Best Bulking Diet To Build Muscle? (The SIMPLE Truth)

What’s going on, guys? Sean Nalewanyj, and in this
video today I’m going to be sharing with you the very simple truth of what the best
muscle building diet is to help you gain muscle effectively from week to week while keeping
bodyfat gains to a minimum. This is something that most lifters way overcomplicate,
especially beginners, and with all the different information out there that’s available nowadays,
all the articles and videos telling you what the best muscle building foods are or the
exact macro nutrient ratio you need to follow is — pre-workout meals, post workout meals,
bedtime nutrition, intra-workout nutrition — all these different factors. With all that stuff, a big percentage of lifters
are under the impression that proper muscle building nutrition is this hugely complex
thing that needs to be carefully monitored at every hour of the day. Now, the truth is that for the average lifter
the things you actually need to focus on are pretty simple and straight forward and it’s
actually just a couple very basic factors that are going to make up the huge majority
of your results and that will get you close to your genetic potential on their own. If you’re a more advanced lifter who’s
already close to their genetic potential and let’s say you’re trying to squeeze out
every possible ounce of growth and you’ve been at this for five plus years and bodybuilding
is your passion or you’re competing then paying more attention to those smaller details
would become more necessary. But for most of you who are watching this
who just want to build a great physique but body building and fitness isn’t your whole
life and you’re not trying to go to the extreme with it, it’s just not necessary
to micro manage all the small details. And it’s probably, actually, counterproductive
because it will create unnecessary stress and it will decrease the chances that you’ll
actually stick to your bodybuilding program long term. So what is the best bulking diet for the average
trainee? There are a couple of other factors that I’ll
mention here in a second, but to put it very simply the best muscle building diet is going
to be a reasonably balanced, minimally processed wholefood diet that allows you to meet your
total calorie needs for the day. That is the vast majority of it. As long as you’re getting a good balanced
mix of minimally processed protein carbon fat sources and you’re hitting your overall
daily calorie target, you’re probably doing ninety percent plus of what you need to do
in order to optimize your muscle gains. Now, obviously, calorie aren’t the only
thing that ammeters because it’s also important that you get enough protein for muscle recovery
and growth, it’s also important that you get enough fat in order to keep your testosterone
levels in the right range. But if you’re eating a fairly standard diet
where your main meals are based on some sort of protein and carb combination, which something
that most people just naturally do anyway even if they don’t workout, if you’re
doing that and you’re including a healthy fat source or two during the day and you’re
not going out of your weight to eat lowfat then your protein and fat needs will usually
just get hit automatically without even trying. Because you don’t need a huge amount of
either of them in the first place to begin with and because you’re eating in a calorie
surplus your overall daily food take is going to be higher and so your margin for error
in terms of hitting those macro minimum is going to be a lot smaller. 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight
will likely be enough to maximize you gains, which is only a hundred and thirty-five grams
for a one hundred and seventy pound person. And then about twenty-five percent of your
total calorie is coming from fat would be a good guideline there. That’s pretty easy to hit as well. So, if your diet is reasonably balanced and
you’re eating in a surplus, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll undershoot those numbers. Now, if you’re on a type of diet that is
lower protein or lower fat by default like a vegan diet, for example, or if you just
don’t eat much protein or fat to begin with then, yeah, you will want to double check
to make sure that you’re getting enough of those. But for most people it really won’t be an
issue and you’ll likely just get enough without even having to really try. And on top of that as long as you’re not
intentionally restricting a particular macronutrient or going really high on one macro for some
reason, again, as long as things were decently balanced throughout the day you’re exact
macro breakdown is not going to be that big of a deal when you’re bulking. For example, it doesn’t actually matter
if a higher percentage of your surplus comes from carbs or fat because your body naturally
will adapt to type of fuel you’re getting and you won’t gain more or less bodyfat
either way. So, you can go a bit higher carb and a bit
lower fat or vice versa. Or if you went a bit higher protein and a
bit lower carb or a bit higher fat and a bit lower protein, again, as long as you’re
meeting the minimums for each of those macronutrients inter changing them a bit is probably not
going to make a noticeable difference to your results. So tracking exact macros just becomes unnecessary. And this is something that I really want to
move more toward with my advice and that is to encourage people to gravitate more toward
a more intuitive style of eating. Some tracking is obviously necessary if you’re
serious about your results but I’d much rather see people just focused on total calories
and then roughly estimate their macros because precise macro tracking just isn’t going
to be sustainable for most people and it’s probably not necessary either, unless fitness
is your life and you compete or something along those sort of lines. When you’re in a focused cutting phase then
it’s a bit different because you’re in a deficit and so you’re going to have fewer
calories to work with and so you do need to track things a bit more closely to make sure
that you’re getting enough of each macronutrient jus for health reasons. But in a surplus it’s usually not going
to be a big issue. Now, at the same time, I’m not encouraging
people to be lazy here either because building an impressive standout physique does take
work and it does take consistency, so don’t overlook the fact that calories do matter. If you’re trying to maximize your muscle
gains and you’re not getting enough total calories then you’re not going to build
muscle at your full potential or you might not even build any real noticeable muscle
at all. And if you go high on calories then you’re
going to gain an excessive amount of bodyfat. Some people, especially those with good genetics,
can eat more on the fly and just estimate things by eating a bit more than normal and
still get great results that way. But if you’re a beginner and you’re serious
about this for the long term then I would recommend that you have a reasonable idea
of what your calorie needs are for muscle growth and how closely you’re hitting them. And then going through a period of temporary
nutritional tracking just to learn the ropes because that’s going to teach you which
foods contain what and how that fits into the day as a whole as well as what your calorie
needs are for maintenance and for muscle growth and for fatloss, it will just served you really
well moving forward. And as you become more experienced, and especially
if you tend to eat a lot of the same things during most days like I do, then often you
can just fall into a rhythm with it and you might not need to track things that closely. You’ll just get naturally better at it overtime
as well. I have gone over a few different ways to calculate
your daily calorie needs for muscle growth in previous videos, and of if you haven’t
seen those or if you’re unsure then you can check the description box and I’ll lay
everything out for you step-by-step there. You obviously do want to double check that
you’re getting enough total protein and enough total fat to be sure but as long as
you clearly are then it really shouldn’t be something that you have to specifically
track or at least not that you have to track it very closely. I’d also say to ideally split your meals
up into at least three separate protein feedings. Two will still be effective, something like
intermittent fasting, but I would say ideally three, and then from there just structure
your eating plan in whatever way is most enjoyable and most sustainable for you. There are no must eat bodybuilding foods. There are no special pre or post-workout combinations
that are going to make a huge difference to your results. There’s no magical macronutrient ratio and
as long as you’re getting two to three protein feedings then meal frequency and meal timing
likely isn’t going to make a noticeable impact on your gains. Remember that fitness is not a quick fix. This is an ongoing way of life. So you need to find a way of eating that you
can reasonably see yourself following over the long term and that you can genuinely enjoy. If every day is a struggle dietwise then you’re
definitely doing something wrong. Because as long as you take some time to plan
things out there’s no reason why you can’t fully enjoy your meals or why you should be
straining to meet your nutritional needs. And also remember that fitness is just one
aspect of your life and you only have so much mental energy available each day in the first
place. So if you’re obsessively tracking every
aspect of your diet in super detail, not only is that going to be unnecessary and stressful
but it will actually be detracting from your life as a whole by burning up mental energy
that you could use on other things. It’s going to decrease the chances that
you’ll actually stick with it and it’s going to make regular day-to-day things a
lot less enjoyable, like going out to eat with friends and family, for example. Again, if you are a more advance lifter and
fully maximizing your results is important to you then you can start fine tuning all
those little nutritional details to try and squeeze out a few percent of extra gains. But a few percent is probably exactly what
you’re looking at, and so for the typical trainee, especially beginners it’s much
better to just stick with the basics and the basics alone should take you close to your
genetic potential anyway. So, I hope this was helpful. If you do want to grab a fully structured
plan that covers everything you need to know to maximize your gains in those initial beginning
stages and up to the intermediate stage and beyond in a practical and sustainable way;
the workout plans, the meal plans, supplement guides, along with one-on-one coaching so
you can just put it the work and know that you’re doing everything properly with no
guess work involved then you can download my Body Transformation Blueprint by clicking
the little icon at the top of the screen. Or by heading over to
the link for that is in the description box. Make sure to like the video, leave a comment
and subscribe if you haven’t already. The official blog is over at
and you can follow Facebook and Instagram as well if you aren’t already, the links
for that are also in the description box. Thanks again for watching, guy, and I will
see you in the next video.

79 thoughts on “Best Bulking Diet To Build Muscle? (The SIMPLE Truth)

  1. Sean please cover some long head triceps exercise except the overhead extensions, because I felt a lot of pain in my shoulder doing those any tips?

  2. Seans literally the only youtuber i sit and watch with my full attention. Wish i had his PT knowledge.

  3. hey sean , love the video , but theres something i dont understand, when lean bulking should we always hit a 250-350 surplus regardless if the day was a training or rest day ? to put it in another way, if i had a training day should i eat a 250 -350 surplus in addition to calories compensating for the ones burned during the workout or should i just hit the normal 250-350 surplus ?

  4. Great video. A lot of content providers have all kinds of formulae for this stuff and I think competition for viewers has pushed information into the relm of rocket science as providers try to position themselves as subject matter experts. Except its not rocket science. Probably best to steer clear of most restaurant / fast food. I try to eat as clean as I can, track macros, but I don't count down to the gram or calorie. Seems to be working, although I'm trying to lose body fat and build muscle at the same time so I take the deficit calories from fats, in an effort to use up my body stores.

  5. Sean could you do a video in which you go through some photos and tell if this person should bulk or cut? Maybe get some subs to send in pics or simply google some examples. That way many of us could see which one is similar to us and make a decision if we should bulk or cut. I ask because I keep spinning my wheels with bulking and cutting and would like some help and im sure it would be very helpfull to others.

  6. Sean, I'm a 145 lb guy (and a hard gainer) and my calorie intake is about 2900 to 3700 calories per day; the higher number is when I hit the gym 3-4x per week. I get a surplus of protein in that diet of 180-220 grams, but the fat and carbs content is also high with avg fat of 180 grams and about 260 grams of carbs. It's obvious that a surplus of carbs and fat isn't good so My question is: why should my carbs and fat intake per day? Thanks.

  7. Sean, do a video on why it is that people feel extra hungry on rest days? While im dieting im eating around 2000 calories and im not really that hungry but as fast as i have a restday i want to binge eat and consume like 6000+ calories

  8. Lol all other wannabe Fitness channels such as TMW have sold out and are posting fast food shit. Chris Jones and Sean Nalewanj only ones left…

  9. What body fat percentage should women start to bulk? I'm about 25 lbs from my goal weight after losing 62 lbs. I want to bulk but there's so little information for women.

  10. omg r u gonna grow a viking beard and have tattoos and have a fuckboy haircut?? oh no. good contents btw like listening to an actual coach. good shit

  11. You speak so well and with so much clarity of thought, Sean, sometimes I visit your videos just to remind myself of what's actually important and to filter out all the bogus fitness industry noise that you have to wade through on youtube. Lately I've found myself obsessing over food, calories and even macros, definitely to the detriment of my life as a whole, so videos like this are a great wake up call. Really appreciate your content.

  12. I'm a guy & I'm 116lbs, I eat around 130g protein, 150g carbs & the fats fill in the rest, I eat 1700cals a day. I'm going to start bulking slowly even though I have belly fat.

  13. Is 2 protein feedings okay? One in the morning and one at night? I don't eat when i'm at work because it makes me sluggish… although sometimes i could squeeze in 2 protein feedings at night making it 3 the whole day.

  14. Great informative video! Needs more likes! Anyway Sean, do you think 500 calories more than maintenance is a good number for lean bulking?

  15. Sean, great video. This is what I have struggled with. I have tracked obsessively for so long that I actually think it is starting to hinder my progress. Constant food focus cannot be healthy.

  16. Do you have some piece of advice on how to get better presentation skills ? cause you are amazing at this

  17. Genuinely thought from the thumbnail and video name, that eventually you would show your favourite recipe.

    How wrong I was.

  18. Does it matter how much protein i take as regards to how lean I am. If I'm pretty lean would I need to go above 0.8g/1lbs?

  19. You can build muscle and lose fat at the same time. Your "only to a some degree" is bs. You need to be in positive nitrogen balance and hypocaloric diet. Period. Bullshit all your bulking and cutting waste of time

  20. Great reminder video Sean. I quit tracking macros using My Fitness Pal for the same reason you mentioned. I used to eat similar food during the week and i would intentionally eat well balanced food during the weekend. After 1 year of tracking macros i can eye ball food pretty well with no noticeable differences in body fat. gains for example. Natural BB is a veery long process and if we make it complicated to degree of tracking +/-50kcal or +/-10 grams then there is no chance average lifter stick to such crazy obsessive procedure long term.

  21. Hi Sean. quick question : does one's physicality really play an important role in terms of muscle building ? I'm currently on a fat loss dieting, where I feel my body fat does reduce while my muscle doesnt grow much or even stay the same. Not sure if it's the nutrition or genetic factors.

  22. What you said here is exactly what I discovered after 3 years of trial and error. The first stage was being completely obsessed with tracking my macros and eating the same thing every day…and as time goes by I've found that calories and protein are above all most important whether I'm bulking or leaning down. But that initial obsession with the details prepares you for "wingin it" so I think it's necessary at first to get into the details of your diet.

  23. this is THE only way i have found works Long term, No stress and enjoyable and therefore most success. It was a natural step that had to be Made for me to make it a Habit (effortless) . Before i would so anything to hit exact macros byt its not possible in Long term and time consuming. This way, More flexible, i have done tracking for Long time so i end up not stressing it and Still end up around My goal. I DO this with fatsecret app super easy. IF i ate alot extra stuff that i won't bother adding to My app i Will Keep My calories slighty under My goal 🙂

  24. I'm 6ft, 160lb trying to bulk. Right now I'm aiming for 3,300 calories a day, 166g protein, 415g carbs and 111g fat. Is this too many calories?

  25. I just love how simple and honest you are about the fitness industry and how you debunk its myths.

  26. I hear alot about fat keeping up testosterone!… Question, How do Male Gorillas, Bulls and other Fruit, Grass, Veg eating Animals be so Beastly and Jacked?

  27. I´m currently bulking and I'm seeing rgains, my problem it´s that I´m eating more than I should, I still have my sixpack (If I contract my abs) and my "love handles" are growing around my hip, what do you think I should do, a mini cut or go for a formal cutting?
    btw: Nice videos as always!

  28. Hey Sean thanks for the awesome video! I am about to transition into a bulking phase, and I would appreciate your thoughts on intermittent fasting while bulking. I have been using IF for about a year and have been loving it for the health benefits, however if it would impact my body composition in a negative manner while bulking then I would definitely be okay with adding breakfast back into my daily routine. Eric Helms said that it is likely that having three meals spaced evenly throughout the day SHOULD be optimal for muscle growth, and if this assumption is correct then I would assume that the excess calories that aren't getting utilized for muscle growth are just getting stored as body fat on an IF diet. Thanks for producing such reliable content!

  29. I count macros very carefully when I'm cutting, but when bulking, I just worry about calories and not macros because I always get enough protein when I'm bulking.

  30. what i like about your channel is im seeing results following everything you say. been doing shoulder presses for years and took your side raise dealt advise for big shoulders and im seeing changes shoulders are slowly appearing more round. again thanks and keep up the good work. Tpo any beguiners this channel will is the best very realistic advise that you can keep up with

  31. Hey Sean, there a seems to be a sort of hysteria going on about soy. Like, it messes with testosterone or something. Have you come across that topic before, and if so, what do you make of it?

  32. Love the "No Hype, No B.S." approach. The abundance of real facts and less hype makes my nutrition and fitness lifestyle more enjoyable.

  33. Hey Sean, I'm on a lean bulk (~3500 calories) but unfortunately I over-ate last night (~4700 calories) and weighed in 2kg heavier the following morning. Should I eat less calories to compensate for that?

  34. I honestly can't even pay attention to anything Sean says since his delt striations are too distracting lol.

  35. Great video as always. Would appreciate if you could talk about vegetarian bodybuilding. Training routine, nutrition etc

  36. Just reversing out of a mini cut and gonna start bulking soon! Love how your not anal about the details and you approach in general! Subbed!

  37. I eat chicken, oatmeal and rice and peas and broccoli, that is it. Is that ok? Or do I need more different carbs in my diet?

  38. so if im not eating bread but eating green veggies every meal am i good? or when he says crbs does he mean starchy stuff?

  39. Hey Sean Nalewanyj, if I do hard physical lifting labor 7-8 hours in a day. How many calories I burned and have to re-eat? This isnt an every day thing, just sometimes my work calls for it sporadically. Its not feasible to strap a heart monitor to my chest to get accuracy.

  40. One of the greatest most simple fitness channels there is, no confusing contradicting bullshit but just simple down to earth advice that makes sense.

  41. Best nutrition vid on here. Youtube should just make everyone else take down ALL of their nutrition video and just keep this one up.

  42. I've never been a big eater. Lifted for 2 years with minimal results. I learned a bit about nutrition (mostly from Sean) and started tracking macros. I was at around 16- 1800 calories. Started eating properly and my body changed almost immediately. The 3300 calorie target was all but impossible for me to consume in a given day. I did it for a couple months then thought I had a handle on it and quit tracking. Started tracking again after a few months and I was back down to 2000 calories. Long story short I absolutely have to track macros to push myself to eat adequate amounts.

  43. Awesome information! I noticed now there are smartphone apps like MyFitnessPal that let you scan the barcode of everything you eat, tell it how many servings you ate, and it will automatically track your calories and macros.

  44. So if I have my three square meals a day ( breakfast lunch and dinner ) two protein shakes and two fruit would this be enoug?

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