Looking to bulk up and add muscle?
A lot of beginners don’t realize that a good bulk requires just as much disciplines and strategy as a cutting or fat loss phase.
It’s not a carte blanche to eat whatever you want at all times!
Eating out on a bulk can be tricky. Restaurant food is typically high in calories, which is good, but you still need to pay attention to the macros and overall nutrients in what you order… without going TOO high in calories.
You can eat out anywhere during a bulking phase if you know what to order, but here are some of the best restaurants for bulking to get you started:
- Muscle Maker Grill
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Burger King
Let’s take a look at these choices, what to order, and some general guidelines for eating at restaurants while bulking.
How to Bulk Properly (Quick Guide)
When you’re on a quest to add lean muscle to your frame, you need to be on top of your food intake every day.
That means taking in 20-40 grams of protein at every meal, along with plenty of healthy fats and green and fibrous carbs.
Yeah, that’s right — you have to eat GOOD food and not just junk to pack on muscle. At least, if you don’t want to balloon up along the way!
Your food quantity per day also needs to be 250 to 500 calories higher than your caloric burn. This caloric surplus is the main driver of anabolic growth.
Some people find it difficult to get enough calories on a bulk, feeling full toward the end of the day and needing to “force feed” themselves an extra snack or two.
Others go way overboard, eating everything in sight and applying no discipline whatsoever to their meal plan. You can guess where that leads.
So while bulking sounds easy (and fun!), there are lots of ways to mess it up — especially if you find yourselves eating out a lot.
Let’s take a look at how to keep the meal plan on track at some popular restaurants.
Best Restaurants for Bulking & Muscle Gain
You can eat anywhere on the planet on a bulk as long as you:
- Get enough calories
- Eat a good amount of protein
But some restaurants are better than others for bulking.
Let’s take a look at some of the best options that are easily available for most people.
1. Muscle Maker Grill
Muscle Maker Grill was founded in 1995 by bodybuilders for bodybuilders.
Unable to find a restaurant that provided healthy high quality protein meals, Rod Silver decided to make his own. The company now has more than 50 locations spread across the country. With annual sales in excess of 30 million, Muscle Maker Grill is seriously flexing its muscles on the healthy fast restaurant market.
Muscle Maker Grill provides the highest quality proteins with grass fed steak, and all-natural chicken. These guys specialize in making healthy, muscle building enhanced versions of favorite dishes.
A favorite menu item for bodybuilders in a bulking or mass building phase is the Muscle Maker Grilled Chicken Bowl, which includes grilled chicken breast, broccoli and brown rice. This meal delivers 480 calories, 60 grams of protein, 46 grams of carbs, 9 grams of fat and 7 grams of fiber.
Chipotle is a Mexican fast food grill restaurant that offers some excellent meal options for those keen to pack on muscle mass.
Chipotle was one of the first national restaurant chains to commit to goals on local and organic produce. That means that you will never bite into chicken or beef from Chipotle that has hormones added to it!
One of the best menu options for adding muscle mass is the Burrito Bowl. This combination of chicken, brown rice, pinto beans and fajita veggies provides you with 515 calories, 42 grams of protein, 57 grams of carbs, and 15 grams of fat.
3. Buffalo Wild Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings was born way back in 1982 when a couple of transplants from New York to Ohio were unable to satisfy their craving for buffalo wings. Rather than road tripping all the way back to New York, they decided to start their own business.
Today they are one of the most popular sports bar chains in the United States. Their specialty is, naturally, wings, beer, and sports. However, they’ve got some awesome high protein offerings that will definitely help you to pack on the muscle mass.
You’ll have to bring your discipline with you when you visit Buffalo Wild Wings. If you want to avoid piling on fat with muscle mass, you’d better steer clear of the tempting sauces and dips that Buffalo Wild Wings are so well known for.
Go easy on the beer while you’re at it!
Our favorite Buffalo Wild Wings muscle gain menu option is the chicken grilled sandwich with a side salad. That meal will deliver 57 grams of protein, 64 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat for a total intake of 680 calories.
Subway is the go-to healthy eating option for most gym goers. There’s a good reason for that.
They offer a complete range of customizable healthy sandwich options. As well as being able to select healthy salad and vegetable ingredients, you also have complete control over the type of bread, though there are also quite a few breadless options, and the sauces that go into the sandwich.
Subway was founded in 1965 by 17-year old Fred DeLuca. Today, each of their 21,000 restaurants across the globe are owned by franchisees. Subway strives to source their ingredients from only the healthiest, most sustainable organic sources.
Subway offers a range of high protein sandwiches, including Chicken Teriyaki, Turkey Breast and Steak and Cheese. However, when it comes to muscle building potential our favorite is the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki Protein Bowl.
This includes a whole Footlong’s worth of chicken teriyaki, along with drizzled sweet onion sauce. Each serving provides you with 394 calories, 34 grams of protein, 33 grams of carbs and 4.5 grams of fat.
If you are wanting to up the complex carb component of your meal, you can always opt for the regular footlong version of the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich. This version is a little lighter on the protein content with 25 grams and 52 grams of carbs, and a total of 265 calories.
5. Burger King
Burger King is definitely one of those fast food restaurants where you need to steer clear of the greasy, fried offerings in order to avoid putting on fat bulk.
Still, for the discerning customer, there are some pretty good options for the guy who’s interested in putting on muscle bulk. Founded in 1954, Burger King is the second largest burger chain on the planet, behind McDonald’s.
While there is plenty of protein in Burger King’s range of burgers, we prefer going for a leaner protein filled sandwich.
That way you will get the protein without the greasy fat content.
Our favorite Burger King sandwich is the grilled chicken. Grilled chicken is far healthier than the crispy chicken that comes with many other Burger King offerings.
The sandwich version also reduces the carb and fat content. Just be sure to go easy on the dressings. The sandwich also has less sodium than either a salad or a burger.
The BK grilled chicken sandwich provides you with 470 calories and 37 grams of protein. Add a garden side salad to give you the carbs you need to fill out your muscle glycogen.
We could hardly present a list of the best muscle building restaurants in the world without including the largest and most iconic restaurant chain of them all.
There are a lot of bodybuilders out there who actually swear by McDonald’s as part of their lean bulking menu. Dave Palumbo, for one, claims that a post workout visit to McDonald’s after every workout for five years was instrumental in his gaining 100 pounds of quality mass.
We don’t go as far as Palumo by advocating a trip to McDonalds after every workout.
That being said, after your workout is the ideal time to get in a cheat meal. That’s because your glycogen levels are depleted by your training, meaning that those extra carbs will go directly into the muscle cell – not be stored on your body as fat.
What we do recommend is an occasional – that means no more than once per week – McDonalds meal to pack on muscular weight gain.
The meal that we recommend is the Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken and Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait. This tasty combination will provide you with 31 grams of protein, 58 grams of carbs and 10 grams of fat.
When packing on muscle, shoot for a “lean bulk” — that means eating just enough calories to grow muscle but not enough to gain unwanted fat. It also means keeping an eye on your health and avoiding too much junk.
When eating out on a bulk, the temptation is to go nuts and let yourself really indulge. Why not eat that 1500 calorie fat-bomb?! You’re bulking up, right?
Try to stay as disciplined on your bulk as you would while on a weight loss diet and you’ll see far better results.
You can eat anywhere on a bulk, but the list above should at least get you started.
Order the meals we’ve recommended and don’t let your eyes wander through the menu. If you do, you’re likely to end up ordering foods that will pack on fat bulk like fries, sodas and greasy burgers.
Your body deserves better than that – stick to our six options and you’ll be able to pack on nothing but lean muscle mass.
For more guides like this, check out:
- The best restaurants for cutting
- When to start bulking?
- The best bulking snacks
Hope this helps!