If you ask the average American, there’s almost a 50 percent chance that they’ll tell you they want to lose weight. If you ask the average bodybuilder, though, there’s a good chance their goal is to gain muscle mass and start “bulking.”

Are you in this camp right now? Are you trying to put on size for your next show? If so, read on to learn about seven foods and drinks you ought to avoid while putting together your bulking meal plan.

1. High-Sugar Foods

Some people assuming that entering a bulking phase gives you a free pass to eat whatever you want. It’s fine to include a sweet treat in your diet every once in a while, but try not to take in the bulk of your calories from high-sugar foods (candy, cookies, cake, etc.).

These foods are often high in calories, hence the appeal to those trying to gain weight, but they’re low in nutrients. If you’re not consuming sufficient nutrients, especially macronutrients like protein, you’re going to have a hard time putting on muscle and will be more likely to just gain fat during your bulk.

2. Deep-Fried Foods

Keep deep-fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, onion rings, etc.) to a minimum as well. These foods are loaded with calories, but they’re fried in very inflammatory oils.

Oils like vegetable oil and canola oil are loaded with omega-6 fatty acids. When consumed in too-large amounts, these fats can trigger inflammation and impede your recovery. They also oxidize very fast and can wreak havoc on your body. There is even research showing that they may increase your risk of developing heart disease.

3. Processed Carbohydrates

Processed carbohydrates in the form of things like chips, crackers, and pretzels should be avoided during your bulk. Like deep-fried foods, many of these products contain unhealthy oils that can cause inflammation and make it harder for you to recover after tough workouts.

These foods are also low in nutrients and are essentially empty calories. You’d be better off getting the majority of your calories from whole, unprocessed foods and mixing these in on special occasions only.

4. Processed Meat

Processed meat like sausage, bacon, salami, and deli meats aren’t ideal for a bulking phase, either. On occasion, they’re fine. If you’re eating them every day, though, you could end up taking in more sodium than is healthy.

These foods may also contain nitrites, which are preservatives meant to prevent bacteria growth and help meat maintain its red color. Nitrites can also lead tot he formation of nitrosamines in the body, though, and nitrosamines have been linked to cancer.

5. Processed Cheese

Processed cheese can also contain more sodium than your body needs. Processed cheese also contains less protein in an ounce compared to other cheese options.

You can still consume dairy while you’re bulking (it’s a great source of calories, protein, and other nutrients like calcium). Try to stick to unprocessed or minimally processed varieties, though.

6. Soda

Soda is loaded with sugar and other ingredients that your body doesn’t need during a bulk (or any other time, for that matter). It doesn’t contain any nutrients, and consuming sugar in too-high quantities could hinder your recovery and cause inflammation as well.

7. Alcohol

Finally, limit alcohol while bulking. Alcohol is another source of empty calories, and it also has a negative impact on your body’s ability to gain muscle.

This is especially true if you drink it close to bedtime. It impairs your body’s natural recovery processes and makes it harder for you to truly rest.

Foods to Eat on a Muscle Building Diet

Now, you know what not to eat when you’re on a bulking diet. You’re probably wondering, though, what you should be eating. Here are some great foods to add to your diet plan to maximize muscle gain:

  • Meat, fish, and poultry: All of these are great sources of protein, which your body needs to put on muscle
  • Oatmeal, rice, and other sources of whole grains: These are good options to help you get in complex carbohydrates, which will provide energy for your workouts and help you recover afterward
  • Fruits and vegetables: Adding these foods to your diet helps you consume adequate amounts of essential micronutrients; they also contain antioxidants, which can help you recover from your workouts and avoid excessive inflammation
  • Nuts and seeds: These are high in calories and high in both healthy fats and essential micronutrients; they’ll help you meet your daily calorie intake without feeling overly stuffed
  • Beans and legumes: If you don’t eat meat, or if you want to mix things up, beans and other legumes are good ways to fit in protein and meet your daily calorie goal

Don’t be afraid of oils, either. Healthy fats from olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil can help you consume more calories without feeling stuffed. They add lots of flavor to your food, too.

Best Bulking Supplements to Add

Smart supplementation can also be beneficial when you’re going through a bulking phase. The following are all good supplements to incorporate when muscle gain is your primary goal:

  • Pro-Mass Builder Elite: This is an alternative to Human Growth Hormone that will help you gain muscle and put on mass faster while also promoting recovery
  • D-Anaoxn Elite: This is an alternative to Dianabol that’s great for hard gainers
  • Testosteroxn Elite: This testosterone alternative offers similar effects, including increased strength and improved workout performance

Don’t underestimate the benefits of other supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids and protein powders, too. These can help to promote recovery and fill in any gaps that may remain in your diet.

Create the Ultimate Bulking Meal Plan Today

Now that you know more about what to eat and what not to eat while on a bulking meal plan, it’s time to start planning out your food for this upcoming phase. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have no trouble constructing a meal plan that works for your lifestyle and is filled with delicious, muscle-building foods.

If you want to add some supplements to your bulk to help you gain muscle mass faster, check out our bulking products today. We have lots of safe and effective options available on our site.