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Building Muscle On A Budget

Right now building muscle can feel harder than ever. Why? The rising costs of, well, basically everything. So, how possible is it really to build muscle on a budget?

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One very important slice to the pie. It's not just about how often you train, but also what exercises you pick, and how hard you're training, that matters.

The truth is, the cost of a gym membership does not equate to the quality of the gym. Over here in the UK there are certain well known gym brands that charge triple figures per month for a membership, but this isn't down to the quality of the gym, purely just the name itself. Really, if cost is your biggest concern, the cheapest gym membership will do. Are some machines better than others? Sure. But if it's a choice between a sub optimal bit of kit, or no kit at all, the first choice is going to win.

Still not convinced about the gym? Want to train at home? Some investment is still going to be needed. When it comes to building muscle you need to be able to consistently, progressively overload. This means you need access to a fair amount of weight. If this is still your preference, opting for adjustable dumbbells that go beyond 20kgs are your best option. Coupled with some bands, you should be able to get the job done. However, if you're particularly strong, a gym membership is your only option, in my opinion.

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With the rising cost of food, it's easy to assume bulking is not an option for you right now. However, with planning, this doesn't have to be the case. Supermarkets like ALDI and LIDL are a bulkers dream, and it's also where I myself shop for all of my own groceries.

My calorie goal right now is 2,700 a day and I spend, on average, £30-£40 on groceries per week. Obviously, I fully appreciate for some people this might still be too much, but if you're worried groceries are going to be triple figures a week, you're misinformed (or just shopping in Waitrose).

I sit down the night before I go shopping and plan out my full meals for the week. This includes breakfast (usually either oats or pancakes), lunch (usually something light like a sandwich), and dinner (my biggest meal of the day). From there I can create my grocery list. This ensures I don't overbuy, and I also have a plan I can follow to stay on track throughout the week.


Do not underestimate the importance of sleep on your training and muscle building goals. If you're tired, how do you expect to perform well in the gym? Recover after a hard session? Feel any levels of motivation?

The good news? Sleep is completely free.

If you're struggling to get good quality sleep, look into what you're doing around bed time. Make sure you turn off devices, limit blue light, and wind down properly before trying to get to sleep.


No, I don't expect you to just "stop stressing" (although I wish that was possible). However, putting in place healthy ways of coping with stressors can not only improve day to day life, but also your gains.

Stress reeks havoc on the body. Think about the last time you were super stressed out. Did you feel like smashing a gym session? Feel like tracking calories? Nope.

Shit happens. Sometimes things crop up and add unwanted emotions into our lives. But how we deal with these events is what matters the most. What helps you to feel better when this sort of thing happens? Going for a walk? Deep breathing? Find healthy ways to work through these times. Someone who is chronically stressed is not in a position to build muscle.

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If you're genuinely strapped for cash, supplements shouldn't be something you're even considering. Your money should be going towards a gym membership and grocery shopping. The only exception to this could be a bag of protein powder, however, that's something you can factor into your grocery budget. There isn't a single supplement out there that should come before any of the above.


Nope, not an advert. The truth is, any decent coach is going to charge a decent monthly fee. Your first point of call needs to be to get a gym membership and enough food in week on week. After this, is a coach worth it? Of course. Working with a professional is always going to lead to better results (if you can follow what is set up for you). But, unless you're ready to commit, this also comes towards the bottom of the pile.

Hopefully now you can see that, even on a limited budget, gaining muscle can be an option for you. Prioritise your funds towards a gym membership and groceries, and don't be fooled into wasting money on supplements and "fitness experts" who take your money and offer nothing in return.



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