If you are feeling bloated while bulking, you are not alone. This is especially common with people who are skinny and want to become muscular.
I know this because I was once ridiculously skinny. Skinny enough for people to make fun of me for being scrawny.
Anyways, feeling bloated comes with the territory of learning about your body and eating enough calories to build muscle.
If we are bulking, we probably know that you cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit. Which tells us that we must be in a caloric surplus in order to build muscle. Safe assumption.
This means that we are going to be eating a ton of calories just to go over our maintenance calorie threshold. This also means that we are going to be stuffed beyond belief until we figure out a solution to our problems.
In this article, I will discuss everything that helped me overcome my daily fight with bloating.
Balancing your diet with shakes
For me, bulking was a massive chore. My maintenance calorie number is 3,100 calories per day, so I had to consume at least 3,600 calories per day to even be considered bulking. Side note, use this article to learn how to calculate your maintenance calories.
I tried to eat everything “clean” like you would see a stage performing bodybuilder do. I ate plain chicken with brown rice. My wife and I would make sure everything that we ate was perfect.
This type of eating is not sustainable at this high level of eating. It got to the point where I was gagging halfway through my meal because of how bland and repetitive it was.
I had to do something. That is when I figured out the power of protein shakes. In fact, I created my own 1000 calorie protein shake recipe.
This protein shake literally saved my bulk and my sanity. I drank 1 in the morning and 1 at night. Right off the bat, that is 2,000 calories. Then I would save the other 1,600 calories that were leftover for lunch, dinner, and snacks.
You will be surprised at how much of a difference this makes. Just use an app like MyFitnessPal to record all of your calories.
The best thing about the shake is that I still love it to this day. While I am only at maintenance right now, I still drink a shake every morning in place of a traditional breakfast. It is that good.
Ever since I started drinking shakes, I have not been feeling bloated while bulking.
Don’t overdo the starch if you are feeling bloated
When I say don’t overdo the starch, I don’t mean avoid carbs. Carbs are important for muscle building.
Let me explain what I mean by don’t overdo the starch. First of all, you shouldn’t be allocating more than 50% of your calories towards carbs. So be sure to check that first. Starches can be found in all carbs, but some can be avoided.
For example, if you are eating bread only for your carbs, that could be a reason that you are feeling bloated while bulking. Try to switch up your carbs.
Another thing to consider is the fact that a lot of preservatives are made with starch. For example, shredded cheese is coated with starch as a preservative. Sure, this keeps it fresh longer, but you are adding unnecessary starch to your diet.
Instead of buying shredded cheese, try to buy only blocks of cheese, and use a cheese grater to shred it up. I personally use a hand crank cheese grater, like this one from Amazon. It saves a ton of time, and cleaning up is simple.
The last takeaway from this starch section is about rice. I absolutely love rice, and it is the carb that I eat the most of. But there is a problem. Rice has a lot of starch. The majority of this starch can be counteracted if you wash the rice before using it.
I have a wire mesh strainer that I put the rice in and then spray it with my kitchen faucet until the water that comes out is clear. Some people prefer to soak it for 30 minutes and then strain it.
Starches can make you feel bloated and sluggish, so make sure you choose your carbs wisely.
Space out your meals while bulking
When I first started bulking, I would always have a massive meal at some point throughout the day. Honestly, it was necessary, or so I thought. If you are sick of feeling bloated while bulking, this might be your next best option.
When you eat a ton of food in one sitting, everything expands in your stomach. Of course this is going to make you feel bloated. You can’t avoid this.
Instead, try spacing out your meals throughout the day for a more balanced approach.
For example, if you are like me, and you need to eat 3,600 calories per day just to bulk, try 5-7 meals per day.
I understand that most people’s jobs won’t allow them this flexibility. This of course is why I am an advocate for my 1,000 calorie protein shakes.
Either way, if you are sick of feeling bloated, spacing out your meals might be worth a shot.
Drink plenty of water while bulking
This may seem counterintuitive at first. You might think that drinking a ton of water will make you feel more bloated. But that is usually not the case.
When you drink plenty of water throughout the day your body is going to process the water quickly along with the food that you eat. This is also going to help distribute the calories that you eat faster than if you are dehydrated.
When you are dehydrated, your body is going to prioritize vital organs before muscle. In other words, your digestion is going to lag behind, leading you to feel bloated.
You can read more about water and muscle building in my article titled Does drinking water help build muscle? The answer is yes! It absolutely helps build muscle. But only if you are eating at a caloric surplus, working out, and drinking enough of it.
Don’t do a dirty bulk
How many of you know what a dirty bulk is? For those that don’t it’s when you eat as much food as you possibly can, without regard for nutritional content or total calories.
Are you going to build muscle on a dirty bulk? Absolutely, but you will also build a ton of fat. There is a sweet spot for the amount of calories over maintenance that you want to be. Usually, that sweet spot is just about 500 calories over maintenance.
When you are dirty bulking, that number is going to vary drastically. Sometimes you may be thousands of calories over your maintenance on a daily basis. Do you know where all those extra calories go? They go to extra fat.
Of course this could lead to feeling bloated while bulking. It just comes with the territory.
So you have to ask yourself, are you doing a calculated bulk or a dirty bulk? Make sure to be precise in what you do. Don’t make the mistake of becoming overweight with a dirty bulk.
Main Point: Feeling bloated while bulking?
We all know that feeling bloated while bulking is terrible. And for some, this might be a deterrent from getting in the best shape they have ever been in. Don’t let that be you. There are clear steps that can be taken in order to avoid bloating.
Unfortunately, you are probably going to still experience some growing pains as your stomach attempts to make room for your new diet. But don’t let that be what separates you from massive gains.
My best piece of advice is what worked for me. Which is drinking at least half of your daily calories. This is going to save you a lot of time and help you immensely with bloating. If I never discovered the power of making my own 1000 calorie protein shake, I would have never built over 60 pounds of muscle throughout my journey.
Don’t forget about starchy foods. By avoiding these, your stomach will thank you.
If you don’t want to do shakes, be sure to space out your meals and drink plenty of water. This will ensure that your body has time to digest the food in between meals.
My last piece of advice is to avoid dirty bulking. I know that it can be tempting, but dirty bulking is essentially the opposite of starving yourself. It’s not going to end up being beneficial to your goals.
Hopefully you were able to take away some valuable advice from this article. Bloating can be quite obnoxious while bulking. But you can counteract it with some simple tricks.