Your Comprehensive Guide: How to Use Mass Gainers
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Mass gainers are an excellent choice of protein powder for those interested in rapid weight increase, muscle bulking, and recovery. In particular, lean mass protein supplements are ideal for those wanting the muscle gain but to avoid putting on any fat.
Not only do they help speed up recovery from workouts, but they also improve weight gain by providing a mix of macronutrients in a calorie-rich drink.
OK, they’re awesome. But how do you use one correctly?
How to Use Mass Gainer for Best Results
When it comes to taking a regular gainer and a lean mass gainer, there’s an ongoing debate regarding the best way to take them to get results. Because of the protein content, some people say that it’s better to drink them before a workout. Because of the carb content, others say it’s better to take them after to recharge. Yet others say it’s best to drink them throughout the day.
The truth is: it depends on what your fitness goals are.
With supplements such as these, the aim is to add calories and macros, like protein and carbs, to your diet.
Whether you’re trying to build lean mass or bulk up will determine how you take them, and how often. Remember to treat weight gainer as a calorie boost and not just a simple protein powder.
For Lean Mass
For developing lean mass, try a supplement that has a high protein and carbohydrate content, but a low fat content. It’s similar to whey protein, but with a higher calorie content. Lean mass protein will help you quickly build muscle without adding extra weight in the form of body fat.
If your goal is to build lean muscle, it’s best to use them before or after a workout. The protein and carbohydrate content will fuel the insulin cycle and help your muscles recover faster after a workout. (1)
For Maximum Bulking
If you’re interested in bulking up and adding muscle quickly, you’ll want to take your mass gainer more often than you would if you were building lean mass. Take one serving in the morning with breakfast and one serving pre-workout. If necessary for meeting your caloric intake goals, take another scoop or two after your workout, too.
Above all, make sure to monitor your caloric intake. This is more important than it is with whey because of the high calorie content. You don’t want to consume too little—or too much. These supplements are exceptional tools to help with bulking, but they aren’t a magical solution for weight increase by themselves.
How to Use Mass Gainers
Most weight gainers come in powder form, like whey protein, and can be mixed with water or milk.
Step 1: Caloric Goals
Before you begin, it’s important to know what your caloric intake goals are since it depends on three factors: (2)
- Activity level
Since you’re looking to gain weight, you should be consuming more calories than your need to maintain weight.
When deciding how much is the right amount, consider how much you eat in a day and how many calories you tend to burn working out.
Step 2: Plan Your Day
Then, drink the weight gainer to hit your calorie intake goal and “fill in the gaps.” It’s not difficult to figure out how to take mass gainer, but figuring out how much to drink can be tricky.
It’s not good enough to drink your shake whenever you feel like it. Factor in your work/social life/exercise balance for the day and plan accordingly.
What food are you planning to eat that day? Note that it’s possible to go overboard and take too much, just as it is with whey protein. When this happens, you’ll gain weight in the form of body fat rather than muscle.
For this reason, make sure to calculate how much of each macro you need (protein, carbs and fat). Then, look at the nutrition label to figure out how much you need to take to meet your goals.
Step 3: Make Your Shake
Once you’ve determined what your goals and schedule are, measure out a serving of your preferred brand and flavor and mix it with either water or milk.
The result should be similar to a milkshake or a smoothie.
Drink the mixture before a meal, after a meal, or with a meal. You can also take it by itself, right before or after a workout.
You can also mix the powder into an actual milkshake or smoothie. Just add it to a blender with a few of your favorite ingredients and hit blend for a delicious, calorie-rich supplement.
Repeat as necessary throughout the day to meet your calorie, protein, and carb intake goals.
When to Take Mass Gainers
When it comes to mass gainer, how to use this protein powder correctly is a subject of heated debate. Whey and other dietary supplements work differently than this particular supplement, and there are many correct ways to take it.
Like whey protein, mass gainers aren’t meant to replace a meal, but they can be taken at almost any point in the day. However, bodybuilders and fitness experts recommend taking them directly before or after a workout. This is because the intake of protein and carbs support muscle growth and recovery. (3)
With these supplements, the ultimate objective is to increase your caloric intake. You can take one serving (typically one to two scoops of powder) when you wake up in the morning and additional servings throughout the day to help you hit your calorie goals. Otherwise, you can stick to taking it before and after a workout.
Mass gainers, similar to whey, are meant to be utilized as dietary supplements to increase macronutrient and calorie intake. You can drink a serving when you wake up in the morning or drink a serving either before or after your workout. You can also drink them in between meals—but make sure not to replace your entire meal with them.
Common Mistakes With Mass Gainers
Most of the time, those mistakes come from not knowing how much to take, when to take it, or how to take it. These innocent misconceptions can lead to serious weight gain—and not the kind you’re looking for.
On the other hand, these mistakes can lead to a lack of results as well. If you’re not taking enough of a mass gainer, you won’t see much in the way or results because you’re not getting enough calories—or protein.
Here are some common mistakes people make when using mass gainer to bulk up fast and increase lean mass.
Mistake #1: Taking Too Much—Or Not Enough
As opposed to whey, some supplements provide upwards of 1,000 calories per serving, so it’s easy to go overboard and drink too much, resulting in excess weight gain.
On the other hand, it’s also easy to underestimate how much you might need—in which case, you may end up not taking enough and seeing zero results.
If you take too much in an attempt to fuel muscle gain, you may actually end up gaining body fat instead. The content is primarily protein, but there are also carbs and fat, which is something you need to remember. It isn’t just protein and a sprinkling of carbs, like whey.
It’s important to understand how using a mass gainer factors into your overall fitness goals. Don’t guess at how much you need to take: do the math and take the appropriate amount every time based on calories per serving.
Remember that you need to consume 3,500 calories to gain 1 pound. (4) If you eat 2,000 calories in a day, and each serving of your product is 1,000 calories, you will need a serving and a half in addition to your regular meals to gain a pound.
Mistake #2: Using It As a Meal Replacement
Remember that these products are intended to increase calorie intake, not replace the calories you’d normally get from your diet.
Using mass gainers as a meal replacement lowers the number of calories you’re getting overall and makes it harder to hit your fitness goals. Bulking will happen much more slowly if they’re used to replace meals rather than supplement them.
You’ll also be lacking in micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Some gainers do contain these vital nutrition components, but it’ll nowhere near be enough.
Instead of replacing a meal with a supplement, try consuming a serving in between meals instead. If one serving is too much for you to drink at one time, try drinking a portion of the serving with breakfast and the rest of the serving later in the day, like before or after working out.
Mistake #3: Taking It at the Wrong Time
Taking a mass gainer at the wrong time can render it ineffective. For example, if you take it before you go to bed at night, it won’t do anything for you except help you gain fat. If you take it before or after a workout, on the other hand, you’ll see much better results.
For building muscle, the optimal time to take it is right before or after a workout. You can also drink some with breakfast. That way, you don’t have to worry about monitoring your caloric intake and fitting in extra meals throughout the day.
In the end, you want to make sure to take it at the optimal time of day to ensure you’re getting the results you want.
Keep in mind that the optimal time to take it may change depending on your needs, but as a general rule of thumb, taking it in the morning and before or after a workout is your best bet.
Mistake #4: Substituting the Supplement For a Workout
Some people mistakenly believe that they can take a mass gainer in place of a workout, and the high protein content will cause them to build muscle anyway. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, all that will happen if you take a mass gainer instead of working out is weight gain from the high protein and carb content.
If your goal is to gain muscle mass, taking a supplement meant to add calories to your diet instead of hitting the gym simply will not work. Make sure to take a supplement and work out—don’t skip the gym!
Tips and Hacks
Here are some quick tips to get the most out of your mass weight gainer:
- Mix: When mixing your drink, try using milk instead of water for extra calories.
- It isn’t whey protein: The content is also made up of carbs and fat.
- Powdered weight gainers: Liquid supplements tend to include more fat than their
- For lean mass gain: Look for minimal fat content and maximum protein content.
- In between meals to supplement a high-calorie diet: This works well if you can’t
finish a whole serving in one sitting.
- Avoid tons of BCAAs: Mass gainers packed with BCAAs have been known to lower mood by reducing serotonin levels(5).
- Add other foods: Like bananas and peanut butter for extra nutrients and flavor. The powder makes a great base for fruit smoothies and milkshakes!
Make sure to drink your mass gainer at an appropriate time and in the right amounts. Experts recommend pre- or post-workout. Don’t try to replace your workouts with a supplement, either. It won’t work, and you’ll just end up gaining fat instead of muscle. Remember that, like whey, it’s a supplement and not a substitute for a meal or exercise.
When it comes to choosing the right supplement for you, look for one with high-quality content. If you’re building lean mass, look for a product with minimal fat content.
Using them pre- and post-workout is one of the best ways to get the most out of your supplements. They’re also effective when consumed in the morning, as part of a balanced meal, or in between meals.
Make sure not to use too much or too little when attempting to bulk up. Using too much will cause you to gain fat instead of muscle, and using too little will ensure that you see minimal, if any, results.