Guys and gals, gym rats and gym divas – We have some news: Winter is coming. The long days of summer have passed and the cold is ever so slowly creeping in. With less than a month till the official start of Fall, the shirtless beach days and warm summer nights will soon be fading like the tans you worked so hard to get. While the days may be getting darker, there shouldn’t be anything depressing about the back half of the year – it’s bulking season!
Time for anabolic bulk beards, oversized hoodies and sweatpants 24/7! Oh, did we mention the food part, too? Caloric surpluses never sounded so good! Before you shove everything in sight down the hatch, though, take a second to think about the food you are putting in your body. What are your offseason goals? What type of bulk will you be doing – dirty or clean? Dive in with us and take a look at our top 5 foods for bulking this offseason, as well as some tips on how to not over do it.
First things first, you need to come up with a timeline and goal weight for your bulk. “Just getting huge” is a great way to set yourself up for disappointment. As the saying goes, “A goal without a plan is just a dream.” The more you plan out your bulk, the better your results are going to be. Start by finding your BMR and slowly add calories until you start seeing an increase in your body weight.
Manipulating where the calories come from (Protein, Carbs, or Fats) will likely determine the type of bulk you are doing. For those who don’t care about how much body fat they put on, typically called a dirty bulk, you can bet fast foods, whole pizzas and other unhealthy foods are on the menu. If you can cut fat quickly and are committed to a good amount of cardio post bulk, this could be a good option for you. For those who have a more difficult time cutting fat, a “clean bulk” revolved around lower fat meals is probably a better option. For our purposes here, we are going to highlight foods that are likely to be consumed in a “clean bulk”.
Chicken is one of the best bangs for your buck when it comes to protein and essential amino acids. The breast meat of a chicken is one of the leanest meats you can consume, it’s very easy to prepare in a variety of styles and flavors, and it will last all week if you prep and keep it refrigerated. There’s a reason why it’s a staple in almost all bodybuilder’s diets.
Fish is another great source of calories that is high in protein as well as Omega 3 fatty acids. Although it may be a little higher when it comes to fat content compared to chicken, the benefits of eating salmon are worth it. From helping to reduce inflammation to improving insulin sensitivity, salmon, as well as other fish, are a great fuel source to add to your meal plan a few times a week.
Not only are oats one of the simplest meals you could possibly make, but they also serve as an excellent source of energy for your body. Oats are a complex carbohydrate, meaning they still have their nutritional value as opposed to simple carbs which have been mostly stripped of their beneficial properties. Furthermore, because we are now bulking, carbs are your best friend. While they are not the “building block of muscle”, they provide you with the fuel to have a workout that is high in volume and intensity. Looking for a quality source of oats? Check out our Custom Oatmeal Generator and design a unique mix with everything YOU want! From chopped almonds to chocolate chips, we’ve got it all. PLUS, the nutrition label will automatically update as you add what you want, making tracking even easier!
Keep the hearty meals comin’! Red meats are packed full of protein and, well, let’s face it, nothing beats a nice, juicy steak (apologies to any of our vegan or vegetarian friends)! One benefit that steak holds over chicken is its caloric density. Steak has just under 100 more calories per 100 grams than chicken, but it typically costs slightly more. These calories come from all three macro nutrients, so make sure you are tracking! If you aren’t able to squeeze in the time to spoil yourself and grill up a solid piece of meat, check out our Grass Fed Beef Protein Powder. This supplement has 29 grams of protein per serving and an amazing amino acid profile. Check it out HERE.
Hands down, white rice is one of best sources of carbs you can consume. In just one cup, you get about 44g of carbs and 204 calories. From spiking insulin to providing energy, the benefits of white rice can and should be utilized both on and off times of bulking. Additionally, if you can boil water, you can make rice. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
Vegan / Vegetarian Options
For those who stick to a vegan or vegetarian diet, don’t fret! Bulking is still totally possible! True Nutrition has you covered with a huge selection of plant based proteins and supplements that serve as convenient and effective ways to get your calories in. From our top shelf Pea Protein Isolate to our vegan Creatine, you are 100% supported on your quest to put on size!
Although these foods might be on your menu during times of maintenance and even cutting, the macro nutrient breakdown and total amount of calories are the important parts to pay attention to. Slightly manipulating the mix may or may not have effects on your body – a great part of this sport is that everyone is different. Everyone’s body reacts uniquely to changes and it is up to you to test and see what works. Remember to go slow and be patient!
Our bodies are not computers that react immediately – stay in tune with how you feel, your energy levels, your strength, even your mental state. If a change affects you in a negative way, revert it, and remember, the mission to learn about ourselves never ends. Stay positive and stay hungry!
Yours in health,