Bulking on a Budget

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Between tuition fees, books, student accommodation and everything else you have to pay for - bodybuilding is one area you can easily do on a budget. Here are some top tips from competitive bodybuilder Adam Foster.

A photo posted by Adam Foster (@shreddybrekgym) on

Establish Your Macros & Calories

If you can’t gain weight - you’re not eating enough. That's the bottom line of it. No science, no secrets, no tricks - eat more.

As a (very) loose estimate, if you want to bulk, multiply your body weight by 18-20 to give you your total caloric intake.

From here you want to divide your macros the following way:

  • 50% Carbs

  • 30% Protein

  • 20% Fat

This isn’t “set in stone” - but it is a good starting point.

Now you know how much you need to be eating - now its time to figure out what you should be eating - and how to do it on the cheap.

Make a Shopping List

Man - this will make you feel grown up. Walking into a supermarket with a shopping list instead of wandering from the gaming isle, to the sweet and then the frozen ice cream.

Why use a shopping list?

  • You can workout how much you need of each food item to hit your macros

  • You don’t overbuy and waste food

  • You don’t forget to buy necessities and end up under eating

  • You can get everything in 1 trip - keep stocked up saving time and money travelling back and forth

Cheap Bodybuilding Bulking Foods




Chicken Breast - buy in bulk from butchers


100% Natural Peanut Butter
Protein Dynamix




Whey Protein Concentrate From Protein Dynamix

Maltodextrin Powder
From Protein Dynamix

Egg Yolks

Beef Mince


Full Fat Milk

Chicken Thights


Frozen Veg



Don’t over complicate things. If you’re fairly new to bodybuilding & bulking and young, you don’t need to over complicate supplementation.

I’d always recommend a basic whey protein powder. I almost don’t consider protein powder as a supplement - but instead a food source - and a cheap one at that!

Likewise - a carbohydrate supplement such as maltodextrin or dextrose is a really easy and cheap way to add calories & carbohydrates to your diet. Mix it with your water throughout the day, or with your protein powder as a post workout shake.

I’d also recommend a creatine monohydrate. It’s one of the few supplements that is proven to work through scientific research and it's dirt cheap. A no-brainer for anyone looking to bulk on a budget.

Sample (Cheap) Bodybuilding Diet Plan

Meal 1 - 100g oats & 6 eggs

Meal 2 - 2 scoops protein powder & 100g of maltodextrin

Meal 3 - 150g chicken (cooked weight) & 100g rice (raw)

Meal 4 - 2 scoops protein powder, 50g oats & 2 bananas

Meal 5 - 200g beef mince (cooked weight) & 500g potato (raw)

Meal 6 - 2 Scoops Protein Powder & 100g oats

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