Over the past 20 years there has been a massive shift from dirty to clean bulking and the ‘See-Food Diet’ in many bodybuilding circles is a thing of the past.
Dirty bulking does boosts your calories quickly but it also increases your waist line, blood pressure, risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and additional pressure on your joints. Bearing this in mind, many bodybuilders now tend to follow a ‘clean’ bulking nutrition plan and there has also been a shift in their mind set.
The clean bulking approach
Primarily this positive shift has been attributed to the bodybuilder trying to stay lean for the majority of the year – instead for just being primed for competition. The clean bulk equates to eating a healthier range of foods, paying attention to what and when you are eating and not just the total number of calories that are being consumed.
This means that your off-season bodyweight does stay close to their ideal weight. Clean bulking (read more about how to bulk effectively here) ensures that tightening up is far easier especially when you don’t have to shift 10 pounds of additional body fat.
To eat clean when bulking up you need to prepare the foods yourself and knowing what foods to buy and cook is half the battle.
Here are 9 foods that you must eat to accomplish a clean and healthy bulk:
When bulking up around 30% of your calories should be derived from protein, as this will ensure that your body is getting plenty amino acids for muscle growth.
Fresh caught wild salmon is a great alternative to chicken and tinned tuna. Captive breed salmon is full of pesticides and is fed with soy and corn.
Fresh caught salmon just the way nature intended is a very tasty protein source that is high in omega-3.
Interestingly omega -3 help to fight the inflammation caused by training and will aid joint pain when your training intensifies.
Grass Fed Lean Beef
Ensure that the beef is from grass fed cattle as it has higher amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin E, magnesium and omega-3.
Choose cuts of meat labelled loin and cut away any fats before cooking. This strategy will give you a high quality source of protein with the right amount of calories. Grass fed lean beef is a natural source of creatine.
Quinoa is the daddy of all food sources; especially when compared to traditional carbs. Quinoa is a seed and not a grain. One small cup of quinoa contains 240 calories, 10 grams of protein, more zinc and almost three times as much fibre as brown rice.
Quinoa is a complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids to build muscle and it also a slow releasing carb which enables you to sustain your energy levels for longer when training.
It takes about 15 minutes to cook and next time you go the supermarket put this bad boy at the top of your shopping list.
Avocados have a unique blend of nutritional content that make them perfect for building lean muscle mass.
Avocados contain over 20 different vital nutrients, 275 calories, 9 grams of fibre and over 10 grams of the right fats- mono-saturated. Mono-saturated fats can help to shift fat away from your mid-section and this will give you a leaner look especially in the bulk phase of your program.
They also aid with the absorption of carotenoids which are needed for cell growth and a healthy immune function.
Lentils are jammed packed with fibre, protein and slow digesting carbs. One small cup of lentils contains about 250 calories, 20 grams of protein and 15 grams of fibre.
They are a great add on with other foods, take about 15 minutes to cook and why not spice it up with some chilli powder. Chilli powder contains capsaicin which is an excellent fat burner!
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family which are high in antioxidants and help to reduce estrogen levels in the body.
It contains 2 unique compounds (Indole-3-carbinol & D glucaric acid) which block estrogen’s ability to work on your target tissues within the body and this helps to minimise its negative impact on building muscle.
A small handful of almonds contain around 150 calories and about 5-6 grams of protein.
They also contain high level of vitamin E which is very effective at mopping up the free radicals caused by resistance training. Combine this with high levels of vitamin B which is an important catalyst for energy metabolism; then these bad boys should be near the top of your shopping list.
The nutritional compounds that are found in beets can improve performance and enhance vasodilation.
Research has shown that beets can improve performance, reduce your perceived level of exertion and this function allows the muscle to perform more work at a higher given intensity. This elicits greater muscle gains, which is caused by increased mitochondrial activity within the muscle allowing the muscle to work harder.
Coconut milk is the magic bullet for building muscle and it can be added to many foods to boost their calorific content without feeling full. They are also full of medium chain triglycerides which are absorbed and digested ready to be used as energy during your work outs.
Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is very versatile and it can be added to many foods such as salads etc. It is full of healthy fats and polyphenols.
Polyphenols help to reduce the oxidative stress caused by a high intensity resistance work out.