Finding an affordable diet plan for muscle gain is not easy, but it is definitely possible. In fact, I make sure to try and eat as healthy as possible without breaking the bank.
In this article we are going to discuss what it will take for you to determine what you need to eat to build muscle. Then we will move on to an affordable diet plan for muscle gain.
For a little bit of background, I spent many years trying to put on muscle and I could just never figure it out. That is until I realized that knowing what I was eating was the most important part of the process.
I then used that knowledge to build a solid foundation of muscle.
When you combine proper nutrition and working out consistently, there is no barrier for you to gain muscle. You are going to gain muscle. And if you aren’t gaining muscle, chances are you just aren’t eating enough.
Before we get into our diet plan, I recommend downloading our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). If you are serious about building muscle, you need a plan. And our FREE plans are good enough to build solid muscle.
How do I know how much to eat for muscle gain?
There is a major issue with the fitness industry. They sell a one size fits all approach to working out and to dieting. Why is that? Because it’s way easier to tell someone to “eat this” and everything will be fine.
The problem is that every person in the world has a different threshold to determine how many calories they burn on a normal day. This is called maintenance calories. Or the number that determines the amount of calories that your body burns on an average day.
Once you learn to calculate your maintenance calories, you will now have a better understanding of how much you need to consume. Here is the thing. If you want to build muscle, you have to eat at a caloric surplus. I always recommend starting with 500 calories per day over your maintenance number.
I tell people this all the time. You cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit. So you will need to focus on eating at a surplus.
With all that being said, the diet plan that I am going to give you today is what I use. So you will have to tweak it for your needs.
For example, my maintenance calorie number is 3,100 calories per day. Meaning I eat 3,600 calories per day to be in a surplus. So this whole entire diet plan for muscle gain is going to be based around that number.
That is ok though, because you can just take off or add some calories if necessary.
Affordable diet plan for muscle gain
I am going to give you one day of what I normally eat when I am building muscle. Why am I only giving you one day? Because I wrote this article to equip you with the necessary tools to be able to tweak your diet for your needs.
Remember what I said in the previous section. Diets are not a one size fits all thing. What works for me might not work for you, so keep that in mind. Proper diets are all about caloric surpluses and deficits.
Once you understand how to weigh food properly, you will realize that you can be in control of your diet.
Breakfast – 1000 calorie protein shake
I literally drink one of these every morning. And somehow it never gets old. While protein powder might seem kind of expensive at first, you have to factor in how much it costs per serving. If you want the full recipe with pictures, here is my 1000 calorie protein shake recipe.
Let’s do some math:
8oz of Whole Milk ($.23)
66g (2 Servings) of JIF Creamy Peanut Butter ($.62)
60g (2 Servings) of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Double Rich Chocolate Protein Powder ($1.28)
100g of Frozen Bananas ($.15)
100g of Frozen Strawberries ($.50)
15ml (1 Tablespoon) of MCT Oil ($.47)
Total cost for a 1000 calorie protein shake – $3.25
As you can see, when you bump out the actual cost per serving, you realize that it is way cheaper than any other breakfast that you can make or buy. In fact, it is even cheaper than going to McDonalds for breakfast.
So what would you rather have, a McDonalds breakfast or a breakfast that is going to help you build muscle?
Lunch – 8oz grilled chicken with white rice and avocado
What matters most here is your portions of white rice and avocado. We already know that we have 8oz of grilled chicken. But when we are talking about accuracy of calories, everything must be weighed.
Let’s get some math together.
8oz of chicken breast – $2
2 cups of cooked long grain white rice – $.50
80g of avocado – $1
Total cost for lunch – $3.50
Even after lunch, we are at a total of under $7. I think we are doing pretty great right now.
Dinner – 8oz salmon with broccoli and potatoes
I know what you are thinking. Salmon is not that affordable! It can definitely be affordable if you shop at stores like Aldi. If you don’t have an Aldi near you, try and find another affordable but trustworthy grocery store that offers good prices.
I frequently see Atlantic salmon at Aldi for $8 per pound.
Let’s do the math of how much this is going to cost us.
8oz of Salmon – $4
150 grams of broccoli (half head) – $1
12oz baked potato – $.40
Total cost for dinner – $5.40
We really splurged for dinner. But also keep in mind that 8oz of salmon can also be replaced with another protein that is either more affordable or on sale. Beef, chicken, turkey, etc…
Dessert – 1000 calorie protein shake
This might look familiar, and that is because it is! And yes, when I am bulking, I drink a 1000 calorie protein shake in the morning, and one at night. Since my calorie demand is so high at 1000 calories, I have trouble consuming that many calories.
Just use the same formula as before, and we get a total cost of $3.25 for this shake.
Let’s go to the next section for a final cost breakdown of our affordable diet plan for muscle gain. You will find that it is more affordable than you originally thought.
Main Point: Affordable diet plan for muscle gain
When you are looking for an affordable diet plan for muscle gain, it comes down to one thing. Cost per calorie. Some calories cost significantly more than others, but we can still eat delicious food and build muscle.
In this article, we went through a typical day of eating for me when I am bulking. If you calculate all the calories, you will find that it comes out to almost exactly 3,600 calories.
In total, our full day comes out to $15.40. Which is not a lot of money considering the quality of the food that you are getting. Also, remember that you can always substitute things out. Maybe you have a cheaper protein powder, or maybe you would rather have chicken than salmon.
There is always room for improvement, and I think that if I really tried hard, I can get this total down to under $10.
When you are building muscle, you are going to realize that being in a caloric surplus is the most important thing that you can do for yourself. So it doesn’t matter how you get it done, just make sure that you do it.