Why Use A Mass Gainer?
Like most of our articles regarding supplements, we must preface it by saying that mass gainers are not necessary to gain weight and muscle. It’s actually my preference to get as much as my calories from actual food. However, there are instances where people have to eat massive amounts of calories to gain the weight they desire, and at a certain point, it’s just not feasible to eat anymore. Personally, I still turn to liquid calories like fruit juices and whey protein shakes to make up the calories I need when bulking.
But, mass gainers do have their place. If you’re looking for a convenient way to consume excess calories with good a macronutrient breakdown, a scoop of a good mass gainer can help you achieve your goals.
How do Mass Gainers Work?
When you need to build muscle muscles, you need to take in more calories than you burn. Your body will do either of three things based on your activity levels, either get bigger, smaller or stay the same. For some people, it is not possible to eat these extra calories, seeing that they may be involved in extremely strenuous activities or they have a low appetite. When getting these extra calories naturally from food is not possible, the supplements industry has produced protein supplements that are readily absorbed and used in the body.
Simply put, mass gainers work by enabling you to consume more calories in a more convenient form. These gainers usually come in the form of a powder, which can easily be mixed into a shake. You can take this with milk or water. This means that you will eat your usual amount of food and the supplement will add the rest of the calories and nutrients to give you the muscles you need. When the extra calories are not burned, they lead to weight gain.
Best Way To Use A Mass Gainer
When used correctly, mass gainers will offer you excellent results. However, incorrect use of these gainers will lead to more body fat than was intended. If you have experience with supplements like whey protein and milkshake such as Nesquik, you will find it easy to use mass gainers.
Create the shake by combining mass gainer powder with the drink of your choice. Water and milk are the most popular drink. Milk gives you extra calories and also tastes great. Some powders will not mix well when stirred with a spoon alone. You might, therefore, need a shaker or a blender to combine the ingredients and remove lumps in the drink. This makes the drink palatable.
The amount of scoops you take is dependent on your mass gaining goals and the nutritional value of the gainer you choose. Before use, therefore, check the nutritional value, calories, and micronutrients values of the mass gainer, and customize that to your daily targets.
The number of shakes you take will be determined by your macro and calorie goals. Some apps help you track what you are eating every day. Apps such as My Fitness Pal allow you to track your calorie intake and tailor it to meet your needs.
When to Take Mass Gainers
The timing of what point in the day to take a mass gainer not a big issue as long as your daily and weekly calorie intake goals are met.
You may want to add your mass gainer into your diet around your workout sessions, typically after a workout when insulin is ready to shuttle nutrients into your muscles. But again, this is not ultimately necessary. The whole point of adding a mass gainer is to get excess calories at your convenience. So add it to your diet wherever you see it fit.
Selecting the Best Mass Gainer
Mass gainers will provide you with enough calories, allowing you to build lean muscles with minimal fat. Ergo, you need to consider the source of the calories to ensure you get the best results. When shopping, therefore, you need to think about the ingredients first. Other factors to consider include:
Protein quality refers to the usability of the protein contained in the supplement, a factor scientifically termed as ‘biological value.’ This value is calculated by dividing the protein retained by the body after taking a protein by the total nitrogen content absorbed in the body.
This value shows how well your body will acquire and utilize the protein in the supplement. Granted, proteins like whey isolate, which has a BV of 159, are highly absorbed by the body while a protein such as casein from milk, which has a BV of 77 is less readily absorbed. In some instances, you will like to have a lower BV. For example, when going to bed, you need a protein that will be absorbed slowly.
With modern technology, it has become easy to test the BV of different proteins and, thereby, create mass gainers that meet the needs of different people.
Mass gainers are all about adding additional calories to your diet, and a large part of that is going to come from carbohydrates. However, most supplement companies will add cheap, simple sugars 33in order to boost the carb content of their mass gainers.
Your body will utilize carbs in any form that it’s given, so your overall physique will probably be the same with varying degrees of carbohydrate quality, But cheap, simple sugars are suboptimal for two other reasons: they’re high on the glycemic index (GI), and they lack micronutrients.
High GI carbs can be useful in a post-workout scenario, but many people will use their mass gainer at times other than post workout, and so having higher quality carbohydrates are more conducive to a healthy diet.
The second issue is that since the powders you’ll be drinking will be a significant amount of your calories, you want them to contain a good amount micronutrients. Low-quality carbs just don’t accomplish this goal and are basically “empty calories.
Dietary fat is crucial to your overall health and well being. Your fats help to regulate your hormones and improve your performance in the gym.
You want to look for products that have high-quality fats like coconut and flaxseed oils, that can offer up some healthy omega 3’s.
Contrastly, you want to avoid anything that has anything high in omega 6 content like vegetable oils.
We’ve already touched on companies using cheap carbs to fill their mass gainers. You also want to stay away from products that have too many artificial food dyes and flavoring.
Finding the right blend of all these different macronutrients can be a hard task for it to taste great as well simultaneously.
However, when you’re taking something every day (or multiple times a day) taste becomes a considerable factor. You’ll be less likely to keep drinking a formula that to don’t like and that defeats the purpose of taking a mass gainer in the first place.
Also related to taste, your mass gainer should be easy to mix into your liquid of choice.
It can be challenging to find good mass gainers that dissolve well in your blender bottle because there are so many ingredients in one scoop.
But a powder that doesn’t mix well will compromise it’s taste because the consistency will be off.
Carbs vs. Proteins Ratio
The ratio of complex carbs to proteins in the mass gainer should ideally be about 3:1. Proteins can come from fast, medium, or slow releasing sources such as calcium caseinate, micellar casein and whey proteins. Quick metabolizing whey will provide nutrients post workout to muscles that are distressed. This triggers the synthesis of new muscle tissues, boosting recovery and repair. Supplements with slow-digesting proteins such as calcium caseinate and micellar casein are ideal for nighttime, or in-between meals use. They prevent muscle breakdown, preserve your lean muscles, and maintain a positive nitrogen balance.
Complex carbs are slow digesting to provide the needed energy during a workout. Taking mass gainers without working out is suitable for those who are struggling with weight management. However, the recommendation should come from a doctor.
Presence of Digestive Enzymes
A good mass gainer should have a digesting enzyme in its ingredients. When digestion is enhanced, chances of bloating are significantly reduced. Again, after digestion, you get the needed energy for intense workouts and to achieve the required muscle mass.
Presence of Added Sugar
It is true that calories can be increased in a mass gainer by adding sugar. However, good supplements should have calories from clean sources such as complex carbs and proteins. Added simple sugars should be kept to a minimum as it can spike insulin levels at unwanted times. If you must take supplements with added sugar, ensure that the sugar is 6g or less in a 1000g serving.
Besides carbs to help you add weight and gain lean muscle mass, a good mass gainer should have added minerals and vitamins. These will relieve the stress created by strenuous exercise on muscle tissues. Multivitamins, when present in a mass gainer, will stimulate biochemical reactions in the body to provide the energy needed to relieve muscles of fatigue after working out.
Naked Nutrition Naked Mass Gainer
Naked Mass is formulated for use particularly in between meals and before sleeping. But, it can be used at any time. Its formula delivers calories and proteins. This recipe is a combination of Naked Whey and Naked Casein with natural tapioca maltodextrin. This provides clean complex carbohydrates and multi-phase proteins at an excellent ratio, allowing you to gain and maintain lean muscles. The maltodextrin in this supplement is extracted from tapioca, which is gluten-free. For safety, the formula has no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors.
Each serving offers up to 50 grams of proteins and 11.5 grams BCAA. The serving also provides 252 grams of complex carbohydrates, which deliver up to 1250 calories. Each serving is GMO, soy, and gluten-free and has no growth hormones. You can take this gainer before or after a workout, before bed, or early morning after you wake up. You can choose from three different flavors including unflavored, vanilla, or chocolate.
- Fast acting supplement
- Offered with all-natural ingredients
- Great value for money
Too much sugar
Legion Atlas Weight Gainer Supplement
Legion Atlas features a simple formula that promotes lean muscle gain, losing body fat and staying healthy. Its formula has whey isolate, micellar casein powder, food-based carbohydrates and fats, 26 added vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and probiotics. These added ingredients make this supplement ideal for athletes and professional bodybuilders. Atlas Legion is a whole meal replacement packed with high-quality proteins and nutritious organic carbs. It is low in sugar, making it healthy for men and women.
It is a replacement for real food thanks to ingredients such as potato starch, oat flour, coconut oil, and flaxseed. The supplement is sweetened and flavored naturally. It readily dissolves in water or dairy products and contains no added fillers and harmful chemicals. And, Atlas is backed by Legion athletics money back guarantee, so if anything goes wrong, you can return it and get your money back with no questions asked.
- Formulated with all-natural ingredients
- Low added sugar
- Has vitamins, enzymes, and minerals for added benefits
- Taste leaves a little to be desired
Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer
ON Pro Gainer feature high biological value proteins for easy digestion and absorption. It comes with a full complement of natural amino acids to rebuild the body after strenuous exercise. Each serving offers about 60 grams of proteins extracted from seven natural sources. The supplement also features complex carbs and lipids. With each serving, you get 85 grams carbs, up to 5 grams fiber and 5 grams of added sugar. Additionally, each serving has medium chain triglycerides and some other lipids.
To enhance the formulation of this supplement 26 vitamins and essential minerals have been added. This makes it suitable for bodybuilders and anyone else who needs to gain muscles. Each serving provides 600 calories. And the dissolvability is excellent!
- Dissolves fast
- Variety of ingredients for enhanced benefits
- High-calorie content per servin
- Relatively expensive
Nature’s Best Isopure Mass
Isopure Mass comes as a fully loaded mass gainer with 86 grams of carbohydrates and 53 grams of whey protein isolate. Its formula is free of lactose and gluten and is tasty too. You can choose between different natural flavors including creamy vanilla and dark chocolate. You can also choose between different packaging to meet your budget.
The formula is not too thick and not too sugary and is easy to drink. According to the manufacturer, the formula allows you to gain muscles without feeling bulky. This recipe has 6.5 grams of organic L-Glutamine and 11.5 grams of organic BCAAs per serving. The microfiltration process through which this supplement is made ensures that only pure whey protein dissolves in water. Isopure recommends mixing 6 scoops in 16-ounce water. Each serving supplies you with 600 calories.
- Easy to drink
- Different packaging and flavors to choose from
- Great value for money
- No unflavored option
Transparent Labs Mass Gainer
The Transparent Labs Mass Gainer is a protein-based mass gainer created with all-natural ingredients, making it safe for all. Its formula contains 53 grams of protein extracted from 100 whey concentrate. Each serving offers 750 calories from 109 grams of clean and all-organic and carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate sources include tapioca, sweet potato, and oat. This lets you get the energy you need and gain mass without the worry of being or feeling bulky. It also features coconut milk powder and MCT oils. Even better, it has creatine monohydrate for increased endurance during your workouts. It is sweetened with monk fruit and stevia.
- No artificial sweeteners, dyes, and harsh chemicals
- High-calorie content per serving
- Added ingredients for extra benefits
- taste may be too sweet for some
Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer is the winner in this roundup. It sports an all-natural formula, making it safe and effective. According to users, the supplement is highly effective in promoting lean muscle mass.
You can take this supplement with your favorite drink, seeing that it dissolves with ease. It offers high-calorie content per serving with added ingredients for better results.