What are Weight Gainers?
Technically, any food can be a weight gainer. If you sit and eat pizza or candy all day, you’re going to eventually pack on the pounds, even if you usually have trouble gaining weight.
But there are different ways to gain weight and different qualities of weight gain. Generally speaking, when you carry extra weight in the form of fat, you’re putting your body at risk for health problems, ranging from heart disease to diabetes, according to HelpGuide.
Gaining weight in the form of muscle mass can improve your health. As PopSugar points out, having higher amounts of muscle can be mean better sleep, a better metabolic rate, and better balance.
Some people don’t need much help to put on muscle weight. They can just hit the gym regularly, lift some weights and call it a day. Others have trouble putting on weight and turn to supplements like testosterone enhancers.
Ideal Weight Gain Supplements For Skinny Guys
They’re known as hard gainers. A hard gainer is usually a naturally skinny person — think of the lanky guy that seemed like he was all arms and legs or the woman who appears to be able to eat whatever without gaining a pound.
According to ThoughtCo, a person who’s a hard gainer needs to eat twice as many calories per pound of body weight as an average to avoid being too skinny. So if an average person should eat 12 calories daily per pound, a hard gainer needs to take in 24 calories a day.
If you go the eat as many calories as you can route, you’re likely to put on the pounds in the form of extra fat. If you’re looking to build more mass and lean muscle, you’ll want to choose a specially formulated weight gainer shake.
Although weight gainers often come in powder form and you usually mix them with liquid to make a “shake,” they aren’t the same as protein shakes. A weight gainer will typically have more calories than your average protein shake. Weight gainers also usually have twice as many carbs as protein, according to SF Gate.
How to Choose a Weight Gainer
Not all weight gainers are created equally. Some are little more than sugary, high-calorie shakes. If you want a product that will help you add muscle and no or just a little fat, here’s what to look for.
- Protein Type/Quality. Some forms of protein are better than others. Your body can better absorb and use protein from whey and egg than it can from casein (milk) or soy. The biological value (BV) of a protein plays a role in determining its quality, according to Bodybuilding. The higher the BV, the more quickly and efficiently your body absorbs the protein. For what it’s worth, soy has the lowest BV of all protein sources.
- Fat Quality. Just as there are different protein qualities, there are different fat qualities. Omega 3 fatty acids are generally what you want in the best weight gainers, as they play an essential role in growth and help improve your brain’s function, according to the University of Maryland.
- Fat and Carb Ratios. The big difference between a weight gainer and a straight up protein powder is the addition of carbs and fats. Look for a weight gainer with at least two to one ratio of carbs to protein (something like 60 grammes of carbs to 30 grammes of protein). It should also have at least a two to one ratio of protein to fat (30 grammes of protein and 15 grammes of fat, for example).
- Calorie Count. You’ll see considerably different results from a weight gainer with 400 calories per serving than from one with 1,250 calories per serving. Examine your daily calorie needs before you pick a product. Also be sure to clarify what a “serving” is!
- Vitamins and Other Nutrients. Your body needs vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients for growth and to rebuild after a workout. Your weight gainer should contain a full range of micronutrients. Another ingredient to look out for is creatine, which helps you put on weight quickly, according to Men’s Health.
- Flavor. Flavour might seem like the least important thing, but if you buy a weight gainer that tastes like chalk, you’re going to be less like to use it. You can find products with flavours like chocolate and vanilla. Try to choose the one you think you’ll enjoy.
How to Use a Weight Gainer
When and how often you take a weight gainer can determine how effective it is. For example, it’s usually a good idea to mix up a shake first thing in the morning and to drink it with your breakfast. Doing so gives you the energy you’ll need to take on the day.
If you work out, a weight gainer makes an excellent post-exercise drink. The proteins and carbs in the product help you bounce back after working out. If you’re trying to bulk up, it can also help to drink a weight gainer between meals so that you are sure to get all of the calories you need during the day.
In the video above from Tiger Fitness, Marc Lobliner reviews what to look for in a weight gainer and how to use it.
Is There Anyone Who Shouldn’t Use a Weight Gainer?
Weight gainers aren’t for everyone. For example, if you don’t have trouble building muscle mass or if you’ve struggled with unwanted fat gain in the past, you probably don’t want to try taking a weight gainer. The high caloric value of the products can just lead to excess, unwanted weight gain.
If you have allergies or food sensitivities, it’s important to review the ingredients in a weight gainer before taking it. For example, some products contain egg or dairy ingredients, which can be a big no-no for those with allergies. If you have diabetes, you may need to be extra cautious about using a weight gainer that has a lot of sugar and refined carbs in it.
Conclusion: Which Weight Gainer Do You Recommend I Buy?
Which is the best weight gainer? It seems that Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Gainer Protein Powder is the winner.
It might contain a lot of calories, but it also has the lowest amount of saturated fat, a great selection of flavours and decent ratios of carbs to protein and protein to fat. It also contains high quality protein with high BVs.
If you’re worried that the 1250 calories per serving will be overkill or cause you to pack on too many pounds, you call always reduce the amount you take, such as by mixing one scoop with liquid twice per day instead or drinking two scoops with liquid twice a day.
Recommended Protein Powders