By Carl Jackson
Broke and still want to grow? Have no fear! Budget Bodybuilding is possible and I’m going to show you how. I’ve been there, done that. My college years were lean. I learned a lot during this time. You might think it’s impossible to pack in calories and protein while being a poor college student, but I’m going to show you otherwise. First things first, lets put together a shopping list. You’ll need about $240 to $250 per month. If you can’t scrounge up this much cash, I’m going to list the cost per 100 calories for each carb and fat source. For protein, I will list cost for 30 gram serving. By using the cheapest foods you might lose out on variety, but you will still be able to hit your macros and make gains.
Budget Bodybuilding : Big on a Budget
Budget Bodybuilding : So there are 3 macro nutrients. They are: Protein – 4 calories per gram of protein Carbohydrates – 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate Fats – 9 calories per gram of fat
The average male will need 180 to 220 grams of protein per day. The average female will need 100 to 120 grams. The rest of your calories will come from fats and carbohydrates. Now remember our focus, building muscle on a budget. I don’t care what percentage of carbohydrates or fats you are eating as long as at least 20% of your daily calories come from fats. Understand that this is a minimum. 30% average fat intake is a better goal for most of you. Don’t fear fats! There is a huge difference between good fats and bad fats. Your body needs good fats for organ health, brain health, skin health…well, for everything. The only fats you’ll really want to avoid are trans fat. Avoid those at all costs, even if they are cheap and tasty. When it comes to carbohydrates, you might be tempted to rely on foods that contain a lot of sugar and flour. While this is great for the wallet, it’s not the best option for health and budget bodybuilding. I’m going to provide you with better options.
Budget Bodybuilding Protein Food Choices Listed below cost is per 30 gram serving. Men will need 6 to 7 servings per day, and women about 3.5 to 4 servings. When and how you eat your protein doesn’t matter much. Just get it in. Protein is the fuel that helps your muscle tissue to repair and recover.
- Chicken Legs, Bone In – $0.524 per 30 grams of protein.
- Peanut Butter (Generic Store Brand) – $0.535 per 30 grams of protein.
- Eggs – $0.593 per 30 grams of protein.
- Black Beans (Generic Store Brand) – $0.765 per 30 grams of protein.
- Whole Milk – $0.789 per 30 grams of protein.
- Cottage Cheese – $0.833 per 30 grams or protein.
- Tuna (Generic Store Brand) – $0.927 per 30 grams of protein.
- Isomorph Whey Protein – $0.985 per 30 grams of protein.
Peanut butter (choose natural if you can afford it) also contains a quality number of carbohydrates and fats per serving, making it a must-have pantry item. Black beans are packed with carbohydrates. Get your budget gains and order Isomorph Whey now.
Budget Bodybuilding Carbohydrate Choices Listed below cost is per 100 calories. Men on a 3,000 calorie diet that is comprised of approximately 30% fat intake will require about 1,380 calories from carbohydrates. Women on a 1900 calorie diet that is comprised of approximately 30% fat intake will require about 960 calories from carbohydrates.
- Rice (Generic Store Brand, 20lb bag) – $0.031 per 100 calories of carbs.
- Oats (Generic Store Brand) – $0.077 per 100 calories of carbs.
- Ramen Noodles (Maruchan) – $0.08 per 100 calories of carbs.
- Spaghetti Noodles (Generic Store Brand) – $0.087 per 100 calories of carbs.
- Instant Mashed Potatoes (Generic Store Brand) – $0.31 per 100 calories of carbs.
- Cream of Wheat – $0.382 per 100 calories of carbs.
Each pack of Ramen noodles also contains 8 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat.
Budget Bodybuilding Fat Choices Listed below cost is per 100 calories. Men on a 3,000 calorie diet that is comprised of approximately 30% fat intake will require about 900 calories from fats. Women on a 2,000 calorie diet that is comprised of approximately 30% fat intake will require about 600 calories from fat.
- Olive Oil (Generic) – $0.07 per 100 calories of fats.
- Butter (Generic) – $0.098 per 100 calories of fats.
- Heavy Cream – $0.183 per 100 calories of fats.
- Almonds – $0.451 per 100 calories of fats.
You can also look for store specials and coupons for sour cream and cheese. Cheap cheese is a budget shopper’s dream, as it is rich in protein, fat and good nutrition. There is more to nutrition and an eating plan than just macro nutrients and calories. A well-balanced diet must also include a wide variety of micro nutrients. While fat, carb and protein sources provide some micro nutrient diversity, it’s good to add fruits and veggies into your meal plan to cover all your bases. Here are some quality choices. Cost is not listed, but the per-serving cost is relatively low. I strongly recommend purchasing frozen bags of these items. They will last longer, reducing waste.
- Mixed Veggies
- Mixed Berries
Budget Bodybuilding Meal Plan Which follows is a sample meal plan. It serves one purpose: To show you what can be done on $8 a day, or less. It is obvious that if a man can eat 3,000 plus calories per day for only $8, a woman can eat 1,800 to 2,000 per day on less.
Men – 3,055 Calories for $7.50 a Day
- Meal 1 – Oats (15 ounces), 4 eggs cooked in one pat of butter. Nutrition: 646 calories, 36g protein, 53g carbs, 31.7g fats. Cost = $0.764.
- Meal 2 – 1 scoop of Isomorph whey in 12 ounces of water blended with 2 ounces of peanut butter. Nutrition: 410 calories, 32.1g protein, 10.5g carbs, 18.3g fats. Cost = $1.153
- Meal 3 – 5 ounces of canned tuna mixed in with one pack of Ramen noodles. Nutrition: 540 calories, 46.1g protein, 51.4g carbs, 15.0g fats. Cost = $1.419.
- Meal 4 – (Immediately Post-Workout) 2 scoop Isomorph whey. Nutrition: 260 calories, 54g protein, 8g carbs, 10g fats. Cost = $1.851
- Meal 5 – 6 ounces of chicken legs with 10 ounces of cooked rice and one cup of black beans. Nutrition: 800 calories, 56.1g protein, 121.9g carbs, 8g fats. Cost = $1.099.
- Meal 6 – 1 scoop of Isomorph whey in 8 ounces of whole milk and one ounce of heavy cream. Nutrition: 399 calories, 33.4g protein, 18.6g carbs, 22.9g fats. Cost = $1.214.
The total cost investment for this meal plan is $7.50. This leaves you extra pocket change to spend on fruits and veggies, which can be added to any meal as needed. The nutritional breakdown of this eating plan without the addition of fruits and veggies is as follows: Calories = 3,055 Protein = 257.7g (33.8%) Carbohydrates = 263.3g (34.5%) Fats = 105.9g (31.7%)
Women can simply scale back portions and ounces by 40% or so. This would cost about $4.50 per day (sans fruits and veggies), and provide the following calorie and macronutrient breakdown: Calories =1,833 Protein = 154.6g Carbohydrates = 157.9g Fats = 63.5g
Nothing is impossible or out of reach, learn to think outside of the box.