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How To Gain On A Budget


Want To Make Gains With A Small Budget?

Whether your perfect body is the muscularity of a cover model or the sheer muscle size of a body builder, either way it’s a journey of hard work in the gym and the right nutrition with a focus on protein to get there. But what do you do if you’re on a budget?

Whether you’re a student, recently bought a new car or have had a few cash heavy nights out, Maximuscle explains how to get essential protein to your diet to support your goals without lightening your wallet.


Before you dive head first into the protein powder, take a minute to review the bulking basics.

1. Calorie Excess: Bulking is an energy expensive business, requiring a greater calorie intake per day. A 500 calorie increase per day above your basic requirements can lead to a 0.5 kg increase in body weight over 1 week. If you struggle eating more, opt for calorie dense options such as olive oil on salads, snacking on dried fruit & nuts etc.

2. Weight training: A calorie excess without training is a quick way to gain fat. Transform your body with mass building weight training techniques like combining sets of 4 – 6 reps (strength focus) with 8 – 12 reps (growth focus). Intensity of training is the key to bulking. Make sure every training session counts by putting in maximum effort to see the results.

3. Protein is king: Bulking without protein is like building a house with no bricks. Aim to consume between 1.6 – 2 grams protein per kilogram body weight per day. Breaking this down into smaller, frequent protein packed meals and snacks throughout the day.

4. Avoid dirty bulking: Even though you’re increasing calorie intake, it doesn’t mean you have to overdo it by gorging on fried breakfasts and chocolate cake. Support your bulking plan by loading up on nutritious, calorie dense foods such as avocados, oily fish and sweet potatoes.

5. Rest: Adequate rest is vital for bulking. Your body will repair and rebuild as you rest, not while you’re under the squat rack. Many hard-gainers will benefit from switching a typical training routine of five times per week to three shorter, intense workouts.


Bulking requires an increased protein intake, but what if you don’t have the funds for this extra protein hit in your diet? Maximuscle have outlined how to buy protein on a purse string.

1. Plant based protein sources– Although a great source of protein, meat tends to be amongst the most expensive foods in your shopping basket. There are plenty of high-quality plant sources to top up the protein content of your diet. Soy protein is a ‘complete’ source of protein offering all the essential amino acids the body requires. One serving (100 g) of tofu (made with coagulated soy milk) provides 20 g protein. Quinoa is relatively cheap seed which is perfect for a bulking diet as it offers lots of carbs, about 32 g per cup, and is a ‘complete’ source of protein.

2. Cheaper cuts of meat – If you are a true carnivore, opting for cheaper cuts of meat could help save the pennies. Chicken thighs for example are still a great source of protein and are cheaper than chicken breast. Diced chicken breast is roughly £6.70 per kg, whereas chicken thighs are around £5.84 per kg.

3. Milk – Milk is a great source of protein. It’s cheap, easily accessible and provides 19 g of protein per pint. Opt for whole milk to get increased calories in to your bulking diet.

4. Canned fish – Tuna fish is a popular source of protein, as it offers 32 g protein per tin. Mackerel on the other hand offers slightly less protein at 25 g per tin but with a more reasonable price tag at £0.66 versus £1.50 per tin of tuna. At this price you can add two tins of mackerel to your shopping basket, doubling total protein for roughly the same price as 1 tin of tuna.

5. Whey protein – When bulking, you need to know where to invest in quality protein. Whey protein is a quality ‘complete’ protein source containing all 9 essential amino acids that we must get from our diets. Whey protein can be found in many dairy sources along with protein supplements. Although protein supplements may seem like an indulgence when you’re strapped for cash, when you look at price per serve of protein you may be surprised. For example:

One 2.5 kg bag of Maximuscle WPC is £33.99

Serves per bag: 2500/30 g serve = 83.8 serves

Price per serve: £33.99/83 serves = £0.40

Protein per serve: 22 g protein for £0.40

6. Buy in bulk - Buying meat in bulk & freezing is the key to bulking. Meat tends to be cheaper from a wholesaler so it could be worth tagging along with a friend who has a wholesale card and freezing the meat in individual portions.