Bulking on a Budget

It doesn’t take a Nobel economist to figure out that the global economy is in a bit of a slump.

Bulking on a BudgetConsumers are getting squeezed everywhere, and many can only afford the bare essentials. Times are especially hard for bodybuilders trying to put on weight, as they have to purchase enough food not only to maintain their weight but to build muscle as well.

But there’s no need to be discouraged – you can still get big on a small budget! Here are some ways to add some muscle with a minimal amount of money.

FOOD

Adequate caloric intake is essential for gaining weight and while some food does indeed grow on trees, it’s often priced as if it doesn’t. There are plenty of healthy, inexpensive options, though. Two great, simple ways to save money are buying in bulk and shopping at No Frills grocery stores. If you’re forced to shop at a bigger chain, look for store-brand products that are virtually the same as their more expensive, brand-name counterparts. In addition, avoiding overly processed junk food will do wonders for your body and budget.

Protein

Protein is of primary concern as it provides the amino acids necessary for building muscle. Unfortunately, some cuts of meat can be quite expensive, but there are values to be found, such as:

Whey Protein Powder – ALLWHEY is one our more affordable proteins with 25 grams in every scoop.
Canned Tuna – bonus: no refrigeration necessary.
Chicken – very lean, buy entire bird if possible. Also comes in cans.
Ground beef – packs in a lot of calories due to fat content.
Eggs – great source of healthy fats in addition to protein.
Canned beans – good source of fiber as well.
Cottage cheese – a versatile, slow-digesting source of protein.
Milk – liquid calories are less likely to fill you up.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel, and you’ll need plenty of them if you want to grow. Some inexpensive, healthy choices are:

Potatoes and Yams – nutrient and calorie-dense.
Oats – very inexpensive in bulk.
Pasta – versatile and easy to prepare.
Frozen vegetables – cheaper and last longer than fresh.
Rice – calorie-dense and versatile.
Frozen and Fresh Fruit – full of vitamins and minerals.
Bread – great for any meal.

Fats

Dietary fat provides cushioning for internal organs, aids in digestion and is the most dense energy source, packing in nine calories per gram. In addition, it usually tastes great, even on its own.

Peanut Butter – delicious and easy to eat.
Almonds – portable and high in protein.
Olive Oil – high in unsaturated fats, a great addition to any recipe.
Sunflower Oil – versatile and tasty.
Pumpkin and Sunflower seeds – convenient, can be purchased in bulk

Menu Planning

This is a crucial part of saving money.  If you plan meals in advance, you can avoid spending too much on non-nutritious snacks when you’re out and about. For this reason, ISOFLEX Triple Layer Whey Protein Isolate Bars are an excellent choice to have on hand; for those times when you’re in a hurry, going shopping or to the movies.

In addition, QUICKMASS provides an astonishing 1010 calories in one delicious, convenient shake, offering eight different forms of protein for extended release.This is a crucial part of saving money.

SUPPLEMENTS

If money is tight, you’ll want to focus on the essentials, namely protein and creatine.

Protein

  • ISOFLEX – a great tasting, high quality whey protein isolate that packs more protein per serving than most meats, usually at a lower cost. In fact, the 5 lb container of ISOFLEX provides 27 g of protein per serving at just $1.26 per serving (it contains 75 servings). Compare this to a chicken breast or piece of steak.
  • ALLWHEY – a very versatile blend also featuring CLA and digestive enzymes. ALLWHEY is an economical form of protein. It is a blend of proteins that taste great and can provide the nutrition you need for adequate bulk.
  • ISOFLEX Protein Bars – as previously mentioned, ISOFLEX bars are a great addition to your bulking diet. Pack one in your gym bag for a quick way to increase your caloric intake while on the go! We sell a box of bars for $36.99 for 12 bars. This works out to $3.08 per bar, which is a better deal than some fast food meals.

Creatine

Micronized Creatine Monohydratethe highest grade of creatine monohydrate, and like the rest of the Essentials Line, strips out the unneeded extras to save you money. Creatine can lead to a gain in lean muscle mass, improve workout performance, enhance strength and power. It also offers therapeutic benefits, including the prevention of ATP depletion, stimulation of protein synthesis and cell volumization.

WEIGHT TRAINING

Last but certainly not least – the gym. Obviously, lifting weights is the core of any attempt to put on muscle, but gym memberships can be expensive, often due to the unnecessary amenities provided at fitness centers. Before you choose to purchase a new gym membership or update an old one, do some research. Some important points to consider:

Hidden Costs

Does your gym feature a lot of extras such as saunas and snack stands that you’re not using? Are there other gyms in your area that have just the essentials? Is your gym so far away that you’re wasting gas money?

Discounts

Will your gym match membership prices with competitors? Can you get a group/family discount rate? If you’re renewing a membership, shouldn’t you get a lower rate for your loyalty? Does your employer offer discounts as part of a healthcare program?

If all else fails, you can try to strike a deal with the manager. Recently, haggling has become a popular way for cash-strapped consumers to stretch their paychecks.

Going It Alone

If the cost of a gym membership is out of your reach, don’t despair. Many used sporting equipment stores have weight-lifting sets, and eBay and Craigslist are full of discounted (possibly free!) gym equipment so you can lift at home.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll find out how easy it is to get huge, even if your budget isn’t.

Brian Willett

Brian is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer and is currently completing his degree in Public Relations Journalism at the University of North Carolina. He grew fond of weight-lifting during his hockey career and is now happily addicted to the iron. Brian can be contacted via email at TarHeelTrainer@gmail.com.

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