What are the Best Weight Gainers in 2017?

Everyone talks about weight loss. The resources for people trying to lose weight are endless. However, there are times when you want to gain weight instead. The most common motivation is to bulk up and build muscle.

Another reason people struggle to gain weight is when your genetics work against you. Some people naturally have trouble putting on any weight, no matter how much they eat.

Luckily, you don't have to force yourself to keep eating. You can try weight gainer supplements. In this article, I'll cover some of the situations where weight gainers can be helpful, how these supplements work, and review the best weight gainers on the market.

Why Use a Weight Gainer?

The two main reasons to use a weight gainer are to build muscle and counteract your body's genetics.

Build Muscle

People who are serious about working out and weight training often find that after a point, they're barely managing to maintain their current weight. Or worse - they're losing weight instead of bulking up.

If you're looking to add muscle mass, weight gainers are a great option. They're an easy way to add calories to your diet.

High calorie intake is vital for building muscle. You need to consume more calories than you burn in a day or you won't gain weight. If you're really serious about building muscles, you should shoot for "extreme calorie goals."

Extreme calorie goals are the maximum (or if you were trying to lose weight, the minimum) number of calories you should consume in a day. Use a calorie calculator to determine the recommended range for someone of your age, gender, and height.

Most body weight and calorie calculators focus on weight loss. However, the National Institute of Health has a Body Weight Planner that allows you enter custom weight goals. They also account for your level of activity during work and leisure. For the most accurate information, consult with a doctor about your weight gain plans.

After you know how many calories you should consume each day, you can look for the best weight gainer that matches your goals.

To Put on Weight

While some people put on weight to get or look stronger, others simply struggle to get any heavier. In the fitness community, we call this kind of person an ectomorph or more casually, a hardgainer.

Hardgainers might struggle to put on weight because of their body type, genetics, or a fast metabolism. It can be hard or even useless to "just eat more." Weight gainers are an easy way to consume more calories without having to eat your weight in food.

How Do Weight Gainers work?

Weight gainers are simply a quick source of nutrition in liquid form. That's why they can feel so filling.

Weight gainers contain a combination of proteins and carbohydrates, usually with a few dietary fats too. Nowadays, most have additional nutrients, minerals, and amino acids so that you can get multiple benefits at once.

Most weight gainers follow a 2 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to proteins. For example, one serving of a moderate weight gainer would contain 60 grams of carbohydrates, 30 grams of protein, and maybe around 2 grams of fat.

Weight gainers can seem similar to meal replacement powders. The difference is that meal replacement supplements have more protein. The usual ratio is 2 to 1 protein to carbohydrates. Of course, protein powders leave out the carbs entirely.

Proteins are essential to muscle growth, but they may not be enough if you have difficulty putting on weight. Weight gainers not only have carbohydrates, but dietary fats and other nutrients to help add bulk to your body.

Dietary fats help you gain weight, but the nutritional value of fats varies widely. Instead of figuring out how to get the right fats from foods, which are usually over-processed, a weight gainer can help you focus on lean fats.

The carbohydrates present in weight gainers spike your insulin levels and promote fat storage. If you're not burning enough calories, your weight gain might come from increased fat. Be careful not to take too much, or you might end up putting on the wrong kind of pounds.

However, an insulin spike is good for your body after a hard workout, making weight gainers a good post-workout drink. Many supplements contain nutrients like L-glutamine amino acids. L-glutamine is the amino acid most present in your muscles. It helps your muscles recover more quickly and may help prevent or reduce soreness.

If you're looking for a workout supplement, you could use protein powders, but weight gainers are specifically designed to make sure you take in more calories than you burn. Not getting enough calories will cause you to lose weight, no matter how much protein you consume.

What to Look for In a Weight Gainer

Daily vs Post-Workout Gainers

There are daily and post-workout varieties of weight gainer available. Most weight gainers are meant to supplement a workout, so if you're not getting regular exercise, you might see unwanted fat gain, even with a daily variety.

Calorie Content

These products also have a wide range of calories. Some start at as a little as 400 calories per serving while brands go up to 1300 calories. Consider which calorie level is right for you.

Protein and Carbohydrate Content

I review two varieties of weight gainers in this article. One is protein-focused, while the other uses more carbohydrates to boost the overall calorie count.

Protein-based weight gainers are similar to protein powders, but they include additional nutrients and carbohydrates to help with weight gain. Typically, these supplements range from 400 to 700 calories per serving. The benefit of a protein-focused weight gainer is that the emphasis is on lean muscle.

Protein-heavy weight gainers aim to increase lean muscle mass steadily rather than piling the calories. Look for a weight gainer with high-quality proteins from multiple sources. Be aware that protein-based weight gainers are usually more expensive. Quality proteins like whey cost a lot more than ingredients that usually make up carbohydrate blends.

Carbohydrate or calorie-focused weight gainers are all about the pounds. They maximize your calorie intake, getting as high as 1,300 calories per serving. These supplements are great if you want to gain weight fast, and you're not too concerned about some of that weight coming from fat.

Many users who just want to gain weight use weight gainers first, and then workout to increase their lean muscle mass and cut out any unwanted fat. Believe it or not, it's easier to lose weight than it is to gain weight when you're a "hardgainer."

How to Take a Weight Gainer

In general, it’s best to start small. Take only one serving a day at first, and feel free to start with less than the recommended serving size at first. Let your body adjust to the supplement and be on the lookout for any adverse effects. If your body adjusts well, increase your serving size accordingly.

A Word of Caution

The human body is resilient and can adapt to a high quantity of nutrients. One study examined athletes who took double the recommended protein dose after workouts. They did not see any improvements in performance but showed beneficial effects on recovery.

However, excessive protein can damage your body. Protein increases the levels of amino acid and ammonia, as explained in a report from Connected Health Care Systems. The standard American diet doesn't usually contain enough alkaline, which is found mostly in fruits and vegetables. Alkaline helps us process protein, but if there is not enough alkaline, the body produces more ammonia.

Protein should not take up more than 35 percent of your total daily calories. Too much protein can lead to headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, nausea, diarrhea, and intolerance to foods high in protein.

You can avoid these symptoms by keeping a close watch on protein count. Track the amount of protein you take in from supplements and don't forget to count protein from foods too.

Best Weight Gainer Reviews

BSN True Mass 1200

Quality

Price

Our rating

The BSN (Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition, Inc.) True Mass supplement has proteins from five different sources, including whey protein, casein, milk, and eggs. It uses a blend of carbohydrates and is designed to provide enough calories to sustain you through any heavy workout and encourage recovery afterward. The carbohydrates in True Mass come primarily from rolled oats.

The product also has essential and nonessential amino acids including BCAAs. Healthy fats give users more energy. BSN takes special care when manufacturing their flavors. Although weight gainer supplement users often disagree on which products taste best, BSN has few complaints about taste.

BSN markets True Mass specifically as a lean mass gainer. The supplement helps athletes who need to bulk up for better performance in their sport. This focus makes it ideal for those taking on heavy duty workouts.

Instead of the typical 2 to 1 ratio for weight gainers, True Mass 1200 has a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to proteins. Its high carbohydrate content gives this supplement more weight gain power.

True Mass helps your body synthesize proteins more efficiently while also providing the necessary calories and nutrition for your body to grow. It can even compete with some of the meal replacement supplements on the market.

With its most recent product, BSN has continued to improve the supplement's texture and taste.

Pros


  • Over 1200 calories per serving
  • 50 grams of protein
  • 215 grams of carbohydrates per serving
  • 20 grams of essential amino acids
  • 10 grams of BCAAs
  • Powerful ratio of carbohydrates to proteins
  • Reputable and well-established company
  • Great taste
  • Comes in four sizes: 5.75 pound, 5.82 pound, 15 servings, and 16 servings
  • Seven flavors

Cons


  • Can be hard to blend
  • Serving size is three scoops for 16 oz

Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer

Quality

Price

Our rating

Pro Gainer uses high-quality proteins that are easy for your body to absorb and digest. The 60 grams of protein come from seven different sources, giving your body a balanced variety. The primary type of protein is whey protein isolate and concentrate. Although it's one of the more expensive proteins, your body can absorb whey more efficiently than others.

Other types included are casein, milk, and egg proteins. On the ingredients list, you'll see them listed as egg albumen, hydrolyzed whey, and glutamine peptides. This combination of proteins works well together. The body absorbs some proteins immediately and others later in your workout.

Staggered absorption keeps you energized throughout a workout, instead of burning it all within the first fifteen minutes.

Pro Gainer includes various amino acids, complex carbohydrates (the healthy kind) and lipids. They prevent the energy from proteins from being burned too quickly. The lipids in Pro Gainer are primarily medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are high in energy.

This supplement only has five grams of sugar and low levels of cholesterol.

Quality is important to Optimum Nutrition, which only manufactures this product at facilities compliant with GMP, or Good Manufacturing Practices, to ensure they keep to high standards.

Pros


  • 650 calories per serving
  • 60 grams of protein
  • 85 grams of carbohydrates
  • 4 to 5 grams of fiber
  • 26 vitamins and essential minerals
  • Only 5 grams of sugar
  • High-quality standards
  • Comes in two sizes: 5 pounds and 10 pounds
  • Four flavors

Cons


  • Some find scoops hard to use accurately
  • Focuses on proteins over carbohydrates, a disadvantage only if you aren't keeping up with regular workouts
  • Doesn't include glutamine or BCAAs
  • High price

Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

Quality

Price

Our rating

Serious Mass is an affordable weight gainer option from Optimum Nutrition. At 1,250 calories for a two-scoop serving size, it's also a much heavier supplement than Pro Gainer. Serious Mass is a great choice for people having trouble gaining weight or looking to reach a certain muscle mass.

This product is well-suited for post-workout shakes or as a supplement in between meals to boost your calorie intake. It includes a blend of protein sources and boasts no added sugar. You can easily supplement this powder with milk or fruits in a shake to reach a meal's worth of calories.

For an extra boost, Serious Mass includes creatine, glutamine, and glutamic acid, which increase your body's ATP production for extra energy. There are 25 essential vitamins and minerals also packed into this powder.

People concerned about how much creatine they consume will be glad to know that the concentrations of creatine and glutamine in this supplement are relatively small. However the vitamin and mineral content is high. These nutrients combined with the protein content will help build lean muscle mass and put on weight, even with intense workouts.

Pros


  • 1,250 calories per serving
  • 50 grams of protein
  • Over 250 grams of carbohydrates
  • 25 vitamins and minerals
  • No added sugar
  • Includes creatine and glutamine
  • Great ratio of carbohydrates to proteins
  • Produced in high quality and high standard facilities
  • Competitive price
  • Comes in two sizes: 6 pounds and 12 pounds
  • Five flavor

Cons


  • Some find scoops hard to use accurately
  • Very large scoops can be difficult to mix
  • Need a large cup or bottle to get a good blend

Universal Nutrition Animal Mass

Quality

Price

Our rating

Universal Nutrition's Animal Mass uses a high amount of protein, complex carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids. They are tied with ON's Pro Gainer for the most protein and have very a very similar nutritional makeup. Animal Mass also includes digestive enzymes and focuses on fatty acids.

The one area where they are at a disadvantage is in the carbohydrates department. With only 84 grams of carbs, it has the least amount of carbohydrates among the list, just after Pro Gainer. Both of these supplements focus on proteins rather than carbohydrates.

Animal Mass's carbohydrate blend includes maltodextrin, oat fiber, waxy maize, and inulin. As a protein-focused weight gainer, this product is geared toward athletes and heavy lifters. These users will also find this supplement beneficial for muscle recovery and repair after intense weight training.

Pros


  • 648 calories per serving
  • 60 grams of protein
  • 84 grams of carbohydrates
  • Only 8 grams of sugar
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Includes digestive enzymes
  • Comes in two sizes: 5.09 pound and 10.19 pound
  • Three flavors

Cons


  • Cookie and chocolate chip flavor has chunks that sit at the bottom and don't mix well
  • High price

Dymatize Super Mass Gainer

Quality

Price

Our rating

Dymatize Super Mass Gainer is another affordable supplement that’s great value. It uses milk, eggs, and soy-based proteins, and has a 4 to 1 ratio, like the most heavy-duty weight gainers on the market.

Super Mass Gainer includes glutamine and just one gram of creatine to enhance their formula. Glutamine improves endurance and gives you a more efficient workout. There are also 18 vitamins and minerals in the mix.

The amino acids are what distinguish Dymatize's Super Mass Gainer from other brands. They focus on BCAAs to help your body synthesize muscle protein and include 17 grams, more than most popular weight gainers.

Super Mass Gainer includes digestive enzymes to prevent bloating, gas, and other gastrointestinal problems. A sudden increase in calories can cause stomach problems for anyone, so it is best to start with a smaller serving or spread your serving out over the course of the day. Super Mass Gainer has the highest calorie amount per serving out of all the weight gainers on this list. More calories give you more value for the product, but be sure to let your body adjust gradually.

Pros


  • 1300 calories per serving
  • 52 grams of protein
  • 244 grams of carbohydrates
  • 17 grams of BCAAs
  • 18 vitamins and minerals
  • Includes creatine and glutamine
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Affordable price
  • Comes in two sizes: 6 pounds and 12 pounds
  • Seven flavors

Cons


  • Some users have complained about stomach cramps.
  • Can be hard to mix
  • Very filling due to high calories and can be hard to take the whole serving size

Conclusion

My top choice for a weight gainer would have to be BSN's True Mass. It boasts high-quality ingredients without a heavy price tag. True Mass has high-calorie content composed of a variety of protein and carbohydrate sources.

There are no significant drawbacks to using this product. Like many weight gain or protein supplements, it can be difficult to blend smoothly, but this doesn't have any significant impact on taste. BSN True Mass is ranked one of the best in taste.

This multipurpose weight gainer has a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to proteins, allowing for fast weight gain. It includes nutrients not present in all the other supplements, like BCAAs, fatty amino acids, and good selection of essential vitamins and minerals.

The weight gainer you choose should match your personal goals. However, BSN True Mass works for people just looking to put on weight and those trying to bulk up.

Helen Sanders
 

Chief editor here at Health Ambition, I'm a proud mother of two passionate about nutrition and ways to live healthier with more energy!