Don’t be fooled by the dirty bulking diet

Red Deer fitness trainer tells readers what fad diet to avoid

Who wouldn’t love a diet where you can eat as much junk food as you want to reach your fitness goals? No more counting calories, fat grams, or carbs. Fast food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is the way to go.

While this may sound like a ploy, it’s not. Dirty bulking, as it’s known, is an actual diet trick used by bodybuilders in an effort to put on muscle mass fast. It doesn’t sound like a healthy way to build muscle, but does it work? Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of such a stomach-turning diet.

Unfortunately, many bodybuilders have found dirty bulking to be an effective strategy of building muscle. And who wouldn’t want to try such a diet? It’s super easy to eat a lot of calories. Your meals can consist of donuts for breakfast, hamburger and fries for lunch, pizza for dinner, and chips and cookies for snacks. If you’re looking to increase your calorie consumption for muscle gains, it’s a lot harder when you’re eating foods like potatoes, rice, or vegetables.

While nutrition experts cringe at doughnuts and ice cream, eating as much junk food as you want is easier and generally cheaper than other diets. You’re not having to grocery shop or spend as much time in the kitchen preparing your own healthy meals. And now that you’re eating whatever you want and gaining muscle, dirty bulking has turned bulking up fun.

While dirty bulking sounds enticing, don’t be fooled. It certainly doesn’t work for everyone. Instead of bigger biceps, in many cases those extra calories lead to bigger bellies. Calories are a unit of energy, not a measurement of muscle gains. Found in protein, fats, and carbs, some calories turn to fat, others to muscle.

Junk food is bad for you, not just because it can make you fat. It deprives you of valuable nutrients and puts your heart at risk. Too much sugar raises your blood sugar and insulin levels so your body stores more calories as fat, depriving your muscles of valuable nutrients needed for growth.

Eating unhealthy foods for too long can backfire. In the beginning you may see positive results, but you can become addicted to junk food. The wrong kinds of foods leave you feeling tired, moody, and sluggish. After a while you’ll lose your motivation to exercise. In addition, you can only put on so much muscle in a given time. People new to lifting will see greater gains, but as dirty bulking continues, muscle stops being built and fat gain becomes likely.

You need calories to build muscle, but to do it the safe and healthy way you need to eat the right kind of calories. A small amount of junk food contains a lot of calories, so you have to eat more healthy food to get the same number of calories. This is called a clean bulk diet, and it’s what normal people do who want to gain muscle mass without losing motivation to work out.

Do this by eating more healthy foods more often. Try to include healthy, calorie-dense foods such as nuts, tahini, dried fruit, quinoa, dark chocolate, whole grain bread, beans, olive oil, avocados, salmon, and granola in your diet. Prepare your own weight gainer shakes made with protein powders, milk, nut butters, oatmeal, and fruit.

To avoid fat gain, make sure you’re eating a balance of protein, carbs, and fat. A good ration to work towards is 2:3:1 respectively. Eating this way may not provide the fastest muscle gains, but in the long run you’ll end up gaining more lean muscle, and you’ll still have the energy necessary to hit the gym with your trainer.

Think again. The more fast food you eat, the greater your risk for high blood pressure, headaches, acne, insulin resistance, weight gain, high cholesterol, depression, heart attack, stroke, and dental problems.

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and the owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.

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