Are Burgers Good for Bulking?

Yes, burgers can be good for bulking, because of their high carb and calorie content. Although you should be mindful when prepping them. That extra sauce can come in a form of fat rather than muscle when trying to bulk up. 

Adding protein rich ingredients (lean meat, high quality cheese and bun) while keeping the fat content minimal (no sauce, grill, or use little oil when cooking the meat) can make it a perfect choice for your bulking diet. 

That’s because the key to a successful bulking involves the consumption of the right amount of macros, with the focus of higher protein and (complex) carbs over fats while being in a calorie surplus. This balance of macronutrients aids muscle growth while minimizing fat gain.

As a seasoned fitness expert and sports nutritionist with a decade-long journey through various bulking phases, I’ll guide you on fitting burgers into your bulk without adding excess body fat. 

This guide explores the burger’s role in clean vs. dirty bulking, delves into their nutritional value, and offers practical tips to incorporate them into your bulking diet.

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Understanding Clean vs. Dirty Bulk

You may have heard the terms ‘clean’ and ‘dirty-bulking’, but do you know the difference between them?

Clean bulk involves the consumption of calories from primarily nutritious, healthy food with only around 300-500 increase in calories. It’s a more controlled caloric increase for bulking. While dirty bulking mainly comes from less-nutritious and fast foods with an over 500 kcal surplus.

More fast food means more calories, which can help you bulk up (gain weight) quicker, but it also might bring in extra fat along the way!

It is possible to convert excess calories into muscle, but too much of them from high (trans) fat, carbs and low protein intake can increase your body fat instead of muscle mass.

A study showed that protein overfeeding or the consumption of a high protein diet may not result in a gain in body weight or fat mass despite consuming calories from fat and carbs.

You can’t accurately predict how many calories your body will utilize for muscle gain and how many calories will become fat. A calorie is just a measurement of energy, not the unit that explains how much mass your body will gain. So the best way to prevent fat gain is to control your macros and the overall calories you consume.

You can achieve that by being in a small surplus. Think of extra 10% to 20% of your maintenance calories. When most of those calories come from junk food, you’re more likely to overeat and get yourself into a bigger surplus.

Processed food triggers insulin spikes, affecting sugar absorption and blood sugar regulation. Frequent spikes hinder glucose absorption, increasing the likelihood of fat storage in the body.

In simple words, everything in moderation, even when bulking. Why? Read along!

The Benefits Of A Clean Bulk

Clean bulking involves a strategic, and controlled approach to gaining muscle while minimizing fat gain. 

It involves consuming a slight calorie surplus (5-10% above maintenance from nutrient-dense, whole foods like lean proteins (fish, lean beef (3%), chicken, tofu), complex carbs (whole grains, oats, rice, quinoa) healthy fats (oily fish, nuts and seeds), and plenty of  vegetables and fruit a day.

Our goal here is to prioritize quality nutrition, maintaining a balance between protein, carbs, and fats along with vitamins and minerals, while avoiding excessive processed foods and sugary items. 

Clean bulking focuses on consistent training, progressive overload, and mindful calorie tracking to support muscle growth without significant increases in body fat.

Regardless of your bulking method, it’s best to increase calories gradually, not all at once! Start with a 10% surplus during a clean bulk, gradually boosting your calories as the weeks pass by and your training progresses. 

This approach can help your body convert these calories into muscle rather than storing them as fat.

Burger Nutritional Facts

The calorie and nutrient content of a burger will significantly vary depending on the ingredients and toppings you choose. 

To make it more convenient, we’ve gathered and analyzed the nutritional value of the most common types of burgers:

Double Burger 

Nutritional ValueAmount (330g)

Lettuce Wrap Burger

Nutritional ValueAmount (227g)

Plain Hamburger

Nutritional ValueAmount (145g)

Related: Are Pop Tarts Good for Bulking?

Are Burgers Good for Bulking?

Yes, a burger is good for bulking as it’s high in calories. When you are bulking you need to be in a caloric surplus. This might sound crazy, but eating loads isn’t easy for everyone, especially not for those with high metabolism. Busy schedules, and work can easily throw you off track, too.

Burgers are quick and convenient to make, boosting quickly your daily required calorie intake! On top of that they are high in carbs, which is essential in promoting recovery after a session. Your muscles store glycogen which is used for energy when training. A burger can restore these glycogen stores, getting you ready for your next, big workout and bulk you up!

If you use lean meats like homemade beef with 3% fat or less or chicken breast, along with lots of veggies and real cheese, burgers can offer more protein, helping you reach the recommended 0.8-1.2g/kg/body weight daily intake.

What Makes Burgers Bad for Bulking?

sugar content, cheese quality, and overconsumption can each impact whether burgers support muscle growth during bulking. 

Consider these tips: 

  1. Opt for whole grain buns instead of low-quality white flour ones. 
  2. Make homemade sauces with fresh ingredients instead or store bought ones with excessive sugar.
  3. Choose real or low-fat cheese with protein and less fat. 
  4. Boost its nutrition value with plenty of veggies and salad leaves, meeting your daily veggie needs. 
  5. Pick lean meat.
  6. Avoid excessive oil when cooking the meat, instead grill it or use a little olive oil 
  7. Enhance its flavor with anti-inflammatory spices like black pepper
  8. Limit salt

Pros and Cons of Eating Burgers for Bulking

Now that we’ve examined the nutritional components of common burger types, let’s take a look at the advantages and drawbacks of consuming them while on a bulk: 


  • Burgers can be a good source of protein because a single patty can contain more than 20 grams of protein.
  • Burgers are some of the most popular fast food menu items and they are easy to consume. This makes them a convenient choice for those who are constantly on the go or do not have time to meal prep at home.
  • Burgers can also be a quick and easy way to consume a large amount of calories since a typical burger contains around 500 to 600 calories.


  • Consuming too many fast food burgers can be detrimental to your overall health because they are often high in sodium, which can lead to bloating and water retention.
  • Fast food burgers can also lead to nutrient deficiencies because they generally lack essential micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. 
  • Burgers made with highly processed ingredients can cause your insulin levels to spike, making it more difficult for your body to absorb glucose. As a result, it is highly likely for your body to store fat.

The Best Burgers To Eat When Bulking

Based on the tables above, you can see that there are a few typical burgers with a beneficial macronutrient count for bulking. 

While burgers in general may not necessarily be ideal for a completely clean bulk, there are certain burgers and ways to prepare them that can help in any bulking phase:  

High-Protein Burger 

Choose a burger that’s high in protein content. Go for double patty burgers as they increase the protein content without additional refined carbohydrates. 

However, if you’ve already met your protein target and don’t want to be in too much of a surplus, it’s best to choose a burger with a single patty.

Lettuce Wrap Burger

Another great way to decrease the intake of refined carbs and calories is to use a lettuce bun instead of a standard one, given that most burger buns are very high in refined carbohydrates. Alternatively, you can ditch the buns altogether!

Plain Hamburger

You can easily limit your calorie intake by leaving out cheese and mayo. You can always use other toppings and condiments for added taste and texture, like pickles, onion, tomato, and lettuce.

Should I Eat Burgers Before or After Working Out?

In almost all cases, sinking your teeth into a burger in the hours leading up to exercise is not a good idea, because of how heavy it is to your stomach and how slow it is to digest. If you by any chance choose to eat a burger prior to your workout, make sure to leave plenty of hour to digest, not less than 3-5.

However, eating a juicy burger can be an excellent way to replenish your muscles and iron stores following a workout. After an intense session at the gym, your best post-workout bet is a high-protein and low-fat burger to maximize your gains in the bulking season. 

Final Thoughts

If part of your current fitness goals is to pack on more quality size, clean bulking is the healthiest and most effective way to gain muscle mass. 

While burgers are not necessarily ideal for clean bulking, they can be a helpful option to incorporate into your diet if you have them occasionally and consider their macronutrient profile. As part of a balanced meal plan, burgers can be a delicious and convenient way to increase calorie and protein intake while in a bulking phase.

Best for Bodybuilding

If you are serious about gaining muscle, then go with TestoFuel. It has been specially formulated to promote muscle growth.