Home Body Does Dirty Bulking Work? What You Need to Know About Dirty Bulking

Does Dirty Bulking Work? What You Need to Know About Dirty Bulking

If you’re a fitness enthusiast, you’ve no doubt heard of bulking. It’s one of the most popular methods to use for gaining muscle and is fairly easy to follow. If you’re deep into the practice, or perhaps you’re just curious, you may have heard of two types of the routine, respectively called clean and dirty bulking.

Does Dirty Bulking Work

Today we’re going to focus on dirty bulking, but what exactly does it entail? Does it have any benefits over clean bulking? What are the negative effects of dirty bulking?

Well, I’ll give you the rundown on how dirty bulking works and how it can affect your body, so you can decide for yourself whether or not dirty bulking is right for you.


Clean Bulking Vs Dirty Bulking

Clean Bulking Vs Dirty Bulking

Bulking, in case you aren’t aware, is the practice of taking in a large amount of calories in order to create a deficit and thus gain more muscle mass when you eventually begin exercising. There are two types of bulking: clean and dirty.

Clean, if you couldn’t tell, is the healthier type of bulking. Clean bulking involves the standard healthy diet with lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and lots of carbs.

Dirty bulking is the exact opposite of clean bulking, as you’re given freedom on pretty much everything you eat, just so long as it’s actually edible. As it is with clean bulking, carbs and protein are key; however if you’re just eating whatever it is you want, you’re likely to achieve that low bar with relative ease. Keep in mind that supplementation can be used in both dirty and clean bulking, I recommend either MCT oil or legal steroids for bulking.


Foods to Eat and Avoid

Foods to eat when dirty bulking

With most diets, we tend to follow a strict diet with well-defined parameters. However, with dirt bulking, you’d be hard pressed to find anything that’s off the table. Pretty much anything and everything is on the table as long as it has calories, and preferably it’s high in calories, you might even want to reduce the amount of cardio you usually do. If you’re really going for a highly effective bulking diet, though, these are the foods you’re going to want to be looking for:

  • red meat/fish/poultry
  • dairy
  • protein powder
  • cheese
  • fast food
  • breakfast cereal
  • fruits/vegetables
  • eggs
  • high carb dishes
  • baked goods
  • pizza
  • pasta
  • nuts
  • Nut butter, like peanut butter or hazelnut spread
  • avocado

For foods you need to avoid, we’re about to get a little blasphemous when it comes to the world of dieting. If you want to stay true to dirty bulking, there’s only a couple things you need to avoid: low-calorie foods and sugar-free foods, along with anything that may have the word “diet” on it. Throw those to the wayside, because they are not acceptable in the world of dirty bulking. Anything that tries to lessen the calories is actively working against your indiscriminately calorie-high diet.

Because of the seemingly simplistic restrictions, it can be easy to grab that calorie deficit. However, it can also prove to be a challenge just to keep track of how many calories you’re truly taking in. You also have to consider not only calories, but other compounds, such as saturated vs unsaturated fats, the types of carbs you’ll be consuming, the amount of sodium and refined sugars within the foods, and so on and so forth. These tend to be easier to keep track of when clean bulking, as you aren’t likely to find some of the unhealthier ingredients as abundantly as you would with dirty bulking.


Possible Negative Side Effects of Dirty Bulking

Side Effects of Dirty Bulking

Now, for such an indiscriminate diet, you’re probably thinking that there has to be some negative side effects, and you would be absolutely right. There are a few negative side effects when it comes to being sloppy with your calorie intake, and here is what you should expect if you decide to take up the practice.


Unintended Fat Gain

Achieving a calorie surplus with dirty bulking is extremely easy, and to a fault. It can be harder to really estimate how many calories you’re taking in, especially if you’re just throwing things together or eating portions without properly deciding what it will cost you calorie-wise. Because of this, it can lead to unintended weight gain. Of course, a good chunk of weight will come from the amount of muscle you’ll be gaining throughout your exercises, but if you’re not careful, you can also end up gaining fat as well.

Everyone works out for their own reasons, but if you’re simply trying to improve your physique and gain that dream body, you may have trouble when it comes to dirty bulking. If you’re exercising for something like athletics, however, you might just find yourself feeling out of shape due to the unintended fat gain.


Negative Effects on Blood Values

One thing you have to remember when it comes to dirty bulking is that you’re taking in quite a bit of processed carbs and unsaturated fats. This can lead to higher cholesterol and elevated blood sugar. These, in turn, can increase the risks of certain health conditions such as cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.

These can be mitigated by constant exercise, of course, but not completely. You do run the risk of health conditions like diabetes if you’re consuming an excess of unhealthy foods to get that calorie surplus. These risks can be undone by going for a more nutritious diet.

If you’re thinking about dirty bulking, it’s suggested that you get some bloodwork done and have your blood values evaluated so that you can decide if dirty bulking is something you think your body can handle.



When dirty bulking, a good chunk of the foods you will be consuming will be processed and thus contain substances like refined sugars and sodium. These ingredients can lead to water retention within the body, as well as fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Although you may not feel any major difference at first, after a few days, you may find yourself feeling sluggish. This is most likely due to the dirty bulking diet.

It’s also been suggested that a diet high in simple carbs can lead to increased fatigue and even symptoms of depression.


Final Thoughts

While dirty bulking does work in theory, I’ll always advise for clean bulking. While it can seem pretty nice to have it both ways, getting fit while always eating what you want, I believe dirty bulking can absolutely do you more harm than good if you slip up.

One of the most beneficial aspects of gaining a new workout and diet regimen is the discipline aspect. I personally believe that being able to find discipline in diet is one of the greatest ways to help improve yourself overall. By dirty bulking, it’s easy to consume far too much and find it hard to close the gap when it finally comes to exercising. Just as well, you can get a little sloppy and lag behind when it comes to burning off the calories earned, and given that bulking is all about having a high calorie diet, it can easily lead to you gaining an obscene amount of weight.

Although technically viable, dirty bulking shouldn’t be used in the long-term. If you’re going to dirty bulk, I suggest doing it for the off cycle and stick to clean bulking all other times.