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| 02/18/2020 by Krista Martinez

Weight Gainers How-To Guide

I was having a lot of trouble with my weight before becoming a personal trainer. First, I was having trouble losing weight after having a child. But then, I was living in such a stressful lifestyle that I became underweight. Not being able to put on any weight hindered my ability to gain any muscle.

I searched all over for a way to gain weight in a healthy manner. When I used gainer supplements, it launched my weight and muscle mass into the perfect sweet spot.

This guide will show you how to gain weight through gainers and high calorie foods.

What Is Mass or Muscle Gainer

Gainers are a form of high-calorie supplements. They contain plenty of protein, carbs, and sometimes healthy fats.

Gainers are mostly used for bulking up muscle mass. Other people use gainers to gain weight if they struggle to take in enough calories. With the extra calorie intake, you can achieve weight gain and boost your muscle mass.

These supplements are popular with weight lifters and bodybuilders. They are incredibly useful for the bulking stage. If you want to gain lean muscle mass, gainers can help with that too.

Gainer Supplement Forms

Gainer powders can vary to serve different purposes. They also come in a large variety of flavors. Some of the most popular flavors include: Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Caramel, Banana, Cookies and cream.

Some gainers have less than 1,000 calories. These powders are for people who want to gain muscle without fat or weight gain. They tend to be high in protein and low in carbs. On average, one serving contains between 50-70 grams of protein and 85-130 grams of carbs.

Some supplements contain over 1,000 calories. These gainers often contain high carb levels. Carbs are great for heavy exercise or if you are highly active, but they can’t do much for muscle mass. There is an average of 1,200 calories, 50 grams of protein, and 200-250 grams of carbs.

Main Ingredients in Gainers

There is a wide variety of high-quality, beneficial ingredients.

Protein

Most gainers contain proteins that are quick and easy for your body to digest. Protein is crucial for the growth of muscle fibers and maintaining muscle mass. These proteins include:

  • Whey concentrate or isolate (most common)
  • Casein protein
  • Soy protein
  • Egg protein or albumen

Whey protein comes from milk by separating it from the milk curds. It is one of the easiest forms of protein for your body to absorb.

Casein protein is the other component of milk when it is separated from the whey. Casein digests slowly, but it is another high-quality form of protein.

Soy protein is made from soybeans. This is an excellent choice for vegans or vegetarians that want to try gainers. Soy is naturally high in protein and low in carbs.

Egg protein and albumen come from egg whites and contain no lactose or carbohydrates. They are an efficient form of protein for lean muscle mass.

Some gainers blend two or more types of protein since they absorb at different rates.

Carbohydrates

Common carbohydrates in gainers include dextrose, maltodextrin, and fructose. Carbohydrates come in handy for gaining weight. If you plan on gaining a lot of weight, carbs should make up approximately 40% of your calorie intake.

Carbs provide your body with tons of fuel for workouts. Consuming carbs post-workout replenishes muscle energy stores.

Creatine

Creatine is another useful supplement for promoting muscle mass growth. Your body naturally produces creatine and also relies on dietary intake. It is popular among athletes and gymgoers for pre and post-workout energy.

Creatine turns into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which your body needs for muscle contractions. ATP is also what makes your cells able to transfer energy throughout your body.

L-Glutamine

L-Glutamine plays a vital role in your immune system and muscle health. Your body uses up your L-Glutamine levels during exercise.

L-Glutamine is essential for intestinal health and muscle metabolism. It contributes to protein synthesis, which is the process of turning amino acids into protein.

BCAAs

BCAAs combine 3 amino acids.

Amino acids create proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of life. Our bodies cannot survive without it. It plays a role in making every single thing in your body.

There are 20 amino acids. The 3 amino acids in BCAAs are essential. The amino acids in this ingredient are:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Valine

The beneficial roles of BCAA supplementation include:

  • Promoting protein synthesis to boost muscle growth
  • Reducing post-workout soreness
  • Decreasing muscle damage during workouts
  • Preventing muscle loss due to aging or sickness
  • Providing energy during exercise and reducing exercise-induced fatigue
  • Repairing muscle tissue after workouts or injuries

Testosterone Boosters

For men, testosterone makes an enormous difference in gaining muscle mass and strength. When it begins to decline, muscle gains are harder to get.

Testosterone boosters are not the same as prescription testosterone hormones. Boosters are dietary supplements with herbs that promote the natural production of testosterone.

With proper testosterone levels, you significantly amp up your gains.

Keep in mind that you must be careful with these boosters. Here are some safety tips for gainers that include testosterone:

  • Make sure your source is reputable. Carefully check reviews to see if other customers experience adverse side effects.
  • Do not take more than the listed daily dosage. You should aim to keep your testosterone within normal levels. Too much testosterone can be harmful to your body. Adverse effects include:
    • Reduced sperm count
    • Enlarged prostate
    • Testicle tumors
    • Enlarged breasts
    • Worsening of sleep apnea.
  • Some of these symptoms are because excess testosterone turns into estrogen. Estrogen is the hormone that regulates female functioning. Excess levels of testosterone are rare, but better to be safe than sorry.

Your best bet is to consult your doctor, especially if you have any health concerns. Never put your health at risk, not even for the gains!

Multi-Vitamins

When you are adding so many extra calories, you need plenty of vitamins and minerals with it. Gainer supplements often include vitamins and minerals to compensate your body’s needs.

Why Should You Take Gainers?

Gainer supplements have multiple amazing benefits!

Meet Calorie Needs

Your body requires a surplus of calories to gain mass. When you need to consume so many calories, it can be difficult to force that much food into your stomach. This especially applies to healthy high calorie meals, as they will fill you up and keep you full. The large number of calories in gainers makes it easier to meet your calorie intake needs.

Also, even if you consume more calories than usual, intense workouts will burn them off. Although it may seem that intense workouts build muscle, insufficient calories hinder muscle gain.

Consume Proper Macronutrients

Your macronutrients are the 3 nutrients that your body relies on the most. Your macronutrients are protein, carbs, and fat.

Depending on your unique goals and factors, your calories divide into 3 percentages. If you would like to find out your macro needs, try out a macro calculator.

Balancing your macros while bulking can be difficult. It can be extremely time-consuming to plan out high calorie meals that still fit your macro needs. Try compiling a solid weight gain food list. Since most gainers contain all 3 macros, balancing them out becomes easier.

Bulk With Lean Mass

There are 2 main ways that gainers help you bulk with lean muscle.

Some of the gainers that have less than 1,000 calories allow you to create a smaller calorie surplus. This is helpful if you want to gain muscle, but not as much as bodybuilders or intense strength trainers.

Additionally, gainers that include fat contain specific types of fat. These dietary fats contribute to your macros, and they aren’t adding unhealthy weight. Although fat is a significant nutrient, the key is consuming the right fats.

The form of dietary fat to avoid the most is saturated fat. These are the fats that contribute the most to heart disease and stroke. Check the nutrition facts on the gainer you intend to buy. Look for gainers that include medium-chain triglycerides and cuts out as much saturated fats as possible.

Various Formulas

One of the best things about gainers is the variety. There are many different formulas to fit so many unique needs. Some of the variations include:

  • Gainers meant to be meal replacements
  • Gainers for pre or post-workout. For these, look for gainers that have more carbs and less fat.
  • Different calorie levels

How To Gain Weight the Healthy Way

If you are looking to gain weight rather than muscle, there are a few tips to follow. Being underweight is extremely dangerous for your health. It is just as bad for you as being obese, and in some cases, worse. To get a solid idea of what weight would be healthy for you, try a BMI calculator. So let’s get started on our guide on how to gain weight the healthy way.

Surplus Calories

The main priority is taking in more calories than you burn. If you need help determining your calorie needs, consider using a calorie calculator. For slow and steady gaining, you should consume around 300-500 calories above your base calorie needs. If you prefer to gain quickly, 700-1,000 extra calories will suffice. Focus on consuming plenty of high calorie foods.

High Protein Foods

A high-protein diet is a healthy way to gain. Extra calories from protein turn into muscle, whereas extra carbs are stored in fat tissue.

Protein tends to be very filling, so you may find yourself struggling to take in extra calories. Consider trying whey protein shakes or high calorie snacks that contain a lot of protein.

Here is an example of a good weight gain food list.

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Legumes
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products

Eating Schedule and Macronutrients

You should aim for at least 3 meals a day. During these meals, consume plenty of your macronutrients. Whenever possible, try adding nutrient-rich snacks in between meals.

Energy-Dense Foods

Energy-dense foods are packed with nutrients. When looking for these foods, avoid processed or junk food. If you struggle with your food being too bland, make use of spices and condiments. The more you enjoy the taste of your food, the more you are likely to eat!

For high calorie snacks or meals, here are some examples:

  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy products
  • Oils such as coconut and avocado oils
  • Granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Meat, poultry, fish
  • Potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Dried fruits

Strength Training

Strength training ensures that your weight gain is muscle instead of fat. Start lifting weights and slowly progress to heavier weights.

Put more focus into weights than cardio. Cardio burns calories, but without putting on weight.

Who Should Avoid Taking Gainer Supplements?

If you have any medical conditions or question the safety of gainers and side effects, always consult your doctor!

Some examples of people who should avoid gainers or consult their doctor include:

  • People with heart, kidney, or liver diseases
  • Diabetics
  • People with high blood pressure

Possible Side Effects

Some common ingredients in gainer supplements can cause adverse side effects.

Overdoing it on protein can disrupt the balance of your amino acids. It can also cause you to gain too much weight, which leads to obesity. Many protein supplements contain protein that comes from milk, such as whey. If you are lactose intolerant, consuming this protein can cause intestinal pain or damage.

Creatine is safe when used at recommended doses. However, too much creatine can wreak havoc on your body. It can cause significant damage to your heart, kidneys, and liver. You may encounter some unwanted side effects such as:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea and gastrointestinal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Fluid retention
  • Muscle cramping

Gainer supplements are a valuable tool when used correctly. It can boost your muscle gains or help you reach a healthy goal weight. Remember that safety comes first! It’s definitely worth a shot if you’re looking for a good push towards your goals!