Contrary to the popular demand of 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.
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 undernourished people to gain weight. 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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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 in 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.