The ‘dirty’ bulk is dead. It’s an old-school method that we now know doesn’t work and can actually do more harm than good.
Rarely do people who are serious about building a better body fail to train hard enough, but without the proper nutritional approach to adding muscle mass and mitigating body fat accumulation, you’re unlikely to reach your physique-oriented goal.
Dishing the dirt
The conventional ‘dirty’ bulk essentially entailed eating anything and everything in sight, and as much of it as possible, regardless of the quality or the source of food. The idea behind this theory is that by supplying sufficient calories and promoting the release of powerful anabolic hormones such as insulin, you’ll trigger big muscle growth.
While the principle is sound and you’ll certainly pick up impressive weight with this approach to bulking, truth is that past a certain point eating more food will only lead to increased fat mass. This is largely due to the oversupply of processed and simple carbs from the predominantly junk and convenience foods in a ‘dirty’ bulking diet. And there’s also the dangerous effects that an overconsumption of hydrogenated fats can have on your health.
Enter the ‘clean’ bulk
By following a similar method – namely drastically increasing your total food intake – but by paying closer attention to the quality and ratios of the macronutrients you eat, you can add more muscle and limit increasing fat to your frame during a ‘clean’ bulk.
The most important nutrients to do this are protein and carbohydrates (not that fat isn’t important as it plays important roles in anabolic hormone production and regulation).
During a phase of intense training aimed at adding significant muscle we need protein to repair and build tissue, while carbs provide a readily available source of energy to fuel that growth. The trick is to choose the right types of carbs. Natural, complex carbs are always best.
Of course, the process of preparing and eating a high-calorie diet composed primarily of ‘clean’, healthful foods can be time consuming. This is where intelligent supplementation with quality products can add significant value.
Supplement your approach
Modern mass builder supplements acknowledge these facts and deliver a rich and diverse source of proteins to prolong the amino acid ‘trickle’ to recovering muscles throughout the day and night, while also supplying superior quality complex and high molecular-weight carb (HMC) sources.
HMCs are best suited to deliver the calories and energy required to build impressive mass. Molecular weight refers to the mass of one molecule of a substance, which means HMCs are essentially made up of very large, heavy molecules. HMCs, such as Vitargo, are typically made from waxy maize starch and are rapidly digested and absorbed into the blood.
This is important after exercise because consuming carbs at this time blunts cortisol levels, prevents muscle breakdown and raises insulin levels to help promote muscle growth and replenish muscle glycogen levels.
With this clean eating approach to bulking, you’ll keep your body fat percentage in the 12-15% range, which then makes it simpler to ‘cut’ for superior conditioning when the time comes.
Once you’ve reached your mass building goal the challenge facing you is a reduction of body fat to single-digit levels, while holding on to as much muscle as possible.
Obviously the higher your body fat levels are at the start, the longer it will take and more extreme measures will be needed to achieve that lean goal. Which makes it even more likely that you’ll lose some of the hard-earned muscle in the process.
But if you’ve been diligent with your nutrition and followed the ‘clean’ bulk approach, it should just be a matter of reducing your intake of ‘good’ quality natural complex carbs to no more than a few meals per day – ideally after a workout and at one other morning or midday meal – and an increase in protein intake to keep muscle loss in check.
Periodical re-feeds, which can include cheat meals (the healthier option is always best) will also help to keep your metabolism ‘revved’ to assist with continued fat loss and enhance the anabolic process to hang on to, or possibly even add more muscle.