When you aim to build strength and enhance lean muscle, a balanced diet full of the best bulking foods to complement your fitness routine is essential. Some foods are better than others for helping to build strength and promote muscle mass. For example, fats are thought to support the production of testosterone, which helps build muscle and strength.
So, if you’ve been wondering, “What foods are best for bulking up?”, read on for a roundup of the best bulking foods for when you’re looking to gain muscle and enhance strength.
How to Bulk Up
If you’ve spent any time in a gym or with professional bodybuilders, you’ve probably heard the phrase “bulking”. It refers to a progressive increase in your daily calorie intake, full of the best bulking foods, in combination with strength training to build strength and muscle.
When you’re looking to bulk up, you need to create a calorie surplus. To build muscle and strength, you need to consume more calories than your body uses, resulting in fat or muscle gain. You need a rigorous strength training program to avoid gaining fat and only build muscle.
11 Best Bulking Foods
So which foods are best for bulking? Keep reading for the best foods to incorporate into a bulking diet.
1. Dairy Products
Many dairy products are excellent protein sources, with many containing calcium and vitamin D, which help support healthy bones and teeth. Try Greek yogurt with fruit as a snack or add cottage cheese as a side dish to any meal.
Eggs are one of the best bulking foods because they contain all the essential amino acids, the building blocks of muscles. Plus, they can be easily digested and utilized by your body.
When choosing beef, it’s crucial to opt for lean cuts as beef can increase the risk of cardiovascular health conditions. Whenever possible, choose grass-fed beef.
An excellent source of protein, chicken is one of the best foods for a bulking diet as just three ounces of chicken can provide up to 26 g of protein.
5. Fish and Seafood
Another great source of protein, fish, and seafood are typically low in fat and great for cardiovascular health.
An excellent source of healthy fats, avocados also contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that contributes to your vision and reproduction, as well as the health of your blood, brain, and skin. In addition, vitamin E supports your immune system. Plus, avocados are packed with healthy calories, helping to build a calorie surplus.
If you’re looking for foods to bulk up, beans are a source of plant protein that is great for your heart. Beans don’t have cholesterol, so they’re also great for cardiovascular health. In addition, they’re packed with nutrients such as:
8. Whole Grains
Regarding carbs, some of the best foods to bulk up are whole grains. These provide the body with complex carbohydrates, which are steady energy sources. In addition, whole grains have high fiber levels and vitamins and minerals that support the body’s processes.
Another excellent carbohydrate source, oats are one of the best bulking foods as they provide energy and create a calorie surplus.
10. Brown Rice
Rice is great for building lean muscle as it provides you with high volumes of carbohydrates per serving, which, as we’ve previously mentioned, is great for a steady release of energy throughout the day. Brown rice also has extra fiber content, which white rice lacks.
11. Olives and Olive Oil
Olives are one of the best bulking foods for building muscle and strength. As well as containing healthy fats, vitamin E, and oleic acid, olives also decrease inflammation.
How Can You Bulk Up Fast?
The foods listed above are very effective in building a bulking diet. Still, it’s important to note that diet alone isn’t enough, and a rota of easy bulking meals should accompany an effective strength training routine. Some easy bulking meals include:
- Poached eggs, salmon, and avocado
- Six-egg omelet with spinach and peppers
- Salmon, salad, and brown rice
- Whole wheat bagel with peanut butter
Everyone is different, but it can take around three weeks to see a noticeable difference. Depending on your diet and strength training regime, you will likely see some results in approximately 12 weeks.
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Is Bulking Up Your Diet Good for You?
There are three main types of bulking: regular, clean, and dirty. While a clean bulk requires more discipline, it involves a diet of healthy foods full of nutrients, and a balanced diet full of a mix of nutrients is generally always good for you.
The main difference between the three types of bulking comes down to the quality of your diet. For example, a lot of high-calorie foods such as candy or desserts are low in minerals and vitamins, so, although these foods will give you calories, they won’t give you much in terms of nutrition.
Regular bulking is the most common choice and a good place to begin; it involves a moderate exercise routine while eating a large amount of healthy food, and largely avoiding foods such as soda, fast foods, and candy, which could be seen as empty calories. In the spectrum of bulking, this is probably in the middle.
Whereas clean bulking is a much stricter diet, as it only includes foods that are nutritious and low in fat. It’s paired with a relatively moderate training program, similar to regular bulking.
Dirty bulking is the opposite to clean bulking, as you’re essentially eating a diet of the most high-calorie foods available to you without too much concern for the nutritional content. Dirty bulking has to be paired with a high-intensity workout routine as otherwise, the high-calorie foods will cause fat gain instead of lean muscle.
A bulking diet can be good for you if you’re underweight or looking to increase your strength. However, if bulking leads to you becoming overweight or obese, you could risk certain health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
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