Everyone knows that to get big, you have to eat big. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a big dent in your wallet.
Sure, you can have all of the trendy, hyped up, and apparently perfect foods, but do you need them?Are they really better than the bodybuilding staples of old?
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So, for whatever reason, you have to reign in the expenditures. Perhaps you have a baby on the way, you’ve switched to a lower paying job, or maybe you’re just sick of shelling out cash, just to stuff it all down your throat?Eating a bodybuilding diet for mass gains doesn’t have to be expensive. All you have to do is apply common sense, planning, knowledge, a little cunning, and above all, discipline. Then you will be well on the way to saving some serious dough.
Let’s first look at general money saving tips…
Write your daily, weekly, and monthly targets on a notice board. Work out how much you want to spend and stick to it. Make your target realistic or you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you have the willpower to stick to this.
Cut out all of the unnecessary, little expenditures. They add up over the course of the month to big losses. Drag out some old receipts and take a look at the most expensive items. Do you need them? Are there alternatives? The best way to avoid cravings and impulse spending is to plan ahead. Always keep a good stock of cheaper alternatives in the cupboards.
When you leave the house, don’t take heaps of cash with you, and leave your cards at home if it’s practical. Only take what you need to get the essentials.
If you find yourself with something expensive in your hand, ask some simple questions… and be honest!
Is there a cheaper alternative?
If you had this yesterday, would you have used it?
Can you honestly see yourself using it today or tomorrow?
If you feel you’re losing the battle, call and report your card lost. This is extreme, but you can’t spend it if you don’t have it!
Before we go any further, take a look at the video, below. If this man can do it, so can you…
Top Tips for Bulking on a Budget
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The top tip for bulking on a budget is to bulk buy. Many of the items here can be kept for a long time, or can be frozen. The freezer is your friend! Remember freezing food also preserves much of its freshness.
When you see a great offer on a staple food, stock up. Shell out a little cash now to save in the long run. Bulk buy meats from wholesalers, divide into portions and freeze. Frozen vegetables are great and often fresher than the ‘fresh’ varieties in many supermarkets. If you live near farms or know farmers, butter them up try some bartering. If you know anybody who owns a shop or business, see if they can help you get big deals.
While you may be forced to cut out most supplements, some, such as creatine, are cheap enough and effective enough to warrant the expenditure. Sheer Strength Labs Creatine Monohydrate is 100% pure and free from nasty chemicals. Keep an eye out for our great offers.
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Let’s jump straight in with protein. This presents the largest challenge to the bodybuilder on a budget, and will always be the most expensive part of your diet. But you need plenty of protein to grow, so where are you going to get it from at the best price?
There are many inexpensive sources of protein, so don’t worry.
Milk is an excellent source of protein to remember, assuming you’re not lactose intolerant. Don’t mess about with the little cartons, go straight for the gallon. Milk makes a great, protein filled snack between meals. Half a liter has almost 20g of quality protein.
Other low price dairy products like cottage cheese and low-fat yogurt pack a big protein punch.
Eggs can be bought in bulk at great prices. Eggs are one of the most complete and bioavailable protein sources on the planet, so eat up!
Peanut butter is jammed with protein. Two tablespoons here and there as part of a snack will seriously boost your intake.
Canned fish like sardines and tuna are full of protein and good fats, and can be found at great prices if you shop around.
Ground beef is packed with protein and is incredibly versatile. Knock up a big chilli or bolognese with plenty of vegetables, and freeze the leftovers.
Cheap cuts of beef like stewing steak can be really chewy. But if you use a slow cooker they are transformed into super tender, easily digestible meals, like casseroles and curries.
Baked beans can be picked up for next to nothing. They provide an excellent source of protein and fiber.
Bulk buy unflavored whey protein powder. You don’t need the expensive stuff with all of the gimmicky writing on the side of the tub. You can find huge sacks of 80+% whey for bargain prices online. Then simply buy your own flavorings, like cocoa powder, and you’re ready.
Carbohydrates form the easiest part of this conundrum. The best quality sources of carbs for bodybuilding bought in bulk keep for an extremely long periods if stored correctly.
The secret to saving money here, is again, to buy in bulk. Oats, rice, pasta and many other staples can be bought in large quantities. Take advantage of this cost-cutting opportunity if you have the space.
Potatoes keep for months if you keep them cool, dry and out of sunlight. Storing them in the fridge helps them to keep even longer. If they get the sprouts, just cut those off.
Certain fruits like bananas are inexpensive and make great snacks. Many of them can also be frozen, so if there is a special, buy in bulk, cut up, and freeze. Other great, inexpensive carb sources are whole grain bread, couscous, breakfast cereals, and other grains, such as barley.
Keeping Things Tasty
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Keep things tasty so your taste buds feel like they are getting a treat. This helps avoid cravings. Tins of cooking sauces, such as tomato-based pasta sauces can be found at bargain prices. Keep an eye on the label for added sugars and other nasties. Diced tomatoes are excellent for adding to dishes, or using as a base for casseroles.
Another great way to keep your taste buds tingling is to stock up the spice rack. Herbs and spices are inexpensive, last for ages, and give you a multitude of options. When you keep spices for long periods, use a culinary trick - toast any in seed type form, or take an extra two seconds using the back of a spoon to grind the powders, this releases the flavors on the inside.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You need to pack in plenty of carbs, as well as protein and good fats. Porridge is the best solution. Add chopped banana and some seeds to make things more interesting. Why not start with some sardines on wholemeal toast? Or even some leftovers from the night before? There are no rules to breakfast, except that it should mostly be made of slow release, nutritious energy.
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As previously mentioned, you have plenty of snack options between meals, to keep your body fuelled with all it needs to grow.
Have a go at making inexpensive protein flapjacks.
Simply bind together oats, a little honey, peanut butter and protein powder, spread the mixture on a baking tray and bake on a medium heat for around 15 minutes.
Pre- and Post-Workout
Grab a delicious, home-made, protein flapjack and a banana, and wash down with strong coffee, 40 minutes before exercise. Repeat after your session, but replace the coffee with a double scoop of unflavored protein, mixed with flavoring of your choice.
When buying supplements, bulk buying should be the rule whenever possible. Shop around online for bargain vitamins and minerals, but always check that they are from a reputable source and are fully certified.
Here at Sheer Strength Labs we constantly have great offers on our range of top quality sports supplements. Keep an eye on our shop for all of your supplement needs, whether pre-workout, recovery, or a little help shedding that stubborn fat, we have all of your needs covered.
Jonathan Warren is a national level physique competitor and personal trainer with multiple certifications including NASM, NCCPT, and IKFF. His specializations include mobility training and corrective exercise as well as contest preparation.