Grab your cheat sheet
When you’re trying to bulk up, it can feel like walking a real tightrope at times.
You’re trying to build up your muscle mass, but without packing on too much body fat to go along with it. It’s tricky business.
The temptation can be to just eat more—either with a clean and well-planned diet, or by stuffing your face and dirty bulking, then going hard on the cutting at a later date.
Neither of which are as simple, or appealing, as they might seem at first. That bloated and tired feeling is never too far away when you spend the whole day eating.
The quality of the calories you consume will also make a huge difference in how you put mass on. Cramming down pizza, donuts, and junk food every day will obviously lead to weight gain, just not the type you want.
It’s much better to take a more measured approach instead. One that can also help you maintain good shape as you add mass to your frame.
This is where mass gainers can help you out. But what exactly are they?
Let’s find out.
What Is a mass gainer?
Mass gainers are exactly what their name suggests: powdered supplements to help you bulk up.
Whereas whey and other forms of protein powder can help you hit your macros and build muscle, most mass gainers contain additional carbohydrates, fats. The best mass gainers also contain other ingredients to help you pack on mass and increase your daily calorie intake without having to overeat.
As with any other type of gym supplement, mass gainers are not all the same, and some are much better than others.
So, what separates the best mass gainers from the rest of the pack?
What to look for in a mass gainer…
When choosing a mass gainer to support your bulking goals, there are several things that you want to see included in the formula.
- High protein content: The best mass gainers contain at least 30g of high-quality protein per serving.
- Low glycemic carbohydrates: Not just any carbs do the trick for building muscle mass, you need complex carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index, like gluten-free oat flour, as well as a bulking agent like maltodextrin.
- Healthy fat: Along with protein and carbs, there also needs to be some healthy fats in there to enhance anabolic hormone production and aid muscle growth.
- Vitamins and minerals: To help round out your micronutrient intake as well as your macros, great mass gainers will also contain added extras, like B vitamins for energy and minerals such as zinc and magnesium to further promote muscle building and hormone production.
- Delicious flavors: As you’ll be having a shake every day, you want your mass gainer to not only have a great taste, but also mix well for a smooth finish.
Now that you know what goes into top-class mass gainers, let’s have a look at how they can help you build and maintain some solid muscle.
What do mass gainers do for muscle gain?
Ideally, when bulking up, you want to develop lean muscle mass, instead of general heft or extra body fat. But this isn’t particularly simple—especially if your body type doesn’t suit.
We all lose and gain fat and muscle at different speeds. For every apparently superhuman adonis who seems to naturally become shredded as they lift, there’s a skinny someone who struggles to grow—and there is a bigger someone who just cannot drop down in weight.
The good news is that because this is largely dependent on your body type, you can tweak your approach to really optimize your results.
You just need to train and eat in a way that suits your somatotype.
How to build muscle mass based on your body type
Let’s take a quick look at the main body types (or somatotypes, as they are also called) so that you can pinpoint which sounds most like yourself. This can then provide a basis for how you go about building mass.
If you’re naturally skinny and struggle to put any weight on—no matter you try—you are likely an ectomorph.
People with this body shape (lean, long, low body fat percentage) are also known as hard gainers, as their fast metabolisms tend to burn off the calories they consume before they even have a chance to be turned into muscle or fat.
If you have a mesomorphic body type, then you’ll be naturally more athletic than others, making it easier to lose or gain weight.
People with this shape often have a broad chest and shoulders, narrow waist, and a medium frame. They also have good metabolisms that provide them with a huge advantage when it comes to muscle growth.
But don’t worry if you don’t fall into this category—you’ll still be able to make gains, whatever your body type may be. It just requires a bit of strategizing.
The final somatotype is the larger-framed endomorph.
Naturally stockier and bulkier than the other body types, endomorphs have a tendency to hold weight fairly easily—but that can be muscle as well as fat. So gaining mass isn’t particularly difficult (although ensuring that mass doesn’t turn to fat can be).
The reality is that people in all three categories (or those that are a mix or blend of two) can benefit from a mass gainer if they are looking to build muscle—it all comes down to how you use it.
How To Take a Mass Gainer for Best Results
It’s a pretty simple idea: Mass gainers increase your calories so you can bulk up and gain muscle.
But there are a few things that you can do that will help you get the absolute most out of your mass gainer supplement.
1. Measure your food intake
It’s a fundamental premise for making progress in the gym, whether you’re looking to burn fat or build muscle—but it’s worth mentioning here as a reminder—calculate your macros.
Knowing the exact amount of protein, fats, and carbs that you’re consuming is crucial for hitting your goals because it gives you an easy way to change things if you aren’t seeing the results you’d like.
It’s no good trying to wing it and then adding in an extra 500 calories or so from a mass gainer if you’re not sure how much you should be taking on each day.
So, make sure you’ve got the basics covered by determining the precise number of calories you should eat, along with the macronutrient breakdown.
Then you can account for your daily mass gainer shake without any issues.
2. Increase the amount gradually
When you first use a mass gainer, it can be beneficial to start off with a small amount per day for the first week or two, then up your daily doses gradually.
This gives your stomach a chance to get used to an increase in calories and can stop you from becoming too bloated if you aren’t used to eating or drinking a lot over the course of a day.
Another option is to take the full recommended daily amount but split the dose across two smaller shakes—one in the morning and one later in the afternoon —for example.
3. Optimize the timing of your shakes
One of the best times to take your mass gainer shake is shortly after a workout. It doesn’t have to replace your usual protein shake. In fact, you can even benefit from consuming both within an hour of finishing up at the gym.
A solid strategy is to drink your protein shake as soon as you finish up with your session, then have a mass gainer shake an hour or so later.
Getting plenty of high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates in during this anabolic window aids muscle repair after tearing muscle fibers whilst lifting weights.
Of course, you should take note of how your body responds to do what is best for you. Whereas a post-workout shake is optimal for some, others might prefer to take their mass gainer supplements before they hit the gym for extra energy and drive.
You can also take mass gainers on your rest days, as they add to your overall calorie intake.
The protein, carbs, and other nutrients in the shake can fuel your body and help you meet your daily nutritional needs—just make sure they fit into your rest days macros and calories.
4. Combine with other ingredients
Just like with whey protein powders, mass gainers can be mixed with either water or milk to make a tasty shake. They can both also be combined with further ingredients to make a high-protein smoothie.
For example, mixing a chocolate-flavored mass gainer with milk, oats, peanut butter, and a banana creates a deliciously rich and thick drink that bumps your calories up even further, should you need an extra boost.
Another tasty smoothie recipe is to blend up a scoop or two of vanilla-flavored mass gainer with milk, banana, and a handful of mixed berries (strawberries and blueberries work particularly well).
This is also a great way to take your mass gainer if you prefer to consume it as a meal-replacement shake. The extra calories and nutrients from the additional fat, carbs, and fruit can help fill you up even if you’re not having a meal of solid food.
5. Stack with other supplements
As the mass you want to build is muscle, you ideally want to create a personal supplement stack to fuel your goals.
Mass gainers already contain plenty of protein (up to 40g, in some cases). But you can increase your intake even further with daily whey protein shakes (or whatever your preferred type of protein powder is).
Another supplement to help you build muscle mass as opposed to body fat is creatine. Consuming 5g each day keeps your creatine stores topped up so that your muscles can be flooded with power—giving a boost to your strength and stamina in the gym so that you can lift harder and heavier.
Likewise, a pre-workout supplement can provide the extra energy you need to get you pumped up and ready to smash your gym session.
Should you take a mass gainer?
The fact is that to build muscle, you have to consume more calories than you burn.
And as you’ll be putting in the legwork (pun intended) at the gym, you will be expending a lot of energy lifting, squatting, benching, and generally moving heavy weights around.
So finding an easy way to add to create a calorie surplus is crucial. That’s why mass gainers are so beneficial, no matter what your body type.
If you’re a skinny ectomorph who struggles to put weight on regardless of what you try, mass gainers can make all the difference.
At the other end of the scale, endomorphs can also benefit, as they can take on plenty of additional calories without having to overdo it with less nutritious sources of food.
Or, if you are somewhere in between, like mesomorphs are, a mass gainer can speed up your muscle growth for fast and effective results.
No matter what your body type is, or how you tend to put on weight, just make sure that your workout routine reflects your diet and supplement routine. Mass gainers are highly calorific, so lift heavy and work hard in the gym to ensure the extra bulk becomes muscle instead of body fat.
Which mass gainer should you take?
Good mass gainers not only have a high protein content, but they also contain healthy fats, extra vitamins and minerals, and some complex carbs. And that’s exactly what you get with the Crazy Nutrition Mass Gainer.
It also contains an extra digestive enzyme for enhanced nutrient absorption and to reduce bloating, upset stomach, and sugar spikes.
If you’re looking for a simple way to pack on muscle without putting on extra body fat, then Crazy Nutrition’s Mass Gainer is your real-life cheat code for maximum results. Go get some.