Building muscle is on the wish list of most men. However, women should be equally as enthused with the idea of building muscle. While the guys typically envision getting a figure like some Arnold Swarzenegger wannabe, many ladies are afraid of the very idea of muscle building. As a trainer, I cannot count the number of times I have had a woman come to me and state that they do not want to build muscle because they do not want to “bulk up”.

The fact is that women typically do not “bulk up” on their own, even when lifting weights on a regular basis. The woman who do put on a lot of bulky muscle have done so on purpose and with the use of specific supplements that allow them to do so. Lifting weights is good for just about everyone and creating lean muscle makes your body an inferno of fat-burning power.

To build or maintain muscle you need adequate protein. A basic rule of thumb is to take in 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. For instance, a 130lb woman should take in 130 grams of protein per day and a 215lb man should take in 215 grams of protein a day. This can make a big dent in the monthly food budget. However there are some basic proteins that you can utilize even on a tight budget.

Whey Protein Powder

A no-brainer for most people is utilizing whey protein powder to get in their daily protein. Not only is this a budget-friendly protein option but 2 scoops of whey protein powder generally contains 24 grams of protein or more. Additionally, a good quality whey protein powder is packed with other nutrients your body needs. You can mix this protein powder with water and drink it as a snack, many people also enjoy it as a post-workout protein source. Furthermore, because it is easy to carry in a gym bag or car, it is an ideal quick meal replacement when on the go.

Eggs

As one of the most nutritious foods on the planet eggs are a powerhouse for someone looking to get more protein and nutrition in their diet. Each egg contains 7 grams of high-quality protein. Although eggs have got a bad rap in recent years for their high cholesterol the fact of the matter is that is not a simple game of numbers when it comes to the all-powerful egg.

A single egg may contain 186mg of cholesterol however studies are now showing that eating eggs actually helps lower or maintain a healthy cholesterol level. How can that be? Well it is simple, eating healthy forms of cholesterol containing foods actually gives the body the cholesterol it needs to function and helps avoid it making additional cholesterol on its own. So stop falling for the egg bashing lies and the “dieting” experts who tell you to only eat egg whites. The yolk is not the villain and in fact contains far more nutrition than the whites. It is also important to note that the yolks contain half of the total protein, so do not waste it!

Other Protein Sources

Meats are an obvious form of protein, however, this is generally where the budget breaking comes to play. High quality meats are not the most budget-friendly items on the market. Especially when we start talking about finding sources that are lean as well as antibiotic and hormone-free. However, there are some proteins that are relatively inexpensive.

  • Liver

    Although the word “liver” conjures up many horrible childhood memories for some people don’t knock liver before you try it. No you do not have to sit at the table until your plate is clean, but you will most definitely benefit from eating good quality liver. A 3oz. serving of beef liver provides a whopping 20g of protein and is typically an inexpensive buy at the grocery store. With that said trying to find a way that you enjoy eating it is beneficial.

  • Canned Fish

    The phrase “canned fish” does not given visions of culinary delight for most people, however, there are several options that are tasty. Tuna is a choice that many people enjoy alone or in various recipes. One can of tuna, packed in water, contains 40 g of protein. Additionally, it is a very inexpensive option. Although mercury is a concern experts agree that 1 can of tuna per day is considered safe. Some other options include; mackerel, salmon, and sardines.

  • Cottage Cheese

    Cottage cheese is another inexpensive protein source and is a food many people enjoy. A 3oz. serving of cottage cheese provides 12g of protein. This is a good snack or side dish option that is budget friendly.

Finding foods that help with muscle building is possible, even on a strict budget. Educating yourself on what the protein content of the food is can help you decide what the best bang for your buck is. Although it is possible to find good quality lean meats for a fair price the examples listed above are great fall back ideas when that is not an option.

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