Dirty Bulk vs Clean Bulk: Which One is Better?

October 27, 2021

Dirty Bulk vs Clean Bulk: Which One is Better?

We hear this a whole lot down at the personal training studio in Richmond, BC – What’s the difference between clean bulking and dirty bulking? The answers are pretty simple – and we’re going to look at those here.

In short, when you choose a mass gaining diet, you’ve got two primary options:  clean bulking versus dirty bulking – but the question is, which one is best? Bulking clean or bulking up dirty?

Bulking up clean, or bulking up dirty?

The initial thing it’s necessary to understand is that in order to put on muscle, you have to gain what’s known as a ‘calorie surplus.’ You do that by taking on more calories than you use up each day. The surplus is what you’ll use to build that muscle. First, you figure out your calorie maintenance level, and then you add some calories on. How you do that depends on whether you clean or dirty bulk, and that’s what we’re about to examine.

Dirty Bulk vs Clean Bulk: Before & After

Dirty Bulking vs Clean Bulking: The Facts

Clean bulking is when you set a relatively small calorie surplus and build muscle slower and in amore controlled way. You’re less likely to gain body fat that way. Dirty bulking, on the other hand, is when you pay less attention to the size of your calorie surplus. You’ll likely build muscle faster this way, but the downside is you’ll also have less control over body fat during the process.

Dirty Bulking: The Pitfalls

Both methods have some drawbacks and advantages. Before you steam in and just start eating as much as possible and working out morning, noon, and night, remember one thing:

Everyone’s body is only capable of building a finite mass of muscle every twenty-four hours – no matter how much you eat. You can’t change that, so it should be a big red flag with dirty bulking because every pound of fat you gain comes with consequences.

Once you’ve considered that, keep in mind that any excess calorie surplus (calories you don’t use up by building muscle) will get stored by your body as fat – and that will rinse and repeat until you stop dirty bulking, not before.

You wouldn’t believe the number of times around gyms in Richmond, BC; I’ve seen guys throw caution to the wind because they just want to gain muscle – and it can really set a lot of people back. In no time, an excessive calorie surplus can see you pile on quite a few pounds, despite your best efforts at working out regularly.

When you get to that stage, there just isn’t any point in continuing with bulking up. It’s time to cut the fat, and that means disrupting your entire schedule and putting your ultimate goals aside – and that’s never a good thing. Dieting is boring; it typically goes on way too long – and let’s face it, that’s not why you head to the personal training studio a few times a week. 

The final thing I’m going to say about dirty bulking is that being heavier than you need to be makes you more sluggish and drains your energy levels – and that’s not exactly great for achieving fitness goals either.

Simply put, a clean-bulking approach leaves you better equipped to reach your fitness targets – and it’s just as easy to do if you come down to the private gym in Richmond, BC and talk to our guys. We’ll set you up with a proper plan that meets your needs and matches who you are, based on your personal calorie requirements and your muscle gain aims – and you’ll feel a lot better for it. So, how does that work?


How a Clean Bulking Diet Works

With the right advice and program, anyone can build lean muscle mass quickly and avoid piling do excess fat. Here at the gym in Richmond, we’ll conduct a thorough assessment of your calorie maintenance needs, and you’ll learn how to start muscle building the right way.

Typically, an excellent place to start working out your bulking calorie requirements is to shoot for around fifteen percent of your calorie maintenance level. For most people, that’s enough excess to make sure they have fuel to maximize their muscle gains without storing a whole lot of fat in the process. If you’re terrified of putting on fat – maybe because you find it hard to burn, then we can help you shoot lower to start with and reassess your progress at regular intervals.


Clean Bulk vs Dirty Bulk: Which is The Best?

Having said that, clean bulking is obviously easier to regulate – and a better choice for the majority of people. You’ll measure calories a lot more and have a far better handle on the type of mass your body gains. The best advice is likely to try and stay as ‘clean’ as your lifestyle, preferences, and schedule allow. Remember that any fat you gain will need to be dealt with later, and that’s going to prevent you from getting on with your fitness goals.

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Written by

Ken Lu

Ken has a Bachelor's Degree of Psychology from the University of British Columbia, specializing in Sport Psychology. As well as being a Certified Personal Trainer, Ken is also a Movement & Mobility Specialist, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He has trained for and won the 2018 NPAA BC Men's Physique Championship.