Not everyone is desperately trying to lose weight. In fact, some people are trying to do the exact opposite and gain weight or build muscle mass.
Whether you’re a bodybuilder, someone that lives an active lifestyle, or someone looking to improve your body physique, there’s a good chance you’ll need to increase the amount of nutrients you’re receiving daily.
Food will be the best source for this, but many people struggle to eat more throughout the day. Protein powders can help you increase your protein intake, but they won’t include the calories, carbs, fats, and other ingredients you need.
If you’ve found yourself in this struggle, there’s a way to help your body get what it needs with a different kind of powder — a mass gainer.
What Is A Mass Gainer?
Mass gainers are the perfect solution to anyone who feels they aren’t getting enough from their protein powders. They will contain a wide range of macronutrients — not just protein — that will help you maximize your normal healthy diet.
Since mass gainers will contain macronutrients that are equivalent to an entire meal, it’s essential that they are taken with caution. They should be paired with a healthy diet and regular exercise routine for best results.
To ensure you make a healthy and informed decision when shopping around for mass gainers, we will detail everything you need to know before purchasing. To top it all off, we’ll give you a list of our favorite mass gainers on the market today.
Let’s get started!
The Five Pillars Of A Quality Mass Gainer
The first thing you’ll notice when looking at mass gainers is the wide range of brands and products to choose from. They’ll all make the same ridiculous claims and guarantees, but not all will live up to their own hype.
If you want to understand the difference between a quality mass gainer and one that falls in the “bust” category, you’ll first have to know the five pillars of every mass gainer — which are:
That thing you either absolutely hate or completely love, calories are actually a unit of energy. The more calories a meal has, the more energy that meal will provide you with.
There are three macronutrients that will determine the amount of calories in a meal — protein, carbohydrates, and fat. You’ll find 4 calories in every gram of protein or carbs, as well as 9 calories per gram of fat.
While we all need calories on a daily basis, you also need to ensure you’re getting the calories from quality sources.
Also known as the building block of all life, protein is one of the six essential macronutrients your body needs daily to function properly. It provides energy, builds muscle, strengthens bones, boosts the immune system, burns fat, helps recovery, and is heart-healthy.
You should be receiving 0.36g of protein per pound of bodyweight, though that number should be increased if you’re looking to gain mass.
Also known as carbohydrates, carbs will contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules in certain ratios.
Their main role in the body is providing and storing energy, but they do much more than just that. Carbs are essential to preserving muscle, improve heart health, and are good for digestion.
In a typical 2,000-calorie diet, you’ll want to aim for around 225-325mg of carbs per day. If you’re eating more than that, the amount of calories you receive from carbs shouldn’t exceed 50-60%.
A type of carbohydrate, dietary fiber is unlike other carbs because it isn’t broken down when digested. It does, however, have an extremely important role in the body. It helps with weight management, the regulation of your digestive system, blood sugar control, and maintaining cholesterol.
It’s highly common for Americans to struggle getting the necessary daily amounts of fiber. Women should aim for 20-25 grams of fiber per day, while men should target 30-40 grams of fiber.
When most people hear the term “fats,” they immediately think of the bad types that our body doesn’t need. Believe it or not, there are also good fats that are essential to your body’s function.
Saturated fats are the ones that aren’t so healthy, while unsaturated fats are what you want to target. Fats are further grouped into a variety of categories including fatty acids, lipids, oils, animal fats, and vegetable fats.
When we consume fats, our bodies store it for protection, warmth, and energy. Your total fat intake should never exceed 30% of your total daily calorie intake.
These five macronutrients — calories, protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and fats — are going to be at the heart of all quality mass gainers. Everyone will require different amounts each day, especially depending on what their goals are and what their current lifestyle accounts for.
At the end of the day, you’ll want to sit down and figure out your current macronutrient intake, then decide what you want your new intake to be, and then find a mass gainer that helps you split that difference.
What else can be found in a mass gainer?
Aside from what’s listed above, mass gainers will also provide heaping amounts of other ingredients. Vitamins and minerals are two macronutrients that will make a large difference, especially since many people are deficient in at least one vitamin or mineral.
A majority of consumers adding mass gainers to their daily regimen are also leading active lifestyles in the gym. Due to this, many mass gainers might include popular exercise-enhancing ingredients to give you an extra boost throughout the day.
Some ingredients you might find will include caffeine, citrulline, beta-alanine, and HMB. Since the key to gaining mass is combining your nutrition with exercise, the ingredients listed above will help you get the most out of your workouts.
Using A Mass Gainer Properly And Safely
As helpful as mass gainers can be to your daily diet and weight goals, they can easily cause more damage than good when not used properly. It’s very easy to neglect, especially given how easy it is to get the necessary amount of calories, protein, and more.
Below, we’ll examine some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding the use of mass gainers and how you can safely avoid any unnecessary outcomes when adding them to your diet.
Who should use mass gainers?
Much like the name suggests, mass gainers are designed for those that want to increase muscle mass and gain weight. In order to do so, you have to eat more calories than you burn and make sure you’re receiving healthy calories.
Many people with an active lifestyle will eat the recommended daily amounts of macronutrients, but won’t see the gains they were hoping for. Mass gainers are for people who need that extra little boost with their diet.
Can you use a mass gainer as a meal replacement?
The short answer to this question is no — and that will never change. Contrary to popular belief, mass gainers are not meal replacements. Many people will assume that they can swap their breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a mass gainer shake, but that’s not what they are designed for.
Like we were mentioning above, mass gainers are additions to your diet — not replacements. They shouldn’t be used to help you reach the recommended daily amount, but should be used when trying to match your calorie intake with your active lifestyle.
When should you take mass gainers?
Deciding on when to take your mass gainer will largely depend on your typical daily routine. If you work out every day, it’ll be best to take your mass gainer after you’ve finished exercising. On days you aren’t working out, you may want to save it for before bed or take it first thing in the morning.
Preference will play a large role here. Some people might struggle to digest certain mass gainers and will formulate their schedule depending on when they feel best.
How do you take a mass gainer?
Mass gainers will come in powder form — just like a protein powder — and can be added to a beverage, shake, or smoothie. There will be directions to follow on the product label, as far as how many scoops yield how many macronutrients.
Since most mass gainers will be difficult to stir, you may need a shaker or blender to properly mix into your drink. Once blended, all you have to do is drink it!
Best Mass Gainers
With so many different mass gainers available today, we’re going to highlight four of our favorite products that you should definitely consider.
To give you some variety, we’ll detail two that are a bit lower in calories and two that are much higher in calories and provide a stronger nutrient profile.
Let’s get started!
Naked Mass by Naked Nutrition
Naked Nutrition offers a simple formula that’s much more packed than the previous two brands. Each serving will come in at a whopping 321 grams and will require four scoops.
In one serving of Naked Mass, you’ll get 1,250 calories, 50 grams of protein, 252 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of total fat, but just one gram of dietary fiber. You’ll also receive healthy amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
One tub will contain 11 servings and run you $65. You can choose between chocolate and vanilla, with the added option of choosing their vegan version.GET THE BEST PRICE ON NAKED MASS
Mass Gainer by Transparent Labs
Transparent Labs’ Mass Gainer is a lighter version of what most people are after. It will have a stronger emphasis on the protein content, which comes in at a whopping 53 grams per serving. It’ll also come with 14 grams of total fat, 114 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 340mg of calcium, 420mg of potassium, and 790 calories.
Each serving will be two scoops and amount to just under a 200-gram serving. Each tub will include 15 servings and come in one flavor — chocolate. You can buy one tub for $65, two tubs for $120, and three tubs for $170.GET THE BEST PRICE ON TRANSPARENT LABS MASS GAINER
Mass XXX by GNC AMP
Mass XXX is similar to the mass gainer by Transparent Labs, but will pack on a large variety of other ingredients. For starters, it will contain 750 calories, 50 grams of protein, 123 grams of carbohydrates, and 6 grams of total fat in one serving (four scoops). It also has 560mg of calcium.
Added to Mass XXX is a 3-gram blend of Betaine (as Betaine Anhydrous) and HMB (as Calcium HMB), as well as another 3-gram blend of creatine, arginine, glycine, and methionine. You’ll also find 500mg of micronized amino acids.
Available in five flavors — Strawberry, Chocolate Donut, Chocolate, Vanilla, and Cookies and Cream — each tub will cost $55. For a limited time, you can get a second tub for 50% off and receive free shipping.GET THE BEST PRICE ON GNC AMP MASS XXX
Serious Mass by Optimum Nutrition
One of the most popular mass gainers available today, Serious Mass’ formula will reign superior when compared to the other three. Each serving is 334 grams (two scoops) and will contain 1,250 calories, 50 grams of protein, 4.5 grams of total fat (3 grams of unsaturated), 252 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of dietary fiber.
That’s not all. You’ll also get more than 100%DV of the following vitamins and minerals: Vitamins A, C, D, E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, B6, Folic Acid, B12, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Phosphorus, Iodine, Zinc, Selenium, Manganese, Chromium, and Molybdenum.
And that’s not all! It also contains Creatine, L-Glutamine, and Choline. Serious Mass will be available in Banana, Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Strawberry, and Vanilla. Each 12-pound bag will cost you just $51, giving you a great value to consider!GET THE BEST PRICE ON OPTIMUM NUTRITION SERIOUS MASS