What is a weight gainer and do you need it? Weight gainer is a bodybuilding supplement very similar to protein powder, with the difference of having the nutrients in different amounts. From the name, you can conclude that it’s for people having trouble amassing mass — the hard-gainer population.
It’s really a meal replacement, it can pack anywhere from 300 to 1000 calories per shake, so you gotta be careful not to go overboard and become a fatass while all you wanted was some muscle… 500-600 calories per serving is recommended.
How is a Weight Gainer Different from Protein Powder?
It all comes down to the amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats. In protein powders, depending on the protein source (there is whey, casein, soy, …), there’s anywhere from 40% (concentrated powders) to 95% (isolate) protein. In weight gainers, there are different ratios between the 2 nutrients, there’s 1:1, 1:2, … Having equal amounts of carbs as protein, or higher.
Fats are also present in weight gainers, you should make sure it’s the healthy fats (monounsaturated & polyunsaturated — unhealthy: trans & saturated) and their amount should be no higher than 5g per serving.
The Idea Behind Weight Gainers
The idea is to put on weight for those struggling, but this can go out of control quickly because if you bombard your body with calories and do little exercise, you will simply gain pure fat. You either exercise vigorously at the gym to make those calories count or take smaller portions of it. It’s also recommended to sip it throughout the day to continuously provide your body with calories, you can drink some of it while eating real food.
Verdict: Yay or Nay?
If you simply can’t eat like a horse, weight gainers (or the regular protein powders) should absolutely be given a try, they offer a convenient, easy & fast way of providing your body with excess calories. Don’t mistake it for a fix to all your eating problems, you still need real food — both for the nutrients weight gainers can’t supply and for additional calories, remember: calorie surplus is required for muscle growth!
It costs about 70$ and should be enough for 1 month, provided 2 servings are taken each day: consider taking at morning and evening, with 1 of them being post-workout.
Warning: do not blast yourself with calories — your body has limitations, it cannot process everything you throw at it at the speed of light, excess will be stored as fat and kidney damage is possible. Take shakes only if you haven’t had a heavy meal in the past few hours, spread your food/shake intake throughout the day, this way you guarantee the optimal absorption of nutrients and their usage as intended.