Mass Gainers = The Evolution of Bodybuilding Supplements
No scam, just logic. How Weight Gainers Benefit Bodybuilding.
As I was surfing the internet looking for fitness supplements to review. I began to dig into the protein shake/mass gainer rabbit hole and came across a Medium post. I won’t call out names, I’m new to the platform & don’t want drama. I will say it was an individual who seems to have some background in the fitness industry.
The article dug into the fitness industry and labeled all mass gainers and weight gainer products as scams, my favorite bit was (I’m paraphrasing here) “they’re loaded with a bunch of stuff no one needs in their body and are costly.” Welcome to the fitness industry buddy.
I approach this topic as a certified personal trainer myself, with years of experience using weight gaining supplements and protein shakes. Here’s the obligatory photo evidence that I indeed workout.
He then goes into alternatives to weight gainers after “uncovering the scam that is weight gainers.”
Let me take some time to debunk his revelations. Let’s start with ingredients.
- Weight Gainers and Mass Gainers are just meal replacements
With that being said, the ingredients you find in a supplement made for bodybuilders to gain weight will have the same components as a protein shake with added micronutrients.
Let me show you an example of one of my favorite mass gainers, one I suggest to my clients:
When you take a glance at the nutrition facts, you may make an audible gasp! One total serving is 1250 Calories!? That is about as much as a Big Mac! 252 Grams of Carbs?! They must be out of their mind! Slow down there, buckaroo.
Now taking a step back, first of all, most people don’t need a full “suggested” serving. I take one scoop in the morning which when you cut these numbers by 1/4th makes this look a lot more reasonable.
That comes out to:
12 Grams of Protein
60 Grams of Carbs
.6 Grams of Fat
For the price of about: $1.36 per scoop
Is that price reasonable? Can it be cheaper?
You could, of course, buy a bunch of bananas instead but then you’re getting a lot of fiber, more carbs and not as much protein. See, it’s a delicate balance. That’s why the fitness industry produces these supplements.
What you’re getting ingredients wise is essentially a tapioca based supplement. A generally neutral protein source, not the best but not the worst. You would choose Tapioca because most people aren’t allergic and it also is high in fiber and carbs. What you don’t get protein wise from Tapioca, the rest is covered in a Whey protein concentrate. The industry standard. (aka nothing gimmicky, no snake oil)
True Purpose of Protein Supplements
Throughout the evolution of the bodybuilding culture, one thing has remained firm. You can gain mass by consuming more food. It’s a simple rule, of course when looked into with a bit more science is a bit more complicated.
You won’t become a big muscular man by eating doughnuts; people try, doesn’t work. You need you to increase your essential macronutrients evenly, and that excess caloric intake with proper exercise will help you get those big ole lumps.
Women have equivalent products on the market, usually advertised as meal replacements to either help you gain weight (think Ensure) or to help you lose weight (Slimfast). In reality, these two goals are achieved by the same product, just different servings.
Ensure, and Slimfast isn’t being slammed as total scams by certain individuals because their advertisement techniques aren’t as flamboyant as fitness supplements geared towards men.
The Alternative? Not oil… Really? You’d suggest that?
So here’s one direct quote from the post that inspired mine.
“Are you ready? Ready for the solution to how to gain weight for almost no extra money and in a way that is so easy that will make you understand why the above stuff will seem ridiculous. One word, Oil!”
Do you see why this is wrong? Remember what I said above?
Increasing caloric intake is more complicated than just consuming more calories. You need to take an even approach with the BIG 3 (Protein, Fat, Carbs).
If you only consume more fat, you won’t be fueling your body correctly to take those excess calories and do the essential things like protein synthesis, glycogen refueling and…Converting your hard work (and money) into muscle.
I could go DEEP into why mass gainers are not necessarily essential but do serve as a convenient tool for those looking to increase their size but I don’t think that is what the layman is looking for. I just want to make sure you don’t dismiss one of the golden rules in bodybuilding. To get MASS you need to consume MASS.
Of course, I suggest the basic steak dinner with a side of brown rice over GHP MASS GAINER 4400 or whatever you find on your local GNC shelf. Does that mean those weight gainers are bad? No.
You just need to do your research when looking to buy ANY supplement. Some bad apples exist in every category. Shop smart; you’ll find an affordable fit to amplify your diet and help you reach your goals. I wrote an extensive article on mass gainers with ASCVS, it is mostly geared towards men but they do have content for women who are looking to gain weight as well.
Happy Building My Buff Comrades💪, Mansa Brice