When browsing the pages of any fitness mag or online bodybuilding forum, you would think that bulking or gaining mass is an almost impossible challenge.
This is because most bulking diets and guides on such media often entail the taking of expensive meals or supplements or both.
Thus, many people usually end up getting discouraged and not taking any action at all because not everyone has hundreds of dollars to spend every month on expensive bulking meals and supplements.
As a guy who has participated in and won several bodybuilding challenges on a tight budget, I know how difficult it is to bulk on the cheap.
I also know that many guys do not have time for trial and error with multiple bulking meal plans.
This is why I have written this post.
It is a bulking diet guide based on research and my years of experience.
It is different from other bulking meal plans because it is proven (I have used it successfully several times before).
And because it is doable even when on bodybuilding on a budget. (Check these affordable best mass gainer brands)
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a doctor. The plan is based largely on research and my experience.
Why you need a bulking diet plan?
The objective of bulking is to get big.
In more specific terms, it is to develop a powerful muscular physique.
In most cases, a bulking phase is often followed by a cutting phase so as to sculpt the body into a more lean looking powerful build.
The bulking phase often lasts for a couple of months.
It entails adapting (1) a protein and calorie-rich diet and lifting heavy weights to significantly increase muscle mass.
As many successful bodybuilders say, big bodies are built in the kitchen.
However, many people tend to focus on lifting heavy but forget to change their diets. The results are not often pleasant.
Also, many of those who decide to change their diets, often just simply increase the quantity of food they consume daily.
This is also wrong and usually does not bring the best results.
The best way to bulk is to come up with a diet plan.
A balanced, protein & calorie-rich bulking diet plan like the one I am going to show you. Because without such a plan you are unlikely to get the best results.
How much you need to eat to get big
Download any calorie tracking application and use it to find out how many calories you eat daily. This will likely entail weighing yourself several times a week.
If your weight remains roughly the same, which is often the case, the calories you consume daily are your body’s maintenance calories.
To bulk, you need to increase your maintenance caloric intake by fifteen percent. (2)
In other words, you will generally need to eat more food than you are currently eating if your weight is constant.
What foods do you need to eat to bulk?
As mentioned earlier, if you do not plan your diet, you probably won’t like the results.
It is a given that you need to eat more to bulk. However, eating more of everything will not give you that powerful muscular physique.
To get such a physique, you need to plan your diet in such a way that out of your total increased caloric intake:
- 30 to 35 percent of the calories you consume come from protein (2 above)
- 55 to 60 percent come from carbohydrates
- 15 to 20 percent come from fat
Getting your calories in the above macronutrient ratio will provide your body with sufficient proteins for bulking.
The ratio above works best for most people but not all.
So consult your nutritionist if necessary.
Your bulking diet: what you need to eat and what not to eat
Now to the meat and potatoes of this guide: what to eat and what not to eat.
Buy most of the stuff below in bulk, if possible, to save on costs. Also, visit discount stores to get the foods on the cheap.
- Protein: The best protein sources are meats, fish, and poultry. So make sure you include the likes of tilapia, chicken breasts, venison, pork, steak, and ground beef in your diet. Cheaper sources of protein include beans and legumes such as kidney beans and chickpeas.
- Dairy: This is an important food group. The likes of low-fat milk and yoghurt are also good sources of protein.
- Grains: Rice, quinoa, oatmeal, cereal, and bread are good sources of carbs and should be in your meal plan.
- Fruits: Fruits such as berries, watermelon, pears, grapes, bananas, apples, and oranges are important sources of vitamins, minerals, energy, and other nutrients. They shouldn’t miss out.
- Vegetables: You may not like veggies but you need to include them for optimal health and bulking. The best ones include green beans, tomatoes, salad greens, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and zucchini.
- Starchy vegetables: The likes of cassava, corn, and potatoes are good energy sources.
- Nuts and seeds: Groundnuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds are important for a well-balanced diets. They provide nutrients not found in many other foods.
Since you will be eating five meals a day to meet your increased caloric intake, having such a wide variety of foods to consume will ensure your meals do not get repetitive and boring.
Generally avoid taking alcohol as it will hinder your efforts to considerably increase your muscle mass. (3)
Also avoid foods with added sugars such as sodas, cakes, and cookies, and deep fried foods such as onion rings and french fries.
These foods promote inflammation and lead to lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
Sample bulking meal plan
Now that I have covered the basics and you generally know what you should be going for, below is a weekly meal plan to help you achieve you get big.
The plan includes as many different types of meals as possible to make it exciting for those of you who choose to follow it.
Each meal contains between twenty to thirty grams of protein, which is enough to support maximum muscle growth. (4)
You can also take protein or mineral supplements if you want to, to ensure even more muscle growth especially if you won’t be taking snacks in between the meals.
Sample bulking meals plan for beginners
Breakfast: Avocado toast with omelettes
Lunch: Turkey meatballs and pasta
Supper: Pork tenderloin with some green beans and roasted potatoes
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with healthy cereals
Lunch: Ground beef and white rice plus broccoli
Supper: Pan-fried salmon, asparagus, and quinoa.
Breakfast: Coffee, pancakes, and raspberries
Lunch: Steak, spinach salad, and sweet potatoes
Supper: Pasta with turkey meat
Breakfast: Pork sausage and bacon with roasted potatoes
Lunch: Turkey and rice with gravy
Supper: Brown rice with tilapia and kale leaves
Breakfast: Coffee and cheese sandwiches
Lunch: Baked potatoes with chicken breasts and broccoli
Supper: Fried chicken, brown rice, peas, and apples
Breakfast: Greek Yogurt Oatmeal Bowl
Lunch: Black beans, tilapia fillets, and veggies
Supper: Ground beef with brown rice, corn, and green peas
Breakfast: salsa and scrambled egg sandwiches
Lunch: Baked potatoes with tuna
Supper: Rice beef, with cheese, bell peppers and green beans
Snacks should include yoghurt, low-fat milk, apples, bread sandwiches, mixed nuts, almonds, dark chocolate, boiled corn, toast, apple chips, walnut and honey, baked sweet potato chips, banana ice cream, homemade smoothies, and protein shakes and they should between breakfast and lunch and lunch and supper.
Bulking successfully takes a lot of effort and a lot of food. Just increasing the amount of food you eat daily is not going to help you bulk the right way.
You increased caloric intake needs to be protein-rich. You must include more protein in your bulking meals diet. Because it is protein that is needed to build the muscles mass you want to gain.
But even as you add protein to your diet, you must still get your calories from other sources to stay healthy. So ensuring that your diet is protein rich but well balanced is the key to bulking.
Of course, you must also train hard to build your muscles.
Use my bulking weekly meal plan above to start on the journey to building a significant muscle mass.