Budget, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Broke in the UK – Eating as a Strength Athlete / Bodybuilder on a budget

People often wonder how it’s possible to hit your protein requirements, eat your vegetables and manage to hit all of your macro nutrient requirements without spending all of your expendable income on food.  I’m here to reassure you with a bit of buying savy and some time spent cooking it’s actually incredibly easy.  We are going to use specifics during this article so if your not British but from somewhere else some of this may be lost on you however you may still extract quite a lot of value from this article.

With out further ado here is how to be swole on a budget.

First of all I would like you to meet our subject he may be completely fictional but he still has feelings so be nice.  His name is Steve he’s a 95 kg strongman and he is currently a student he has and expendable income of 250 pounds a month and would like to go out every now and again.  So he has graciously set us the task of feeding him for a whole month on 150 quid.  So with out further a do lets get down to it.

Rule 1 – Plan out all your meals to match your budget.

This is the most important step as it will not only allow you to budget but will also allow you to bulk cook which will save time and energy down the line.  So back to our example.

We have 28 days and 150 quid, however due to 4 of those day being cheat days they are going to fall under Steve’s entertainment budget so that means we have 24 days.

This gives us a daily budget of £6.25.

We will be following a straight forward plan of 3 meals and 2 snacks, healthy food choices.  Low carb before training and carbs after training.  Seems pretty daunting already doesn’t it? don’t worry we have a few aces to play yet.

Our meal plan for the week shall be as follows.

Monday – Saturday (Sunday is entertainment day).

Breakfast – Eggs and Bacon or Quark, cream and berries.
Snack – Protein Shake.
Lunch – Seafood and Veg
PWO – Sweeties and protein shake.
Dinner – Meat, Veg and Rice or Pasta

Our lunches shall be either

200g prawns and 1 steam veggie pack
1 fillet of cod and 1 steam veggie pack
1 fillet of salmon and 1 steam veggie pack.

Our Dinners shall be

Chicken or prawn curry
Steak, steam veg and potatoes
Chicken or Beef Chilli
Roast Bit of meat spread over 2 days.

Rule 2 – Plan a weekly shop based of your nutritional requirements and budget, quality/taste of food in your case is a luxury. 

Now we know what we are after we need to put together a plan of action for a weekly food shop first lets work out our daily intake based off our goals.

As a 95kg athlete who want’s to stay in his weight class and stay reasonably lean whilst performing well we are going to be eating at around maintenance calories and consuming enough carbohydrates to recover as such our macro split will be pretty standard.

40 % Protein , 30 % Carbs, 30% Fat.

Steve has a basal metabolic rate of 2100 kcal.  We will classify him as moderately active (sports 3-5 days a week) so we will multiply his BMR by 1.55 to get his maintenance calories.  This gives us a target calories of 3250 Kcal.

Broken down into Macro nutrients –

3250 x .4 = 1300 kcal protein = 1300 / 4 = 325 g protein a day
3250 x .3 = 975 = 975 / 4 = 245 g carbs a day
3250 x .3 = 975 = 975 / 9 = 110 g fat a day

This breaks down into a daily food requirment of

1 kg of meat = 250g of protein 0-250g of fat depending on meat source.
250-300g of rice / pasta / bread = 240g of carbs
Cooking oil, dressing, cream + meat will make up fat
We will strive for 5 servings of fruit and veg a day.

So we need a minimum of 6 kg of meat, 2.5 kg of carbs, dressings and oils and 30 servings of fruit and veg for the week.

Rule 3 – Have a shopping list and know were you are going

Now we get down to brass tacks our mecca of swole will be Farmfooods which is a budget supermarket chain in the UK and cheap as chips.  Here is our shopping list for the week – budget £ 37.5.

3 kg of frozen chicken = £10
1 kg of fresh beef (steak or mince) = £10
1.5kg white fish peices = £5
24 bags steamed veg = £3
12 rashers of bacon = £2
12 eggs = £3
500g Frozen Fruit (berries) = £2
2 quark packs = £1.50
1kg of rice/pasta or oats – £2

Total – £38.50

That gives us enough raw ingredients to hit our macros, what I would advise you to do is to pre buy a lot of spices and herbs so you can prepare the food to taste better an not add any extra calories or macros (or at most a trace).

Now Lets look at a sample day 
7:00am – 2 rashers of bacon, 2 scrambled eggs and coffee for breakfast 
10:00am – 125g quark, 100g mixed berries and water for a snack. 
14:00pm – 250g of fish and 2 bags of steamed veg. 
16:30pm – coffee 1 hour pre work out 
17:30pm to 19:30pm – Training 
Post training – 50g of sugar’s worth of choclate or sweets (optional and outside of foodshop budget). 
Dinner – 500g of chicken or beef / 200-250g rice or pasta or potatoes / 2 bags of steamed veg.
There you have it a sample day to meet his goals and what I would think is a pretty cheap budget for food.