Weight Gainer Supplements FAQ
What Are Weight Gainers?
A weight gainer is a type of bodybuilding supplement, usually packaged in powder form, which provides a large amount of calories per serving and usually contains a large amount of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to fuel recovery and muscle growth.
Weight gainers are typically produced by many of the same manufacturers who market standalone protein powders, so if you’re finding that their basic whey protein isn’t helping you to get in the amount of calories you need to grow then the weight gainer or mass gainer equivalent could be just what you need to get the scale moving.
How Are Weight Gainers Made?
Weight gainers are produced using all of the same ingredients that you would typically find included in any aspiring bodybuilder’s diet or supplement regimen.
You will likely find ingredients such as:
- Some form of protein, such as:
- Whey Protein Concentrate;
- Whey Protein Isolate;
- Milk Protein Isolate;
- Calcium Caseinate;
- Egg Albumen; and
- Whole Egg Powder
- A carbohydrate source, such as:
- Oatmeal Powder;
- Potato / Rye / Barley Starch; and
- A fat source, such as Medium Chain Triglycerides (from Coconuts)
It is not uncommon to also find added fiber and digestive aids such as the Protease digestive enzyme.
If you’re looking to make YOUR OWN weight gainer, you can check out our awesome recipe for a very high calorie protein shake.
How do Weight Gainers Work and What are the Benefits?
Simply put, weight gainers work by providing you with a ton of calories and an ample supply of protein in a convenient, easy-to-use, and usually delicious format. This is beneficial since gaining weight is a product of eating more calories per day than your body burns off.
The great thing about weight gainers is that they enable you to consume upwards of 1,000 calories within a matter of seconds simply by combining the powder with water, milk, juice, or some other beverage, and then drinking it.
If you are a young man who is struggling to gain weight due to a restrictive budget, lack of free time for food preparation, or simply a non-existent appetite, then a weight gainer shake can be the difference between you making progress in the gym and hopelessly spinning your wheels.
Assessing the Quality of a Weight Gaining Supplement vs. Other Sources
It is generally advisable for you to choose a weight gainer that utilizes slow-digesting low-GI carbohydrates such as oatmeal because drinking 50 – 70g of dextrose or maltodextrin (sugars) in a matter of seconds might not be the best long-term solution for some individuals.
Having said this, you can always experiment to find a weight gainer that works well for you based on your tolerance to large amounts of sugar.
You should always ensure you are eating plenty of whole food sources of proteins – such as chicken, beef, and eggs – fats – such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, oily fish, and coconut oil – and carbohydrates – such as rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal.
Whey protein is one of the highest-quality protein sources available but this doesn’t mean that it should make up your entire protein intake, so variety is key to ensure optimal results, regardless of quality.
Related: Top 10 Whey Protein Supplements
Who Can Benefit from Using a Weight Gainer?
Those of you with the stereotypical ectomorphic body type will almost certainly stand to benefit from using a weight gainer, at least in the short term while you get used to consuming large amounts of calories in the early days of your bodybuilding endeavors.
The primary and most obvious benefit of weight gainer supplements is that they allow you to get in a substantial amount of calories with a great deal of ease, so this means that even if you have a non-existent appetite a tasty chocolate shake should present very little difficulty.
I Am Struggling to Gain Weight; Do I Need a Weight Gainer?
If you are a young male in relatively decent shape then chances are you have a metabolism like a blast furnace, especially if you are training hard on a frequent basis like you should be.
First off, look at your current nutrition.
How many calories are you consuming on a daily basis?
Do you even know how many calories you eat each day?
Begin by keeping a rough log of how much you are actually eating, and if it turns out that you are only consuming 1,000 – 1,500 calories each day then you should almost definitely be eating more.
What’s more, you should be eating in the region of 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight as a minimum if you want to grow, so be sure to keep an eye on your protein intake as well.
If you can be honest with yourself in saying that you truly are eating a solid diet of 2500 – 3500 calories with plenty of protein, and quality fats and carbohydrates and you’re still not growing, then a weight gainer is probably what you need to tip the scale in your favor.
Are Weight Gainers Safe?
The only thing to consider is that some weight gainers contain creatine, so if you are taking large quantities of a creatine-containing product then ensure you are also consuming a substantial amount of water to offset any potential dehydration, cramping, and digestive upset.
Do Weight Gain Products Have any Side Effects?
The main side effect that you might experience when using a weight gainer shake is some kind of digestive discomfort, such as gas or bloating.
If your digestive system is not quite attuned to processing large amounts of whey protein and / or sugary substances then this could be the cause, and after a while you will most likely adjust to this.
If after some time you are still struggling to comfortably digest a weight gainer then you might want to consider changing brands, and if this still doesn’t fix the issue then you can easily make your own weight gainer by combining ingredients such as whey protein powder, peanut butter, oatmeal, bananas, and so on.
Note: We recommend speaking to a doctor before taking any supplements.
How and When Should I Use a Weight Gaining Supplement?
Weight gainers are just as simple to use as protein powders, so all you have to do is mix the powder with a liquid, shake or stir it, and then drink!
Another great use for weight gainers and protein powders alike is to mix them into other foods such as oatmeal; this makes for a very tasty treat which is sure to provide you with a huge amount of calories when you need them.
As for when to use weight gainers, that is really up to you.
Weight gainers can be used in place of meals or in between them to really pack extra calories into your daily intake.
It should be noted, however, that the majority of your diet really ought to consist of whole food items and complete meals containing a protein, fat, and carbohydrate source along with plenty of vegetables.
This is not optional if you are serious about making progress in the gym while keeping your health in check, and those two eventually come hand in hand as you will discover if you train hard enough for long enough.
How Much of Weight Gainer Should I Use?
As with any supplement, you should always follow the recommendations of the manufacturer, but with simple products such as weight gainers and protein powders you do have some leeway as they are food items with very little in the way of potential side effects.
Providing you truly need the extra calories there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to use your weight gainer two, three, or even four times a day; just make sure you are doing this to accompany an already solid nutritional plan.
Related: Best Supplements for Building Mass
Choosing the Right Mass Building Product
The vast majority of weight gainer supplements are going to use some form of whey protein as their primary protein source, so if you suffer from lactose intolerance or some other form of milk allergy then you should bear this in mind and exercise caution by gradually upping your intake over time.
Other than that, the main thing to consider is the quality of the carbohydrate source.
If you find that oatmeal is simply digesting too slowly to allow you to get in the amount of calories you need to actually make progress in your training then opting for a weight gainer that uses dextrose or maltodextrin might be a better choice for you.
On the other hand, if that amount of fast-digesting carbs leaves you feeling bloated and sluggish then you will almost certainly want to opt for a less sugary weight gainer.
Bear in mind that you can always take a half serving or add some fat and fiber to your weight gainer shake if you prefer as this will slow down digestion and potentially prevent you from experience such a dramatic insulin spike and subsequent sugar crash.
Please note: This FAQ has not been written or reviewed by a doctor or medical professional and is therefore not to be used to prevent, diagnose, or treat any disease or illness. Nor should it be used as medical reference.