The Poor Man’s Guide to Getting Shredded

So you’re poor and you want to get shredded.

Look, I’ve been there. A lot of us have been there, and sometimes it’s just life.

I’ve been poor before, and I can remember certain weeks where I was forced to try cutting up because I just didn’t have the money to eat a lot.

I can remember having to pretty much fast for a few days one time because I was that broke.

I can remember gathering up change in my car to try to buy a 99 cent burger from Burger King so I could have dinner that night.

Now, I have found that at times in the past I had spent more money actually dieting than I had eating more lenient.

When your bodybuilding becomes more regimented and you start keeping track of protein intake more – things can sometimes take a steep hike financially.

When you’re trying to retain all that muscle mass you will find that the quantities of food you need to eat actually become way more. More food, more feedings, but less calories overall.

There are all different kinds of ways to diet, some are easier than others and some are more effective than others. A lot of it really depends on your size and your body type.

A professional bodybuilder who is carrying around 275 lbs of muscle may be eating 4-5 lbs of meat everyday. while other gym goers are getting by with 1 lb of meat everyday.

I’m not going to give you something unrealistic here, and I’m not going to give you something that is going to take every last dime you have just for your grocery bill.

I’m going to simply give you a realistic way to get shredded on very little money, PERIOD!

This is a diet that I came up with for 2 reasons; the first being cost and the second being simplicity.

When you are doing something over and over again day to day, it needs to be something that you can stick to.

The first thing I decided was to buy another George Foreman Grill. I used to use one of these a long time ago and it eventually tore up and had to be thrown away.

The George Foreman Grill just made sense to me because it was quick and easy, used less power than an oven, and didn’t make my house hot like an oven would.

Not to mention, it’s faster than waiting for an oven to heat up, and less of a mess than dealing with a glass dish.

It’s been extremely hot here lately and I’m sick of an oven jacking my house temperature up.

So I picked up the basic George Foreman Classic 2-serving grill.


The next thing I decided to do was to take an old school approach to dieting.

I was going to hit a diet similar to what bodybuilders back in the 1970’s did, before the days of a microwave and other common luxuries of today.

The sad part to me is these guys had such excellent physiques back then, with half of the conveniences we have now, and hardly any supplements.

I think at the end of the day it’s just hard work!

So what would my approach be to the “Old School” way of dieting and getting shredded?

Well, for starters I was going to begin cutting carbs again and incorporating more fats into my diet. This would work for me because I hadn’t done it in awhile.

So I wasn’t going to shy away from things like a few slices of bacon with breakfast, whole eggs, sausage links, and cottage cheese. Because the cost of meat is expensive, I would do 2 cans of tuna fish for one of my meals rather than a fish fillet or a chicken breast.

Not to mention, cans of tuna do not need to be heated up, and if I got sick of it then I’d throw it on a salad with a little dressing such as balsamic vinaigrette. Fruit is also something else that I’d incorporate into the diet, since it was cheap and easy, and didn’t need any prep work.

So basically the only real prep of the diet was cooking my breakfast and then cooking my serving of meat on the George Foreman grill in the evening. Because I was only eating meat once/day then larger portions were perfectly acceptable. Basically I eat as much meat as I can fit onto the 2 burger grill at one sitting.

Because carbs were dropped down a lot more, foods such as natural peanut butter, almonds, and avocados were added back in as healthy fat sources. When carbs come out, fats usually need to be added back in, or when fats come out then carbs usually need to be added back in.

This diet is pretty much an affordable, old school way of doing things.

Sometimes it’s easier for me to buy my food just for that day, or a couple days at best. It’s easier to figure up exactly how much I need to eat, and sometimes it keeps me from overspending.

So here is a typical days shopping list when I’m eating on the old school cutting diet.

The John Doe Super Market Shopping Cart

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 lb of meat, usually lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 3-4 avocados
  • 2 cans of tuna fish
  • pack of almonds
  • pack of bacon
  • bag of apples
  • container of blueberries
  • couple small tubs of cottage cheese

That is probably about $30 – $40 right there, but most of what is on that list will last me a few days, other than the meat.

A typical old school John Doe cutting diet & meal plan

  1. 4 whole eggs with cheese, handful of blueberries, 2-3 slices of bacon
  2. 3 pork chops (about 16 oz), apple
  3. 50 gram Dymatize Elite protein shake in water, 2 tablespoons natural peanut buttter with chia and flax seed added
  4. 2 cans of tuna fish over a salad with balsamic vinaigrette, avocado
  5. 2 servings full fat cottage cheese, 2 handfuls of almonds

Those 5 meals would just be an example of something I may do on a random day while I’m doing the old school cutting diet.

I would try keeping my cheat meals to 1 time week.

I do not freak out over eating EVERY SINGLE 2-3 HOURS! If I have to go 4 or 5 hours between meals then big fucking deal.

I no longer obsess over shit like that and guess what? It sure hasn’t hurt my build any!

One other thing I would suggest getting, especially if you’re a college kid or living the dormitory life, is one of those single burner hot plates that plug directly into a wall.

Hot plates are great because they allows you to boil things, such as hard boiled eggs or the occasional batch of rice or boiled potatoes for when you want to carb back up a little in case you are going flat.


Hot plates basically look like a single burner off a stove they plug in to any 110 watt plug.

Just because you don’t have a kitchen doesn’t mean you cannot totally kick ass and get your nutrition in, no matter where you are!

If you’re financially strapped then so be it, sometimes we have to go through some shit in life to get to a better place. If you can make the sacrifices necessary to do this then I’m sure you can be pretty successful at almost anything else you’re working on in life!

Drop this idea that everything in your life has to be comfortable! I’m so sick of hearing everyone’s bullshit about how hard life is for them. This is tough for anybody, it’s tough for me too!

Everywhere I go now I have to listen to someone crying about a bad back from a shitty mattress, some stupid food allergy that is most likely a figment of their fucking imagination, or a back injury that they completely avoid rather than working through it and fixing the problem.

Human beings were not made to have a hardship and be forever condemned to a life of getting fucked in the ass!

Maybe somewhere along the way we got weak?

Yea, I think maybe so

Anyways, sometimes this is how I diet, straight up old school

And since I’m a fan of old school bodybuilding then why not right?

Let’s keep it real here and stick to the roots of preparation and hard work!

Train hard!

-John Doe


20 thoughts on “The Poor Man’s Guide to Getting Shredded”

  1. John,

    Controversial question I got for you, I know, but I am really curious:

    Does HGH increase size of the junk?! I’ve read it won’t lengthen it but it might make it thicker. Would you agree?

    • No, I think you’re born with whatever you have and there really isn’t anything to change it. If it did make it thicker, byt the time it was noticeable you’d have a Frankenstein head from acromalogy was so bad no chick would wanna fuck you anyways

  2. Cheers for the meal plan and shopping list I am going to add that to my diet and see how it works out.
    I am in my 20s and work 8.30 till 5 each day. 5 meals seems excessive prep on Sunday night for the week ahead.

    Question for you.

    What routine do you recommend for a skinny ripped guy been at gym for 4 months now and seen some gains but hit a plateau. More muscle mass is hard without constantly checking my intake in food and how much I lift weight etc.

    • Eat as much as you can and do not over analyze the diet, just eat. The gains and strength will come, worry about cutting later

  3. Hey J.D.
    This article is a God send. Thank you brother for sharing a realistic diet plan that works. I will be using this info as my starter ripping diet.

    God bless Brother J.D.

  4. Hey Doe.

    I’ve just come across your site recently and it has to be one of the best informative non bullshit sites around!


  5. I actually emailed you on this subject before reading this post.

    Makes me feel better about my current situation. I’m actually not even in a position to afford the diet you’ve laid out but knowing that you’ve been where I currently am gives me a lot of inspiration to keep working through this shit and not feel so hopeless.

    I’ve been feeling like I’m never going to accomplish shit. Sucks seeing dudes make gains in the gym while I’m stuck being a broke ass (for now). Guess I’ll just eat whatever comes I can get my hands on for now and do some cardio/lift. Maybe I’ll get shredded.

    Thanks for all the insight, John. I’ll be sure to come by later for more advice when I’m in better shape financially to really make things happen.


    • Look at making money like bodybuilding,every day counts. Just try your best and I’m willing to bet you’ll be out of the hole quickly

  6. Hey JD,

    I can agree that as a student this is very helpful as well. I am 5’7 200lbs and am just trying to lean up and see some definition. What do you suggest I do as far as workouts are concerned? I know diet is key, but any extra input would help.

  7. Hi John! Just got a query about a planned diet schedule I have. I’ve been training for 16 years on and off, I’m 35 years old, around 17-18% body fat and I weigh 198 pounds. I’m forever torn with cutting eating plans, I consider myself to be quite carb sensitive. I’m planning on running an 8 week cycle of Test P, Tren A and Mast P at 250mg each alongside 80mg Anavar. Caber and Asin to be taken as well.

    I’ve worked out my maintenance calories to be approx. 2625, as I work in an office, but train with weights 4 times a week, with 2 day of LISS cardio. As I said earlier, I’m torn between two plans:

    Plan 1 – Calories – 1900, Protein – 205g, Carbs – 100g, Fats – 76g
    Plan 2 – Calories – 1900, Protein – 205g, Carbs – 165g, Fats, 44g

    Not sure whether plan 1 would be better suited for a cycle of Test and Tren? Also, regarding fibrous veg like broccoli and cauliflower, would you log the carbs and calories for them? I’ve read not to log them, but I’m worried if I don’t, the 300+ calories I would eat of veg will add up and i’ll end up eating 2200 calories a day and fat loss won’t be as good.

    Thanks for your help, really appreciate it! Can’t seem to find much good info on dieting whilst on a cycle.

    • Do not log vegetables, not same type of carb and is negligeable. Plan 1, tren generally needs a few more carbs on cycle

      • Hi John

        Thanks for the speedy reply, much appreciated! So just to make sure I have understood this correctly lol, it would be better to go with the plan for 100g of carbs and higher fats, or to go with the plan for 165g carbs with lower fats?

        Sorry for making you repeat what you’ve said, just want to make sure I haven’t misunderstood :)

        Thanks for the help with the vegetables as well, I won’t log these.

  8. Sorry forgot to add in my previous email, I’ve read that low carb whilst on Tren Ace isn’t really recommended, and to go higher and lower fats. From your experience, would you say this is true? I think this is another thing that is messing with me head lol.


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