Many people take the winter months to substantially bulk up, in hopes of having much more muscle when the next summer comes around. However, if you only think about adding muscle mass during the winter, you’re sacrificing nearly half your year when you could still be building muscle while clean bulking!
Learning how to clean bulk can help you build muscle mass all year. Sure, any attempts at gaining muscle mass require you to eat a surplus of calories, but that doesn’t mean that you need to gain a ton of body fat in the process!
According to a study published in Clinics in Sports Medicine,
“The pursuit of a desired body weight, physique, or specific percentage of body fat is the primary reason why athletes gain or lose body weight. To reach their body composition goals, athletes should concentrate on three basic principles: (1) a good resistance-training program, (2) proper nutrition, and (3) rest.”
If you want to “clean bulk” and build muscle mass without compromising your body shape, you should treat your bulking period similarly to your “cutting” period.
These tips will help you build muscle, but keep your body lean and closer to the body you have always wanted!
How to Clean Bulk – 3 Simple Tips
If you want to do a proper clean bulk, you need to follow these specific tips!
Don’t Bulk Too Much!
Bulking is a great process for the body and can help you put on muscle easier, lose weight faster in the long run, and normalize your metabolism over time. However, a lot of people take this over board!
Bulking should not mean that you have a free ticket to eat whatever you want, whenever you want; and it doesn’t mean you should be gaining an enormous amount of weight!
Treat your bulk as you treat your normal eating habits, but simply add in a few hundred extra calories per day. You will gain some body fat during the process, but you will get much better results this way!
According to a study published in the European Journal of Sport Science,
“Several nutritional strategies can optimize muscle bulk and strength adaptations and enhance recovery from heavy training sessions. Adequate energy intake to meet the needs of training and carbohydrate intake sufficient to maintain glycogen stores (>7 g carbohydrate·kg−1·day−1 for women; >8 g carbohydrate·kg−1·day−1 for men) are important. Dietary protein intake for top sport athletes should include some foods with high biological value, with a maximum requirement of approximately 1.7 g·kg−1·day−1 being easily met with an energy sufficient diet.”
Exceeding or drastically altering these guidelines (although diets such as the Ketogenic Diet for athletes have merit), will not help you build additional muscle, and you will not successfully clean bulk!
Perform Circuit Training or High Intensity Interval Training Often When Bulking:
Circuit training and HIIT is great for helping you to build muscle, while limiting fat gain at the same time. These types of training are great for losing weight fast, but just as great for bulking up!
CrossFit has revolutionized the concept of HIIT, but it is not the only option for this training style.
German Volume Training is a well-known interval training option for people looking to put on loads of muscle, without loads of fat.
Look at this and other HIIT and circuit training options during your next bulking cycle!
If you are looking to increase your cardiovascular endurance during your bulking cycle, opt for cardio such as the Jacob’s Ladder Machine or 20 Rep Squats. Both of these training techniques can improve your cardio ability, and help you increase muscle mass.
Track Your Body Fat While You Bulk:
Many people give up tracking their body fat while bulking, and simply look at a weight scale if anything at all. This can be very mis-representative of your training efficacy, however.
The mirror is usually a great gauge of how well your training cycle is going as well, and if you start to look too much different in your mens underwear every morning you should slow down how much you are eating!
Tracking your body fat is also helpful so you know whether you need to add in more HIIT or circuit training to your routine.
You never want to rely on steady-state aerobic cardio while bulking, but adding in some circuit or interval training can be the perfect solution!
Take a CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) Supplement
If you want to clean bulk, I highly suggest you try a CLA supplement. I take CLA nearly all-year, but I never try to gain weight without it. Why?
Believe it or not, CLA has proven to help reduce body fat gain regardless of calorie consumption. According to a study published by the Journal of Food Science,
“This suggests that CLA exerted modulation of body fat independent of reduced food intake. Based on these results, we concluded that CLA may be more effective at protecting against fat mass regain following weight loss than as a weight loss treatment.”
If you would like to try CLA, I suggest you try Sports Research Max Potency CLA:
Concluding Thoughts – Clean Bulking
No one should be afraid to go through a well-planned bulking cycle, especially since it can have great effects on your metabolism and physique over time.
Use these tips to make your next bulk more successful than ever!