While most of the population strives to lose weight and get fit, there are some who’re looking for ways to put on weight. It may seem easy to just eat McDonalds all day and gain weight, but its way more difficult than it sounds. Every article that I write on weight gain starts with the importance of focusing on healthy weight gain, and eliminating every possible way to gain unnecessary fat. Result? Eating McDonalds or any other junk food for a regular period of time may not be the best bet for your long term health. In this article, we’ll be discussing about the best protein powder for weight gain and how you can choose the best whey protein to gain healthy weight.
What Exactly is Whey Protein?
While processing cheese from milk products, the water that churns out in the final process is what Whey Protein actually is. In short, the mixture of proteins in the form of liquid that is separated while cheese production is called whey protein.
This liquid goes through numerous processing units and finally the powdered form of whey protein is derived, which is flavorless and can be directly consumed. It is only then that the additional flavors are added to give is a taste. Before finding the best protein powder for weight gain, let’s discuss why we need whey protein in the first place.
Why Do We Need Whey Protein?
There are countless reasons for adopting a diet rich in protein, but we’ll only discuss about the benefits that are related to muscle building and fat loss and how we can use protein shakes to help gain weight.
Building quality muscles takes a lot more than just going to the gym and working out with weights. Legend says, you don’t grow in the gym, but in your bed while you are asleep. And you’d only grow while sleeping when you have fed your exhausted muscles with the right kind of nutrition. Does whey protein make you gain weight? Read on to get a clear idea.
Protein, which is said to be the building block of muscles, supplies essential amino-acids to the muscle tissues that are damaged while working out. Don’t freak out. Causing micro-tears in your muscle tissues is actually a good thing. Once you take the right nutrition, which includes protein rich foods, they’ll grow better and stronger. This repeated cycle over a long period of time helps you grow bigger and stronger, which is exactly what we wish to achieve.
To list down some of the important benefits of Whey Protein in muscle are:
1) Whey protein promotes muscle growth: As discussed above, whey protein helps repair the muscle tissue damage caused while working out. These tissues then grow stronger and better, helping in overall muscle growth.
2) Whey protein helps reduce hunger: Whey protein has shown the highest reduction in hunger as compared to proteins like soy and casein.
3) Whey Protein helps lose weight: Since whey protein is found to reduce hunger, it’s an excellent macro-nutrient to help you lose weight.( Don’t worry, this won’t happen here)
4) Helps improve body composition: Enough consumption of whey protein in a diet consequently leads to better lean mass gain, which in turn improves body composition.
Basic Principles For Weight Gain
Before I move on to our main topic of finding the best protein shakes for weight gain, you need to be clear about how your body gains weight, and how whey protein plays an important role in the process.
Firstly, a person who is under-weight has a body mass index(BMI) below 18.5. The problem with BMI calculator is it calculates based on your height and body weight, and ignores all other aspects including the muscle mass. Since it is a relative value, there may be a possibility that you’re perfectly healthy while still your BMI is low. Hence, having a low BMI does not necessarily mean you have health or medical problems.
NOTE: Eating junk, sodas and sugary items may promote weight gain, but they’re going to bring in various health disorders in the long run. When we talk about weight gain, we will always talk about the way to gain weight in a healthy way.
The only way your body puts on healthy weight is when it is in a calorie surplus. What this is means is your body needs a specific amount of calories a day in order to function properly. When you supply your body with more than the required calories it needs to maintain your weight, you start gaining weight.
For a better understanding on how much calories you need in a day to gain weight, check out this Daily Calorie Calculator.
Once you get the optimum amount of calories needed by your body in a day, add 300-500 extra calories per day to gain healthy weight. These extra calories should come from high quality, whole foods that are nutrient dense.
The best way to do this is to actually track your calories. While this may seem like a tedious task, maintaining a daily log of everything you eat and tracking calories is the most effective method to build muscle or lose fat. Sometime, it may happen that you feel you’re eating enough, while actually you’re just consuming enough calories to maintain your current weight. This is where tracking your calories help, and you would be in a better position to measure your goals once you have the list of things you consumed in a particular time span. Finding about the best whey protein powder for weight gain? You’ll know the answer in the next few minutes.
Why Focus Particularly on Protein?
While there are three macro-nutrients required by our body to function, protein is no doubt the most important, especially when it comes to building muscles. Some of the reasons have been mentioned above.
Since muscles are made up of protein, it is important that you consume enough protein to gain healthy weight, in form of quality muscles. If you focus more on carbohydrates and fats, you’re ultimately going to gain just unhealthy extra fat.
While trying to put on healthy weight, aim for 0.7-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight, or twice your body weight in kilograms.
There are multiple ways to include protein in your diet, out of which eating protein rich foods is the best thing you can do to gain weight. Some high quality protein rich foods include Chicken Breast, Whole Eggs, Salmon, Tuna, Dairy Products and Nuts. Checkout the list of some great protein rich foods for bulking to help you reach your goals.
Another way is to consider taking Whey Protein Supplements for weight gain. Make sure you consume most of your diet in form of whole foods and only use supplements to fill in the gaps. If you’re someone with a good appetite and have access to quality meals throughout the day, it is best to take all most of your protein from whole foods. The next step is to supplement your diet with a whey protein powder for weight gain.
What about Carbohydrates and Fats?
While gaining healthy weight, carbohydrates and fats are also important macro nutrients that you should keep in check.
Along with the right amount of protein, only focus on eating foods rich in complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Include foods like Whole Wheat Bread, Dried Fruits, Peanut Butter and Oats which are nutrient as well as high in calories to boost your weight gain process.
TIP: Dried Fruits are a great way to add calories to your diet. Make sure to include them in your diet for extra quality calories.
Shortcut to Weight Gain – Eat Calorie Dense Foods
Again, gaining healthy weight involves much more than going to the gym and gulping down protein shakes. While a protein rich diet is definitely needed, you also need to focus on the overall nutrition to supplement your weight gain process.
Some of my favorite go-to food items for weight gain are:
- Whole Wheat or Multi-Grain Bread
- Whole Eggs
- Peanut Butter
- Dried Fruits and Nuts
- Chicken, Meat and Fish
- Sweet Potatoes
- Dark Chocolate
Once you’ve consumed most of your diet using the right quality whole foods, you may go ahead and feed a little on junk foods. Let’s be real, no one wants to keep eating right for the rest of their lives. Having cheat meals actually does good to your body, helping you achieve your fitness goals faster. Hence always remember to give your body little breaks in between, but only once you have strictly followed a routine for quite a time.
TIP: Relax, check back everything you have been doing wrong all this while with the nutrition and fix it. We all make mistakes. Find the right nutrition and workout plans and try sticking to them for as long as you can. Take breaks, and enjoy life.
Does Whey Protein Alone Make You Gain Weight?
I’ve constantly talked about this topic before, and I’ll always talk about this in the future. There is no single food or supplement that can be credited for overall weight gain/weight loss. If you’re approached by a salesman claiming to have a product that does, you’re probably in the wrong place. How much weight you gain/lose depends on your overall calorie intake and expenditure over a specific period of time. If you’re constantly losing weight, considering you do not have a medical condition, chances are you’re eating lesser calories than what your body requires in a specific period of time.
Using the above statement, you can conclude a very basic result which can have a huge impact on your weight gain journey. If you’re eating more calories than what your body burns in a day, you’d be gaining weight. Period! We’re obviously not taking any medical conditions here.
When is the Best Time to Take Protein Powder for Weight Gain?
There is no best time to consume a specific food item or supplement. Your overall body composition depends on how much calories you consume over a period of time.
Calculate your daily calorie routine through our Daily Calorie Calculator here, and then include food items and whey protein supplements in your diet as per your convenience.
While you may consume whey protein powder anytime throughout the day, post-workout is a great time to replenish and repair muscles after an intense workout. Try to consume a serving within 30-45 minutes post workout to boost and speed up muscle recovery and gain muscle faster.
How to Use Whey Protein for Weight Gain
Whey protein can be easily taken by mixing it with water or milk, but it can also be added to various food items.
Always starting and ending my articles with the same statement, and that is to always focus more on whole foods instead of supplements. They are called supplements for a reason, and that is because they can never replace whole foods and are only used to supplement the diet. Use supplements only if you do not have access to quality foods all the time, or need some extra calories in a day in order to gain weight.
Whey Protein supplements are great if you’re looking for additional protein in your diet. A whey protein supplement can be mixed with water or milk, but can be mixed with various other items for a thick, delicious and nutrient rich shake. How to gain weight using whey protein? I suggest using homemade protein shakes for weight gain.
These shakes can contain from anywhere between 600-1000 calories, and consuming just two of these shakes will add over 1000-2000 calories apart from your usual calories, helping you gain healthy weight easily in no time. But will whey protein make you fat? Only if you want it to!
Is Whey Protein Good for Weight Gain?
There are multiple reasons why I consider home-made weight gainers to be better than general weight gainers in the market, both in terms of effectiveness and price. First, most mass gainers are overpriced for the quality of nutrients they provide, and most of them are only loaded with carbohydrates and especially sugars. While for an extreme hardgainer who is willing to spend a decent amount on supplements and looking for a protein powder for weight gain, mass gainers may prove beneficial. But for someone looking to put on decent muscle and does not have enough budget, making a home-made mass gainer shake is a much better option.
How to Use Protein Powder for Weight Gain
I always start my supplement reviews by stating that you should never be focusing more on supplements rather than whole foods. They are called supplements for a reason that they can never replace whole foods. Use supplements only if you do not have access to quality foods all the time, or need some extra calories in a day. Use whey protein for weight gain only when you’re done filling most of your caloric needs through whole foods.
Whey protein can be easily taken by mixing it with water or milk, but it can also be added to various food items. How to gain weight using whey protein? I suggest using homemade protein shake for weight gain.
This shake will contain somewhere around 500-600 calories or even more, and consuming just 2 shakes a day will give you 1000 extra calorie that too from quality ingredients.
How to Make your Own Home Made Weight Gainer Shake using Whey Protein?
There are many ways to make your homemade shake using your protein powder for weight gain. You can add items that you like to increase the overall calories. The items that I add to my weight gain shake are:
- 1 Scoop whey protein
- Peanut Butter
- Raw Oats
- Hershey’s Syrup
But you can add other items like raw egg, cocoa powder, vanilla ice cream, bananas, strawberries, honey, yogurt etc. Hence it is easier and better to get creative here, and blend in foods that can increase the calories as well as quality of nutrients in your weight gainer shake.
This way you can easily use your whey protein isolate for weight gain on a tight budget.
Side Effects of Excessive Whey Protein
There are no side effects of whey protein if used properly and within the given servings. The optimal amount of protein which you need to build muscle is 1g per pound of body weight. There is no need to take excess protein as it automatically gets flushed out of the body but can cause some side effects like nausea, cramping, bloating or diarrhea.
Always consult a qualified doctor before starting with any supplement including whey protein. It is not advised to take whey protein if you suffer from kidney or liver disease, lactose intolerant or have any other disease. The benefits of whey protein powder for weight gain will only be seen if it is taken in the right quantity.
Checkout: Dangers of excessive whey protein.
Which Whey Protein is Best for Weight Gain?
The next question is to decide the best whey protein for weight gain. There are many proteins supplements available in the market. Depending on your budget, availability and the quality of ingredients offered, you can choose a whey protein supplement as per your convenience. I’ve ranked my favorite whey protein supplements below.
Gold Standard is always listed as the number 1 whey protein brand by most of the review companies for a reason- and it is because of its high quality ingredients and effective compared with its price. If you have been into fitness for some time, Optimum Nutrition is one of those brands that you keep hearing about in the gym. It is one of the leading companies in Sports and Nutrition with high quality products like Serious Mass, Gold Standard Whey, Pro Complex Gainer.
ON’s Gold Standard whey contains 24g protein, 4g of Glutamine and 5g of BCAAs in each serving.
For people on budget and those looking for high quality protein as an affordable price, there’s no product that can beat Gold Standard Whey. The Double Rich Chocolate is my favourite, but you can try different flavours and stick to the one you like. Due to its affordable price and effectiveness, I always consider Gold Standard as one of the best protein shakes to help gain weight.
BSN’s Syntha 6 is another quality protein supplement you can use. It comes with 22g protein and 10g Essential Amino Acids per serving and helps in better recovery and development. The cost is slightly higher than Gold Standard Whey and this is the reason it is ranked after it
Loaded with 24g of protein in each serving, Cellucor’s Performance whey is another great whey protein available in the market. It has some enzymes for better digestion, mixes very easily and has some delicious flavors. Add this to your weight gain shake and you will get a thick creamy delicious weight gainer shake loaded with calories. Include this as one of your favorite best protein drinks for weight gain.
Another great whey protein isolate supplement with 22 grams of high quality protein per serving. This product contains 0g fats and only about 2 grams of fats per serving, and is put through an expert purifying process to get the maximum protein integrity. The reason for going with MyProtein is their absolutely low costs, which are due to simple packaging and less focus on advertisement costs. If you’re tight on budget or are from Europe region, MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate should definitely be in your consideration list. Because of its low price, Impact Whey Isolate indeed qualifies as one of the best whey protein powder for weight gain.
It is a blend of fast acting for repair and recovery and slow digesting casein for slower absorption, making it to the list of top protein powder for weight gain . The great tasting, easily mixable supplement contains around 25 grams of protein in each serving and is a perfect combination of concentrates, hydrolysates and isolates, egg albumin, and casein. If it fits your budget, Musclepharm’s Combat should definitely be in your stack.
That’s all folks. I’ve tried including every information about the best protein shakes for weight gain in a single article. Found something missing from the list, or have a point to make? Help us all out in the fitness community by letting us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Other short points to remember while gaining weight:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get adequate sleep. It is very important for your body to repair and recover in order to grow.
- Eat often, and eat more. Increase the portion or size of your meals, and then increase the frequency of your
- Consider taking a Creatine supplement.
- Workout with heavy compound movements, and focus on intensity.
- Slow down, and take breaks in between. Enjoy life!