Generally speaking, people in a public gym, working out at home, or jogging on the sidewalk want to lose weight, gain muscle, or both.
Gaining muscle and losing weight is totally possible. When you’re working to gain muscle, you’re losing weight. But, for some people, they want to lose more weight or lose weight faster than normal.
In this post, you’re going to learn what clean bulking is, why it’s so beneficial, and how to clean bulk to achieve your weight loss goals.
What is clean bulking?
Clean bulking means gaining muscle while minimizing fat gain. This diet and exercise combination is effective for anyone from someone wanting a better body over time to professional bodybuilders getting ready for a competition.
Why is clean bulking beneficial?
Before learning how to clean bulk, it’s helpful to know what makes it so beneficial. Here are the benefits of clean bulking.
Losing body fat
The main benefit of a clean bulk is losing body fat. Every person has a different reason for having more body fat than they want.
I actually started my first clean bulk after going from a skinny person to someone who hit the weights and the fast at the same time. Sure, I gained muscle. But, after a while, all the processed foods I was eating made it tough for me to notice any changes in my body composition.
A major part of clean bulking is gaining muscle mass. This means you’ll find yourself with more lean muscle at the end of a clean bulking cycle.
Making your muscles even more visible
Achieving muscle growth takes hard work and time. So, it’s always smart to make those muscles as visible as possible. As you learn how to clean bulk and put what you learn to use, you lose excess body fat.
Over time, as your layers of fat get smaller, your strength training pays off even more as your muscles have less fat to hide them beneath your skin.
There are typically two camps of people: those who want their veins popping out and those who couldn’t care less. If you do care about having better vascularity, reducing your body fat can help out in a big way.
If you have too much fat, it’s nearly impossible for the veins near your muscles to be visible. When you understand how to clean bulk, you lower your body fat and your lean muscle mass pops out.
Are there any drawbacks to clean bulking?
Gaining muscle mass and losing weight through clean bulking isn’t for everyone. While it’s a great way to stay in peak physical shape, it can come with a few downsides.
You’re probably going to feel cranky
The human body is amazing, capable of performing incredible feats. However, our bodies can also get a little temperamental.
Whether it’s soda or french fries, indulging in unhealthy foods releases dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that makes you feel happy. Remove your favorite junk food, and your brain might produce less dopamine.
Interestingly, a recent study published in Time suggests that cranky dieters don’t feel that way due to a lack of sugar, carbs, and fat. Instead, this research shows that your newfound sense of self-control is to blame. As you make tough choices about your food, this theory suggests that you have less willpower to control your anger.
After finding out how to clean bulk and starting this process, you could occasionally deal with some cranky times.
Having less energy
Sugar and carbohydrates don’t just make you feel good, but they’re also sources of energy. Unfortunately, they’re also usually the main contributors to high-calorie foods and beverages.
When you’re clean bulking, you’ll lower your intake of sugar and carbohydrates to avoid fat gain. As some people begin a clean bulk cycle, they could notice their normal energy levels drop.
Eating too much creates a calorie surplus, meaning you eat more calories than you burn. Dieting reduces your caloric intake. If you lower your calories too quickly or drastically, you could find yourself feeling extremely tired.
I’m no medical expert or doctor, but I personally use caffeine to give me energy during cutting phases. In moderation, caffeine can help give you the energy that you’d normally get from processed foods or other junk food.
How to clean bulk with these 7 simple tips
If you’re ready to start your lean bulking journey, it’s helpful to get started with some helpful tips. Here are the best tips for how to clean bulk that I personally researched and tried over the past 10 years.
1. Use a calorie tracker
How many calories have you consumed today? Don’t worry if you’re unable to answer this question. Unless you’re dieting, bulking up, or competing, you have no real reason to know this information. It might sound like going overboard, but tracking your calories is an effective way to keep yourself from going into a caloric surplus.
If you have a smartphone, you have everything you need to track your calories. One of the most popular apps for tracking your calories and body fat percentage is MyFitnessPal. A lot of people on Reddit are fans of a free app called LoseIt.
Don’t want to track everything on a smartphone. That’s okay! You can always use a pen and paper, adding your calories manually.
So, what makes tracking your calories so effective? Most people drastically under or overestimate how many calories they consume.
When I was first trying to gain weight, I got fed up with sore muscles that weren’t growing that fast. After downloading a calorie tracking app, I realized my sugar intake was extremely high, and my protein intake was too low.
If you’re not getting the results you want with clean bulking, track your calories.
2. Plan out your clean bulking phase
Life often comes at us out of nowhere. Without a little foresight, your lean bulk could be doomed before it even starts. You can prevent this by making sure your schedule isn’t too hectic before you start a clean bulk.
For instance, let’s say you want to start a clean bulk in September or October. Then, you realize Thanksgiving and other holidays are right around the corner. Holidays with lots of carbohydrate-filled meals.
A little planning means you’re free to pig out on vacations, holidays, and life’s other events.
3. Take something for more energy
As mentioned earlier, it takes energy to build muscle. Whether you call it lean bulking or clean bulking, this process typically lowers your sugar and carb intake. This lack of carbs and sugar results in you having less energy.
Whether it’s a coffee or a caffeine pill, a bit of caffeine can give you the energy you need. That’s why many popular weight training supplements contain caffeine.
4. Enjoy a cheat day
On your journey to lower your body weight, I don’t recommend being hard on yourself. One way to reward yourself during a diet is to enjoy a cheat day.
Having a cheat day breaks up the monotony that diets often cause. Trust me—one cheat day won’t outdo an exercise program and six days of dieting. Occasional cheat days also prevent you from stopping your diet altogether.
Of course, you don’t have to take a cheat day each week. Find the diet rhythm that works best for you and your schedule.
5. Track your weightlifting progression
Another important thing to track is your weight training progress.
Tracking your progress is beneficial because it helps ensure you’re putting forth your maximum effort. Every time you work out, you have a chance to outperform your previous best.
When I first started to gain lean mass, tracking my workout lifts, sets, and reps made a huge difference.
Plus, tracking your workouts helps instill the discipline needed to also track what you’re eating.
6. Find active hobbies
Sometimes, our hobbies have a lot to do with fat gain we don’t want. If you’re not getting the results you want with dieting, consider throwing a few active hobbies into your weekly schedule.
You don’t have to do anything like train for marathons in your downtime. Including a few fun activities in your life can help make losing body weight so much easier.
If you need inspiration, check out these physical activities:
- Dance classes
- Taking a bicycle ride
- Spin classes
- Water aerobics
- Jumping on a trampoline
- Playing basketball
- Going on walks with your pets
- Ice skating
- Disc golf
7. Buy the right foods
In a dirty bulk, empty calories are your best friend. How to clean bulk effectively means making these foods your worst enemies. Having a clean bulking phase go well happens in the grocery store, not the gym.
When it comes to doing clean bulking right, it’s good to look at: calories, grams of protein, and grams of unhealthy fats (saturated fat and trans fat).
Here’s a list of low-calorie foods that are high in protein to help you gain muscle mass:
- Whole grain bread
- Cottage cheese
- Sweet potatoes
- Greens (spinach, kale, collard greens, etc.)
- Kidney beans
One of the most effective ways to drastically change your body composition is by clean bulking. The challenging but rewarding process of clean bulking can lead to a flat stomach and massive muscle gains. I hope this look at how to clean bulk helps you reach your goals.