Why You Should Never “Dirty Bulk”
Dirty bulk is vaguely defined as building muscle aggressively without any caring about how much fat you’ll gain along the way. Some people do it. And others prefer “lean bulking”, which means gaining muscle mass with minimal fat gain. I’m against dirty bulking. In my opinion, if you’re a bodybuilder, your goals are always to build or maintain as much muscle mass as possible while losing or maintaining as little fat as possible. It’s just that when you’re bulking, building muscle mass takes top priority and when you’re cutting, you focus on losing fat. However, you never totally abandon a goal while focusing on the other.
The main reason I’m against dirty bulking is because I think it’s an excuse to be lazy and unproductive. I’ve seen many guys who went through a bulking phase, gained 5kg then go through a cutting phase and lost 5kg. However, they look exactly the same after both phases. Why? Because they just focused on bodyweight. They didn’t focus on differentiating between muscle mass and fat mass. It is quite possible that they gained 2.5kg of muscle and 2.5kg of fat during bulking and lost 2.5kg of fat and 2.5kg of muscle when they cut!
Second reason why I’m against dirty bulking is because it disregards the importance of partitioning and nutrient utilization. Whenever you’re cutting or bulking, you should always try to make your body absorb and utilize all the nutrients you’re taking, especially carbohydrates. Everyone has a love-hate relationship when carbohydrates. It has the ability to give you more strength and better performance. Or it can make you fat. If you want to build muscle, consuming loads of calories and carbohydrates is just half of the battle. Making sure your body converts them into glycogen storage instead of fat is the other half. This is in fact, the “secret” to building maximum muscle mass while staying lean or even losing fat at the same time.
Lastly, I would like to dispel the myth that dirty bulking builds more muscle than lean bulking. If you focus on nutrient partitioning, you’re basically putting the right amount of nutrients in your body and making your body make full use of it. On the other hand, if you’re dirty bulking, you’re just fitting in excess amounts of nutrients in your body and HOPING your body will use them. That won’t give you better results. That will just make you fat! And if you’re a competitive bodybuilder, that just means a longer and more torturous contest prep.
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