When To Take Mass Gainer Supplements
There has been a tremendous amount of buzz about mass gainers in bodybuilding and personal fitness circles recently about mass gainer supplements.
Mass gainers are specially formulated protein, amino acid, and carbohydrate rich powder supplements that you consumer to up your calorie intake when trying to add new muscle mass with your weight training regimen.
Mass gainers fight the effects of catabolism (when you body burns muscle instead of fat) in those who have a higher metabolism and need additional calories in order to provide themselves with the necessary muscle-building raw materials and macronutrients.
What stumps many people though is whether or not they need to use a mass gainer or not to achieve their personal fitness and/or body building goals.
To help you answer that question, here are some ways to know if a mass gainer is right for you and your metabolism, and when to use a mass gainer for the best effect.
Mass Gainers are NOT the right choice for everyone
While they make a show of lots of sciencey facts on the side of the container and make a lot of promises about making you huge in no time, mass gainers are actually no different than any other supplement to help you up your calorie intake.
Before you decide on whether or not to use a mass gainer, you need some unflinching self honesty:
Are you absolutely certain that there are no gaps or spaces in your nutritional routine?
Is there no possibility of to prep and consume another main meal into your day, eat bigger portions, or replace larger portions with extra-calorie-dense snacks like whole milk, seeds, or nuts?
If your answer is yes to each question, then a mass gainer may be a great option for you.
If your answer is no, then you need to decide whether you want to take the extra in the shape of food (usually more expensive if you go for whole foods) or supplements.
Building muscle requires you to be in a state of caloric surplus, and that surplus should come first from food, and failing that, from mass gainer supplements.
If you are consuming as much as you can hold in a day and still not seeing results on the scale or in the mirror, then it may be time to start adding a few mass gainer shakes every day (say two to three altogether) in order to get the results you want.
Don’t Buy Into Brand Name Hype.
No matter how attractive the packaging, no matter appears in large friendly letters, your first step after seeing a mass gainer for sale in a store is to look right at the nutritional information panel.
If you do a little research and check out the nutrient content of a supplement before trying it out, you are more likely to get the results you are looking for.
To spare you time and trouble, I’ve already reviewed the best mass gainer supplements to take.
After all, a mass gainer is only as effective as its nutrient content and how that fits into your nutrition plan and daily caloric intake needs.
The fancy looking mass gainer supplement may not have what you actually need to bulk up effectively, so checking the nutritional label is one of the most important steps when shopping for the mass gainer that is right for you.
Most people in need of a mass gainer will need about 40-50 grams of protein per scoop made up of whey protein concentrate, whey isolate, casein, or a combination of those three in order to give your muscles the right balance of building materials for new muscle tissue. In terms of fat content, choosing a mass gainer with medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), essential fatty acids (EFAs), and a small amount of saturated fat are all necessary for supporting increased testosterone production for greater gains and building lean muscle.
Additionally, most mass gainers are also loaded with carbohydrates to help you attain your daily caloric intake goals, as carbs are fuel for your body during workouts, training, and recovery time.
More conservative weight gainers typically contain a 1:1 ratio of protein to carbohydrates, while others may contain as much as a 1:5 carbohydrate ratio.
That means if your mass gainer supplement provides 50 grams of protein per scoop, it can contain as much as 250 grams of carbohydrates.
If you are diabetic or sensitive to sugars, you want to watch the carbohydrate content of your mass gainer very carefully, as too many carbs can cause wild peaks and valleys in your blood-glucose levels with very negative long term effects.
Make sure to choose a mass gainer with the right carbohydrate balance for you to make sure that the added calories are helping you make gains, not work against your in terms of gaining lean muscle.
Choose Products Based on Your Needs
While all mass gainers work to help you meet your daily calorie needs, certain products will always be superior to others based on your body type, daily dietary needs, and how much of your daily nutritional intake will be taken up by incorporating a mass gainer.
Make sure that if you are trying out a mass gainer for the first time that you observe your results carefully and remember that being conservative in the calorie content is usually the better option unless you fall into one of the following categories.
Those who have full schedules and busy personal lives without the time to prepare and eat the necessary six meals per day are your typical Forever-On-The-Go people.
Mass gainers are a good option for hitting those 4,000 calorie per day goals when you only have enough time to get your cardio and weight training in every day, but not for extended meal times with mega portions.
Some of us have weak appetites and do not feel hungry as often as others
These people benefit the most from mass gainers because they are typically drinkable calories that help them hit daily calorie goals without making them feel overstuffed or like if they look at another salad bowl full of grilled chicken and greens they are going to lose their minds and take a long walk off a short pier.
This last group is the most in need of mass gainers
Typically, hard gainers are those who not only have trouble adding muscle, but also have trouble putting on weight in general.
They are those friends you love and hate for their ability to eat an entire pizza by themselves in a single sitting and never put on any obvious weight.
Hardgainers have sports-car fast metabolisms and relatively low body fat content, so their body needs even more calories than most in order to put on muscle and not cut into their existing muscle mass due to the effects of catabolism (the process initiated by their body that starts to extract amino acids and energy from their existing muscle mass to keep their body running during workouts).
Regardless of which of these categories you fall into, a high quality mass gainer that meets your caloric and macronutrient needs is going to help you get where you want to go in terms of meeting your daily needs.
The other consideration you need to factor in is when during the day you will take your mass gainer for the greatest effectiveness.
Here are some tips:
Timing Your Nutrient Intake
Taking a high-calorie mass gainer post- workout in the shake form is the best place to start for best results, as those extra
calories, amino acids, proteins, and fats all help speed recovery and feed your muscles every thing they need to get bigger and stronger.
Make sure you choose a mass gainer with a quickly digestible protein like whey isolate or concentrate combined with a good fast-burning carbohydrate source, and just a little bit of fat in the form of ESAs and MCTs to balance out your body’s natural testosterone production.
Also, mass gainers with dextrose and maltodextrin are both easily absorbed directly into the gut to increase blood sugar levels, increasing your body’s insulin production.
Insulin is one of the most anabolic hormones necessary to building new lean muscle, so rapid insulin release post workout is key.
By the same token, loading up your body with simple sugars and spiking your insulin levels while at work or loafing around at home is not a good idea in terms of achieving your body composition goals.
If you plan to use mass gainers in addition to your daily meals to hit your target intake, there are some helpful rules to follow that will let you gain size without going overboard on calories and adding too much undesired body fat. For supplementing meals, you want mass gainer supplements that are closer to a 1:1 protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, preferably with complex carbohydrate sources like brown rice or oat flour that have a lower glycemic index and won’t cause a spike in blood sugar as you go through your day.
It’s also wise to make sure their total EFA and MCT content is higher as it will help slow your digestion like a regular meal and still provide the materials necessary for testosterone production.
All in all, timing your mass gainer supplement for when you start implementing one in your diet and when you take it during the day is going to be determined by your lifestyle, workout regimen, and general metabolism.
If you want to see the best results, make sure you are using nutrient and metabolic needs to choose the right mass gainer, and not just what the fancy packaging says outside the nutritional panel.
Check my research on mass gainers that work for your needs, and start building the body and muscle mass you want the smart way.