Supplements for bodybuilders

Clean Bulking Guide

Key Points

Learn how to clean bulk: what it is, who should do it, and what you should eat

 

Clean bulking is often utilized by athletes who desire to stay relatively lean in the off-season. This approach isn’t for everyone, as its associated weight gain tends to occur slower than it does with other bulking methods. Let’s take a look at what clean bulking is and how to do it properly.

What is Clean Bulking?

Bulking is a sustained calorie surplus (you eat more calories than you burn) which leads to weight gain in the form of muscle or fat. This eating strategy is combined with high-intensity resistance training to boost muscle and strength gains.

The Goal

The goal of the bulking phase is to gain as much muscle growth as possible with minimal fat gain. Since you’re on a higher calorie diet, you will still increase total body weight and gain some fat.  Many people intend to gain more total body weight to build muscle. 

You can monitor your gains with an InBody Composition analysis at Nutrition Nation. 

Important Factors to Consider When Gaining Weight

To progressively gain weight you must be eating in a calorie surplus—consuming more calories than you burn each day. By doing this your body is able to replenish lost nutrients and still have leftover energy to store, which translates to weight gain. 

Consider the following important factors in determining your total daily expenditure: 

  • Basal metabolic rate
  • Activity level
  • Exercise
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Height

These allow you to calculate your total daily expenditure unique to the amount of energy your body burns.

If you end up burning more calories than you consume, your body composition may improve, but it is likely you will lose weight and not gain much muscle mass.

Don’t get caught up in the idea of “the more I eat, the more muscle I will gain.” If you have this mentality, you will end up increasing your body fat percentage. 

Choosing the Right Foods to Eat

You should look for healthy foods that are high in calories vs. junk food. Consuming unhealthy foods to help you put on weight faster is not your best option. Making healthier choices supplies the body with essential nutrients necessary for optimal health. 

Choosing the Right Foods to Eat

 

You can also add bulking supplements from Nutrition Nations — we’ll help you find the right one for your body.

Healthy Fats

Start by incorporating healthy fat (unsaturated fat) sources high in calories but also provide essential nutrients. Avoid trans fat.

You can find healthy fats in:

  • Nuts and peanut butter
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Cheese

Complex Carbs

Complex carbs take longer to digest. They don’t cause immediate (or drastic) blood sugar effects like simple carbs. When eating carbs, opt for a complex carbohydrate:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Whole grain bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Granola 

Lean Protein

For lean bulk protein sources, try to stick to mainly lean meat or lean plant-based options. Don’t be afraid to eat red meat either. For your macros, aim for 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. About 35% of your calories each day should come from proteins like:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean beef
  • Seafood
  • Lentils

Achieve Balance

Achieving a clean bulk is all about balance. Incorporating healthy foods will significantly boost results long term. 

 

By Leslie Radford

How To Read Nutrition Labels

How To Read Nutrition Labels

Packaged Foods
Packaging Terms and What They Mean

It’s not realistic that we eat only fresh, natural, organic foods and completely avoid processed or packaged food options. Sometimes we have to eat things out of a box so we need to learn how to read the information on nutrition labels to determine which processed options are better than others.

Packaged Foods

Nutritional labels on packaged foods allow you to compare the calorie, fat, trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar content, as well as learn the ingredients in any given food. Knowing this information, you can make the most accurate decision about which foods are appropriate for your dietary needs.

Look for plain ingredients. The harder it is to pronounce, the more likely you shouldn’t consume it.

Some packaged food will even say “organic,” “ natural,” or “no artificial ingredients” but many people don’t know what the difference is, so they end up buying the wrong products, for their personal dietary needs.

Packaging Terms and What They Mean

3 Essential Stability Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

3 Essential Stability Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

Developing Core Strength

Engaging Core Exercises:

  • The Bird Dog

  • Supine Toe Taps

  • Single-Legged Deadlift

Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen to work together better. Developing core muscles protects the spine, reduces back pain, enhances movement patterns, and improves balance, stability, and posture. Aside from situps and pushups, however, core exercises are often neglected.

Weak core muscles can lead to more fatigue, less endurance, and injuries, as well as giving you poor posture, lower back pain, and an increase in muscle injuries.

Developing Core Strength

While there are many methods and pieces of equipment for developing core strength, there are various exercises that require only bodyweight or basic equipment. The most important thing to remember when training the core is to perform each exercise with awareness so that the core is actually braced or engaged instead of using momentum like some weight training exercises.

Engaging Core Exercises

The following exercises will help strengthen your core and give you different ways to work those muscles other than standard push-ups and sit-ups. Beginner modifications are also noted.

The Bird Dog

Equipment: Dome; none

How to: Position the right knee on the center of the dome and place both hands on the floor underneath the shoulders. Extend the left leg behind you to hip height; keep the foot flexed. Raise the right arm to shoulder height with your thumb facing the ceiling. Hold for 20 seconds. Switch sides. Repeat until fatigued.

Modification: Perform the exercise on the floor without a dome.

Equipment: None

How to: Lie on your back and place your arms by your sides. Engage the abdominals and draw the navel toward your spine. Lift the knees to 90 degrees. On a two-count, lower your right foot to touch the floor, and then on a two-count, return it back to 90 degrees. Perform the same movement with your left leg and continue to alternate tapping the right and then the left foot onto the floor. Perform 10 reps on each leg.

Modification: Keep your feet on the floor, and slide your heel on the floor/mat, alternating legs.

Supine Toe Taps

Single-Legged Deadlift

Equipment: Dumbbells

How to: Hold a set of dumbbells and stand tall with feet hip-distance apart. Lift the right foot off the floor; hinge the pelvis to glide over the top of the left leg. The head and the foot should counterbalance each other. The lowest hanging point should be when the body is parallel to the floor. Keep the pelvis as neutral as possible. Complete 12 repetitions on each leg.

Modification: Perform the exercise without dumbbells or complete a deadlift with both feet on the floor.

The Importance of Getting a Body Composition Test

The Importance of Getting a Body Composition Test

If you want to learn what you need to do to shed those extra pounds, build lean muscle, or even what nutrients your body may need more of, you’ll want to take a body composition test.

What is a Body Composition Test?

A body composition analysis is essential to completely understanding your health. It breaks down your body into four components: fat, lean body mass, minerals, and body water; and can provide insights into how to change your lifestyle, exercise plan, or healthcare practices.

With a body composition test, we can provide an individualized health plan that best fits your goals and personal needs. Not only will it help you become healthier, but it can reduce the risk of deadly diseases and health issues.

Health Benefits Associated with Measuring Body Composition

We all want the ability to burn more calories and build muscle to significantly reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues. When you have a plan, you can increase your range of motion, movement, and function, and have more energy.

Improve Your Overall Body Composition

With the results of the body scan, you can make simple changes in your daily lifestyle. Suggestions that might be made to you are: Increasing your physical activity by participating in resistance exercises that will help you improve your muscle to fat ratio, incorporating cardiovascular exercises combined with healthy eating, and we may suggest supplements to ensure you’re receiving all the nutrients your body needs to improve your overall body composition.

What to Expect from a Body Composition Scan?

Our evaluation only takes a few minutes. We’ll create a plan with you to make sure you meet your health goals.

Learning more about your body will help you make educated decisions when it comes to your physical fitness and nutritional health.

What is BMI and to Use it

What is BMI and to Use it

While it doesn’t calculate fat percentage, the Body Mass Index is an indicator if you are overweight and could be subject to health issues. Unless you are a muscular athlete or a child, the BMI is a standard tool for accessing health risks. Body mass index is a way of describing height and weight in one number that can help tell if someone’s weight is healthy or not.

Why it Matters

The higher your BMI, the higher the risk of developing a range of conditions linked with excess weight, including:

  • diabetes
  • arthritis

  • liver disease

  • several types of cancer (such as those of the breast, colon, and prostate)

  • high blood pressure (hypertension)

  • high cholesterol

  • sleep apnea

  • heart disease

  • stroke

  • high blood pressure

  • gallbladder disease

  • premature death

  • osteoarthritis and joint disease

Why it May Not Matter

It’s important to recognize that BMI itself does not measure your health or physiological state that indicates the presence (or absence) of disease. It simply measures your size. Plenty of people have a high or low BMI and are healthy and plenty of people with a normal BMI are unhealthy.

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