Clean Bulking

Supplements for bodybuilders

Clean Bulking Guide

Clean Bulking Guide

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
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