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A Bodybuilder’s Off Season Clean Bulking Diet

Muscle Coach Diet Plans

At Muscle Coach we recognise that one size does not fit all. Therefore we have formulated multiple variations of each diet depending on your weight and preference with meal frequency. Typically people will get better results with higher meal frequency especially when bulking. However you can still get good results even if you are restricted to just three food meals each day as long as you supplement properly.

Click on the link to the diet plan that best suits your weight and the number of meals you want to eat each day!

Save a copy of your PDF diet plan and share it with your friends!

Introduction to Clean Bulking

If you have had any experience with gym training and diet you’ll know that building muscle requires a huge emphasis on eating enough food to grow. However finding the balance between optimal nutrition for muscle growth while minimising fat gains is the challenging part. For most people, when they first start training, their body’s build muscle relatively quite quickly and therefore they are able to benefit from using more of a “see-food diet”. However as you become more advanced and get past the stage of easy beginner gains you will realise that building muscle requires you to become much more intentional with your diet.

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Bulking is essential for anyone who wants to maximise their muscle gains and achieve their potential in bodybuilding. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will ever get impressive gains in size and strength without pushing your body fat percentage above single digits. That being said however, when clean bulking is done properly it is reasonable to be able to expect to keep your body fat percentage around 12-14%. Obviously the more disciplined you are the leaner you will stay through your bulking phase.

Clean Bulking Tips
  • Slowly increase your calorie intake
  • Constantly measure your body fat
  • Measure your food portions
  • There’s no such thing as a cheat day on a clean bulk
  • Always plan your bulking time period

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Slowly Increase Your Calorie Intake

When people think about the idea of bulking and cutting typically they imagine that there are two ideal diets out there that they need to alternate every 3-6 months of the year. Whilst this is true to an extent you will get much better results with your bulking phase if you slowly increase your calorie intake rather than switching backwards and forwards from a bulking and cutting diet that differ by about 1500 calories. By having a steady calorie increase while bulking you will allow your body’s metabolism to adjust and therefore you will gain less fat. Furthermore this gives you more potential to monitor your progress. When you eventually reach a point in you bulk where you are no longer increasing muscle size and strength but still gaining fat you know your bulking has reached a peak. The best way to steadily increase your calorie intake is to increase your carb intake by a consistent amount every week. For example the average person would do this by increasing rice/pasta/bread carb intake by about 35g carbs each week. This is equal to about 120 calories every week and would work out to be a total increase of almost 1500 calories over 12 weeks. You can adjust these amounts depending on the time length of your bulking.

Constantly Measure Your Body Fat

By slowly increasing your calorie intake and also regularly having your body fat measured you will be able to discern when you have reached the peak of your bulk. If you do not slowly phase in calories and you do not monitor your body fat it will be very difficult to know whether you are eating enough, gaining muscle or just gaining fat. The optimal body fat for muscle building is about 10-15%. Anywhere above or below this range is going to result in slower muscle gains.

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Measure Your Food Portions

Measuring your food portion is essential for anyone who takes their training seriously. When clean bulking the difference of just about 200-300 calories can be what tips you over the balance of optimal muscle/fat gain during a bulk. This means weighing oats, chicken, rice and even counting almonds as you eat them.

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There’s No Such Thing as a Cheat Day on a Clean Bulk

Unfortunately there is no such thing as a cheat day on a clean bulking diet. The best way to understand why this is so is based on this premises; when clean bulking your diet is the most important component, when cutting your training is the most important component. This may seem a little counter intuitive but there is a logical reasoning for this.

When you are bulking you will always have the ability to build more muscle and strength from your training even if you miss a couple of sessions in a week. This is because your body is well fuelled and you can easily recover strength loss from missing sessions. However if you relax your diet and eat cheat meals when clean bulking it will result in extra fat gain which you will not have the opportunity to decrease until you finish your bulking cycle. The aim of bulking is to add as much muscle mass as possible before you reach a certain fat percentage.

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On the other hand when you are cutting if you miss training sessions and lose strength or size you will find it extremely difficult if not impossible to recover that ground until you start increasing your calories and bulking again. Finally when you are cutting if you have a cheat meal you may slow down your fat loss progress but it certainly will not affect your size and strength in the gym and therefore you will always have more opportunity to continue to decrease fat on your cutting cycle, it will just take you longer to reach your goal. The aim of cutting is to maintain as much muscle mass and strength as possible while you reach a certain fat percentage.

Obviously diet and training are essential components of any fitness goal but different areas will require more discipline depending on whether you are in a bulking or cutting phase.

Always Plan Your Bulking Time Period

The temptation that many people who start going to the gym fall into is the endless bulking phase. This is where people are constantly bulking and trying to add as much mass to their body as possible and typically have all year round high body fat percentages. There is a name for people who do this, it’s called being fat. Whenever you start a bulking phase you need to be deliberate which means sticking to a predetermined time frame which may be a certain number of weeks or a specific percentage of body fat. As has been mentioned previously in this article there are no muscle building benefits once over 15% body fat so anything higher than this is just a lack of discipline. Besides who wants to be the guy that is always going to the gym, constantly obsessing over food but never looks in shape?

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