Want a list of the best bulking foods? You’ve come to the right place!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you’ve probably heard of the Rock’s (Dwayne Johnson’s) legendary cheat days!
You’re probably wondering how he does it.
Well, the truth is, it’s not that hard.
When you eat the right foods, in the right quantity, gaining weight is as easy as riding a bike (sorry if you can’t ride a bike 🙂
I can already hear the excuses pouring in..
“But I have a really fast metabolism, weight gain is impossible”
“I already eat a lot of food I can’t possibly eat anymore”
Let me cut to the chase and make this clear,
You AREN’T a ‘hard gainer’.
However, you do have a low appetite.
The cure for this is simple..
You won’t find any magic bullets or powders in this article, they simply don’t exist.
Today, I’m going to share a list of the 21 best bulking foods that are guaranteed to make you gain weight.
I’ll also dispell some common bulking myths that may be holding you back.
Common Bulking Myths (that refuse to die)
Myth# 1 You can’ build muscle on maintenance calories
Many people seem to believe that bulking is the only way to build muscle.
They couldn’t be further from the truth..
Building muscle while eating at maintenance calories is perfectly achievable, it’s called the recomposition method.
This involves cycling calories throughout the week in order to simultaneously build muscle and lose fat.
It’s important to note that recomping is much slower than a traditional bulk and if you’re impatient you might want to opt for a bulk/cut cycle instead.
Myth# 2 Dirty bulking produces better results
There is a common misconception in the bodybuilding community that the more you eat the more muscle gains you invariably make.
This is based on the assumption that muscle gains scale with increased calories.
In reality, there is a definitive cap for muscle gains.
Lyle Mcdonald and Alan Aragon have both produced their own individual models which show the ideal rate of muscle growth for natural lifters.
In Lyle’s model, you can see that the maximum rate of muscle growth is approximately 0.5 lb per week.
This assumes you’re a novice to training and are eating enough to gain 0.75 lb – 1lb per week.
For the majority of you, however, a more realistic rate of muscle growth will likely be half that.
What does this mean for you?
Whilst you need to eat more, dirty bulking isn’t beneficial and will cause unwanted fat gains.
Bulking and cutting is inherently bad for you as shown in studies, this is known as the ‘yo-yo’ effect.
I would recommend taking a more long-term approach, whether that be a recomposition or a clean bulk.
Myth# 3 Clean bulking means eating 100% ‘clean’
Another pervasive myth is that clean bulking equates to eating 100% healthy or ‘clean’ foods.
This is false.
A clean bulk isn’t defined by the quality of the foods you eat, moreover the quantity and rate of weight gain.
Technically you could eat a diet that consisted of 100% fast food and it may still be classified as a clean bulk.
On the other hand, you could also eat 4000 calories worth of broccoli, chicken and rice every day which would be considered a dirty bulk for most.
90% of your food intake should be nutritious foods and the remaining 10% can be filled with empty calories or ‘junk’ food.
Myth# 4 Intermittent fasting is good for bulking
I’ve never been shy in declaring my undying love for intermittent fasting.
It’s a great tool for weight loss and people who tend to suffer from big appetites should definitely consider trying it.
However, for the purpose of gaining weight, intermittent fasting is far from optimal.
Think about it..
The main benefit of IF is its appetite suppression effects!
If you’re reading this article, then you don’t want or need this.
As I’ve already made clear, a hard gainer is somebody with a low appetite.
For you guys, eating calorie dense foods frequently is the best solution.
Before I get to the list of the best bulking foods, I want to highlight some things you should consider:
Consideration 1: Cost effectiveness
Unless you’re Bill Gates, you don’t have billions in your bank account.
Bulking can be an expensive gig and you need to be street smart to maximise savings.
One of the most cost effective ways to buy bulking foods is to ‘buy in bulk’ (pardon the pun).
You can either do this directly through wholesalers or just stick to low-cost foods.
In my experience, certain foods are really cost effective such as:
- frozen chicken breast
You can stock up on these foods without breaking the bank.
Consideration 2: The quality of the foods you eat matters
“You are what you eat”- A wise person.
Sure, the goal is to build muscle and get jacked but don’t you want to be alive to benefit from your gains?
This might seem like a dramatic statement but it holds some truth.
Most of the foods I’ve covered on the list are nutrient dense and have various health benefits.
Of course, you can throw in the odd bowl of ice cream here and there but 90% of your diet should be ‘clean’.
The 21 Best Bulking Foods
Below are my top 21 foods for gaining weight quickly.
I’ve divided them into two categories; healthy foods and junk foods.
Calories per serving: Half an avocado contains 109 calories
How to use: chop up an avocado into chunks, next add it to a bowl and mix with iceberg lettuce and chicken for a healthy salad.
Avocados are a great source of healthy fat and are extremely calorie dense, they are rich in Vitamin C, B6 and potassium.
There have been numerous health benefits associated with avocados, such as improved cardiovascular health and anti-aging properties.
2. Coconut oil
Calories per serving: 1 table spoon contains 117 calories
How to use: Can be used when baking, frying, and as a dressing for salads.
Coconut oil is over 80% saturated fat, making it a perfect food for bulking.
It has many positive effects such as reducing inflammation, protecting hair damage and supporting most of the bodies functions.
3. Cottage cheese
Calories per serving: 1 cup is 222 calories
How to use: Can be eaten on its own as a late night snack or used with other dishes.
Cottage cheese is a great source of protein and is packed with essential nutrients such as vitamin B and calcium.
Calories per serving: A 100g portion is 282 calories
How to use: Dates are a delicious and sweet fruit that can be eaten on their own.
Dates are high in fibre making them essential for promoting healthy bowels. If you suffer from constipation then dates can help alleviate the symptoms.
They also contain lots of minerals which help combat debilitating diseases such as osteoporosis.
5. Fruit juice
Calories per serving: 1 400ml glass is 180 calories
Orange juice contains lots of vitamin C which is essential for the immune system.
Research also shows drinking orange juice can help decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Calories per serving: 100g serving is 386 calories
How to use: Try serving granola with a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey.
Granola is high in soluble fibre which is known to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol (and promote good cholesterol).
Granola is also low in sodium and high in potassium which helps reduce blood pressure.
7. Greek yoghurt
Calories per serving: 1 cup is 310 calories
How to use: Try sprinkling some blueberries and honey for a tasty dessert.
Greek yoghurt contains probiotics that promote a healthy digestive system.
Calories per serving: 1 tablespoon is 64 calories
How to use: Honey is a great alternative to sugar
Honey soothes acid reflux and can help prevent heartburn. It’s also a great way to boost your immune system!
Calories per serving: Varies
Liquid meals are perfect for people who have low appetites.
You can add whatever you like to these shakes, including oats, fruit, vegetables etc.
The calories rack up pretty quickly and you won’t get as full as you would eating a standard meal!
Calories per serving: 1 oz (28.4g) is 161 calories
How to use: Can be used as a healthy snack in between meals.
Research has shown that peanuts contain high amounts of p-coumaric acid. It is thought to reduce the risk of stomach cancer.
Calories per serving: 1 tablespoon is 95 calories
How to use: Try spreading peanut butter on a toasted bagel or adding it to a liquid shake.
Peanut butter is full of healthy monounsaturated fat. Peanuts also contain niacin which has been shown in research to reduce Alzheimer’s risk by up to 70%.
Calories per serving: 1 cup is 220 calories
How to use: Quinoa is a great alternative to rice.
Quinoa is very high in fibre and is fairly light on the stomach (you can eat a lot of it). Quinoa is also gluten-free which is perfect if you have a gluten intolerance.
Calories per serving: 100 gram serving is 299 calories
How to use: Mix raisins in a bowl with nuts and other dried fruits for the perfect high-calorie snack.
Raisins have been shown to relieve constipation.
Studies have also shown a positive correlation between reduced hypertension and consumption of raisins.
Calories per serving: 1 fillet (143g) is 255 calories
How to use: Try Frying salmon in coconut oil (or bake) and serve with buttery mash potatoes and asparagus with cheese sauce + chopped mint.
Salmon is naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids which are considered essential.
Calories per serving: 1 bagel is 245 calories
Calories per serving: 100g bar is 500 calories
Calories per serving: 1 slice (1 0z) is 113 calories
Calories per serving: 1 Tablespoon is 69 calories
Calories per serving: A 100g serving is 207 calories (vanilla flavour)
Calories per serving: A medium cheese pizza is 2,200 calories
Calories per serving: A 400ml glass is 240 calories
Gaining weight is incredibly simple, eat more calories than your body burns.
This isn’t rocket science nor voodoo magic.
The foods on this list are extremely calorie dense, making them perfect for bulking.
Just remember, you shouldn’t flip to the other extreme and get fat as f##k, health is still a major consideration (plus who wants to look like stay puft from Ghostbusters?)
Have I forgotten to mention any of your favourite foods on the list?
If so, let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them!