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Weight gainer supplements, otherwise known as mass gainers, are most often used by exercisers and bodybuilders looking for a healthy way to increase daily caloric intake in order to gain weight and build lean muscle mass.
You may be asking yourself why someone would use a weight gainer product instead of eating more calories to bulk up. First and foremost, it may be difficult, if not impossible, for intense exercisers and weightlifters to eat enough healthy calories each day to support energy expenditure and metabolism.
Even more important is the fact that the right calories matter on the quest to gain healthy weight and lean muscle mass. A weight gainer formulated with balanced ingredients can be used for natural muscle building to prevent unnecessary weight loss and muscle breakdown in even the most rigorous workout program.
For the average exerciser or weightlifter, a mass gainer will provide:
- A superior source of protein and carbohydrates
- Convenient meal replacement solution
- Concentrated calories
A mass gainer is most beneficial when an exerciser has hit a plateau, making it difficult to build more lean muscle mass without the proper support.
Make no mistake - a weight gainer supplement is different from a protein powder because it contains a higher concentration of carbohydrates, protein, and calories in each serving. A weight gainer can promote healthy weight gain while supporting workout recovery with a concentrated blend of vital nutrients.
How do they work?
A number of weightlifters are ready to throw in the towel when they hit a wall in gaining muscle mass and size. Most often, these weightlifters fall into a specific category of slender body types with little fat and muscle mass.
A mass gainer supplement can encourage muscle gain thanks to two specific factors:
- High calorie content
- Concentrated macronutrient content
That’s right - at the most basic level, a weight gainer works with simple mathematics to help an exerciser consume more calories than they expend each day. A weight gainer supplement will provide the body with extra calories in one nutritious dose, ranging from 300 to 800 calories per serving on average.
From there, a weight gainer will supply the body with much-needed macronutrients to support healthy muscle growth for an increase in size and strength. Many weight gainers provide a balanced ratio of both fat and carbohydrates to serve as a complete meal replacement in the powdered form.
Weight gainers intended for post-workout recovery may also contain sugar as a quick-digesting simple carbohydrate to rapidly refuel muscle glycogen storages after a rigorous workout. The team at Genesis Nutrition Australia recommends that mass gainers with high sugar content are avoided at other times of the day since they could cause an energy crash and trigger long-term fat storage.
How will they benefit me?
When used with a diet and exercise program, a Genesis Nutrition weight gainer supplement can provide the following benefits:
- Safely increase daily caloric intake. If you try to gain weight by binging on fast food and sweet treats, you’ll only wreak havoc on your body without a hope of reaching your muscle gain goals. The smart and safe way to gain muscle mass is with the use of a balanced weight gainer supplement to meet high caloric requirements to compensate for an intense weight training program.
For example, it may be almost impossible to consume 4000 calories a day with whole foods alone, especially when training for hours in the gym. A mass gainer can be used to supplement a healthy, protein-rich diet with a balanced protein to carb ratio at high calorie concentrations.
- Consume the right dietary fats. A major benefit to using a weight gainer as a supplement to a healthy diet is to ensure that you consume specially formulated dietary fats to promote the formation of lean muscle mass. A weight gainer made with medium-chain triglycerides and little to no saturated fats is recommended.
For long-term gains in size and mass, healthy fats are a must to build lean, strong muscles; contrary to popular belief, eating fats like omega-3 fatty acids will improve physical training to build muscle mass without increasing body fat.1
- Increase creatine intake at the same time. Using a mass gainer formulated with creatine can pack a powerful one-two punch. For starters, you won’t have to take a separate creatine powder to support muscle growth and recovery. Instead, you can consume a balanced weight gainer supplement made with creatine to save both time and money, while supporting weight training results.
After reviewing weight gainers on the market, you’ll quickly see that creatine is a popular leading ingredient since it works best when taken with a large dose of fast-absorbing carbohydrates, found in most mass gainers. For exercisers in need of a calorie boost and creatine fix, it’s win-win!
What are the common types?
While most weight gainers are formulated with a high calorie content for healthy weight gain, weight gainer supplements may fall into several categories:
- Amino Acids: Weightlifters often use mass gainer supplements that contain protein and amino acids to provide a healthy source of additional calories, while promoting gains in muscle mass and strength.
- Appetite Stimulant: A weight gainer may contain an appetite stimulant to increase hunger for individuals with low appetites or exceptionally high metabolisms.
- Hormone Boosters: Natural testosterone boosters can be used to elevate testosterone levels to increase muscle mass and support weight gain as an added bonus.
- Vitamins/Minerals: Correcting a vitamin or mineral deficiency will make it easier to gain a healthy amount of weight in lean muscle mass as opposed to body fat.
Weight Gainer Supplements: Timing and Dosage
Each weight gainer on the market is entirely different. First and foremost, it’s important to understand your daily caloric goals in order to gain a healthy amount of weight, while supporting lean body mass.
According to Rutgers Fitness, lean body mass can be effectively built through the use of a weight training program and increased caloric intake.2 For the best results, it’s recommended to consume an extra 500 calories a day to compensate for intense exercise.
Depending on the manufacturer, a weight gainer may contain up to 1000 calories per serving; weight gainers are often formulated with digestive enzymes to improve digestion and increase calorie absorption. A weight gainer can be taken intermittently throughout the day at up to three servings per day - morning, afternoon, and evening.
1. Université Laval. "Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acids Have Positive Effect On Muscle Mass, Study Shows." ScienceDaily, 9 May 2007. Web. 3 Dec. 2012. 2. "Healthy Weight Gain Guidelines." http://www1.recreation.rutgers.edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2012.
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