Budget bodybuilding pt.1. To Compete Or Not To Compete? – Kevin Ryan

Let me introduce myself.

I am Kevin, a 34 year old guy from Glasgow, in sunny Scotland. I am 6ft3 tall and currently weigh in at about 17.5 stone (111kgs) with a half decent muscular physique. There’s nothing so special about me, I’m a run of the mill kind of guy with a full time job, wife, two kids (one of which is a moody teenager, and the other a 1 year old Tasmanian devil) and we have a dog, just to finish it all off.  

Kevin Ryan bodybuilder offseason pre-bulkI fancy myself as a bit of a chef but like my cooking to be quick and easy. I have a decent job as an engineer and it pays not too bad, my wife earns decent too, but like most people our age with our commitments – such as the house, car, nursery fees, debt – by the time we pay everything each month we don’t have quite as much as we would like to splash on luxuries that our wages should afford us. 

There’s another thing about me you should know and that is that I love spending time in the gym working out and have done since the age of around 18, although I was a slender lanky boy back then.  It has taken me a good few years to fill out, and a lot of money on supplements and food etc. 

But now I’m 34 with responsibilities, that money I once had to splash about is a thing of the past, and my gym and diet regime has had to adjust to suit these responsibilities. With all this in mind I’ve always dabbled with the idea of competing in a bodybuilding competition. Nothing major but in a beginners class or men’s physique, as like most of us guys I worry that I'm not quite big or muscular enough to play with the big boys even if my wife tells me otherwise through her tinted glasses!

I have always thought about it and told myself “right let’s get this sorted and diet and train for this but keep it to ourselves for now”. Every single time I have done this over the years, I have got a month or so into my diet and routine and looked in the mirror and decided not to follow through, either because of how I looked, or the amount of money it would have to cost to get me to the finish line. This year was looking to turn out the same as all the other years before, but something in me has changed since my baby girl was born  – and I've developed a new a sense of determination. 

I will be honest when she was born it was amazing and euphoric (once we got past the sleep deprivation) but reality hit when we looked at getting her into nursery full time and the fees were the same as our mortgage payment per month. Big reality check of us having to knuckle down for a few years and really really budget our spending. That sort of panic and feeling of protection towards your family brings something out in you when it really matters, and it’s when I looked at my wife and kids, and wanted them to be really proud of me for accomplishing something in my life, that I was one step closer than ever before to make it into a competition. 

The next thing I had to do is crunch the numbers of my diet – which once we did, meant we stopped shopping in Waitrose and Marks and Spencer and started shopping in Aldi and Lidl – that I looked at ways to make the groceries work for me from these shops and think of ways to rustle up healthy meals on a really tight budget. 

Next thing was the supplements that I would require, as this was going to be a massive cost to me, and I had to shop around for a quality supplement provider that was worth the money. I really struggled here as it was costing around £50 for a 2.5kg tub of protein, and the amount of just this one item not to mention others that any bodybuilder needs is well... how long is a piece of string?

After a weekend searching the internet, I was lucky to have come across a company called Olympus Health, who had everything I need (and on top of that, were a third of the price of most other big brands). 

I had to check the nutritional values as surely there was a catch.

Nope, no catch at all. I couldn’t believe it, so I had to order some PRO-XL protein just to make sure it didn’t taste horrible, and yet again it didn’t disappoint. To me, it tasted great.

So, I ticked the box of support from my family and friends, I ticked the box of budget for food, I ticked the box of budget for supplements and I ticked the box of being committed to busting a gut in the gym.

It looks like I’ve run out of reasons not to enter that competition in May 2016, and the decision has been made for me.  I'M GOING TO COMPETE!

Follow Kevin's prep, including his thoughts, recipes, supplement use and training updates here on the blog, or search #olympusjourney on social media.