How To Build Muscle on A Budget

Many people believe that building muscle and creating the perfect body involves spending lots of money on supplements, protein products, weight machines and maybe even something as ridiculous as steroids!,

The truth is even if you are on a tight budget you can still do a lot of things that don’t require supplements, an expensive yearly gym membership or even a personal trainer, if you are interested in getting that great beach body without the huge expense then please read my guide below on how to build muscle on a budget which I think will be of great benefit to you.


First off let me start by saying that although the below tips are of huge benefit to anybody who has the will and determination to succeed, please do not expect miracles, this can only work if you do!, also remember that although some people seem naturally ‘gifted’ they are already genetically gifted in this way and it sadly comes naturally to them, however that is not to say that it won’t work for you if you put in the time and dedication at home,

before we begin I would just like you to watch a short video below by Travis Fisher that is a massive source of inspiration for myself:

Building Muscle On A Budget

Using your bodyweight instead of free weights

This is called Calisthenics or Dynamic Tension training and was first developed by Charles Atlas back in the day. Improperly-used equipment can be dangerous, using your body carries much less risk of injury. Military personnel tend to use there own bodyweight rather than equipment in their training as well as world class gymnasts, this tells you all you need to know about how effective body-weighted exercises actually are,

A good starter exercise for beginners is pull-ups with  a Pull-Up Bar and underhand grip, this can be purchased very cheaply online for about $15-$30 and simply slots into your doorframe, allowing you to perform the full range of pull-up’s from overhand grip to wide grip etc.

Aim to do 10-15 reps, as you will find just a handful difficult at first gradually aim to increase the amount you do each time and make sure that your chin reaches level with the bar on each successful pull-up.

Use Compound exercises rather than isolation exercises.

The following are compound exercises for various groups of muscles and the top 3 most effective for beginners as well as being fully comprehensive for the whole body:

  • Press-up’s: These are great for upper body strength, they help develop all of your upper body effectively including your shoulders, deltoids, arms etc., an easy way to do these at home is to use your bed, Put your feet on the bed and your hands on the floor for inclined press-ups, also you can use a wall for ‘handstand press-up’s, this will effectively help t0 build your core upper body strength.
  • Sit-up’s:Although this won’t help you get a six-pack, doing them will increase your core abdominal strength helping you to perform other exercises at a later date, very simple to perform, simply hook your feet under something solid with your hands by your temple’s (don’t put them behind your neck and pull on this for obvious reasons) and do as many reps as you can manage in one go making sure to have a smooth steady movement all the way up and back down again.
    Building muscle without expensive gym equipment

    Regular workouts at home can still build muscle even if done on a budget.

  • Squats: These are fantastic for leg strength as well as overall core body strength, if you aim to do your own bodyweight initially that is a good starting point and you will find once your core strength increases so will the weight you can lift on other exercises too.

Cardio and then more cardio

A lot of people starting out wanting to build muscle completely forget the cardio side of things which is the totally wrong way to go, as well as keeping you fit, it is a good way to build inner strength that will give you much more stamina when squeezing out that last rep on the weights, I’m not saying you should be running a marathon or cycling the tour de France twice a week but some moderate cardio at least 20 minutes a session 5-6 times a week will massively improve your success when weight training, running is free and gives you a chance to get out more and get some fresh air, swimming at your local pool is cheap and not only builds stamina but also tones everywhere up, lastly don’t forget a good old skipping rope, a very cheap bit of kit that takes up next to no room and is has been used by boxers everywhere for generations, and for good reason too.

Stay Hydrated!!

build muscle with proper hydration

Keeping hydrated is easily done even on a budget and will help build muscle.

Never forget the super important aspect of that water and full hydration it gives, being dehydrated can reduce your energy levels by half and really ruin your workout, aim to drink 2-3 liters a day and you will feel much more awake and alert as well as be able to workout for much longer.


Aim for at least 8 hours per night to not only make you feel alive and kicking during the day but also give your muscles chance to recover after any workouts that you do.

Plan a workout routine

workout and build muscle on a budget

Utilize a proper workout routine whilst on a budget to help build muscle faster.

A good way to stay motivated is to write down all of the exercises that you will do in a week and how often and make a chart with a full timetable on, stick to this and you will definitely start to see results very quickly, many workout routines/regimes can be found for free online.


diet for building muscle on a budget

Eat a ‘budget’ diet to help muscle building.

In order for your body to maintain muscle as well as build it you need at least 1g of protein per pound of body-weight per day to maintain and build muscle. For example if you weighed 70kg/155lbs, that’s 155g protein per day. The easiest way to get this amount is to eat whole protein with each meal, Getting protein from the main sources of highly regarded food stuffs such as salmon etc. can be expensive so here is a short list to help you with some of the cheapest food stuffs with plentiful protein:

1. Canned Tuna. 40g protein/can. Buy tuna in spring or brine water. Don’t worry about the mercury: 1 can chunk light tuna per day is safe.

2. Whole Eggs.
7g protein/egg. Lower your body fat rather than throwing the yolk away if you have bad cholesterol. cholesterol from your diet is different to body cholesterol, the egg yolk contains neally 80% of the nutrients you get from egss such as vitamins minerals etc.

3. Whey protein.
1 scoop of whey is 24g protein/30g serving. At 2 scoops/day, a 1 KG bag will last 10 weeks for around $35. You can’t get much cheaper than this. But don’t rely on whey protein only because it’s cheaper. Vary your protein intake.

4. Ground Beef
. 25g protein/100g. Buy 80% ground beef and rinse the fat if lean beef is too expensive. You can reduce the fat content by as much as 50%. Read this free pdf on how to rinse ground beef.

5. Milk.
30g protein/liter milk. If you’re a skinny guy, want to gain weight fast and don’t want to gain fat, drink 1 gallon raw milk per day. Don’t worry about the saturated fat. Stay away from milk if you want to lose fat.

6. Frozen Chicken Breast.
25g protein/100g. Cook the frozen chicken breast using a George Foreman Grill. Consume the chicken breast within 2 months of freezing for optimal tenderness & taste.

7. Cottage Cheese.
12g protein/100g. Cottage cheese is more expensive in Europe than in the US.

8. Ground Turkey.
25g protein/100g. Expensive cuts are made from turkey breast. Cheaper cuts can contain skin, which increases the fat content. Rinse the fat like for ground beef.

9. Canned Mackerel.
23g protein/100g. Canned mackerel is high in Omega 3
, contains less mercury than canned tuna, and tastes a lot better too.

10. Calves Liver.
20g protein/100g. Low fat and nutrient dense. Contrary to what you might believe, liver is perfectly fine to eat and is a great source of iron too.

Some Bonus Tips for you. Buy basic food. Buy in bulk to get discounts at every opportunity. Freeze everything you get.

The following meal plan gets you around 200g of protein per day.

  • Breakfast: 3 whole eggs with spinach
  • Snack: 200g cottage cheese with apple
  • Lunch: 1 can of tuna with bok choy
  • Snack: 500ml whole milk and banana
  • Post workout: 1 scoop whey protein with oats & 500ml milk
  • Dinner: 150g chicken breast with pasta & broccoli
  • Pre bed: 200g cottage cheese with berries & flax seeds

One final note

  • Resist the temptation to become a member of a gym. This can be expensive and for most members who stop going after the 4th or 5th time, useless in building muscle. If you must go, find one where you can pay each time you visit if it works out cheap enough for you.
  • Books can be useful and cheap, but bare in mind that they will only give you advice, you still have to put in the time and dedication.
  • Study the diets and exercise routines of various strong sportspeople past and present. Very few biographies will attribute their muscle mass to a miracle piece of equipment unless they are advertising it, simply they will usually comment on a specific technique or routine they used to perform.
  • Many products advertised on shopping networks and similar are absolutly a load of crap! don’t buy into these, your just wasting your money, instead only use the tried and true methods for gaining muscle as you will see much better results than a flash in the pan product idea.

I hope this article has been of some great help to you and wish you much success in your journey,

Building muscle on a budget is easily achieved.

please feel free to comment below to share your own secrets to success or if you have any helpful tips or just wish to share your story.


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