In 2017, about 61 million Americans held gym memberships. Between paying bills, buying groceries, and spending money on any other expenses, you might not have enough money to maintain your physical fitness.
You probably dread the costs of expensive protein supplements and nutrient-rich foods along with your monthly gym membership fee. While it’s true that bulking up can sometimes take up a lot of your time and money, it doesn’t have to.
Choosing the right foods and supplements can help you get big on a budget. Here are some of the best ways you can build muscle without throwing away your cash!
1. Buy Food and Supplements in Bulk
Buying food in bulk means signing up for a membership at your local wholesale club–these stores have the same food that you’d find at a typical grocery store, only in bigger amounts and at a lower price. How can you go wrong with that? You may be skeptical about spending your money on access to a store, but the amount of food you can buy for a lower price is totally worth it.
Brown rice is one of the cheapest foods you can get in bulk. Add some beans to your rice and you’ll have a meal full of proteins and carbohydrates.
Don’t worry, beans can be bought in bulk at wholesale clubs too. Buy dried beans in a large bag, or opt for a set of canned beans. Just make sure to look out for beans that have low sodium.
Eggs are another food you should consider buying in bulk in order to build muscle on a budget. One egg has around 6-7 grams of protein, making eggs an excellent addition to your diet. Consider starting your morning with a combination of eggs and oatmeal for a protein and carbohydrate-rich breakfast.
Don’t leave peanut butter out of your diet either. Peanut butter can also be bought in bulk, and it’s one of the most popular foods used to gain muscle. Natural peanut butter has oil that sits at the top of the jar–that’s how you’ll know you’ll be getting the benefits of muscle building and fat loss.
Your local wholesale club might even sell cheap muscle-building supplements. Definitely check out the health section of your store to see what protein powder and weight-loss supplements they offer.
2. Find Great Places to Shop
Wholesale clubs might not have everything you want. Fortunately, there are other options besides returning to the same old grocery store you’ve been shopping at for years.
You can actually find fresh food for a reasonable price at your local farmer’s market. Get up early next Saturday and hit up a farmer’s market. Don’t forget to take out some cash before you go.
Butcher shops also offer a variety of different types of meat that are raised on a local farm. Not only is the meat fresh, but you might be getting it for a better price than what you would find in a grocery store.
3. Use Supermarket Discounts to Your Advantage
Let’s say that you have no other choice but to shop at your local supermarket. In this case, take advantage of signing up for the store’s loyalty card.
As soon as the cashier scans your loyalty card, you’ll see a few dollars come off of your total order. It’s not a ton of money you’ll be saving, but it’s a good thing to have especially if you continuously shop at the same grocery stores.
It’s also a good idea to check out your local store’s catalog before your next shopping trip. Cut out some coupons, check out this week’s discounts, and plan out your shopping lists to get the best deals.
4. Start Cooking for Yourself
Knowing how to cook goes hand in hand with buying the right foods. Maybe you find yourself eating out often, or you frequently buy premade frozen meals because you believe that you don’t have enough money to maintain a muscle-building diet on a budget. The reality is that the food from restaurants and so-called “healthy” frozen meals aren’t always the best choice for your physique.
Make a healthy meal plan for yourself and stick to it. Since you’ll be buying some food in bulk anyway, you’ll be saving yourself money on the ingredients. There’s no reason to spend extra cash on eating unhealthy foods that someone else has prepared for you–find healthy recipes online and get into a routine by cooking the same meals.
5. Prepare Your Meals in Advance
You might have time to cook dinner tonight, but you’ll be busy tomorrow. Double tonight’s recipe and save some leftovers for tomorrow’s meal.
Muscle-building meal prep prevents any food from going to waste. Better yet, you’ll be able to heat up last night’s meal in the microwave rather than spending time remaking it.
6. Learn How to Budget
Before you start trying to build muscle on a budget, take a look at all of your monthly expenses. What can you save money on?
Maybe you’re addicted to buying the latest video games or shopping for more clothes. These are necessities that you don’t really need and that you can reduce your spending on.
Instead, think about all of the healthy food you can buy to get your body the way you want it to look. Buying healthy food might not be as attractive as buying a new video game, but you’ll ultimately be benefiting yourself.
7. Take Inventory
Before stepping out of your house to go shopping, take a look at the food that you already have. You might not remember that you have some perfectly good spices and condiments stuffed in the back of your cabinets. Maybe you even have meat in your fridge that you froze weeks ago.
That’s why it’s always important to make your shopping list after taking inventory of your kitchen. Don’t let the frozen meat in your fridge go bad, and use up your condiments before they expire. This will save you from wasting a ton of food while allowing you to conserve some extra cash.
Get Big on a Budget
It’s definitely possible to get big on a budget. Having the right attitude, finding the best places to shop, and having the right meal-planning techniques can make it simple to bulk up without spending tons of money.
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