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5 Golden Rules of Weight Gainers

If you are looking for a weight gainer protein supplement, you definitely want to make sure that you choose the right protein product to meet your needs. There are a number of good and bad protein products on the market, so with this helpful checklist, you can make sure that you make the right investment and also find a protein source to effectively supplement your lifestyle.

1. Weight Gainer Protein Quality.

Believe it or not tons of the cheaper weight gainers use really poor quality protein. Ideally you want to see a variety of proteins in your gainer and specifically whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. In addition, I would expect the more premium gainers to either be 100% whey protein isolate or to have other isolates in the blend such as egg protein isolate or milk protein isolate. You definitely want to make sure that your weight gainer protein product is packing a serious punch and living up to its claims.

Next you want to check out all product ingredient labels to determine how much protein they contain. There is no way that you're going to be able to gain lean muscle mass and bulk up if you don't have enough protein. It is recommended to eat roughly 1 g of protein for each pound of lean muscle mass, which can be spread out in small protein meals throughout the day. Some of the more effective weight gainer protein supplements can contain up to 65 g of protein in a single serving, which is highly impressive, but often unnecessary. A serving of weight gainer in an around that 40-50ish grams of protein per serving is plenty. To determine how much protein your weight gainer protein supplement contains, read the ingredient label carefully, and also read the instructions in how to use it.

2. Weight Gainer Carbohydate Quality. 

This is the area where I feel most gainers really fall flat and really mislead the public. You definitely don't want the addition of extra sugars creating carbohydrates within your weight gainer, though many weight gainer proteins often have a moderate to high carbohydrate count typically around 50-150g of carbs in them per serving.

Types of Carbohydrates

Some of these carbohydrates may include maltodextrin, glucose, fructose,  dextrose, oat bran, vitargo, waxy maize, and barley starch. Many of the simple carbohydrates include glucose, fructose, and dextrose, which should be consumed directly after working out. Otherwise, they should be avoided to prevent rises in insulin levels. Complex carbohydrates, like oat bran, barley starch, vitargo, maltodextrin, and waxy maize are perfect for bulking up and should be used regularly within the diet. The better weight gainers on the market contain primarily quality complex carbohydrates, mixed with simple carbohydrates to get that instant carb absorption.

As for things to look out for, ever wonder why two weight gainers can have the same ratio of protein to carbs but one can cost 50% more? Cheap fillers. Always, always, always look at the sugar count on a gainer. Many of them will fill the container with the cheapest carbohydrate sugars and even starches to make it seem like you are getting a large volume of powder for your money. Please be wise to this and don't fall into that trap.

Best Carbohydrate

If you want the best weight gainer carbohydrate I would have to say it is carbohydrates that burn longer (complex carbohydrates) BUT absorb instantly (like simple carbohydrates). The best example of this is Vitargo which your body utilizes amazing as a source of fuel, and at the same time absorbs/digests twice as quickly as regular carbohydrates like glucose and fructose. This means that it will be quickly digested without bloating to promote weight gain. While Vitargo is as good as it gets for performance and gaining muscle size, it also is the most expensice carbohydrate and thus you never see it within a weight gainer powder. To solve this however all you have to do is purchase Vitargo on its own and mix it with a premium whey isolate protein and you are good to go!

If you are looking for an all in one gainer with premium quality carbohydrates the next best thing you are going to get is Waxy Maize. Not quite the same calibre as Vitargo, but seriously gets the job done! In my opinion this overall complete gainer is Mutant Mass.

3. Weight Gainer Bonus Extra's.

Here I think is the best place that supplement companies do a good job to make a weight gainer seem like it has so much more than it really does.  While it is helpful for a weight gainer protein to have vitamins, minerals, and additional nutrients to provide even greater benefits when used as a supplement, you want to be clear you are getting more than a "pixey dust" dose (which is what we in the industry call just a spinkle to make it seem like it actually makes a difference).

Many protein weight gainers will contain a great number of vitamin additions, like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, niacin, folic acid, biotin, calcium, iron, magnesium, chromium, and other minerals that will work to benefit the muscles with protein and promote healthy growth in overall muscle mass. You will also often find creatine, glutamine, beta alanine, mct oil, fiber, BCAAs, arginine, healthy fats, and digestive enzymes within a weight gainer protein. Glutamine, beta alanine, arginine, and BCAAs are often included as healthy amino acids to build protein naturally within the body to increase muscle mass, with creatine providing the same benefits in advanced muscle building. Fiber, healthy fats, and digestive enzymes are necessary to balance the diet and promote digestion for better nutrition and weight gain. Mct oil is often used in a weight gainer protein because it is quickly metabolized by the liver to promote fat burning, allowing for better muscle tone overall.

My thoughts on these are that they are absolutely great when used properly (rarely) and absolutely not necessary if they aren't used properly. Look for things like the MCT Oil, Fiber, maybe glutamine and creatine. Really anything else isn't that necessary and chances are you have it in your other supplements already so it might be overkill.

4. Proper Ratios of Weight Gainers

More or less there are two kinds of weight gainers out there. The first has around 40-50g of protein along with 70-90g of carbs which is around a 2:1 or even 1.5:1 ratio of carbs to protein. The second has similar protein, but double the carbs coming in at 140-180g which gives it a carb to protein ratio of 3:1. Make sure you read the Nutrition Facts labels to identify which is which and more importantly what you need the gainer for. Both can typically be used following post workout, but if you are looking to use a gainer multiple times a day, you may want to opt for the 2:1 ratio or often what I do is have smaller servings of my 3:1 ratio gainer. 

5. Do The Calories Make Sense

If you are seriously hoping to gain weight, you may want to use your weight gainer protein supplement as a meal replacement in addition to post workout or first thing in the morning. This is a wonderful idea to supplement with 5 to 6 small meals spread throughout the day. This will keep your metabolism churning all day long, and it will also allow you the opportunity to intake extra calories. It is recommended to have small meals that are around 500 to 600 calories several times throughout the day. To make your life more convenient, you can use your weight gainer protein supplement as a midmorning, midafternoon, or even post workout protein snack to make sure that you are getting enough calories and protein to successfully gain the muscle mass that you are looking for.

If you suffer from an extreme case ectomorphitis (hard gainer) you definitely want to opt for the higher 3:1 ratio as the more carbs will do you good. However if you are more cautious about putting on extra body fat or want to use a weight gainer many times a day, a 2:1 ratio weight gainer might be a better fit.

Overall with the total calories you just want to make sure you do the math and that it is enough or not too much. Guys will often go too heavy on weight gainers and missing the boat on eating enough whole food, or they will think weight gainers will just put on extra fat and not use them enough. To find what works for you calories wise, just write down what you are doing and adjust along the way. It doesn't have to be complex, but you want to make sure the weight gainer you are using has the right amount of calories for your goals.

Weight Gainer Conclusion

The truth of the matter is that there are many people out there who are underweight due to a medical condition or hoping to bulk up and gain muscle mass for sports or competition purposes. If that is the case, the most healthy way to do so that will allow for long-term weight gain is in a weight gainer protein supplement. This should be done instead of eating unhealthy foods to gain weight, and you will still be able to eat a number of meals throughout the day for extra caloric intake.

Balance your diet

Besides the use of your weight gainer protein supplement, it is best to keep your diet completely in balance, using fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. It is also ideal to mix your protein supplement with fruit juices and milk for additional calories in a healthy way, instead of upping your calorie count with sodas or sugary drinks. When you couple the use of your weight gainer protein supplement with a complete exercise program, you will be unstoppable in bulking up to gain the weight that you are hoping for. The best way to approach the use of this protein supplement is taking it throughout the day so that you can constantly have a source of protein to keep your engines charged all day long. This will allow for a constant calorie burn and also provide the protein that you need to promote quick muscle recovery and repair.

Here are my favourites:

Best Overall Weight Gainer: Mutant Mass
Best Carbohydrate for Performance and Gaining Weight: Genr8 Vitargo CGL
Best Weight Gainer with Bonus Extra's (All in One)/2:1 Ratio Gainer: Dymatize Elite Mass
Best Tasting Weight Gainer: BSN True Mass
Best 100% Natural Weight Gainer: PVL Essentials Sport Gainer


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