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Poor man's training diet

Hi All: Hope this finds everyone well. Haven’t posted in many weeks, as I had just very recently left a terribly stressful job that was leaving me drained. But with that behind me, I’m looking forward to posting again with the frequency I enjoyed before. So, that work stress gone, but unfortunately, so is my bank account, and money I used to buy supplements etc. In light of this sudden absence of cash, I"m trying to find ways I can still maximize my growth gains while on a poor man’s diet. I’m hoping people might be willing to share their experiences, advice, knowledge with me. I’ve just finished an 8 week round of HST, and put on some decent gains, (42 years of age, 5’8" and about 162 pounds at about 12%BF). AS a way to save money I cycle every where I go, so I’m burning up a heckava lot of calories as well, and am probably not ingesting enough food to keep my muscle mass in tact. AGain, thanks to anybody who can offer me up some nutrition advice during lean times. Thanks to all who respond. Sincerely, Lorne

I feel ya bro.

I just try to buy alota cheap meats.

Hey Lorne,

Time for me to blow a little sunshine up my own butt. In addition to being a charming, intelligent, handsome young gent, I happened to have written an article on this very subject for JB’s website. I’ve gotten some pretty good feedback on it from people who have implemented some of my strategies for making the most of what is in your wallet. Check it out:


Hey, Lorne. I was beginning to really worry about ya, buddy. It is surely good to see you back–and to know that you’ll be around a bit more.

That said, link up to E-C’s budgeting article. I’ve been using it since it first came out, and it has been a tremendous help.

You might also search T-Mag for a few articles (I think they can also be found at JB’s site) for articles on eating for college kids. I think Shugs wrote an article or two, and I know JB’s bro Steve-O wrote a couple as well.

Seeing that I am a college kid, you’d think I’d be able to help a bit more, but I only spend my money on food and a few supps, so I really don’t seem to have too much difficulty!

Yup, those college eating articles by Steve Berardi are definately worth a read.

E-C’s comments on budget planning are great too. You need to apply this to the food as well as the supps side of things (food 1st, supps after!). Same principles apply though. Here’s a few thoughts of mine (mostly common sense, so you may well already be on this track):

  1. Buy in BULK. If you’ve got one of those “warehouse” food store cards, use it for cases of meat, trays of tuna etc.
  2. Instead of throwing away those grocery store flyers you get through the door, spend a couple minutes looking through for anything that might be useful. Don’t be loyal to any particular chain- go where the value is that week. You can save a ton on veg/fruit and dairy products like this. Also works for meat and fish occasionally. I just had a “spree” at my local grocery store with tuna at 3 cans/$1. Bought 3 trays (they wouldn’t let me have more than a tray per visit!).
  3. Use the coupons.
  4. Read the labels. Oftentimes you’re paying for a brand name, and the own-brand is just as good (E-C cites cottage cheese as an example of this). However, do NOT be fooled into just taking what APPEARS to be the same/similar product, unless you’ve checked the labelling.

    Some good e.g’s for me would be wheat bread(cheap) vs whole wheat bread (more expensive); Regular peanut butter, cheap (sugar, hydrogenated oils) vs natural pb, more expensive (peanuts only!). -Be a real “consumer detective”.

  5. When buying, ask yourself- “Will this help me? Is it value for money vs. xxx?” i.e. You may have to forfeit a few of your favourite foods, although healthy, (e.g. for me fresh salmon steaks) and go for the cheaper but less satisfying options (canned salmon) for a while whilst budgeting.
  6. You will have to make some compromises as far as “healthy options” are concerned. However, this needn’t be a bad thing in certain instances with a little extra thought/time. e.g: buying chicken breasts with skin vs without = cheaper. Just pull off the skin and wash. e.g.2: Buy the normal, vs extra lean ground beef, then just simmer in water for a short while, and skim off the fat.

As far as supps go, sometimes putting yourself in poorman circumstances may also help you somewhat in the long run!

Let me explain- This is essentially directed at the “supplement happy” crowd, who are on so many things they have no idea what’s working and what’s not. By going back to basics for a while, and stripping it down, to say a good whey protein and multivitamin, you can see if you really DID need that “HyperXFactor-Androbol24-D with added Zinc” to get those last 3lbs LBM. If you get the gains just the same without it, then you just saved youself $X00 on the next 3 bottles!

Whilst analysing all the diet/supp stuff, it might even give you the incentive to look at your training too, and get this equally “streamlined”. e.g. “Did I really need to do those last 6 drop-sets on the Nautilus Adductor machine that took my workout to 2 hours and stopped me getting home to eat?”

Just a few ideas to throw around. Good to see you back Lorne.


Have ya tried the chanko diet?

  • I use basmati & brown rice (how much depends on fat gain or low energy), 425g tuna any way I can get it and throw in some decent mixed veggies and a sauce with a minimum of surprise calories (i.e. unknown quality fat) That was 4 during the day. I cook this up and do up portions on Sunday so I can get more sleep on the weekday mornings when I have to go to Uni.

  • 4 brekkie I have Weet Bix with a banana, large handful of almonds & mixed dried fruit (should add some protein 2 that?)

  • For dinner I have 400 grams of steak with a big variety of veggies and some decent oil, not overcooked. I normally cook it up in a wok all chopped up with chili & spice, very nice. I have a snack of fruit while I cook. I also eat what turns out to be a bloody huge meal with chopsticks so it takes ages to eat and makes sure I chew :slight_smile:

I do the old two maximal workouts on monday, tuesday and explosive thursday friday. (Westside based)

Damn, SRS; you’re good. I might have to write an update to my original article!

The comment about checking the grocery flyers was on the money. I consider checking the flyers part of preparing food for the week and shopping. I wait for chicken to go on sale for 1.99 a pound and I buy about 12-15 pounds. Buy some freezer bags and you’re set. Buy the fruits/vegtables that are on sale. Buy the big packages of hamburger, make it into 4 ounce patties. Cook a bunch and eat a bunch.
It’s all about prepartaion.

To E-C: Yeh, well, you only re-use the Cottage cheese containers ONCE?!


SRS-You kiddin’ me? They’re constantly filling up my dishwasher!

Eric Cressey - Good article, thanks for the link

SRS - you’re dead on.

Become friends with cattle ranchers. My roommate for next year raises cattle in feed lots. His family usually slaughters a cow for themselves and hooks me up with a ton of great beef. Some of the best steak I have ever had was from him.

Also, look to befriend butchers. Anybody involved in meat is a great friend to have, especially while in college!

Good luck,