Well, it’s coming to that time of year again, you know the one, the one where the colder weather is fast drawing on, meaning that we wear more and more layers, and care less and less about our physiques, because we can’t really show them off until it begins to warm up again.
A lot of people use the fall and winter seasons as excuses to basically binge eat, eat and drink what they like, slack off in regards to their cardio, and just generally become much fatter and much bulkier than they were during the summer.
Yes, when bulking, the intention is indeed to bulk up and get bigger, yet the increase in size is supposed to come from muscle, not fat!
When people continue training in the gym, but eat and drink what they like, whenever they like, this is known as ‘dirty bulking’ and it is very detrimental, not only to your physique as it makes you fat, but also to your health as well.
Instead, a clean bulk program should be followed. When you want a clean bulk, the idea is to still bulk up and add muscle mass and size, only to do it far more gradually, so that you keep fat gain to a minimum, and perhaps even burn fat in the process.
If you’re trying to bulk, take a look at these 11 clean bulk tips and you’ll be packing on the size in no time at all.
1. Don’t Forget Cardio
As mentioned, during the colder seasons, a lot of people simply sack cardio off altogether for several months, because, number 1 – they can’t be bothered, and number 2 – they think it’s pointless because people won’t see them topless anyways.
For anybody trying to clean bulk, however, you simply must make sure you perform cardio at least 3 times each week. Stick to low intensity cardio which will help burn calories in the form of fat, without eating away at muscle tissue.
Try: walking, cycling, or using the cardio equipment at your gym.
2. Eat Your Veggies
Another common mistake made by most “bulkers” during the off-season, is to let their diet go to pot and consume vast quantities of junk, with virtually no nutrition at all.
Vegetables are full of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and they not only help to keep our weight under control, they also fuel our bodies and help protect us against illness and disease.
If you’re trying to clean bulk, make sure you get at least, all five portions of your recommended five a day of fruit and veggies.
3. Don’t Go Crazy With The Junk
Ok, if you have spent all of the summer living on dry, bland, tasteless, and uninspiring food to help ensure you remained shredded, the colder seasons will probably be very welcome in your eyes, as they will allow you to eat and drink the produce you denied yourself for so long.
However, whilst the odd cheat meal, possibly even cheat day, now and then is perfectly fine, if you are trying to clean bulk, you will still have to make sure you eat clean for the most part.
Junk food contains virtually no nutrition, it bloats you and makes you feel sluggish, it causes illness and disease, it makes you spotty, it can block your arteries, and it will make you fat.
If you’re eating junk every day, cut it out and get more fresh and healthy produce down your neck instead.
4. Train Heavy
As you’re bulking, albeit by following a clean bulk plan, you will still be consuming more calories each day than when you were cutting or maintaining, and as calories are units of energy, more calories means more energy.
Take advantage of this increase in energy by gradually training heavier, adding heavier weights to your training routine each week.
By training heavy and perhaps following a lower rep routine, your body will not be used to this increase in weight and will respond very favourably, meaning you’ll see increases in muscle mass in no time at all.
5. Compound Exercises
For anybody trying to add mass to their frames, compound exercises are absolutely essential, and are hugely, hugely beneficial in the process.
Compound exercises are basically exercises which work more than one muscle group simultaneously.
As more than one muscle group will be used during the exercise, you see increases in growth because you’re training multiple muscle groups at once.
Many free weight exercises are compound exercises, although you can’t go wrong with pull-ups either.
6. Avoid Weight Gain Supplements
A lot of people when bulking, will add a weight gain supplement to their supplement stack, though for anybody trying to clean bulk, these supplements should be avoided.
Weight gain supplements can contain as much as more than 1000 calories per serving, and as you know, if you consume more calories than your body requires, you gain fat.
Whilst consuming more calories than required, is essential for bulking, if you consume too many more, you will gain more fat.
Instead, get your protein and additional calories from whey protein instead, and simply add an extra shake to your daily meal plans.
7. Consume Healthy Fats
Healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids are incredibly healthy and beneficial for the body, and they also happen to be high in calories, as they are a form of fat.
For this reason, they’re ideal for a clean bulk because they’re so good for you.
For optimal results, consume more oily fish as a protein source, and purchase an omega liquid supplement and add some to each protein shake that you consume.
8. Increase Protein Intakes
When it comes to clean bulk diet tips, increasing your protein intake is absolutely essential, for a whole host of different reasons.
Protein is vital for the growth and repair of muscle tissue, not to mention the fact that it plays a key role in cellular health and function as well.
On top of that, not only is protein great for the muscles, it is also very useful for burning fat, as it helps to keep us feeling full for longer, plus it increases the metabolism.
Anybody trying to increase their muscle mass, whether clean bulking, dirty bulking, or anything else for that matter, should ensure they increase their daily protein intakes.
Aim for around 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight, and make sure you get your protein from numerous different sources in the process.
9. Eat Little And Often
A lot of people when bulking, will think that the trick is to consume vast quantities of macros and calories, with each and every meal that they consume.
In reality, however, eating huge meals in one go will bog down your metabolism and will leave you feeling full, bloated, lethargic, and just generally unmotivated and lacking energy.
The trick is to consume small and balanced meals throughout the day, every 2 – 3 hours or so. Rather than 3 huge meals per day, you will be consuming 6 – 8 small and balanced meals per day, in which 2 or 3 can come in the form of a shake.
You will want a protein source, veggies, and carb and fat sources, although how and when, will depend on which bulking plan you’re following.
10. Prep Your Meals
As you can see, a clean bulk diet requires a great deal of food, especially if you are going to be eating every 2 – 3 hours.
If you were to cook each meal from scratch, you would spend all of your free time in the kitchen, and would be up to your neck in pots and pans.
The last thing you would want after finishing work, or finishing at the gym, is to walk in and have to start cooking a meal, so prepping in advance is essential.
You can make a whole variety of different dishes, and can then store them in the fridge, or even the freezer, and re-heat them as and when you need them.
11. Enjoy Your Meals
When people hear ‘clean bulk diet’ they generally picture foods like plain grilled chicken, steamed veggies, and dry baked potato, when in reality, that is not the case at all.
You can eat super clean if you like, but truthfully, as long as you are active, and as long as you are tracking your macros, you can get away with a little butter and sour cream on your potato, or with leaving the skin on your chicken.
Find healthy meals you enjoy eating, experiment with your food, and don’t be afraid of a little butter or oil now and then.