Want to add quality muscle mass?
When most guys bulk they just end up getting fat.
For most, bulking is synonymous with eating a ton of garbage food.
This results in a dirty bulk where you end up packing on the fat, but not nearly as much muscle mass as you’d hope.
If you’re trying to add quality muscle mass, you don’t have to eat 100% clean. You also don’t have to eat like a pig and go crazy on the junk.
Like everything, the key is finding a sustainable middle ground where you can consistently get results.
Ultimately it boils down to your macro nutrient intake, but certain foods allow you to hit your required protein/carb/fat intake easier without consuming too many calories.
You can play the IIFYM (if it fits your macros) game and count every macronutrient, or you can eat foods that you inherently know are loaded with protein, lower calorie choices, and naturally move your physique towards your goals.
Here’s a list of the top foods that are easy to prepare and allow you to add CLEAN gains that you can actually keep.
What is the ultimate clean protein source? You can ask any bodybuilder and the answer will be the same. Eggs are an unbeatable source of protein, amino acids, healthy fats, vitamins and other nutrients for your body.
Making things even better, eggs are stupidly cheap and so easy to cook.
If you are trying to add mass, do not remove the yolk from your eggs!
This is fine when cutting, but removing the yolk removes fat, choline, and about half of the egg’s protein.
Egg yolks alone will not make you fat and provide crucial resources for your body when bulking.
Steak – the ultimate manly food! When people think of eating steak, they don’t necessarily think of adding clean muscle mass.
Steak not only provides a ton of protein, but also high concentrations of Iron, Vitamins D&B, among other nutrients.
There is a worldwide fear of eating red meat but the fact is it helps build muscle, tastes great, and is easy to cook.
Again, since you’re adding mass you don’t have to worry so much about the fat. Fat will help you grow muscle.
3. Chicken Breast
Chicken breast is hailed by health fanatics all over the world. There’s no surprise that boneless skinless chicken breast is a bodybuilder’s best friend due to the insanely high protein concentration and overall low calorie count.
A standard 4 oz chicken breast (pretty much the size of an iPhone) has about 25g of protein and only 140 calories.
You can see how it’s pretty hard to get fat when eating chicken breast as a staple of your diet.
A huge mistake bodybuilders make is eating chicken that tastes completely awful.
You don’t have to eat dry, overcooked “struggle chicken” as Kevin from FitMenCook calls it. Perfect name because if you’ve ever tried eating 3 day old meal-prepped struggle chicken you know exactly why it’s named that!
Check out this video for a super easy way to meal prep your chicken to eat without the internal struggle.
On the same topic as chicken breast, lean fish such as Tilapia is packed with protein.
An average fillet of tilapia only has about 112 calories and 23g of protein making it another food that you can pack into your diet without having to worry about adding that fluffy squishy bulking fat. Only quality gains, thanks!
BUT JON – TILAPIA ISN’T FISH LOADED WITH MERCURY AND GOING TO KILL ME!!?!?
I’m not a nutritionist, nor do I claim to be one but I like to look at reality.
Let’s look at Japan, according to Wikipedia’s countries with the longest lifespans Japan ranks numero uno.
Men are expected to live to 80, women to 87. Not bad for a country that eats radioactive, mercury ridden fish!
In case my argument wasn’t enough, the NRDC mercury guide has Tilapia on the lowest level of mercury, with a cute little “enjoy these fish” message. Now go eat some Tilapia haters!
5. High Protein Dairy
If you try looking around whether or not milk is good when bulking you’ll probably get confused.
The legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger has been misquoted all over the internet for saying “milk is for babies”.
Internet geniuses forget to leave out, he adds a tongue in cheek comment saying “real men drink beer!” immediately after thus making you wonder JUST how serious he was being.
While I personally don’t find that adding milk in my diet helps me reach my daily requirements (mainly too high in sugar, not enough protein per calories), there are some great high protein dairy sources.
6) Greek Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt makes for a badass source of a protein – only if you buy the right kind.
Like most food in today’s sugar addicted age, most brands are absolutely loaded with added sugar making it a horrible choice for you if you’re looking to stay lean.
Take a look at the nutrition labels and make sure yours doesn’t have a ton of sugar.
If you go for the 0% fat you will get more protein. It doesn’t taste nearly as good, but nutritionally it makes much better decision. You can add all kinds of good stuff to your greek yoghurt like oatmeal, fruit, honey, etc. so long as you stay within your daily requirements like always.
7) Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is another awesome high protein dairy source. I like to have it with my chicken or with steak.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: If you don’t like cottage cheese, don’t eat it. So many people make horrible non-sustainable diet decisions when trying to build their bodies. Just because it’s on this list doesn’t make it an absolute. If you hate it, find another way to get your protein in.
Cottage cheese is mainly made up of casein protein, one of the different types of protein. Due to its gelatinous nature it’s a slow digesting protein. You will find many people online recommending to eat it at night. I don’t.
Like I say – it’s all preference. Find what works for you because that’s the only way to tell.
8) Whey Protein
Read my article on the best tasting protein powders you can buy
I purposely left whey protein (the main protein shake everyone drinks) for last.
Does it mean it’s not important?
I used to slam protein shakes like no tomorrow, but now I feel like real food produces better results.
Too many shakes made me bloated, gassy, and constipated. When I eat real food I feel way better.
For most people I think protein shakes are an excuse to be lazy and avoid cooking and eating real food.
I’m not saying not to drink shakes. If you can manage to gain mass while slamming shakes – go for it!
Shakes should be used what they’re meant for which is to supplement extra protein. The keyword being extra, implying you’re already getting protein from another source such as real food.
Check out my other article on the Best Tasting Protein Powders
9. Healthy Fats
(Avocado / Almonds / Oil)
Fat gets a horribly bad rap.
First things first, dietary fat does NOT make you fat.
People hear the name and get all freaked out. Junk food companies want you to think that “no fat” or “low fat” is a benefit and means it will not make you fat.
This could not be farther from the truth.
Just look at Time Magazine revoking their statements about dietary fat – thus ‘ending the war on fat’ – almost 20 years later.
Healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, almonds, fatty fish (salmon), avocado are all very important for your body to function and to build muscle.
There is also evidence showing that healthy dietary fat increases your testosterone levels, allowing you to more easily build muscle. Don’t be afraid to eat healthy dietary fat. Get educated and make a decision for your own body.
I know it’s only the 317th time I’ve mentioned it, but no food alone will make you fat.
It all breaks down to your overall calorie intake/expenditure as well as the macro nutrient composition of your food.
This is a list of what I have found to be some foods that allow me to easily get my protein intake and I think you’ll be able to benefit a lot from trying it. Like always, try it out, measure your results to guarantee your success, and make your own decision!