Not all of us have the luxury of having sponsors providing us with our supplements, or helping out with the food purchasing. We don’t have the 6 figure salaries that allow us to spend money like there’s no tomorrow. If you’re a struggling college student, who wants and loves weight training; yeah you got access to the gym but if you’re not eating properly you can pump iron till your face turns blue, but you’re not going to gain any significant muscle or any at all!
If this sounds like you, the struggling individual, whether a teenager, college student or just broke adult, but you still want to get fit or build muscle, then I got some personal suggestions for you.
Keep reading if you’re interesting. They’re not miracle suggestions and are more commonsense based but sometimes we’re so frustrated, we need to be told what to do, even though we can figure it out by ourselves!
You need to shop with sense, if you want to get most of your money. Sometimes we’re not able to purchase quality foods so we have to sometimes settle for quantity. This helps immensely when you’re in a bulking phase, rather than in a cutting phase. I mean, cutting is just eating on a calorie deficit, so if we consume less energy than you put out, you’re going to lose weight regardless. Your body is going to find a source for energy and if you eat the right amount of carbs and protein, it will take it from what’s left behind; fat.
Anyways, that’s for another topic. Quality shopping comes from knowing where to look. If you check out your grocery store’s website, you can sometimes get personal deals that they are offering, and then sometimes deals that are upon the coupon deals found in the store. This means, if you get a coupon for an item, your grocery store maybe cutting down even more on those prices. So you could end up getting something that was $3 for like 50 cents! This is more for the coupon lovers but it can still help the regular folks.
Next, shop in the section where you see the grocery has laid out all the soon to be expired products. You can find some awesome stuff like fruity cups (hey, gotta get your carbs somewhere!), pasta, soup, pancake mix, etc. For the fruity cup, I’d suggest picking up the ones with the juice in it and not the added syrup. I mean, if you’re grocery shopping on a budget, you don’t have to only pick bad quality foods.
Another suggestion is to purchase the grocery store brands, over the name brands. Some people are strangely not able to do this but it does save money.
Stick to the essentials. You need eggs, milk, rice, bread, and meat. The meat at the bottom of the pile, tends to be the most affordable. I know brown rice is the way to go, but long grained white rice isn’t a bad option either. Opt for 100% whole wheat bread to make sure you get complex carbs.
With those basics, what else do you need? Best thing you can do, is look up cheap recipes online, like this awesome 100 Delicious Dirt Cheap Recipes for the Starving College Student. Your goals is to get the staple nutrition into your diet.
You don’t have to eat 500 calories over your maintenance to gain weight, that’s just a ball park. Some people require that but if you can do a trial run of only 200 calories over your maintenance, and see from that if you gain weight in a 3 week period, then you can keep persistent on that. The reason for the 500 calories over maintenance, is because you want to get 30,000 extra calories, to gain a pound. But to be honest, if you cut down your training to 3 to 4 times a week, which is a sufficient time frame to build muscle, you can reduce your calories even more, and still eat 500 over and be at a very low calorie amount. So make a decision, do you want to eat 3000 calories because you’re training 5 times a week, or 2400 calories, because you’re training 3 to 4 times instead? So that’s another area to see if you can cut down the amount of calories you consume, to help with the amount of money you need to spend.
Now if you want to purchase supplements, but figure you don’t have the luxury of it lasting the recommended time frame based on the amount of servings on the label, then you have to improvise. If you purchase yourself some cheap, grocery brand peanut butter, you can add that to your supplements like whey protein, and add more calories to it. Instead of using 2 scoops, use just one.
On your off days, you don’t have to consume as much calories as you do on your on days. So, you can reduce your calories by 100 and eat just 100 over or 200, depending on what your max range is. Max should only be 500, anyways. As you are already eating 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight and not lean body mass, you can reduce your protein intake by a couple of grams and still be good. Like using me for example. I am 150 lbs, that is 150 grams of protein per day. On my off days, I could consume about 130 instead. Basically, you’re already consuming more than your LBM anyways, and it’s there to help repair and build new muscle tissue, so you don’t HAVE TO consume an exact amount. A lot of people make good gains just consuming less than the 1 g/lb of body weight.
If you have other supplements like creatine, then you don’t have to consume it on your off days also, to help carry the servings longer. I purchased my creatine earlier this year, and I still have nearly half of it left. I haven’t touched it in a bit. Remember cycle the creatine, that helps spread the amount over a longer period of time. If you have a pre-workout supplement, you wouldn’t need creatine. Most have it already, so that saves you purchasing it.
There are a lot of ways to get around not having enough money and still being able to train. Eating is a very important part of weight training, sometimes more important than what goes on in the gym because if you are working like a beast in the gym and eating like a little girl, then you will be standing in one spot when it comes to progress.
The idea is to get the basics, consume over your maintenance to gain weight and to train to help build that muscle. If you can’t afford quality food, on a health basis it sucks but you can do it in moderation to help. Remember, you don’t have to eat 500 over your maintenance, those are ball park figures.
If you got any other suggestions to help with budgeting and weight training, then let me know and I will add it for my readers. Maybe you got something that helps you get your food and still gain significant amount of muscle.Read More »