Weight gain supplements are so common they have found their way into the mainstream through television, movies, and advertisements. A trip to the grocery store may reveal them lurking on the shelves. As with any supplement, the more popularity they gain, the more supplement companies jump on board with their own versions. How does a person wade through this confusing market and find the right weight gainer?
First it is important to note that counterfeiting in the weight gain market is uncommon, unlike other supplement areas. A weight gain formula simply needs extra calories to work and this is fairly cheap to accomplish. Most supplement manufacturers would not waste their time, or risk their reputation, on fake weight gain formulas. When trying to find a good weight gain formula it is important to remember that the goal is to gain muscle. To accomplish this a weight gain formula must have the right nutrients in a good ratio to add muscle and not just fat.
A few key points will help in the quest for the right weight gainer. Number one, flavor is not everything. Flavor comes at the expense of added sugar, and sugar does not build muscle. Actually, sugar can cause an insulin spike that opens up receptors on the fat cells and shuffles the excess calories there instead of the muscles. Some sugar (no more than 5 to 10 grams per serving) may be okay to make the drink palatable, but no more. Other carbohydrates in the formula should be complex carbohydrates, with at least a little fiber thrown in to enhance digestion.
The second point involves protein. It is important to remember that muscles are made up of mostly protein and water. Since the muscles require protein (more specifically amino acids) to repair damaged fibers and build new ones, protein becomes an essential piece of the weight gainer puzzle. Depending on how the weight gainer will be used, the amount of protein needed may vary. If the weight gainer is used to replace a meal then you will want one with a higher protein content. If it is simply an in-between meal supplement to add extra calories, and your regular meals are high in protein then the protein content does not need to be as high. Protein and carbohydrate content should be close to even, and protein should be at least double the sugar content.
Ease of mixing is the third key point. A good weight gainer is one you can throw in your car and mix on the road if needed. This provides muscle-feeding calories where ever, and when ever, they are needed. While on the road you can grab a container of milk (or water) from the store and mix the weight gainer on the spot. This comes in handy when you would otherwise have to skip a meal due to being away from home. It should not be a regular occurrence, but serves well in an emergency.
Look for a gainer with adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. This will help ensure overall health. A strong, efficient system is important for solid gains. Some formulas add specific amino acids, chromium, creatine and metabolic activators to enhance the formula. This can be a convenient way to get these other nutrients, but if you already take them separately it may not be necessary. Some companies will throw some of the cheaper extras in and hype the enhanced quality, but the extras really have no added benefit. This allows them to increase the price. Avoid these ones, they are more hype than benefit.
A good weight gainer should be low in sugar with some good quality complex carbohydrates. It should have good quality proteins almost equal to the carbohydrate content. A few additional components added to it, such as creatine, glutamine or vitamins and minerals, can be beneficial, as well. All of this in an easy to mix formula makes for a good weight gainer that will help pack on solid weight when accompanied by a solid training program. This is the essential piece, a weight gainer will not add muscle without a stimulus to use those calories for good. Extra calories without intense workouts leads to added fat stores and no added muscle. Lastly, don’’t rely on the name on the bucket to tell you if it is a good product. Research a little. Ask fellow lifters or check out a few online forums. Read the label, and not just the nutritional panel, but also the ingredients list. A good weight gainer can supply those muscle-feeding calories and nutrients to put you over the edge, when coupled with intense, muscle expanding workouts.