Big Gains on a Small Budget

Big Gains on a Small Budget
by Mike Boyle

Bodybuilding is a 24 hr a day job, that requires hard work, discipline and dedication. Its also not a cheap job, it requires a lot of money. With food, supplements and a gym membership you could be looking at anywhere from 300-600 dollars a month. Most of us have to learn how to budget our money to fit our lifestyle. I’m going to show you a few ways I have learn to budget my money to fit my own bodybuilding needs.

First you want to sit down and plan out your attack. Decide how much money you can spent on your bodybuilding needs. Once you’ve come up with a budget, you can know see where you can spent your money. You want to break everything down into a categories: Food, Supplements, Gym, Working Clothes, etc.


Food is the most important item you will spent your money on and most like the most expensive. Without the right diet and nutrition you will be on the track to nowhere fast. A lot of times people will spent a ton of money on supplements. With all the supplements out there, there is no supplement more important than food.

Shop in Bulk:

Buying in bulk contributes to your wallet and pocketbooks. By not paying for all that individual packaging, label and advertising, you’re getting more product for you money. We all have access to wholesale club now a days, where you can buy food in bulk at a cheaper price. You can often find the products you want in bulk and purchase the exact amount you want.

The price of bulk quantities of food is generally cheaper overall than buying individual amounts of the same products. One place you can go to buy in bulk is Sam’s Club and Costco. They offer items in larger packages which can help lower the per-unit cost for that item. While buying in bulk has its advantages, it has its disadvantages as well. You have to make wise purchases or you’ll end up wasting money. Make a list before you go, its also helpful to create your upcoming weeks meal plan.

Foods to Buy:

Wholesale clubs offer a great variety of foods in bulk to meet your bodybuilding needs. Whether bulking or during a pre-contest diet, I always eat the same foods just in different quantities. You should be looking for high protein foods and quantity carbs. Here’s a list of some great choices of food to buy in bulk:

-Frozen chicken breast
-Ground beef
-Canned tuna
-Whole eggs
-Ground turkey


A good approach to buying supplements, is keep it simple. Do you need every new hot supplement coming out “NO”. Most people will go blowing their budget on the newest supplements on the market. When it comes to buying supplements, you need to decide what supplements best fit your needs Weight Gain, Fat Loss, etc.

Ive found that shopping online you can save a ton of money on supplements. Shopping online you can price out different brands and products from multiple websites. Its an easy way to compare prices, servings per supplement and price per serving.

In my honest opinion there are only a few essential supplements you should buying when your on a tight budget. Here a list of a few you should be looking for.

Whey Protein:

Their are a ton of protein powders out there now, whey being the best. Its a high quality of protein. Protein is the building block of muscle. Protein builds and repairs our muscle fiber allowing them to recover and consequently grow. Protein powders are an easy, quick and convenient way for anyone to get their protein requirements in for the day. You can find a quality protein supplement for under $30′s, like with food the more you buy the bigger discount you get.

Multi Vitamin/Mineral:

A daily multi vitamin/mineral supplement is not only an important for bodybuilders, its important for everyone. Its hard to consume food alone to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals your body need. For your body to run properly you need a wide array of nutrients, this is a great supplement to make sure you get them. Being deficient in one of these vitamins/minerals can decline in your overall body’s performance. By using a multi vitamin/mineral you will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to run at optimum levels. For less then $10 you can get a couple months worth of a one-a-day multi vitamin/mineral.


Creatine is still the most popular supplement on the market. Creatine is the foremost supplement for packing on muscle. The great thing about creatine is over the years it has become very inexpensive. For around $20 you can get around 600 grams of a quality creatine. Creatine is used to supply energy to the muscles. Creatine has been proven to increase strength, performance and muscle size. Creatine is also a cell volumizer, which means it hydrates muscle tissue and promotes nutrient flow.


Choosing the right gym for you, when you’re on a tight budget can be a little tough. Here’s a few tips to help you in selecting the right gym.

Most gyms offer a free week trial to their facility. If your more into machines rather then free weights. Try the gym out to make sure they fit your personal needs.

Location is key, select a gym close to your home or on your way home from work. You don’t want to be spending more money on gas then you have to, by driving way out of your way just to workout.

The group rate. Most gyms offer a lower monthly rate for couples and multiply family members that join together. You can save a ton of money per month when you and your partner join together. I personal save $17 per month at my gym this way.
The best time to join a gym is at the beginning of the year. Most gyms offer a lower rate early in the year to bring in new member. A lot of times they will wave the joining fee to new members also. Ive seen gyms lately offer new members a monthly contract as little as $10 per month.

See if your employer offers any kind of benefit to a local gym or health club at a lower rate. A lot of companies seem to be jumping on this bandwagon. Check with your human resources department, to see if they offer any kind of benefit like this.
My motto when it comes to choosing a gym has always been “I don’t care if the weights are rusty, as long as they have a squat rack”. I’m talking about frills of these high end health clubs. If your not worried about a sauna and all these fancy pieces of equipment, then don’t join a gym that has them. The more frills the gym has, the more you will pay per month.