post workout meal.  Someone looking to gain size and strength, might go for 6-8oz of chicken breast, a whole sweet potato and an avocado.  The person trying to lose weight might do the same except swap out the sweet potato for a salad of mixed greens or sauteed peppers and onions.

I wanted to lay out some examples and helpful tips for those trying to gain on Paleo.  Here is some of the stuff I came up with after a brief search of some familiar and reliable sources.


Breakfast: 4-6 egg omelet with 1 whole avocado. 1/2 cup blue berries.

Pre-workout snack: 2-4 oz grilled chicken, handful of almonds or macadamias.

Post-workout meal: 6-8 oz grilled salmon, asparagus, mushroom, bamboo shoot, coconut milk curry.

Snack: Canned salmon salad with olive oil, avocado, tomatoes and red onion.

Dinner: Grilled grass fed Rib eye with grilled shrimp. Large mixed salad with greens, red onions and ginger sesame dressing.

What to do in the Forge 1-2 days per week in addition to CF if I’m looking to gain…..

Something like this will work for most athletes, but double check with a Thermal Coach

Squat 5×5
Pull-ups 5xFailure (add weight if “Failure” is becoming more than 12 reps)
Overhead Press 5×5

Squat 5×5
Deadlift 1/2/3×5 (your choice; deadlifts can be incredibly taxing, and with exhaustion comes poor form, so be careful; sometimes it’s better to do a really heavy load for a single set)
Bench Press 5×5

Squat 5×5
Pull-ups 5xFailure
Overhead Press 5×5

Read more:


Previous PostNext Post