It doesn’t feel good, does it?
You eat and you eat but not a single pound is gained…
You feel bloated and your wallet gets lighter after buying more gainers.
Being an ectomorph (aka skinny guy) has its upsides, like a tapered waist look but it’s a downside when you're trying to gain muscle since it is difficult to force the surplus of calories in.
Mass gainers won’t magically solve all your problems but it will certainly help get the calories, protein and carbs that you need on a daily basis.
Without a caloric surplus, you won’t gain anything.
I’ve gained over 50 pounds of lean mass since I’ve started training over 10 years ago and I’ve learned quite a few things along the way.
Most mass gainers were not only filled with sugar but fillers and crap that just made people gain slabs of weight (nope not muscle, just fat).
It's no different these days.
With common issues that gainers have, like unhealthy fillers, fat inducing ingredients and not to mention low quality protein sources, the next mass gainer you buy may make you wonder why you paid hard earned money to gain fat.
There will always be companies cutting corners to save money for the sake of maximizing profits.
However for you as the consumer, the goal has never changed here, you're looking to gain muscle while minimizing fat gain.
You can maximize your gains by using a pre workout made for gains, so check out our pre workout guide.
Luckily for you, we’ve done the research and found some solid weight gainers for you to choose from.
With amino spiking becoming a “thing” and mass gainers still trying to sneak in fillers and useless ingredients, you've got to tread carefully as the next mass gainer you buy may make you wonder why you threw away money to get fat.
The goal has never changed here, you're looking to gain muscle while minimizing fat gain.
You can maximize your gains by using a pre workout made for gains, so check out our pre workout guide.
So we'll start with the best meal replacement supplements (they are basically weight gainers) then on to the best mass gainers…
Top 10 Mass Gainers For Muscle Gains (and Not Fat)
Transparent Labs has been in business for years.
They make high quality supplements that raise the bar high and help provide a competitive edge for athletes and bodybuilders alike.
It's easy to find a dirty weight gainer that uses cheap ingredients and fillers but this here is a gem.
TL's mass gainer is packed with “clean” calories, meaning everything you get in every massive scoop will be benefited by you and your gains.
Grass-Fed Whey Protein
The protein content in every scoop contains of 53 grams of 100% Grass-Fed New Zealand Whey Concentrate.
It uses WPC-80 which is the higher quality form of protein.
Grass-fed means much more than you think.
With cows being treated and cared for in dirty, crowded conditions, many cows are are often pumped with hormones to help maximize their profits.
This actually makes the protein much inferior compared to natural and grass-fed cows.
Omega 3 fatty acids in grass fed cows have a much higher ratio, they also much more vitamins and minerals.
This makes it more of a complete muscle builder, more than your average protein powder.
790 ‘Clean' Calories
ProteinSeries Mass Gainer also packs a whopping 790 calories, most of which are clean nutrients and ingredients so you can maximize your gains without packing on fat.
You're probably familiar with the complex carb maltodextrin, a common carb which is used in most gainers, well this one has the non-GMO form of it.
Usually mass gainers contain cheap sources of carbs and protein, while TL mass gainer has everything to set you on a path for healthy lean gains without putting your health at risk.
100% Disclosed Ingredients
It's derived from 100% pure tapioca starch, a certified kosher and hypoallergenic form of maltodextrin so you know you're getting a clean form of carbs here.
The biggest difference between this and the rest of the gainers out there is that this discloses it's dosages.
So you know how much of everything you're getting, and yes that includes flavoring and fillers.
As far as natural gainers go, from protein to carbs to the rest of the ingredients, this takes the cake and is easily one of the cleanest gainers available.
Use our 10% off coupon: FITFREK
RedCon1 has been selling this high quality meal gainer for years now.
It's still one of the popular choices as a meal replacement but it makes for a perfect gainer because of it's calorie content.
And you'll appreciate the sources of calories are from real foods and nutrients.
Instead of using artifical ingredients and chemical vitamins, everything good in here is from whole food.
This means this is probably one of the healthiest weight gainers around.
While each scoop only contains 525 calories, you can easily up that by mixing it with milk, blending it some extra foods like oatmeal, or fruits.
But as it is, the calorie content is here and it has plenty of carbs..
Whether you're a skinny guy or looking for a healthy weight gainer, MRE is an excellent choice.
Use coupon code FITFREK.
Universal Nutrition is known for making simple but effective formulas.
Animal Meal is suppose to be a meal replacement, but seeing how it contains more than 500 calories per serving, this makes an effective weight gainer to have in your arsenal.
Upping the calorie count would be easy if you mix it with milk or add in some extra foods or fruits.
This is the type of gainer to take if you're looking to maximize your nutrition with whole foods and good sources of protein.
It uses good sources of food as protein from eggs to beef isolate. While it may sound like it tastes bad since it uses real food, it actually tastes quite good.
The price is a bit on the upper side, with it being a little less than 2 dollars per serving but you can use discount code FITFREK to drive the price down.
Isopure Mass brings simplicity and high quality ingredients into every scoop of this gainer.
It has everything a gainer should have, from BCAA's to complex carbs, vitamins and minerals.
Isopure Mass only contains the purest protein source in here, which is protein isolate.
That isn't the best thing, as you'd only be getting one source of protein from this and having a mix of sources ensures your muscles are constantly in an anabolic state.
This has 86 grams of carbs and 53g of whey isolate.
With that comes a blend of vitamins, amino acids, minerals that further supports overall health and well-being.
The carbs do come from maltodextrin and a blend of sources but this may be a turn off as the list of these ingredients are very low, but often they are included to make it taste better, even if it’s unhealthy like corn syrup solids and sunflower oil.
However, if you’re interested in a high calorie, 100% WPI mass gainer, and just want something to help you gain mass, then Nature’s Best is clearly a winner.
It shouldn’t cause any tolerance issues since it doesn’t contain lactose.
Ideally you want to get a mix of sources to ensure your muscles are constantly in a fed state.
If you're lactose intolerant, you'll love this as it's lactose free.
Previously we had Up Your Mass here but now we’ve upgraded it to the 1350 calorie edition which has, you guessed it, more calories.
The main difference upgrade is 2.5x more carbs, which makes it have 500 more calories, although it still contains the same amount of protein.
With the help of a digestion blend, it’ll reduce the chance of disrupting and causing stomach issues like bloating or extra gas, you know, the usual stuff that comes with weight gainers.
The original Up Your Mass is the kind of gainer that has set the standard for its category.
They've been around for nearly 2 decades now so you'd guess they know what they are doing.
Every scoop is has more than 800 calories, 82 grams of carbs and 62 grams of protein.
The carbs are made out of oat fiber, barley and maltodextrin.
Protein sources range from soy whey isolate, whey concentrate and calcium caseinate.
You also have healthy fats in here like MCT's and omega 3's.
The only thing is that they've upgraded their formula, but go for the old formula as it's got more protein and seems to be more liked over the new one.
Up your Mass is one of the only mass gainers containing over 1300 calories per serving, making it one of the most calorie dense gainers available.
Use coupon code FITFREK for 15% off.
True Mass is one of the most caloric dense weight gainers out there today.
Made by BSN, a superb company for supplements though their current pre workout NO Xplode is medicore, this weight gainer has 1200 calories with tons of complex carbs, a nicely put together protein blend, and lots of other nutrients that your bulking phase will only benefit from.
Being the company that creates one of the most popular protein powders out there (like Syntha 6), you'd know that they would only get better with a mass gainer.
Every serving has 16 grams of healthy fats (like MCT's etc), so you could easily cut the serving size in half and still get an optimal amount of macros here.
The protein blend is mixed with whey concentrate, calcium caseinate, milk isolate, egg albumin and hydrolyzed whey.
So whether you've never had a weight gainer before or you just need the extra calories (and carbs / fats / protein) then you'll definitely pack on mass with this.
Use coupon code FITFREK for 15% off.
Dymatize's protein is like the IKEA of furniture, you can't really go wrong with it and you'll find them to be affordable.
The protein blend is quite premium, despite what you may judge from the supplement design (it doesn't really look appealing right?), but it starts its' protein blend with whey concentrate and whey isolate and ends with hydrolysate.
These sources of protein range from fast to medium to slow (with egg albumin and micellar casein) digesting so you'll be set drinking this before or after your workout.
It also has a digestive blend, all the vitamins and tops it off with creatine monohydrate (a must have for hardgainers).
Dymatize is also known for great tasting protein, this gainer is no different.
The price is also fair.
You could use full fat milk and use less of a serving and still get optimal amounts of macros and nutrients…
Use coupon code FITFREK for 15% off.
You can get also get this in the UK by clicking here.
Now this and BSN's True Mass 1200 are at a really close tie.
Optimum Nutrition's Serious Mass Gainer has been the top selling mass gainer of Amazon for some time but that doesn't mean it's the best.
You'll always find this gainer on many top lists and reviews like Gym Talk and many others.
We'll also have to do a serious in-depth review on this but here's the scoop and what each serving contains…
Every serving has 50 grams of various protein sources, 250 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fats, a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, and even creatine and glutamine.
So you're not only getting a meal replacement here (if you don't mind drinking shakes as your meals) but also creatine and glutamine for optimal recovery and muscle growth.
Some people have claimed to gain up to 15 pounds on this, but we really doubt half of it would be muscle gains as the creatine and sodium in here can really add on water weight (which isn't a bad thing during bulking season).
If you want to avoid the bloating issues then you'll want to cut back to half a scoop while taking this but that would be the only reason why this isn't high up on the list.
Otherwise, this is perfect for you hardgainers and ectomorphs who are looking to gain mass.
Just combine it with a program like this one…
Use coupon code FITFREK for 15% off.
All weight gainers are known for 3 things, whey protein, carbs and a lot of fillers.
The problem is, there’s other protein sources that haven’t been tapped into for this category.
And that’s beef.
Carnivor uses protein that made purely from beef.
With this weight gainer, there’s 5g creatine to help increase mass gains and strength.
Each 192 gram serving has 720 calories, 50g protein, 125g carbs, and only 2g of fat.
Carnivor is perfect for post workout recovery since it uses a fast digesting protein, beef isolate.
With a lower than average carb content you can bet that you’re getting a clean mass gainer to help you gain mass.
Considering how this is one of the only beef isolate available, you’d expect it to be priced higher than other weight gainers but it’s actually priced quite competitively.
Carnivore’s profile, price and macros make it an excellent choice as a gainer.
Use coupon code FITFREK to knock off 15%.
When it comes to supplements from Russia, very few usually make any top 10 list.
But one that has caught the attention of many is Russian Bear 5000.
The reason why it’s popular is because it contains a monster profile that consists of 660 calories, 40g protein and 118g carbs.
But there’s a downside to having monster macros like this.
And that’s the 790mg sodium.
It does also have 30mg cholesterol.
The fillers and carb sources aren’t the healthiest but that’s to be expected given it’s price and macros.
You can’t have it all, it seems.
But aside from that, the profile is huge and we’ve rarely seen a mass gainer that serves more than 1300 calories.
And the taste is surprisingly amazing.
You don’t need to take a full serving, you can get away with less than quarter scoops and still reap the benefits of this mass gainer.
If you add in your own ingredients with a quarter serving then you can up the calories fairly easily.
All in all, the Russians weren’t joking by naming this Russian Bear.
It is one of the best for its price and profile.
Knock off 15% with coupon code FITFREK
The Guide To Mass Gainers
Train hard, eat smart.
Supplements should come after covering your basic nutritional needs.
Nutrition is more than half the battle.
If you are eating junk food, it doesn’t matter how hard you train or how perfect your workouts are, you will struggle to move forward.
Weight gainers are convenient and a luxury to have.
But they are not needed or required.
If you are an ectomorph who has a super hard time putting on weight, check your diet.
Once you know your diet is good, then maybe you can supplement and use these powders as they are super convenient and easy to take.
So to sum it all up…
It’s vital to just understand that training and nutrition (from real food) is the key to constant gains.
And even if your diet is perfect, mass gainers should not be the sole source of nutrition and macros.
What Are Mass Gainers?
Mass gainers, or weight gainers, are high calorie shakes.
Typically, they contain anywhere from 25g to 50g of protein, with twice or more the amount of carbs that range from 100 to 250g.
The carbs are important because they’ll help with the digestion and it’ll usually be starchy carbs like maltodextrin.
They’ll have less servings than protein powders, which is completely normal.
Mass gainers have anywhere from 800 to 1200 calories per serving, where protein powders would have 100 to 150 calories.
The problem with protein powders is that they only contain protein, up to 150 calories and they don’t have carbs.
Mass gainers are that solution and they provide everything from protein, carbs, fats and fiber.
So if you have a mass gainer with lots of carbs, plenty of protein and some fat, then you have a decent shake to help up your calorie count.
Are Mass Gainers Healthy?
This is the question that has most people hesitant on any supplement.
For mass gainers, it’s the worry of it being unhealthy and it’s a fair concern.
Mass gainers aren’t meant to replace meals, they don’t have much of nutrients or vitamins if any.
If you took these types of powders without actual food, it would be harmful for health and you would definitely be deficient in these vitamins.
You should be consuming your basics like meats, nuts, oils, grains, vegetables, then you can add mass gainers.
Mass gainers are supplements that are meant to supplement your diet and your diet should be set to help get the nutrients that you need to fuel performance and recovery.
Blending foods like spinach, oats, nuts, bananas, and frozen berries into a smoothie would help you get your nutrients and you would be well set on your way to making more gains.
To sum it up, mass gainers aren’t unhealthy, but replacing real meals with gainers is unhealthy.
They’ll only add calories to your diet.
Do Mass Gainers Work?
Mass gainers have lots calories and they are easily digestible, drinkable and convenient to take.
While they don’t replace meals, they contain lots of muscle building ingredients, from starchy carbs to mixed protein sources.
The starchy carbs are important as it’ll help with the digestion of the protein.
And the fat is typically minimal or none to help reduce fat gain but it is inevitable to gain fat while using a mass gainer.
If you’re bulking, you’ll gain a bit of fat, while it can be reduced, it’s hard to avoid.
So does science prove mass gainers?
One study took men supplementing with maltodextrin and whey protein were able to gain 7.5lbs of muscle over 8 weeks while losing fat.
Of course this isn’t going to be the result of everyone taking weight gainers, it comes down to the workout program and in this study, the researchers probably used a specific one to help the men gain muscle and lose fat.
Muscle protein synthesis will occur when you take 25 to 50g of protein from a decent source.
When it comes to mass gainers, commonly you’ll find concentrate, and that’s a good source.
If you see a blend of sources, like a combination of concentrate and isolate, then it’s better.
Taking too much whey is possible and if you are, then you’ll probably have diarrhea.
Carb sources can vary but one common source is maltodextrin and that’s an excellent source because it is easily absorbed and digested.
Maltodextrin helps with muscle glycogen, which is important for muscle building.
It’s derived from corn, and it’s similar to white rice but it’s a powder, making it easy to shake and consume.
You may have heard somewhere that carbs are bad but for hardgainers or skinny guys, carbs are great.
The percentage of carbs from our overall diet should make up around 40-60% of the total calories as recommended from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition and National Strength & Conditioning association.
Combining whey and carbs provides an easy way to not only increase our calorie intake but also helps fuel our gains by providing carb and protein sources.
While they won’t replace meals, they’ll help increase our intake on carbs and protein.
How to Use Mass Gainers and What's The Best Way to Use Them?
To make the best use out of mass gainers, you’ll want to aim to gain at least 1lb per 2 weeks. And of course that’s as a skinny beginner, it may take longer than 2 weeks if you’re an advanced natural bodybuilder.
The best time to use a mass gainer would either be after a workout, or a few hours after your workout.
While it is a myth (see study) that you need to take advantage of your post workout window by consuming a lot of carbs and protein, it still is a good time to consume something especially as a skinny guy as you probably don’t get enough calories otherwise.
If you don’t find your weight going up, try consuming a mass gainer during rest days.
And if that isn’t working, then you’ll need to look at your overall diet, you are probably not eating enough calories. Increase your calorie intake by consuming whole foods, like eggs, chicken, rice, fish, etc.
If you feel like you’re stuffing yourself and unable to consume more calories, try adding in more drinkable calories, this is where mass gainers can help, as well as smoothies and small snacks like nuts.
If you’re gaining more than 1lb per week, then that’s too fast and you may end up gaining more fat.
Try slowing down and adjusting your calorie intake so you aren’t gaining more than 1lb per week.
Will Mass Gainers Cause Fat Gain?
Mass gainers aren’t responsible for fat or any kind of weight gain. Eating more calories than you burn will be the cause of weight gain.
How much fat you will gain will depend on your diet and exercise.
But simply eating too many calories overall will result in more weight gained, with more fat.
That isn’t because of weight gainers, it’s because you’re simply eating too many calories and gaining weight too rapidly.
The point of mass gainers is to help you gain muscle with minimal to no fat. They have enough protein to help with muscle growth and are loaded with carbs to help boost glycogen storage.
The starchy carbs that mass gainers contain are unlikely to be stored as fat because they are low in fat, and are included to help increase glycogen storage and help with muscle building.
Stomach Aches from Mass Gainers
Since mass gainers are generally anywhere from 800 to 1200 calories per serving, it’s normal to feel stomach issues after having them.
The problem is easily solved by reducing the serving size.
You would feel similar pain from food if you were to consume more than 1000 calories in one sitting.
Try aiming for 500 to 800 calories by cutting the serving in half. This way your mass gainer will last longer and you’ll feel better after consuming it.
Also another thing to try is to have enough water to mix it, you may need to take half a serving per glass.
There are two things you need to remember about mass gainers:
- Supplements. They are supplements and they are going to help you increase your calorie count, and increase muscle protein synthesis. They are not going to replace real nutrients and food.
- You don’t need full servings to take full advantage of them and they won’t cause fat gain. You will gain fat by overeating calories.
We like mass gainers because they are like an anabolic shake, and since they are drinkable, they are an easy way to increase calorie count without inconvenience.
Eating whole foods in combination with mass gainers will be the best way to increase lean mass.
If your diet is already low tier, meaning you don’t eat enough veggies, fruits, whole foods, then it would be better for you to have a smoothie blended up with foods full of nutrition than buying a mass gainer.
A simple smoothie with yoghurt, berries, whey, berries and nuts will be better than a mass gainer.
It comes down to your diet.
Cover your foundation, use a good training program like this one then you can start using supplements like the weight gainers here.