For as long as people have been weight training or bodybuilding, rice has been a staple diet choice to accompany this training during a bulking phase. Rice is versatile, easy to consume, and a cheap food option so it’s hard to argue against its frequent use while bulking.
As with most things in the fitness industry though, people will follow advice that might not necessarily be based on scientific evidence or proven results. Bro splits, IIFYM, and “fad” diets are prime examples of controversial topics within the fitness industry.
So, is rice good for bulking? Rice is a food source that is ideal for bulking. White rice has 123 calories and 30g of carbohydrates per 100g serving. This combined with its ease of digestion, versatility in dishes, and cheap price make it a great bulking food for most people, though It still needs to be consumed in moderation.
Read on to see what makes rice such a good (and often consumed) bulking food and how best you can consume it on your bulk.
What is Rice
White rice is a refined/processed grain that has had the hull, bran, and germ removed. Brown rice on the other hand is often considered the healthier option as it is less processed and has only had the hull removed.
When it comes to rice that you’d commonly eat, white and brown rice are by far the most popular choices. There are however some other types of rice available including:
Consumed with chili, curry, stew, and a range of other popular dishes, rice is by far one of the most versatile carb sources and it’s not just the versatility that makes it a favorite bulking food but also the nutritional value (macros) of rice.
For white rice, a 100g serving provides the following nutritional information:
(Source – Healthline)
As you can see, rice is mainly used as a carb source and something that makes it ideal for bulking is the low fat (close to nil) content that you get per 100g. Rice in itself isn’t necessarily a high-calorie food. Oats and milk are both good bulking food choices and contain 379kcal and 277kcal for a similar portion size.
The benefit of rice is that it can be easily combined with other high-calorie foods in order to raise the overall calorie intake of a meal.
See also – Best bulking food for hardgainers
Is Rice Good for Bulking
Rice is good for bulking for three main reasons:
- Rice is versatile and can be consumed with a range of meat or fish dishes
- It’s easy to consume rice as it’s a fast-absorbing carbohydrate
- Rice is cheap and therefore great for buying in bulk
Firstly, rice is an incredibly versatile food (and carb source) that can be combined with meat, fish, pulses, and vegetables with ease. This allows you to create balanced meals in terms of macro proportions and this is particularly useful when bulking.
The second reason that rice is good for bulking is because it’s easy to consume and digest. White rice is a carbohydrate with a high glycemic index (GI) score meaning that it’s a food that is fast-absorbing.
When bulking, you’ll be consuming a calorie surplus and should spend more time feeling full than you do hungry. What this means is that a fast-absorbing carb can quickly be converted to glucose and used to either fuel a workout or replenish muscle glycogen stores after a hard workout.
Finally, as rice is such a cheap carb source, it’s great for bulking on a budget and will save some money for more expensive food items like red meats and fish.
As there are different types of rice, we’ll cover the two most commonly bought and consumed to see just how good rice is as a bulking food.
Is White Rice Good for Bulking
The type of rice we are most concerned with when bulking is white rice. All of the benefits listed above only relate to white rice. For this reason, white rice is the best type of rice for bulking.
The fact that it can be digested and absorbed quickly, pairs well with main other types of food – making a versatile bulking option, and the low cost of purchasing white rice means that it’s a great choice for a bulking carb.
Alongside this, basmati and jasmine rice are also good options if you want to mix it up for some variety.
Is Brown Rice Good for Bulking
Brown rice on the other hand (and in my opinion only) is not a good food choice when bulking, especially when compared with white rice.
The reason for this is that brown rice has fewer calories than white rice, has few carbs per 100g, and contains more fiber.
What this means is during a bulking phase when you want to consume more food, you’ll be challenging yourself more as brown rice will take longer to digest and keep you feeling fuller for longer. This is not ideal, especially if you are bulking with a low appetite!
You also need to consider the fact that brown rice has fewer calories per 100g and fewer carbs than white rice. This is important to consider because all calories count when bulking. You want to be consuming a combination of calorie-dense and nutrient-dense foods in order to hit a surplus each day.
If you’re going to have rice when bulking, why not make it the option with more calories per serving – which is white rice?
In defense of brown rice, it’s worth noting that it can be a good option for some people. Brown rice is slower to digest but also causes less of a blood sugar spike, something that white rice is quite notorious for. This means your appetite and cravings will be more sustainable and your mood will also be more stable.
How to Eat Rice When Bulking
As mentioned earlier, white rice is an incredibly versatile food and this, therefore, makes it much easier to consume when bulking. Due to its high GI score and fast absorption, rice is best consumed around the workout window pre and post-workout.
Rice is a bland and boring food BUT it’s also incredibly versatile. Some tomato or hot sauce quickly turns bland rice into something that’s easily consumable so when you combine this with meat and vegetables, you really have an optimal bulking meal.
As rice is so versatile, I can’t list out all the recipes you can make to keep rice interesting when bulking, just know that the options are countless and this is why so many bodybuilding coaches put rice into a meal plan for two or three of the meals each day.
It’s quick and easy to make but due to the high GI score, it’s best to consume it around your workout in order to minimize fat gain and to utilize it for glycogen stores.
How Much Rice Should You Eat When Bulking
A cup of white rice is an approximate serving size for most people bulking and will provide around 205 calories per serving. On a bulk, you’d expect to be eating 5 – 6 times per day depending on what stage of a bulking phase you’re in.
The further into a bulking phase you get, the more calories you’ll need to consume each day in order to maintain and then gain weight.
Having rice for two of these meals is a reasonable amount to consume and as mentioned above, 1 cup of rice pre and post-workout can be a good starting point to see how you respond.
Rice has always been a staple food when bulking and for good reason. If you’re wondering is rice good for bulking, rice, and white rice in particular, is an excellent accompaniment for fuelling/recovering from training sessions and is an ideal carb source when bulking.
High in carbs per serving, easy to digest, pairs well with other bulking foods (meat, fish, and veg), and it’s cheap to buy which is key when your food budget is sky-high on a bulk as a result of all the extra calories.
When looking at all these factors, it’s easy to see why rice is such a good bulking food and as there are so many varieties, it’s hard to ignore it as a staple bulking food.
Rice is something you’d consider to be a “clean” food, if you’re struggling on a bulk though you might want to include some higher-calorie foods that can easily up your calorie intake. Therefore, check out our guide on the best dirty bulking foods.
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