The best foods & supplements for bulking
If you’re serious about building muscle, chances are you’re hitting the free weights hard and following a bulking diet plan to pack on some mass. The thing is, eating lots of food can be a chore, whether you’re doing it the lean way or going all out with a dirty bulk (check out our beginner’s guide to bulking with Body&Fit Nutrition Expert Jesper Rietmeijer to find out more about the different kinds of bulking diets). It can also be hard to find the motivation to get active when you’re always full. The solution? Foods and supplements that are high in calories and protein while giving you less of that slow, lethargic feeling that comes with eating all the time. Here are our top five to add to your diet and help you get after those gains in a more enjoyable and easy-going way.
It can be hard to find the motivation to get active when you’re always full. The solution? Foods and supplements that are high in calories and protein.
What are the best foods for bulking?
Bulking food #1: Oats
Oats are a great source of fibre and complex carbohydrates, which help with digestion and provide a slow release of energy, making them ideal to enjoy before training. They’re also a healthy source of fat and calories that don’t leave you feeling too full. Quick, easy to make and endlessly versatile, oats are one of our favourite foods to eat when bulking. A simple bowl of porridge can be tweaked in countless ways, so you’ll never get tired of it. Go for classic toppings like cinnamon or banana, swirl in some maple syrup or add a scoop of Body&Fit Whey Perfection. You can even add our Body&Fit Ultra Fine Oats to your favourite shake for a tasty on-the-go breakfast.
Bulking food #2: Nuts & nut butters
Nuts and nut butters are packed with protein and healthy fats and can provide plenty of calories in small portions, making them perfect for any bulking diet plan. They also contain essential micronutrients and minerals like zinc, magnesium and phosphorous. All types of nuts have different fat ratios, so try to include a variety in your diet by stocking up on Body&Fit Pure Mixed Nuts — great for snacking or sprinkling over a tasty dessert. When it comes to nut butters, our Body&Fit Natural Peanut Butter is made from 100% peanuts and makes a great addition to your morning shake.
Bulking food #3: Salmon
Salmon and other oily fish are essential for bulking diets, especially a clean bulk diet. They’re rich in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamins (especially B vitamins), amongst other healthy nutrients. It’s recommended to eat at least one portion of fatty fish per week, although when you’re training hard, try to make it 2-3 portions per week. If you’re vegan (or don’t eat fish), you can supplement with our Body&Fit Vegan Omega-3. Note that these capsules are a concentrated form of oil made from algae. That makes them a great source of DHA and EPA (essential omega-3 fatty acids), but they aren’t nearly as high in calories as a typical serving of oily fish. Therefore, remember to bulk up on other plant-based ingredients if you’re choosing not to include fish in your diet (avocado is a great option).
Bulking food #4: Seeds
Pumpkin, chia, flax, hemp, sunflower, sesame seeds… all are packed with healthy fats and fibre. They’re usually a great source of protein and contain a variety of different micronutrients. These tiny foods are nutritional giants and a must to add to your bulk cupboard. They make a delicious topping for anything that needs a bit of a crunch. You can find Body&Fit Pure Pumpkin, Chia and Sunflower seeds on our site. Alternatively, try our Body&Fit Omega 3, Chia & Flaxseed Mix. Sprinkle them on toast, salads, yogurt or porridge for a boost of superfood goodness your body will thank you for.
Bulking food #5: Dark Chocolate
If you’re on a bulking diet and have a bit of a sweet tooth, dark chocolate is perfect for satisfying your cravings. Usually, it’s loaded with antioxidants, monounsaturated fats and nutrients like iron, potassium and magnesium (magnesium contributes to normal muscle function and the maintenance of normal bones). Melt some of our Body&Fit Smart Chocolate over a peanut butter-covered banana for the ultimate bulking treat.
Other foods that are a must in any bulking diet plan include whole milk, cottage cheese, lean red meats, avocado, eggs, rice, pasta, sweet potato and coconut oil. If you’re not getting a balance of these or other calorie-rich foods (alongside vegetables and the occasional treat, of course!) you’re going to have a tough time putting on weight in a healthy way.
Muscle gain in women
Can women build muscle?
Absolutely, women can gain muscle! The growth of sports like MMA, CrossFit or Bodybuilding has led to many looking to use their gains to their advantage. Even outside of competition, women are bulking up because, well, it feels great to look fit, healthy and strong. If you need a dose of feminine inspiration, discover the story of powerlifter Michelle de Jong in our People of Body&Fit series.
How do you gain mass as a woman?
Even though we all share the same number of muscles, there is one major difference between men and women: testosterone levels. Women have a lot less than men (and more estrogen), which means that mass gain must be done a little differently. Here are some of our top food & supplement tips for women who want to bulk up. Each day, try to:
- Get 2g of protein per kg of body weight.
- Fuel up with 3 to 4g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight.
- Consume 1g of healthy fats per kg of body weight.
- Eat more often than usual (5 to 6 meals a day).
- Try not to include carbohydrates in your last two meals.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Enjoy oily fish at least 3 times a week.
- Supplement all year round with omega 3.
What are the best bulking supplements for women?
Women don’t necessarily need to use weight gainers when bulking up, although they can be useful for consuming more protein and carbs in a more digestible way than solid foods. For female muscle gain, nothing beats Body&Fit Whey Perfection. Add some Body&Fit Creapure® Creatine to your shakes to increase physical performance in successive bursts of short-term, high-intensity exercise.
Man or women: what are the best supplements for bulking?
Bulking supplement #1: Weight Gainers
Weight gainers are ideal for building mass as they contain concentrated levels of protein, carbohydrates and fat to make getting more calories into the body easier than eating lots of food. Our Body&Fit Mass Perfection powder, for example, provides 22g of protein and 28g of carbohydrates per serving. If you really want to take it to the next level, try using Body&Fit Massive Gainer, which delivers over 1000 calories and 50 grams of protein per serving.
Bulking supplement #2: BCAAs
Popular amongst bodybuilders and strength training athletes, BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) are a group of three essential amino acids: valine, isoleucine and leucine. They’re considered essential as the body is unable to produce them, so we must either get them from food (which can be time consuming and costly) or BCAA supplements. Our Body&Fit Amino Perfection contains BCAAs in addition to EAAs (Essential Amino Acids) and Glutamine.
Bulking supplement #3: Creatine
Another training essential, creatine helps make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is responsible for providing energy for muscle contractions. It’s also been proven to help improve performance during high-intensity exercise (Kaz van der Waard is proof of that). Creatine is safe for men and women and can be taken as a powder, tablet or capsule.
Bulking supplement #4: Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals perform hundreds of roles in the body. When it comes to bulking, vitamins like B12 and B6 are great as they contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. A good mineral to supplement for bulking is Zinc, which contributes to the maintenance of normal testosterone levels in the blood. Multivitamin complexes like our Body&Fit Sports Multi have more than 30 active ingredients to cover all your daily needs with just one capsule.
Any seasoned bulker will tell you that it can be a long, hard road to pack on mass. If you don’t eat enough high-calorie foods and take the right supplements, you’ll have a hard time doing it in a healthy way. Once you’ve reached your desired weight, you’re ready to start cutting. Find out all the details about this step in our article “Cutting, what is it?” and don’t forget to share all your progress and results @bodyandfit_official.