Bodybuilding demands discipline. Along with intense training and a clean diet, you need additional nutrients to grow bigger in muscle size and strength. Therefore, if your goal is to grow bigger and stronger and showcase your beefed up arms and chest, you need extra calories and from clean sources.
However, in real life, it’s not that simple to eat extra helpings of complex carbs and meat (protein), in addition to your planned six meals in a day. Stomach upset and bloating follows owing to an increase in food intake. Moreover, vegetarians find it difficult to meet their additional protein allowance, and protein is a must-have nutrient for building your muscles.
A right mix of extra calories and premium nutrition, mass gainers conveniently fill in the extra calorie needs of bodybuilding enthusiasts. No wonder, they are present in the supplement arsenal of a newbie or a pro bodybuilder.
MASS GAINER VERSUS WHEY PROTEIN
However, most of the time fitness champions wonder if they really need a mass gainer, or is whey protein sufficient enough for new muscle synthesis?
According to Sangram Chougule, Mr. Universe, 2012, “Whey proteins are quick-acting proteins. They are low in carbs, calories, and fats and are critical for muscle recovery and new muscle synthesis, post a workout. Whey proteins are useful for fitness enthusiasts who are looking at lean gains and are able to meet their calorie needs with food alone.”
“But, mass gainers are different from whey proteins. They contain carbs and proteins in 3:1 ratio and have ample calories because bulking (growing in size) requires extra fuel (calories) derived from quality nutrients,” explains Sangram. To gain just one extra pound, you need to consume approximately 3,500 calories above and beyond what you normally consume through foods, beverages, and supplements (whey factored in).
BENEFITS OF MASS GAINERS
- Increased muscle mass
- More energy
- Easier to reach calorie intake goals
- Easy meal replacement for busy schedules
- Faster recovery
- Healthy fats to help you stay lean and muscular
- Added vitamins, nutrients, fiber etc. help reach nutritional goals
HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT MASS GAINER
Mass gainers contain ample calories, but the source of those calories is equally important. Your goal is to get lean and muscular and not fat! Therefore tick the basics before you buy your tub of mass gainer
1. 3:1 Ratio of Carbs vs Proteins
Complex carbs and proteins in the mass gainer should be present in the ratio of 3:1. Proteins in the mass gainer should come from slow-medium and fast release sources, like micellar casein, calcium caseinate, and whey proteins. The quickest metabolizing whey immediately supplies nutrients to distressed muscle tissues after a heavy-duty workout and trigger new muscle synthesis. Slow-digesting proteins like micellar casein and calcium caseinate work as an excellent nighttime and in-between meal protein to prevent muscle breakdown, preserve lean muscle mass and keep the body in a positive nitrogen balance. Complex carbs digest slowly and provide sustained energy for workouts.
2. Digestive Enzymes
The presence of digestive enzymes is required in a mass gainer. Enhanced digestion reduces the likelihood of bloating and provides fuel for intense workouts to achieve the massive size.
3. Low Added Sugar
The easiest way to increase calorie value is by putting in more sugar in the mass gainer. But, a quality mass gainer will provide nutrients from cleaner sources like proteins and complex carbs and keep sugar to a minimum. Zero in on a mass gainer that contains sugar not more than 6g in a 100g serving.
4. Vital Nutrients
Vitamins and minerals play an important role in relieving metabolic stress created by exercise. Multivitamins in a mass gainer stimulate biochemical reactions in the body for energy to relieve muscle fatigue after exercise.
If you have been bodybuilding for a while or are a professional bodybuilder, your mass gain formula should work overtime just the way you do. “Such people should choose a mass gainer that contains creatine, betaine, glutamine and MCT oil, as their goal is to take their training to the next level,” advises Sangram. “These additional nutrients in the mass gain formula will make a world of difference in their training intensity and endurance,” adds he.
Creatine in mass gainers assists in building phosphocreatine reserve, which is the energy reserve of the body for heavy-duty strength training sessions. And, if the creatine is Creapure ®, the purest and the most potent creatine available, it helps improve their performance. This results in fiercer training sessions, explosive lifts and more muscle mass.
Betaine, an amino acid in mass gainers supports alpha performance and helps increase muscle mass and size. Known as recovery fuel Glutamine minimizes muscle breakdown to maximize muscle gains. MCT oil improves fat burn and is found in a professional mass gainer
MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) oil in professional mass gain formulas allow bodybuilders to take their training to the next level.
WHEN TO HAVE
- Take mass gainer along with breakfast for an energetic day
- Mass Gainers are rich in carbohydrates and proteins. Therefore, they make a perfect recovery drink.
- Drink one shake of mass gainer in-between meals to maintain a positive nitrogen balance and support high-calorie diet
When picking a mass gainer, exercise discretion because all calories are not equal! Choose the right mass gainer, as per your need and training level and sculpt the body you desire.