See from a powerlifting perspective when bulking I want mass. Lean muscle is important but even fat mass and bloat can improve my lifts by reducing ROM, increasing leverages etc
When trying to get up to my goal weight to cut for the 100kg's class, I have chosen to eat DIRTY. This is mainly because I do not have the time (I work a phone sales desk job and am a slow eater) to eat the number of calories that I need to grow if I go clean. This is, however, a temporary measure and the body reacts well to this in short bursts. If I were to carry on force feeding the CRAP that I put in my mouth over the past month, I would look like Jabba the Hut before you know it. As it is I have hit my goal weight and now plan on maintaining by not force feeding and eating a little cleaner.
Overall: know your goal and as Rich said, monitor the results. I didn't do pinch tests I just watched my waist line. In going from 97.25kg's to 105kg's in 6 weeks or so I have only gone up one hole on my lifting belt (goes directlt over gut) whilst bursting out of all of my clothes in the leg, arm and shoulder/back/chest area so I would say it was a success. If I were to continue to eat the same way for another 6 weeks as a natural, I dare say that the results would not be as favourable.
Proudly sponsored by Muscle and Brawn and Lifestyle Focus.
Ask me about Ark products.