How to Add Muscle and Minimize Fat: The Clean Bulk
Diet is 80% of fat loss and some form of training is the other 20%.
#1 EAT THE RIGHT NUMBER OF CALORIES
For the clean bulk, no matter what, you need to hit your calories. But you don’t need a huge calorie surplus to bulk. Instead, use a moderate surplus so you’re not gaining too much fat.
Start with this rule of thumb to find your target number: 16 times your bodyweight in pounds. Once you find your calories, correctly distribute them.
#2 GET YOUR MACRONUTRIENTS RIGHT
Start with the protein calculation first. Protein is the building block that drives your muscle growth; if you want to gain size, you need to eat the optimal amount. Target 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Then, calculate your fats. Keep the fats constant at 25% of your calories. Protein and fat stays constant — it’s the carbs that go up or down.
Thus, use carbohydrates to fill your remaining calories. Emphasize carbs because that’s the fuel for anaerobic activity. It provides the energy for peak performance and acts as a buffer to prevent the body from burning protein as reserve fuel.
For example, here’s the macronutrient breakdown for a 180-pound male:
Calories: 16 x 180 = 2880 calories
Protein: 1 x 180 = 720 calories (180g of protein)
Fat: 0.25 x 2880 = 720 calories (80g of fat)
Carbs: 2880–720–720 = 1440 calories (360g of carbs)
#3 YOUR DIET SHOULD CONSIST OF HEALTHY, WHOLE FOODS
Some bulks say that you can eat whatever you want as long as you hit your macronutrients, BUT BEWARE OF THOSE DIETS!
If you care about health, you still have to make good food choices. If you’re eating the right calories — whether it’s Pop-Tarts or rice — it might not matter in the short-term, but check back in a year from now, two years, or even ten. Things like insulin sensitivity, nutrient partitioning in the muscle cells, cholesterol levels, and overall health degrade over time.
For your bulk (and your blood tests), eat meat, veggies, healthy fats, and good starches like potatoes and rice. Also, avoid foods laced with refined oils. You’ll end up in a higher calorie surplus than you need, because you don’t account for it in your food.
#4 DON’T BE AFRAID TO EAT AT NIGHT
Eating good carbs, proteins, and fats at night maximizes your muscle-building hormones. It will also calm your blood sugar and prevents insulin spikes and crashes. Now, you’ll avoid falling asleep in your mid-afternoon meetings. And combined with a great workout, it’ll boost your insulin sensitivity to optimize your fat burn throughout the day.
#5 CHECK YOUR BODY EVERY 3–4 WEEKS
Check your body fat and circumference measurements every few weeks to see if you clean bulked correctly. If you lost weight or stayed the same, carefully add more calories. If you gained extra fat, however, gently reduce your calories. This is how you pinpoint your clean bulk.
#6 POST-WORKOUT DRINK
Slam a shake with some carbs and proteins after your workout — not to build muscle, but to stop muscle destruction. After a workout, your body is in a depleted state. Your body will fuel the brain and get blood sugar somehow and one of the backup mechanisms is to breakdown protein and amino acids.
By enjoying a post-workout drink, you’ll limit this process and your body will shift toward an anabolic (muscle-building) environment faster.
After your workout, your muscle-building window lasts 48 hours — that’s 2 entire days to wolf clean, nutritious foods and grow solid muscle without fat.