So you want to gain some weight. Not just any weight. If that were the case, you could just sit on the couch with a bag of Hot Cheetos watching Married With Children reruns. No, you want to gain healthy weight, muscle, size. One of the ways you can pack on lean muscle is by incorporating a mass gainer supplement into your routine. But before you choose a gainer, there are a few things you should know about how to make it work best for you. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re getting the most from your mass gainer.
Examine Its Ingredients
If you’re going to invest your time, money and effort into a mass gainer to help you meet your goals, make absolutely sure that it has the ingredients to get you there. There are a lot of ingredients that may help you put on weight, but you don’t want those extra pounds to come as pure fat. It’s important to know what’s in your mass gainer before you pin your muscle-building hopes on it.
Pay special attention to the sugar content of your mass gainer. All mass gainers are not created equal. Weight gainers, when they first hit the market, were just cheap protein powders loaded up with sugar and fat to boost their calorie content. According to BodyBuilding.com, they could clock in at up to 3,000 calories for a serving of 128 ounces (one gallon). Impractical, unhealthy and totally counter-intuitive if you’re trying to build your body by eating clean. On top of that, the protein quality was pretty poor, too. Poor quality proteins are difficult to absorb and incorporate. BodyBuilding.com says there are still plenty of this kind of crappy gainer on the market. Buyer beware. Both whey protein concentrate and isolate are regarded as high quality protein sources.
Pay special attention to the sugar content of your mass gainer. Everyone knows products loaded with sugar are bad news. Sure, they might taste a little better, but your body is going to suffer both short-term and long-term negative effects. Excessive amounts of sugar can produce a spike in insulin levels and increase your levels of serotonin, which can make you feel drowsy and give you a headache. Plus that insulin spike can tell your body it’s time to store fat. That’s the opposite of what you want. BodyBuilding.com says to aim for between 30 and 60 grams of sugar per serving.
Time It Right
There is a huge debate in the bodybuilding community over when exactly you should be taking your mass gainer to get the best results. Some people advocate getting your extra calories in before you hit the gym to fuel your workout. Some say that a mass gainer is best chugged right after a workout for a recovery drink with lots of protein. Others recommend drinking it right before bed or as soon as you wake up. It seems like just about everyone has an opinion on the best time to take it.
The truth of the matter is that there is no best time to take a protein-rich mass gainer. The best time is whatever time meets your needs, so long as you’re meeting your nutritional requirements every day. According to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, whether you consume protein before or after your workout doesn’t matter much. The study found that the timing of protein ingestion doesn’t make as much of an impact on your muscle protein synthesis as the timing of carbs and amino acids does. Because mass gainers are, in large part, protein, you can pretty much take them whenever it is convenient for you. Just don’t load up too heavy right before a workout. There’s nothing worse than leaning into a heavy squat with what feels like a chocolate milkshake sitting in your stomach.
Pair It With The Right Workout
If you’re drinking a mass gainer without working out, you might as well be pounding a chocolate milkshake. And while there’s no single, exact way to guarantee your gain of as much mass as possible through your workouts, there are definitely some dos and don’ts to follow that will help you get the most from your gainer.
If you’re looking to put on as much mass as possible, the logical thing to do is to workout as long and hard as possible, right? Nope. Pouring hours into a high-intensity workout in the gym might actually do you more harm than good when it comes to packing on muscle. According to Men’s Fitness, it’s actually counterproductive to focus on high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts and it could end up leaving you with less muscle than when you started. Most classes and routines that center around the HIIT philosophy are designed to encourage weight loss. When you’re looking to gain, especially if you’re what’s called a hard gainer who has trouble building lean muscle, heavy resistance is going to work best for you. Don’t waste your time running circuits.
Be careful not to spend too much time in the gym, either. Men’s Fitness says that lifting weights for hours could benefit you to a certain point, but after that it becomes counter productive. After about an hour of intense, heavy lifting, your body will begin to release stress hormones like cortisol, which are going to stunt muscle growth. It’s a waste. Instead of slaving away for hours, cut out inefficient exercises and get more done in less time at the gym. Focus on compound movements and limit yourself to about 45 minutes of active lifting time each session. In combination with a good mass gainer, you should start seeing results.
Make Sure You’re Getting The Right Nutrition
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: not all mass gainer formulations are created equal. Not only are some of them loaded with unnecessary sugar, but the quality of their ingredients may be lacking. At Performance Inspired Nutrition, we’re dedicated to using the highest-quality natural ingredients that we can. Our quality standards are rigorous to ensure that you’re getting the best product possible to help you meet your fitness and physique goals. Keep your eye out for a mass gainer that falls right in line with the high quality and great taste of the rest of our all-natural products.