Weight Gain Mass Gainers

Top 10 Best Mass Gainers to Help You Bulk Up in 2021

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Mass Gainer Buying Guide

Mass gainer supplements are high-calorie, high-protein, high-carbohydrate meal replacements that are meant to help you pack on weight fast!

Thanks to their nutritional density and often pleasant taste, they’re a godsend for those who have small appetites and fast metabolisms (sometimes referred to as “hardgainers”). They’re convenient and help to save you time and headaches, particularly if you lead a very busy lifestyle.

However, there’s a catch!

Many of the mass gainers on the market today are full of low-quality fillers, additives, and cheap carbohydrates just so that they can fill the container as well as line their pockets. But no worries, we’re here to help you rummage through the B.S. and get to the good, high-quality stuff.

We’ll tell you what to look for in a mass gainer supplement so that next time you’re in the market for one, you’ll know just what to look for.

Qualities of a Good Mass Gainer

Value

Does the mass gainer you’re considering contain high-quality ingredients that will help you pack on clean weight primarily composed of muscle? Or is it filled with cheap crap that’s marked up extremely high?

Also, how does the price of the mass gainer supplement compare to others on the market? If it lies in the extremely low range, it’s most likely composed of low-quality, cheap filler ingredients, additives, and preservatives.

If it’s very expensive, it better well have high-quality ingredients you’ll find here in this guide, or else it’s definitely not worth your money.

Servings Per Container

Servings in mass gainer supplements are often very big. What I mean by that is the scoop size itself is very large in order to accommodate all of the macronutrients and calories that are in the supplement.

So usually mass gainers will come in very large bags or plastic tubs. Even though this is the case, it’s still important to look at the supplement facts label to see what the serving size is exactly (in grams) and how many calories and macronutrients are contained within each serving.

I bring this up because sometimes companies will state that the product has an enormous amount of calories in a statement on the front of the packaging, but if you look in tiny little letters next to an asterisk, it states that it contains that many calories in two scoops, which just happens to be 2 servings, not one.

This is of course just an example, but it’s unfortunately more common than one might think. Therefore, it’s imperative that you be on the lookout for marketing tactics such as this that try to mislead you.

Also, a serving of a mass gainer is often multiple scoops-worth, not just one. So make sure to properly read the nutritional label before taking the mass gainer.

User Feedback

Have your friends heard of the product? Have you looked it up online? Often times, looking at product reviews that aren’t on the manufacturers own website (i.e. Amazon, Bodybuilding.com) will give you a pretty good idea of the quality of the product.

Brand Reputation

Have you heard of other supplements from this brand before? Maybe you’ve tried them yourself with a different product of theirs? Give them a look up on TrustPilot or Better Business Bureau to ensure that the company you plan on doing business with deserves your money and hasn’t been doing anything sketchy.

Things to Consider when Buying a Mass Gainer

Macros

What is the total macronutrient profile of the mass gainer you’re looking to purchase? Although there are no hard and fast numbers to abide by and look for, we’ll provide you with some general guidelines so that you can sniff out the good stuff from the bad.

You want to make sure that the mass gainer has a sufficient amount of protein compared to the carbohydrate content it has. While carbohydrates can certainly help to build muscle, they are the cheapest of ingredients (whether low or high-quality) compared to the proteins and fats (particularly if they are of high-quality).

Because of this, sometimes companies will skew the ratio of carbs to fats way too much in the favor of carbs since it is much cheaper to do so.

When looking for an optimal macronutrient ratio of a mass gainer, there are a few figures that you should consider, depending on how much weight you’re looking to gain from taking this supplement.

Weight Gain Goal Carbohydrate:Protein Ratio
0.5 lbs/week 2:1
1 lb/week between 2.5:1 to 3.5:1
1.5 lbs/week between 3:1-4.5:1

Calories

You’ll see mass gainers that vary widely in calories. Some will be as low as 600 calories per serving while others will be over 2000 calories per serving. It’s really up to the manufacturer to decide how many calories goes into a serving of their mass gainer supplement.

So it’s up to you to decide how many calories you need to supplement with in order to reach your calorie goals that support your muscle-building efforts.

Just make sure not to let the mass gainer comprise the bulk (no pun intended) of your diet. Remember, this is a supplement, not a crutch. Make sure your diet consists primarily of whole foods that are minimally-processed and then use the mass gainer supplement when you need it most, such as when you’re on a time crunch.

Ingredient Quality

As we’ve stated earlier in this guide, you have to make sure that in order to get the most value for your money, that the mass gainer supplement you decide to purchase has high-quality sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

While the following list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, it’ll give you a good reference to look back to if you ever get stuck when you’re looking at the nutritional label of a mass gainer supplement.

High-Quality Protein Sources High-Quality Carbohydrate Sources High-Quality Fat Sources
whey isolate and/or hydrolysate oats medium chain triglycerides
egg/albumin sweet potato any type of nut butter
beef bran flax
casein quinoa hemp
pea buckwheat egg yolk
brown rice tapioca chia
hemp any fruit-based source coconut oil

You want to avoid mass gainers that have “maltodextrin” as one of the first ingredients on the ingredients list. This is because maltodextrin is a simple sugar that companies often use as a filler to make up a significantly large portion of the carbohydrate content.

You want a majority of the carbohydrate sources to be from whole food sources so that you have a nice, gradual, steady energy throughout the day, rather than getting a “sugar high” essentially and coming way up and then crashing down rapidly. Not a good time, trust us. Plus, it won’t do you any good for your performance or body composition either.

Protein Type & Quality

You want to make sure that the type of protein being included is high-quality protein; as this is arguably the most important component of the mass gainer. You want to avoid mass gainers that are primarily composed of cheap proteins like soy and whey concentrate. Other than that, as long as you stick to the types of proteins listed in our Ingredient Quality section above, you’ll be good to go in the protein department.

Other Active Ingredients

Some other ingredients that mass gainers will often have in them are digestive enzymes. These enzymes, such as protease (digests protein), amylase (digests carbs), and lipase (digests fats) are already present in our gastrointestinal tracts.

But when we’re eating a large amount of food with the goal of gaining muscle in mind, our digestive systems can take a huge hit. Because of this, the added digestive enzymes have the potential to aid in digestive processes, particularly in those with digestive issues [1].

Creatine is also another common addition to mass gainer supplements, and for good reason. Creatine has been proven time and time again to improve gains in strength and muscle mass [2,3].

Along with creatine, many companies will also provide particular amino acids, such as L-Glutamine, which increases the effects of skeletal muscle protein synthesis, potentially improving your gains and recovery [4].

Along with this, branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) may also be added to improve gains in strength and lean muscle mass [5]. If your mass gainer or protein powder doesn’t provide BCAAs and you’d like some, you can add a high rated bcaa supplement to your routine.

As a way to “round out” the supplement and make it a true “meal replacement”, many companies will provide a comprehensive array of vitamins and minerals (which we all know of course are good for us [6]), just like you would see in many high-quality, whole food meals.

Artificial ingredients and additives

If you are prone to digestive upset when consuming high amounts of calories or supplements in general, then you’ll want to avoid artificial ingredients and additives such as:

  • sucralose
  • acesulfame potassium (sometimes referred to as “Ace K”)
  • gums such as xanthan gum, guar gum, and carrageenan
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • hydrogenated oils

Even if you don’t have any specific food sensitivities, eating a high-protein diet with the goal of gaining muscle takes a toll on your digestive system after a while. So you don’t want to make it worse by bombarding it with a myriad of synthetic ingredients that your body will have more trouble processing compared to more nutritionally wholesome sources.

Thickness & Mixability

A mass gainer will definitely be thicker than a standard protein shake just due to the sheer volume of the supplement. Although this is a given, the mass gainer should still be mixable with a standard shaker bottle and blender ball, as many people use this as a convenient, portable food option.

But if you prefer to use a blender instead, then that’s perfectly fine and you don’t really need to worry about mixability too much. But if it won’t even mix well in a blender, then you really have a low-quality product on your hands!

The best way to tell a product’s thickness and mixability is to check out user ratings and reviews, which are often found on the websites they can be purchased from. Some more helpful info on this can be found in our Brand Reputation and User Feedback sections at the start of this guide.

Taste and Flavor Options

There are many mass gainers out there. There are also a lot of different palates and tastes out there. The good thing is that there are many flavors to choose from, such as:

  • Chocolate
  • Strawberry
  • Banana
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Peanut Butter
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon Toast Cereal
  • Cookies n’ Creme
  • S’mores

Need I say more?

Of course, each company will have different flavors (some more than others) and they’ll all taste different, even if they’re the same flavor but just happen to be from two different companies. While the best way to tell is to try it for yourself, you can also use our tips from our Brand Reputation and User Feedback sections of this guide to help you make the best decision for your taste buds!

Mass Gainer Ingredient Breakdown

Whey Protein

Now this is perhaps the most common ingredient that you’ll find in a mass gainer. Although whey protein is a great way to pack on muscle mass, there are different types that you should be aware of [7].

The three main types are concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. The latter two are of the highest quality; going through a more tedious filtering process, thus having virtually no lactose or fats.

Concentrate is the less superior of the two, making it cheaper than isolate or hydrolysate. Having less lactose in your mass gainer supplement will help you to absorb more of it, as lactose often causes digestive issues in people when taken in high amounts [8].

Milk Protein Isolate/Casein Protein

These proteins are very similar, so we’re lumping them into one category here. These proteins are slower-digesting compared to whey protein, which is often what makes mass gainer supplements have such a thick consistency. It’s a great addition to whey protein in order to balance out the faster-digesting nature of the whey protein.

Vegan Proteins (Brown Rice, Pea, Hemp)

Vegan protein powders have been gaining popularity very quickly and for good reason. The best types of vegan protein powders provide you with a solid dose of protein using only plant sources which can help you avoid digestive problems (and moral ones) that come with dairy products.

These types of vegan proteins are the highest quality proteins you’ll find in mass gainer supplements. They’re the closest you’ll get to their animal protein counterparts if you’re a vegan, and you really can’t go wrong.

Maltodextrin

This is another common ingredient found in mass gainer supplements. This is a fast-digesting sugar and is often added to provide flavor, as well as a quick boost in energy and a non-filling source of easy calories. The inclusion of this ingredient only becomes an issue when it’s one of the very first ingredients on the list. This means that it’s very prominent in the supplement and that it’s used in an amount that’s much greater than necessary. Some is fine, but too much is just a way to waste your hard-earned money.

Low Glycemic Index (GI) Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates that rank low on the glycemic index (GI), which means that they don’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar, are increasingly being used in mass gainer supplements. These include foods like oats, brown rice, sweet potato, bran, and buckwheat. This is because they provide a more stable release of energy from the calories that they provide, as opposed to high GI carbs like fast-digesting sugars, that’ll leave you essentially crashing and burning in just a short amount of time.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a great source of heart-healthy fats [9]. Not only that, but along with the low GI carbs, provide a stable source of energy throughout the day. Fats are also very dense in calories (9 calories per gram as opposed to only 4 calories per gram for proteins and carbs), so it’ll help you to reach your calorie goals faster and easier. So look for flax, hemp, chia, peanuts, almonds, or cashews (just to name a few) the next time you’re in the market for a mass gainer supplement.

How to Get the Most out of Mass Gainer Usage

In order to get the most out of your mass gainer supplement, you must use it properly. This means that you shouldn’t take it when it’s not necessary.

What I mean by this is that it’s best to take it when you actually need it, like when you’re crunched for time and don’t have the means to make a substantial meal or you’re at work and you don’t have time to take that lunch break. But if you’re just sitting at home and you have the food necessary to make a high-quality meal for yourself but you just drink a mass gainer shake instead, that’s honestly just being lazy. And also, you’re just throwing your money down the drain, because although these supplements can help save you significant amounts of time, running through them faster than necessary will drain your wallet fast.

Now the proper way to go about consuming them is up to the individual, as everybody has different preferences as to how they like their shakes. Some people like to use a blender, some people like to use a shaker bottle. Some people prefer using milk, others prefer using water. It really doesn’t matter at the end of the day. Whatever’s most convenient and preferable for you, then that’s the option you go with.

As for timing, this also doesn’t matter too much either. But if we had to choose one “special” time to take this supplement, it would be post-workout, as the flood of protein, carbs, and amino acids would really help expedite the recovery process.

10 Best Weight Gainer Brands Compared

In order to help you find a good product, we’ve researched & compared the best weight gain supplements on the market right now.

ⓘ If you buy something after visiting a link below, we get a commission.

1. Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer

Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer Overview

Pro Gainer is loaded with 60g of protein, 85g carbohydrates and 24 vitamins and minerals. It is the perfect post-workout for those looking for mass, or as a simple weight gain powder to use between meals. This product provides everything your body needs to gain mass, and none of the unnecessary junk.

Highlights:

  • 60g high quality protein per serving
  • 85g carbohydrates
  • 24 different vitamins and minerals
  • 4g dietary fiber
  • 650 calories
  • Small serving size compared to many similar products
  • Made by Optimum Nutrition, one of the best brands in the business
  • Easy and convenient – does not require a blender (use a BlenderBottle for easier mixing)
  • Available in 3 flavors

Who makes it: Pro Gainer is made by Optimum Nutrition, one of the biggest names in the sports nutrition industry. Since 1987, Optimum Nutrition, or ON for short, has been a leader in developing highly innovative, affordable, and effective products. In their 25+ years in the industry, ON has received many prestigious awards, and has developed a reputation for producing some of the most high-quality product lines available.

Where to Get It

2. Transparent Labs ProteinSeries MASS GAINER

Transparent Labs Proteinseries Mass Gainer

Transparent Labs MASS GAINER uses only high quality ingredients, and provides full label transparency. It comes packed with 53 grams of 100% Grass-Fed New Zealand Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC80), 109 Grams of carbs sourced from organic tapioca maltodextrin, 6 Grams of Healthy Fats, and 3 grams Creatine Monohydrate. The use of premium ingredients does create the need for a price slightly higher than the market norm, but we’re confident that MASS GAINER may help you in your weight gain journey, for only a few dollars more.

Highlights:

  • 750 Calories Per Serving
  • 53 Grams 100% Grass-Fed New Zealand Whey Protein Concentrate
  • 100 Grams Carbohydrates from Organic Tapioca Maltodextrin (100 g)
  • Nearly 6 grams MCTs
  • 3 Grams Creatine Monohydrate
  • 8 Grams of Fiber
  • Naturally Sweetened with Stevia & Monk Fruit
  • Full Ingredient Transparency
  • Health Conscious Mass Gainer

Who Makes It: MASS GAINER is made by Transparent Labs, the fastest growing new supplement company founded in 2015. Transparent Labs is known for their premium and effective workout supplements like PreSeries BULK, LEAN, STIM-FREE, BCAA Glutamine, and Creatine HMB – All of which provide full clinical doses and 100% label transparency.

Where to Get It
transparent-labs-vendor-logo

3. MuscleTech MASS-TECH

Muscletech Mass Tech

MASS-TECH is a mass gainer supplement from MuscleTech, a leader in the sports fitness industry. It’s designed specifically for “hardgainers” who struggle to put on muscle mass. It’s loaded with protein, carbs, BCAAs, creatine, and more, and provides an easy way to get a ton of nutrition in a single shake. It’s manufactured by a trustworthy, award-winning company, and its cost-per-serving is very reasonable.

Highlights:

  • 63g protein per serving
  • 132g carbs
  • 13g BCAAs
  • 10g creatine
  • 840 calories per serving
  • Designed for hardgainers
  • Added enzyme digestion complex
  • Several flavors available
  • Good reviews
  • Huge container with 7lb of powder

Who Makes It: MuscleTech is a large and popular manufacturer of sports science supplements. They have a long track record (20+ years) of success in developing award-winning products. In fact, they are the #1 most award-winning sports nutrition brand in the US! They also have several #1 best-selling individual products. All their offerings are made in the USA, in a cGMP certified facility. Overall, MuscleTech is a very trustworthy company when it comes to fitness supplements.

Where to Get It

4. BSN True Mass 1200

Bsn True Mass

BSN True Mass 1200 offers 50g of high quality protein, 222g of carbohydrates and as its name suggests, over 1200 calories. It’s also one of the best-tasting mass gainers; if you read user reviews, you’ll see that most people like the taste of this supplement. True Mass makes a simple, tasty shake that helps you reach your fitness goals by providing all the necessary nutrients for lean muscle mass gains.

Highlights:

  • 50g high quality protein per serving
  • 222g carbohydrates
  • 23g Essential Amino Acids
  • 12g BCAAs
  • 16g dietary fiber
  • 1220 calories
  • Added vitamins and minderals
  • Added glutamine
  • Reasonably Low sugar (16g per serving)
  • Small serving size
  • Easy to mix
  • 3 flavors available

Who makes it: True Mass 1200 is made by BSN, one of the biggest and best companies in the supplement industry. For many years, BSN has been a pioneer of the industry, developing effective and innovative products for weightlifters and athletes alike. They have received many awards, and have millions of loyal customers.

Where to Get It

5. Stacked Protein GAINER by Evlution Nutrition

Stacked Protein Gainer By Evlution Nutrition

Stacked Protein GAINER by Evlution Nutrition packs a massive 50g of high-quality protein into just one serving, providing your muscles with all the fuel that they need to maintain and build lean mass. 10g of glutamine and glutamine peptides helps to avoid fatigue and accelerate recovery, even after the toughest of sessions.  At 880 calories per serving, Stacked Protein GAINER by Evlution Nutrition is the perfect complete body fuel at any time of day or night.

Highlights:

  • 50g protein matrix per serving
  • 10g glutamine and glutamine peptides per serving
  • 10g BCAAs per serving to combat muscle catabolism and promote growth
  • 22g EAAs per serving
  • 880 calories per serving
  • Ultra-filtered, superior-quality dairy and egg protein source
  • Designed to promote muscle growth, increase strength and accelerate recovery

Who Makes It: Stacked Protein GAINER is made by Evlution Nutrition, a Florida-based company with a great reputation in the field of athletic nutritional supplements. Evlution Nutrition aims to bring you the most innovative, best quality, most effective supplements out there to help you to reach your fitness goals.

Where to Get It

6. MusclePharm Combat XL Mass Gainer

Musclepharm Combat Xl Mass Gainer

Combat XL Mass Gainer Protein by MusclePharm is an outstanding complete body fuel. This mammoth gainer packs in 1270 of dense calories into every serving, along with 50g of protein, 252g of carbohydrates and additional essential fatty acids – everything your body needs to build strength and gain lean mass. Another feature of Combat XL that makes it a cut above the rest are the high levels of calcium, iron, sodium and potassium that it provides – all essential minerals that can become depleted when following a high-intensity training program.

Highlights:

  • 50g protein per serving
  • Includes protein from 4 different sources
  • 1270 calories per serving
  • Contains essential fatty acids
  • Rich in essential minerals
  • Available in 3 delicious flavors

Who Makes It: Combat XL Mass Gainer Protein is made by MusclePharma, a nutritional supplement manufacturer based in California. MusclePharma has been in the business since 2010 and aims to bring the safest, most effective sports and nutritional products, so that athletes of every level can benefit.

Where to Get It

7. Universal Nutrition Real Gains

Universal Nutrition Real Gains

Real Gains, made by Universal Nutrition, is designed for active people looking to pack on the most mass possible. It has just about everything you need to build the body of your dreams – just add exercise, proper nutrition and dedication!

Highlights:

  • 52g protein per serving
  • 87g carbohydrates
  • 610 calories
  • Only 5g sugar
  • 5g dietary fiber
  • Includes healthy fats such as MCT’s, flax seed oils and more
  • Very affordable
  • Simple and effective
  • Small serving size
  • Mixes easily

Who makes it: Real Gains is made by Universal Nutrition, a company which has become a household name in the fitness community. For many years, Universal Nutrition has helped set the standard for quality in an ever-changing industry. Today, they manufacture a large line of highly effective supplements to suit the needs of a wide range of customers.

Where to Get It

8. Dymatize Super Mass Gainer

Dymatize-Super-Mass-Gainer

Super Mass Gainer is a weight gainer supplement made by Dymatize Nutrition that combines high quality protein with added amino acids, creatine, carbohydrates, glutamine, and more. Its complex carbohydrate blend can help give you sustained energy for your day and it’s high calorie content can help you gain weight.

Highlights:

  • 52g protein per serving
  • 252g carbohydrates
  • 19g sugar
  • 2g amino acid blend (glutamine, glutamine peptides, l-leucine, l-isoleucine, l-valine and zytrix)
  • 1280 calories
  • Available in vanilla and chocolate

Who makes it: Super Mass Gainer is made by Dymatize Nutrition, a large scale producer of fitness supplements. Since 1994, Dymatize has strived to develop cutting-edge products that help their customers reach – and exceed – their fitness goals.

Where to Get It

9. Mass JYM

Mass Jym

Mass JYM is a unique mass gainer that has excellent reviews. It provides a balanced dietary profile, with less carbohydrates than average, and more fat. One big benefit of this product is that it does not use proprietary blends, so you can see each specific ingredient that’s included and the specific amount of that ingredient. It also uses a great mix of each macronutrient, offering 3 types of protein, 2 types of carbs, and a broad selection of beneficial fats. Instead of loading you up on cheap carbohydrates (sugars), it uses fewer carbs and more protein and fat. This results in a lower calorie count, but a potentially superior nutrient profile. The company claims that using a 1:1 ratio of protein and carbs is ideal for healthy muscle mass gains.

Highlights:

  • 30g protein per serving
  • 30g carbs
  • 5g fiber
  • 4g fat
  • 270 calories per serving
  • Blend of protein – whey, casein, milk and egg proteins
  • Mix of healthy fats
  • Quality carbohydrates at a 1:1 ratio of carbs to protein
  • Excellent customer reviews

Who Makes It: This product is made by JYM Supplement Science, which was founded by Jim Stoppani. JYM Supplement Science won Bodybuilding.com’s Brand of the Year award in 2018 and has received a number of other prestigious awards in the supplement industry. They have gained the trust of their customers by always disclosing the full ingredient profile and amounts, rather than using proprietary blends.

Where to Get It

10. Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

Serious Mass is made by Optimum Nutrition and provides a huge dose of calories, protein, carbohydrates and more to help you reach your weight gain goals. It’s a good choice, although the large serving size and higher-than-usual price is a downside.

Highlights:

  • 50g protein per serving
  • 1,250 calories
  • 252g carbohydrates
  • Creatine and glutamine added
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Easy way to consume a ton of calories, protein and more
  • Helps gain weight
  • Available in 4 tasty flavors

Who makes it: Serious Mass is made by Optimum Nutrition, one of the most popular supplement companies out there. Best known for their Gold Standard line of products, Optimum Nutrition has been an industry leader since they formed in 1987. Today, you can’t go far in a gym or supplement store without seeing an ON product, and the company has received many awards and much recognition for their high quality products.

Where to Get It

Bonus: Vitol Russian Bear 5000

Vitol Russian Bear 5000

Vitol Russian Bear 5000 is a HUGE weight gain supplement. Its huge serving size is a downside for some people, but for those looking for the most calories and protein possible, this is best high-calorie weight gainer for you. That being said, the huge serving size is a little over the top. Many people use this product and take a ½ serving or even a ¼ serving, which is probably the best way to use it unless you’re on a very aggressive bulking cycle.

Highlights:

  • 184g protein per serving – yeah, you read that right
  • 2600 calories per serving
  • 391g carbohydrates per serving
  • 46g medium chain triglycerides
  • Huge amount of protein and calories in one product
  • Added anabolic compounds like yohimbe, boron and more
  • Added vitamins and minerals

Who makes it: Russian Bear 5000 is made by Vitol, a manufacturer of natural supplements and bodybuilding products. In business for more than 37 years, Vitol has come out with a lot of good products and has many loyal fans.

Where to Get It

Mass Gainer FAQ

These are some of the most commonly asked questions about mass gainers.

What are mass gainers?

What are mass gainers?

A mass gainer is a high-calorie, high-protein, and high-carbohydrate supplement catered towards those looking to gain quality weight.

How do mass gainers work

How do mass gainers work?

A mass gainer is essentially a blend of different food ingredients. Therefore, it has the same effect as eating a meal that is high in protein, carbohydrates, and overall calories. It acts as a supplement in one’s diet; working as a more convenient way in which to get these nutrients into the body.

What are the benefits of mass gainers?

What are the benefits of mass gainers?

The benefits of mass gainers include:

  • More convenient way to get in the calories you need to gain weight and build muscle, especially when you have a very busy schedule
  • Often very tasty and a lot more palatable than consuming solid foods when your appetite isn’t that big to begin with
  • Can be an easier way to get more protein into your diet
Who should take a mass gainer?

Who should take a mass gainer?

Those who would benefit most from taking a mass gainer supplement are those who have naturally small appetites. These types of people are often on the skinnier side, sometimes deemed as “hard-gainers”.  They often have a hard time eating large quantities/volumes of food.

Although the term “large” is subjective, the amount of food that so-called “hard-gainers” have to consume to gain muscle is beyond their comfort level and is not enjoyable for them. But taking a mass gainer is a considerably lower volume option compared to solid foods, and it most often tastes great too!

Why should I take a mass gainer?

Why should I take a mass gainer?

Taking a mass gainer will allow you to get in the extra calories that you may not be able to consume throughout the day, whether it be a lack of hunger or appetite, or perhaps you lead an extremely busy lifestyle that doesn’t allow for 5-6 meals per day.

While whole foods should comprise the bulk of your diet when possible, this is a solid supplemental option that helps to make your life more convenient, as well as your belly less bloated and uncomfortable.

Can mass gainers replace meals?

Can mass gainers replace meals?

Absolutely! Mass gainers are essentially meal replacements, often replicating nutritional profiles of standard high protein meals people would eat in their “bulking” or mass-gain phases of their resistance training programs.

Do mass gainers actually work?

Do mass gainers actually work?

Well of course! That’s equivalent to asking “Does food work?” That’s what a mass gainer is after all; food! It’s just a more convenient way of taking it in, that’s all.

Are mass gainers a waste of money?

Are mass gainers a waste of money?

This is a highly-debated topic in the fitness community. But generally speaking, nobody “needs” a mass gainer to build muscle, even if they have faster metabolisms and are on the skinnier end of the spectrum. However, what makes it worth it for people is the convenience. So if the convenience factor means a lot to you, then it’s certainly not a waste of money.

But the other side of this argument highly depends on the specific mass gainer product that we’re talking about. Because if you get your hands on a low-quality mass gainer (and there are plenty of them out there) with junk fillers, unnecessary amounts of sugar, and low-quality carbohydrate/protein sources, then yes, this would be considered a waste of money.

But find yourself a mass gainer with high-quality protein sources like whey and egg, carbohydrate sources like oats and sweet potatoes, and fat sources like flax and nut butters, then you’re getting yourself a great product. And of course, a great product isn’t a waste of money!

Can I make my own mass gainer?

Can I make my own mass gainer?

You certainly can! Making your own mass gainer shake is actually easier than you might expect. You just need some simple ingredients you can find in any grocery store, a high quality protein powder, and a blender. Here’s a simple high calorie & high protein shake recipe that you can make right when you get up in the morning to kickstart your muscle-building potential for the day!

What you’ll need:

  • Blender
  • Oatmeal (1 cup) (80 grams)
  • Peanut Butter (4 tablespoons) (64 grams)
  • Milk (Preferably 2% or Whole) (14 ounces) (415 milliliters)

Directions:

  1. Using your blender’s highest setting, blend the milk, oatmeal, and peanut butter for 30 seconds.
  2. Add in the two scoops of protein through the top of your blender while it’s mixing.
  3. Blend it for another 30 seconds.
  4. Pour into the vessel of your choosing and enjoy! Or if you’re feeling particularly beastly, skip the middleman and chug it out of the blender! Hey, less dishes to clean, right?

Side note: If you’re really looking to up the ante, add some honey or agave for some added sweetness and a bigger calorie boost!

Nutritional Information (using 2% milk):

Protein Powder (we like Optimum Nutrition Whey):

  • Calories: 240
  • Protein: 48g
  • Carbs: 8g
  • Fats: 4g

Oatmeal:

  • Calories: 332
  • Protein: 6g
  • Carbs: 28g
  • Fats: 3.6g

Peanut Butter:

  • Calories: 376
  • Protein: 16g
  • Carbs: 12.6g
  • Fats: 32g

14oz (415 milliliters) of 2% (Blue cap) Milk:

  • Calories: 219
  • Protein: 16g
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Fats: 10g

Entire Shake:

  • Calories: 1187
  • Protein: 86g
  • Carbs: 70.6g
  • Fats: 49.6g
Is it good to take a mass gainer every day?

Is it good to take a mass gainer every day?

If it fits your lifestyle to do so, then go right ahead. But this is going to depend based on the context of the person who’s using it. If a person is just using it when they could perfectly well be eating minimally processed whole foods, that being appetite and convenience aren’t concerns of theirs, then it’s not really necessary to take a mass gainer every day.

A mass gainer is meant to be used as a supplement. So this doesn’t mean it makes up the majority of your diet. But if you supplement it properly, it can certainly expedite those muscle gains!

What are the realistic expectations of a mass gainer?

What are the realistic expectations of a mass gainer?

I would expect just as much from a mass gainer as I would from adding extra calories to my diet. In other words, don’t expect a miracle. There’s nothing magical inside of a mass gainer that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s simply a more convenient, portable manner in which to consume those extra (hopefully high-quality) calories and nutrients.

Are mass gainers banned in sports?

Are mass gainers banned in sports?

As of this writing, mass gainer supplements are not banned by any major governing sporting body.

Should I take mass gainers if I don’t work out?

Should I take mass gainers if I don’t work out?

I would not recommend it. With the exception of those with extremely (and I mean medically abnormal) fast metabolisms, this would most likely result in you just putting on body fat with little to no muscle. This is because you’re not providing your body with a stimulus to grow, therefore, your body has no reason to do so. Simply eating more but not providing the stimulus needed to induce muscle growth will only result in disappointment.

Should I take mass gainers if I don’t diet properly?

Should I take mass gainers if I don’t diet properly?

No. There’s no excuse for a poor diet and simply adding a supplement won’t automatically fix that. Adding a high calorie, highly palatable shake to a poor diet is just begging to gain fat. I would highly advise against it. Get your diet in order first, then you can consider buying a mass gainer supplement.

What can make mass gainers less effective?

What can make mass gainers less effective?

Since mass gainers all contain different ingredients, this question can be answered with a very unsatisfying “it depends”. But in general, mass gainer supplements are composed of food ingredients. So unless you’re perhaps taking a certain medication that interacts with certain foods that you eat that may also be present in the mass gainer shake that you’re taking, you should be in the clear. But if you still have concerns, consult your physician and tell him/her about the mass gainer supplement you’re considering taking.

Not working out or exercising can make mass gainers less effective in the sense that you’ll just gain fat!

Should I take a mass gainer with milk or water?

Should I take a mass gainer with milk or water?

This is up to personal taste preferences for the most part. But if you’re looking to gain the most weight possible, then I would suggest using milk. The higher the fat content, the higher the calories, so go for whole milk if you want the highest amount of calories. And if you’re lactose intolerant, or just prefer not to drink dairy milk, there are plenty of milk alternatives, such as almond, coconut, and oat milks.

When is the best time to take a mass gainer?

When is the best time to take a mass gainer?

The best time is the time that is most convenient for you. Whenever you would benefit from it the most is when you should take a mass gainer. This could be when you’re at work and you’re too busy to take your lunch break. Or perhaps you have to get in more calories to reach your daily calorie goal but solid food makes you gag just at the thought of it, so supplementing with a mass gainer seems a lot more manageable.

If you’re taking a strong pre-workout supplement before you hit the gym, then it’s not recommended to take a mass gainer at the same time. It would probably give you a really upset stomach.

Should I take mass gainers on days I don’t work out?

Should I take mass gainers on days I don’t work out?

Your diet should be consistent even on the days that you don’t train. Your nutrition doesn’t take a day off, so neither should your mass gainer supplementation regime. Unless your goals specify that you eat less calories on non-training days and simply taking out the mass gainer shake achieves that purpose, then follow the same supplementation regime with your mass gainer that you would on your training days, unless of course you use it as a post-workout shake. If this is the case, I would probably skip it.

Is it okay to take mass gainers before bed?

Is it okay to take mass gainers before bed?

The timing of it really doesn’t matter all that much. As long as you get the calories into your body in general, then it’s perfectly fine to take a mass gainer before bed. But if it begins to upset your stomach or makes you feel nauseous or any similar unpleasant effect, then I would try to take it earlier in the day.

How long does it take for mass gainers to work?

How long does it take for mass gainers to work?

To be honest with you, this is an impossible question to answer with full confidence. This is highly dependent on your training and diet regimes. If these two things are subpar, then a mass gainer will do absolutely nothing for you. And everybody gains weight at different rates due to differences in metabolism. But as long as you make sure you’re progressing in your training and eating the proper diet for your body, then a mass gainer should be able to augment those muscle gains!

For how long should I take a mass gainer?

For how long should I take a mass gainer?

As long as you feel it’s necessary to fit your current lifestyle. As long as it keeps adding convenience to your fitness routine, then there’s no real need to stop its use. But if it’s taking away from your diet (and by that I mean it’s replacing whole foods you could potentially be eating) then I would stop taking it and address your diet needs before continuing again with a mass gainer supplement.

Should I take a break from mass gainers?

Should I take a break from mass gainers?

As addressed previously, as long as it continues to help you in your muscle gain pursuits and your diet/training routines are in proper order, then a break from mass gainers is not necessary.

Can you take too much of a mass gainer?

Can you take too much of a mass gainer?

You can take too much of a mass gainer just like you can overeat on any particular food. Depending on the ingredients contained in the mass gainer supplement, you’ll probably experience some unpleasant gas, bloating, indigestion, and other mild gastrointestinal symptoms of distress. Just stick to the manufacturer’s directions and you should be fine as long as there are not underlying issues.

Are mass gainers safe to take?

Are mass gainers safe to take?

Since mass gainers are technically considered to be a food item, often acting as meal replacements, they are safe to consume.

Are there any side effects of mass gainers?

Are there any side effects of mass gainers?

Some side effects you might get from taking a mass gainer include:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fat gain

Of course, this is all dependent on the person taking it. Some people may experience many of these symptoms, while others may not experience any of them at all. The only way to know for sure is to try for yourself. But as long as you have a high-quality mass gainer, then the likelihood of experiencing these side effects is minimal.

Do mass gainers cause damage to the kidneys and liver or any other organ?

Do mass gainers cause damage to the kidneys and liver or any other organ?

No. Your kidneys and liver are perfectly safe when taking a mass gainer supplement.

Why are mass gainer dosages so big?

Why are mass gainer dosages so big?

The reason that mass gainer dosages are so big is due to the fact that protein and carbohydrates can begin to add up in volume in high amounts. And since mass gainers contain very high amounts of protein and carbohydrates, the serving size is going to reflect that. All those calories have to take up at least some type of space, right?

Can I take a mass gainer with other supplements?

Can I take a mass gainer with other supplements?

Of course! Adding a mass gainer supplement with your other supplements like a good multivitamin, highly ranked omega 3 fish oils, and/or a high quality creatine powder will help support your muscle-building goals!

Should I take mass gainers if my other supplements have the same ingredients?

Should I take mass gainers if my other supplements have the same ingredients?

Unless you’re taking other meal replacements or protein supplements, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever really run into this scenario. But if you do, I would consider cutting one of them out, as it would most likely prevent you from consuming more minimally processed whole foods. Either that or you’d probably be spending an unnecessary amount of money on supplements every month.

What is the difference between a mass gainer and a protein powder?

What is the difference between a mass gainer and a protein powder?

A mass gainer is a high-calorie, high-protein, and high-carbohydrate supplement that is often used as a meal replacement and post-workout shake for those who have trouble packing on weight. While a protein powder shares the similarity of having a high protein content, that’s where the similarities end.

A protein powder is much lower in calories and carbohydrates and is often not meant to be used as a meal replacement, but rather a way in which to get more protein in the diet. Since it’s a lot lower in calories, its purpose is not to pack on weight, but just to help a person reach their daily protein requirements for the day.

Should I take a mass gainer if it has creatine?

Should I take a mass gainer if it has creatine?

Unless you’ve had bad experiences with creatine in the past, then I wouldn’t see why you would specifically avoid it. Some people do tend to experience water weight gain with it that might be unpleasant or uncomfortable, so if you’re one of these people, then the answer to this question would be no.

But on the other hand, creatine is often added to mass gainers as it has been shown to increase strength, boost power, and muscle growth potential [2,3,10].

Are mass gainers vegan?

Are mass gainers vegan?

To find that out you would have to check the ingredient label. First, take a look at the type of protein being used. If the protein is of animal origin, such as whey, beef, egg, or casein, then no, it’s not vegan. As for its carbohydrate and fat sources, these will most likely be vegan-friendly, some common examples being oats, sweet potato, nuts, and seeds.

Do mass gainers boost the immune system?

Do mass gainers boost the immune system?

Unfortunately, mass gainers have not been shown to boost the immune system.

Do mass gainers increase testosterone?

Do mass gainers increase testosterone?

Not in any sort of direct manner. But the only way this would be the case is if the person was not eating enough total calories in general, as calorie restriction is well-known to decrease testosterone [11]. Other than that, the answer to this question would sadly be “no”. However, there are good supplements designed to boost your testosterone, so be sure to read our article on that.

Do mass gainers help you gain muscle?

Do mass gainers help you gain muscle?

Mass gainers can certainly help you gain muscle if you’ve been having trouble getting in the necessary calories and protein necessary to build muscle. Those who want to build muscle must eat more calories and protein if they are not currently gaining muscle or getting stronger in order to build muscle mass [12]

Do mass gainers give you more endurance?

Do mass gainers give you more endurance?

I wouldn’t really call this an endurance supplement. But I suppose that you could make the argument that the carbohydrates in mass gainers could provide you more endurance. But with the combination of high amounts of protein, fat, and overall calories along with it, it would be a pretty dense meal to sit with (even though it’s a liquid meal) if you’re planning to take this pre-workout. I wouldn’t really recommend it.

Do mass gainers give you energy?

Do mass gainers give you energy?

Mass gainers are very dense in calories, and calories provide the body with energy. So yes! But if you’re thinking more along the lines of a stimulant-like energy (such as good quality caffeine pills or a strong energy drink), then no. It’s going to have similar effects on your energy levels as eating a high-calorie meal will.

Do mass gainers help burn fat?

Do mass gainers help burn fat?

Quite the opposite actually. Now I’m not saying that you’re destined to gain fat, but this supplement’s purpose is to help you gain weight, not lose it. Consuming a large amount of calories would be counterintuitive for fat loss. There are some good fat burners out there designed to help you in your weight loss efforts though.

Can mass gainers make you stronger?

Can mass gainers make you stronger?

If including a mass gainer into your supplement regime has helped you to take in more overall calories and protein, then you could make the case that a mass gainer supplement makes you stronger. But there isn’t anything magical about mass gainers that makes you stronger. You’ll get stronger as long as your training program is providing you with a sufficient stimulus for growth and your diet is supporting your muscle building efforts with enough calories and protein.

Why do mass gainers make me nauseous?

Why do mass gainers make me nauseous?

It could be due to a variety of factors. Perhaps your mass gainer contains low-quality ingredients that you may be sensitive or allergic to. It could be that your gastrointestinal system is not accustomed to consuming so many calories and nutrients in one sitting. If the latter is the case, I would recommend breaking up the servings throughout the day. Then gradually increase the amount you’re taking in one sitting until you can tolerate the entire serving at one time.

Why do mass gainers upset my stomach?

Why do mass gainers upset my stomach?

It could be similar to the above question, where you’re simply taking in too many calories in one sitting. Either that or the ingredients in the product just don’t “jive” with you. If you do happen to have any food sensitivities or allergies, always make sure to check the label of ingredients before making any purchasing decisions. And if you still have concerns, consult your physician.

Will a mass gainer make me fat?

Will a mass gainer make me fat?

A mass gainer itself won’t make you fat. However, if taking a mass gainer makes you consume many more calories than is necessary for you to induce muscle growth (~500+ calories above your maintenance level of calories per day for most people), then you will get fat. If this is the case, then you should consider removing the mass gainer from your supplementation regime.

Can/Should women take mass gainers?

Can/Should women take mass gainers?

Of course they can! It’s a food product, so it’s just as effective for women as it is for men. But women should be a bit more careful with mass gainers, as they don’t require as many calories to build muscle as men do. Therefore, they could more easily over-consume calories by adding a mass gainer into their supplementation regime.

References

References

  1. Deng, Y., Misselwitz, B., Dai, N., & Fox, M. (2015). Lactose Intolerance in Adults: Biological Mechanism and Dietary Management. Nutrients, 7(9), 8020–8035. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7095380
  2. Lanhers C, Pereira B, Naughton G, Trousselard M, Lesage FX, Dutheil F. Creatine Supplementation and Upper Limb Strength Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. 2017;47(1):163-173. doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0571-4
  3. Saremi, A., Gharakhanloo, R., Sharghi, S., Gharaati, M. R., Larijani, B., & Omidfar, K. (2010). Effects of oral creatine and resistance training on serum myostatin and GASP-1. Molecular and cellular endocrinology, 317(1-2), 25–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mce.2009.12.019
  4. Hankard, R. G., Haymond, M. W., & Darmaun, D. (1996). Effect of glutamine on leucine metabolism in humans. The American journal of physiology, 271(4 Pt 1), E748–E754. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.1996.271.4.E748
  5. Stoppani, J., Scheett, T., Pena, J., Rudolph, C., & Charlebois, D. (2009). 2009 international society of sports nutrition conference and expo new orleans, la, USA. 14-15 june 2009. Abstracts. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 6 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), P1–P19. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-6-s1-p1
  6. Biesalski, H. K., & Tinz, J. (2017). Multivitamin/mineral supplements: Rationale and safety – A systematic review. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 33, 76–82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2016.02.013
  7. Andersen, L. L., Tufekovic, G., Zebis, M. K., Crameri, R. M., Verlaan, G., Kjaer, M., Suetta, C., Magnusson, P., & Aagaard, P. (2005). The effect of resistance training combined with timed ingestion of protein on muscle fiber size and muscle strength. Metabolism: clinical and experimental, 54(2), 151–156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2004.07.012
  8. Swagerty, D. L., Jr, Walling, A. D., & Klein, R. M. (2002). Lactose intolerance. American family physician, 65(9), 1845–1850.
  9. Swain, J. F., McCarron, P. B., Hamilton, E. F., Sacks, F. M., & Appel, L. J. (2008). Characteristics of the diet patterns tested in the optimal macronutrient intake trial to prevent heart disease (OmniHeart): options for a heart-healthy diet. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(2), 257–265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2007.10.040
  10. KIRKSEY, B., STONE, M. H., WARREN, B. J., JOHNSON, R. L., STONE, M., HAFF, G. G., WILLIAMS, F. E., & PROULX, C. (1999). The effects of 6 weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation on performance measures and body composition in collegiate track and Field athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 13(2), 148-156. https://doi.org/10.1519/00124278-199905000-00009
  11. Cangemi, R., Friedmann, A. J., Holloszy, J. O., & Fontana, L. (2010). Long-term effects of calorie restriction on serum sex-hormone concentrations in men. Aging cell, 9(2), 236–242. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1474-9726.2010.00553.x
  12. Slater, G. J., Dieter, B. P., Marsh, D. J., Helms, E. R., Shaw, G., & Iraki, J. (2019). Is an Energy Surplus Required to Maximize Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy Associated With Resistance Training. Frontiers in nutrition, 6, 131. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2019.00131

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