Contrary to the popular demand for supplements to help you lose weight, there are many people who are trying to do the opposite. They have trouble putting on muscle and are trying to make their body physique larger, not smaller. A mass gainer supplement helps these ones meet their calorie and nutrition needs by adding massive amounts of calories, with what should be a perfectly portioned amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Many people try their best to get enough nutrients from their foods to meet their fitness goals, but this is extremely hard to do when you are trying to gain 5, 10, or 20 lbs. of muscle. Your nutrition has an enormous impact on the amount of muscle you have in your body. You would have to be eating a massive amount of food every day. Not to mention, it would take a long time to prepare, cook and clean up after these large meals would take up a lot of time as well.
Most people just don’t have the time to dedicate to this time-consuming process. This is why mass gainer supplements are really helpful. They make it possible to increase your daily calorie intake without too much time and energy. In this article, we’re going to learn why you may need a mass gainer and how to choose one.
Mass gainer vs weight gainer
Most people want to gain lean muscle and they take supplements to help them achieve this goal. Mass gainers are an example of this. These muscle conscious people are engaging in a regular weight lifting routine and can see the results from this.
Mass gainers don’t want to just gain weight. They want to gain pure muscle. That is why mass gainers use a specific macro-nutrient formula meant to feed the muscles for growth and deter fat accumulation.
Weight gainers are usually used by hard-gainers and skinny guys who struggle to eat enough calories. They have much more carbohydrates than a mass gainer. There are usually more calories in a weight gainer supplement as well.
What are the benefits of mass gainers?
Here are some important things to know about weight gainers and why you should consider using one especially if you’re a hard-gainer and have an ectomorph body type.
Increase calorie consumption
The clearest benefit of mass gainers is to increase your calorie consumption to allow your muscles to grow larger. You can lift weights all day but you will never see an increase in size and strength if you don’t feed your body the nutrients it needs.
Perfect leveling of macronutrients
A good mass gainer should have a scientifically portioned ratio of carbs, protein, and fats for a lean mass gain. This can be difficult to do with food without weighing, calorie counting and such. Having a shake ready to drink that delivers exactly what your body needs to gain muscle mass certainly makes for a convenient muscle gaining aid.
Can give you energy
Besides helping to bulk up, mass gainers are full of high-quality proteins and carbohydrates along with vitamins and minerals that will help you have the energy to complete an intense workout.
The complex carbs are especially helpful in this aspect, as they are quickly absorbed to increase the glycogen levels in the muscles.
Helps to digest food faster
Most mass gainers contain fiber which makes digestion easier and keeps your bowel movements regular. This free flow of nutrients passing through the digestive system allows for a healthier body altogether.
Delivers creatine and other helpful ingredients
Most mass gainers contain creatine, BCAAs, vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. This is an amazingly powerful combination of nutrients that comes with various benefits according to the ingredients.
Helps muscles to recover and grow
The combination of whey protein, creatine, and many different essential and non-essential amino acids is like a super formula for big and healthy muscles. Aiding in recovery also helps to keep to a consistent workout schedule and continue to gain muscle mass and strength.
Helps to cover and nutrition deficit you may have
Because of the wide variety of vitamins and minerals in mass gainers, they help to take care of any unknown dietary deficit that you suffer from. You may find that after supplementing with mass gainers you have more energy, sleep better, have more focus, etc.
Keeping your gains lean
Since mass gainers are specifically formulated with the correct amount of ratio pertaining to fat, your gains will be leaner than if you ate a high amount of foods that could include more fat. This helps your gains to be mostly muscle and very little body fat.
Basically, mass gainers take what you already know about fitness nutrition and put it all into one tub for your enjoyment.
Mass gainer vs whey protein
Most mass gainer supplements contain whey protein. The reason is that people who take mass gainers want to gain muscle mass, and whey is the top dog when it comes to muscle gains.
So why don’t people just take whey protein powder instead? Sometimes protein just isn’t enough.
For starters, most people who take mass gainers are having a hard time meeting their calorie needs through their foods and mass gainers have tons more calories than whey. Also, mass gainers contain more protein than whey does per serving.
Mass gainers also contain fats and carbs. Whey is just protein. Mass gainers help to fill in the overall macronutrient void needed to gain muscle mass. Whey only provides the building blocks to build the muscles.
Weight gainer for women
It seems like most women are always trying to lose weight, but believe it or not, there are women out there that don’t like their body because they are too thin.
Some women have the same problem of not being able to gain muscle mass. Not to mention that underweight women are more at risk of osteoporosis and infections and fertility problems.
Women have a slower metabolism than men and should be using smaller doses. Of course, they should also be engaging in weightlifting regularly.
How to take mass gainers?
Mass gainer usually comes in a powder form. If you’ve ever taken whey protein powder then you already know what you are doing.
Simply take a shaker and place chosen liquid in first, usually milk or water. Then scoop your desired amount of product and add to the liquid. Shake vigorously until the product is nicely mixed.
If you don’t have a shaker bottle (you can get one pretty cheap at Walmart or your supplement store), you can always use the blender to mix your mass gainer into a shake which will actually give you an even better mixing consistency.
Using a spoon won’t do it well enough, so if you don’t have a blender either, I suggest using a whisk and mix well. You want to keep going until all the lumps are gone. You’ll get a good arm workout before you even start!
Remember that you will need more liquid if you are taking more scoops because you want a nice consistency that will be enjoyable to drink. Some people like a thick shake, some like a less thick shake. Whatever your preferences, adjust your liquid accordingly.
How much of mass gainer do you need?
Depending on your desired size, gender, metabolism, chosen product and goals, this number can vary greatly.
Some products have much more nutrition packed into each scoop. Some people have a really high metabolism and need to take more mass gainer in order for it to have an effect. Women, obviously, require less mass gainer than men, and if you are only looking to gain 5 lbs of muscle you would need to less mass gainer than someone looking to gain 10 lbs.
Generally speaking, you want to stay at a 500 calorie surplus over your daily calorie maintenance number for lean bulking.
When to take mass gainer?
Mass gainers can be taken at just about any time of day and when you take it isn’t going to make much difference.
Many people like to take it at breakfast time and often use it as a meal replacement. Some use it around their workouts. Pre-workout and post-workout use of mass gainers are both possible.
Some even take it before bed, similar to casein protein, with the idea that while they sleep the muscles will absorb the nutrients for repair and growth.
Personally, I would take it post-workout to feed my body and provide it with the necessary amount of protein, carbs, and fiber.
Keep in mind that depending on your goals, you may need to take it more than once a day. Obviously, you would want to space those times out.
Mass gainer side effects and risks
There are very little side effects of mass gainer supplements. The obvious one is that you might gain more weight than you want if you overdo it. Also, if you don’t lift with enough intensity, you won’t turn those nutrients into the muscle. They will settle onto the body as fat.
Another possible side effect is the risk of an allergic reaction. Because there are so many different ingredients in mass gainers including soy or milk products, allergic reactions are possible. If you feel nauseous or itchy after taking your supplement, stop taking it immediately.
It is important to remember that most mass gainers contain creatine and you might also be taking creatine in another supplement. You don’t want to overdo the creatine intake. Although nothing has been proven, some athletes have suffered from dehydration and kidney problems due to high creatine dosage.
What to look for when buying a mass gainer?
There are many different formulations that mass gainer supplements can use. If you want to make sure you are getting the best product to pack on the most muscle that you can there are certain things you should look for.
First and foremost, you want to make sure the macronutrient ratio is the best for lean muscle mass. The ratio of carbs to protein to fats should be close to 4:2:1. This means there should be twice the amount of carbs as protein and twice the protein as fat.
Look for products that use whey protein isolate for the protein source. This is the most absorbable protein on the market and will give the best gains result.
When choosing a mass gainer supplement, take into consideration the calories per serving and match it to your desired daily caloric intake. Remember that you will be eating calories as well, so subtract that from your desired daily calorie needs and divide that number into two to determine the necessary calorie per serving.
Another aspect that changes with your goals is the type of carbs that your mass gainer should contain. If you plan on taking your shake post-workout, you want a quick energy release from carbs like dextrin or maltodextrin, which are simple sugars. On the other hand, if you are taking your mass gainer at breakfast time and you will be spending all day at work, your mass gainer should contain complex carbs that release slow and controlled energy like oat flour.
Make sure your chosen mass gainer has added amino acids like L-glutamine, and vitamins and minerals like electrolytes to feed your body more healthy nutrients. This helps to keep you hydrated and energized.
When it comes to fat, make sure your chosen product has as little saturated fat as possible and if it does contain saturated fats, make sure they are medium-chain triglycerides as this has been proven to be the only healthy saturated fats.
10 Best mass and weight gainers in 2020
Below we put together a list of top 10 mass and weight gainers for hard-gainers, skinny guys and women based on a collaborative effort between ourselves and reviews from fitness experts and enthusiasts.
If you’re a hard-gainer, skinny guy or simply struggle to gain muscle mass due to the lack of time or appetite, mass gainers are an excellent and convenient choice that can help you meet your goals.
This product has some serious calories, 1250 per serving to be exact, and some serious carbs, 250 grams per serving. If you are going to use this you will have to be doing some crazy lifting. The carbs are made from maltodextrin so you will have a quick insulin spike and if you don’t use it, you’ll have a crash so be careful not to take this before you sit down at a desk. This product does include a comprehensive vitamin and mineral blend that will boost your health but it lacks creatine so I suggest you add your own creatine to this shake. The protein it delivers is 50 grams per serving, which is a heck of a lot and it is made from a blend of whey concentrate, casein, egg albumin, and sweet dairy whey. The fats are medium chain triglycerides which is a plus and there are only 4 grams. This product comes in chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, strawberry, vanilla, and banana. Considering the number of calories and protein that each serving delivers, it’s priced very well.
This is a well-rounded mass gainer with 710 calories per serving with 90 grams of carbs, 50 grams of protein, and 17 grams of fat. The protein source is complex made up of whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, micellar casein, hydrolyzed whey protein, egg whites, and glutamine peptides. This allows them to boast about delivering 20 grams of naturally occurring EAAs and 10 grams of naturally occurring BCAAs. The fats are medium-chain triglycerides but also contains sunflower oil. The flavors available are a chocolate milkshake, cookies and cream, strawberry milkshake and vanilla ice cream.
Another good mass gainer, this has 600 calories per glass which are a little less than most but okay if you only want to gain a few pounds of muscle. It has 52 grams of protein made from whey protein isolate and concentrate as well as micellar casein. It has maltodextrin carbs of 87 grams. 5 grams of MCT fats are in each serving and they added inulin which is a great soluble fiber that really helps with digestion. They have a nice amino acid profile and a nice range of minerals. This comes in 5 different flavors, 4 of which are named after ice cream. Gotta love ice cream. Price-wise it’s definitely a winner in the frugal department.
Extreme is an understatement. This mass gainer contains 2050 calories, 80 grams of protein, and 440 grams of carbs in each serving. If you use this mass gainer, make sure you are using it to the full and really pushing yourself in the gym. The protein is a blend of different types of whey. Each serving contains 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of fat. It also contains 10 grams of creatine for best gains possible and comes with L-glutamine and BCAAs. Each serving comes with lots of vitamins and minerals so at least those 2050 calories are also delivering some actual nutrients beyond the macros. The flavors available are a triple chocolate brownie, vanilla milkshake, and delicious strawberry. The price seems to look a bit high at first but when you consider the cost per gram of protein and per calorie, it isn’t as high as it seems. In order for this to be worth the money, you can’t be an amateur in the gym.
This mass gainer is the choice for those who want to use the most natural supplements on the market. It delivers 560 calories per serving with a blend of proteins delivering 30 grams. It has 90 grams of carbs coming from real foods such as organic quinoa, oat flour, rice bran, blueberry powder, ginger powder, monk fruit, and maltodextrin. The 7 grams of fat also come from natural sources like coconut, avocado, flax seed, and sunflower oil. Since it’s made from healthy foods it contains lots of vitamins and minerals. It comes in two flavors, chocolate fudge, and creamy vanilla.
This all-natural weight gainer has complete label transparency and for good reason. They use only three high-quality ingredients with no other unnecessary fluff. Each serving contains 1250 calories per serving, 50 grams of protein, 252 grams of carbs from organic maltodextrin, and 11 grams of BCAAs. The fats, however, are a little low. There are no unnecessary additives, sweeteners or colors. It might seem like this nutrition is too good to be true (at it is good) but it does come with one glitch – the price. It’s available in chocolate and vanilla flavors.
This mass gainer contains 660 calories per serving with a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein with 93 grams of carbs and 50 grams of protein. The protein consists of 6 different proteins which are supposed to be released at 6 different intervals. The carbs are a mixture of maltodextrin, polydextrose, and other complex carbs. It contains 10 grams of fiber and 7 grams of fat. It also contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. It also contains pre-biotics and digestive enzymes, which is a nice bonus to help with nutrient absorption. The flavors available are chocolate, cookies and cream, and vanilla.
This is another of those massive gainers for someone trying to increase their calorie intake dramatically. Each serving delivers 1270 calories. It contains a blend of 4 proteins making 50 grams per serving total. There are a whopping 252 carbohydrates which is very high but this is where most of the calories come from and they are from natural sources. For example, it contains superfoods like alfalfa sprouts, chia seeds, sweet potato, ginger root, brown rice, and quinoa. It also has beneficial inulin for fiber. The fats are medium-chain triglycerides, 7 grams to be exact. They have pretty standard flavors of chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, and vanilla.
This mass gainer uses a different approach to their protein. As the name suggests, they have purely beef protein. This would be a great choice for anyone with milk allergies. Each serving has 710 calories, with 50 grams of hydrolyzed beef protein and 125 grams of carbs. Their carbohydrate complex is said to consist of an insulin amplifying system to have an anabolic effect, reducing fat gains and increasing muscle mass. This supplement has extremely low fat with only 2.5 grams. It contains only 2 grams of fiber as well. It contains creatine and BCAAs for maximum gains. It is relatively high in sodium so keep that in mind when you make your meals try to keep your sodium levels down. This product comes in five different flavors including chocolate fudge, chocolate macaroon, chocolate peanut butter, strawberry, and vanilla caramel.
10. Mass Jym
This mass gainer wouldn’t be for anyone trying to put on a lot of muscle but it still has great ingredients. Each serving only delivers 280 calories and comes with 30 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrates, which makes it a 1:1 ratio. It is a little different approach to mass gainer but they are proud of their product. Their protein blend contains high-quality whey protein isolate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate, and egg white protein. This blend is a mix of quick, medium, and slow-digesting protein to feed your muscles at every stage of recovery. Their carbs come from a blend as well containing no maltodextrin. The carbs are made of 30% high glycemic carbs that give a quick energy boost, and 70% low glycemic carbs for a slow release of energy. This mass gainer would be great for someone that is diabetic as maltodextrin has an extremely high GI which spikes blood sugar. This is one of the only mass gainers that doesn’t contain maltodextrin. It has 4 grams of fat and 4 grams of fiber per serving. Flavors available are chocolate cookie crunch, s’mores, and vanilla.