Building muscle requires commitment, plenty of time in the gym and not to mention consuming the right nutrition and supplements. All this can have a huge impact on our outgoings, at the end of the day, if we don't have our health- we have nothing! Diets and nutrition plans can dent our bank balances, making bulking up on a budget difficult, although following these tips can hopefully make reaching your fitness goals stress free.
1. Know where to shop
We all have our chosen supermarket that we seem to pledge our loyalty to. But knowing the best places to shop can really shred the cost off our weekly shop. Yes, supermarkets have everything in one place but they also all have one other thing in common, high prices, especially on meat, the most vital protein source for bulking up. Try giving your local butchers or the farmers market a look up. They are a great source of local produce and can give you great value for money. You could also try your hand at negotiating for a better deal.
2. Buy in bulk
This tip may seem expensive at first but buying in bulk can in fact help save you money in the long run. If you have enough space to store it all that is. As we already know quality protein sources like meat and fish are very high in price but stocking up and freezing these items can really help you save money further down the line. Not only will buying in bulk knock pounds of your weekly shop it also can help save on fuel charges as you’ll be making less trips to the shops.
3. Pre-prepare meals
It seems like everyone’s Instagram is jammed full of food prep pictures. Countless tupperware containers filled with pre-made food ready for the week. It’s clear that they have caught on to something. So how can this help you save money? Firstly you can portion out each meal which lets you measure the amount of nutrients you’re digesting every meal. Pre-preparing meals not only saves money but also saves time. Spending a couple of hours one day a week preparing and cooking all your meals at once will save you time for other tasks during the week. Great if you’re working dawn to dusk and want to hit the gym!
4. Buying the right food with the highest protein content
Being able to prepare the food and source is one thing, but actually knowing which items of food contain the best source of protein can go a long way to building muscle on a budget. Do your research, know where the highest protein and nutrients sources lie. You then won’t be wasting money on high calorie, low muscle food ingredients. Below is a guide to foods that contain a high amount of protein.
|Food (Per 100g)||Protein||Carbs||Fat||Calories|
|Almond Nuts||21.1g||6.9g||55.8g||614 kcal|
|Baked Beans||9.5g||22.1g||0.4g||130 kcal|
|Beef Fillet Steak||20.9g||0g||7.9g||155 kcal|
|Bread (wholemeal)||11.0g||39.1g||2.2g||220 kcal|
|Chicken Breast (Skinless)||23.5g||0g||1.7g||109 kcal|
|Cod fish||17.9g||0g||0.9g||80 kcal|
|Cottage Cheese||12.2g||4.5g||1.5g||80 kcal|
|Crab meat||18.1g||trace||0.5g||80 kcal|
|Goji Berries||12.3g||57.7g||0.3g||285 kcal|
|Haddock Fish||16.4g||0g||1.2g||80 kcal|
|Lamb (Steak)||19.9g||0.8g||3.2g||115 kcal|
|Milk (Semi Skimmed)||3.6g||4.8g||1.8g||50 kcal|
|Milk (Whole)||3.3g||4.7g||3.6g||64 kcal|
|Orange Roughy Fish||22.64g||0g||0.034g||105 kcal|
|Peanut Butter (Crunchy)||24.9g||10.1g||50.2g||586 kcal|
|Pizza (Pepperoni)||11.4g||28.0g||11.1g||260 kcal|
|Pork Chops||19.3g||20.3g||260 kcal|
|Porridge oats||11.0g||60g||8.0g||356 kcal|
|Pumpkin Seeds||28.8g||15.2g||45.6g||586 kcal|
|Rice (brown)||6.9g||74.0g||2.8g||350 kcal|
|Salmon Fish Fillets (Boneless)||21.6g||0g||14.0g||215 kcal|
|Sardines (Fish)||21.5g||trace||9.6g||172 kcal|
|Sausages (Pork)||13.9g||11.9g||17.0g||255 kcal|
|Soya beans||35.9g||14.8g||18.6g||375 kcal|
|Sunflower Seeds||23.4g||18.6g||47.5g||600 kcal|
|Tilapia Fish||24g||0||4g||105 kcal|
|Tuna Fish (Steak)||25.6g||0g||0.5g||110 kcal|
|Tuna Fish (Tinned)||26.3g||0.0g||10.7g||202 kcal|
|Turkey Breast (Skinless)||22.3g||0g||1.2g||100 kcal|
|Venison (Deer meat)||30.21||3.19||158 kcal|
Finally, if you are looking to go that little bit further in saving money when bulking up, supplements are a great way of getting the right nutrition for your fitness goals. Zinc,omega-3 and whey protein all make a huge difference in saving money in order to bulk up on a diet.
If you're looking for a quick, convenient way to boost your calories on a budget, then a gainer shake is also a great option to make sure that you're hitting your macros. With 31g of protein, 50g of carbs, and 388 calories per serving, the Weight Gainer Blend is an easy way to make sure you're meeting your nutritional goals.
You'll easily be hitting that calories surplus simply by adding this shake to your daily routine. If you're struggling to recover from those tough workouts, the high-quality blend of fast- and slow-digesting protein to kick-start your recovery and keep the muscle-building going for hours on end.
The carbs are made up of oat flour and maltodextrin to re-stock those glycogen stores and help you to feel ready for the next session. It's also packed with fibre, vitamin E, and magnesium to make sure you're hitting your goals for muscle-building micronutrients.
Want to add more calories and some healthy fats? Peanut butter is a great addition to your shake. Simply add it to the Chocolate Smooth flavour — we promise you won't be disappointed.
Take Home Message
Bulking up doesn't need to break the bank or be over-complicated. Stick to these handy tips and you'll see results in no time. Remember to eat well, take in plenty of protein, and push yourself in your gym sessions and you'll soon be.
Want some extra help? Why not check out our Build Muscle Bundle with free training and nutrition guide.
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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.
Alice Pearson is a UKVRN Registered Associate Nutritionist and UK Anti‐Doping accredited advisor, having obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and a Master’s of Science in Sport Nutrition. She has a specialist interest in the use of sports supplements for improving health, fitness, and sport performance.
Alice has experience working with both amateur and elite athletes, including providing nutritional support to Tranmere Rovers FC and Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club. Her nutritional guidance is always supported by evidence‐based research, which she keeps up to date through continuing professional development and independent learning.
In her spare time, Alice loves travelling, hitting the gym, and getting stuck into a good book. Find out more about Alice's story here.