Clean bulking is something that I advocate for all skinny guys.
I know, you just want to pack on the mass and weight, fast. I was once in your situation too. But there is a right and wrong way to do it.
It is just more sensible and safer.
What is Clean Bulking?
Essentially, clean bulking is about gaining muscle mass steadily, with the aim of minimizing fat gains.
Note though: it is impossible not to gain any fats while trying to build muscles
You can expect to put on 1.5-5lbs of pure muscles per month, depending on your genes, conditioning and nutrition etc, though it is generally 1.5-2.5lbs for most people.
The keys of clean bulking:
- Nutrition (most important)
1. Eating above your calorie needs
The first rule of clean bulking is to eat just above your calorie maintenance levels, you could start off with 250 calories, and adjust accordingly.
The number of calories really depends on your body, lifestyle, and tons of other variables so tracking and adjusting is essential, but that’s for part 3.
To start off, you could calculate your daily calorie needs at this link.
2. Eating the correct macronutrients
Proteins are the must have to build lean muscles, whereas carbohydrates provide fuel for your body.
Carbohydrates are measured in terms of their glycemic index (GI).
Higher GI carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed by your body faster.
This will trigger the release of insulin, which will store excess carbohydrates into fats. But if you consume just the “right” amount of carbohydrates, or your diet constitutes lower GI carbohydrates, insulin can help you gain muscles.
In fact, insulin is one of the most anabolic hormones, but of course this is a simplistic statement if we don’t take into account other variables such as glycemic load and the insulin index.
If you want to learn more about how to manipulate insulin to gain muscle while minimizing fat gain, do consider joining my free inner circle, where I share more advanced content with my members.
Anyways, it is better to consume lower GI carbs or complex carbs, which will maintain a steady flow of carbs for your body, rather than a massive rush followed by a ‘crash’ which is often the case with high GI meals.
As for fats, they are important as well! They are required for hormone synthesis and form an important part of cell membranes and the central nervous system.
There’s a lot more to macronutrients, to find out more, check out the ectomorph diet article.
Remember to take in sufficient quantities of water as well! There have so many benefits: hydrate, better performance, health, flush out metabolic waste, fat metabolism, etc.
Not to forget, supplements can go a long way in accelerating your progress and make your task easier.
But don’t over rely on them, which most guys do! And don’t get caught up in all the marketing hype by the supplement companies.
Here is a list of the types of muscle building supplements that really work.
Before I sum up this section on nutrition, I must share that the one thing that changed my life (with respect to health & fitness) is learning how to cook.
It helped me control my cost while making nutrition planning so much more effective and easier.
My secret was using the Anabolic Cooking Program by Dave Ruel, do check it out if you’re interested.
You must be thinking, to minimize fat gains while clean bulking, I should do cardio right?
Yes and no.
Yes, because you should incorporate at least 1 session of cardio into your week for fat loss.
But note that because you are eating slightly above your calorie maintenance levels, it’s better to do cardio in moderation/keep it minimal, so as to not waste your calories.
Again, I cannot prescribe a specific number, and that’s why you have to track.
This is essential, because everyone’s bodies are different and react differently.
As such, there is no exact or ballpark number of calories you should take above your calorie maintenance levels.
In fact, you may even have been counting them wrongly!
The other reason, is because as you put on weight, your calorie needs will change.
And finally, tracking allows you to spot any plateaus early.
So remember to track your weight and the number of calories you consume!
Articles in This Section (Ectomorph Nutrition):
- Ectomorph Diet Guidelines: start here. If you only have time for one article, this is it.
- Metabolic Rate & Calorie Count: it’s simple, eat more calories than you spend. But too much more = fats; too litte = no gains. Answer: Count it.
- What to eat to gain weight healthily: incorporate as many of these foods into your ectomorph diet
- What not to eat to gain weight healthily: avoid these if you are serious about healthy weight gain
- When to eat to gain weight: learn to leverage the 4 phases for maximum muscle and weight gain
- Traditional bulking: the traditional bodybuilder tactic that I do not recommend