While some people work as hard as possible to lose weight, others try their hardest to gain it. There are several reasons someone might want to gain weight, such as wanting to improve athletic performance or appear more muscular. No matter why you want to gain weight, the most important part of the equation is to consume more calories than you burn. Weight gain and weight loss boil down to that simple equation. The greater the calorie surplus, the more weight you gain.
If you have trouble getting enough calories to gain weight, then the best mass gainer could be for you. These are super-powered protein supplements that contain carbs, amino acids, and other ingredients to help you build muscle mass.
The Best Mass Gainers
Now that we’ve gone through the ins and outs of mass gainers and what you can expect from them, here are our picks for the top five best mass gainer supplements.
The Best Overall Mass Gainer
With a name like “Mutant Mass,” you can expect to get one of the biggest weight gainers around. You would be right to expect that as that’s what you get. This supplement packs together plenty of impressive ingredients for sure, but the main reason to choose Mutant Mass is because of the insane number of calories per serving. Some supplements have 400 calories, some have 600, this one has an insane 1,046 calories per serving.
To put that number into perspective, your average Sunday roast has around 1,000 calories. You’ll get that in one simple but effective mass gainer. It’s insane that you could drink a thousand calories like that.
As for the other nutrients in the mix, you’ll find a healthy ratio of carbs to protein with 182 carbs to 52 grams of protein. There’s a nice blend of amino acids to help you recover after a tough workout. There are also high-fat MCTs derived from coconut oil.
In terms of protein, you can expect to find a blend of whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, milk protein isolate, calcium caseinate, micellar casein, whey protein hydrolysate, whey protein isolate, egg albumen, and modified milk ingredients. To put it simply – there’s a lot of protein per serving here.
Mutant Mass has a healthy recommended serving of four scoops per serving.
The Most Nutritional Mass Gainer
This is one of the most popular mass gainer products on the market. The product stands out for having a healthy mix of micronutrients. Too many mass gainers fall into the trap of focusing too much on macronutrients. They focus too much on offering enough carbs, fat, and protein, neglecting the need for vitamins and minerals.
Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass takes mass seriously and doesn’t make that mistake. Each serving has a multivitamin in it. You’ll get all the vitamins and minerals you need, along with a whopping 1,250 calories per serving.
One area this one lets us down is the sugar content. A full 20 grams of sugar per serving is a little high for this kind of supplement. The good news is that it comes with four grams of dietary fiber, which helps to prevent sugar rushes. The protein in the mix comes from a blend of egg, milk, and whey proteins. We appreciate the variety on offer, but it’s a shame that lactose-intolerant people and vegans can’t enjoy what’s on offer between the eggs and milk.
The Best Tasting Mass Gainer
One problem with mass gainer products is that they taste bad. As great as these products are for growth, it doesn’t help if you can’t bring yourself to keep drinking them because they taste too bad. That’s not a problem with USN Hardcore Muscle Fuel. If there’s one thing you can depend on this mass gainer to do, it’s tastes good. Although, part of that is because of the sugar in the product. Nearly a third of all the carbs in this mass gainer come from sugars. This isn’t great, but to give you some context your average 36-gram chocolate bar has 20 grams of sugar in it. This isn’t the healthiest sugar mix, but it’s certainly better than the alternative.
USN says the product is not intended for people under 18 years old and it shouldn’t be used by those hoping to lose weight. The company also says it’s for people who are serious about gaining mass. Of course, no one looking to lose weight should consider taking a weight gainer product.
This product has fewer calories than the other two, which does make it effective as a pre-workout. Even so, 500 calories is still a hefty amount. You might want to split the dose into two until you start putting on mass.
Our Favourite Low Sugar Mass Gainer
The MyProtein Extreme Gainer Blend is an excellent post-workout supplement. The product has a healthy amount of calories in it, which helps your body recover and re-energize after a tough workout. It’s also relatively low in sugar, so you don’t need to worry about consuming too much sugar to get your calorie surplus.
Given that this product contains fewer carbs per serving than the other products on our list, it’s a good choice for those looking for a balance between a standard protein powder and a weight gainer. This is one for people who want to ease their way into the mass gainer world instead of jumping in at the deep end.
We recommend mixing this mass gainer with other ingredients to make up for the low sugar content. It goes great when mixed with milk or peanut butter, though please avoid mixing it with too much milk. MyProtein recommends adding 100g (around three scoops) of the mass gainer blend with between 500 and 1,000ml of milk or water. We think that a full liter of milk is a little much, so take it with either 500ml of milk or 1,000ml of water.
Cheap Mass Gainer
As much as we like this product, we think The Protein Works might be overdoing it with a recommended 1-3 servings per day of this mass gainer. Each serving has a full 1,000 calories, so three servings would be 3,000 calories. There’s nothing wrong with getting that much of a calorie surplus, but you should get calories from a variety of sources and not just three servings of mass gainer.
With that said, this is still an incredible mass gainer mix with a healthy mix of protein and carbs. However, it also has a lot of sugar. That’s something to keep in mind when introducing this supplement to your diet.
Even with that high sugar content, we can absolutely recommend you try Total Mass Matrix. The flavor choice is a definite positive here. You can enjoy this supplement in Tiramus, White Choc Peanut Sundae, and Cinnamon Cereal Milk.
What Are Weight Gainers?
Weight gainers, also known as mass gainers, are supplements packed full of protein and calories while being super low in fat and sugar content. We’ve produced an in-depth guide here.
You can use a gainer supplement as a meal replacement or as part of your bulking diet to get more calories per serving with each meal.
How many calories per serving you get with a supplement depends entirely on the supplement itself. Some of them have only 400 calories, while some supplements have up to, if not over, 1,000 calories per serving. Be sure to check the label of a gainer supplement before buying it.
Most mass gainers also have some form of dairy protein, as it’s one of the best protein sources. If you are lactose intolerant, we recommend you look for a vegan option. Vegan mass gainers are less likely to contain lactose. Once again, always check the label to see what’s inside the package.
If your weight gainer supplement contains creatine, for example, then you shouldn’t use separate creatine monohydrate supplements. The same applies to BCAAs. You don’t need other BCAA supplements if your weight gainer has leucine and glutamine in it. Well, you shouldn’t need any other supplements so long as you continue to take your weight gainer. Many an athlete uses weight gainers to combine several supplements into one.
How to Use a Weight Gainer Effectively
There are some things you can do before you start buying every mass gainer you can find. The first is to take a look at your current diet. There are plenty of apps that help you track your calorie and nutrient intake. Just enter the food or scan the barcode and the app tracks all the carb, fat, protein, and sugar content. Monitoring your diet is an essential part of losing and gaining weight.
You can start to set new goals for yourself once you’ve developed the habit of tracking your daily intake. Suppose you wanted to break your diet down so that you got 65% of your energy from carbs, 25% from protein, and 20% from fats. The app breaks all this down for you and tells you how many grams of each macronutrient this translates to.
This is where you can consider mass gainers. When you know how much protein and carbs you should be eating, you can find mass gainers that suit those needs to help you reach your desired size.
Don’t worry too much if this sounds confusing, as it’s actually easy to keep track of. Of course, you’ll have to be more mindful of your diet and what you consume, but you should do that if you are serious about gaining weight and muscle mass anyway. The body needs the right nutrients to create and maintain muscle mass.
It would be best if you stuck to the recommended serving to get clean gains. Be sure to mix the weight gainer protein powder with water instead of milk or another milk substitute. You can mix the powder with milk if you must, but keep in mind that could throw your nutrient goals off-target. 500ml of milk adds 200 calories and 25 grams of sugar content to your diet. This is wholly unnecessary, especially when you consider that weight gainer powders are thicker than the average protein powder anyway. There’s no reason to mix your powder with milk.
What to Look For in a Mass Gainer
Not all mass gainers are created equal. Here are some of the small differences between different powders that will help you pick the right mass gainer for you;
These supplements, no matter their purpose, are made to be ingested. One way to ensure that you stick with your diet and workout regime and keep taking your protein shakes is to get one in a flavor you like. Look for flavors you enjoy and would be happy to consume time and time again.
- Protein Source
Protein is the building block of muscle. You need protein to gain muscle. It’s as simple as that. With that said, there are several protein sources. Check the packaging for your mass gainer to see where the protein comes from. Checking the protein source is especially helpful if you have food intolerances such as lactose intolerance. If you can’t stomach lactose, then look for vegan plant-based alternatives instead. Peanut butter is another common protein source. You obviously want to avoid a mass gainer that triggers an allergic reaction.
Carbohydrates are a big part of mass gainers. Carbs are foods that give your body energy. You need that energy to push through a tough workout and get the best results. Not only do carbohydrates act as fuel for your body, but they also help ensure that you gain mass.
- Ingredient List
You should always be conscious of the ingredients that go into products and supplements you eat. The best mass gainers have an impressive and clear ingredients list. Knowing what you put into your body is a great way to ensure that you don’t consume anything you are allergic to or would cause more harm than good down the line. Although these supplements aren’t to be taken in the long term anyway, so it’s less of an issue here.
Like everyone else who takes mass gainers, you have a goal that you want to achieve. For weightlifters and bodybuilders, using mass gainers is just part of the lifestyle and something they do to reach their muscle and weight goals. It makes sense, then, that they should buy a lot of mass gainers and look for the biggest possible box. Those with short-term goals, however, should look for economical packages. They don’t need as much and can get away with smaller packages. This is less of an issue as most mass gainers come in boxes of 30 servings.
- Serving Size
The last thing to consider is the standard recommended serving size. Some products call on you to take a whopping six scoops of powder per serving. How much powder goes into one serving affects how the powder mixes and affects the consistency of the finished protein drink. Too much powder leads to thicker drinks that are tough to swallow. Some people are comfortable with this and don’t mind, while others have problems. The best mass gainers are ones you can mix and swallow comfortably.
Important Mass Gainer Ingredients
Supplements are only as good as the ingredients that go into making them. One thing that is consistent across all the best mass gainers is certain ingredients that offer the best results. Here are some of the most common – and important – mass gainer ingredients to look for;
- Whey Protein
Whey protein is among the most common ingredients found in mass gainers. While whey protein is an effective way to build muscle mass, there are several forms you should be aware of so you know what you’re getting.
The three main types of whey are concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. Whey isolate and hydrolysate are the best forms of protein as they go through a more stringent filtering process. As such, they have minimal lactose and fat content compared to whey concentrate.
Speaking of whey concentrate, it is the least effective protein form found among mass gainers. This reduced quality also comes with a reduced price, however. Some people choose to concentrate solely on the price.
The less lactose you have in your mass gainer, the more of it your body can absorb. It sounds counter-productive, but lactose quickly overwhelms the body even if you aren’t intolerant. Everyone deals with uncomfortable digestive issues when they have too much of the stuff.
- Milk Protein Isolate (Casein Protein)
These two forms of protein are similar enough to be lumped together into a single category. The proteins are slow-digesting compared to the whey protein mentioned before. This is one reason that mass gainer supplements are thicker than the average protein powder. The proteins make an excellent addition to whey and serve to balance out the quick digestion of whey, meaning your body has enough protein to fuel your growth over time.
- Vegan Proteins
Vegan proteins come from sources such as brown rice, hemp, and peas. These vegan protein powders are becoming increasingly popular and it’s not hard to see why. Vegan proteins offer a hefty amount of protein per serving using nothing but natural plant sources. Whether you’re a vegan for dietary or moral reasons, you can benefit from these products. Even non-vegans are getting on board as they help you avoid the digestion issues that come from consuming so much dairy protein at once.
Vegan proteins are among the highest quality proteins available. These proteins are the closest vegan bodybuilders can get to animal proteins and they are good enough to help even a non-vegan gainer pack on the pounds. You can’t go wrong with a vegan protein.
Maltodextrin is another common ingredient for mass gainers. This ingredient is a fast-digesting sugar included in supplements to improve the flavor. One major turn-off for these supplements is that they tend to have a bad flavor. Sugar also offers a significant energy boost without including too many calories. We recommend checking the ingredient list for supplements. This ingredient is fine, but it becomes an issue when listed among the first ingredients. The earlier something is listed in the ingredients, the more of it there is. Many supplement manufacturers rely too heavily on maltodextrin, giving their supplements too much sugar content. Some sugar is fine, but too much sugar becomes a waste of your money.
- Low-Glycemic Index (GI) Carbohydrates
Don’t worry too much about the carbohydrates in mass gainers. The carbohydrates used in these supplements are low on the glycemic index. This means that they don’t cause a huge impact on your blood sugar level. As such, they are becoming increasingly popular for the best mass gainers. These low GI carbohydrates include things such as brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes, buckwheat, and bran. These ingredients offer a more stable release of energy from the calories in them, making them different from high-GI carbs such as fast-digesting sugars. Fast-digesting sugars don’t keep you going for long. You need a gainer product with slow-release energy to get you through the day.
- Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are other common ingredients in mass gainers. They make for excellent sources of heart-healthy fats. They also contain plenty of low-GI carbs and provide a stable and reliable energy source throughout the day. Fats also have more calories per average compared to protein and carbs. Fats have nine calories per gram compared to the four calories per gram of protein and carbs. You’ll have an easier time reaching your calorie goals with nuts and seeds. Look for products that contain hemp, chia, flax, almonds, peanuts, and cashews when looking for a mass gainer muscle supplement.
If your attempts to gain weight have failed, then you likely aren’t getting enough calories in your diet. Mass gainers can help you get more calories, but they aren’t wholly necessary for people who can eat enough food to get the calorie surplus they need. They do make a convenient addition to any busy lifestyle, however. Not everyone has the time to cook and eat that much food.
A good mass gainer has around 50-70 grams of protein per serving, along with a combination of carbs and calories. The carb content varies from between 85 and 250 grams, with between 600 and 1,200 (or more) calories per serving. High-calorie products tend to have more carbs.
We’ve picked some of the best mass gainers on the market in the UK, which will help you stack your calories and ultimately build muscle fast.