How to go on a Clean Bulk
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
Are You Stuck at a Plateau When Training the Gym?
Do You Find That Your Results Have Stalled?
Break out of a plateau by switching up your diet and beginning a bulking phase, which focuses on building lean body mass while restricting fat gain.
However, prior to embarking on this path it's crucial to understand exactly what bulking means in weight lifting and why it will help achieve your goals.
Bulking is a weight training strategy in which an individual consumes more calories than necessary to fuel muscle growth, or hypertrophy.
Muscle hypertrophy involves progressive, intense resistance training that causes your muscles to increase in size; without enough calories being consumed to support this stimulus, catabolic states could ensue where muscles are broken down for energy purposes by means of gluconeogenesis, leading to further breakdown.
There are two forms of bulking: "dirty" and "clean."
I would advise choosing a clean bulk - an approach designed to increase muscle gains without increasing fat gains - through moderate increases in calories from healthful, nutrient-dense food sources which contain protein, carbohydrates and fats that support your endocrine system while building muscles.
Protein serves as the building block of muscle tissue; to achieve maximum growth during bulking phases lifters should consume between 1.2-2 grams per kilogram of their bodyweight per day in terms of bodyweight/day when bulking phases.
A dirty bulk involves consuming as many calories through junk foods that are of high calorie but of a low nutritional value which isn't good for your health.
We'll hit the following key points:
- What is the clean bulking process?
- What is the best method to calculate calories?
- What foods should I avoid during a cleanse bulk?
- What to avoid at all cost when cleaning bulking
- How do I exercise?
- How long is it before a cleaned bulk can be delivered?
- How should I handle bulk cleaning?
You'll have to consume enough surplus calories to bulk up if you wish to increase muscle mass.
Some people might find it exciting to bulk up because they get to eat as much and whatever they like.
Although 'dirty' bulking', or gaining weight by eating high-calorie, non-nutritional foods, has become a common way of gaining mass, this is not the best option.
There are many health risks associated with 'dirty bulking'.
- Having difficulty shifting weight
- Low mood
- Fatigue and irritation
- Blood Pressure
A second disadvantage of getting muscle the dirty way, is it may be hard to keep up a healthy bulking/cutting pattern.
If you want to maximise muscle gain and lose excess body weight the healthy way, then clean bulking may be your best option.
This article will explain what clean bulking really is, and how it's done correctly.
What is Clean Bulking?
Good question. It's similar to "dirty" bulking but you're committing to mostly eating healthy whole foods.
To build mass in a healthy way, you need to increase your calorie intake over time and eat nutritious foods.
Aside from adding excess calories (good ones) to the diet, it is important to do resistance training as well as observe adequate rest periods for your muscles.
What is the ideal clean bulking calorie surplus?
If you are looking to gain muscle, you can choose how much extra calories to consume.
You don't need to follow a 'magic' number. But as a guideline, try consuming 500 more calories every day than what is required to maintain your current physique.
Therefore, if your daily maintenance calorie intake is 2500kcals, increase it to 3000kcals.
It is important to know the exact number of calories you will need to consume during your clean bulk.
Research has been done on the topic and it is generally agreed that an ideal calorie excess is between 300-500 per day.
What Is The Best Method To Count Calories?
Average daily caloric intake is around 2,500kcal per day for males and 2000kcal per day for females.
However, you can accurately workout your basal energy expenditure, here.
It is not easy to track everything that you consume, but with practice it becomes easier. As you get more practice, it gets easier. Be sure to check your portions and labels of the foods you consume.
Include any oil or toppings in the calorie total. Also, don't overlook snacks. The use of a good calorie counter app is a huge help, as they keep track of your intake and do the calculations.
Smart watches can count calories, but the old fashioned way is to log everything you consume and then at the end of the day look up the calories. This way you'll know what how many calories you are consume in a given 24 hours.
A good routine for meal prepping will allow you to eat well on the road while still counting calories.
Exercise burns calories depending on many factors.
- Body Composition
- Room Temperature
- Fit levels
- Sleep patterns
An expensive but highly accurate method is to visit a sports science laboratory to get attached to the VO2 and heart rate monitor. However, it's not a realistic option for many of us.
Instead, sports watches that track your activity are very accurate as long as you input accurate body measurements such as weight, age, gender and height.
It is possible to use a Metabolic Equivalent Task (MET), a chart that estimates how many calories one burns during an activity.
Apps that can be downloaded to your phone are now gaining in popularity and accuracy.
Each app asks you to provide your fitness information and data about each of your physical activities. It will calculate everything for you.
What Should I eat During a clean bulk?
You now understand that clean bulking refers to ensuring your body receives the nutrition needed while eating more calories per day than it uses.
Focus on foods that are unprocessed when you clean bulk. Look at your primary food groups for a clean bulk that is both sustainable and effective.
Protein is essential for muscle growth and lean tissue repair. To achieve a good clean bulk in your diet, include whole meats such as pork, chicken, beef, or fatty fish. A bodybuilder's staple diet also includes eggs, yoghurt and other sources of high-quality protein.
To maintain your energy level, you must consume carbohydrates. You should prioritize healthy carbs like rice, fruits, vegetables and potatoes when bulking up.
It's important to focus only on healthy fats. They come as whole nuts and seeds, avocados, or olive oil.
The Foods to Avoid during a Clean Bulk
You should always avoid 'dirty foods' to keep your body clean. We'll take a quick look at what to avoid.
Foods that are processed
If you want to keep your home clean and healthy, then avoid any processed food (also called junkfood).
These can include frozen microwave meals, convenience foods or fast foods, takeways meals, cured meats, many breakfast cereals, pastries and other sweet treats.
Foods with added Sugar
All foods with sugar added are also considered super-processed. This includes sugary beverages, sauces, or salad dressing.
Check the label of any food that has added sugar before adding it to your shopping list.
Food with Added Fats
Snacks that are high in saturated and trans fats, such as potato chips and processed peanut butters, along with salad dressings and cookies, tend to top the list.
Even supposedly 'healthy' snacks like protein cookies and bars have added fats and refined sugars.
It's okay to indulge in a little snack every once in a while, just don’t do it too often.
How Do I Clean Bulk?
For a great all-round muscle mass, focus your efforts on the main muscle groups through compound lifts.
It's best to rotate each major muscle group to get maximum results.
This will allow the muscles to recover and relax while other groups are being worked.
Concentrate on the following when developing a clean, lean mass:
- Back and biceps
- Chest and triceps
- Abs and shoulder traps
It is important to gradually increase the weights you lift in order for your muscles to grow large and strong (and possibly even gigantic).
You shouldn't increase the weight of your resistance until you are comfortable. You can read more about the effects of training to failure in this article.
How long will it take for a clean bulk to be delivered?
When you clean-bulk the correct way, it should last you at least 4 months. However, you should be aware that the process could take much longer.
If you need to take some time off, either from exercising or from following a strict diet, it is possible.
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Do I need to clean bulk?
Clean bulking is a process that requires consistency, patience and commitment.
Clean bulking is the most healthy way to build muscle mass. You should consider a clean bulk if your goal is to increase muscle mass while maintaining optimal performance.
Consume a lot of foods that are nutrient rich and whole to create a calorie excess.
Using this method will minimise your body fat, and maximize muscle growth. Bulking up with clean food is safer than eating junk and will help you to stay healthy.
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