Gaining weight can be a challenging process – it’s easy to wonder, will mass gainer make me fat? Is all this extra calorie intake risky? What if I don’t gain muscle?
Today, we’re discussing the most important questions you’ve got about mass gainers and what you need to know to get the most from it. We’ll be covering what mass gainers are for, how useful they are, whether or not mass gainers make you fat, and how you can gain weight without them.
Let’s get into the most important question: why do mass gainers exist and what/who are they for?
What Are Mass Gainers For?
Mass gainers are just a cheap and convenient alternative to eating more food more often to get into a calorie surplus. These supplements typically combine carbohydrate powder and protein powder to make a high-protein, high-carb, high-calorie mass gainer.
Mass gainers are for skinny guys and ‘hardgainers’, in particular, where they can overcome a weak appetite during weight gain. This makes them a great way to top up your intake without getting too full.
Mass gainers are also a pre-made carb and protein drink that can be perfect after a workout to boost your energy levels and kickstart the repair process.
This makes them a great choice for bulking up during intense and high-volume exercise – as with bodybuilders or athletes, for example.
Are Mass Gainers Useful?
Mass gainers are definitely useful – though they’re not better than real food, and overuse is a bad habit.
They are convenient and portable but they’re not the best calorie source, with a lack of nutrient variety and a very fast absorption speed.
Mass gainers are useful for their high calorie content but that can be too much for some people at some times.
Equally, they’re useful for practical reasons but don’t provide everything you need, which makes them situationally useful.
Mass gainers can be a great addition to a diet but they shouldn’t be used as a core part of a diet, where they become a detriment.
Remember that mass gainers are a tool that you can use – but they shouldn’t be a replacement for improving your diet, making smarter choices, and working on the weak parts of your recovery routine.
Does Mass Gainer Make You Fat?
No – mass gainer will not make you fat by itself, though it can be part of an over-eating diet that causes fat gain. The important thing is to balance your total calorie intake (including those from mass gainer) against your exercise. Too much surplus leads to fat gain.
The most important thing is the speed of weight gain and balance of intake and output. You take in calories from food and you need to use them for exercise.
A healthy weight gain – using mass gainers or not – is about 300-800 calories over your needs per day for good muscle gains.
Fat gains happen more quickly above this level, where your body doesn’t build enough muscle to use the extra calories (1).
It’s then stored as fat with nowhere to go since you’re still eating more but not moving more – and it can take a while to equalize again as you gain muscle.
Recommended: Here’s our comprehensive review of some of the best mass gainers available on the internet: https://www.gainingtactics.com/best-mass-gainer/
Better Mass Gainers = Better Weight Gain?
High protein mass gainer is less likely to cause fat gain, with a higher contribution to muscle development. This is true in the wider diet too: higher protein intake means less fat gain and more muscle mass gains.
You should aim for a lower calorie, higher protein choice if possible.
Leaner mass gainers like the Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer or Universal Real Gains both offer excellent ratios of protein to calories. Keeping these numbers high reduces your risk of excess fat gain and keeps you healthier while you gain weight.
Get more protein in the rest of your diet and continue to make smarter choices while you gain weight (2).
This is the core of improving your diet that should be your top priority, and is important regardless of mass gainer use. If you improve these other areas, everything gets better – and mass gainers have a better total impact.
Can You Gain Weight Without Mass Gainer?
Of course you can gain weight without mass gainer. You just need to eat more real food.
People have been gaining weight and building muscle mass for 100,000s of years before we decided to combine carbs and protein powder into mass gainer.
Increasing your intake of protein and carbs from other sources is the easiest and most effective way to gain weight without mass gainer supplements.
Weight gain is just about the math of your personal calorie needs and the foods you’re eating to provide them. If you’re not eating enough, it doesn’t matter what you’re eating. You simply can’t gain weight. On the other hand, eating enough of anything will let you gain weight.
It’s about making sure that you’re eating plenty of the right things – and balancing it against your personal needs.
Make sure to adjust your food intake to meet your specific goals, which may mean eating more calories per day if you’re not gaining enough, or less overall if you’re gaining too much fat.
Mass gainer supplements won’t make you fat – but they can be part of a diet that makes you fat. It’s important not to just choose the product with the highest calories, since more isn’t better. Your body can only build so much muscle and, after that point, you’re just funneling calories into fat gains.
The goal is to get the best quality mass gainer and produce a small calorie surplus with a high protein, vitamin, and mineral intake.
These are possible from any source and real food – meat, seafood, wholegrains, beans, pulses, and more – are the best options for your health and results.
Be smart in your choice of mass gainer and focus on improving the rest of your diet around it. The better your protein intake and more personal your calorie surplus (adapting your habits to how your body changes) are key players in high-quality weight gain and muscle building
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- Is Mass Gainer Good for Skinny Guys?
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.