Can Dirty Bulking Really Enhance Your Bodybuilding Strength Gains?

This method of bulking up may not be as effective as you thought.

The thought of looking huge is on every bodybuilders’ mind. Look good, feel great, lift huge weight, and show off an absolutely massive physique for all to envy. But this requires more than we may actually know and finding the secret weapon to this increase in mass is on the forefront of all our minds. Through supplements, a solid dietary routine, and of course, an efficient workout schedule, we can start to get on board the gain train. But if that isn’t enough, then we seek other means: bulking.

When it comes to bulking, there are two types: clean and dirty bulking. To start, bulking in general is simply the body putting on weight or mass and whether this be clean or dirty bulking, the words ‘calorie surplus’ are important. All this means is you are consuming more calories than actually burning off. For most people, this is to put on more muscle so that shredded aesthetic starts to pop, or for those who struggle with gaining weight, this can be a way for them to do so. While clean bulking seems like the obvious choice for your bulking wants and needs, we all have a sweet tooth and less meal prep time means eating whatever you want.

Let’s take a look at dirty bulking and see what this does for your bodybuilding gains. While it may seem like a decent way to boost your muscle and physique, you may find it is quite the opposite, something you don’t want or need. With the alternative of clean bulking on the table, let’s explore these two and see just what this bulking craze is all about.

What Is Clean Bulking?
Clean bulking may seem self explanatory but it is worth sharing anyway for us to know exactly what we’re dealing with. For those who wish to embark on a clean bulking journey, your diet will consist of what we see as clean foods, meaning anything from lean meats and fish, fruits, vegetables, and those grains with healthy forms of carbs. You will tightly watch your caloric intake as you look to slowly overtime boost that number on the scale. The key with clean bulking is that you will avoid sugar and other processed foods as these will negatively effect the muscle you begin to put on (1).

Quick Pros & Cons
Clean bulking is a safe and effective way of bulking that works to keep you healthy overall. You will put on lean muscle and work to avoid fat gain, especially by avoiding sugar and processed foods. A downside is it is restrictive and that sweet tooth will have to be suppressed. For bodybuilders or those looking to bulk effectively, this is a great option.

What About Dirty Bulking?
When it comes to dirty bulking, here’s where things get interesting. Unlike clean bulking where you are controlling the quality of food entering your body, dirty bulking looks to focus on the quantity of any food you put in your body. With more of a focus on high-calorie food, and less so on the nutrients you actually take, you look less to the ratio of macronutrients and more to the overall calorie count that your body is consuming. This leads to rapid weight gain that is paired with exercise, but what you find is the quality of foods severely reduced as opposed to something like clean bulking (2).

Dirty Bulking & Effects On Bodybuilding
For what it’s worth, the option between dirty and clean bulking is a preference, for you know your body and your metabolism. But what you’ll find with dirty bulking is that you will start to increase weight as a result of added fat and potentially lose, or at least not put on, that muscle mass you seek the most.

Muscle mass and strength aside, your health will be affected, as the quality of food you take in has real consequences on how your body operates. Physically and mentally, the food we eat allows us to focus, work hard in the gym, have energy for our personal lives, and make us feel good all-around. So while dirty bulking may seem like a fun and easy way to pack on weight and potential muscle, think about the repercussions both inside and outside the gym when looking to bulk.

Your Best Bet
Based off of all this, if you are a serious bodybuilder looking to bulk up, it would be wise to look into clean bulking and see how to do this form as effectively as possible. With good, clean food coupled with a great workout routine, the choices for you to grow and increase in strength and size are endless. If you choose to go the dirty bulking route, that is your choice and one you should look into, just make sure you know exactly how to counteract the junk you may be putting into your body. As said before, the choices and forms of dieting and bulking are personal and everyone is different as these forms work differently for everyone. Consider your options, look into what will work for you, and give it a try. Maybe some trial and error will work to clarify some of it.

Wrap Up
For those looking to bulk, there are two forms of bulking that one can try: dirty and clean bulking. While the differences may seem to contradict each other, every way to diet or bulk works differently for everyone. Clean bulking is pumping yourself with clean food and remaining on a strict diet in order to effectively target growth and tone a stellar physique. Dirty bulking is putting quantity over quality in efforts to gain as much weight as possible. While the health effects of these matter, look into both and see which you prefer. The results may differ, but at least then you’ll know which is best for your bodybuilding gains.


References:
Tipton, K. D.; Wolfe, R. R. (2001). “Exercise, protein metabolism, and muscle growth”.
Lambert, Charles P.; Frank, Laura L.; Evans, William J. (2004). “Macronutrient considerations for the sport of bodybuilding”.