A ‘Clean Bulk’ presents its own challenges. For one, there’s almost a gaurantee you’ll gain some adipose tissue (fat) in the process of gaining the muscle. How much calories go where depends on your bodies’ own ability to synthesize proteins. This can vary by genetics. That’s why the relatively new alternative, “Culking” has emerged.
Culking was a term devised by Alan Aragon. Though he acknowledges it’s not necessarily a method in itself, just a useful word to describe the approach. It basically refers to a protocol of training at maintenance, or ever so slightly above maintenance calories. This way, you make very slow muscle gains, but without the concomitant fat gain. Calories are dialed in at certain points in time, to either manage muscle gain, or fat loss.
The details of a Culking protocol aren’t far different from a Clean Bulk. You would follow the exact same macro-nutrient breakdown, however it would be applied to your maintenance calories. You would still need to stick to suitable proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Cardio would be scaled back too, otherwise you’re just going to be in a situation of fitness limbo.
Choosing between a Clean Bulk and Culking is a personal choice. People who consider themselves bodybuilders or competitive athletes might be attracted to the former, because you can obtain results quicker. This approach does however take a spartan-like level of dedication to get right, which is easy if you are at a pro level. Many a person has abandoned a Clean Bulk half way through due to anxiety over the weight gain, despite that this an accepted part of the Clean Bulk.
For a person into recreational fitness, Culking represents a less extreme, psychologically easier means of gaining muscle. You don’t change how you look in the mirror from day to day, but over a longer period of time, you are forging a stronger, more muscular body. Both approaches, followed correctly, arrive at the same destination. The only differences is the rate at which the destination is reached.
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