A mass gainer is a type of protein powder—usually mixed with your favorite milk to create a shake—that is specifically designed to help you gain weight.
In a time when our country faces a difficult battle against obesity, you may ask, Why would I want to gain weight? True, most people want to lose weight, especially fat, but there are times when someone would want to gain mass, bulk up, and increase muscle. This is not the same thing as gaining fat.
Times like these are when you might want a mass gainer.
According to the sports fitness site BarBend, “The quality of weight you gain or lose depends largely on your macronutrient composition and type of activity, while the quantity of weight change is almost entirely dependent on caloric intake. The thesis is simple; the more calories you take in, the more weight you’ll gain. And this is the main selling point of any mass gainer supplement.”
What is in a mass gainer?
While a typical protein powder, such as this one developed by Performance Inspired, has 25 grams of protein and is relatively low in carbs, fat, and calories, a mass gainer product will typically be higher in all of these—especially calories, as you’ll see in PI’s mass gainer, Performance Smart Gainer, which has a whopping 900 calories per serving.
Many mass gainers also have vitamins and other nutrients, in addition to the added calories. These extra calories and carbs are vital for anyone wanting to add to their body’s mass.
PI’s Smart Gainer contains 50g of protein, 155g of carbs, 3g of L-glutamine, 5g of creatine, fiber, digestive enzymes, and a vitamin and mineral complex to help you recover, rebuild, and train harder. Plus, with two delicious flavors—Gourmet Chocolate Milkshake and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream—you can’t go wrong!
Along with a good workout regimen, PI’s mass gainer will help increase your muscle size and strength. It provides an energy-yielding metabolism boost. It also boosts exercise recovery. Plus, it helps maximize weight gain and lean mass objectives and even helps in recovery after health trouble.
Is a mass gainer right for me?
Anyone wanting to bulk up can drink a mass gainer, but it is important to understand that just drinking a mass gainer alone will not give you the results that you want. You must also work out or you will likely just increase the amount of fat in your body.
Nutritionists do caution those who are diabetics and those who are on a keto diet that this is likely not the supplement for you. Because most mass gainers have large amounts of corn syrup, maltodextrin, and other sugary ingredients, this could be dangerous for someone watching their blood sugar levels. And because of the high carb count, it does not fit into a keto diet.
Some people ask what the difference is between mass gainers and protein powder. Mass gainers will increase your body weight. They increase the insulin levels and promote fat storage in the body. Whey proteins tend to increase only lean muscle mass. They don’t give you that bulky effect.
BarBend explains the reasoning behind increasing carbs and lowering fat. Its trainers advise:
That’s the default macro split for gaining muscle: generally, folks go lower carb for weight loss and higher carb for weight gain. (Of course, there are exceptions, but this is a widely used rule of thumb.)
One reason for this is because carbs are our primary energy source: you’re likely exercising more than you would on a fat loss diet, you want your muscles to recover as best as they can, and carbs are the best way to get glycogen stored in your muscles. More glycogen in your muscles will help to keep you insulin sensitive and less likely to accumulate body fat throughout the consumption of all these calories. For most people, more carbs mean you can do a better job of training at the intensity and volume necessary to maximize the potential muscle gain.
How often should I drink the mass gainer?
You may wonder if it’s okay to drink calories instead of getting them from food. Trevor Kashey, PhD—a biochemist and fitness expert—states, “Drinking calories is totally reasonable,” and explains that building muscle comes down to “protein plus calories plus progressive overload.”
Once you realize that it is okay as long as it’s part of a healthy diet, you may then ask, “How much do I drink?”
First, as stated before, you must also eat a healthy diet so your body gets the nutrients it needs. Dietician Natalie Rizzo states: “The best way to gain muscle is to eat a well-balanced diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats. . . . Choose high quality protein, like poultry, fish, soy, beans, and legumes.”
She also reminds people that “it’s important to realize that muscle gains don’t happen overnight.” She says, “If you force yourself to have tons of protein at every meal in an effort to gain muscle quickly, you may actually gain fat.”
That’s when a mass gainer can help. But getting the right caloric intake and working out the right amount of time to bulk up rather than just gain fat can be tricky. And it may take some trial and error. According to Total Shape.com:
If you just want to build some muscles and get rid of body fat, then start with an extra 200 kcal daily. Carefully monitor your weight gain and BMI to make sure you’re targeting the growth of muscles and not fat gain. If you’re losing some pounds, then you definitely need to up your mass gainers, and if you’re piling on some flabby stuff, then you either need to reduce your intake or train more. For more serious bulking where you will be training at least once a day, then your starting point should be an extra 500 kcal per day, and the process for fine-tuning it would be the same.
The site continues by recommending that you drink a “protein supplement once you finish your cool-down, and then mix up the mass gainer when you get home, but still within an hour of the gym. This way, you can ensure that you have all the nutrition to help repair muscle damage and build new fibers, while not overloading your stomach with a massive protein intake which can cause cramping.”
How much weight will I gain?
This varies of course depending on your body type, current weight, and how much you work out. But according to fitness experts, those who are “natural athletes” can expect to gain 0.2 to 0.5 pounds of muscle each week. They suggest eating or drinking enough calories above your maintenance level to hit that number.
So, now that you know the benefits of a mass gainer and how it will affect your body, you can begin bulking up to get the body you want. Just remember to be careful and check with your doctor or dietician first to make sure that this increase in calories and fat will not harm your overall health. We know that you care about your overall health, and we do too!
Once you’ve decided to try a mass gainer, you know that you can try ours with confidence. We never use artificial flavors or additives, and all of our products taste great! Our Performance Smart Gainer mass gainer can be enjoyed one to three times a day within two hours of any meal. It’s easy! Just mix into your favorite cold drink and start reaping the benefits.