When you’re building muscle, the bulking phase is when you build up your muscles and gain fat in one go. However, it is possible to bulk up without the fat and that’s what a clean bulk diet is all about.
Body building is a very complicated endeavor and requires a balance of muscle and fat. You cannot build impressive muscles unless you’re feeding your body.
The usual way of doing it is to have a clear bulking phase. This is when you grow all the muscles that you want, while also getting all the fat that your body needs.
Bulking meals would consist of tons of proteins and fats as you do your best to fuel your bodies growth. After a certain period of muscle growth, you then go into a cutting phase. This is when you start cutting off the fat so that the muscles can be revealed in your body.
However, this phase can be frustrating for many people. After all, if you’re used to eating all the good stuff, you don’t want to deprive yourself of it all of a sudden. It is possible though to reduce the cutting phase significantly.
This is done if you were already eating a diet that focused on giving you the muscles only and a lot less of the fat. That is the logic behind the clean bulk diet.
The Basics of Clean Bulk Diet
It sounds like clean bulking is the way to go. However, before you choose this path, you’re going to need to know more about how it all works. To start, you’re going to need to know more about the theory behind a bulk up diet.
The idea behind a bulking diet plan is pretty logical. You can’t make something out of nothing. If you plan to get a lot of muscles, your body is going to need building protein.
The main component of muscle growth is protein. However, your muscles are going to need more than that. This is because if you just eat protein, your body is going to consumer that as its main fuel.
At the end, you will have less protein for building muscles and your muscle’s growth will be not as optimal as you want.
This is why when you read a bulking diet meal plan, you’ll notice that it is full of protein and fat. Sadly, if you want to build as much muscle as possible in the shortest amount of time, you are going to have to accept the fact that you will need to get fat, too.
When you bulk up, you are most likely going to gain as much fat as you gain muscle. Some people have a different metabolism and gain more fat or more muscle, but the ratio is pretty much 1:1.
Why is this so? Well, it all comes back to calories. When you eat, the food is converted into calories and fuels your body.
These calories help you absorb protein, maintain hormone levels, and maximize your workout gains. You will also need additional calories so that your muscles can have the fuel to build mass.
This is where the variations of bulking up comes into play. Your body has different muscle groups and types are available and if you approach it scientifically, you can pick a diet that has the results that you want.
The most popular variation out there is the clean or lean bulk diet. I’ve already explained the idea behind it, but here’s how to make it work.
A normal bulking diet plan or as its popularly know a “dirty bulking” plan will involve you just eating to ensure that you have extra calories. The more calories, the better.
This means you see athletes on their bulking cycle eating 5000 calories a day – if they weren’t training right alongside that amount of food, they would be large masses of fat.
A lean muscle meal plan is a bit different. It’s goal is to reach only a five to ten percent caloric surplus.
That’s pretty low considering other bulking diets regularly hit 20% or more surplus. It aims for you to get around a pound of muscle and fat every week – with the ratio leaning towards more muscles.
A Sample of Clean Bulking Diet Plan
A lean or clean bulk meal plan can be very intimidating. This is because it is a very controlled diet.
A lot of clean bulking advocates actually tell you to just limit yourself to around an extra 500 calories more than your recommended intake. Even then you will still be gaining some fat that you will need to cut.
If you want to go ahead with your clean bulking, here’s a look at what your daily diet will look like and a quick explanation for it:
- Meal 1 at 9 AM: Three scrambled eggs, a slice of rye bread, 80g cooked oats with mixed dried berries
- Meal 2 at 11 AM: Protein shake
- Meal 3 at 1 PM: Two chicken breasts, 150g of broccoli, 225g of brown rice
- Meal 4 at 3 PM: 200g of natural yoghurt with mixed nuts and dried fruit
- Meal 5 at 5 PM: One baked sweet potato, one cup of spinach, one salmon fillet
- Meal 6 at 7 PM: A tin of canned tuna, a tub of cottage cheese, almonds
- Meal 7 at 9 PM: Protein shake
The first thing that you’ll notice about this meal plan is that it is spread across the entire day. This is to ensure that your body is constantly fed. This reduces the chances of your body going into starvation mode.
Next, you can notice that there is a whole lot of protein in that diet. Eggs, chicken breasts, salmon, and tuna are a predominant part of it.
Protein shakes are also a necessity since they can spread out your protein absorption over a longer period. Fats and carbohydrates are also necessary, but they do not dominate the diet as much as proteins do.
Building Your Diet
How does one come up with a clean bulk diet anyway. There are several steps.
First, you need to calculate how many calories do you need. You need to have a baseline from which you will add your extra calories.
In the past, this took serious number crunching. However, nowadays, you can find quite a few online calorie counters to help.
You are mainly looking for your daily caloric expenditure. This will take into account your weight, your body fat, and how much activity you do each day.
For example, the bigger you already are and the more active you are, the higher your daily caloric expenditure is. After you get your daily expenditure, you’ll want to add 500 more calories to help with your workouts.
Once you know how many calories you have to work with, it’s time to calculate your macros.
Macros is short for macronutrients and refers to the various food groups that you can draw from. As mentioned above, your main choices are protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
First, you’ll want to eat around a gram of protein for every pound of weight you have. For example, you weight around 150 pounds.
That means you will need to consume around 150 grams of protein a day. A simple rule of thumb is that for every gram of protein, you get four calories so that’s 600 calories.
Second, you want 0.3 grams of fat for each one of your pounds. Continuing the example of a 150 pound person, you will want around 45 grams of fat. Each gram is worth nine calories resulting in around 405 calories.
Finally, instead of weight, it will be calories this time. Take a look at your final daily expenditure and subtract the protein and fat calories.
The remaining calories should all go to carbohydrates. You are going to need all those carbs to fuel your workouts and ensure continued muscle growth.
When you know the exact amount of calories that you need, it’s time to start building your meal plan. For protein sources, you may want to look beyond basic red meats.
Salmon and chicken are lean sources of protein that can be just as tasty. However, don’t hesitate in adding delicious beef to your meals since they can deliver fat at the same time.
Sources of fat should be from unsaturated fats. You can get these from oils and fruits. For example, avocado is a tasty fat source that you can make into guacamole.
Finally, your carbohydrates should come from grains and oats. Try to avoid simple carbs like sugars since they can easily become fat during the digestive process.
Making It All Work
Once you’ve got a solid meal plan, it’s now time to get it done. The main thing to remember as with any diet is that you need to maintain your discipline.
Considering a clean bulking diet’s rather strict requirements, it can be very frustrating at times. However, you’ll need to stick with it to get results.
Additionally, take into account that you will need to change your carb consumption on non-workout days. Lower them since you don’t need that much energy.
You’ll also want to time your meals right – a solid workout should be followed with a heavy meal so that your body can have the resources to build right back up.
I hope this article shed some light on clean bulking. You can look up more about clean bulk diet so that you know the further nuances that you need to be aware of when trying to develop your muscle mass.
You can also try to accelerate your results by using bulking supplements. Check my review of the best supplements in this article.