The Bulk

Let’s start off with the absolute basics, what is a ‘bulk’? It’s a common term that you probably would have heard of floating around the gym. Basically put it means a period in which you will aim to put on weight. It doesn’t necessarily mean putting on muscle, as you more than likely also be gaining fat on a bulk.

In other terms it means a certain amount of time where you will be constantly in a calorie surplus, so eating more calories per day than what you’re burning off. Thus, gaining weight or ‘bulking up’. The cleanest way to do this is called a ‘clean bulk’. Which we’ll talk about in the next section of this article.

The Clean Bulk

Now you know what it means to bulk up, let’s look at one way you can bulk up. It’s called the clean bulk. The clean bulk is one of the most common ways to bulk up. It involves trying to maintain being in a calorie surplus from day to day but whilst only eating healthy foods.
When we say healthy foods, it means foods that contain little sugar such as lean proteins and healthy carbohydrates. On top of this it means don’t eat foods that contain sugar and unhealthy fats such as pizzas, burgers, fries ect.

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Surely then a clean bulk must be the most effective and healthiest way to build muscle? Well yes and no. It’s reasonably healthy but at the same time it can be difficult to stay in a constantly calorie surplus by just eating healthy foods. Essentially a clean bulk may not be the most effective way to pack on the pounds. To pack on the most weight possible then a dirty bulk would be more the ideal diet to follow.

With a clean bulk however, although it may be difficult to gain as much weight as a dirty bulk, the weight you’re gaining will be mainly muscle. You shouldn’t get the usual fat storage which you get with a normal bulk or a dirty bulk.

Foods to Eat when on a clean bulk

Now we know what a clean bulk is, we need to know what foods we can eat and what foods we need to avoid. Firstly, you want to be eating lean proteins. Here’s a basic list of some healthy lean proteins that you should be eating on a clean bulk.
• Chicken breast.
• Turkey breast.
• Tuna.
• Lentils.
• White fish.
• Cottage cheese.
• Lean beef.
• Bison.
• Egg whites.
• Protein powders.

These are all adequate foods that will provide you lean proteins. On top of this you need to be eating some complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are healthy high carb foods that contain slow-releasing carbohydrates. Here’s a list of some complex carbohydrates.

• Sweet potato.
• Chickpeas.
• Rolled oats.
• Black beans.
• Brown rice.
• Quinoa.
• Brown pasta.

These are the basics of what you should be eating if you are on a clean bulk. Other things to note are that you should not be eating any sauce or condiments on these foods. As well as this you should be eating plenty of vegetables and salad to get in the healthy greens. Check the next section for foods that you should be avoiding.

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What Foods to Avoid

All these foods above should be eaten in big portions to make sure that you are in a constant calorie surplus. This is where sometimes a clean bulk can be hard to build weight as you’re restricted to only healthy foods. If you decide to add in unhealthy foods to gain maximum weight, then that would turn more into a dirty bulk. Here’s a list of some foods you should be avoiding when on a clean bulk.
• Pizza.
• Hamburgers/cheeseburgers.
• Potato chips.
• High sugary foods such as candy.
• Fries.
• Sauces on foods.
• High sugary drinks such as soda.
• Fast food.
• White bread, white rice, white pasta.
• Potatoes.
All these foods need to be avoided as much as possible when on a clean bulk. We all need to splurge out every so often though. Just make sure when you do that you keep it to a minimum. Either have just a couple of cheat meals a week or if you prefer, have a cheat day. It’s important to give yourself some time away from your strict diet but don’t go overboard or you’ll undo all your good work.

Who Should Be Following a Clean Bulk?

Now we know all the foods you should and shouldn’t be eating when on a clean bulk, who would the clean bulk be beneficial for?

Well it’s a great diet protocol for anybody that is serious about bodybuilding. Plenty of bodybuilders today will normally do a bulk throughout the off-season and then cut down during the on-season, in time for competitions. If it were a clean bulk, then it would leave less fat to burn off.

Other people that may benefit from a clean bulk would be people that want to gain weight but may be susceptible to gaining fat. I fall into this category myself, if I eat a couple of bad meals in day then I will gain weight and fat so quick. Others can eat and eat without ever gaining much weight, these people would benefit more from a dirty bulk. For people like me though a clean bulk is ideal, I can still gain muscle and weight but without gaining too much fat.

All in all though a clean bulk could be beneficial for anyone that goes to the gym and is aiming to build muscle.
Overview

A clean bulk is a tough diet regime that can be incredibly difficult to stick to if you aren’t dedicated enough. If you are looking to gain muscle though and worried about gaining too much fat, then this is the perfect diet for you. Make sure your diet is made up of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates, you shouldn’t go too far wrong with the clean bulk.

Thank you for reading.

Author's Bio: 

A masters degree in sports science and around 10 years experience in personal training and sports coaching