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The Basics of Bulking for Bodybuilding: Here’s What to Eat (and Not Eat!)

Last Updated on May 14, 2022

Bodybuilding involves weight training which can be a fantastic hobby or a competitive activity that emphasizes muscular strength, size, definition, and proportionality. However, bodybuilding is not just about the body; when pairing it with the right nutrients, this activity can also boost general health and mental wellness.

One crucial phase in bodybuilding is bulking. It refers to consuming more calories than your body normally requires for a specific duration. These extra calories give your body the muscles and fat it needs to increase body mass. It also provides the strength and energy your body needs to perform better in your weight training.

How Many Calories Are Required For Bulking?

It is recommended that you should consume 10% to 20% more calories than your daily calorie needs.

You can use a calorie calculator to determine your daily calorie needs, which takes into account your:

  • Weight
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Height
  • Amount of physical activity

You can manually calculate your daily calorie requirements. Here are the formulas that many nutrition experts use:

  • Men: 66.5 + 13.8 x (body weight in kilograms) + 5 x (body height in cm) / 6.8 x age.
  • Women: 655.1 + 9.6 x (body weight in kilograms) + 1.9 x (body height in cm) / 4.7 x age.

The result of the formula should be multiplied by your physical activity and training factor.

If you know how many calories you need daily, you can easily raise them by 10% to 20% to bulk up effectively.

Always Keep Macronutrients in Mind While Bulking

Because the major purpose of bulking is to build body mass quickly in a certain period, you might assume that the best solution is to eat whatever you want and eat as much as you can. Well, you can bulk that way, but it's not the most efficient or healthiest way to gain excellent body mass. Aside from consistent weight training and physical activity, you still need to pay attention to a healthy diet, healthy calories, and most importantly, macronutrients.


It's essential to know what types of calories to consume when in the bulking phase. There are three essential macronutrients required by your body:

  • Protein: made up of amino acids that essentially create body elements for muscle recovery, healing, and repair. It is necessary for muscle repair and growth by protecting your muscles from wear and tear after weight training and other physical activity.
  • Carbs: provide a crucial source of energy for your brain and body to function. This will provide the energy you need for you to be at your best in your weight training.
  • Fat: known as healthy fat, it is essential in the growth and development of cells, mineral absorption, and also provides energy to the brain and body.

Here are the suggested percentages of total calorie intake for the three key macronutrients that your body requires for healthy and successful bulking:

  • 25-35% protein
  • 40-60% carbohydrate
  • 15-25% fat

Foods That Are High in Protein for Bulking

Focus on high-quality foods to meet your protein requirements. Here are some protein-rich foods that can help you in bulking:

  • Lean Beef: Each 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 22 grams of protein. It not only supplies a healthy protein diet but also essential elements like b12, zinc, and iron.
  • Chicken Breast: A 3-ounce portion of skinless chicken breast contains 27 grams of protein.
  • Salmon: Each 3-ounce serving contains 19 grams of protein and also promotes heart health.
  • Eggs: One large egg contains 6 grams of protein. You can easily add 2 to 3 eggs to your other meal and you're all set.
  • Peanut Butter: 2 tablespoons provide 7 grams of protein, making it ideal for snacks.
  • Dairy foods: 100g of milk contains 3.4 grams of protein, while 1/2 cup of yogurt contains up to 12 grams of protein.

The Power Protein Powder

Adding protein powder to your diet can be a simple method to increase your protein intake. Here are the two most effective protein powders:

  • Whey protein: gives you 17 grams of protein per scoop.
  • Casein protein: gives you 24 grams of protein per scoop.

Foods That Are High in Healthy Fats for Bulking

Healthy fat, also known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats should be included in your diet to bulk up and keep your body healthy.

  • Avocados: A whole fruit provides 81% of calories coming from healthy fat. It also provides antioxidants and vitamin E to help with heart health.
  • Dark chocolate: a tasty snack that contains a lot of healthy fat, about 65% of calories.
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: can be used to make salad dressings with 100% fat calories and anti-inflammatory qualities.
  • Fatty fish: Salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring are examples of fish that have 61% fat calories.

Foods That Are High in Carbohydrates for Bulking

Carbohydrate-rich foods are a vital part of a balanced diet, not simply for providing energy throughout your bulking period.

  • Bagels: Bagels are a strong source of carbohydrates, containing 40-50 grams per meal.
  • Rice Cereal: Two-thirds of a cereal cup provides 65 grams of carbs.
  • Mashed Potatoes: especially sweet potatoes, provide 42 grams of carbohydrates per cup.
  • Rice: Each cup contains 45 grams of carbs.
  • Soda: you can get 26 grams of carbs in one glass of soda.
  • Pasta: Four ounces of pasta offer 90 grams of carbs.
  • Vegetables: excellent source of complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can range from 7 to 9 grams per serving of broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, beets, and carrots.

Food for Thought

One of the most significant parts of bulking is increased calorie consumption. However, exceeding the recommended calorie intake and eating the wrong type of food for bulking will harm you and your goal.

It's critical to remember that macros, the correct food with the right nutrients and calories, are all important in bulking. While you’re focused on calorie consumption, always remember to work hard and continue your training.

The macros and food we discussed in this article will assist you with all you require for your bulking phase and training.


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Hi, I'm Paul. Welcome to my website! I, along with my cronies, are leveraging our years of working in the food industry to review meal and drink delivery services. We review. You eat happily ever after.

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