Throughout the fitness world, few supplements fulfill a variety of nutritional needs like mass gainers. A mass gainer isn’t just protein, despite often utilizing a protein canister as a vehicle.
Whether you’re trying to bulk up for looks, size up your next challenge, meet personal health needs, or simply want to gain a little weight, calorie-dense products aren’t just an effective option: They’re the golden standard.
Best Mass Gainers In The Market
Weight-Bound for Muscle Goals
A mass gainer can serve multiple purposes. For some, it’s a solid gap-closer when the daily schedule squeezes out midday mealtimes. For others, weight gain shakes can assist in health-related recovery issues via a healthy dose of glutamine. And, for some, a reliable mass gainer can be the key needed to unlock the door of introductory fitness.
In any regard, mass gainers tend to primarily be used for fitness. They offer a sizable dose of protein, certainly, but their ability to boost one’s overall weight is far more comprehensive: They also boost the body’s fat content, simultaneously fueling it with a large serving of both simple and complex carbohydrates.
Despite the common understanding of fitness-related diets—that fat is bad, and lean muscle is good—bulking up isn’t always about gaining clean-cut, and only clean-cut, muscle incrementally.
Many bodybuilders undergo different ‘phases’ when approaching the weight room. In most cases, they ‘bulk’ for as long as an entire season—then ‘cutting’ for another. In essence: They commit months to eat over their caloric limit, utilizing as much nutrition as possible, to boost their overall power.
Because more power means lifting more weight, and lifting more weight achieves progressive overload, gaining a little fat around the waist can be a small price to pay for a higher level of fitness.
The ‘cutting’ phase, here, simply means the ‘fat-burning’ phase. It’s mostly self-explanatory: Once a lifter has bulked up, they might choose to slim down a little—melting off excess fat to reveal the muscle density gains beneath.
Finding the Best Mass Gainer Available
Even though mass gainers are often cited to be the most effective, natural supplements for increasing muscle mass, they’re pretty straightforward in design. Sometimes, the answer to fitness goal struggles really is the simplest.
In this case, a mass gainer is simply a high-calorie protein shake. Unlike most protein shakes, however, a mass gainer doubled down on carbohydrates to fuel power-packed gym sessions. Most mass gainers also contain extra fat, too, so as to create long-term energy fuel needed for extra tough lifting sessions.
It should be noted that while mass gainers live up to their word, in terms of increasing one’s weight, the added pounds won’t consist of muscle, completely. Like we’ve mentioned above, a mass gainer is all about gaining weight in general. As such, browsing products for the right mass gainer can be difficult.
So, what’s up with mass gainer products, these days?
Well, as always, no product is perfect. But this is okay because one person’s flawed mass gainer ingredient mix is great for another’s. This is because mass gainer blends vary greatly: Some are promoted for packing on as much weight as possible, while others approach mass gaining from a leaner angle.
Some mass gainers contain fat, protein, and carbohydrates alone—but other mass gainers include supplements like creatine, glutamine, and even citrulline to aid a workout session.
Let’s cover the best mass gainers out there. The top contenders all hold up to the rule of variety, so there’s a high-quality option to meet most fitness goals—whichever yours might happen to be. Let’s check them out.
Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass
Our first stop is to visit the fitness world’s ‘ole’ reliable’ mass gainer: Serious Mass by Optimum Nutrition.
It’s an all-around fantastic product for all fitness experience levels: Newcomers can use it for rapid weightlifting gains, intermediates can use it during a bulking phase and professionals can utilize its complex essential mineral mix to gain an edge.
Serious Mass has a protein-carbohydrate ratio of 1:5, so it’s definitely one of the ‘bulkier’ mass gainers out there. This said, it brings a lot of nutritional resources to the table—and each resource, itself, directly enhances one’s fitness performance.
One serving of Serious Mass, two protein powder scoops, contains a whopping 1,250 calories. These calories are distributed across approximately 50 grams of protein, 250 grams of carbohydrates, and assorted, additional ingredients.
Make no mistake, though, because the gap-fillers are anything but empty caloric shells:
They’re packed with over 25 essential vitamins and minerals, as well as glutamine, glutamic acid, and creatine. Sourcing its protein provisions from eggs—its carbs from wheat, respectively—Optimum Nutrition’s Serious Mass, seriously, is one of the best in class.
Gym Junkies Flex Muscle Builder
It’s rare to see a mass gainer which goes above and beyond the regular post-workout blend addition—let alone an intra-workout blend. Gym Junkies is one brand to crack the code, however, as their Flex Muscle Builder mass gainer outpaces relative alternatives while bringing its own, unique touch to the mix.
Firstly, it double-serves as a Nitric Oxide supplement, promoting bigger pumps in the weight room and promoting circulation throughout the day. The product achieves this with a solid balance of citrulline and arginine—two ingredients commonly found in pre-workout blends.
In doing so, Flex Muscle Builder has created a solid hybrid ingredient profile without becoming a pre-workout drink, itself.
This is certainly for the best, as top-tier mass gainers shouldn’t be time-conditional. The Gym Junkies blend focuses on the circulation of nutrients, in this case, effectively increasing their delivery across the body via healthier blood flow.
It offers a solid herb mesh, as well, so as to keep it aligned with the need for strong feeling, but health-minded workouts.
Universal Real Gains Weight Gainer
You’ve probably seen Universal Nutrition’s Animal Pak product line, at some point. It’s one of the better vitamin pack supplement canisters around—and it’s a continuous brand mainstay due to its massive popularity.
Universal Nutrition isn’t a one-hit-wonder by any means, however, as its other products are just as solid. If we’re talking solid mass gains, its Real Gains Weight Gainer instantly comes to mind.
You’ll find 50 grams of power-packed, high-quality protein in each serving. You’ll also notice its lower caloric count right off the bat, which might seem a little odd: Universal Real Gains Weight Gainer only contains 600 calories per serving.
So, what makes this mass gainer good?
Primarily, it’s Universal’s success in creating a mass gainer for those leaning towards leaner bulking phases.
Remember: ‘Dirty bulking’—or bulking with a focus on overall calories, rather than their contents—isn’t for everyone.
Cholesterol, blood sugar and weight loss needs are always to be considered, and having a lightweight mass gainer out there is great.
Aligned with its fewer calories is the product’s lower carbohydrate content—as there are only 100 grams per serving. While this might not be ideal for quick-punch, explosive heavyweight lifting sessions, it still achieves weight gain goals through consumption alone.
Vegan Naked Mass
Mass gainers aren’t for omnivores, exclusively. Vegans and vegetarians have good product options, too, and these options are just as effective as regular protein blends containing animal-sourced nutrients.
Naturally, the first thing most consider when it comes to vegan protein shakes is an amino acid concern: To effectively gain muscle, one needs to get each of the 21 amino acids into their diet—and as often as possible.
While most amino acids can be found in supplements, it can be tough to find products that source a robust amino acid mix that’s animal-free.
This is where Vegan Naked Mass succeeds, as it targets this particular hurdle and leaps over it with grace. You’ll find a pea-to-rice protein ratio of roughly 2:1, which keeps vitamins prioritized.
At 1,230 calories per serving—definitely mass-minded—the product achieves the 50-grams protein mark. Similar to other ‘bulkier’ mass gainers, Vegan Naked Mass also contains a high carbohydrate count: standing in at around 250 grams.
It’s an interesting mix, but it’s an absolutely necessary one. Vegan supplements are notoriously difficult to shop for, in terms of fulfilling one’s nutritional needs with restrictions. In these scenarios, Vegan Naked Mass is one of the few products which can serve as, and remain, a go-to product to fulfill a very particular need: muscle growth.
Everything Essential: The Importance and Safety of Mass Gainers
Mass gainers have gained both praise and criticism, over the years. By and large, they do follow through in definition. Still, some aren’t keen on these products due to their potential to add a few pounds around the waist. This brings most mass-minded lifters to an understandable question:
Are they actually nutritious?
Here’s the quick answer: Yes.
To expound upon this, we point to macronutrients—the undeniable essentials of any healthy diet. There are seven, each of which is immediately recognizable as a dietary cornerstone:
- Dietary Fiber
Most mass gainers contain each of these—and the best achieve so in spades. We must remember, of course, that mass gainers aren’t all about proteins and carbs. A majority contain supplements that support not only weight gain—but healthy and athletically minded weight gain.
If you’re considering taking a mass gainer yourself, it’s still a good idea to speak with your current physician. Mass gainers aren’t for everyone, and preexisting health concerns can arise if one isn’t careful. All the same, there’s enough product variety out there to work alongside your current nutritional needs—rather than against them.
For every nutritional, fitness, and general health goal, there is a tool to achieve it. At the end of the day, it’s simply a question of which toolkit you’d like to use.
After changing his best friend’s life by helping him lose over 70lbs, dropping him down to an amazing 7% body fat, Terry was inspired to be a full-time internet trainer knowing he could do the same for many more. In 2010, Terry published his own diet and fitness e-book that can be purchased on this website. Let Terry help you change your body for the better!