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Mass Gainer vs Meal replacement – which is best? That’s today’s topic.
These 2 weight gainer supplements share a lot of similarities but they also have some differences that might be right for your goals.
If you get the wrong one, there’s definitely the risk of missing out on some of the most important nutrients for health and performance.
Whether it’s for muscle mass or better workouts, knowing your mass gainers from your meal replacements is key to getting the most from your weight gain supplements.
What is a Mass Gainer Supplement?
Mass gainer is a simple supplement combining carbs and protein for a high calorie shake – which is great for skinny guys who want to bulk up and build more muscle mass.
They’re popular and relatively cheap, but they’re also quite one-dimensional.
Mass gainers are very simple in their offering and they don’t pretend to be very sophisticated. They’re carb powder and protein powder – sometimes with added nutrients, but not always – that help you eat more.
They’re a supplement to help you get more calories and protein into your diet, especially if you’re struggling to eat enough to build muscle.
Who Are Mass Gainers For?
Mass gainers are typically for smaller, skinny guys trying to get into better shape and add muscle to their frame. They’re about bulking up and they contribute anywhere from 500 to 1300 calories to your diet per day.
These are all meant to be added to your diet as a way to compensate for lower appetite, most of the time. However, there are definitely other good uses for mass gainers:
- Busy people who need to top up on calories and protein
- Post-workout mass gainer shakes for recovery
- Extra calories for young people with no control over their daily meals
- An easy on-the-go source for busy working or studying days
- As part of an athlete or bodybuilder’s strategic dieting plan
You don’t need to be 125lbs to make use of a mass gainer.
Some of the lower calorie, high protein mass gainers can be great products for all purposes and make up the gap in your diet to get into that muscle building zone (around 300-800 calories over your daily maintenance needs, known as TDEE).
What are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes are a healthier alternative to mass gainers – because they are designed to replace real food.
As a result, they have a more health-conscious nutrient profile with a higher vitamin and mineral content, as well as fiber and other important additions.
These shakes are typically more expensive than mass gainers because they’re providing a much wider range of nutrients.
They’re also required to be far more well-designed – it’s not just carbs and protein.
The fat content does make them less effective as post-workout shakes, but only slightly.
This kind of meal replacement has become popular lately due to the rise of products like Huel and Soylent, which have gained some cultural traction in busy people and work-focused ‘grindset’ types.
NOTE: Between Huel vs mass gainer, we recommend taking a mass gainer as it would offer more calories per serving, which is required for gaining weight. Huel, on the other hand, is a great meal replacement but does not provide enough calories per serving.
Who Are Meal Replacement Shakes For?
The meal replacement shake is usually for a super-busy or regularly-traveling individual.
The target market is clearly 25-45 with a lot of money but very little time, trying to get a decent nutrient intake with relatively limited time and no cooking prep.
When you use a meal replacement shake as a mass gainer, however, you get a different picture.
It’s a great way of adding a more well-rounded liquid calorie source to your day, with less protein (typically around 25-30g per serving, as compared to 50g from mass gainers), but far more vitamins and minerals.
This can be a great addition if the rest of your diet is relatively high protein and well balanced.
It makes for a fantastic, lower calorie addition to tip you over into the muscle-building zone and promote better health and wellbeing while you grow.
Recommended: Check out some other comparison articles between mass gainer and other supplements:
Whey Protein vs Mass Gainers: Click here
Creatine or Mass Gainer: Click here
Our Verdict: Mass Gainer vs Meal Replacement Shakes
Between mass gainer vs meal replacement, mass gainer is a better option for skinny guys to bulk up and gain weight because mass gainers contain the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Mass Gainers are also high in calories, helping you gain weight through a calorie surplus.
Meal replacements, on the other hand, are expensive and may not provide the right balance of macro-nutrients and calories required to gain weight.
Mass Gainer is the most economical way to gain muscle mass, while meal replacement shakes are definitely healthier but lack some of the punch and economy that gainers offer. They both represent good liquid calories for weight gain, but mass gainer is more popular because it’s so singular in purpose.
The people who are most conscious of gaining weight are typically small, young guys lacking confidence and expendable income.
This is why mass gainer is so popular, and it’s got other applications that many people overlook.
Using meal replacement shakes as a mass gainer supplement is a very smart move for anyone looking to get a moderate calorie and protein boost, with all the bells and whistles that keep you healthy and functioning optimally while you gain weight.
You Might Like:
- Huel vs Mass Gainer: Can It Help Build Muscle?
- Does Mass Gainer Make You Hungry?
- Mass Gainer Vs Casein for Weight Gain
- Does Mass Gainer Work Without Working Out?
- 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.