Are you interested in gaining weight? Weight gainers could be a solution. Here are 5 reasons you should be using weight gainers.
Looking to add some bulk to your frame?
To achieve the look you want in the timeframe that fits your schedule, weight gainers may be just the ticket you need.
Typically consumed as a calorie-rich powder mixed with water or milk, they work exactly as they sound. They are supplements designed to help you pack on the muscle and make your strength training workouts more effective.
If you’re having a difficult time seeing gains regardless of how hard you work out, they can help you get there quicker by boosting your caloric intake.
Interested in learning more? Let’s dig into the top five reasons why you should incorporate weight gainers into your workout today!
1. Weight Gainers Maximize Aerobic Recovery
Let’s begin with a brief lesson in exercise terminology: exploring the difference between aerobic and anaerobic activity.
Aerobic activities are those that pump oxygen throughout the body, providing muscle cells with enough power to work for a pretty long time without giving out.
That’s the reason why your cardio or spin class is about an hour or so long.
Your muscles are constantly being provided with oxygen as you move about, and they can support you during your workout. The process continues for a while after, as you recover and build more muscle.
When you consider aerobic activity like this, it may seem like burns more calories and fat than an anaerobic exercise, and it does — but only to an extent.
Compared to aerobic exercise that pumps oxygen around the body, anaerobic exercise does the opposite, requiring the muscles to work without oxygen, but only for a short period of time (around two minutes).
Weightlifting is primary example of anaerobic exercise.
When you lift, your muscles contract and force the weight upward, but without the help of oxygen. Rather, they call upon your stores of blood sugar and glycogen to power them through.
So what does this have to do with weight gainers?
As anyone who works out will tell you, exercise doesn’t end when you stop moving. Recovery is key, and maximizing your recovery efforts can make all the difference in how quickly and successfully you see results.
While aerobic exercises burn calories and fat while you’re doing them, your heart rate returns to normal after about two minutes (back to what’s known as a recovery heart rate).
On the other hand, after you engage in even a short burst of anaerobic activity, such as a session of strength training, your muscles are fatigued and can require upward of a few hours to recover.
The recovery process? You guessed it: It’s aerobic.
All in all, when you include critical recovery time, anaerobic activity is proven to burn calories and fat for a longer period of time than aerobic activity.
So by consuming a weight gainer after your workout, you’re jump-starting the muscle building process by replenishing all the calories, carbohydrates, and fat you’ve just lost.
You’re also adding lots of healthy protein, which has been scientifically proven to help build muscle. In addition, many weight gainers include an amino acid called l-glutamine, which has been scientifically proven to quicken muscle recovery.
A shake that helps your recovery go smoother and allows you to get the most out of every single training session? Count us in.
2. The Caloric Boost Drives Maximum Gains
It’s a pretty simple equation: To gain weight, you have to take in more calories per day than you exert out.
But if you’re focused on working out routinely, it can be pretty hard to keep the scales tipped in your favor. In just 30 minutes of body-weight exercises (such as pull-ups) performed at a vigorous pace, a 185-pound male can burn up to 355 calories!
As you gain more muscle, it becomes even more difficult to maintain your calorie counts. Science reveals that one pound of muscle burns about 30 calories, so as your quads and biceps grow, so will your required daily caloric intake.
To this end, weight gainers can prove invaluable in helping you replenish and restore the calories you lose during your strength training workout.
Chock full with up to 1,000 calories or so per serving, they are ideal for making sure all nutrients lost in your sweat session are returned to you tenfold — and then some.
Yet, sometimes, intense workouts aren’t the only reason someone is having a hard time gaining weight.
External circumstances, such as a stretched-thin budget or a packed schedule that doesn’t allow for the purchase or preparation of high-fat/high-calorie foods may come into play.
Or, internal factors may contribute too. Maybe you’re someone who simply has a high metabolism, turning calories into energy faster than you can say “protein bar.”
For both of these factors, weight gainers fit the bill. They’re convenient, high-calorie supplements, and most are at an economical price point.
3. You Can Cut Back on Other Supplements
Currently buying whey protein powder in bulk? What about creatine supplements?
The good news is that with weight gainers, you’ll get many of the same nutrients you receive from both of these supplements, yet often at a higher percentage and potency. In addition, you’ll get extra benefits that only they can provide.
While there are differences between straight whey protein and weight gainers, to put it simply, the latter packs the extra punch that you just can’t get from a protein powder alone. Here are a few key differences:
1. Calorie Count: A serving of whey protein powders typically has around 120 calories. Weight gainers can have 1,000 calories or greater.
2. Grams of Fat: The most powerful gainers can have up to 29 grams of fat per serving, as fat is heralded for its calorie-boosting powers. On the other hand, whey proteins usually have only 1 gram or so of fat.
3. Protein Content: While protein is the top ingredient in whey powders, gainers contain more protein per serving. Some designed for high-calorie intake can contain up to 100 grams of protein per serving.
4. Carbohydrates: Whey protein powders are just that–mainly protein. As such, each serving contains very little carbohydrates, only around 3 grams. Yet, gainers can provide more than 100 grams per serving. That’s an impressive difference!
Now, on to creatine.
A supplement designed to increase muscle mass, build strength, and shorten recovery time, creatine is a dietary add-in for many strength trainers.
And now, many weight gainers also include creatine.
One reason why?
Creatine is the most effective when it’s taken in conjunction with a high-carb diet. And what’s something that’s packed with good carbs? You guessed it: weight gainers.
A quick note here: You may notice a little water retention when you first begin taking these supplements, especially ones with creatine.
This is due to the high carb content, which is only made more powerful with the creatine addition. After a few weeks, your levels should regulate and the retention will subside.
4. You Can Adjust Your Intake to Meet Your Training Needs
Looking to bulk up quite significantly, or just fill in a little? Maybe you’re someone who gains easily and quickly, or maybe your results take a little more time and work.
Regardless of where you stand on the gaining spectrum, there’s something for everyone, with many varieties to choose from.
For many, a moderate weight gainer that provides around 400-600 calories per serving is the optimal amount. Yet, for others looking to up their caloric intake even more, there are some options available with greater caloric yields.
As a disclaimer, before you begin any fitness regime, it’s important to start small and slow, building your way up only after you’ve ensured a positive reaction.
For some, it may be necessary to visit your medical professional before using supplements, to make sure you’re body is capable of the changes the supplements will enact upon it.
Another way you can customize your use of weight gainers is by looking for ones that fit your meal plan and schedule.
Do you need one that will totally replace a meal, for instance, dinner? Or are you just looking for an evening supplement after your afternoon workout?
There are formulas specifically made for each option, and both are chock-full of nutrients your body craves.
5. Good Dietary Fats Can Keep You Lean
As you look to build muscle mass and become physically lean, it might be oxymoronic to think that fats can help you get there.
It’s true, but we’re not talking about any kind of fat.
In particular, one sector of dietary fats, Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), is what’s essential to keeping you lean and trim while you bulk up.
MCTs are a comprised of a shorter chain of carbon atoms than their Long Chain Triglyceride (LCT) cousins. This gives them some unique properties that help them contribute to overall health.
For bodybuilders and others wanting to achieve leaner gains, the MCT property you’ll want to know about is that this fat is more quickly absorbed and burned by the body than other fats. In contrast, LCT fats are stored in the body for much longer.
Luckily, many weight gainers include MCTs in their ingredients lists.
By consuming MCTs, you’ll allow your muscles and organs to more quickly metabolize your caloric intake, helping to keep you slim while you train.
Moving Ahead: The Weight Gainer Plan That Works for You
Ultimately, your successful use of weight gainers is dependent upon what your body needs, how you administer these nutrients, and how you integrate your gaining plan into your everyday life.
If you’re ready to give them a try, we’re here for you every step of the way.
We’re experts in protein-based supplements and we’re passionate about sharing our knowledge. Feel free to contact us, read some of our supplement reviews, or leave a comment below and let’s build something great together.
Don’t forget to check out our article The Guide To the Best Mass Gainers
Alex Rogers is a supplement manufacturing expert. He has been formulating, consulting, & manufacturing dietary supplements since 1998. Alex invented protein customization in 1998 & was the first company to allow consumers to create their own protein blends. He helped create the first supplement to contain natural follistatin, invented whey protein with egg lecithin, & recently imported the world’s first 100% hydrolyzed whey.