Inspired by Animal’s popularly pragmatic breakthrough shopping series, “Big on a Budget”, its brother brand Universal prompted their most high profile bodybuilder to take on a similar challenge. Drawing upon his experiences as a young, aspiring lifter in his native Montreal, IFBB Pro Antoine Vaillant entered an old school New Jersey grocery store with seventy US dollars and a singular objective—with ten bucks a day, design an effective diet plan for muscle growth that would last an entire week. The end result? The premier episode of “Size for Seventy”:
As could be expected, and as common sense would dictate, a priority was placed on protein. Heading straight to the butcher section, Antoine grabbed three family packs of ground beef, allowing him to make two 8 ounce beef meals per day. A rock solid foundation of protein. But one that ate up nearly half of his weekly allowance. He’d have to tighten up moving forward. And conservative moderation do not come easily to Antoine Vaillant.
The next move was in the direction of a bodybuilding staple, that luckily, happened to be on sale—cans of chunk light tuna. Available at just $0.79 per can, Antoine scooped up fourteen, allowing him to have another meal constituted of two cans per day for just over eleven bucks total. With this bargain in his cart, he was making progress. Next on the list? The cornerstone of every bodybuilding breakfast. Eggs.
Deciding to make a meal of five whole eggs every morning for the week, Antoine selected three “dozens” of the store brand large white eggs. Between the ground beef, tuna and eggs, Antoine had now hunted down and gathered all of the protein he’d need to survive the week. Now it was time to tackle a more affordable whole food macronutrient—carbs.
His primary carbohydrate of choice for years, Antoine scooped up a big bag of log grain white rice for under four dollars. Easy to prepare and digest, tasty and affordable, mixing rice with his protein of choice has served him well, fueling grueling workouts and helping to pack on the mass.
Next up was another bodybuilding nutrition must. To quote Antoine, “I want my oats in the morning… And I want them quick.” Luckily quick oats were ready and waiting to be purchased, with two small containers providing plenty to cover the oatmeal to be paired with his scrambled eggs for the seven breakfasts of the week, with the extra oats to be added to his Ultra Whey Pro shakes for extra lifting fuel and caloric punch.
Making a point of adding supplemental fat to his meals, Antoine sought out his lifelong favorite source of monounsaturated fats, extra virgin olive oil, which he has used since he was a rank amateur at only fifteen years old. EVOO, he is quick to point out, he adds to his meals after cooking. At $3.99 a bottle, it was a steal.
Always a last minute addition with a few remaining bucks was a bunch of bananas at $0.69/lb. With crucial micronutrients, extra carbs and a ton of flavor on the cheap, our budgeting bodybuilders often spend their remaining change on bananas. Antoine was no different, chopping his up to be added to his morning oatmeal.
Something of a departure from his Animal brethren, Antoine made a point of carving out a portion of his budget to dedicate to the accoutrements. Pausing to reflect on the carnage of the Kikkoman War of 1904 he purchased soy sauce for his rice and his eggs. Cinnamon, mon, for his oatmeal. And the crystal clear choice of Crystal hot sauce which he was able to purchase for less than the standard industry leader, Frank’s Red Hot. Now, not only would Antoine’s food provide the nourishment needed to grow bigger and stronger, but it would taste good going down along the way. Here Antoine displays his advanced understanding of how the bodybuilding game is played, if you’re in it for the long haul. Simple steps that can be taken to liven up clean eating, like the inclusion of a few spices and condiments, really make a huge difference in making the physique craftsman’s diet infinitely more palatable.
Dancing, sunglasses indoors, French-Canadian one-liners and surveillance monitor posing aside, at the essence of “Size for Seventy” is a serious message. One that Antoine proves with sincere conviction…the eating necessary to develop and prosper as an aspiring bodybuilder can be done with limited resources. All it takes are the discipline to budget your cash, some pre-planning, a basic grasp of math and the determination to reach for your goals. The stringer tanks and mohawks are just icing on the cake.
Antoine's Shopping List
|2.5lbs Ground Beef||3||$34|
|Can of Tuna||14||$11|
|Bag of Rice||1||$4|
|16oz. of Oatmeal||2||$3|
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil||1||$4|