The market is full of a range of products claiming to be the best supplement to gain weight. But which supplements are really the best to support more weight gain – and better quality?
Today we’re going to look through each category of weight gain supplement. We’ll look at how they help, which ones are the best on the market, and any of the most important
How Do You Gain Weight?
Weight gain happens when your energy intake from food is greater than your energy output. That energy output has a number of sources: basal metabolic rate (BMR), non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), and then your exercise and activity levels on top.
These outputs are collectively known as Total Daily Energy Expenditure – or TDEE. This is your maintenance calories intake that you need every day to support your body’s functions.
Gaining weight is a calorie surplus – when you’re eating more than your TDEE.
The quality of that weight gain is typically measured in the balance of fat and muscle mass you gain.
More weight means a risk of fat, but more protein intake shifts that balance away from fat and towards muscle mass – as the main resource your body uses to build more muscle mass (1).
Calories control the quantity, but protein controls the quality.
The carbs and fats in your diet are there to provide caloric energy. Carbs, in particular, are important for muscle growth as they’re the most popular form of middle-length energy and offer you a combination of muscle growth support and easy-to-eat calories.
This is why carbs are the main form of energy for most people’s diets (2). Fats are slower-absorbing and support hormonal health.
Best Supplements To Gain Weight
The best supplements to gain weight are those that boost your calories intake while driving up muscle energy and protein availability. These include:
- Mass gainers or weight gainer supplements
- Appetite stimulants
- Whey protein supplements
- Protein, granola, and weight gain bars
- Pre workout
We’re going to go through each of these categories, why they’re useful to support your weight gain, and which are the best examples on the market.
This should give you some idea how to build a simple muscle growth stack, using a few of these dietary supplements to build the best bulking diet.
Mass Gainers for Weight Gain
Mass gainers are one of the best supplements for weight gain that directly support muscle growth by increasing your calorie intake, providing a mixture of (primarily) carbs and protein.
They come in large containers with large scoops, offering a high-calorie shake or smoothie that you can drink to increase your calorie intake and improve your muscle growth results.
Specifically, mass gainers are great because they require less “appetite-space” than real meals. This lets you intake more calories without actually eating more, leaving you free to eat more nutrient-rich foods throughout the day.
This makes the mass gainer a classic first choice for increasing weight gain quality and quantity.
Best Mass Gainer For Healthy Weight Gain?
The best mass gainer on the market is Transparent Labs for pure muscle growth, where it offers a 3rd party tested and certified good manufacturing processes option.
It also provides 730 calories from a 2:1 mixture of carbs and protein – scientifically proven to be a perfect post-workout recovery choice.
This means a huge bump in protein and a significantly leaner choice than others on the market, allowing you to closely control your calorie intake.
We’ve provided a comprehensive review of the best mass gainers before, offering you a more in-depth look at the best weight gainer supplements on the market.
Creatine for Weight Gain
Creatine is a simple and super effective supplement for boosting muscle energetics, while also supporting recovery and water-uptake (3).
It’s also one of the most reliably effective and affordable dietary supplements on the market, making it perfect for gaining weight on a budget or adding some easy gains to your diet.
Creatine can easily be added to shakes, smoothies, or just taken directly. It has excellent synergies with carbs and protein, where it can significantly improve the functions of both in the muscle.
Carbs can be taken up into the muscle more effectively because:
- Creatine boosts water-uptake into the muscles and supports cell volume (a growth stimulus)
- Creatine and protein significantly improve muscle recovery after workouts and growth signaling
- Creatine protects against muscle damage, improving glycogen replenishment after exercise
These combined benefits make creatine a powerful weight gainer supplement for your diet, especially in combination with protein and carbs.
This makes it a powerful synergist for mass gainers, whey shakes, and even protein bars.
Best Creatine For Weight Gain?
The best creatine for weight gain is CellTech Elite from MuscleTech. It combines multiple creatine sources with extra electrolytes to support better muscle performance, hydration status, and recovery after workouts.
CellTech is also a great weight gain supplement in the short-term where it rapidly improves the functional fluids you can store in muscles.
This makes them appear larger and supports their health, which doubles up as a long-term muscle building factor for better results and higher quality muscle growth.
My second favorite creatine is DMoose Creatine Powder, that contains 5mg of creatine monohydrate set to prevent muscle damage and boost muscle growth, and help you bulk up.
Not sure if Creatine is the best choice for your weight gain diet? Want to know how creatine helps you gain muscle- and if it can improve your results?
Check out our discussion of Creatine for weight gain – and how it works to support better weight gain quality and quantity as you bulk up.
Appetite Stimulant Pills for Weight Gain
Appetite stimulant pills have a different mechanism to other weight gain supplements. Instead of being a nutrient by themselves, their ingredients support overall appetite, working to help you eat more real foods throughout the day.
Increasing appetite will improve your overall food intake, which is important when trying to use “clean” foods for your muscle growth.
This makes it easier for skinny people – in particular – to gain more weight as appetite is one of the most common pitfalls for dieting in smaller people.
Increasing your food intake is perfect for any kind of weight gain diet, as the capacity to eat is a major benefit for many people. Whatever foods you’re trying to eat, the ability to direct your diet more clearly is a great benefit – and that’s what appetite stimulants provide.
High-quality appetite boosters can significantly improve other factors. AppetiteMax, for example, includes additional benefits like the addition of magnesium and other health-boosting ingredients.
These support better muscle growth in quality and quantity, from diet to sleep quality, which are crucial to better overall results when trying to bulk up and gain muscle.
Best Appetite Stimulant Pill On The Market?
AppetiteMax is the best appetite stimulant on the market due to the combined effects of a powerful appetite-boosting herbal blend with secondary health-support.
It offers a blend of direct appetite support and indirect muscle growth support leaving you with the ‘best of both worlds’, combining a recovery and appetite supplement.
This is great because of the combined effects of better food and better nutrient support, as well as the synergistic benefits of the two to metabolism, recovery, and performance.
The end result? Better growth and the ability to make more, better food choices.
If you’re looking for a better appetite stimulant and want to know the tell-tale signs of the best appetite stimulant for weight gain, check out our full review of the market’s best.
Whey Protein for Weight Gain
Whey protein supplement is a dairy-based protein powder option that is derived from the fast-absorbing wheys found in milk proteins.
This makes it one of the best and most popular choices for weight gain protein, as it makes a perfect post-workout weight gaining supplement to stimulate muscle growth and repair (4).
The added protein improves the quality of lean muscle mass, making it easier to recover from workouts, reduce muscle damage, and provide the nutrients needed for growth.
This is the most important nutrient for muscles and having more typically means better results by quality and quantity.
Whey is also typically the most affordable protein option which makes it great for gaining weight on a budget.
Whey is a good all-rounder that lets you improve just about everything in your diet, though it does work best when combined with other nutrients – like carbs or creatine.
Best Whey Protein For Weight Gain?
The best whey protein for weight gain is Transparent Labs’ whey protein because it offers great purity and a 3rd party reviewed and tested formula. It is certified for good manufacturing processes and independently tested, making sure there are no contaminants or heavy metals in your protein supplements.
It’s also a pure, high-quality, and great-tasting option. With great taste and mixability, the transparent labs whey protein is the best example of simple, effective, and trustworthy whey for a high-purity choice with fewer calories.
If you want to use a whey protein to gain body weight, check in with our complete guide to whey proteins for gaining weight and building muscle.
It will take you through everything you need to know in order to make the right choice, as well as how you can get the most from your whey protein supplements.
Multivitamins for Weight Gain
Multivitamins are natural weight gain supplements containing a wide range of nutrients to support your overall health, wellbeing, and even muscle gain.
The goal of a multivitamin is to provide a well-rounded nutritional profile and reduce the risk of nutrient deficiency – which can seriously limit your results (5).
Multivitamins make nutrient deficiency very unlikely, while more advanced alternatives like the Supergreens powder can offer even more anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and pro-immunity benefits.
These are all on top of the benefits of a normal one-a-day multivitamin supplement.
The goal for multivitamins is simply to provide the nutrients you need and ensure that even the healthiest of diets has a good “top up”.
This is usually an inexpensive way to support health, energy, mood, total wellbeing, immunity, and – because of these benefits – weight and muscle gains.
Best Multivitamin Supplement For Weight Gain?
The best multivitamin supplement on the market is actually the SuperGreens Tonik superfood powder supplement.
It’s technically a multivitamin due to the significant amount of essential vitamins and minerals it provides, as well as the sheer bioavailability they offer compared to a cheaper, tablet-form multivitamin.
This product also offers a wide range of the best benefits to your health, wellbeing, and metabolism.
It has profound cognition and mood benefits, making it a perfect all-rounder for everything from health to muscle growth and even mental performance.
Benefits like these offer a significant extra value for your money, and make it even easier to get more from a single supplement.
We’ve discussed the benefits and drawbacks of different types of multivitamins before. In our complete review of multivitamins and supergreen powders, we discuss what to look for and why they’re so important.
If you want to understand what your vitamins and minerals are for, start there!
Protein/Granola Bars/Weight Gain Bars
Protein bars, granola bars, and weight gain bars are all excellent choices for adding more protein and/or calories to your diet.
They offer a simple and easy supplement choice that you can eat on the go without the prep required for a meal – or even a shake.
Protein bars are high-protein snack bars that offer an easy boost to your protein intake and can be either higher or lower calorie content.
These are just there to improve your quality of lean muscle mass, as they offer a way to improve your muscle-gain, though you will still need to achieve calorie surplus – and they won’t help much there.
Granola bars are a food item that is lower in protein but typically uses all-natural ingredients. They are packed with a wide range of vitamins and minerals, offering a wider range of nutrients to reflect their role as a wholefood bar.
Weight gain bars are like weight gainer shakes: they’re a mixture of high-calorie carbs and lots of protein to support your calorie surplus.
They still offer the same high-quality lean muscle mass support, boosting your total intake to improve quality and quantity of body weight gain.
What is the Best Weight Gain Bar?
The best weight gain bar on the market is the Met-RX Colossal Big100 bar. It is one of the most calorie dense protein bars on the market with around 400 calories, built around delicious flavors with a bigger ‘punch’ than just about any other on the market.
This provides one of the best single-serving calorie and protein boosts on the market, and is probably my favorite way to refuel after a workout.
You can throw it in a gym bag or work bag all day, and it doesn’t run the risk of exploding in your bag – unlike a protein shake.
We’ve discussed the finer points of protein bars vs weight gain bars and granola bars in the past. If you’re looking for a 1-1-1 comparison of the best weight gain bars on the market, we’ve got you covered
Pre Workout Supplements for Weight Gain
Pre workout supplements support lean muscle mass through improving workouts – the way you stimulate better muscle growth. Better workouts help support better results during recovery, as long as the two are well paired.
Some natural weight gain supplements go even further using performance-boosting ingredients that have post-workout benefits.
For example, the addition of citrulline can be useful for improving workout repeated-bout endurance, as well as supporting blood flow to muscles during and after workouts. That can help alleviate muscle damage, removing some of the worst effects, limiting growth.
Ingredients like creatine, beta-alanine, any nitric oxide booster, and even electrolyte additions like magnesium or potassium.
These all help, adding up to provide better overall recovery and growth, each with a distinct benefit during a workout.
Best Pre Workout For Weight Gain?
Transparent Labs BULK is a great pre-workout that directly focuses on the most effective workout supporting compounds, as well as recovery aids. This makes it a great way to both improve your workout and recovery.
By improving your stress and your recovery, you markedly boost your overall performance and results.
This is a great way to incorporate a single supplement into the two most important ways you can influence your own training. Improving both can significantly improve your body weight gain.
We’ve discussed pre-workout and their relationships with weight gain before. In our article, ‘best pre-workout for weight gain’, we’ve covered the most important factors for your pre-workout choices and how
Best Supplements for Gain Weight: FAQ
Are Mass Gainers Healthy?
High-quality weight gainers are healthy, depending on their role in your overall diet. They’re just liquid versions of high-calorie food choices like starch and protein, and are not inherently unhealthy.
Mass gainers are healthy when they’re used to produce a stable calorie surplus that is around 300-800 over your maintenance needs.
Despite being healthy, weight gainer shouldn’t be your main source of calories, as they don’t have the same vitamin and mineral content of whole foods.
What Makes a Good Weight Gain Supplement?
A good weight gain supplement provides many calories from carbs and protein, ensuring better weight gain quality and quantity. This makes it a direct contributor to muscular energy and recovery – the keys to driving up muscle growth.
A good weight gain supplement is also considerate of other needs like vitamins and electrolytes. These are secondary but crucially important as a part of a muscle-gain diet for better weight gain quality.
Do I Need A Mass Gainer To Gain Weight?
No – you do not need a mass gainer to gain weight. It’s just a convenient choice to consume more calories with less effort and without losing your appetite.
You can achieve the same results by eating real food, and a weight gainer should supplement a healthy diet. It should not be a crutch for a bad diet. Real food is simply more difficult and time-consuming than a weight gainer.
Remember: Mass gainers are supplements of convenience, not a replacement for effort and planning in your diet.
How Do I Gain Weight?
Weight gain happens when you are in a positive energy balance – eating more calories than you use in activity and exercise. These calories may come from food, drinks, or direct supplementation with a weight gainer (for example).
The quality of your weight gain depends on protein intake, primarily – more protein means more muscle gains and less fat mass. This makes your quality of weight gain the second priority, and is why the focus on calories, protein, and carbs are the main concerns for high-quality weight gain.
What Supplement Makes You Gain Weight The Fastest?
Mass gainers are the fastest way to gain real weight, as they improve your calorie intake and allow you to gain muscle more effectively.
This is specifically useful in breaking through weight gain plateaus and supporting better overall recovery and growth.
Creatine also helps support fast weight gain, but this is typically as fluids: creatine intake increases water and carbohydrate retention in the muscles as glycogen.
This makes you gain muscle quickly, and can support better muscle growth, but doesn’t directly increase your real weight gain – it’s transient weight.
What Supplements Should I Take To Gain Weight?
The most popular and effective supplements for weight gain are protein powders, creatine supplements, and mass gainers.
Protein improves muscle gains, creatine supports recovery and energy status, and mass gainers boost both energy and protein intake to support better all-round recovery and growth.
You may also take other supplements with more specific benefits. Pre-workout supplements improve workout performance to drive results, for example.
Recovery aids including magnesium and other high-quality nutrients can also be used to support recovery and growth.
Finally, an appetite stimulant may be a massive benefit if you’re finding it hard to eat more food. It is a good alternative or compliment to a mass gainer, helping you eat more food and giving you a better, more consistent approach to your weight gain diet.
Conclusion: Our Final Thoughts
Weight gain supplements come in many forms and today we’ve discussed the best supplements for weight gain in 7 of the most important and popular categories on the market.
Each of these is worth your time and money, and should be selected based on what suits your needs and preferences best.
It’s a simple but effective set of supplements, each of which will offer a different kind of support and benefit to your weight gain.
The focus has been a combination of quality and quantity in weight gain, offering a significant boost to your results in ways that are both visible and long-lasting.
The changes these supplements make occur primarily over time, so make sure that your thought for better weight gain is consistent.
It’s about making smarter choices over time and bringing together the right training, diet, sleep, and supplementation to really give your body the best chance of gaining healthy, high-quality weight.
If you are left with any questions or still don’t know what is best, dive into the reviews we’ve put together for each type of supplement.
They answer the more in-depth questions and provide an even more clear reasoning for why each supplement was chosen as our ‘best in class’!
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Rohan Arora is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist and has been actively involved in sports and fitness for over 8 years. He now leads the team of fitness specialists and personal trainers who help people around the world with personalized workout and nutrition plans, along with providing the right information on sports supplements.