You are trying to build some size and you are wondering, are mass gainers effective? Of course they are if you use them correctly.
Throughout my muscle building journey, I have used weight gainers on various occasions. I never had success with them, but I found out later that I wasn’t using them properly. I didn’t understand my body and how many calories I actually needed.
If you are struggling to put on weight, you most likely need to eat more calories. That is why mass gainers can be so appealing. They flaunt to you the amount of calories in the mass gainer.
This is usually enough to lure you in, but take a look at the nutrition facts. Sometimes they require a massive amount of powder to even work.
In this article we are going to explore everything that we know about mass gainers and how to use them properly.
How to use mass gainers effectively
It all starts with the nutrition label. If you don’t know how to read a nutrition label, this is something that you need to learn ASAP.
Almost on all mass gainers, they are going to boast about how many calories are in the formula. But when you look at the nutrition label, you might see that you need 5 scoops per serving. And to top it off, there might only be a few servings in the container.
I made this mistake when I tried the mass gainer Russian Bear 5000. The front label claims that there are 30 shakes in each container. But what they really mean is 30 scoops. And when you look at the nutrition facts, it requires 3 scoops per serving. Meaning that there are actually only 10 servings in the whole container.
Start by getting a digital food scale from Amazon. I never rely on scoops. They can be wildly inaccurate depending on what you consider a regular scoop.
When you are looking at the nutrition facts, they always have the amount per serving in grams. It is better to weigh everything out and be accurate.
Some people prefer to use a shaker cup to combine their weight gainer with water or milk. But I use a Nutri Ninja, which saves me a ton of time and ensures that everything gets fully blended. I cannot stand when there are chunks of powder in my drink.
My last piece of advice here is to never fully rely on mass gainers only. Be sure to eat normally here. Remember, the goal is to eat at a caloric surplus so that your body puts on weight. You cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit.
What I would do rather than consume mass gainers
As you can probably tell by the tone of this article, I really am not the biggest fan of mass gainers. I will say that they have their place. But their main source of calories is Maltodexrin, which is an artificial sweetener with questionable side effects.
Maltodextrin has the same calorie content as sugar, but since it isn’t sugar, companies can just call it “carbs,” which I find misleading. It isn’t recommended that you consume Maltodextrin consistently or in large quantities, which defeats the purpose of taking a mass gainer.
With that being said, I would rather make my own protein shake. In fact, I did make my own protein shake. Here is the 1000 calorie protein shake recipe that helped me build over 20 pounds of muscle in 1 year.
If you have a good blender like the one I mentioned in the previous section, you have a lot of options. Mass gainers aren’t the best for your overall health. But my 1000 calorie protein shake has a ton of good ingredients that are nice and healthy.
Bananas, strawberries, peanut butter, milk, and a healthy protein powder can get you very far in the mass gaining game.
You might still be sticking to the question, are mass gainers effective? Yes they are, but I am just providing you with some alternatives that you might find more appealing and flavorful. My protein shake recipe literally tastes like a milkshake, but it’s contents are way better for you.
Best mass gainers
If I was required to take a mass gainer, I would be very selective. I would make sure that the ingredients were tolerable and there were enough calories per serving to fit my needs.
The thing is, I need to eat 3,600 calories per day if I want to gain any bit of muscle. That is a lot, and you might be in the same boat as me.
I would also make sure that it was manufactured by a reputable company.
With that being said, here are my top 3 pics for mass gainers.
Rivalus Clean Gainer
This is the cleanest gainer on the list. Meaning that it has the healthiest ingredients. But there is a catch. It also has the least amount of calories out of the bunch.
You have to ask yourself if you are willing to trade off overall calories for clean bulking. Really, what it comes down to is the calories that you need to put on weight.
It might be completely necessary to consume a lot more calories than this is going to offer.
Dymatize Super Mass Gainer
At 1280 calories per serving, this is the highest calorie weight gainer on this list. But be careful with how much you need to consume in order to hit that target.
One serving of Dymatize Super Mass Gainer is 333 grams, which is almost 12 ounces of powder. When you see that laid out, you are going to realize how much that is.
This is one of the main reasons that I prefer to make my own weight gainer shake with higher quality ingredients.
Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass
Optimum Nutrition is one of the most trusted names in the fitness industry. They continue to produce great tasting and effective products.
Serious Mass comes in at 1250 calories per serving. Although it is slightly under our Dymatize option, it still has appeal in my book. It’s more affordable than Dymatize, and it comes with a well known brand.
Don’t just take mass gainer
I cannot tell you how many people I have met that think when you take mass gainers, the muscles just show up. WHAT? These are the same people who will be on mass gainers for months, and still ask me, are mass gainers effective?
Here is the deal. If you are eating in a caloric surplus, you are going to put on weight. If you are not working out multiple times per week, those extra calories are going to go towards fat.
Make sure that you are working out at least 3-4 days per week to ensure that those extra calories go towards muscle. If you need help choosing a plan, download our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). You will build some serious muscle!
If you are taking mass gainer, you are most likely eating in what is called a caloric surplus. Meaning that you are eating more calories than your body can burn on an average day.
This is actually great for building muscle. As long as you are working out of course. Make sure to do strength training and really push hard through your workouts. I recommend avoiding cardio during your weight gain phase.
Main Point: Are mass gainers effective?
By this point, you know the answer to our question, are mass gainers effective? Yes, they can be very effective, but there are better options. I only recommend mass gainers if you don’t have the time to make your own shake from scratch.
This is the most important thing that I want you to take away from this article. As long as you are eating in a caloric surplus, you will gain weight. It doesn’t matter how much mass gainer you consume. If you are not in a caloric surplus, you aren’t going to gain any weight.
I will say that this was an eye opener for me. I was naive and I thought that just the simple act of drinking a weight gainer shake would ensure that I would gain weight and build muscle. It’s just not going to happen unless you are at an overall caloric surplus.
Do yourself a favor and learn how to calculate your maintenance calories if you want to understand this more.
Another way that you can make sure you are getting the most out of your mass gainers is to use a kitchen scale to weigh everything. Each morning, I drink a 1000 calorie protein shake, and I weigh everything exactly. That way, I know how much I consumed and can adjust if my weight changes.
The last thing I will say is be sure to workout at least 3-4 days per week. You need to use this caloric surplus to your advantage. Don’t let it go to waste and go to fat.
Overall, I support the use of mass gainers in certain circumstances. I think that the more you learn about nutrition and your body, the more investment you will make in finding better options than mass gainers. If you are young and ready to pack on some pounds, by all means, go for it!