Dirty bulking is a kind of bulking that people do with the goal of increasing muscle mass. To sum it up, dirty bulking involves high levels of unmonitored calorie consumption, combined with intense workouts and training like resistance and weight training.
Dirty bulking is so popular because it can give fast results for increasing body mass, including muscle mass. It’s also popular because unlike other diets and regular, or ‘clean’, bulking there really aren’t any restrictions on what foods you eat or what amount of food you eat.
When doing a dirty bulk the goal is basically just to consume as many calories as you can in order to rapidly gain body mass, specifically muscle mass. With this being said though, although there aren’t any limits on the foods you eat, a commonly asked question is what foods are best to eat when doing dirty bulk.
The best dirty bulking foods are:
- Fast Food
- Candy Bars
- Ice Cream
- Nuts and Nut Butter
Here, I’ve explained what foods you should be eating when doing a dirty bulk, and given some examples of the best dirty bulking foods that you’d want to incorporate into a dirty bulk.
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What Foods Are Best for Dirty Bulking?
The best dirty bulking foods are those that are calorie or nutritionally dense, meaning they pack a lot of calories into a small amount. This is because the overall goal of dirty bulking is to consume as many calories as possible. Foods like pizza, burgers, and peanut butter are top choices.
To just explain this a bit more, when dirty bulking you’re going to want to eat foods that are calorie, or nutritionally dense, meaning that they pack a large number of calories into a small amount, as the goal is to consume a lot of calories each day. This surplus of calories, when combined with intense training, is used to increase muscle mass.
So when doing a dirty bulk, foods that are low in calories or foods you would have to eat a lot of to get a high-calorie intake aren’t prioritized, meaning you would avoid them or not eat a lot of them. This would include foods like celery, spinach, or carrots which are well known for being low in calories.
As well as low-calorie foods, foods that could make you ill if you eat a lot of them are also best to be avoided considering you usually consume a lot of each food when dirty bulking. This includes foods like mercury-containing fish, liver, and brazil nuts, as these have all been shown to have bad health impacts when consumed in large quantities.
In the next section, I’ve covered some of the best dirty bulking foods, to give you an idea of what you should incorporate into a dirty bulk diet.
9 Best Dirty Bulking Foods
One of the best things about a dirty bulk is that no foods are off-limits like they would be on other diets or when doing a clean bulk. With this being said though, considering the goal is to consume a lot of calories, there are foods that are better when dirty bulking. Here I’ve listed the 9 best dirty bulking foods:
Pizza is a great option when dirty bulking because pizzas are usually very high in calories. In fact, the average pizza contains upwards of 2,000 calories and that’s before you add other toppings like extra cheese, meat, and vegetables which can easily add 500 to 1000 calories more.
Surprisingly though pizzas can also be high in protein too, especially if you go for meat or vegetable toppings. When dirty bulking, getting extra protein is an important bonus, as protein has been shown to promote muscle gain. Getting additional protein into your dirty bulk is therefore going to help maximize muscle gain.
So due to the combination of high calories and potential for protein, pizzas are a great option when dirty bulking.
Burgers are another great choice when dirty bulking. The average beef burger, just counting the meat part, contains about 250 calories alone. This can be easily increased by adding extra meat, as well as higher-calorie toppings like cheese, and sides like fries or onion rings.
As well as having the potential for higher calories, burgers are also a great choice when dirty bulking because like pizzas they’re high in protein. This is because of the meat. Although it varies depending on what type of meat you use, meat is consistently ranked as a great source of protein.
As I explained before, protein is an important part of muscle building, and getting extra protein is important when dirty bulking if you want to maximize muscle gain.
Burgers are also a really versatile food, with different options for the meat (including chicken, turkey, and meat alternatives), toppings, and sides. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of eating the same foods when bulking, so burgers are a good choice if you’re looking to mix things up.
3. Fast food
Linked to pizza and burgers is fast food. Typically when you cook things yourself from scratch they’re lower in calories, as you’re less likely to add things like extra cheese to make things taste better.
Fast food is notoriously high in calories, which is why it’s usually cut out of clean bulking or other diets. But the fact that it’s high in calories makes it a great choice when dirty bulking, as it allows you to consume a lot of calories in just one serving.
Pasta dishes are great for dirty bulking. Pasta on its own can be pretty high calorie, especially when you look at the different types of pasta that are available. But the real benefit with pasta dishes is that they combine pasta with other higher calorie ingredients like sauce and cheese, as well as high protein foods like meat and vegetables.
Spaghetti bolognese for example often contains 500 calories or more in one serving. It also contains meat and vegetables, which is ideal if you’re looking to get more protein for bulking.
As with burgers, pasta is also really versatile, as well as being easy to cook and readily available in stores. So there are lots of benefits to incorporating pasta dishes into a dirty bulk.
Cheese is another food that’s great when doing a dirty bulk as cheese is considered as being calorie-dense, packing about 100 calories into just an ounce. This means that it’s easy to get a lot of calories from eating just a small amount of cheese.
Depending on the type of cheese, it can also be pretty high in protein. For example, there’s about 25g of protein in 100g of cheddar. This high amount of protein is going to be beneficial for building muscle mass, as I mentioned earlier.
As well as being high in calories, cheese is a good option because it contains essential vitamins and minerals. With so many different cheeses on the market, it’s easy to consume a variety when doing a dirty bulk.
6. Candy Bars
Candy bars are another good food to incorporate into your diet when doing a dirty bulk. Although the amount of calories varies pretty widely across the different brands and sizes of candy bars, many contain hundreds of calories.
Another benefit of candy bars is that they’re nutritionally dense, essentially cramming a lot of calories into a small amount of food. For example, the average bar of milk chocolate contains 520 calories in 200 grams. As a result, you won’t feel full after eating one and can continue to eat more foods throughout the day, which is the goal when dirty bulking.
If consuming more protein is something you’re worried about then look for candy bars that contain ingredients like nuts, which are going to be higher in protein than pure chocolate ones.
7. Ice Cream
Ice cream is a notoriously high-calorie food, which is why it’s often restricted or eliminated on other diets. But the fact that it’s high in calories makes it ideal for dirty bulking. Some types of ice cream pack a staggering 900 calories in just 1 pint of ice cream, and you’ll see even higher calorie options available.
When looking for higher-calorie options it’s good to find products that contain high-calorie ingredients like caramel, chocolate, toffee, and similar foods. This way you’ll be consuming as many calories as possible.
Beyond just being high in calories, an ice cream is also a good option when dirty bulking because it’s easy to eat a lot of it. You can easily eat a whole pint of ice cream without feeling full like you would from a bowl of pasta. Ice cream is also a convenient food considering there’s no preparation involved, you can easily just open a tub after a meal.
8. Nuts and Nut Butters
Peanut butter is often promoted as a great dirty bulking food. This is because it is super calorie dense, packing an average of 100 calories into just 1 spoonful. As a result, it’s easy to maximize your daily calorie intake by including peanut butter, for example on toast.
As well as peanut butter though, other nut-based spreads like hazelnut spread and almond butter are also high in calories. There really is plenty of variety with these different products, so you can make the most of the different ones available.
If these kinds of products aren’t for you though, then you can always incorporate more nuts into your diet. Although it varies between types, nuts are high in calories and protein. For example, macadamia nuts are the highest in calories, packing around 720 calories into 100 grams. This makes them a nutritionally dense food, which is ideal when dirty bulking.
Milk is another great dirty bulking food. In terms of calorie content, obviously, whole milk is the best choice as it packs the most calories into a glass. In fact, the average glass of whole milk contains 150 calories.
It’s easy to incorporate milk into a dirty bulk, as you can use it in shakes, add it into hot drinks like coffee, or just add a glassful into your daily routine.
As well as having a high-calorie content, milk is also ideal when bulking because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. These have various health benefits and have been shown to help maintain healthy joints and bones, which can benefit workout recovery. This is crucial when dirty bulking as intensive workouts put a strain on the body.
What Should I Eat to Bulk up Fast?
To bulk up fast you should focus on foods that are high in calories as a calorie surplus is needed to build muscle. You should also focus on foods that are high in protein, as protein has been linked to muscle growth. Good options include meat, vegetables, and nuts.
When dirty bulking, no foods are off-limits which is one of the main benefits of this method. But considering the aim of dirty bulking is to consume a calorie surplus in order to build muscle there are certain foods that are better than others.
The best dirty bulking foods include pizza, burgers, fast food, pasta, cheese, candy bars, ice cream, nuts, and nut butter, as well as milk. Foods to avoid, or minimize, include those low in calories or ones you could become ill from consuming a lot of, like brazil nuts or fish containing mercury.
For a more nutritious or ‘clean’ approach to bulking, you can also check out my other lists: