Best Mass Gainers For Increased Muscle Mass Reviewed
Increased muscles and increased mass do not simply appear out of nowhere. For many, an intense work out routine alone will not do the trick. For those looking to increase their weight and muscle percentage, nutritional technology such as these supplements are a vital component. To grow your muscles, additional nutrition is vital to support your growth. When added to a healthy diet and robust workout routine, these products can have a drastic effect in assisting the dedicated bodybuilder or athlete reach their gaining goals. Nothing is worse than putting in hours and hours effort and not seeing any results. With the help of these products, you can be sure that every single minute you put into the gym will be maximized and take you one step closer to your goals.
- Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer
- 14 flavors
- 31 vitamins & minerals
- Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass
- 50g protein
- BSN True Mass
- Rolled Oats
- 50g Protein
These products are typically introduced to the diet in the form of easy and convenient shakes. They can be simply added to water, perhaps with other ingredients, such as fruits or vegetables. These shakes often provide complete nutrition, which is perhaps why they are so incredibly popular with athletes on the go. You see, oftentimes in today’s busy world, many simply do not have time to cook, especially if you are dedicating your free time to putting in extra hours at the gym. These products provide a welcome and nutritionally-complete alternative by allowing you to get all of your necessary nutrients without having to slow down your day. Not everyone who is looking to build body mass has the ability to hire a chef to cook nutritionally-complete meals for them; but with these products, you don’t need one.
The bodybuilding lifestyle and gainer community have exploded in popularity in recent years. To match that explosion in popularity, there has been an equally large explosion in products available. To the novice, it can be extremely intimidating to wade through dozens of companies and hundreds of products to find the right match for them. The average consumer isn’t an expert in such things as branched-chain amino acids, carb loading, or recommended dosages. However, below you will find a streamlined and comprehensive list to help you figure out which of these leading products will best meet your needs.
10 Best Mass Gainers
1. Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer
Some people just can't get over the flavor of protein powder. To be fair, there's a huge range of products out there, and some of them just don't taste that great. However, the OPTIMUM NUTRITION Pro Gainer Weight Gainer Protein Powder comes in 14 different flavors, including, but not limited to: double chocolate, vanilla custard, strawberry, and banana cream. With all this variety, you're sure to be able to find a flavor that you can not just tolerate but actively enjoy.
31 Vitamins and Minerals
Some protein powders focus solely on protein. This, of course, ignores the dynamic reality of the body, which is a complex, organic machine that needs lots of different nutritional points to stay fully fueled and strong. This product contains a full range of vitamins and minerals to help you reach and maintain optimum nutrition, to harken back to the company's namesake. Pushing the body to the limits requires a lot of nutritional support, and this product can provide it.
Value and Cost
This product, being rated as the most effective on this list, is also the most expensive. It is widely lauded not only for its nutritional punch but also for being low calorie and having a small serving size. The sheer range of flavors is a major selling point alone; some protein powders either come with only one flavor or no flavor at all, leaving a bland experience and chunky texture. For some, these bonus features on this top rated product may make it worth the price.
<7g sugar 31 vitamins minerals 60g protien
Inconsistent quality between flavors
2. Optimum Nutrition Serious
One of the basic laws of body chemistry serious and consistent training or physical activity will cause your body to require more fuel. The more you demand from your body, the more energy your metabolism will demand you put in. This product sports a whopping 1250 calories per serving, ensuring that you're getting a good portion of your required calories in one convenient, efficient place. You can be sure that you'll get the gains you're looking for and the energy your body needs.
Creatine and Glutamine
Creatine and glutamine are basic and essential building blocks in the human body. However, despite this not all mass-gaining powders have them. Creatine not only gives you an energy boost but plays an important part in building muscles. Glutamine helps your muscles recover faster and regenerate after a stressful workout; it is the most common protein found in the body. This product contains ample amounts of these two nutrients to ensure that your muscles and body are well-nourished to help them grow.
Value and Cost
This is one of the least expensive products on the list. When you add this to the fact that it comes in an absolutely gigantic twelve-pound bag, it comes away as an absolute steal. It is packed with nutrients, calories, and is from one of the most respected companies in sports nutrition. It is absolutely full of value, especially for those looking for a high-calorie gainer to fuel their active lifestyle.
1250 calories per serving
252g carbs per serving
Hard to store
3. BSN True Mass
Carbohydrates are necessary in order to get both the short-term and long-term energy you need both to have the best workout and to help you gain. However, sources of carbohydrates in products such as these can be hard to pin down. However, BSN is upfront and explicit in the source of carbohydrates in their BSN TRUE-MASS Weight Gainer. It sources its 215 grams of carbs per serving from a primary source of rolled oats. You can rest assured that your carbohydrates are coming from a whole and healthy source.
Branched-chain amino acids are an integral building block of your muscles, making them up by almost half. They are integral not only as a building block of your muscle gains, but they also are necessary to help your muscles recover and grow after a stressful workout. This product contains both essential and non-essential amino acids, ensuring that you are getting the required amino acids to keep them fueled and to meet your desired gain goals.
Value and Cost
This product has a middling to low cost when compared to other items on this list. It is relatively high-calorie, though it does not max out on calories as some of the other items on this list do. It also contains branched-chain amino acids and sources the majority of its carbohydrates from rolled oats. Finally, it is produced by the company that has been awarded the most accolades for product excellence in the entire industry. All of these point to a high value for a relatively low cost, making this product worth the cost.
Carbs from rolled oats
Difficult to mix
4. Muscle Meds Carnivor
May products are released into the marketplace stocked with claims of excellence and of producing results. It can be difficult to know how much of those claims are based in reality, and how much is based on marketing. However, Muscle Meds combats this problem by clinically testing and proving their products to show that they actually deliver the results they advertise. With science and clinical testing backing up this product, your gains are assured.
Hydrolyzed Beef Protein Isolate
As previously stated, most other companies on the market who create products such as these through whey, other dairy derivatives, or eggs. Muscle Meds was the first to go straight to the source to bring you the most direct protein source available. These hydrolyzed proteins have been treated in the lab so that they are more readily available to your body, and easier for you to absorb and produce the results you want.
Cost and Value
This product is one of the least expensive items on our list. However, it only comes in a six-pound tub, which is just over half the content you would get with a similar-sized product at a similar price. If you purchase this product, you will be getting less product volume for your money. However, Muscle Meds Carnivor Mass has a few features that others don't, most notably its hydrolyzed beef protein source and the fact that it has been clinically proven and tested. If these features are important to you, then you may not mind the price.
Hydrolyzed Beef Protein Isolate
high-impact reactive carbs
aids insulin amplification
can taste like meat
5. Muscle Milk Protein Powder
Leucine is a block-chain amino acid that is a vital component of your muscle mass. Block-chain amino acids are necessary not only to maintain the muscles you already have to help them recover after strenuous workouts but also to help you build muscle mass. Knowing how important this block chain amino acid is to gaining mass, Muscle Milk added three grams of leucine, sourced from milk protein, into each serving of its product.
Designed to meet the recommended dosage
There is an exact right balance to the number of nutrients you need for optimum health and mass-gaining. Too little and you're starving your body of vital nutrition, and too much and you're simply throwing money down the toilet. Lots of products will stuff their products to the brim with excess nutrients that your body can't even use. To provide you with the perfect balance of vitamins and minerals, Muscle Milk has designed this product around the maximum daily recommended values proposed by the FDA.
Cost and Value
Though this product is the least expensive on the list, this fact must be taken with a grain of salt considering the fact that it comes in a five-pound tub. This size, of course, is compared to to the ten or even twelve-pound tubs that you receive with other products on this list. To get the same amount of volume, you would have to order two of these; however, even when you take this into account, two of these products will cost about the same as a middle-priced, larger tub of a similar product. However, the smaller size may be a draw for some buyers. Not everyone wants to dedicate to purchasing a twelve-pound bag of a product. If this is the case for you, the smaller the product size and the lesser price could be just what you're looking for.
usable pre/post workout
Can mix with other foods
3g leucine from milk protein
Designed around recommended dosages
large serving size
6. Less Naked Vanilla
In this modern age, it can be difficult to be assured of the quality of your products, especially when it comes to food. When it comes to what we put into our bodies, we need to be extra careful. For the aspiring bodybuilder, it can be difficult to find a product that will get them the gains they desire, while also being sourced from high-quality ingredients. The Vanilla Less Naked Mass tackles this problem by only sourcing its content from the purest organic sources. No pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals touch the contents of this product.
Whey is by far the most common ingredient in both mass gainers and protein powders. Its dominance in the market has led most to believe that this ingredient is commonplace. However, the Vanilla Less Naked Mass has shown that even a common ingredient can stand a cut above the rest through its quality. The source of this product's whey comes only from grass-fed cows. Grass-fed cows are not only healthier and happier during their lives, but they also produce better milk, from which whey is derived.
Cost and Value
This is one of the most expensive items on our list. For some, who are just looking for a basic, no-frills product, it may be too expensive. However, high quality comes at a high price. Someone who is looking for organic and grass-fed products most likely shops for organic produce and other foods. That person would know full well that those products cost more, due to how much more effort is required to get them from farm to table. If you're looking for a pure, organic product, this elevated price will come as no shock to you.
11.5g branch-chain amino acids
Can add to other foods
No artificial ingredients
Company doesn't offer returns
7. Universal Nutrition Real
Medium-chain triglycerides are a specific kind of fatty acid; in the past, doctors used them to help malnourished patients gain back the weight they had lost due to illness. Now, Universal Nutrition has added them to their Real Gains Weight Gainer formula to help you maximize your gains. This formula also contains essential fatty acids (EFA), one of which is the well-known Omega-3, is a vital component to body and muscle health that cannot be synthesized within the human body. Thus, Universal Nutrition has included it here for your health and convenience.
Fast and slow-digesting carbs
The body uses different kinds of fuel at different speeds. There are nutrients that are quick-burn and can give you a speedy burst of energy. There are also nutrients that take longer to break down and give you more energy over a longer period of time. With most products on the market, they either contain only one, or the other. However, Universal Nutrition's Real Gains Weight Gainer has been designed to include both kinds in order to keep your body and your muscle mass growing.
Cost and Value
This product is in the middle to high end of the price range compared to other items on this list. It comes in a decent-sized bag of over ten pounds and has all the basic features that can be found with other products on this list. However, this product pays special attention to key nutritional factors, specifically medium-chain triglycerides, and essential fatty acids. In addition to this, it also sports fast and slows digesting carbs to keep you fueled-up and ensure that you get the raw nutrients that you need to grow both your athletic prowess and your weight gains.
Can cause digestive distress
8. Jym Supplements Science Pro
According to Dr. Jim Stoppani, science has shown that the best way for the body to uptake protein is for it to be supplied with protein from a variety of different sources. Many products on the market source their material from only one source, usually whey. In this case though, the more kinds, the better. The PRO JYM formula sources its protein from whey, casein, and egg proteins to supply you with the optimum variety.
No protein spiking
Protein spoking has become extremely widespread in the supplement industry. This problematic trend involves companies using cheap amino acids to increase the levels of nitrogen, and therefore to produce an inflated and inaccurate protein count. The PRO JYM does not use any of these deceptive tactics. There are 24 grams of whole proteins in every serving, just as stated on the product description.
Cost and Value
This is one of the more expensive products on our list; it also is one of the smaller ones, coming in at eight pounds. This may be discouraging to someone who is looking for the most product for the least cost. However, this smaller sized product does have a few perks. First, it has been formulated by a bona fide nutritional scientist. Secondly, its avoidance of protein spiking and its blend of protein kinds make it unique. Finally, the smaller size may actually be preferable for someone who simply does not have the space to store a twelve-pound bag.
Multiple protein sources
Ideal protein ratio
No protein spiking
9. Dymatize ISO 100 Whey
Lactose-intolerance is a huge problem for those aspiring to gain mass. These products usually derive a bulk of their content from dairy products, which is a problem for those with an allergy to dairy. However, Dymatize solved this problem by guaranteeing that their product, though it contains whey, does not contain the dreaded lactose that is the bane for many a would-be bodybuilder. Additionally, going gluten-free is an extremely common health trend nowadays. It can be difficult to source a product such as this that is guaranteed to not contain gluten. To the gluten-averse, look no further. The Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder Isolate is 100% gluten-free.
Less than 1g fat and sugar per serving
One of the issues that you can face when picking the right product is finding the one with optimum nutrition. And most nutritionists agree that sugar is the bane of a healthy lifestyle. Despite being bad for both your body and your teeth, many products in the market will include sugar in their products, often in the name of improving flavor. However, whatever is gained in flavor is often directly lost in terms of health benefits. Dymatize has designed their formula to contain less than one gram of sugar and fat both, giving you the lean product for maximum gains.
Cost and Value
The Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder Isolate is the second-most expensive product on our list. This is also juxtaposed with the fact that it only comes in a five-pound tub. It has comparable features to other, less-expensive products on this list that may make it less desirable. For those looking for maximum gains who also happen to be gluten-free or lactose-intolerant, this is one of the only products on the list that boasts those two features. If you are in need of a mass gainer without gluten or lactose, this product is one of your best options.
<1g fat Gluten and lactose free 5.5 grams of BCAAs 2.7 grams of Leucine
Inconsistency between flavors
10. EFX Sports Karbolyn Fuel
Oftentimes products such as these are specialized for usage solely before, or solely after your workout. They are either loaded up with nutrients to give you the energy to maximize your workout, or are designed to help your muscles recover from your workout. The EFX Sports Karbolyn Fuel is designed to hit two birds with one stone and be used both before and after. It contains what you need to carb-load quickly to give you the most fuel for before your workout. However, it is also formulated to help restore your body's glycogen to speed the post-workout recovery process for your muscles.
Training your muslces and gaining mass takes a lot of energy. Much of the energy your body requires during workouts is in the form of carbohydrates. Knowing this, EFX Sports refused to skimp out on the amount of carbs contained within this product. They crammed as much energy as they could into this product as possible to both give you the energy you needed for your work out, as well as to help you reach your gaining goals.
Cost and Value
This product is one of the least expensive on the list, though it is also the smallest in terms of volume of product you receive. Coming it at only 4.4 pounds, it comes out to about $11.36 per pound. However, due to the tub's smaller size, it is also easier to store and won't take up a huge amount of counterspace. When you consider this in light of the company's certified excellence, and its ability to be used both pre- and post-workout, it is well worth the cost.
Pre-workout & Post-workout
Can cause digestive distress
It can seem a bit overwhelming when you start to see all of the factors that go into choosing the right product for you. Seeing all the technical terminology can be especially intimidating when it comes to terms like branch-chain amino acids and phosphocreatine. The layperson may wonder what all of these scientific terms mean. However, when it comes down to its simplest terms, the answer becomes clear. The human body needs certain things, certain basic building blocks, to function at its optimal level. By looking at these different building blocks and choosing the product that contains them, you can greatly increase your gains. By listening to your body’s needs and factoring in the exact details of your training regimen, you’ll be able to navigate this world of creatine and casein in no time!
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Mass Gainers
BCAAs: BCAA is a common buzzword in the bodybuilding and athletic communities, but the beginner or layperson may not be certain what it is. BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acids. Examples of amino acids would be leucine and valine, though they are only two amongst many. When it comes to the proteins in your muscles, these amino acids comprise about 40% of their total proteins. At the most basic level of explanation, branched chain amino acids are the building blocks of longer, more complex proteins. BCAAs, in short, help your muscles recover faster after strenuous workout or training sessions. While the body contains a total of nine amino acids, there are only three truly important ones.
Glutamine: Glutamine is vital for its role in helping your muscles not only recover from stress but also get stronger and increase in size. Glutamine is the most common protein in your body. Your glutamine levels drop drastically when you train intensely. Therefore, it is vital to replenish your glutamine levels regularly, especially if you are causing your levels to drop due to a rigorous workout routine. Low glutamine levels can lead to fatigue and lack of endurance, which are the sworn enemies of the athlete. It can take almost a week, or longer, for your levels to rise back to normal after an intense workout session. This is where supplements come in. By supplementing glutamine, you can get your levels up faster and get back to your training, and say goodbye to fatigue caused by low levels.
Creatine: Creatine is taken into the body to become phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine is a single cell that is essential to human life; not only this, but it also plays an important role in how much energy we have. When phosphocreatine gets broken down by the body, it is converted into raw energy. Supplementing with creatine gives your phosphocreatine stores a boost, which in turn leads directly to more energy.
On top of this, muscles typically get built up with a single cellular pathway. This single cellular pathway is then strengthened. However, increasing creatine levels can cause your muscles to generate multiple cellular pathways, thus encouraging them to grow. Additionally, as muscle fibers get bosted, the amount of water that can be held within the muscles is also boosted. This increased water retention gives muscles get even bigger.
Glycine: Glycine is the most helpful amino acid you’ve never heard of. Not only does it help your muscles grow, but it also has the added benefit of protecting your muscles from cells that would damage them post-workout. Glycine performs this trick by triggering your body to produce extra growth hormone. By protecting your muscles from the damage they not only speed the recovery process but also speed the process during which you grow additional muscle percentage. In addition to providing you with an energy boost, it also serves as a buffer against aging.
Whey: By and far, the most popular source for mass gainers and protein powders alike is whey. This milk derivative has been used for decades to help weight overall gain, almost since the dawn of bodybuilding itself. There are many different variations and replacements on the market nowadays. However, whey has the longest-running track record of consistent, positive results around.
Casein: Casein is another milk derivative, similar to whey. Some people prefer casein due to the fact that it contains a high amount of amino acids. However, it does not give results significantly above and beyond those that whey will provide you with. For optimal results, many choose to mix casein and whey.
Concentrates: Concentrates tend to be less expensive than other formulations, such as isolates and hydrolysates. This is due to the fact that they are simply a concentrated form of the source material, and still contain all of the sugars and fats located in the source material. However, they are also the least-processed. Because the product has not been processed, the sugars, fats, lactose, and gluten have not been removed. Therefore, be aware, because you are getting a lot more than you may be aware of mixed in with your protein.
Isolates: Protein isolates have been, as opposed to concentrates, processed thoroughly to remove everything except the protein. All fats, sugars, etc. have been removed. Oftentimes these extraneous ingredients tagging along in your shake can mean you’re putting things into your body that you’d rather avoid. By purchasing isolates, you are getting protein and only protein.
Hydrolysates: While isolates have been processed to remove extraneous ingredients, hydrolysates have been further refined. This process involves exposing the isolates to amino acids an enzymes to further break them down, allowing them to be more easily digested and absorbed by the body. Hydrolysates can allow you to quickly take up the nutrients you need, but be warned, because these products are also going to run up a higher price tag than concentrates or isolates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do these formulas come with side effects?
A: Mass gainers typically do not come with too many side effects, but there are a few. Most of these contain a significant amount of caffeine, which can help you power through your workout. However, if this product is taken before bed, those same stimulants can cause insomnia. Additionally, sometimes these products don’t sit well in some people’s stomachs and have been known on occasion to cause intestinal distress. This side effect, however, is not terribly common.
Q: Where can I purchase the products I like most?
A: Products such as these can be purchased in many places, such as big box stores, supplement stores, and of course the internet. Oftentimes you can find the best deals online and have the ability to shop around and compare prices. If you do purchase online, make sure you are going through a reputable vendor.
Q: What do mass gainers do, exactly?
A: Mass gainers provide your body, and specifically, your muscles, with extra nutrients to promote muscle growth and to increase your gains. When combined with an active lifestyle and healthy diet, these products can greatly aid you on your way to your goals.
Q: Are my gains guaranteed?
A: Nothing is ever guaranteed when you use a product such as these. There is a huge range of factors that go into whether or not someone gains muscle and increases gains. However, as previously stated, if used in combination with the right mixture of diet, exercise, and lifestyle, these products can help.
Q: Are these healthy?
A: Sometimes people can get scared away from mass gainers due to their powdered form, thinking that they are artificial and unnatural. However, protein is a vital building block to a healthy body. In fact, these products help ensure that you get complete and adequate nutrition, even when you factor in today’s hectic lifestyle. Most people don’t have the time to cook healthy, nutritious meals. This is both a quick and convenient option to ensure that you meet your daily recommended nutrition, in one simple shake.
Q: How many scoops do I need?
A: This is going to vary from product to product. The information you’re going to need is going to be located on the packaging on your product. The amount per serving can range anywhere from one to four scoops–however, also take into consideration that many of these products have a different-sized scoop.