WHAT MUSCLE MASS GAIN MEANS
The first and most important thing you need to know about controlled mass gain is that a muscle gainer drink powder is a nutritional supplement. It’s a product which supplements your diet with the same nutrients that you can find in solid foods, too. But, why do you need it, then?
Mass gain (and now we’re not talking about fat but gaining muscle mass!) can be achieved when, after the proper intensity workout, your muscles are supplied with sufficient amount (specifiable quantities) of nutrients. During the bulking period, you need a daily intake of about 6 g/body weight kg of carbohydrates and 2-3g/body weight kg of protein.
In the case of a man weighing 80 kg, it means 480 g carbohydrate and 120-180 g protein a day, which – expressed in very simplified terms – would be, for example, 640 g rice and 600-900 g chicken per day, and that still doesn’t include the necessary fibres (vegetables). It would be very difficult to eat and, especially, digest such quantities of food – that’s why various mass gainers were developed.
WHAT A MUSCLE GAINER CAN CONTAIN
- Large quantities of easy-to-digest and fast-absorbing pure carbohydrate; carbs raise insulin levels, which plays an important role in maintaining muscles. Low insulin levels contribute to breaking down the proteins of your muscles, whereas an increase in insulin levels reduces the level of cortisol, responsible for the catabolic processes in muscles.
- High-quality protein; intensive weight training causes micro injuries within muscle fibres, which – if instantly supplied with adequate amounts of nutrients – can recover more easily, so your next workout session, and thus muscle gain, can begin sooner.
- Amino acids, (especially glutamine and BCAAs): since protein molecules are formed by amino acids joining together, they’re important building blocks of the proteins required for muscle building.
- Creatine (supporting energy supply): creatine taken before workout produces more ATP, a primary source of energy for muscles, thus providing greater strength during workout. Taken after workout, it helps to recharge energy stores.
- Vitamins and minerals: minerals contribute to the easier absorption of nutrients and to recovery, whereas vitamin B in mass gainers increases appetite, to help you adapt to the need of increased calorie intake.
WHY TO TAKE IT IF YOU WANT FASTER RESULTS
- because you can take in the necessary nutrients more easily, since muscles gainers contain them in higher concentrations than solid food (that is, you can eat less to take in the necessary amount); moreover, it’s very difficult to ensure the increased calorie intake only from solid food – also, shakes are sometimes more enjoyable as they come in chocolate and other creamy flavours.
- because they contain both fast and slow absorbing carbs (in the form of inulin), as well as complex proteins, so your muscles will get instant supplementation so that they can begin recovery and you can return to the gym sooner, but recovery is vital for building muscles.
- because it supports the effectiveness of your workout and, due to its creatine content, it helps you work your muscles as much as possible.
WHEN AND HOW TO TAKE IT
You can gain mass most effectively if you have your muscle gainer shake right after workout. It is because during workout, micro tears occur in your muscles which your body needs to recover. To be able to do so, your body needs nutrients to be used after workout, during recovery. Your muscles attract the necessary building blocks, which they practically use to “fill up” the microscopic injuries, and therefore the cross-section of your muscles will grow.
If you’re a very thin, ectomorph type person, you may as well take muscle gainer during the day between two meals to ensure the extra calories needed to gain weight. On rest days, you can also add a serving to your regimen, again in order to ensure the increase calorie intake between two main meals.
If you’re prone to gaining weight and storing excess fat, instead of muscle gainer, you should add a serving of carbohydrate complex to your protein and have it after workout.
CAN IT WORK WITHOUT WORKOUT? NO WAY!
As it directly follows from the above, taking muscle gainer without proper workout is useless. Also, we shouldn’t forget that muscle recovery may take 72 hours or even more, so if your body is not provided with the proper quality and quantity of nutrients during the rest of the day, your development will get stuck, even though you have your shake after workout. You can also take your muscle gainer in the morning as your first meal, but then you should combine it with some slow-digesting carbs (e.g. oatmeal). It’s crucial that your dietary supplement shouldn’t account for more than 25% of your daily nutrient intake.
You may also want to adapt your workout to the bulking period. It’ important that you should constantly keep your muscles under such stress that forces them to adapt and grow – that is, you should always increase your weights. It’s very common to increase weights during bulking, while decreasing reps (ideally to 6-8). You should work each muscle group once a week, and those which are hard to develop, several times a week.
ISN’T SUCH BULKING HARMFUL?
One of the most frequently asked questions about bulking is whether muscles gainers have any adverse effect. No, they don’t.
They don’t affect masculinity (in fact, to women’s eyes, a man’s muscular upper body can very masculine), and they won’t shrink anything… These supplements are tested products, and they don’t contain any doping substances or hormones. Their ingredients can be found in our common foods; the only difference is that these supplements contain them in a ratio which is ideal for gaining muscle mass, in high quality and in much higher concentrations.
Something which might occur during bulking is that you may also gain some fat if you are prone to it. That, however, is almost always accompanied by muscle gain.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO ACHIEVE SOME CHANGE?
It’s hard to predict as there are no general rules which apply to everybody. It only depends on you; the intensity of your workout, how much attention you pay to your eating habits, as well as your genetics. One thing is sure: if you make every effort to reach your goal, you can achieve visible results in a few months!
It’s important to lay great emphasis on each detail. One such detail is the rest between your training sessions when you let your muscles recover. A crucial part of your rest is sleeping; your body needs at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each day to function properly, otherwise the level of anabolic hormones (ones that support building processes) will go down and catabolic hormones (ones that support breakdown processes) are produced; moreover, you’ll also suffer energy deficiency. As mentioned above, muscle recovery may take as long as 72 hours, so you shouldn’t target the same muscle group again within 3 days. Don’t work out twice a day and your sessions shouldn’t be longer than 90 minutes.
WHY YOU SHOULD know MORE ABOUT MUSCLE GAINERS
There are differences between these products which can greatly influence your final results. It does matter, for example, what body type you start building your muscles with, since our bodies have different needs.
One main difference between muscle gainer powders is their creatine content; some contain creatine, some none at all, so it may as well be used by the younger, 16-year-old generation, too. The former one is mostly recommended to the 16+ generation.
Another fundamental difference is the ratio of protein and carbohydrate in the product; as we have already mentioned, those with a thin, ectomorph body type should rather use some carb-heavy product, since they will need it to develop. Those who build muscles more easily and are even prone to gaining fat need protein to be dominant in muscle gainers.
The third difference is the source of carbohydrate: you should always check the ratio of added sugar in the product’s carbohydrate content, because it can also easily lead to weight gain if you’re prone to it, whereas others who are less susceptible to gaining weight can use it without any problem. There are some products which have high carbohydrate content, but use carbohydrates from other sources and don’t contain any added sugar.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONE AND START BUILDING YOUR MUSCLES
Now that we’ve told you all about muscle gainers, it’s time you chose the product that suits you best. What can help you in your decision? You should, first of all, determine your body type, and then specify your bulking diet accordingly, as well as your macro nutrient needs. If you know how many grams of protein and carbohydrate per day you’ll need to take in, you can easily calculate the rate of supplementation you need to develop. Finally, consider your age and whether you want to take a creatine-containing product.