Dirty bulking is a mass-gaining strategy that has been touted by celebrities and fitness influencers worldwide. Naturally, a diet consisting of endless junk food appeals to many, but is dirty bulking effective? And if so, how long should you dirty bulk for?
The idea that dirty bulking is a practical, sustainable way to gain muscle is a myth propagated by dishonest marketing techniques. It won’t lead to significantly more significant gains than clean bulks. Dirty bulking will ultimately only make you fatter, affect your hormones and increase insulin resistance.
Despite being touted by many fitness professionals, Dirty bulking will not help you reach your goal of building a large, lean physique and will actually be counterproductive. However, that doesn’t mean that the concept of increasing your caloric intake to gain mass is false. There are just smarter ways to do it. Read on to find out more.
What Is Dirty Bulking?
Dirty bulking, as it’s commonly understood, is the concept of eating junk food like pizzas, burgers, fries, etc. all the time to gain weight, as opposed to clean bulking, where you basically just eat chicken, broccoli, and rice, keeping everything clean and targeting healthy, low fat, protein, andiron-rich foods exclusively.
Both dieting strategies can be thought of as ways to leverage your diet to build muscle and strength. However, a more accurate (and technical) way to understand it would be to think about dirty bulking and clean bulking as a way to get a caloric surplus in your diet.
Dirty bulking can be referred to as a diet with a caloric surplus of greater than 500 calories above your maintenance caloric intake (i.e. the number of calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight. Clean bulking refers to a moderate caloric surplus of 5-10%, which roughly equals a caloric surplus of approximately 250 calories, depending on your weight.
Therefore, you will still be able to clean bulk and eat the food you enjoy as long as you stay at this moderate surplus.
Should You Dirty Bulk? Is It Worth It?
Simply put, dirty bulking is not worth it. You’re expecting to put on a lot of mass, but between 40% and 60% of all of your weight gains will be fat due to the simple carbohydrates and the processed nature of junk foods.
So, while you may be making gains in muscle, you’ll be able to make much more in fat, which will be far harder to cut down after your body has put it on. You may think that you’ll be able to work off all of the gains from dirty bulking efficiently, but this is not true, and the extended cut-down period means that it will not be worth it.
And, even if you have a fast metabolism and your abs are intact, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re healthy. But perhaps the most significant issue it creates is the healthy habits that you’ll pick up. And bad eating habits are hard to break.
How Long Should You Dirty Bulk For?
Even though dirty bulking is a bad idea, it is also okay to do so with balance. Yes, you can enjoy your junk food, but you will still need to take in some of the healthy stuff, and you need to monitor your weight changes religiously.
Dirty bulking – or, more accurately, having a caloric surplus in your diet – will take at least two weeks, just for preparation, and you can carry out a regimen over as long as three months for a single sprint to gain mass.
To prepare for your bulking period, you need to start logging your food intake for anywhere between a fortnight and a month, keeping track of your weight, and stepping on the scale weekly. After your monitoring period, take note of how many calories you consume daily, on average, for each week.
As you go through the process, you can either lose weight, gain weight or your weight will remain the same.
If you’re losing weight, you need to increase your calorie intake. Start with a small 100 calorie per day increase and monitor weight changes for another week. If you’re still losing weight, add another 100 calories and continue to do so until you’re gaining between one and one-and-a-half pounds (0.45kg-0.68kg) per week.
If you’re losing more than a pound per week, consider adding 200 calories to your diet per day.
If your weight remains the same, you are taking in enough calories to meet your metabolic needs. Increase your intake slightly by 100 calories per day, and if you gain more than 1.5lbs per week, you can cut back your intake by 50 calories per day.
Finally, if you’re gaining weight, you’ll be happy to know that you’re exceeding your metabolic needs, and your body will convert that into mass. However, you are still going to want to hit that sweet spot of gaining 1-1.5lbs per week and if you exceed that, cut back by between 50 and 100 calories per day until you find that equilibrium.
Why is 1-1.5lbs per week the ideal rate at which to gain weight? Because if you’re gaining more weight than that, you’ll be gaining significantly more fat than muscle. So, you may pick up 30lbs over three months, but 40-60% of it will be fat, which is not good aesthetically and in terms of your health.
And gaining all that weight but still having the task of losing 15lbs once you’re done is going to take a lot more effort than it’s worth. So, if you’re going to do some dirty bulking, the best way to do it is slowly but surely and by consistently tracking your process.
Is Clean Bulking Better Than Dirty Bulking?
So, if dirty bulking is so bad for you, what about clean bulking?
A clean bulking diet plan is similar to dirty bulking but emphasizes nutrient-dense, whole foods rather than heavily processed foods with empty calories. These nutrients have better potential to supply your body with more nutrients than dirty bulking would.
A smaller, tightly controlled calorie surplus, as opposed to the larger, “flexible” calories surplus for accelerated mass gain from a dirty bulk-up, allows you to build muscle at a more gradual pace while minimizing gains in body fat.
Although people’s bodies are different, and, for some people, a dirty bulk may actually work out, it is not a proven approach to gaining muscle quickly, and, despite what you may hear, it will ultimately set you back on your journey towards reaching your fitness goals.
While you might gain a lot of weight, that weight will primarily be fat rather than muscle. For that ripped aesthetic, you will be moving further away from what you want. Don’t believe the myth that it’s possible to go crazy and eat anything you like and that there won’t be tremendous downsides for your physique, your health, and your fitness.
Often, when something is too good to be true, it usually is. And, when it comes to dirty bulking, it’s naive to think that your body can engage in absolute gluttony and retain a healthy shape.
- Dirty Bulking: Why It’s a Waste of Time | YouTube
- Should I Dirty Bulk? | The PROPER Way to Bulk | YouTube
- Dirty Bulk (My Experience) | Was It Worth It?!? | YouTube
- Dirty Bulking: Why You Need To Know The Dirty Truth! | Bodybuilding.com
- Should I dirty bulk to gain muscle mass quicker? | Quora
- Bodybuilding: Which one do you prefer, clean bulk or dirty bulk? Why? | Quora