First off I would like to talk about food, and the cost of food. This is one of the most important ingredients in bodybuilding. If you don't get those extra 2hrs of sleep to make up 8hrs, it isn't that big of a deal. On the other hand if you skip 2 meals in the day, that is a huge problem. So, what things can you do about the food aspect you ask? Basically you can do quite a bit if you really think hard about it. If you are in a dorm, and away from home, it makes it even harder for you to eat like you normally would at home. This is one of the hardest things to deal with besides the cost of food. Some of the things that you can eat, and store that offer great nutrition, and are not very costly are as follows:
Tuna is a great product to use for every person, but especially for the college student. It can be purchased for about .49 per can, and contains about 32g of protein per small can. Tuna can be stored very easily, and can last for a while. If possible, buy tuna when there is a special. You will be able to save some extra pocket change for other stuff, or maybe an extra can of tuna. Some places have so many cans for so many dollars, and is usually cheaper on those sale days.
If you don't like tuna, you are out of luck for cheap quality protein. The only thing that is better then tuna is eggs. Yes eggs. These are good especially for college students in dorms. You can buy a dozen eggs for about .69-.89 depending on the size of the egg, store them in the fridge, and eat them all day long, or 6 for breakfast if you have the required stuff to scramble eggs. If not, you can boil them, and eat the whites.
For those of you in high school, you can take egg salad sandwiches to school for lunch mixed in with some ham, cheese, and a little dressing. If you have chicken, add some chicken to it. If not, don't worry. The next thing that is a good source of protein that is a little more expensive is chicken breasts. If you have the money, get yourself a George Foreman grill, some chicken breasts, and bingo, lunch. If you are on a tight budget, and can't afford it don't worry. The next item on the list is almonds. Yes, almonds. Almonds pack a punch full of nutritional content, and can be purchased in a 2.5lb bag at a Costco, or Sams. I use Diamond brand almonds. 1/ 4c of almonds provides 190cal, and contains 8g of protein, and 15g of fat.
In a 1/4c you also get 4g of fiber. Almonds can't be beat as far as I am concerned. A 2.5lb bag will get you 38 servings. So at 1/4c per day, that's a little over 1 month. One of my favorite things to use to up my calories in a day is dry milk. Dry milk can be added to regular milk to up the calories, and protein. On top of that, you get 30% calcium per serving. Again, dry milk can be purchased at a Costco, Wal-Mart, etc. You can buy a 4lb box for no more then $9.00. A 4lb box has 80 servings, and contains 8g of protein per 1/3c. If you want a high protein milk drink, add 8oz of whole milk to a glass, and stir in 2/3c of dry milk. This gives you a total of 310cal, 24g of protein, and 90% of the RDA in calcium. All this can be put in a glass that holds 8oz with no problem. Looking for a quick high calorie meal on the go? Add the above with 2Tbsp of Canola Oil, and wham a whopping 550cal. This is equivalent to that of a gainer as far as calories.
I will do the above if I wake up late, and can't get breakfast in. I may miss a real meal, but I do have 550cal of liquid food in my body to get me going. Another cheap and effective things to get is Canola Oil. Canola oil can be purchased for usually no more then $2.00 max. You will get 100+ servings, and it will supply you with the good fat you need during the day. You can swap back and forth between this, and the almonds. If you really use the oil like I do, buy the 1.25gallon jug. It has 360+ servings in it.
The last thing on my list of cheap, but effective items is Maltodextrin. Maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate, and can be purchased from Prolab in the 2lb tub, or in bulk on-line. This will usually yield 190-220cal in 1/2c of powder. Most of the time it is neutral, so you will need to add some flavor to it. I usually add some lemon juice in mine, and mix it with water. You can also get more creative, and make up a container of kool-aid, and add 1/2c to 8oz of kool-aid.
This will give it some flavor, and also get you some simple carbs too. If you don't want the sugar, you can flavor it with just the powder from the kool-aid, and drink it like that. There are many ways to flavor the stuff. Just choose what suits you. This is another item that can be taken around campus, or to lunch in a small drinking bottle, and will provide you with some carbs. If you want to get real creative, mix all the ingredients above minus the kool-aid, and drink it during the day. That's a whopping 740-770cal in one drink. Warning: this drink is for the person who is hardcore only. If you are a wuss, and weak don't drink it. You might be puking after the first taste.
So, as you see, there are many things to purchase that people over-look. They might not be any where close to the best food on the earth, but it gets you the calories, and it gets you them cheap. The tuna, eggs, and dry milk are the best up above. If you live at home, and are in college, you can eat whatever you want. That's not the case for some people. For you high school kids, if you have time to drink a beverage at school, buy some Maltodextrin, flavor it, put it in a drinking bottle, and take it to school. You will have an awesome drink, and won't be chugging down 20oz of soda with tons of caffeine and sugar.
If you have the guts, add 2Tbsp of Canola in there too. I don't suggest protein powders in milk unless you can get to them early, or have a fridge to store it in. If you mix the protein in water it is ok, but I don't suggest leaving it in the locker for 4hrs and then drinking it. If you have a break after a first class, then that is fine. Just don't let it sit all day long. By the way, don't forget to drink water all day long. This is a must for every bodybuilder. If you are in high school, hit the water fountain every break you have. If you have to, sit there for 30sec and drink away. If someone is behind you, either tell him or her to find another one, or let him or her go first.
I mentioned a few things you can do as far as purchasing food, and eating, but I would like to go into a little more detail about actually using/eating the food you purchased. I already talked about the drinks, but what about other items? The almonds were one thing that you could take with you, but what else? How about a protein bar? When I am in class for a long time, and it is time to eat, I will drink a carb drink, and eat a Promax bar. They are cheap, and actually taste good. If you are trying to stay away from sugar, this isn't a bar for you. Eating these two items gives you 500cal or more. If I eat breakfast at 8am on Tues, and Thurs, I will eat these two Items above in class at around 10-10:30am. Once that class is over, I have another class at 11:00am. I have about 10min to get to class, and then I don't get out until 12:15pm.
As you can see, it is about time for another meal already. Usually after I leave campus, I head to the business, and make my self a meal for lunch. Sometimes you just have to do what you can. If you are really brave, you can take an actual meal with you in a cooler, sit in the back of the class, and eat. I don't see this much in college, but hey, if you have to, you have to. There is one building among many in my college, which contain vending machines with real food in them. The buildings that usually have them are the health buildings where all the health, and medical classes are offered. There is one room in that building on campus, which has one vending machine for food that includes milk, apples, burritos, sandwiches, etc, and one with drinks. In that same room is a microwave. So, if you buy a burrito from the machine, you can cook it, and eat it right there.
Most campuses have at least one building with real food in it There is even one on my campus where they serve pizza, and donuts. This isn't even the student building, or cafeteria. Also if you know your campus, you can be there on certain days where there is free food all over campus. That's how it is at my campus. Certain events go on, and you get free food, drinks, samples of Advil, nutrition bars, cereal, etc. Now that I got that out of the way, hopefully you college students will realize your campus has that too. Just look. Now back to the main point, which is very important. One thing you don't want to do is go from 8am in the morning until almost 1pm with nothing. Do what ever it takes to get a meal of some sort in.
If you can make a huge breakfast in the morning, do it. I usually have a lot of time in the morning, so I make a monstrous breakfast. This way I am not feeling as hungry later on. If you get only 300cal for breakfast, you better take a huge meal with you to school if you are going to be there 5hrs, or eat on campus. If you get 600-800cal in for breakfast, a protein bar, and carb drink or something similar will work later in the day. What ever you do, adjust accordingly, and don't skip a meal because you are lazy, or are scared of eating in class. I eat in class all the time, and it's no big deal. You will realize this when the pregnant girl next to you is actually eating a full meal. As a bodybuilder, not eating is like suicide. For the average Joe, who cares; they aren't working on a world-class physique.
Now we will move on to the training part of it. Some of you have a strength conditioning class in school, or a free weights class, and can do your lifting then and there. If you don't have one of those classes, now what? For the high school students, the only time for them to usually lift is after school unless they some how manage to do it before. This can be very difficult if they are bombarded with tons of homework from boring teachers. The best thing to do here is figure out the best overall times, and days to work out. Maybe you have a schedule where you have Math, Biology, and English all in one day.
Maybe the next day you have classes more laid back. If this were the case, the obvious choice would be to work out on days that you don't have much homework. If this isn't the case, and you have 6-7 classes a day, choose the best days, and times. You may even want to make Saturday, or Sunday a day when you lift. This will make it easier on you. An example would be Mon, Wed, Fr- Tues, Thurs, Sat- Sun, Tues, Thurs. If you do four days a week, you are very limited. For you college students who can do what I do, take advantage of it. I schedule my classes around my workout schedule.
I go to class from 8:20am to 9:15am Mon, Wed, Fri, which are workout days. I usually hit the gym at 11am, and have no problem with school interfering with lifting. On Tues, and Thurs, I don't get out until 12:15, but those are my non-workout days, so it doesn't matter. Of course this is only a 9hr schedule, but even with 12hrs, you can make it work. Usually college students have more options then high school students. One thing you might want to do is check out the gym at certain times of the day if your schedule is laid back. This is because you want to get in there when it is empty. I don't use the college gym, but when I did, I was there at 6:30am. The only people in there at that time were old wrinkly men using the machines. If you went at 11am, and after it was usually full. As most of you know, it is very hard, especially in high school to find the right time to lift. Do your best, and plan wisely.
Now I bet you are wondering what you should do about rest, or sleep? This is one thing that most students don't get. If you are a student period, you fall into this category. Let me tell you how much sleep I get, and how I do it. For you high school kids, it won't be the same. I usually get home at 7pm at night, eat dinner, and watch TV for a couple hours. Since I don't ever have homework, I am able to get a very good amount of sleep. I never stay up past 10:30pm. Most of the time, I am in bed at 10pm sharp. This allows me to get 8hrs and 30min of sleep, and get up at 6:30am in the morning. On Tues, and Thurs I don't get up until 7:30am. On these days, I get 9hrs, and 30min of sleep. I know most of you probably go out and party all the time, and if you are away from home, you probably stay up all night.
Now I am not saying stop period, but if you get to bed at 2am, and wake up at 6am every day, and complain all the time, maybe you shouldn't stay out as late. If you don't train Sat morning, or on Sun, then it isn't as big of a deal. For me, bodybuilding is my focus, and not getting wasted 24/7. So, for those of you who complain about not getting enough sleep, maybe you should change a few things. This is even more important if you are working 30-40hrs per week. If you are dedicated 110%, then you will have to give in a little to your social life. For those of you in high school, my suggestion is to do the majority of your homework right after school, then hit the gym.
If you go to work at say 4pm, and get home at 3pm, that doesn't leave much room to do anything. If you work until 9 or 10pm, rest from 3-3:30pm. It isn't much, but it is still some. If you are totally bombarded with school, and work you don't have much to work with. If you are really serious about your bodybuilding goals, and don't have to work all the time, don't. Try to work 2 or 3 days on the weekdays, and do the rest on the weekends if that is what it takes. If you avoid working on the weekends so you can go out and party, that's up to you. Just don't whine if you work Mon-Fri, party on Fri, and Sat; then complain during the week. If you understand bodybuilding is a lifestyle, then you will understand you just can't do all the things you really want. You have to make a sacrifice.
I hope some of the above info helps you out a little bit more, save you some time, and will give you some ideas. If you already knew everything up above, more power to you. For those of you who have this all down, you will agree with me that it wasn't easy to figure out, and it took you a while to get it down. If any of you have some tips that I didn't mention, e-mail me them, and then I will attach them to this article at the bottom with your names on it, and the tips you have. After I get a handful, I will update the article will all the new tips and tricks. Until next time, think about the quote below.
"I'll find a way, or make one." --- Hannibal - said while crossing the Alps
Success is just a matter of attitude.
-- Darcy E. Gibbons