Bulking, in theory, seems amazing — you eat more food in order to get bigger and attain more muscles. But this doesn't give you a free pass over whatever you want to eat. Even though dirty bulking is a common choice for many, clean bulking is typically the most effective way to bulk, as you're near guaranteed to be improving your health instead of putting on fat. Especially if you've got a slow metabolism, clean bulking and certain kinds of foods are preferred over others for more effective results.
Here are six of the top foods to stock your shopping basket with when prepping to bulk.
Clean bulking is all about upping your protein intake. While proteins like tuna and lean chicken breast are easy go-tos, salmon should be one of the main players in your diet too. The protein-rich fish is calorie-dense, which is exactly what you need. That aside, it's packed with omega-3s to help you recover, improve your joint health and fight muscle inflammation.
While salmon is a great protein source, you can't be couching on it all the time thanks to its high fat content. Try lean beef for an iron-rich, high-protein meat option. Another little known fact: red beef is a massive, whole foods source for creatine, which is a great supplement to consume when bulking as it vastly helps improve your strength.
If you purchase organic, all-natural, high protein and low-sugar peanut butter, you're getting a fantastic source of protein that functions as an easy breakfast food or snack when you're on a bulking stint. You can spread it on whole grain bread, or mix it into your shakes for added calories too.
White rice is an Asian food staple, though perhaps not the most nutritionally sound for anyone on a clean diet that focuses on whole foods. Instead of white rice, try a variety of organic, unpolished grains such as brown or black rice to be your main carbohydrate source that is also rich in dietary fibre.
When you're bulking, you often need to eat an excess of meals, and that can sometimes mean upwards of five a day. If you're working a busy job, or just don't see yourself being able to do much chewing, a mass gainer is a must-have to help you rack up those crucial calories. Mass gainers also often come with high protein counts, and added nutrients like BCAAs to help you perform at the gym when you work out. If the sound of a mere shake providing you 1000 or more calories you need to get ripped is appealing, then a mass gainer is what you need.
Eggs are the cornerstone of any healthy diet. They're small, but pack a decent protein punch for their size, and are chock full of essential amino acids. They're extremely versatile and can be adapted to a plethora of dishes, from a breakfast omelette to hard-boiled as a snack. If you want to make bulking convenient, eggs can also be prepared in advance and packed into ziploc bags to be brought out as your mid-day snack.
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