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Clean Bulking: A Guide

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Trends in the fitness world have followed their natural flow and, in the past few years, there has been an increasing desire to gain weight, rather than to lose it. Gym-goers now visit the gym on a daily basis to grow bigger muscles, but they are not interested in gaining fat weight. How can you do one without the other? It is not possible.

In order to grow your muscles, you need to follow a calorie surplus diet and there are many ways to do so, but here, we will discuss one that seems to be the first option for many: clean bulking.

If you like eating and you’re after bigger muscles, this article is for you. Here, we’ll go through the term ‘clean bulking’ and we will see how to successfully achieve your goals with it.

What is clean bulking?

The term bulking in general refers to a calories surplus diet. This means, in short, that your diet consists of eating more calories than you actually burn. When the weight gain does not go to the muscles, it becomes fat, the normal process we all know. However, with an appropriate workout routine, the extra calories help the muscles grow and that is where you will see that intake reflected. So, a combination of extra calories and a high intensity training could be what you are after.

Now, what is exactly the definition of clean or lean bulking? Basically, clean bulking consists of eating the extra amount of calories you need, but in the healthiest shape. That is, avoiding junk food or highly processed food. This method is highly used by athletes and it is a very appropriate way to gain weight in order to grow muscles.

How is dirty bulking different?

Compared to clean bulking, dirty bulking follows the same strategy in a different way. There are actually no limits to what you can eat. Exactly, if you see a crossfit lover following the best Spanish rice recipe to go with some fried chicken, they are probably dirty bulking!

Why would an athlete or a sports person choose this over clean bulking? Because the process is faster. It is an extremely effective way to gain both muscle and strength. 

However, the side effects of dirty bulking are also stronger and become visible more quickly after you stop doing it. But that’s material for a different article.

Tips to begin clean bulking

If you were thinking of following this type of diet, you should consider a few things first. As it is often mentioned, you shouldn’t be following any particular diets or making abrupt changes to your food habits without the supervision of a professional. It is highly advisable that, were you to follow this kind of practice, you should visit a doctor to check if your body and health are capable of keeping up with it.

Moreover, if your workout routine is designed by a professional trainer, you should talk to them and let them know your goals regarding the training. This will guarantee that any calories surplus will be appropriately addressed by both a nutritionist and a professional trainer.

Another useful tip is that it would be wise to keep track of the process. Start by weighing yourself and check how many calories you’re having today and keep up with both these habits to make sure you are not going in the wrong direction.

Finally, follow an appropriate diet under the right supervision, as mentioned. Here’s a few lists of general things you could include in your diet.

Foods you can eat

Before setting a list, it is worth mentioning that common sense is basically your best friend here. Even if you will find that carbs are on the list, you should base your diet on chips and pasta, naturally. Considering this, you can have:

  • High quality carbs such as seeds, rice, whole grain pasta and more.
  • Lean proteins such as chicken, fish or turkey.
  • Fruit is a must.
  • Healthy fats such as avocados or nuts as well as olive oil.
  • Vegetables such as peppers, zucchinis, tomatoes, spinach and leafy greens in general and things like broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
  • Legumes are great too. Consider including chickpeas and every kind of bean in your dishes.

The benefits of clean bulking are clear, you will be gaining weight in order to grow your muscles, but you will also be having a high quality diet. This, naturally, will prevent you from gaining any excess fat. Moreover, it will reduce negative health effects provided you do it wisely and with the right supervision.

Are you up for the challenge? Let us know in the comments!

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The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.