I can do anything through him who gives me strength, even competing on a budget! – Laurence Goodbody

Name: Laurence Goodbody
Location: Birmingham
Age: 45
Status: Currently Unemployed
Passion: Body Building

I can do anything through him who gives me strength, even competing on a budget!

For those of you who live for lifting metal, or would love to venture into that world in order to bring about the changes that ones own mind envisages; there is always a possibility….even on a budget as I have come to learn.

Laurence Goodbody Olympus Health budget bodybuilding diaryI have overheard many conversations in the gym about affording the lifestyle of a body builder – and many other physical activities which require particular attention to diet in order to achieve satisfactory results.

Now these conversations are coming from individuals who really can afford to support their regimes, and I have to admit I once was in that position too. A very comfortable lifestyle with enough cashflow to purchase whatever supplements and food I needed to build the body I have always dreamed of.

However, after taking redundancy three years ago with funds running out a year later; I suddenly found myself in a humbling position, where body building was going to have to take a back seat indefinitely.

Having two sons in university, three at home plus one cat, the tax credits I receive do not allow for anything much more than to survive, and ensure that the children at home are well fed and dressed.

My family have always come first and always will do, but can you imagine the knee-jerk reaction in knowing that after 22 years of body building and eating every two to three hours was about to come end?

Shortly after quitting the gym due to the required monthly membership, my non-presence of four weeks was noticed by the owner and good friend Warren Dyson.

Warren had heard about my predicament and promptly got hold of my number in order to tell me to get my ass back down to the gym, I owe him a great deal.

After all Total Fitness Emporium Gym is the birth place of my venture into bodybuilding –and second home for 22 years! Fortunately for me; I have another good friend and training partner who values my knowledge in body body building and diet, who provides the transport to and from the gym as I cannot even afford the bus fare.

Currently I am in my ninth week of a competition prep diet that will hopefully see me competing in the PCA at the end of May or the beginning of June. So, how can I afford to prepare in terms of dieting for a competition? 

Well it's not easy but it can be done, and after two years out of the corporate world; it has allowed me to apply focus and attention to detail in what I eat and how to sustain a muscle building regime.

For now though; it's all about maintaining what I have built whilst reducing my body fat level to at least four to six percent.

My diet sees me eating six meals a day consisting of what the family already eat, however there is one little sacrifice in that the eggs and chicken I eat create a small increase to the overall cost. To help you understand the exact cost of my diet currently, I have broken down all of the elements to demonstrate a daily and weekly allowance, please see the following:

In order to maintain my skeletal muscle I need to ingest at least a 1 gramme of protein to 1lb of actual body weight. For carbs, I have created a formula in excel that will keep them at a low enough level that the body is forced to access the fat deposits in my body to be broken down and utilised for glycogen storage for the muscles.


Daily Diet

Meal 1

07:30    50g Porridge Oats, 10g Crushed Bran Flakes

Porridge baked in microwave oven for one minute in 200mls of water in order for the oats not to be too mushy, and so the oats can continue swelling in the stomach helping to curb hunger for longer. I add the additional Bran Flakes to increase the fibre value. As you may well know, fibre helps level out the absorption of carbs throughout the day.

Meal 2

10:30    166g Chicken  100g Rice   2 Eggs (Only utilising one yolk) Seasoning

The seasoning I use is made of of four parts flour and a tablespoon of whatever spices have in the cupboard.

Spices I add are usually Paprika, Garlic Salt, Chilli Powder, All Purpose Seasoning and any Tandoori or Curry spice. I cut the chicken breast into small pieces as small as possible and add that to a non stick frying pan. For frying, the good wife waits until there is an offer on at Asda for their Sunflower Oil Spray that virtually has not calories (£1 normally £2.50). I season the chicken and fry until cooked, when cooked I add the rice which has already been boiled in a large batch by the good lady. When the rice has warmed through I whisk the two egg whites and one egg yolk and add them to the pan and fry off on a low heat to scramble everything together.

Meal 3

13:30     112g Tuna   100g Baked Potato (Chilli Sauce to taste)

The tuna is tinned in brine and the chilli sauce is virtually sugar free. I purchase mine from Poundland and get a hefty 1 litre which will last way beyond my prep.

Meals 4 & 5

16:30 & 19:30

The same as meal 2.

Meal 6


2 Boiled Eggs mashed with a knob of butter for additional fats, 50g steamed Broccoli

I try to add steamed greens to my final meal due to their properties enabling the body to extract natural sugars from the food we eat, thus reducing sugar pangs for the foods we shouldn't be eating, especially on a diet!

The total cost for my diet purchased from the Asda Smart Price Range is £22.93 weekly, any excess is carried over to the following week if not consumed by the family.

I am fortunate to have an Aldi and Lidl just half a mile up the road, which allows me to shop for the special offers creating an additional saving to the bill. So on average each meal costs £0.54p without taking into consideration the cost of energy to cook it all, I think that is brilliant considering the budget challenges and goals set.

Current weight 220lbs total protein intake for day 249.8g, carbs 144.52g, Fat 49.26g, Fibre 9.55g

My diet prep has been consistent from day one, making sure that my protein levels in grammes have always exceeded my weight in pounds. This is to ensure that there is sufficient protein in my system for synthesis, as some of it may be taxed due to the incremental drop of carbs throughout the weeks.

Always be mindful never to drop your calorie values at the start of your diet prep, but instead just clean up what you are eating and cut out the sugar.

Within the first three weeks of my prep I cam down from 17st 1lb to 16st 5lbs which is a 20lb drop in weight. Admittedly the majority of the weight lost would have been water weight seeing the next five weeks with no weight change whatsoever.

However, my body fat count that I have done every three weeks at the gym with callipers, demonstrated that there was still fat loss being achieved.

I started off at 16.7% body fat and came down to 13.5% during the same period of immediate weight loss and the five week plateau.

I am due my next measurement this coming Sunday with fingers crossed, but looking in the mirror I can see the difference, and this will be due to the cardio measurement that I have introduced over the past couple of weeks.

As advised I did not do any cardio for the first six weeks as the diet was utilised to get the most out of it as possible.

Really, what is the use in putting everything together all at once which will put your mental and physical state under so much stress, when we are trying to retain the muscle we have built in the first place. Still, even though my fat count was on the decrease, cardio was introduced and now I am slogging away every twelve hours, 40 minutes each session on a stationary bike in the bedroom.

At first I was only doing one session on the bike for 40 minutes for a week, but now with the twice a day routine; I now have the twenty four hour thermogenic process that we strive for in doing cardio.

I'm surpassing the 30 minute barrier whilst doing cardio, under duress I may add! Cardio is not to be taken like a stroll in the park; it should push you to the point where you are just managing to finish and just can't wait t finish.

By creating a natural twenty four hour thermogenic process, it initiates the breakdown of body fat, and over a twenty four hour cycle seven days a week, this would prove quite a significant process.

Nevertheless, we need to aid the process in order to excel the broken down body fat, and we do this by having copious amounts of water throughout the day. This enables the body to flush out the broken down fat cells through the blood stream and kidneys and eventual urination.

Recent studies have proven that whilst the thermogenic process is active, we also expel quite an amount of fat through our lungs during cardiovascular exercise. There is in fact an amount in milligrams per cubic square feet of breath expelled during exercise!

As an avid cook and baker I have managed to research and produce cheat meals from the excess ingredients from my diet such as, flour-less bread called cloud bread and chocolate roulade. I strongly recommend having a cheat day, which eventually over the weeks will just turn into a cheat meal until a point is reached where you just can't do it being so close to a show.

Laurence Goodbody Olympus Health budget bodybuilding diaryIf I could afford it I would add a protein supplement to my diet, just to ensure that I would fall short daily, and if the worst came to the worst in relation  to obtaining chicken; it's there to fall back on.

I managed to sell an item on eBay which enabled me to purchase some protein and that is when I stumbled on Olympus Health, whilst looking for a good value with volume making the pennies stretch. I purchased the banana flavoured PRO-XL, which lasted a good while and the value and quality of the product was second to none. I know you must be thinking this is a sales pitch, but in all honesty, if I could afford it, I would purchase it again, but at the moment I just can't!**

**EDIT* that won't be an issue now – Laurence will be blogging for us during his prep and training!

To close, I have been very fortunate to have some really considerate friends, but above all and the reason why I have asked to compete, is the shear focus and drive I apply to my training. Eating as best I can off season and the boost I got from the Olympus Health PRO-XL which was a significant one, and taking the time to calculate what the body requires exactly to achieve your goals.

I have found that making a chart in excel has helped me to no end in my understanding. There is no point in eating to excess to add weight wherein your body will just excrete it as waste, but instead you could utilise money saved through intelligent preparation and afford those supplements that will give you the edge you need!

Until next time Laurence Goodbody signing off.