“Clean bulking” is widely regarded as the healthiest way to build a more aesthetic physique without falling into dangerous nutritional vices (i.e., fast-food, huge carb-loaded meals).
Like the traditional “dirty bulk,” clean bulking requires a caloric surplus — creating a positive energy balance. But the food and training choices only build lean mass and limit body fat.
V Shred’s Clean Bulk Program supposedly leans on that very idea.
But … is this Vince Sant program for real?
About the Creator – Vince Sant
Vince Sant — which he insists isn’t a play on the name “Vincent” — is the creator of the fitness company V Shred (also known as Vinsanity Shred).
(He’s also the co-founder of the supplement company SculptNation. This fact might not mean anything to you right now, but it’ll all start clicking before the end of this post.)
Sant is an ISSA-certified personal trainer with nearly 700,000 Instagram followers, 16 million web visitors per month (supposedly), and a customer base of more than four million.
The more popular V Shred programs include Fat Loss Extreme, Ripped In 90 Days, Vinsanity Shred University, and the Move 30-Day At-Home program.
What Is the V Shred Clean Bulk Program?
Vince Sant is back at it with another ridiculously long sales page that manages to say a whole lot while saying just about nothing at all — this one coming in at a record 2,893 words.
From what we can decipher on the website, Clean Bulk is a 90-day program for those drowning in “hard-gainer hell” and desperate to pack on 5, 10, 11, 17, 19, or 21+ pounds of lean mass.
We’d love to tell you which of those numbers is the actual promise here; Sant guarantees 17 pounds of lean, fat-free mass in 90 days. But he also changes the number repeatedly.
While s***ing on those other routines for being “laughably bad,” he argues that his program has the real mass-building fix — at a rate of 37% more in six hours and 51% more for 24 hours.
(Where he got that data or what it really means is wildly unclear.)
Basically, V Shred’s Clean Bulk should build massive arms, vascular muscles, strength, and a functional and muscular physique through a clean diet and by maximizing time under tension.
The Clean Bulk Program package includes:
- The Supplement Guide (hey, it wouldn’t be a V Shred program without it)
- 6-Pack Ab Workout Plan
- Diet Guide (Part One)
- Diet Guide (Part Two)
- Training Your Mind
- The Clean Bulk Program
Note: Vince Sant claims the price returns to “normal” if you exit the page. Would you believe we left the page and returned, only to find it’s still listed at $87? Color us shocked.
Sant swears that he designed this program for himself and turned himself from a scrawny teen into a world-renowned fitness model with this training style.
But after that painfully long, confusing sales page, we continue to ask: Is this program for real?
V Shred Clean Bulk Program Details & Features
The 90-Day Clean Bulk program is a blend of nutritional and training advice, though unless your dad is Arnold or you’re injecting yourself in the ass, you won’t build 17 pounds of lean mass.
But before we completely shrug this program off as a total bust, let’s look at the details:
Step #1: Private Facebook Group
No matter which V Shred program you buy, the sense of community you’ll find in the official V Shred Facebook group is bar-none. (Side note: they also ban trolls and Negative Nancys.)
A V Shred trainer hosts a live question-and-answer stream each week, and your fellow users contribute more than 1,000 posts/month. It’s also home to more than 251,000 V Shred users.
While the camaraderie and support system are great, a group of that size can feel a bit … loud. So search for your questions first before spamming the board with already-answered questions.
Step #2: 90 Day Diet Plan
Vince Sant is a huge advocate for nutrition when it comes to a full-body transformation. But that doesn’t make the 90-day diet plan any less confusing.
Create Your 90 Day Diet Plan
Aside from slight variations in the calorie counts, this entire meal plan is essentially ripped (pun intended) from the Ripped In 90 Days program. But, we’ll ignore that and give ‘er a fair shake.
The guide starts as many V Shred and Beachbody programs do — with a silly little point system to help you calculate your calorie goals, assigning points for your height, weight, and age.
Then, add up your points and find the corresponding calorie count in the chart, which may be:
Once you define your (somewhat generic) daily calorie goal, the guide unfolds to include a weekly menu of foods with more than 50 tasty/healthy-sounding foods, like:
- Easy banana protein pancakes (breakfast)
- Power greens juice (mid-morning snack)
- Lemon Greek salad (lunch)
- Coffee protein shake (mid-afternoon snack)
- Zucchini beef burgers (dinner)
Similar to V Shred’s full Recipe Guide (sold separately), each recipe details the ingredients, cooking instructions, nutritional information, and the number of servings.
Unfortunately, it also features the only real mention of macros in the entire guide.
(With a goal of bulking, it’s odd there’s mention of low-fat or high-protein foods. Plus, the sample meals aren’t exactly calorie-dense, meaning there’s a lot of extra work on your shoulders.)
Sant then delves into a helpful list of food substitutions, explaining what counts as one serving of vegetables, fruits, protein (including plant-based), carbs, and healthy fats.
The diet plan ends with an assortment of random tips. That includes a list of cookware, a short how-to guide to meal prep, and a few recommended SculptNation supplements (shocker).
Get Your Supplements
Our favorite part of Clean Bulk is the part where Vince Sant tries to claim that the Supplements Guide normally has a $149 sticker price, but he’s giving you access for FREE.
Reality check: It’s a 16-supplement guide where Sant tries to convince you to buy SculptNation supplements. That’s right; he wanted to charge you $149 to read about his company’s products.
The only possible saving grace here would’ve been backing up his suggestions with scientific evidence or talking about each supplement in generic terms.
Would you believe he didn’t do that? The 16 videos and write-ups explain why the SculptNation blend is worth your money and includes links to the online store.
Step #3: The Workout
This section shouldn’t be complicated, and yet … here we are. We’ll get into why “The Workout” module is insanely confusing, but first, what happens when you click this button?
It’ll open up three almost blank calendars — one for each month of the program. To learn which workout falls on which day of the week, you have to click each individual box to open the page.
From there, you’ll see a list of exercises, the set and rep goals, and even a few circuits or supersets. (If you’re a newbie, clicking the exercise will also open a video and written tutorial!)
Keep reading to learn more about both versions of Clean Bulk.
The Legacy Version
The so-called “Legacy” version is the one Sant details in the Workout Log under “After 90 Days.” Except, it’s not entirely clear when to use these workouts or why the sudden change.
Clean Bulk’s Legacy version alternates between one strength-focused week and two hypertrophy weeks, each putting their own spin on the five-day split.
Take a look at the Legacy schedule, which resembles a classic bro split:
Sant forgets to include them in the calendar, but the Workout Log (which we’ll discuss soon) recommends two core workouts — one on Wednesday and another on Saturday.
Here’s a look at the differences between these two workout styles:
|Strength Workouts||Hypertrophy Workouts|
|Repetitions||8, 6, 4, 4||20, 16, 12, 10|
* The Workout Log recommends 75 seconds of rest during strength workouts. However, the actual workout module suggests 60 seconds for light exercises and 120 for heavy versions.
The New Version
The default new version of Clean Bulk is a push, pull, legs (PPL) program, with a weekly schedule that looks something like this:
- Push & Abs
- Pull & HIIT
- Push & Abs
Unlike the Legacy version, Sant doesn’t label weeks “strength” or “hypertrophy.” Yet, rest assured, there’s still a lifetime supply of varying rep ranges in this version.
Throughout the program, you’ll see 15-12-10, 6-6-4, and even sets of ten reps.
Clean Bulk Exercises
We’ve reviewed dozens of fitness programs here on Noob Gains. So we know first-hand that programs hyped as “best-sellers” are sometimes so basic that they’re not worth the cash.
Vince Sant doesn’t make a great case for this program. However, we can say that there’s a decent amount of variety and mild excitement in the exercise selection, which features:
- Machine flyes
- Triceps pushdowns
- Preacher curls
- Sumo deadlifts
- Heel taps
- Dumbbell reverse lunges
- Stiff-legged barbell deadlifts
- Leg presses
- Seated calf raises
To complete Clean Bulk as Vince Sant intended, that means you’ll also need a cable machine, traditional resistance training machines, barbells, weight plates, dumbbells, and a bench.
Or a monthly gym membership.
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After 90 Days
With a section title like “After 90 Days,” we’re going to assume that these six materials come in handy — wait for it — after you complete the entire 90-Day Clean Bulk Program.
Here’s a quick glimpse at each of these resources:
Training Your Mind
With a title like Training Your Mind, you’d expect useful tips for overcoming declines in motivation, setting new PRs, and convincing yourself to train — even when you’re exhausted.
Instead, Sant dedicates the first ten pages of this guide to empathizing with hard-gainers struggling to pack on lean mass, especially those who’ve felt misled by previous programs.
He then includes 15 tips to maximize your success (mentally) during Clean Bulk.
In a really odd twist, most of the tips seem to be “picture your wife dying,” or “imagine yourself dying,” or “pretend there was an actual explosion” to convince yourself to power through sets.
Advanced Dieting: The Basics
The ten-page Advanced Dieting: The Basics guide is what the 90-day plan should’ve been.
After you survive the 90 days, Sant recommends eating a caloric surplus — TDEE + 20% — and then goes on to explain how to calculate your BMR and TDEE to maximize mass.
Yes, the guide is ridiculously light on useful information. However, we can’t help but wonder why the “real” diet plan included a silly point system when TDEE + 20% is much more reliable.
Advanced Dieting: Self Customization
In what Sant considers “part two” of the previous guide, the trainer dedicates 14 pages to nutritional advice that doesn’t exactly mesh with the Clean Bulk Program.
For one, flexible dieting — known as “If It Fits Your Macros” or IIFYM — essentially encourages you to fall off the healthy-eating wagon, as long as you don’t overdo it on the macros.
While we don’t doubt its success when building an aesthetic physique, it strays quite far from the “clean” bulk from the 90-day program.
Sant then digs a little deeper into each macro. For example, one gram of protein per pound of body weight is ideal for mass, omega-3s are ridiculously healthy, and carbs aren’t bad for you.
The 20% caloric surplus fits a bodybuilder’s off-season goals while bulking, and the 50/25/25 macro split is also similar to that of bodybuilders — 55–60/25–30/15–20.
The Workout Log is where Sant breaks down the Legacy version of the program. Here, Sant doubles down on his belief that training to failure is the key to muscular growth.
(A 2016 review suggests otherwise, finding that eight studies discovered non-failure training led to 0.6–1.3% more strength than training to failure.)
In this brief guide, Sant also:
- Emphasizes the importance of time under tension, insisting that 40–70-second sets nurture maximal mass growth
- Mentions the results of studies in a generic sense but doesn’t provide links or evidence
- Suggests a 4-1-2 tempo for weightlifting
- Lays out two unique ab workouts — one each for Hypertrophy and Strength weeks
If you’re planning to open the calendar on day one and follow the workout aimlessly, then the Workout Log will likely go untouched.
Sant argues that high-intensity interval training (or HIIT) is the most efficient way to burn fat, add definition, and sculpt more vascular muscles, all without completely draining your energy stores.
(In his defense, a meta-analysis from 2019 found that interval training is more effective for fat-burning, producing a 28.5% greater decrease in absolute fat mass than traditional cardio.)
Sant lists off a few HIIT options: cycling, rowing, treadmill, running (on a 100+ yard stretch of grass or turf), or stairs.
Twice a week, the legacy schedule includes optional HIIT workouts following the Tabata format:
- 5-minute slow warm-up
- 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise (ON)
- 10 seconds of rest (OFF)
- Repeat eight times for four minutes of exercise
- 5-minute cool-down
We hate to be those people, but just eight minutes of cardio per week, even if it’s high-intensity, won’t chip away at your body fat level substantially.
Tying It All Together
The four-page Tying It All Together resource is a big ‘ol nothing-burger. This guide basically says, “Trust me, this program works. Take before-and-after photos. You’ll gain 5–10 pounds.”
Sample Meal Plans
Vince Sant also includes five meal plans as examples for when you graduate from the 90-Day Clean Bulk routine. Until then, stick to the “create your own 90-day diet plan” from earlier.
Each plan follows a similar format, including the time of the meal, calories per ingredient, daily macro totals, a meal plan shopping list at the end, and a nifty portion guide.
The five post-Clean-Bulk meal plans include:
- Example 1
- Example 2
- Example 3 (With Workout Shakes)
Like other V Shred plans, these meal plans repeat the same 2–3 daily recommendations. In other words, it’s not a massive blend of 35 meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
Expect about 3,105 calories, 224g protein, 372g carbs, and 78g of fat per day. Make adjustments as needed to hit the TDEE + 20% and 50/25/25 macro goals.
6 Admitted Benefits of V Shred Clean Bulk
- The food substitutions in the Clean Bulk nutritional plan (the real one) are definitely worth the bookmark. It’ll come in handy when you’re DIYing meals throughout and after the 90 days, especially when swapping healthy ingredients.
- It won’t appeal to every palate out there, and it’s impossible to know whether they fit your macros (because Sant conveniently forgets that part), but the 50+ sample meals provided are a decent start.
- The five sample meal plans after Clean Bulk aren’t perfect and may not match your calorie and macronutrient goals. However, the portion guide and grocery list at the end will prevent you from eyeballing ingredients and spending extra time walking the aisles at the supermarket looking for ingredients.
- We’re scraping toward the bottom of the barrel here, but with the addition of the Legacy schedule, you technically get two workout plans for your money. (It’s still nowhere near an $87 value, however.)
- The exercise tutorials — both in written and video forms — are beginner-friendly and guarantee you’ll 1) perform the exercises correctly and 2) don’t make a fool of yourself in the gym.
- (In the new version) The twice-a-week frequency, 4–15-rep range (varies), and exercise choices are ideal for building strength and mass.
6 Negatives of Clean Bulk
- Clean Bulk comes with a 30-day, 100% money-back guarantee if you’re disappointed with your results after a month. However, the “17 pounds of lean mass” guarantee is for the entire 90-day program. We envision a bit of difficulty getting a refund.
- The Workout Log mentions strength weeks, hypertrophy weeks, and a five-day split. But, by default, the actual workout calendar loads up what we figure is a newer version of Clean Bulk — a push, pull, legs (PPL) routine. The old-school workouts that match the Workout Log are only accessible if you switch to the “Legacy Workouts” in the module. (Why does it require so much guesswork to follow a pre-made training program?)
- With a strategic diet and exercise plan, the average person can build 1–2 pounds of lean mass per month. Clean Bulk promises nearly three times that. Even as a complete newbie, it’s not genetically possible to gain 17 pounds of lean mass in 90 days — or what Lyle McDonald considers 8–10 months’ worth of gains for a true beginner.
- Most of the “books” Sant values at $49.99 or $99.00 are literally 10–14-page PDFs. The worst part: it sometimes takes until page seven to get to the actual point.
- There’s a lot of contradictory information on the nutritional end. The “create your own” 90-day diet plan isn’t much different from the diet plan included with other V Shred programs and requires a silly formula to calculate your calorie goals. The guide also forgets to mention macronutrients, yet the Advanced Dieting: Self Customization guide (which is reserved for after the 90 days) recommends a 50/25/25 split and suggests eating your TDEE + 20% each day.
- In the Legacy version’s hypertrophy-style workouts, the emphasis on training to failure and 20, 16, 12, and 10 reps per set are a little misguided. Research shows that training to failure isn’t any more effective for strength or mass, and the muscles grow best within the 8–12-rep range (give or take a few reps).
Wrapping Up This V Shred Clean Bulk Program Review
V Shred’s Clean Bulk Program could’ve been a breakout program and carried the entire V Shred brand — had Vince Sant and the V Shred team put more thought into the routine.
In a single word, Clean Bulk is “confusing.”
The resources don’t seem to line up, the diet plan is lacking actionable advice (like TDEE calculations and macros), the workouts are a little flimsy, and it won’t help you gain 17 pounds.
Even with the few pros, we pointed out above, we wouldn’t recommend this program if you’re truly craving a “clean bulk” diet and exercise plan.
Most of Clean Bulk requires the “figure it out yourself” approach, stops just shy of the point or completely disregards important aspects of clean bulking — like a well-laid-out diet and routine.
We’d say: Hard pass.