Bulking Meal Plan

Bulking Meal Plan

A complete bulking meal plan to help you smash your plateaus.

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For some people, the struggle to bulk up can be as tough, if not tougher, than trimming down. Genetics, activity, training program, lifestyle and diet choices all contribute to your ability to build muscle. Genetics are largely out of our control so let’s take that out of the equation and focus on optimizing the genetic situation that you have been handed. A bulking meal plan is a perfect way to go about this. You don’t need to ‘dirty bulk’ to pack on size, there is a better way to do things.

As listed below, there are several important factors to consider when you’re trying to pack on size:

  1. Energy balance
  2. Protein intake
  3. Appetite
  4. Recovery

Energy balance

The ability to grow muscle is dependant on being in a caloric surplus. Beginners may possess an ability to build muscle in a deficit, though it will be short-lived and more experienced trainers should always be aiming for a small-medium caloric surplus. Building muscle is NEVER a priority for your body. And as such it will always spend the energy you take in on the processes that keep you alive before spending it on body-optimization adaptations such as muscle building. This is the same reason you cannot perform as well when you don’t eat, your body automatically slows you down to preserve energy for the things that contribute to survival.

Therefore you have to ensure that you are, without a doubt, in a calorie surplus. If your weight is currently stagnant I would first suggest calculating your current daily calories and increasing your total by 200-400. 2-3 weeks into your bulking meal plan, check for any weight change and reassess whether to increase, maintain or reduce your energy intake. It’s not a matter of just trying ‘dirty bulking’, and eating as much as you possibly can. We have to make sure we’re taking in the right amount of energy, versus the energy we are spending.

Some of our weekly meal prep recipes.

Save time, save money & get results with one of the world’s fastest growing fitness apps, The Clean 5.

Protein intake

Protein is the main component of muscle mass, and incredibly important in our bulking meal plan. Failure to consume enough daily protein can severely hamper your ability to grow. Plenty of studies have tried to pinpoint the optimum amount of protein intake for muscle building, with it likely falling between 1.6-2.5g/kg of body weight. Additional protein never hurt anyone so I always look to start clients at the higher end of the scale. Especially when they are trying to bulk up.

Appetite

Lack of appetite is one of the main issues clients report when struggling to increase their calorie intake. Here, we’re trying to do the opposite of what we do within a shredding meal plan. There’s nothing fun about force-feeding, even in the name of bulking for building muscle. It’s always in everyone’s best interests to try and avoid creating a negative relationship with food. Therefore, you must have tools for promoting appetite, as well as avoiding appetite killers.

Increase your appetite

There are several natural ways to increase appetite. Weight training itself is a known appetite promotor, whilst highly palatable foods such as carbohydrates and fats can increase our willingness to eat and the amount that we chose to take in. Setting regular mealtimes will program your body to expect food intake, increasing the hunger sensation in preparation. Finally, starting your day with a big meal will go along the way to increase your overall intake. Unless you are training first thing in the morning, you will be missing valuable digestion time. If you are not used to eating in the morning, start small or start with a liquid.

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Calculate your calorie needs

Select your recipes

Plan your entire diet

Avoiding appetite suppressants

Avoiding appetite suppressants is the other side of the equation. Your bulking meal plan will be dead in the water if you can’t consume your calories. Excessive cardio cannot only limit muscle building capacity, but it can also reduce your willingness to eat for an extended period of time post workout. If your goal is truly weight gain, you should be limiting your cardio to short, high-intensity bouts. High fiber and protein intake are known appetite suppressants and whilst it is important to get adequate protein, it is best to not go crazy. After calculating your protein requirements you should seek to fill the rest of your calories with carbohydrates and fats. Avoiding calorie-less liquid around mealtimes will allow you to consume more food as your stomach is not being filled up with water.

Tricks to increase your calories

Easy ways to get more calories in when trying to bulk up. We’re not trying to ‘dirty bulk’, we still need to make sure we’re taking in whole foods that have nutrional value.

  1. Consume high energy density foods such as oats, dried fruit, pasta, and fatty meat.
  2. Blend food! Blends can reduce food volume quite significantly and make it easier for your body to digest the meal. A typical go-to would be oats, full cream milk, protein powder, and nuts. 
  3. Start your day with a meal and end it with a meal. It is important to use all of the digestion time possible. 
  4. Forget about typical ‘healthy eating guidelines’. Typically these guidelines are used to avoid fat gain and obesity. If you’re interested in this article then I am assuming you have no trouble remaining lean. You may need to eat higher energy processed food occasionally to get the calories in that you need.

Recovery, recovery, recovery!!!

  • Rest is one of the most important factors for my clients trying to pack on size. In the recovery phase, our bodies convert all of the protein and other goodies contained within our sustained calorie surplus, into muscle.
  • Spend less energy
  • Sleep more

Other factors to consider

  • Staying hydrated. This one is obvious, a large percentage of our bodies are made up of water. Not being appropriately hydrated can directly prevent your body from recovering from an intense training regime properly. Drink at least 6-7 glasses per day if you can.
  • Supplementation. This one isn’t as important as you might think. We can easily get the calories and nutrition we need from a well put together meal plan. Although post workout protein supplementation can be beneficial.

Recap

In short, if you are struggling to increase your muscle mass, you need to increase your overall calorie intake, increase your protein intake and improve your recovery process. More often than not it is less about how you are training and more so about what you do to support your training.

Chris Dalmau, one of The Clean 5's Founders

An example bulking diet by The Clean 5

These meals can be prepared in advance & eaten throughout the week. The Clean 5 app provides 2 brand new meal prep recipes each week, tailored to your calorie goals, for just $5 (AUD) per week.

It’s really important to work out how many calories you need to consume, in order to slowly gain weight. As mentioned above, you need to ensure you are in a calorie surplus throughout your regime. As part of The Clean 5 app, we have a calorie calculator function that tells you exactly how many calories you need to consume, to put on muscle mass. You can then plan your entire diet through our app, using the 2 new meal prep recipes we upload each week. We make creating your bulking meal plan easy, with The Clean 5’s App.

A brand new bulking meal plan, is added each week to our app, giving you a huge database of easy, cheap and nutritious meal prep recipes to choose from. We have a 7 day free trial, click here to read more.

Your Meals

Breakfast

100g High Protein Yoghurt, 30g frozen mixed berries.

Snacks

20g almonds & 1 protein shake & 1 banana.

Lunch

DifficultyBeginner

One Pan - Sausage & Vegetable Bake: Cut it up and throw it in... a super easy and super quick recipe for when you're on the run

Prep Time10 minsCook Time20 mins
 700 g Beef Sausages
 1 X Sweet Potato
 2 X Carrots
 1 X Red Capsicum
 2 X Zucchini
 1 X Broccoli
 1 Taco Seasoning Packet
 1 tbsp Olive Oil
 100 g 1 Minute Polenta
1

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Take out a large baking tray and place to the side.

2

On a chopping board, chop the sweet potato into cubes and place into a large bowl. Slice carrots and zucchini and add the chopped capsicum and broccoli (for extra nutrients and less waste you can chop and add the stalk of the broccoli too).

3

Cut the sausages into into pieces and add with vegetables in bowl. Sprinkle olive oil and half of the taco seasoning over vegetables and sausages. Mix.

4

Throw the mix into the baking tray and cook in the oven until vegetables are soft and sausages are cooked.

5

Meanwhile, to cook your polenta bring a medium sized saucepan to the boil with 3 cups of water. Once boiling, turn heat down to low and add the polenta, stir.

6

Take polenta off heat and add in the remaining taco seasoning. Add more water if the polenta becomes too thick.

7

Take out sausage and vegetable bake and serve on polenta.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1

Servings 4


Amount Per Serving
Calories 844
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 49.6g77%
Total Carbohydrate 53.2g18%
Protein 43.3g87%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Ingredients

 700 g Beef Sausages
 1 X Sweet Potato
 2 X Carrots
 1 X Red Capsicum
 2 X Zucchini
 1 X Broccoli
 1 Taco Seasoning Packet
 1 tbsp Olive Oil
 100 g 1 Minute Polenta

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Take out a large baking tray and place to the side.

2

On a chopping board, chop the sweet potato into cubes and place into a large bowl. Slice carrots and zucchini and add the chopped capsicum and broccoli (for extra nutrients and less waste you can chop and add the stalk of the broccoli too).

3

Cut the sausages into into pieces and add with vegetables in bowl. Sprinkle olive oil and half of the taco seasoning over vegetables and sausages. Mix.

4

Throw the mix into the baking tray and cook in the oven until vegetables are soft and sausages are cooked.

5

Meanwhile, to cook your polenta bring a medium sized saucepan to the boil with 3 cups of water. Once boiling, turn heat down to low and add the polenta, stir.

6

Take polenta off heat and add in the remaining taco seasoning. Add more water if the polenta becomes too thick.

7

Take out sausage and vegetable bake and serve on polenta.

One Pan – Sausage & Vegetable Bake

Dinner

DifficultyBeginner

Great winter warmer = best comfort food

Prep Time15 minsCook Time15 mins
 500 g Mince Beef
 1 Onion
 800 g Diced Tomatoes (Can)
 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
 2 Carrots
 2 cups Broccoli
 800 g Red Kidney Beans
 1 tsp Chilli Powder (add more or less to your liking)
 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
 1 tsp Cumin
 1 tbsp Paprika
 2 cups Rice
1

Sauté the onion in a medium/large saucepan with a dash of olive oil until transparent. Add the minced beef and stir until browned.

2

Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and beans. Stir. Add in the shredded carrot and broccoli florets.

3

Place in Worcestershire sauce and spices and let simmer with a lid on while you make your rice.

4

Bring four cups of water to the boil, add in your rice and turn heat down to simmer. Stir and place lid on pot as the rice cooks.

5

Dish out rice into desired servings and place chilli con carne on top.
Serving suggestion: If your calorie intake allows, serve with sour cream or cheese for extra flavour.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1

Servings 5


Amount Per Serving
Calories 785
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18.1g28%
Total Carbohydrate 114.7g39%
Protein 41.8g84%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Ingredients

 500 g Mince Beef
 1 Onion
 800 g Diced Tomatoes (Can)
 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
 2 Carrots
 2 cups Broccoli
 800 g Red Kidney Beans
 1 tsp Chilli Powder (add more or less to your liking)
 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
 1 tsp Cumin
 1 tbsp Paprika
 2 cups Rice

Directions

1

Sauté the onion in a medium/large saucepan with a dash of olive oil until transparent. Add the minced beef and stir until browned.

2

Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and beans. Stir. Add in the shredded carrot and broccoli florets.

3

Place in Worcestershire sauce and spices and let simmer with a lid on while you make your rice.

4

Bring four cups of water to the boil, add in your rice and turn heat down to simmer. Stir and place lid on pot as the rice cooks.

5

Dish out rice into desired servings and place chilli con carne on top.
Serving suggestion: If your calorie intake allows, serve with sour cream or cheese for extra flavour.

Chilli Con Carne