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    Registered User cooledwhip's Avatar
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    Dirty Bulking VS Clean Bulking for Max Gains?

    Hi! I am curious as to which diet style is the absolute best for muscle mass. I've heard so much about dirty bulking, and just as much for clean bulking; I'm not sure which diet to follow for the coming winter months. I have a home gym and I won't be in contact with anybody really, so I figure now is a good time to just get big. I am 160 pounds 5 foot 8 inches and I just want to get bigger, I'm totally fine with putting on fat, so long as my muscles are growing too.

    I've done my own research and I have come to a crossroads with lots of questions. On one youtube channel, Eric Bugenhagen states that if you want to get big and put on mass, you need to eat a little dirty. I get that eating in a surplus is OBVIOUSLY necessary to put on muscle, however, he suggests drinking lots of honey and even cherry juice, LOADED with sugar... I can understand the science behind that, sure the sugars will go to muscle storage and obviously help, right? Or am I wrong?

    I get the other side of the argument too, which is that if you want to put on muscle you need to be in peak metabolic performance. Therefore it's necessary to eat clean, cut out excess fats and sugars that lower testosterone making it harder to put on muscle, make you more sluggish, etc.

    There are so many factors and things I don't know about, I'm not a noob to exercise, however I am a noob at dieting. I'm considering hiring a nutritionalist to just tell me exactly what to eat for my goals. I am in college and I'm on break for the next three months, so I'm setting aside literally three whole months to focus on my physique. Nothing else except minor hobbies and video games. That said, what should I do? I could literally prepare every single meal for the forseeable future, I just don't know if I'd be maxing my gains by eating chicken and rice every single meal. I feel like I get no energy from that and that's a cutting meal.

    Please help. I'm really trying to make changes I just don't know what to do. Thank you!
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    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    When we use the terms "Dirty Bulk" and "Clean/Lean Bulk", we're purely referring to the amount of fat gained in proportion to muscle, it's not specifically about the food choices. And in fact, you don't NEED a surplus to gain muscle under certain conditions, though for lean people a small surplus is beneficial.

    "Clean/Lean Bulking", so long as you're adequately feeding yourself enough calories, protein, and essential fats + micronutrients and training properly, will produce the same gains in the short term and BETTER gains in the long term.

    'Dirty Bulking' will eventually reduce insulin sensitivity and nutrient partitioning once bodyfat gets too high, so you may actually gain LESS muscle.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Gaintaining Mrpb's Avatar
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    The size of your caloric surplus determines how much weight you gain, not the foods you eat.

    To maximise muscle gain all you need to do is gain 1-2 pounds per month while progressively getting stronger on a good training program (and eat enough protein and fat of course).

    Gaining weight faster than that won't speed up muscle tissue gain, it will just mean more fat is gained.

    Originally Posted by cooledwhip View Post
    I get that eating in a surplus is OBVIOUSLY necessary to put on muscle
    It isn't. Gaining muscle while losing fat is possible in caloric deficit.
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    Registered User cooledwhip's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    The size of your caloric surplus determines how much weight you gain, not the foods you eat.

    To maximise muscle gain all you need to do is gain 1-2 pounds per month while progressively getting stronger on a good training program (and eat enough protein and fat of course).

    Gaining weight faster than that won't speed up muscle tissue gain, it will just mean more fat is gained.



    It isn't. Gaining muscle while losing fat is possible in caloric deficit.
    Do you still think I should eat healthier though? I'm worried about hormones and all that stuff, like the user before you commented:

    "'dirty Bulking' will eventually reduce insulin sensitivity and nutrient partitioning once bodyfat gets too high, so you may actually gain LESS muscle."

    For example, I used to eat mcdonalds breakfast everyday, protein shake, get lunch usually from takeout like sushi, workout, then have some dinner. Usually takeout. That was when I had the most successful lifts and I could feel myself putting on muscle and strength; however, I know it's not healthy. Plus I feel I gain more fat that way since I'm eating more unhealthy foods dense in fat and carbs. My TDEE is 2600 calories for maintenance and bulking is 3200 calories. I am aiming to hit that but I just don't know if I should be eating 100% clean foods in order to maximize gains.

    For lunch today I had salmon rice and veggies. If I have a cheeseburger and fries for dinner instead of chicken and rice will I miss out on potential gains?
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    Gaintaining Mrpb's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cooledwhip View Post
    Do you still think I should eat healthier though? I'm worried about hormones and all that stuff, like the user before you commented:

    "'dirty Bulking' will eventually reduce insulin sensitivity and nutrient partitioning once bodyfat gets too high, so you may actually gain LESS muscle."

    For example, I used to eat mcdonalds breakfast everyday, protein shake, get lunch usually from takeout like sushi, workout, then have some dinner. Usually takeout. That was when I had the most successful lifts and I could feel myself putting on muscle and strength; however, I know it's not healthy. Plus I feel I gain more fat that way since I'm eating more unhealthy foods dense in fat and carbs. My TDEE is 2600 calories for maintenance and bulking is 3200 calories. I am aiming to hit that but I just don't know if I should be eating 100% clean foods in order to maximize gains.

    For lunch today I had salmon rice and veggies. If I have a cheeseburger and fries for dinner instead of chicken and rice will I miss out on potential gains?
    600 kcal surplus is too much. Try 300 first.

    You should read the stickies about healthy eating. Start here: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showt...3439001&page=1
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    Dirty bulk 100% of the time ends in regret.
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    Registered User cooledwhip's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SubWooferCooker View Post
    Dirty bulk 100% of the time ends in regret.
    Yeah I figured out a commonground. I'm doing clean bulking and then if I want to eat something unhealthy I'll just eat it. EX. Today's menu:

    Breakfast: oatmeal and greek yogurt, fruit
    Lunch: salmon, rice, veggies, banana preworkout
    postworkout: protein shake and two small slices of pizza
    dinner: prob spaghetti with meat sauce, and some other snacks before I go to bed to get calories in.

    That's not terribly unhealthy right? My idea of clean bulking was literally no pizza or anything remotley unhealthy.
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    Originally Posted by cooledwhip View Post
    Yeah I figured out a commonground. I'm doing clean bulking and then if I want to eat something unhealthy I'll just eat it. EX. Today's menu:

    Breakfast: oatmeal and greek yogurt, fruit
    Lunch: salmon, rice, veggies, banana preworkout
    postworkout: protein shake and two small slices of pizza
    dinner: prob spaghetti with meat sauce, and some other snacks before I go to bed to get calories in.

    That's not terribly unhealthy right? My idea of clean bulking was literally no pizza or anything remotley unhealthy.
    Food choice has little to do with it.
    It's the size of the surplus that will affect how "clean" the bulk is.
    I can cut on pizza every day, hell I basically have for months. /recomp.
    5 day full body crew

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    Registered User Markype's Avatar
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    it depends on your objectives. I did dirty bulk long time ago and I remember having a lot of energy and good performances during big training.

    But the problem is that your body will create more adipocytes to store the fat surplus. Adipocytes are like balloons used to store body fat that fill up and empty themselves. When you have more adipocytes in your body you will swell more easely because your body has a lot of place to store it (adipocytes).

    Adipocytes take A LONG time to disappear, the body get rid of them only if they are not needed for a long time. So after a diet you will need to be very carefull on your caloric intakes for years. Thats basically why its hard to keep your results after a diet.

    If you change your mind in the future and want to have lean muscles your adipocyte surplus will make it very difficult.


    Imo its not worth it.
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    Originally Posted by cooledwhip View Post
    My idea of clean bulking was literally no pizza or anything remotley unhealthy.
    Clean bulking and "healthy" eating are 2 different concepts that you are conflating.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

    Formerly LactoseTolerant. I'm not very imaginative.
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    Registered User cooledwhip's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Markype View Post
    it depends on your objectives. I did dirty bulk long time ago and I remember having a lot of energy and good performances during big training.

    But the problem is that your body will create more adipocytes to store the fat surplus. Adipocytes are like balloons used to store body fat that fill up and empty themselves. When you have more adipocytes in your body you will swell more easely because your body has a lot of place to store it (adipocytes).

    Adipocytes take A LONG time to disappear, the body get rid of them only if they are not needed for a long time. So after a diet you will need to be very carefull on your caloric intakes for years. Thats basically why its hard to keep your results after a diet.

    If you change your mind in the future and want to have lean muscles your adipocyte surplus will make it very difficult.


    Imo its not worth it.
    Yes not only that but I feel I have other health benefits from a healthier diet. More blood flow, More focused, less anxiety, better cardio, when I'm not eating junk every meal. Now obviously I can still have like one meal a day that would be considered unclean, like chicken parm or a burger, but I don't think I can sustain doing mcdonalds breakfast and gainer shakes all the time. Also will eating healthier allow me to eat more food? I feel if I eat burgers and fatty foods my digestion is slow and it fills me up for a long time.
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    Fatter than last time ezra76's Avatar
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    I find it a lot easier to just eat healthy and stay with similar meals each day. My breakfast and lunch hardly ever vary. I can go from a few hundred under to a few hundred over just by eating 3 packets of oatmeal instead of 2 and throwing in 2 tablespoons of peanut butter in the morning, then add an extra protein shake at night and use milk instead of water.


    Greg Doucette has a good vid on youtube. Bulking and Cutting. Great explanation. https://youtu.be/DjEnkzhz5T4
    Last edited by ezra76; 11-22-2020 at 05:25 PM.
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    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ezra76 View Post

    Greg Doucette has a good vid on youtube.
    That dude is so damn annoying... and contradicts himself all the time
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by ezra76 View Post
    I find it a lot easier to just eat healthy and stay with similar meals each day. My breakfast and lunch hardly ever vary. I can go from a few hundred under to a few hundred over just by eating 3 packets of oatmeal instead of 2 and throwing in 2 tablespoons of peanut butter in the morning, then add an extra protein shake at night and use milk instead of water.


    Greg Doucette has a good vid on youtube. Bulking and Cutting. Great explanation.
    My breakfast has been the same for a week or so and it's not bad. Oatmeal fruit and honey. And y ogurt. Lunch is tricky because I'm a student so sometimes I need to get fast food or takeout. I can't make salmon/rice/vegs every day. What do you eat for lunch?

    Also if I have a protein shake before bed I usually gotta pee in the middle of the night, I'm worried I got diabetes. or pre diabetes. I had lab work last week tho and I was fine.
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    A dirty bulk typically involves eating a lot of extra calories from high-calorie foods, including junk foods, to promote quick weight gain. A clean bulk uses a more moderate increase in calories in addition to healthier food choices.
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    Originally Posted by emilbobbycooper View Post
    A dirty bulk typically involves eating a lot of extra calories from high-calorie foods, including junk foods, to promote quick weight gain. A clean bulk uses a more moderate increase in calories in addition to healthier food choices.
    No dirty bulking refers to the size of the surplus, not the food choices.

    Bulking on pizza with a 200 kcal surplus = clean bulking a.k.a. lean bulking.
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    Originally Posted by cooledwhip View Post
    My breakfast has been the same for a week or so and it's not bad. Oatmeal fruit and honey. And y ogurt. Lunch is tricky because I'm a student so sometimes I need to get fast food or takeout. I can't make salmon/rice/vegs every day. What do you eat for lunch?

    Also if I have a protein shake before bed I usually gotta pee in the middle of the night, I'm worried I got diabetes. or pre diabetes. I had lab work last week tho and I was fine.
    Lunch is either tuna or turkey sandwich on oatmeal bread. I also eat about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of almonds during the workday. Breakfast is 2 packets plain oatmeal with blueberries added in and 3 hardboiled eggs. I usually make up enough tuna to have for a few days so only takes 30 seconds to make a sandwich to take with me. It helps to pretty much know right where I'm at when I get home about 3pm going into dinner then something before bed.

    Lately I've been doing big workouts on the weekends. Legs and chest/tris. So I up it a little and go slightly over maint., most of which is my preworkout breakfast then later at dinner. Ideally if I'm trying to go about 300 over on Sat., Sun. then about 200 under M-F.
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    Originally Posted by ezra76 View Post
    Lunch is either tuna or turkey sandwich on oatmeal bread. I also eat about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of almonds during the workday. Breakfast is 2 packets plain oatmeal with blueberries added in and 3 hardboiled eggs. I usually make up enough tuna to have for a few days so only takes 30 seconds to make a sandwich to take with me. It helps to pretty much know right where I'm at when I get home about 3pm going into dinner then something before bed.

    Lately I've been doing big workouts on the weekends. Legs and chest/tris. So I up it a little and go slightly over maint., most of which is my preworkout breakfast then later at dinner. Ideally if I'm trying to go about 300 over on Sat., Sun. then about 200 under M-F.

    Why would you do that?
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    Why would you do that?
    I guess because he's doing big workouts in the weekend. In my opinion it's not a bad idea to eat a bit more on those days.

    For some people it may be too much work, but at age is 44 lean bulking is hard. Being smart about your calories can help.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    I guess because he's doing big workouts in the weekend. In my opinion it's not a bad idea to eat a bit more on those days.

    For some people it may be too much work, but at age is 44 lean bulking is hard. Being smart about your calories can help.
    I would agree more energy burned certainly would warrant more intake, I was just unsure what he meant by 'about 200 under'.

    If the '200 under' means a 200 calorie deficit during the week, that would be counter-productive unless he's cutting... and this thread being about lean bulking it wouldn't seem to match the goal. He'd end up in a weekly deficit... in fact being in a deficit on any day while bulking is kind of a bad idea IMO... unless someone had some kind of crazy binge.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    I would agree more energy burned certainly would warrant more intake, I was just unsure what he meant by 'about 200 under'.

    If the '200 under' means a 200 calorie deficit during the week, that would be counter-productive unless he's cutting... and this thread being about lean bulking it wouldn't seem to match the goal. He'd end up in a weekly deficit... in fact being in a deficit on any day while bulking is kind of a bad idea IMO... unless someone had some kind of crazy binge.
    Good point, if it's an actual deficit it would not be a good idea.
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    I think the overall easiest option here is to do a slight calorie surplus with mostly healthy foods. I can't do straight healthy foods every single meal. I'm 21 lol. I think I can have one cheat meal a day.

    Today's breakdown
    Breakfast: two scoops oatmeal with blueberries
    Snack 1: banana and protein shake
    Lunch: cheeseburger and fries
    Snack 2/Preworkout: banana and 2 dates,
    Snack 3/Postworkout: some filet mignon and protein shake
    Dinner: pasta with meat sauce

    That's good right? Not too bad?
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    Originally Posted by cooledwhip View Post
    I think the overall easiest option here is to do a slight calorie surplus with mostly healthy foods. I can't do straight healthy foods every single meal. I'm 21 lol. I think I can have one cheat meal a day.

    Today's breakdown
    Breakfast: two scoops oatmeal with blueberries
    Snack 1: banana and protein shake
    Lunch: cheeseburger and fries
    Snack 2/Preworkout: banana and 2 dates,
    Snack 3/Postworkout: some filet mignon and protein shake
    Dinner: pasta with meat sauce

    That's good right? Not too bad?
    You didn't list calories or macros

    You indicated no vegetables

    You didn't show real measurements... just random terms, etc.

    Nobody is going to recommend burgers and fries every day... but it's your body.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Not a single thing was learned.
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    Not a single thing was learned.
    I guess my assumption of the term clean eating or dirty bulking meant the food content and not the calories... FOOD CONTENT wise, the food is relatively healthy right?

    I'm not concerned with macros bc I already know with that diet I definitly hit my macros for bulking. I was just looking at if the day was horribly unhealthy or something
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    Originally Posted by cooledwhip View Post
    I'm not concerned with macros bc I already know with that diet I definitly hit my macros for bulking. I was just looking at if the day was horribly unhealthy or something
    Does not follow from thread title.
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    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    Does not follow from thread title.
    What??

    You dont need to be a dick.
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    Originally Posted by cooledwhip View Post
    I think the overall easiest option here is to do a slight calorie surplus with mostly healthy foods. I can't do straight healthy foods every single meal. I'm 21 lol. I think I can have one cheat meal a day.

    Today's breakdown
    Breakfast: two scoops oatmeal with blueberries
    Snack 1: banana and protein shake
    Lunch: cheeseburger and fries
    Snack 2/Preworkout: banana and 2 dates,
    Snack 3/Postworkout: some filet mignon and protein shake
    Dinner: pasta with meat sauce

    That's good right? Not too bad?
    Your diet lacks fiber and several micronutrients.

    Eating red meat three times a day is a bad idea.

    Ideal vegetable and fruit intake is over 500 gram combined.

    Read the stickies please.
    Last edited by Mrpb; 11-23-2020 at 11:48 PM.
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    Originally Posted by cooledwhip View Post
    What??

    You dont need to be a dick.
    Pointing out how you contradict yourself is not being a dick.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

    Formerly LactoseTolerant. I'm not very imaginative.
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    Why would you do that?
    I'm starting back to lifting so making gains quickly. I can still gain on a small deficit. I've gone from 191 to 188 in last 8 weeks. Bench went up from 135-185, deads 305-350 but like I said I'm starting back after years off.

    I've seen a lot of info out there about doing a zig-zag approach so trying to basically add the extra carbs for the big workouts and then end up with a small deficit for the total week.

    I know this is a thread about bulking but OP was asking so just letting him know what I'm doing and why. I'm more recomping than anything, trying to take advantage of the muscle memory gains without gaining more fat. Goal is to get a 10/10 flip by spring. 10lbs. muscle back, 10lbs. bodyfat off. If I hit a sticking point I'll most likely do a real cut to 14-15%.
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