What’s the best way to build muscle quickly, and realistically? Both clean and dirty bulking plans are popular across bodybuilders all over the world, and muscle mass newbies are asking which is best? Which is the healthiest? Which will give the best results, and the most impressive physique?
What’s dirty bulking?
Dirty bulking is dieting to increase calorie intake and push for rapid weight gain. Eating high-fat content foods regularly and for extended amounts of time can expose your body to more preservatives and other more harmful chemicals, but at the same time, will allow for a fast rise in your weight, which you can then turn into muscle in the gym. If you bulk dirty, then try to keep your vitamins topped up with supplements, and include fruit and vegetables in your meals alongside those fatty foods you add in for weight gain. This way, you are better maintaining your body’s levels of useful vitamins and minerals, whilst also gaining weight to turn into muscle mass.
What is clean bulking?
Clean bulking is far more moderate on the increase in calorie intake, adding healthier food choices to the diet in place of those purely there to serve a high-calorie content. High-calorie diets are inevitably going to be less good for the body, and ideally, a bodybuilder wants to have their body in peak condition when training either for competitions or personal growth. Clean bulking will maintain healthy levels of vitamins and nutrients in your body and bloodstream, which all contribute to healthy muscle use and function.
Clean bulking can involve topping up on vitamins shown to aid muscle growth and health, such as vitamins A, C, and E. If you bulk clean then you will need to have a good understanding of your body and nutrition, so as to be able to get the most out of the supplements available to you.
Which diet is best for building my muscle?
When combined with an appropriate level of protein, which increases and promotes muscle growth, dirty bulking will provide faster muscle build-up, but at a cost to your body. If you do not keep on top of your physical training, you may find yourself gaining weight in its fat form, rather than muscle, which is not ideal. The links between fat intake and increased levels of testosterone will also contribute to muscle building speed, due to testosterone’s well known and researched ability to promote muscle growth and strength.
However, these increases in testosterone, especially when coupled with performance-enhancing hormones can cause negative side effects such as skin problems, changes to bodily hair and rising aggression. Clean bulking tends to be slightly slower, but many claims that its effects are longer-lasting, and that a clean bulking plan will allow the body to adjust easier to maintaining the newly gained mass.
What are the best clean bulking foods?
You will place serious demands on your body during the bulking cycle. You will need nutritional support to meet those demands. Consume protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Aim for 6 to 8 meals each day. How many calories are right for you will depend on your size, body type and goals. Generally, 4,000 to 6,000 calories per day during the bulking cycle is enough to support the gains you are after. You can read more about some of the best high-protein bulking foods here.
Healthy protein choices include:
- Peanut butter – also a source of fat
- Dairy products such as cheese and yogurt – you have the option of full fat or low-fat products
- Avocados – also a good source of fat
- Good sources of carbohydrates
- Steel-cut oats
- Sweet and white potatoes – jackets on for fiber
- Grains such as quinoa, freekeh and brown rice
Get your fat from omega-3 fish oil supplements, sauté with olive oil and keep nuts like walnuts on hand for healthy fats
Are dirty bulking foods really worth it?
How virtuous you are will depend on your goals. If clean bulking (and not a vegetarian) you will want to choose grass-fed beef and lean cuts of turkey or chicken sans the skin. Not worried about clean bulking? This is your big chance to enjoy burgers, pizza, chicken nuggets, cheese dip, and full-fat dairy products.
Bulking isn’t only about muscles; it is also about mind, mood and your immune system, too. Dirty bulking i.e. junk food should be an occasional treat, not a daily habit. Don’t use bulking as an excuse to load up on crap. You’ll gain excess fat and you’ll feel just like the junk food you ate.
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