The Clean Bulk Diet: 3 Options For More Lean Muscle

The Clean Bulk Diet: 3 Options For More Lean Muscle
Build lean muscle mass without packing on unwanted body fat. This article presents three sample lean bulk diet eating plan options that can help you reach your goals.

Brad Borland is a strength & conditioning specialist, cancer survivor and the founder of WorkoutLab.

Back in the 90s the goal of every wide-eyed future bodybuilder was to bulk up no matter what. Obviously from the looks of things back then no one was concerned with staying lean throughout this perpetual bulking period. What resulted was a lot of big, burly and somewhat fatty guys wearing oversized, baggy pants and shirts never to be seen poolside.

Boy, have times changed! The goal today is still to build muscle and reshape our bodies, but now we want to be lean, shredded, ripped and generally in good shape athletically as well. We want to be able to take our shirts off at the pool and beach, we want to possess a muscular body and most of all we want to be comfortable in our own skin.

Another trend regarding searching for a diet is the school of thought seems to be split into two camps. One is to get completely shredded as possible while sacrificing some of that hard-earned muscle of yours and the other is to bulk up while putting on a little fat which tends to blur your efforts.

Cooking For A Lean Muscle Bulk Diet

Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can build lean muscle without packing on the unwanted pounds. All it takes is a disciplined adherence to your training and diet plan and proper rest and recovery. All of these factors will work synergistically with each other to produce your ideal result – a leaner, more muscular physique.

Below are three options for lean bulking eating plans. All are designed to build lean muscle tissue without blurring your muscular lines. They contain just the right amount of proteins, carbs and healthy fats to keep the gains coming without any extra baggage. This is, of course, also presuming that you are already committed to a sound body building-style training program, one that is intense and doesn’t include an extreme amount of endurance exercise.

A few points to consider

  • These are only examples and estimations of training day diet plans. Your personal calorie requirements may vary. The meal plans below are based on someone weighing 180 to 200 pounds.
  • Try them out for at least four weeks before adjusting macronutrients.
  • On non-training days you may need to reduce calories slightly. This may be accomplished by simply deleting the post-workout meal.
  • Adjust or change only one aspect of the diet at a time. If you adjust too many variables it is hard to tell which worked and which didn’t.
  • Allow yourself a cheat meal around once per week. If you decide on two cheat meals avoid two days in a row. Either have both cheat meals on the same day or space them out on different nonadjacent days of the week.
  • Be patient. It takes the body a few weeks to adjust and acclimate to its new nutritional environment.

Meal Prep For A Lean Muscle Bulk Diet

Clean bulk option 1

  • Meal 1: ¾ cup of oatmeal (dry measure) mixed with either skim milk or water, 3 eggs scrambled
  • Meal 2: 1 scoop of whey protein powder, 1 oz. of almonds
  • Meal 3: 2 slices of whole wheat bread, 2 slices of low-fat cheese, 6 oz. of turkey deli meat, tomato, lettuce, 1 medium banana
  • Meal 4: (pre workout) 1 scoop of whey protein powder, 1 medium apple
  • Meal 5: (post workout) 1 scoop of whey protein powder, 20 oz. of Gatorade
  • Meal 6: 6 oz. tilapia, ½ cup wild rice (dry measure), small side salad with olive oil and vinegar

Clean bulk option 2

  • Meal 1: 2 slices of whole wheat toast with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut or almond butter, 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • Meal 2: 4 to 6 oz. of beef jerky, 1 oz. of walnuts
  • Meal 3: Medium salad with 6 oz. of shredded chicken and ¼ cup of sunflower seeds, 1 medium sweet potato
  • Meal 4: (pre workout) 4 egg whites and 1 whole egg, ½ cup of blueberries
  • Meal 5: (post workout) 1 scoop of whey protein powder, 20 oz. of Gatorade
  • Meal 6: 6 oz. of ground beef, tomato sauce, 2 oz. of whole wheat pasta (dry measure), small side salad

Clean bulk option 3

  • Meal 1: 3 medium-sized buckwheat pancakes mixed with 1 scoop of whey protein powder, honey to taste
  • Meal 2: 1 cup of Greek yogurt mixed with 2 oz. of granola
  • Meal 3: 6 oz. of fajita-style steak strips and two wheat tortillas, onions, peppers and olive oil
  • Meal 4: (pre workout) 1 cup of cottage cheese, 1 medium apple
  • Meal 5: (post workout) 1 scoop of whey protein powder, 20 oz. of Gatorade
  • Meal 6: 6 oz. of ground beef made into hamburger, whole wheat bun, low-fat cheese, 2 cups of mixed vegetables and 1 cup of strawberries

Join over 500k subscribers who receive weekly workouts, diet plans, videos and expert guides from Muscle & Strength.

About The Author
Brad has a Master's degree in Kinesiology and is a strength and conditioning specialist, military veteran, and cancer survivor.

16 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 08/13/2016 - 11:04

How much calories are the bulking meal plans

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 02/10/2016 - 19:15

Hi, im going to Gym between 7 to 9 AM, how would be the order of the meals in these scenario?. Regards.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Thu, 02/11/2016 - 11:24

That depends on what you tolerate well in terms of digestion and energy before working out. You may do better with only liquid nutrition (i.e. a pre/intra workout shake) or you may tolerate whole foods. That will depends upon your individual needs and tolerances. The only way to determine those is to experiment.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 02/06/2016 - 08:01

I follow a plan similar to this as I am trying to put on about 5lbs. I am female, 5'7, 126lbs. So I agree, for a male this seems super light on calories. I typically consume around 2600 calories per day. I would also swap out all the "protein shakes" for actual, whole foods. Protein shakes are great and have their place, but to be considered a meal is absurd.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 01/06/2016 - 01:22
Noel B.

I'm getting back into lifting again and am having a hard time eating enough calories. Since all you guys are saying this isn't enough calories for yall, do you think it would be enough for a smaller girl? (5'6", 130 pounds)

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 09/02/2014 - 05:36

This is a really bad article, the amount of calories is to low and the so called bulking option 1 is basically some scoops of protein powder.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 08/13/2014 - 17:25

Calories for a clean bulk is around x16 per ibs. 25 pct from fats. A min of 1g protein per ibs. Calories associated with that. Then rest carbs. Balance the carbs to gradually bulk clean. This is way way too low on calories for a bulk. Its a cuttimg diet. Esp. Given they say its for 180 to 200 ibs male. I need way more than this, and its actually lower end protein intake also even if they whey is 30g. Bad 'bulk' here. On optiom 1 i would cut hard and be in a serious calorie deficit at 180 ibs...

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 05/06/2014 - 09:30

i go to the gym at 2pm so can i switch meals 4 and 5 with meal 3? in option 2

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 03/24/2014 - 22:46
Ryan St. Onge

If I were to pick any of those options, I would lose weight rapidly. I am cutting right now on 3400 calories and losing more than what I would like per week, so I am upping the calories...

It is pointless to tell people how much of what they should eat during each meal because everyone has a different metabolism. It would be better if you just listed the types of food people should eat and macro percentages. People can weigh their own food and critique their own meal plans until they are perfect. I do and I weigh everything I eat during lean bulks/cutting.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 03/24/2014 - 12:05
Sonia Lopez

Saludos, Soy mujer de 62 anos, quiero musculos en mis brazos. Que hago?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 03/20/2014 - 19:17
Tim england

I noticed that most of the foods I eat are spread between all 3 categories, is it ok to mix and match, and also I work second shift so I usually workout around 730am, the preworkout and postworkout meals are later in the plan is there a better way I can do it to fit my schedule

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:50
Erick Doherty

Can you guys post some diet options for loosing weight and toning the mid section.
Thank you if you can

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 03/20/2014 - 17:09

Since when is a cup of cottage cheese and an apple a meal?! Or a scoop of whey and some almonds?! Call these what they are... a snack. Do people eat this little bird food and tell everybody they eat 6 meals a day? It's good stuff don't get me wrong, it's good stuff to eat... but don't be callin' it a meal.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 03/20/2014 - 08:38

If my estimates are right these barely reaches 2000 kcal...

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 08/13/2014 - 17:27

Yep. Its crazy. Way too low. I would lose serious mass on this. X16 to weight in ibs is a clean bull. They say for 180ins to 200ibs. This will barely reach 2000. Even if the whey protein is laced with lactose

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 02/19/2016 - 07:51
Edward Breault

David55...its LBS not ibs or ins..stop confusing people and learn how to type.