One of the foundations of adding size to your frame is taking in more calories than you burn. Your body can only do three things based on your diet and activity levels – get bigger, get smaller or stay the same size. At the simplest level, you need to eat more calories than you burn to put on muscle mass, along with ingesting a decent amount of protein every day.
For some people, getting these extra calories can be a bit of a chore. There may be various reasons for this, such as a smaller appetite or an extremely high activity level which produces an unusually large BMR.
In an ideal world, you’d be getting all your calories from real, nutritionally dense food. But for some people, this presents too big of a challenge on a daily basis, and the supplement industry has developed weight gainer supplements as a means of providing these calories in an affordable, easy to use format.
In this article, we’ll look to address the benefits of using mass gaining supplements, how to use them most effectively and hopefully help you decide if it’s the right approach to weight gain for you.
What Does A Mass Gainer Do?
Mass gainers essentially provide you with a significant portion of your daily calorie and macronutrient intake in the form of a powder, which you make into a shake by combining it with water or milk.
It has been designed to provide a simple solution to meeting your daily calorie and macronutrient intake targets without having to eat more food than you’re comfortable with. To get the most benefit from these products it’s important to know how to use weight gainer effectively, as using it incorrectly may cause you to gain more body fat than you had originally intended.
How To Use A Mass Gainer
Using a mass gainer is generally a pretty straightforward process, and if you have any experience of supplements like whey protein (or even milkshake products like Nesquik) you should know roughly what you’re doing.
How to Take a Mass Gainer
To create the shake you’ll need to combine the powder with the liquid of your choosing, but most people opt for water or milk. Some people use milk for the additional calories, some just prefer the taste, so it’s up to you what you go for.
Most powered supplements generally won’t mix to well jut using a spoon, so ideally you’ll have a shaker cup or a blender for combining the ingredients. This should remove almost all the lumps from the drink and make it a little more palatable.
How Many Scoops of Mass Gainer Should I Take?
The number of scoops you take will depend on your nutritional targets and the nutritional value of the particular product you’re using. Check out the calorie and macronutrient values of the supplement and tailor your intake to meet your targets for the day.
As a general rule, most people will use one or two scoops at a time in their shakes. Any more may leave the shake too thick or lumpy, and it’ll be pretty unpleasant to try and choke it down.
How Many Mass Gainer Shakes a Day?
As with the number of scoops you should be taking, the number of shakes you should have in a day will depend on your own particular calorie and macro goals. Try to track everything you’re eating and drinking throughout the day with an app like My Fitness Pal, and tailor the number of shakes you have to the amount of calories you have left in the day.
When Should You Take Mass Gainer?
When to take a mass gainer can depend on the type of supplement you’re using, as some a tailored slightly more to be most effective at different times. While for most people the timing should matter all that much, those looking to fully optimise their nutrition and diet have a couple of options when it comes to the best time to drink mass gainer.
If you’re looking to take your shakes pre or post-workout, look for a supplement that contains very little fat and a higher carbohydrate content. The fast-acting carbs in these drinks help drive the insulin cycle, pushing the amino acids to the muscles a little faster and helps with muscle building and recovery.
For the most part though, the timing of your shakes is largely unimportant. The main thing is to make sure you’re focusing on your daily and weekly nutritional goals.
Can I Take Mass Gainer Without Working Out?
Drinking mass gainer without working out at all is probably a choice for those with weight management issues, and it’s something that should probably be done on a doctor’s recommendation rather than on personal research on the internet.
The main purpose of these supplements is around muscle building rather than weight gain of any kind, so they sort of go hand in hand with weight training.
Should I Take Mass Gainer On Off Days?
The simple answer is yes, if it’s helping you meet your nutritional goals for the day. You’ll need to adjust your daily caloric target based on the lower activity levels that day, but there’s no reason you can’t use the supplement on the days you’re not training if it helps you to reach your targets.
Mass Gainer Or Protein Powder For Skinny People?
The supplement industry can be confusing if you’re not used to much of the terminology used, and some of the advertising can leave you wondering which the best approach for your situation is.
When it comes to choosing between whey protein or mass gainer for ‘skinny’ people, there’s really no reason why they shouldn’t be taken together if they’re helping you meet your nutritional goals. Use the mass gainer to help push you towards your caloric intake target, and use the whey protein to help you meet your protein intake targets.
Are Mass Gainers Worth It?
When weighing up the mass gainer pros and cons, it really comes down to a simple question. Can you meet your daily nutritional goals through food alone on a consistent basis? If the answer is yes, then there’s no real need for you to use a mass gainer. You’re already giving your body the things it needs to grow, and given the choice between supplements and normal, healthy food you should go the food option the vast majority of the time.
If you find meeting your goals for the day a challenge, then mass gainers are a great way to help bridge the gap. They provide useful, inexpensive nutrition in an easy to use and affordable format, and are ideal for those who just can’t find a way to meet their targets through food alone.
Ultimately it’s a personal choice, but mass gainers are well worth it if they’re the right fit for your needs. Do a little research into which ones are most suited to you and your goals, and you should find that you see the benefits once you start using them regularly.