This is an area that I am experienced at because I remember my college days and how little money I had…
Believe it or not, when I was in college, not working and being supported by my parents, there were weeks I only had around 20$ to buy as much food as I could that should have lasted that week.
And when the required caloric intake to gain some weight hit the mark of over 4.5k calories, getting them was a chore because I knew that without “supplying” my body with the right caloric intake, I wouldn’t be gaining an ounce.
Well, somehow, those times made me realize the value of money, made me more disciplined in a sense that it prepared me for times when I had a job and an income so I wouldn’t waste money with expensive food like bio and premium cr*p and so on.
Believe me, sometimes, all these bio or premium foods are way worse or of lower quality than you can find at just half the price of a normal labeled food.
Needless to say, I successfully managed to do my full bulk until I hit the 225 lbs mark (I was quite huge in college) and the thing is that I did that with a very limited budget.
Developing My Own Strategy
I also developed my own strategy on how to get the cheapest foods that were caloric dense, and which helped me to get my weight up, so I’ll share them with you.
I don’t really like to create rigidity in my life or in anyone’s life so almost all my advice regarding nutrition and training is as simplified as possible (remember Einstein’s quote?), but highly effective.
You won’t really see a list of foods with prices because this is NOT what I want to achieve here.
What I really want you do here is to start thinking “outside the box” and follow some of my principles so you can simply construct a proper diet depending on your budget.
The most common flaw when reading all these recommended bulking on a budget tutorials, comes exactly with the way they are trying to do things: recommend you certain foods that should put you on a budget
But the main problem here comes when you want to apply these recommendations in your life.
You need to put yourself some questions first:
- What if I can’t find a certain type of food this guy recommended, what should I do then?
- What if I don’t want to go 10km until a store that has a certain food that I saw recommended?
- What if I don’t like the food he recommends?
- And plenty other reasons that make me go against rigid recommendations.
I believe that being flexible with your diet and applying certain flexibility principles (I detailed every flexibility principle I know in the easiest fat loss diet ever: the no bs flexible formula to six pack abs), is as close as optimal for your life as you can get it to be.
The shopping principles are easy and are as follow:
You probably have a general idea on what foods are cheap, what foods are expensive and you calculated how many calories per day you need in order to bulk up.
Alright, taking these issues out of the equation, the next thing you need to do is to create a small list of foods and categorize them by their macro nutrient.
Well, to tell you the truth, I would only try to fit in my protein sources and fill the rest (carbohydrates and fats) with whatever, but for the sake of giving an example, we will do all of them.
You need to understand that the most important thing in your diet is PROTEIN:
- Without sufficient protein, you can’t bulk up properly
- Without sufficient protein, you gains will be suboptimal
- Without sufficient protein, your hunger will probably be higher
- And many more
Cheap Protein Sources For Bulking On A Budget:
Any kind of meat, diary, high protein source that’s cheap, example:
Basically, go out and try to buy something in larger quantities and also search for the best price.
Protein should be first on the list of foods that need to be purchased and fill the rest of your caloric requirement with carbs and fats.
Cheap Carbohydrate/Fat Sources
Basically, everything that’s cheap, things like rice, pasta, oatmeal, bread, etc.
As you can see, the solution to bulking on a budget is to simply select the cheapest foods available.
This is not rocket science.
What’s your bulking on a budget list?