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Training Without Even A Basic Diet


Hi Christian,

My question is this should I train without a basic diet?

Money is really tight right now... Worse than I can ever remember and some days, I eat maybe once and other days 3 or 4 times.

It's causing absolute havoc on my metabolism and I've seen my waist size increase by 4 inches in 3months. This is contributed to by the fact I refuse to train unless I know I have a good weeks worth of food to fuel my training and muscle growth.

As a personal trainer I would imagine you have seen people from different walks of life... I can imagine, many athletes don't all have the most privileged backgrounds.
But I very much doubt it stops them from training.

I'm really confused as to whether I should or shouldn't train on such restricted calories. Especially since my goal is to actually gain size. I wouldn't even know what frequency to go with.

Can you please help me?



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Makes sense... I'm just highly surprised that I can be in a calorie surplus when I'm eating say around 1500 calories on an average day.

I personally assumed it was because of the low quality food I am eating. Pretty much all simple carbohydrates.

I have also heard more than once that eating very little, then eating a lot confuses the body and drives it to store fat.

I will of course continue to train. I was hoping for some input from Christian about frequency or what sort of training I should do...

Your simple answer of course shows it is a stupid question.

So I will just continue doing compound movements until a time comes that I can include isolation type exercises.

Thanks for the input BB.


I am also not CT but I was at this point financially not too long ago. The worst part - aside from living in a car - was that I had only recently before that figured out how to eat a little more conducive to gaining muscle and strength.
Here's how I got by: rolled oats <$2.00/2lbs at most grocery stores. You can eat them straight or mix them with water and milk or anything and they keep you full.
Eggs about $1.85 for 18 med size at walmart. Probably even cheaper if you can get more at a time. Can eat them straight (not my favorite/recommended way) or you could cook them. I used a coleman-type knock-off camping stove that was essentially just a small propane tank with a bowl/pot supporter attached to the nozzle. Works like a charm and the whole thing only costs about $20-40 (depending on the size prop tank you get and bam! portable kitchen, well, sort of).
Extra virgin olive oil is something I found invaluable, I would just get the 3 liter size from walmart for <$20 and take straight spoonfuls of that. Doing 6 tblsp of that is about 700kcal right there and doing that every day will take you about a month to go through the entire jug.
Not a very balanced diet but it's better than nothing.

Going to the $1 menu never filled me up like oats would thus ended up being less cost effective. You can add in other things that get more pricey like nut butters (still very cheap) and cottage cheese if you have the money. And if you know anyone with a yard that will let you use part of it as a garden, perhaps in exchange for some of the harvest, that's a way to get some cheap veggies. But it takes some forethought and lots of effort.
Doing it this way you'll probably be hungry for most of the day, especially if you're training. But you can easily match the 1500kcal you are currently getting with some better foods (well better than just straight simple sugars from wherever you were getting them) and it's for pennies a day. And like the wise BBB said if you are gaining weight you are in a caloric surplus.
As for your training, what are you trying to do? Just maintain until your situation improves? BB, PL, OL, MMA? I wouldn't say don't train as in tough parts of my life that has been one of the things that kept me sane and gave me something to look forward to when there was very little else. Hope this helps and good luck to you.


Principally I'm interested in BB... I'm roughly 160lbs 5'6 so I'm looking to add mass.
Fish oil is cheap so I intend on using that along with olive oil as you suggested for my primary sources of fat. Cashew nuts are also very cheap here in England if you know where to look, while they comprise of a lot of carbohydrates they do some what fit into a simple sort of diet... Milk is nice and cheap too, eggs of course cheap and so are oats.

Things are a little more expensive here than in the U.S but I'm sure I'll figure it out.

I totally understand what you mean about training keeping you sane...
I could theoretically train twice a day, things are just so messed up right now and I'm nervous to train because I feel like diet determines your results a lot. I worked hard to get from 120-160 and don't want to go backwards.

Thanks for the advice mate.


Isn't this exactly what pulse fasting is? I've been pulse fasting twice a week for 4 weeks now and am leaning up very fast.


As a fellow Brit and poor student :slight_smile: so I've had to spend some time looking for cheap sources of good (ish) foods. Supermarket own brands are your friend, I use Tesco as its the nearest:

         200g Value peanuts            £0.30   1200cals
         1 litre long life skim milk   £0.49    350cals
         1kg value oats                £0.54   3500cals
         15 value eggs                 £1.54   1200cals

Plenty of good cheap calories and protein there for >£3 If you have access to one check out the "Super 6" deal at Aldi, its basically 6 different types of fruit of veg for 69p a pack and it changes weekly. I got a bag of sweet potatoes and a punnet of blueberries last time. They also occasionally have cheap meat and poultry which can come in handy.


Are these any good? The Sainsbury's Basics ones are about the same price and they taste horrible. Yes, I'm a bit picky :wink: