T Nation

Bulking: How Clean is Clean Enough ?


#1

About 18moths ago I was 275lbs at 23bfp, worked to get down to 230 at 9bfp. To drop the weight I ate very clean and became quite accustomed to eating as such. Now I'm looking to add mass and have started a bulk. I'm taking in 4100cals daily 40/35/25 split.

Most every meal is oatmeal, brown rice, turkey, tuna, egg whites, chicken breast or ground beef. I'm not interested in becoming fat again so eating clean seems to be the best way. My question really is how strict do I have to be? Would it really be horrible if I ate a couple slices of pizza twice a week? I have no problem continuing to eat close to perfectly but am I over doing it when during a bulk some pizza and brownies can help. I know when next summer comes and I'm looking to lean out I'll have to go back to being stricter again.


#2

Rule of thumb is 90% clean.


#3

i don’t know if it’s generally applicable but i usually get them dirty foods in after a workout, since (presumably) your body will be able to more efficiently use the pizza/brownies/burgers/fries/etc you eat. perhaps that’s not entirely correct but i do it a few times a week and i haven’t put on much body fat while maintaining a good level of leanness at 6’, 180 lbs. i’m certainly nowhere near as big as you though op


#4

Thanks for the input. I know I’m probably overthinking it but since I’m inexperienced At this I’m so concerned I’m screwing up. When considering macros/calories do you count your cheat meals? If a macro goes under requirement during a bulk which should it be? Carb?


#5

Iifym


#6

If you really will be satisfied with only a couple slices of pizza or a couple brownies, then just fit those into your target macros dude! Not even a cheat, just a part of your everyday diet :slight_smile:


#7

I’m skeptical about you being 230 at 9 percent and asking this.


#8

If it’s just sugar (brownie) how do you monitor that in your macros. Also hard for me to u understand white carbs being the same as whole wheat and or oatmeal.

You can be skeptical all you want. I may have been up near 10-11 in my avatar


#9

[quote]Sheed3K wrote:
If it’s just sugar (brownie) how do you monitor that in your macros. Also hard for me to u understand white carbs being the same as whole wheat and or oatmeal. [/quote]

If you have an occasional brownie just think of it as a cheat and don’t stress about it.

Nutritionally, yeah, there’s a world of difference between shite carbs and carbs from healthy sources, but in terms of body composition it doesn’t really make much difference.


#10

I would start off with clean carb-loads once or twice a week such as bananas and double portions of rice/sweetpotatoes and then evaluate. Adding a karbolyn or waxy maize type carb to your preworkout also something to consider.


#11

The real thing about eating “clean” (and that term can be argued in its own thread -lol), is that it takes more clean selections to really add up when aiming for certain macro #s each day. If you’re someone who has difficulty getting food in, then definitely adjust your selections accordingly. ie. Oatmeal is pretty filling for ~30 carbs, but a Poptart goes down no problem.

Some people will argue that their performance is hindered if they rely on too many poor choices in terms of general health, not macros. Others can eat choices that might be considered outright “junk” and do just fine.

At the end of the day, at least for me, it’s all a balance of satiety. I like eating, and am usually hungry. If I were to rely on too great a % of my intake from poor choices, I’d have a very difficult time staying within a reasonable caloric range each day.

Also, “Bulking”… if someone’s plan is just try and force feed as much weight gain as quickly as they can, then eat crap. But if you’re trying to intelligently support the relative slow process of synthesizing new muscle tissue over a period of time, and you’re already maintaining your current stats, then you just need to keep a decent balance. The already mentioned “90% rule” is a pretty good approach, and allows most people to keep their sanity without overanalyzing everything.

I like to keep a plan Mon-Fri and then allow for some laxity on the weekends.

S


#12

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
The real thing about eating “clean” (and that term can be argued in its own thread -lol), is that it takes more clean selections to really add up when aiming for certain macro #s each day. If you’re someone who has difficulty getting food in, then definitely adjust your selections accordingly. ie. Oatmeal is pretty filling for ~30 calories, but a Poptart goes down no problem.

Some people will argue that their performance is hindered if they rely on too many poor choices in terms of general health, not macros. Others can eat choices that might be considered outright “junk” and do just fine.

At the end of the day, at least for me, it’s all a balance of satiety. I like eating, and am usually hungry. If I were to rely on too great a % of my intake from poor choices, I’d have a very difficult time staying within a reasonable caloric range each day.

Also, “Bulking”… if someone’s plan is just try and force feed as much weight gain as quickly as they can, then eat crap. But if you’re trying to intelligently support the relative slow process of synthesizing new muscle tissue over a period of time, and you’re already maintaining your current stats, then you just need to keep a decent balance. The already mentioned “90% rule” is a pretty good approach, and allows most people to keep their sanity without overanalyzing everything.

I like to keep a plan Mon-Fri and then allow for some laxity on the weekends.

S[/quote]

Very helpful. Thanks so much


#13

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
I like to keep a plan Mon-Fri and then allow for some laxity on the weekends.
[/quote]

That’s my attitude as well. At the weekend I make sure to keep the protein up but I let the carbs and things just take care of themselves.

There was an old poster on here who said something that really resonated with me. He said that if you’re eating 40 meals a week, and 35 of them are healthy, you’ll be fine.


#14

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:
I’m skeptical about you being 230 at 9 percent and asking this.[/quote]

I didn’t want to be the jerk that brought it up, but, yeah.

According to OP’s calculations he managed to lose 45 pounds of pure body fat with no loss in lean tissue.

OP is the greatest dieter of all time if that is the case.


#15

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:
I’m skeptical about you being 230 at 9 percent and asking this.[/quote]

I didn’t want to be the jerk that brought it up, but, yeah.

According to OP’s calculations he managed to lose 45 pounds of pure body fat with no loss in lean tissue.

OP is the greatest dieter of all time if that is the case.[/quote]

All stats such as that are to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Google “Lazar Angelov”. That’s what average height and 200lbs at single digit bodyfat looks like.

I doubt the OP has 30lbs more muscle than he does…


#16

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:
I’m skeptical about you being 230 at 9 percent and asking this.[/quote]

I didn’t want to be the jerk that brought it up, but, yeah.

According to OP’s calculations he managed to lose 45 pounds of pure body fat with no loss in lean tissue.

OP is the greatest dieter of all time if that is the case.[/quote]

Listen Im not claiming to be the best dieter of all time, but thanks for the compliments. Im sure the caliper tests could have been off, especially in the beginning when I was over 20%. I had 2 different people do it when I was at my leanest and they both said I was btw 8-9%. If they were wrong so be it. That really wasnt the reason for my post to begin with. Being 6’4" losing 50lbs isnt the same as if I was 5’10". The pic below was when I started and was at my heaviest, followed by a loss of about 15lbs. The avatar pic was a few weeks ago


#17

[quote]Sheed3K wrote:

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:
I’m skeptical about you being 230 at 9 percent and asking this.[/quote]

I didn’t want to be the jerk that brought it up, but, yeah.

According to OP’s calculations he managed to lose 45 pounds of pure body fat with no loss in lean tissue.

OP is the greatest dieter of all time if that is the case.[/quote]

Listen Im not claiming to be the best dieter of all time, but thanks for the compliments. Im sure the caliper tests could have been off, especially in the beginning when I was over 20%. I had 2 different people do it when I was at my leanest and they both said I was btw 8-9%. If they were wrong so be it. That really wasnt the reason for my post to begin with. Being 6’4" losing 50lbs isnt the same as if I was 5’10". The pic below was when I started and was at my heaviest, followed by a loss of about 15lbs. The avatar pic was a few weeks ago[/quote]

That’s fair. Your transformation is impressive, no doubt, I shouldn’t have cast such a negative tone. I just think it’s important to have a realistic assessment of where you are when planning macros if you’re about to begin a bulk. 230 pounds at 9% is way, way bigger and leaner than most people realize.


#18

full disclosure this pic was around the time I got measured at my leanest ~9%


#19

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]Sheed3K wrote:

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:
I’m skeptical about you being 230 at 9 percent and asking this.[/quote]

I didn’t want to be the jerk that brought it up, but, yeah.

According to OP’s calculations he managed to lose 45 pounds of pure body fat with no loss in lean tissue.

OP is the greatest dieter of all time if that is the case.[/quote]

Listen Im not claiming to be the best dieter of all time, but thanks for the compliments. Im sure the caliper tests could have been off, especially in the beginning when I was over 20%. I had 2 different people do it when I was at my leanest and they both said I was btw 8-9%. If they were wrong so be it. That really wasnt the reason for my post to begin with. Being 6’4" losing 50lbs isnt the same as if I was 5’10". The pic below was when I started and was at my heaviest, followed by a loss of about 15lbs. The avatar pic was a few weeks ago[/quote]

That’s fair. Your transformation is impressive, no doubt, I shouldn’t have cast such a negative tone. I just think it’s important to have a realistic assessment of where you are when planning macros if you’re about to begin a bulk. 230 pounds at 9% is way, way bigger and leaner than most people realize.[/quote]

No worries, actually made me realize that I hadnt lost much good weight. I was always a big guy albeit a bit fat, but losing so much weight and constantly being told how skinny I look wasnt what I was hoping for. This is the exact reason Im now starting a bulk. The fact that most of the weight I lost was fat makes me optimistic I can add more muscle. Being such a noob at this its easy to lose confidence in what you are doing and the questioning of the legitimacy of my results definitely made me feel good about it. Must be doing something right if people arent sure its possible.


#20

[quote]Sheed3K wrote:
The fact that most of the weight I lost was fat makes me optimistic I can add more muscle…Must be doing something right if people arent sure its possible. [/quote]

I think you misinterpreted where I was going with that, so let’s try again. You have had an impressive transformation, no doubt. But I strongly suggest that you compare the above picture of yourself to a couple other pictures of men > 200 pounds with < 9 % body fat and ask yourself, realistically, if you think that is your true body fat percentage.

I’m not trying to rain on your parade for the sake of negativity, just trying to give you a more realistic assessment of your current level of leanness. I, too, have been delusional about my BF percentage in the past, once telling myself that I was about 10% at 195 pounds and just needed to cut a teensy bit to look totally ripped, when I was probably more like 20% in real life.