It’s an endless cycle for some guys: Turn into a garbage disposal to bulk up, then crash diet to burn the belly fat and reveal those hard-earned abs. Needless to say, that’s probably not the best way to go about changing your physique. (Also: You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.) That’s why you need to clean bulk.
We’ll never call it easy, but it’s definitely possible to get strong and stay cut with the right balance of macros, nutrients, and training. We tapped Dan Trink, C.S.C.S., director of training operations at Peak Performance in New York City, to explain the ins and outs of growing big with clean bulking. From picking the right fuel and skipping processed food to tracking progress and getting enough sleep, here are his 13 rules that will help you bulk without getting fat.
Here’s his guide to getting more muscle—without the fat.
1. Increase your calories
“You can’t gain muscle or weight if you continue to be in a caloric deficit,” says Trink. “You need to take in more calories on a daily or at least weekly basis.” (Most guys, especially those new to the weight room, mess this part up.) A good estimate of how many calories you should be consuming? Take your body weight and multiply it by 16. (For example: 200 pounds x 16 = 3,200 calories.) If you don’t see any gains after two weeks, try increasing your calories by 200 per day until you hit the sweet spot.