Man dirty bulks eating a burger

What is a dirty bulk (and should you do one)?

5 min read

|

02 Jun 2023

Grab your cheatsheet

1. What is a dirty bulk?
2. Is dirty bulking effective?
3. What food would you consume?
4. So, what are the risks of a dirty bulk?
5. Is there an alternative to dirty bulking?
6. Is there another way to fast bulk?

So you’re following the healthiest diets and having trouble sticking to the plan, and you’re wondering if there’s a quicker and tastier way to bulk up? 

Sure, clean bulking works, but can you get to your target in less time? 

You’ve heard about the ‘dirty bulk’ and are wondering if this could be the answer to your prayers. It sounds amazing! You can eat your favorite junk food and bulk up much quicker than following a healthy diet. 

Calories are calories, after all? 

Bulking up means weight gain; for many, bigger muscle gain is better, so is this the perfect solution, or is it just too good to be true? 

Let’s look at the facts and decide for ourselves.

What is a dirty bulk?

Clean bulking builds muscle through a healthy diet rich in protein, with fat only consumed in moderation. This means your calories are used to burn your workouts, so the fat gain is minimal.

A dirty bulk is consuming calorie-dense food to add weight as quickly as possible. As you might expect, the food in question is not particularly healthy, but the idea is to get the weight on as quickly as possible to fast-track the bulking process. 

Most of us tend to burn around 2000 calories per day, and to add a single pound in weight; we need 3000 extra calories, so we need to pack in about 5000 calories per day for one pound of weight gain. 

Plate of dirty bulk foods

If you’re working out and eating healthy food, this is harder than it sounds, so it’s no wonder that dirty bulking has its appeal. Eating junk food to aid weight gain and muscle growth sounds perfect. Hard gainers have been known to use a dirty bulk, and it’s also popular with those who have had difficulty progressing from a naturally lean body type.

Is dirty bulking effective?

The short answer is “yes.” 

You can certainly put on weight quickly by consuming high-calorie food and drink; that goes without saying. So long as you’re doing the calculations correctly and consuming more calories than you’re burning, you’re on the right track. 

The chances are you will put on a lot of weight during a dirty bulk, with 60-70% of that weight coming from muscle. You can then cut to reveal your muscle mass. 

One of the big problems is genetics; we’re all built differently. For some, it might work perfectly; for others, it could add a lot of excess fat, which is hard to lose. You can sometimes lose most of the bulk when you try to lose that fat. Genetics also kick on again as some people are prone to building muscle faster than others. For some, it takes a bit longer and adding a considerable amount of excess calories to the diet won’t speed up the muscle-building process.

What food would you consume?

If you want to gain muscle, it’s crucial to concentrate on foods high in calories, fat, carbs and protein. 

Put simply; you’ll be able to eat the kind of food you usually steer clear of, such as fast food and high-calorie desserts. 

Remember you’re looking for a significant calorie surplus, so you must look at the high-cal food and drink groups. This will most likely be the food you prefer to consume anyway, typically off-limits during a clean bulk.

The primary goal is getting those surplus calories in and gaining extra weight. In addition to the food mentioned already, you can add nutritional supplements such as protein powder to the mix to get things moving even more quickly.

So, what are the risks of a dirty bulk?

Eating whatever you feel like in larger quantities than usual might not do much damage to you in the short term; if you plan to use the dirty bulk regularly, you are playing a risky game with your long-term health. The obvious risk to your health is consuming a high quantity of food with a low nutritional value. If you pump your body full of sugar, it will become less sensitive to insulin and can lead to health issues such as diabetes. 

Overweight man sat on a bed

If you’re consuming junk food, there is likely to be a high percentage of additives such as sodium which, consumed in high quantities, could lead to high blood pressure, especially if you have high blood sugar levels. It’s easy to see how dirty bulking can be seen as a quick and easy way to add weight for bulk, but if we’re in this for the long haul, we need to prioritize our health.

Is there an alternative to dirty bulking?

Clean bulk is the way forward if you want to bulk up and look after your health. We won’t lie- it’s harder to maintain than the dirty bulk, but you’ll have a healthy physique if you do it properly. It might seem like a task to consume healthy food to bulk up, especially as we think of nutritious foods as those which tend to be associated with losing weight.

So with clean bulking, you need to consume healthy, nutritious food in much more significant amounts than you would if you were following a calorie-restricted diet. You’ll need to pack plenty of protein (steak, chicken, fish) and carbs (pasta, potatoes and rice). There’s no need to eliminate fats from your diet, but you’ll need to aim for healthy fats only.

Rich protein sources such as whole milk, nuts, beef and bacon are perfect, and eggs. The aim is still the same- consume more calories than you burn. In doing so, you will force your body to grow, and you will be able to work on your new bulk to strengthen and maintain your physique. We understand that consuming more food might sound exciting to many. 

Still, mixing things up and taking in various clean-bulking food is essential to keep mentally strong throughout the clean-bulk process. If you eat the same thing every day in large quantities, you’ll get bored, and there’s a chance you might veer towards the idea of a dirty bulk. Keep track of your weight daily to see what’s working for you. If you’re not gaining enough weight, it’s time to increase your intake.

Is there another way to fast bulk?

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