How to clean bulk

How to clean bulk and why you should try it

7 min read

|

22 Aug 2023

Mark Brownlee

Hack Beast Mode

  1. What is clean bulking?
  2. What’s the best way to count calories?
  3. What should I eat during a clean bulk?
  4. Food to avoid (at all costs) when clean bulking
  5. How should I work out?
  6. How long does a clean bulk take?
  7. Should I clean bulk?

If you want to build muscle mass, you’ll need to bulk up—which means consuming the right amount of surplus calories.

To some, bulking up might sound exciting as you can eat whatever you want and as much as you want. But, while ‘dirty bulking’—a process that involves gaining as much weight as you can by eating any high-calorie food regardless of its nutritional value—is a popular way to gain mass, it’s not exactly good for you.

The health implications of ‘dirty bulking’ include: 

  • Difficulty shifting weight
  • Low mood
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • High blood pressure
  • Another drawback of gaining muscle mass the dirty way is that you may find it tough to sustain a regular bulking and cutting pattern while staying healthy (which, really, is the main aim of the game).

    To maximize muscle growth and stand a chance of shedding your excess body fat the right way, clean bulking is your best bet.

    Here, we’re going to consider what clean bulking is and how to do it the right way.

    Let’s go.

    What is clean bulking?

    Good question. Well, clean bulking works like ‘dirty bulking’ but with one major difference: you commit to mainly consuming healthy whole foods and supplements. 

    A clean bulk involves steadily increasing your calories over time while making decent food choices. In addition to adding surplus calories (the good ones) to your diet, you should also do plenty of resistance training alongside observing sufficient rest periods to allow your muscles to recover.

    What’s the ideal clean bulking calorie surplus?

    When you’re looking to add muscle mass the right way, the amount of calorie surplus you consume is up to you. There’s no ‘magic number.’ But, as a general rule of thumb, you should try to consume an extra 500 calories per day. So, this means you’ll need to fuel your body with roughly 500 calories more than you usually burn on a daily basis.

    One of the best ways to stay on track during a clean bulk is to set the exact calorie surplus you are going to target. There’s been some research on this topic, and the current consensus is that ~300-500 calories per day is the ideal calorie surplus. 

    How does a clean bulking calorie surplus work? 

    In theory, the right calorie surplus maximizes the amount of lean muscle mass you can add while minimizing the amount of adipose (fat) tissue your body stores while you bulk up. 

    Keeping a close eye on what you’re consuming and burning is crucial to the success of your bulk—and the more you do it, the easier it will be.Trying to bulk up without a calorie surplus won’t work and it will waste your time.

    What’s the best way to count calories?

    The recommended daily calorie intake for the average person is 2,500 kcal for men and 2,000 kcal for women. 

    Keeping track of everything you eat takes practice—but it is possible. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Check your portion sizes and the labels on the food you eat. 

    Remember to include any toppings or oils in your calorie count—and don’t forget the snacks. A decent calorie-counting app will be a massive help as it will keep a diary of everything you’ve consumed and make the necessary calculations for you.

    Counting calories on a smart watch

    Tip: Getting into a solid meal prep routine will help you count your calories while eating well while you’re on the go.

    The number of calories we burn during exercise depends on various factors including:

  • Age
  • Body composition
  • Room temperature
  • Fitness levels
  • Sleep patterns
  • One of the best ways to measure calories burned is to go to a laboratory and get hooked up to a VO2 machine and heart-rate monitor. But, this isn’t a viable option for most of us, so relying on the accuracy of a Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) values chart or an app is the next best option. 

    A Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) chart is a way to estimate how many calories you burn during a specific physical activity. If you prefer an app, there are plenty to choose from, with Myfitnesspal and Noom being among the most popular. 

    Each app will ask you to enter your fitness details along with data relating to each physical activity you do and it will do all of the calculations for you.

    What should I eat during a clean bulk?

    As you now know, clean bulking means keeping it clean and making your body gets the nutrition it needs while consuming more calories than your body is using each day. 

    When clean bulking, unprocessed foods are the ones to concentrate on. Let’s look at the primary food groups you’ll need to focus your attention on for a successful as well as sustainable clean bulk.

    Protein

    For lean muscle repair and growth, you’ll need to pack in the protein. So, for a proper clean bulk, you should aim to weave a variety of whole meats like chicken, steak, pork, and fatty fish into your diet. Eggs and yogurt are also a rich source of protein and considered the backbone of a bodybuilder’s diet.

    Carbs

    Packing in the carbohydrates is also essential to keep your energy at a consistent high. Healthy carbs such as rice, bananas, quinoa, and potatoes should all be high on your list when you’re clean bulking.

    Fats

    The difference between a clean and a ‘dirty bulk’ is that you’ll concentrate on healthy fats—and healthy fats alone. These magic fats come in the form of whole nuts, seeds, avocados, and of course, olive oil.

    Food to avoid (at all costs) when clean bulking

    To keep your bulk clean and ultimately build lean mass, you should avoid certain ‘dirty’ foods at all costs. Let’s take a look at these ‘dirty’ foods for a moment.

    Processed foods

    As keeping it clean and healthy is the aim of the game, you should steer well clear of anything that has undergone processing (a.k.a. junk food). The processed foods that will filth up your clean bulk include certain meats, crackers, some cereals, and white pasta.

    Pile of dried pasta

    Food with added sugar

    Food with added sugar also fall into the super processed category. These include sugary drinks, sauces, and salad dressing. So, keep a keen eye on the packaging and check for any foods with added sugar throwing them into your shopping cart.

    Food with added fats

    Unhealthy snacks tend to be high on the list when it comes to added fats, with potato chips, processed peanut butter, salad dressings and cookies being among the main culprits. Enjoy a treat from the snack cupboard now and then by all means—just make sure you don’t overindulge too regularly.

    How should I work out when clean bulking?

    If you want a good all-round bulk, you’ll need to concentrate on working your main muscle groups. For the biggest and best results, it’s a good idea to work each key area on rotation to allow your muscles to rest and repair while working on other muscle groups.

    Man works out while clean bulking

    When developing clean lean mass, the groups to concentrate on are:

  • Back and biceps
  • Chest and triceps
  • Legs
  • Shoulders, traps and abs
  • The goal here is resistance training with a gradual progression towards lifting heavier and heavier weights to achieve large (maybe even colossal) muscle growth. Don’t move on to a heavier weight until you are sure you can comfortably handle the level of resistance you’re on.

    How long does a clean bulk take?

    If you’re doing a clean bulk the right way, you should expect it to last a minimum of four months. But, it’s worth noting that it can take much longer.

    Clean bulking is a flexible process and if you want to level off at any stage, have a couple of weeks off from working out or fall off the dietary bandwagon for a day or two, you can.

    Taking on a clean bulk alongside the CrazyBulk Bulking Stack is the quickest and safest way to enjoy muscle gain the right way. 

    Testo-Max naturally supports your testosterone levels for improved strength, performance, and muscle gains, while D-Bal, Trenorol and DecaDuro will help to boost your strength, performance and muscle growth. This clever concoction also helps to speed up your post-workout muscle recovery.

    Should I clean bulk?

    Clean bulking requires patience, consistency, and dedication. It really is the healthiest approach to building lean mass and reap the rewards of muscle gain. And, if you want to maximize muscle growth while maintaining the best possible performance levels, you should clean bulk.

    Clean bulking in summary…

    To do it properly, you need to consume an excess of nutrient-dense, whole foods to ensure a calorie surplus. 

    Taking this approach will help to minimize body fat and maximize muscle gain. Going clean is a much safer way to bulk up than loading up on junk food and it will ensure you stay healthy while enjoying consistently epic results. 

    Crazybulk’s 100% legal steroid alternatives and hardcore bodybuilding supplements are perfect for clean bulking as they contain all-natural ingredients. This means you’ll be able to bulk and cut for as long as you like and will gain a healthy, toned muscle mass.

    Mark Brownlee

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