Building Muscle Mass: A Complete Guide to Mass Gainers
If you exercise on a daily basis, you have probably also gotten into the world of supplements. There is a range of bodybuilding supplements that help with muscle growth. Aside from muscle growth, there are many bodybuilders who are dedicated to gaining mass. For this reason, one of the most popular supplements among bodybuilders is the mass gainer. Let’s take a look at what does a gainer do.
What Is a Mass Gainer?
If you’re looking for a supplement that will help you in your quest to pack on slabs of lean, dense muscle mass, then you need the power of effective mass gainer supplements. In fact, weight gainers are protein powders on steroids. Generally, protein powders provide a high dose of protein with relatively few carbs, fibre, or fats. Weight gainer supplements, however, deliver significant amounts of protein, carbs and fats that are comparable to the calorie content of whole foods meal.
In a way, mass gainers are a type of meal replacement powder, but a specifically made one for those who want lots of calories. Such gainer provides your body with large volumes of protein, carbohydrates and fats in order to maximize your calorie intake.
Who Should Take Mass Gainer Supplement?
To put it simply, weight gainers should be taken by anyone who:
- Struggles to eat enough on a daily basis
- Is short on time to prepare, cook, and clean the food for a week
- Is training to gain weight and muscle mass
However, not all weight gainers are created equally. Certain supplements of this type are only loaded with cheap, filler carbohydrates and low-grade whey protein concentrates. If you choose such a product, you might end up with an upset stomach and fat gains. Before you start taking this supplement, make sure that you are tracking your calories. When choosing the right mass gainer, ensure you’re buying one that fits your specific needs. Mass gainers are available in all kinds of sizes, shapes, calories and carbohydrate loads.
When Should I Take My Mass Gainer for Best Results?
Since the main aim of weight gainers is to increase calories and to promote growth, they can be taken in the morning, so they can fuel you for the day. This supplement will instantly boost your calorie intake. You can also take it post-workout after you have spent a lot of calories working out. It will deliver a high protein content, which in turn, will contribute to muscle repair and growth.
What to Look for in a Mass Gainer?
Weight gainers also come in a range of ingredient combinations. The best ones have the right ingredients to improve the right type of fat in your body. Fats, in turn, help to grow muscle, keep testosterone levels high, help in recovery, and keep off body fat. In addition, we are going to check in detail the ingredients you should look for when choosing your weight gainer supplement.
The main reason you are looking for a weight gainer is that you want to put on weight, but also lean muscle mass. This means that protein should be your top priority. If you don’t consume enough amount of protein, you have a reduced ability to repair and build lean, dense muscle tissue.
The kind of protein used in your weight gainer is important but it’s much more important how much protein you are getting per serving. Look for a product that offers a decent serving of protein, not just a glorified carb powder. Hence, look for a gainer that contains around 40-50 grams of protein per serving.
When it comes to the type of protein, that primarily falls back on your particular preferences for dietary protein. Most mass gainers use a combination of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and casein. All these are derived from dairy, so they may not be suitable for you if you’re lactose sensitive. Therefore, you may want to go for a mass gainer that uses plant-based protein sources like pea protein, brown rice protein, or some other “alternative” protein powders like chicken protein powder, salmon protein powder, or beef protein powder.
This is the area where you can really determine what quality is your weight gainer. Most weight gain supplements are available on the market nowadays are based on maltodextrin – a polysaccharide typically derived from corn but can be also sourced from rice, wheat, potato starch or tapioca. However, there are also some gainers that use powders from common bodybuilding foods like sweet potato, oats, yam, and brown rice. If possible, try to avoid products that contain only cheap carbs like dextrose and maltodextrin. A small amount of these ingredients is OK, just make sure that they aren’t the first ingredients in your weight gainer.
You will find a range of doses of carbohydrates in gainer supplements. There are some that use a 1:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, while others go as high as 4:1/5:1 carbohydrates to protein. When it comes to the number of carbohydrates you need, it’s mostly determined by your particular calorie needs. For instance, if you naturally eat a lot of carbs throughout the day, you may want to choose a weight gainer that has a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein. On the other hand, if you have really high-calorie needs and almost no appetite whatsoever, you may need to go for the higher 4:1 or 5:1 ratio of carbs to a protein weight gainer.
Fats are essential macronutrients that play an important role in hormone production and help lubricate your joints. Aside from being essential, fats are also incredibly flavourful and pack a lot of calories per gram. However, as with the other ingredients, there are some good-quality fats you want in your product and some poor-quality ones that you want to avoid.
The good-quality ones include coconut oil powder, MCT, essential fatty acids, flaxseed oil powder, and others, which are beneficial for supporting the production of muscle-building hormones like testosterone. The poor-quality ones contain partially hydrogenated oils i.e. trans fats which have been well-documented to increase the risk of heart disease. When it comes to fat contents in the supplement, you may find a small number of fats of about 2.5g, while others may include as much as 12-15g.
When it comes to fibre, there no doubt – it is essential. Fibre helps keep things moving slowing in your digestive tract and prevents heavy swings in blood sugar. Protein powders usually contain 1-2g of fibre at most, while mass gainers include significantly more fibre. The sources of the fibre contained in these supplements are naturally occurring from the type of carbs used in them, for instance, oat powder, sweet potato powder, etc., but it can also be added in as Fibersol-2.
Creatine monohydrate is one of the best muscle-building supplements. It has been proven over and over to enhance athletic performance, strength and lean mass gains. Most weight gainers include this ingredient at a dose between 3-5g which is the exact amount needed on a daily basis to get the benefits of creatine.