How To Build Muscle Without Supplements and Stop Wasting Your Money

If you want to learn how to build muscle without supplements and save your hard earned money you’ve come to the right place. You probably heard and tried numerous ways of gaining muscle mass. What these big companies don’t want you to realize is that you CAN do that just as easy without spending any money on supplements or unnecessary fitness accessories that “you have to have”. In this article I am going to elaborate on the things most people fail at and give you an insight why. Also, I will break down what is necessary in order to put on a few pounds of muscle mass ONLY with food without spending money on expensive supplements.

The Truth about building muscle!

Lately, everybody is promoting products which guarantee the increase of muscle mass for a short period of time. But is this really possible? – NO!

Gaining and maintaining lean muscle successfully is slow and complicated process. Two things are required – You need to train regularly and keep a healthy diet. Believe it or not, training is the easy part and eating is where most people fail at. If you fall into the category of people who have been training for more than 6 months, but cannot see any results, it means you are not eating properly.

At this point, most gym goers look for a quick solution and tend to buy the newest supplements on the market, needless to say without any success. I have seen plenty of guys who give up just because they don’t see any progress and blame their genetics. However, this is not the case. Everybody can build muscle without supplements, but it takes effort and time. There is no magic pill that can radically change your physique, but there is also no substitute for healthy diet and hard training.

Diet – The Importance of Food in Gaining Muscle Mass

No matter what you do, if you don’t eat quality food there is no way you can build muscle.  By that I mean eating meat and vegetables on a regular basis. Your muscle needs from 1 to 3 days to recover. If you don’t supply your body with the needed nutrients within that period it is impossible to add size or strength. Basically, you tear down your muscles in the gym and afterwards supply them with enough macro and micro nutrients so they can successfully grow bigger.

Firstly, you MUST be on a daily caloric surplus, meaning that you must eat more calories than what you have burnt during the day. For example, if I want to maintain my body weight I need to eat 2000 calories, but if I want to gain muscle I must eat 2200-2300 calories a day. Depending on your metabolism, height and age, your caloric intake would be different than mine, but it is the first step to ensure that you actually gain weight. There are various sites that you can use to see how much calories you need daily so you can build muscle. It will also display how much fats, protein and carbohydrate should consist in your daily caloric intake.

How to build muscle without supplements

Furthermore, it is highly necessary to make sure that you consume enough protein. It helps you repair the muscle tissue and ensures gaining muscle mass. Again, it is a slow process that takes time so you must always look forward and keep your eyes on the prize. There are endless discussions on how much grams of protein you should eat per lbs/kg. Researches (Fern, 1991, Tarnopolsky et al., 1992) state that your body can absorb only 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.8-1 grams of protein per lbs), but different studies claim that if you train intensively you need 2.4 grams of protein per LEAN muscle mass (1.3 grams of protein per lbs). Personally, I try to eat around 1.4-2.3 grams daily depending on my schedule for the day. Don’t limit yourself by numbers, but try to increase your protein intake as much as you can.

How many calories and protein you need per bodyweight

This table is an example of how you can consume enough protein disseminated in 6 meals. It is a rough estimation of how much calories you need depending on your weight. Again, it also depends on your height, age, metabolism, training intensity etc. so don’t take this as a perfect example for YOUR daily caloric intake. 1 gram of protein has 4 kcal thus 140g of protein are equal to 560 kcal. As you can see protein is around 1/3 from your total calories. The other 2/3 come from fats and carbohydrates which are also essential for your progress.

Eat Big to Build Muscle Without Supplements

Eat big to get big – this is what most body builders advice beginners, but it is hard to follow up on that statement if you have no idea what to eat. However, most people think they eat enough, but in fact they eat far less than needed in order to have any success. You can get your daily protein intake from meat, milk, eggs, fish and so on, but gaining muscle mass also includes eating tons of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Consuming lots of pasta, spaghetti, rice, sweet potatoes etc. will help you tremendously in providing those complex carbohydrates.

Examples of foods full of healthy fats are fish, olive oil, almonds, cashew and pumpkin seeds. Moreover, you don’t need to spend too much money on those foods, because most of them are relatively cheap. If you are already doing this, but cannot see any visible results it means that you are not in a caloric surplus. If you can’t eat 2000 kcal a day, but this is the number you must hit in order to build muscle then you need to gradually learn how to eat more. Your stomach actually starts to enlarge and you are physically capable of eating more food.

Cheap Meal Tips

These are some things I personally cook, because they are easy to make and quite cheap so it could be beneficial for everyone. Try them out and leave a comment below to let me know what you think.

  1. Pre-workout shake. Get a blender and throw in 2 bananas, 2 spoons of honey, 300-400 ml milk and 200 grams of cottage cheese. Mix it up in the blender and drink it 1 hour before your workout. It is a really good way to increase your calories, but also use it as a pre-workout shake. It’s also freaking delicious.
  2. Boil 300-400 grams of pasta. In the mean time fry 200 grams of chicken breast with olive oil. After it’s done add the boiled pasta, tomato sauce and 100-200 grams of cheese in the pan. Wait 2-3 minutes until the cheese starts to melt and enjoy the meal.
  3. Casein shake before bed. Mix up 100-200 grams of cottage cheese, 250 grams of yogurt and a fruit by choice (I use mango or pineapple). Because cottage cheese is slowly digested protein (Casein) you can go to bed knowing that it will maximize your results.


Don’t take food for granted, wisely choose what you eat. Protein is nothing but food on powder and could be easily substituted by real, high quality meals. Instead of drinking a protein shake after workout, go eat 200 grams of chicken breast with 250 grams of broccoli and 200 grams of rice/potatoes. People who train properly and have a good diet can gain only so much – around 4-8 kg’s of lean muscle a year. If you want to build muscle you must realize that it is going to take time, but in the end it’s all worth it!

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  • Dimitar

    Really informative! Thanks.

  • Slater

    Great article – to the point and gives good examples. I like how you stress food being the important part and really being disciplined about sticking to it. You should write a post about getting lean vs building muscle mass and the workout/eating regimen required

  • Curtis Slone

    Great insights on the importance of diet. Do you take any vitamins to encourage your bodies processes?

    • I take minerals Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium and from Vitamins just a Multi and Vitamin D separately.

  • Derrick Nyakweba

    Hi Mario, can I use peanut butter as an alternative to cottage cheese? My stomach doesn’t react well to cottage cheese.

    • You can use raw almonds. It’s been a while since I did peanut butter or cottage cheese. I’ve removed almost all diary from the diet for the same reason as you.

      • Derrick Nyakweba


  • Derrick Nyakweba

    Do you cook these meals daily?

    • I usually cool the same meals every day. Right now I eat 2 meals per day instead of 6 meals per day and I get better results with that!