Clean Bulking: How To Avoid Bulking Mistakes and Instead Bulk Successfully
One of the most common bulking mistakes is thinking you have to eat whatever you can possibly get your hands on to intake the most amount of calories per day. Sure, even top nutritionists would tell you that gaining or losing is directly tied to calories in vs. calories out, and, yes, it is incredibly easy to workout hard, overeat by too much (eating the wrong kinds of foods, etc.), and put on some size. You’ll see it almost instantly. The problem is, however, is that after doing this you’ve likely built up as much fat as muscle, which now leaves your cutting phase out to dry.
If putting on muscle was easy, we’d all look like Phil Heath. There’s a ton of work, effort, and science that goes into getting it right. With the correct amount of effort, though, you can see some great results over the years. It’s a long game, folks, don’t try and cheat the system, because you’re only going to cheat yourself.
How Do I Clean Bulk?
Clean Bulking requires three (main) things: time, discipline, and a lot of groceries. Bulking an ambiguous process. If your goal is to put on muscle without gaining too much extra fat, you will need to learn how to tediously plan out meals and stick to stricter guidelines than if you were just consuming more calories than you’re used to eating. This process will take a longer time, but ultimately, you’re going to be teaching yourself how to eat more sustainably, and, your metabolism will thank you as well when the seasons change and you’re trying to cut for the beach.
Different Types of Calories
All calories are not created equal. With stricter, more healthful choices, your body will absorb these nutrients and better feed your muscles. When you eat well, your body will respond well. 1,000 calories of chicken, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens are far better for your bulking process than 1,000 calories of McDonald’s.
Stress and Sleep Schedule
Sure, when you think of bodybuilding, weight training, or any type of physical fitness, your body is your primary resource. If you’re not getting enough sleep, or if your stress levels are high, however, you’ll begin to see adverse effects during these processes, unfortunately.
Your mental health may be as important to your performance in the gym when it comes to building a physique. If you’re not mentally ready to undergo this process, your body will not respond correctly.
First and foremost, if you’re at or above 15 percent body fat, you should not be bulking. No, I’m not calling you chubby, but you just won’t see the results you’re going for and it will only add more excess weight to your frame. We’d actually suggest the opposite: a cut until you’re below this mark, and then plan a bulk to build back up.
Secondly, eat your protein. Do not forget this. Sure, your carbs are important to up as well, but you can’t neglect a muscle’s primary food source and expect it to respond well. 0.8 – 1.0 gram of protein per pound should be the range you’re shooting for.
The next most important bulking macro is…. fat! Yes. Carbs are the easy one. I promise. About 15% of your calories each day should come from fat. This breakdown will likely give your body the fuel it needs to perform, but not actually get it , well, fat.
My only advice on carbohydrates during your bulking phase is that you take pride in your choices. Potatoes (white, sweet, and other varieties) rice (I actually prefer white over brown), beans, and quinoa are all fulfilling carb sources that don’t come with extra ingredients you’ll have to account for. The rest of your calories should come from clean carbs.
Also, we must state, don’t go crazy on your calorie increase. 300 extra calories a day should be your limit. This is more than enough to pack on a couple of pounds month by month, and there won’t be enough of an increase where your body will begin to store it as fat.
All in all, food quality (and quantity) counts the most. You can’t just throw caution to the wind and hope for the best that these calories will magically turn into muscle and not a belly. You should still be avoiding white sugars, simple carbs, and processed foods (as best you can, of course). Whole foods are key, and always end up paying off in the end.
The Bulk of It
The best bulking advice I ever got is to not actually think of it as bulking. You’re just fueling your body more. Ignore the fact that you’re eating in a calorie surplus, and aim to eat a similar diet that you keep year round. As arnold would say:
ONE HINT I CAN GIVE IS NOT TO ‘BULK UP,’ OR LET YOURSELF PUT ON A LOT OF EXTRA FAT WEIGHT DURING YOUR TRAINING THAT WILL ONLY HAVE TO BE DIETED OFF FOR THE CONTEST. BODYBUILDERS ARE APT TO DO THIS BECAUSE BEING HEAVIER MAKES THEM FEEL BIGGER, BUT THIS IS AN ILLUSION— THAT EXTRA WEIGHT IS NOT WORKING MUSCLE AND IT DOES THEM NO GOOD WHATSOEVER.Arnold Schwarzenegger
Are you planning on a bulk but still have questions? Reach out to us and let us know! We’d love to put your into touch with a nutritionist (free of charge!) that can help with your initial questions and help ease your mind.
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