Supplements – the word in itself describes its meaning – to supplement. Nutrition supplements have always been close to bodybuilders and athletes for the sole purpose of helping them reach their fitness goals faster. Some of the benefits of taking weight gain supplements include better performance, increase in muscle mass and better functioning of body.
We will be talking about the use of various sports supplements, how they affect weight gain and the best weight gain supplements that you can use to achieve your goals faster.
If you’re not aware about sports supplements and how they work, you may be missing out on the chance to reach your fitness goals faster. Supplements can never replace whole foods and aren’t something to be dependent on, but the right supplement use along with the right diet is something that can help you down the line.
With our society becoming more health conscious day by day, the demand for nutrition supplements is ever growing. This ever growing demand has led to a great variety of weight gain supplements so that people can choose according to their specific requirements. Some are highly effective while some provide slower results than others. Such is the diversity in the market that when it comes to these supplements and your body’s specific needs, it becomes almost impossible to make the best choice. I’ve already done the research about all of this, and this article will list all the supplements that are available in the market according to their effectiveness in helping you put on weight.
The different categories are mentioned below with the best options in each category mentioned so that the right choice could be made towards a healthy lifestyle. Adding these simple weight gain products to your diet can provide great help for you in gaining weight.
Weight Gain 101
Before we dive into the list of best weight gain supplements, we should be clear about how the weight gain process works. Once done, it’s only a matter of making the right food and supplement choices.
In simple words, our body needs a specific number of calories in a day in order to perform day-to-day functions and activities. When we balance the calories in such a way that at the end of a specific period, our calorie consumption was similar to the expenditure, we retain our body weight. This happens naturally.
On the other hand, if we consume a larger amount of calories(Calorie Surplus) than what our body burns in a day, the extra consumption over a period of time leads to weight gain. Fat or muscle gain depends on the amount of calorie surplus, and the kind of food choices you made in terms of macro nutrients. If your additional calories come more from fats and carbohydrates, you’re bound to see more fat gain. A balanced calorie surplus of protein, carbohydrates and fats leads to healthy muscle gain and minimizes fat deposits.
The same is true for weight loss. When you eat less calories than you burn for a specific period of time, you start losing weight. Surprised? These are just the basics.
While this may seem like an easy task to accomplish, counting calories is much more difficult than you think. This is why we take approximate calories into consideration, and we try to calculate calories in a food item to the best we can. This does not mean that you have to carry a notebook with everything that you eat listed with their calories and nutrition profile, but this does mean that from now on you start making choices and only include foods and supplements that help you achieve your fitness goals.
Best Foods to Gain Weight
Fact: You can gain weight and build quality muscle with just whole foods. However, you can never do this while solely depending on supplements.
Given the above fact is true, it is important that you realize that supplements aren’t going to take you anywhere if you do not already have a good diet plan. Since staying in a calorie surplus is important, you need to make sure that you’re making the right food choices apart from taking weight gain supplements.
The right foods to gain weight are the ones that are rich in protein and carbohydrates, while also being calorie dense. The best example of a complete weight gain meal is a Protein Smoothie – with ingredients like Whey Protein, Milk, Peanut Butter, and Oats, this smoothie is not just rich in macro-nutrients and calories, but is also easier to digest for your body.
Some other great weight gain foods include Oatmeal, Whole Wheat Breads, Whole Eggs, Peanut Butter, Seafood and Dark Chocolate.
Checkout the complete list of foods that can help you put on weight and build muscle: The Ultimate Weight Gain Foods List
Best Supplement for Weight Gain
Now that you know the basics of gaining healthy weight, and are sure about your diet being on point, we’ll now see the list of weight gain supplements. These supplements have been classifies into Highly-Effective, Moderately Effective and Likely Ineffective based on certain points that are mentioned for each supplement.
NOTE: Consult your doctor before starting with any nutrition supplements, and make sure that you do not have a medical condition or allergic to any of the ingredients. Every human body reacts differently to different supplements. Hence, make sure that you make the decision based on your own body type and research thoroughly before starting a program or supplement.
Highly Effective Weight Gain Supplements:
1. Mass Gainers/ Weight Gainers:
Weight gainers are a vast group of high-calorie supplements that are marketed to those who have trouble gaining weight.
Weight gain products often come with abundance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. This can quickly increase your calories, thus helping you maintain a caloric surplus. Mass gainers come with as much as 1200 calories per servings. They provide an easy alternative way for people to get more calories, as well as protein and carbohydrates. Adding weight gainer products to your diet increases the number of calories you are eating, although, taste and consistency of these products may not suit everyone.
The reasons why mass gainers make the best gainer supplement is because of their high calorie count and their ability to provide instant nutrition. They are considered the best supplement for weight gain, considering that you already have a great diet that includes high quality foods. Some benefits of mass gainers include:
1) Helps boost your caloric intake
2) Contains high quality macro-nutrients
3) Loaded with Protein and Carbohydrates
4) Helps in recovery and muscle building
While adding weight gainers to your diet can certainly increase the number of calories you are eating, some people find the taste and consistency of these products unpleasant. Price is another major factor where mass gainers do not generally win, as compared to whey protein supplements.
Related: Here’s How Whey Protein compares to Mass Gainers.
Given all of the advantages above, there may also be some side effects of mass gainers, which include excessive weight gain, nausea or stomach ache.
Here’s a complete article on how to use mass gainers, along with the list of top 27 mass gainers around the world: 27 Best Mass Gainers to Help You Gain Weight
2. Whey Protein:
Researches show that up to 35% of your daily calorie source should be proteins, and a daily intake of 1.5-2.0 grams per Kg of your body weight of protein is recommended per day. Tight schedules and lack of proper meals means that this intake is often not met. People now-a-days opt for protein supplements. That is one way to ensure you meet your daily protein intake.
Protein is known to repairs muscles and also helps build muscles, which ultimately helps you put on weight through lean muscle. This makes whey proteins the best supplement for weight gain for both men and women.
Protein also enhances the immune system and builds the muscle tissues quickly. Some of the benefits of whey protein include promoting muscle growth, improving body composition and helping repair muscle tissues. In points, here are some benefits of using a whey protein supplement:
1) Excellent source of high quality whey protein
2) Promotes recovery and helps repair muscles
3) Helps gain muscle
Whey protein supplement, specifically, is a great source to meet protein requirement for your goal, while being cheaper than mass gainers. Not to mention, there are ways to make your own mass gainer shake. Here’s an example of a meal that I drink post workout:
Take 1 scoop of Whey Protein supplement, and mix it with Milk/Yogurt, Peanut Butter, Oats and Honey, and you have a thick, calorie dense and nutritious weight gainer shake with you.
As is the case with every nutrition supplement, whey protein may have some side effects depending on your body type and any historical medical condition. It is always advised to consult a doctor before supplementing.
Some of the common side effects of whey protein supplement include nausea, cramping, bloating or diarrhea. If any of these side effects start to occur, immediately discontinue use and refer to a doctor.
Here’s a complete article on how to use whey protein to gain weight and why it is one of the best weight gain supplements: How to Use Whey Protein for Weight Gain
Creatine has a property of retaining water in cells to make them look a little bulkier and fuller. Naturally found in our muscle cells, creatine enhances muscle functionality and improves strength, making it a great supplement to gain weight fast. The extensive energy production that is caused due to creatine intake makes it a perfect choice for people looking to enhance their gym performance and build muscle.
Creatine is widely searched and has become increasingly popular among people affiliated to sports. Even outside sports, gym trainers encourage their clients to go for creatine as it provides effective results and is a great performance enhancer. The recommended dosage remains between 5-10 grams per day.
Creatine transforms into phosphocreatine after intake and is stored in muscles. This later acts as energy fuel for workout. Within 1-2 weeks of supplementing with creatine, you’d notice an increase in the amount of weights you lift, which in turn may help you build muscle faster. Here are some benefits:
1) Improves exercise performance
2) Improves muscle growth
3) Helps muscle cells in producing more energy
Creatine Monohydrate is the best creatine for the purpose of building muscle, and it is both cheaper and more effective than other creatine products. It is advised to fir load creatine by taking more servings than usual. After 5-7 days of loading phase, you can go back to the normal recommended serving, which is 5g per day.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water while supplementing with Creatine, to eliminate any adverse effects on kidney and liver.
For more information on how creatine helps in gaining weight and its side effects, read the article here: How Does Creatine Help in Gaining Weight
4. Multivitamins and Fish Oils:
Vitamins are essentials required by the body in a specific amount at a certain time. It is necessary for regular development of the body.
Certain vitamins like Vitamin B-12 is important in the muscle building process as it processes proteins carbohydrates and fats. Other vitamins like vitamin D boosts metabolism and increases hunger, especially amongst women. They are highly effective for all kinds of fitness goals.
Multivitamin not only helps in growth of muscles but also increases appetite. Its consumption leads to release of acids which increase appetite and may essentially help in weight gain.
Fish oil, on the other hand, contain Omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial for the health. These have to be taken in the form of supplements or food. With hectic routines and irregular meals, fish oil supplements are becoming an increasingly popular option. Some benefits include:
1) Supports heart health
2) Helps body in performing day-to-day functions
The reason why Vitamins and Fish oils fall under highly effective supplement is clear, in order for your body to function properly; you need them in your diet in the right amount. Since these supplements make sure that your body functions well during day-to-day functions, it is important that you take multivitamins and fish oil supplements during any fitness routine.
5. Carb Blends:
Carbohydrates have the tendency to affect muscle growth. They also prevent muscle loss and enhance the metabolism. They allow performance optimization that help muscles to grow and build stronger. When it comes to weight gain products, carbohydrates are often overlooked. This is a mistake.
Consumption of carbohydrates releases insulin, which increases protein synthesis which in turn helps muscle growth.
Carb blends are combination of essential carbohydrates. These include dextrose, fructose (fruit sugar) and Maltodextrin. Some say it is the best supplement for weight gain in a short time. The most effective way of consuming car blends is mixing it with whey protein. This proves it to be a highly effective and essential weight gain supplement.
The reason for including carbohydrates in your diet is clear, but it is important that you take most of it from diet. Foods such as Oatmeal, Whole Wheat Breads, Vegetables, Sweet Potatoes and Nuts are excellent sources of carbohydrates.
At last, if you still feel the need to include more carbohydrates in your diet, Carb Blends could come off as great options. Here are some reasons why:
1) Loaded with carbohydrates
2) Helps you provide more energy
3) Glycogen replacement
Moderately Effective Supplements:
1. Pre Workout:
Pre-workout is usually in the form of powdered drink, and is known to enhance gym workouts and training sessions. As the name suggests, it is to be taken before gym sessions. Different market brands have their own formula for pre-workout supplements. Some might contain carbs and creatine while some may also include essential BCAA’s.
As far as health is concerned, pre workouts are not usually considered very healthy. Although, this has not altered its popularity amongst public. If you’re constantly losing concentration while in the gym, or do not feel energized throughout the session, it might be time to include a pre-workout drink for your workout.
Pre-workout contains all kind of a mix of supplements. They may also contain weight gain supplements like creatine monohydrate and essential BCAA’s. They also contain many performance enhancing supplements like caffeine, carbohydrates and even beetroot juice. The combinations and formulations can be plenty. But with this variety in ingredients, there may be some specific ingredients that do not suit your body.
Hence, it is always advised to consult a doctor before supplementing with a pre-workout drink.
Choosing the right mix according to your body’s gaining needs is very important. This will help you focus in the gym more and work out with even more intensity; eventually helping you build more muscle and gain weight. Pre-workouts also claim to help you get a better pump, thus forcing blood into the muscles to get that pump.
Looking for a focused workout and better pump? Try using a pre-workout drink!
Glutamine is an essential amino acid naturally found in our bodies. It is the most common amino acid present in our muscles. As a result of extensive workout, levels of glutamine decrease in our body. This decreases stamina strength and the ability of the body to recover. That’s where we need glutamine supplements by our side.
Some Protein supplements already have glutamine present in them. It helps in protein synthesis and prevents muscles from being eaten up.
Glutamine is also known to boosts the immune system, while also preventing the breakdown of muscles. It is a popular weight gain supplement amongst gym goers. The recommended consumption of around 10-15 grams a day is enough to help your body recover from sore muscles and help it grow better and stronger.
As far as its adverse effects are concerned there aren’t many. Excessive consumption may cause stomach upset or nausea, given that you have a pre-medical condition or the supplement did not suit your body.
The reason for including this weight gain supplement as a moderately effective is because glutamine is easily available in most of the protein rich foods. And if you’re taking a whey protein supplement, chances are you’re already taking in the right amount of glutamine. Hence, additional glutamine through supplements might not help you with the weight gain process faster, but will only drain your budget. All of this certainly does not make glutamine the best supplement for weight gain.
Some of the best natural sources of Glutamine include Whole Eggs, Beef, Skimmed Milk and White Rice. Here’s a great list of foods: https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/glutamine-rich-foods-you-should-add-to-your-diet/
3. Energy Bars:
Energy bars contain high amounts of carbohydrates and sugars, and may also contain moderate amount of proteins. They are usually made for athletes as they provide instant energy boosts. It is filled with all essentials to provide effective energy instantaneously. It acts as fuel for muscles. They add extra kilo-joules (energy) making them most efficient for short workouts.
They may help with weight gain as the protein content helps repair muscles and rebuilding of muscles. It can be taken before workout as a performance enhancer, due to the presence of carbohydrates and sugars to help you lift more due to extra energy. It may also be taken as recovery food to curb hunger.
The concentrated form containing sugars, carbohydrates and proteins makes it easily accessible and convenient to have. You can save half a bar to have later, helping you get those extra calories on the go!
Since the energy bars are only used as go-to products to curb hunger and for instant energy, they’re classified as moderately effective weight gain supplements. Use them occasionally in order to fulfill your caloric needs, or to get that instant energy right before a workout!
Likely Ineffective Supplements
BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids. These are 3 essential amino acids branched together namely Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. Being the most vital amino acids for muscle growth, an adequate amount will make sure that you help recovers properly from the workouts and grows stronger.
BCCAs are present in almost all sources of protein. Chances are, you’re already getting the right amount of BCAA’s either through the diet or whey protein supplements. Although being effective for muscle growth, consuming more than what body needs is not going to help you put on weight faster. Since whey protein supplements already have these in abundance, you should avoid taking specific BCAA’s supplements.
However, if you’re on a vegetarian diet or on a low protein diet, considering BCAA supplement may be a good option. This will make sure that you recover faster from your workouts, and are getting enough essential amino acids to build muscle and gain weight.
Other than that, there’s not much that you will get specifically from BCAA supplements. Since you would already be taking a whey protein or mass gainer supplement along with a high protein diet, avoid spending more on BCAA’s. This is why it has been classifies as a likely ineffective supplement.
2. Testosterone Boosters:
Testosterone is a vital hormone that is essential for muscle growth. There are a wide variety of testosterone boosters available in the market. All of them claim to boost hormone and produce more muscle.
They compose of various ingredients. Some of these include fenugreek, D-aspartic acid, DHEA, or ashwagandha. Some studies have shown that a few of these may have possible health benefits, helping your body increase testosterone levels.
Naturally declining testosterone levels lead to decline in muscle mass. It also affects aerobic endurance of the person, and may also affect the stamina. Regardless of all this, natural testosterone boosters aren’t able to increase the levels to a point where you start seeing significant results.
Despite its popularity, testosterone products are mostly ineffective as they don’t contain sufficient amount of testosterone. Their side effects are well documented and could be severe. Hence due to studies those have shown the impact of natural testosterone boosters on muscle gain, which is not much, natural testosterone boosters are classifies as likely ineffective weight gain supplements.
3. Fat Burners:
Fat burners are essentially made to lose weight. As the name suggests, they’re commonly taken by people who’re looking to lose weight.
A popular fat burner option in the market is caffeine. Caffeine as we know is present in coffee and gives us that all important morning boost. Caffeine supplements are made from natural ingredients. Functioning of caffeine works in such a way that makes you stop feeling tired. Caffeine combines with adenosine receptors (which makes you feel tired) and blocks them. This makes you stop feeling tired. This essentially increases your metabolism and also makes you work out that that extra bit more.
Being self understood, fat burners work in the exact opposite way that we want, helping people to lose weight. This is why they fall under the ineffective weight gain supplement category.
CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid. It is a term used to classify a group of fatty acids that may boost the health. These are not essential but they might help with some health benefits. They are mainly used by patients with type 2 diabetes. They may also be used as fat burners.
CLA’s have not had any proven reports regarding its benefits. It does promote fat loss to some extent. Muscle building requires extensive workout with the right supplements. CLA’s still need results to back up its claims.
Without proper nutrition and workout, CLA’s are ineffective supplements that are unproven and do not provide results. It may prove to be a better option for weight lose than gaining weight. Hence, they’re one of the ineffective supplements for weight gain.
Weight Gain Pills:
Weight gain pills are getting popular day by day. The idea that one can put on a few kgs of weight just by popping a pill is intriguing.
Although this fast weight gain supplement is gaining popularity at a rapid rate, people are still skeptical when it comes to popping pills to gain weight. When it comes to these pills, you have to be careful. They are effective but might also have certain side effects.
Weight gain pills might help you gain weight easily and effectively. It is sometimes even prescribed by your normal physician and may enhance muscle build in the body at a rapid rate. However, it is important to thoroughly research on any product that you wish to consume for your body.
Not all bodies are similar, and not every body reacts to products in the same way as others. While most natural supplements to gain weight do not have any side effects if taken properly, weight gain pills may be an exception. The weight gain pills that guarantee of increasing muscle mass and help get bulky may not be natural and may contain steroids. Hence it is advised to research before buying, and always buy from a genuine source.
These pills may contain essential vitamins alongside other ingredients, but may have potential side effects. These include stomach issues, skin rash, allergic reactions, irregular heartbeat, asthma etc. These side effects have made them less widespread than other supplements in similar range.
Also, when it comes to weight gain pills you may have to loosen your wallet. These don’t often come cheap and the ones that are may not be effective.
What should be remembered is that healthy weight gain supplements only boost the weight gain process. Lifestyle change and exercise still remain essentials to gain weight for both men and women. If you’re planning on depending on supplements for a quick fix, you may be wrong.
Putting on healthy weight requires you to stay in a calorie surplus, which is to consume more calories than you burn. There’s no way around. Since increasing calories on a constant basis is not easy, the weight gain supplements mentioned above are going to help you through the journey.
There are many healthy weight gain supplement options available now with proven results. It is important to choose according to your very specific needs. Each person has different requirements and these requirements are vary depending on your body type and specific goals. It is important to research and decide which effective weight gain products you need.
Last but not the least, make sure you’re indulging yourself in a physical activity like working out in the gym, and focus more on heavy compound movements like Squats, Dead-lifts, Pull-ups and Bench Press. Make sure you’re drinking enough water, and get adequate sleep for your body to repair. Combine all of these with the best weight gain supplements listed above, and you’re on your way to get big in no time!
Got suggestions about the above supplements, or have a specific supplement that you think can help us all? Tell us about it in the comment section below!