Are mass gainer’s worth the money

Are you trying to bulk up and wondering if a mass gainer is the solution? This article is for you.

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The other day I was in a discussion with someone who wants to put on serious muscle.

With a background in weight lifting, they had not put much effort in over the past 10 years or so.

While already in good shape, they desired to go up in size. A common goal and a common struggle for many.

I at one point in my life did the same thing when training for fire academy. Many years ago I went from 170 to 205.

I got big and I got big fast. This was all done without the help of supplements besides an occasional protein and creatine shake. This was only on occasions when my diet was going to come up short.

Granted, I am probably genetically designed to be a bigger guy.

I can build muscle fast and get big but struggle to stay lean on the body fat.

Some are the opposite. They struggle to get big and staying light is just who they are.

Back to that discussion, this person wanted tips on how to get bigger. He had no interest in taking supplements.

It did not take long for someone to chime in and say,

It is virtually impossible to gain weight without protein supplements. Preferably, use a mass gainer post workout and before bed literally every day.

Probably one of the worst pieces of advice I had heard in a while. Not to mention, from somebody who has no authority on the matter.

While genetics can cause issues for some, I don’t believe in the term, “hard gainer.” Generally, it comes down to programming.

What really is a mass gainer?

Simply put, a mass gainer is exactly what it sounds like.

They help you get big.

They are designed to give you roughly 1000 calories in a single serving.

Within that 1000 calories you get about 50 grams of protein and very little fat. Usually around 6 grams

Do the math:

  • Protein = 4 calories per gram = 50 x 4 = 200 calories
  • Fat = 9 calories per gram = 9 x 6 = 54 calories

That leaves us with 746 calories. So where do those calories come from?

They must come from carbohydrates. Just like protein, carbs equal 4 calories per gram.

746/4 = Roughly 187 grams of carbohydrates.

That is it. There is nothing special about a weight gainer.

You have protein, which is usually a mix of whey concentrate, isolate, and hydrolyzed whey.

A small amount of fats and then a whole heap of carbs.

Honestly there is a little more to it though.

With a mass gainer, they add in BCAA’s, tons of creatine, and tons of low quality ingredients for taste but not health.

They are packed full of cheap ingredients.

However, there are two bigger concerns.

The first, they are expensive! Expect to drop anywhere from $45 to $60 per giant tub in order to get roughly 14 servings.

So expect to pay anywhere from $100 or more each month to build mass.

Secondly, directions go like this:

Mix 1 serving (5 scoops) with 16 oz. (470 mL) of water or skim milk and consume either in the morning, between meals or post-workout. If preferred, you can consume 1/2 serving twice daily.

Anyone who has ever mixed a powder supplement in to a 16 oz. cup of water will tell you, that is a thick mixture.

In fact, that is the most common complaint. They are difficult to force down because of how thick they are.

The solution? Throw it in a blender with other ingredients. After all, its 1000 calories, what does a few hundred more really matter?

Is it impossible to gain weight without a mass gainer?

No it is not impossible. To make a statement that it is virtually impossible to gain weight without a mass gainer makes no sense.

Just look at the ingredients for what they really are. Protein, fat, and carbs.

You can do that through diet and proper training.

Why does anyone need to spend $50 every two weeks for a powder form of food?

If you want to get bigger and stronger, all you have to do is follow a few simple basic guidelines.

First off, it helps to count your macros. If you are not tracking what you are doing, you are approaching your goals blindly.

Counting your macros is the key first and foremost.

Take someone at 170 lbs. at 10% body fat and the workout about 3 hours a week.

Their TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) is 2246 calories, the next step is to add 10% to that.

That means you need to eat about 2471 each day.

10% is a safe number for bulking and will get you the results you want.

At most go 15%.

With that calorie goal, you want to eat about 54% carbs, 28% protein, and 18% fat.

That can be easily accomplished by eating a few meals and a snack or two each day.

You will probably find it to be less expensive and more enjoyable as well.

Compare the results

While mass gainers can serve a purpose. For instance if you are going to have a difficult time getting food during the day due to work or some other function.

Another possibility is someone with a medical condition that needs help putting on weight.

However, for the most part, nobody needs to take a supplement to gain weight.

Looking at the numbers, eating over 2000 calories is not that difficult.

Problem is that too many people see weight gain as a means to going on the see-food diet. AKA, the dirty bulk.

More often than not, when someone is taking a weight gainer, they are also eating multiple meals per day.

This means, instead of taking in some 2200 calories, its more like 3000.

With that number, anybody will gain weight. The powder in the tub is not some magical device.

Tell anyone to eat 3000 calories when they need 2200 and they will gain weight.

Anytime you want to bulk up, as long as you are lifting weights, you will build muscle.

However, that is not all you build. You also build fat as well.

This is unavoidable. Your body can only build so much muscle at a time.

Some of those excess calories will inevitably turn in to fat.

Which is why eating a 10% surplus is the key.

That is enough of a surplus to build muscle with minimal amounts of body fat growth.

It is a proper way to measure growth as well. If you pack on too much fat and then go to a cutting stage, you can quickly realize you did not grow as much muscle as you thought.

With limited fat growth, you can continuously see your body develop and stay in a good body fat %.

Bottom Line

While genetics can make you a “hard gainer”, I have never actually met a true hard gainer.

Anybody with a proper training and diet can build muscle, burn fat, and be happy with their physique.

While there is a time and a place for things like a mass gainer, you probably don’t need it.

It’s a lot of money for something that can easily be substituted for proper nutrition.

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Ronald Nattress

Ron Nattress is the Founder and Owner of the Pioneer Fit Project. Ron started his fitness career in 2003 as a certified personal trainer. Over the years he has developed an insatiable thirst for knowledge. With a desire to learn everything about fitness and nutrition he has dedicated a life to finding the ultimate balance of health. In 2017 he decided it was finally time to turn his passion into a full online fitness company. In the beginning of January 2017 Ron opened the Pioneer Fit Project with the goal of helping as many people as he could to live full healthy lives. He is currently working on a multitude of books and developing an online training program.

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