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Clean bulking, a sustained calorie surplus, has been used by many workout enthusiasts to realize the desired muscle weight gain. While it encourages good eating practices that are good for healthy, its weight gain strategy might be still, and it might also encourage rigidity.

The internet is full of information about losing weight since many people are after this quest in the modern world. However, while weight loss might seem so popularized, many other people are trying to gain weight. Workout enthusiasts such as gymnasts and athletes use different bulking techniques to gain muscle weight, especially in the off-season. Clean bulking is one such strategy through which many gain sustained weight. What is clean bulking, its worst and best foods, its benefits and side backs? Keep peering into this article to get the answer to these questions. `

What is clean bulking?

First things first, let’s explore what clean bulking is before looking at its benefits or drawbacks. It’s a sustained way of increasing one’s calorie intake to realize desired muscle weight. Clean bulking is often coupled with high-intensity resistance exercise, primarily to gain muscles and muscle strength without putting on unnecessary fats. In fact, this approach is defined as a sustained strategy to gaining weight in muscles, while keeping fat mass constant.

In clean bulking, one watches over his calorie intake closely. It typically involves taking more calories than the body burns, but the calorie sources have to be healthy. As such, clean bulking focuses on unprocessed or minimally processed foods to realize weight goals. What’s more, junk and highly processed foods are off the limit in this weight gain strategy.

Clean bulking is not for everyone

Clean bulking is not a weight gain approach that everyone can opt for. This is because its weight gain goals typically take longer to be realized, showing that this strategy calls for patience, but not without promoting good health. As such, specific people in the physical industry, including boxers, mixed martial artists (MMA), fighters, gymnasts, physique and strength athletes, are primarily enthusiastic about it. Besides, the mentioned groups often sign up for clean bulking mostly during the off-season.

How clean bulking differs from dirty bulking

There are basically two bulking categories; clean and dirty bulking. While clean or lean bulking restricts foods one eats, dirty bulking allows one to eat anything and everything he wishes to gain weight. For instance, highly processed and junk foods are off-limits in clean bulking, but they are not restricted in dirty bulking.

Furthermore, clean bulking is healthier than dirty bulking. This is because restricting foods one can take to put in weight in clean bulking encourages whole processed foods that add value to health. Contrastingly, dirty bulking allows foods with additives, flavors, seasonings, and colorings that add more harm than help to health. Nonetheless, dirty bulking helps one realize weight gain faster because of its unrestricted calorie and fat intake. However, this does not come without excessive fat and weight gain, which could also turn out to be a problem.

Best foods/what to eat for clean bulking

Clean bulking restricts the foods you can eat to minimally processed and unprocessed whole foods. As such, your diet might include the following;

Worst foods/ what to limit in clean bulking

While there is a long list of foods to be eaten in clean bulking, you have to avoid or limit several other foods to realize muscle buildup without unnecessarily gaining fats. You might have to avoid or limit;

What are the potential benefits of clean bulking?

When exercised carefully and conservatively, clean bulking can be fruitful. Besides, it’s way better than dirty bulking in several ways. For instance;

  • It supplies the body with many nutrients

The best thing about clean bulking is that it directly benefits the body. Vegetables, fruits, white and brown rice and potatoes, healthy fats, and many other foods in this eating pattern are all healthy. As such, strictly following this approach supplies the body with several vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other health-promoting compounds.

  • It might not lead to unhealthy fat gain

Clean bulking also safeguards against unhealthy fat gain, which is quite damaging to the body since it increases heart disease, cancer, and diabetic risks. Cutting out highly processed and junk foods from its diet, clean bulking safeguards the body against unhealthy fat gain, preventing other detrimental health conditions from setting in.

  • It leads to sustained muscle weight gain

With clean bulking, you gain extra pounds slowly. As such, it is a sustainable way of building lean muscles. This is unlike dirty bulking, which makes one gain weight faster, but not without putting in unnecessary fats.

The potential drawbacks of clean bulking

Despite the health benefits discussed above, clean bulking has a few drawbacks. For instance;

  • Its weight gain approach is still

When signing up for clean bulking, you must remember that this is a sustained approach of calorie surplus. As such, its weight gain goals may take time to be realized. The good news is that checking your weight weekly helps you track your progress and know when to put in more calories.

  • It might seem rigid

Clean bulking may also seem rigid because it encourages a particular way of eating. As such, you are less likely to get used to this particular way of eating. The flip side of this is that what you eat in clean bulking is healthy, benefiting your health more.


Clean bulking is a sustained way of increasing your calorie intake to build muscles. It is mostly followed by workout enthusiasts, especially when they want to develop lean muscles during the off-season. Dive into this article to know the best and worst foods, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of clean bulking.

Ieva Kubiliute is a psychologist and a sex and relationships advisor and a freelance writer. She's also a consultant to several health and wellness brands. While Ieva specialises in covering wellness topics ranging from fitness and nutrition, to mental wellbeing, sex and relationships and health conditions, she has written across a diverse range of lifestyle topics, including beauty and travel. Career highlights so far include: luxury spa-hopping in Spain and joining an £18k-a-year London gym. Someone’s got to do it! When she’s not typing away at her desk—or interviewing experts and case studies, Ieva winds down with yoga, a good movie and great skincare (affordable of course, there’s little she doesn’t know about budget beauty). Things that bring her endless joy: digital detoxes, oat milk lattes and long country walks (and sometimes jogs).

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