Big On Less
by G Diesel

I’m well aware of how difficult it all sometimes seems… Almost like you’d need a second job, just to pay for your food and supps. Bottom line is that it ain’t cheap. But being a bodybuilder doesn’t have to break you. Boneless chicken breasts, filet steaks, sushi… Don’t get me wrong, I love all that shit, and it is my dream to one day eat it at my heart’s desire. But buying it every day, you’d need to win the fucking lottery.

There is a method to eating on the cheap. A plan to eat to gain quality mass without cracking open your little sister’s piggy bank. It all comes down to how important this bodybuilding thing really is to you. It isn’t a matter of “if” but of “how” you are going to get the job done. Whatever your means, gains are still within your grasp—you’ve just gotta know what to eat and build your budget accordingly. This article will illustrate some meal strategies, shopping tips and recipe tricks that can keep your physique growing without your bank account dwindling away.

Who’s Got Beef?
Since steak and chicken breasts can be so fucking expensive, where are you going to get your protein from? No, I won’t beat you over the head with cans of tuna (though they are a cost effective protein source.) Instead, I’ll extol the virtues and versatility of ground beef. You can patty it into burgers, roll it into meatballs or—my personal favorite—add beans, canned tomatoes, peppers and some spices and whip up a banging chili. Chili is healthy, nutrient-dense, inexpensive and easy to eat. You could make about 8 meals worth of chili for the price of a couple decent steaks. Boil up some minute rice to add some carbs to your chili feast and you are good to go.

Sandwich Simplicity
When a friend of mine came home from his freshman year of college football having added 20 pounds of muscle, people asked him for his secret. His response? “Six sandwiches a day.” Pick your protein and slap it between two slices of bread. It ain’t fucking rocket science. If you are offseason and looking for an economical means of upping your quality calories, sandwiches are a must. Roast beef, turkey, chicken, tuna, cheese, peanut butter… The possibilities are endless, making it possible to maintain variety while keeping your ducats stacked. Bang down six of those bad boys a day and tell me you can’t grow.

Dairy Decree
Arnold was just kidding around, milk isn’t just for babies. As an addition to your protein shakes or simply as your beverage of choice at your numerous daily feedings, milk can be an awesome source of calories, protein and vitamins for a growing bodybuilder. From skim to whole, it all has a place in the diet of an offseason bodybuilder. Aside from merely picking up some cow juice, the dairy section should be the promised land for a bodybuilder on a budget…

Excellent Eggs
The dairy aisle is where you can also find eggs—a bodybuilding favorite. If bought en masse, you can get about a dozen for a buck. That is roughly 72 or so grams of incredibly bioavailable protein for one US dollar… You can’t fuck with that. Scramble them, fry them, make an omelette… Hardboil a dozen and finish them by day’s end. When it comes to quality, diversity and value, the egg may just well be nature’s ultimate food. From milk and eggs to the often overlooked cottage cheese and yogurt, the dairy aisle has a vast array of economical and protein-packed vittles that can be consumed several times a day for maximum gains.

Carbs Crux
They are easy to eat and can be bought relatively cheap, plus they are the primary source of fuel for a bulking bodybuilder. Carbohydrates are a must purchase on every trip to the supermarket. When it comes to carb selection, buy in bulk: bags of potatoes, big jugs of oats and econo-boxes of rice. Forget about brand recognition and TV spots, cop the generic store brand… When it comes to staples like rice and oatmeal, it’s all the fucking same as far as I’m concerned. On every trip, also grab a bunch of bananas or a similar inexpensive fruit that can be peeled and munched with the quickness.

Supplemental Income
Supps are priority #2. Once you have wisely invested in the most anabolic substance known to man (food, that is), you can worry about getting some extra goodies. For me the basics, the absolute “must haves”, are Animal Pak and a good protein powder. The Pak keeps me topped out on all my vitamins and minerals, fighting any deficiencies created from my diet and serious training. It helps to ensure the optimal internal anabolic environment. Along with the Pak, I need a solid protein powder that I can look forward to drinking a bare minimum of two or three times a day. If I have some spare change I’ll grab some Animal Nitro and some creatine (with Nitro, I can substitute one of my whey protein shakes if I want). If I’ve got these basics present and accounted for, I’ve got what I need to grow.

See… I told ya it wasn’t so fucking bad. Stay strapped with your extra value club card and even consider joining your local wholesale depot. Stay focused and cast aside the shit that is trivial and unnecessary and you’ll soon discover that you can make it happen, even when funds are low. As you can plainly see, Animal, being broke is no reason not to be big. Go confidently on your weekly supermarket odyssey, knowing that it is indeed possible to keep the fridge stocked, the cooler full and the checking account in the black.

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