You want to get stronger, bigger, and heavier. So you read something in a magazine, do some math, and decide it’s time to increase your calorie intake. One grocery trip later and you realize – there’s got to be a better way. Eating that much food is tough! Enter the weight gainer. These supplements contain enough carbs, protein, and fat to give you somewhere between 400 to 900 calories in a serving, sometimes more.
Compared to regular food, they also have another key advantage. Good weight gainers will keep you from packing on the lots of fat as you add on the muscle mass. You can change out powders to match your profile depending on whether you’re chowing immediately before, during or after a workout.
Still, there are a lot of weight gainers out there, but which one is the best weight gainer and which is the worst? The first thing you should read this post: Best Weight Gainer – The Complete list. In addition to this, here are a few things to keep in mind as you look through all your options.
Carbs to Protein Ratio
Most of your mass gain comes from a combination of two key ingredients: complex carbs and protein. The best form of complex carbohydrates is maltodextrin (which is also one of the most popular), and you’ll find good weight gainers tend to be around 80% maltodextrin and 20% protein powder.
Of course, you want to make sure you’re getting enough protein per serving. 15-20 grams per serving is about an ideal dose for most people, much more than that, and it may not be absorbed.
Your choice of dietary fat probably produces a larger effect on flab than any other macro-nutrient when you’re building muscle. No, fat won’t build muscle faster than protein or carbs – instead, eating the right or the wrong kind of fat will determine much more than anything else [image_right src=”https://widerun.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Perfect-Weight-Gainer-Profile-300×199.jpg”]whether you gain flab or muscle mass.
When you’re shopping for a weight gainer, look for one that has as little saturated fat as you can find. On the other hand, you want one with medium-chain triglycerides.
Creatine and Sugar
Since you’re packing on the ingredients, a weight gainer with creatine can help cut your supplement budget and save you time. But there’s another and more important scientific reason: creatine should be taken with a high volume of quick-acting carbs, and most weight gainers are packed with exactly that.
Some weight gainers include a significant amount of sugar. As a rule, you want to avoid sugar if you can. 20g per serving is a decent amount; if the label says 50g or higher, watch out.
What To Eat Around Workouts
Depending on whether you’re eating close to a workout or if you’re using them as a meal replacement, you’ll want a different weight gainer profile. The best weight gainer to take immediately around a workout will give you very little fat and lots of carbs. Fast acting carbs here help drive your insulin cycle, pushing amino acids into the muscle cells as fast as possible.
Right around a workout is also where you can up the calorie count, since this is where your body will make the most use of the extra calories. Of course, you should be conservative initially – if you overshoot your calorie intake you might find you’re putting on fat mass.