Being a hardgainer, it is of the utmost importance that you supply your body with plenty of calories in order to gain muscle mass. There is no easier way to do that then by drinking weight gainer protein shakes specifically formulated for hardgainers to help you gain weight.
Before you buy any weight gainer, it’s important that you look at a few key nutritional facts:
Biological Value (BV)
First of all, know that BV isn’t listed under “Nutrition Facts.” The BV is a measurement of how well your body can use the protein, specifically, how fast your body gets to use the protein. For instance, a whey protein like whey isolate has a BV of 159 and is the most readily absorbed by the body. A milk protein like casein has a BV of 77 and absorbs more slowly. After a workout, you want your body to absorb the most protein, which is why whey protein shakes are so popular. However, if you want to drink a protein shake before bed and wake up more metabolic, eating a lower BV rated protein like casein will help you do that because it will be absorbed slowly.
Not only does a sugary protein powder taste disgusting (GNC’s Mass XXX was the most difficult protein I ever had to stomach), it can actually spike your insulin and increase levels of serotonin. What does this mean? It means that after drinking sugary protein powders, you may feel drowsy and get headaches. Not exactly how you want to be feeling after a morning workout.
And if you read my post on metabolism, you know that spiking insulin levels makes your body store that excess sugar as fat. Not the type of weight gaining you had in mind huh? Always look at the Nutrition Facts. I recommend less than 50g of sugars per serving. Less is better and easier to consume.
Carbs are necessary to aid protein absorption. As far as protein is concerned, most weight gainers generally have 50-60 grams of protein. You’ll be hard pressed to find more, and more certainly doesn’t mean better. Fats are necessary because they greatly increase the caloric content. Most weight gainers have around 3x as much protein as fat, and 2x as much carbs as protein.
Many weight gainers now include glutamine and creatine, though the amounts are not significant enough for you to stop supplementing with creatine or glutamine if you take them separately. Glutamine is an amino acid that can be found in meat, fish, poultry, beans, and dairy products. Scientific studies suggest that glutamine supplementation can minimize the breakdown of muscle tissue and improve protein metabolism. Creatine is probably the most widely used supplement after protein powder. Creatine allows the muscles to store more energy, and it has been shown to provide short-term increases in strength, energy, and muscle-building.
Where should I buy weight gainers?
Bodybuilding.com is without a doubt the best place to buy supplements. Honestly, they are so much cheaper than what health food stores like GNC and Vitamin Shoppe charge. They have a gigantic selection of protein powders, weight gainers, creatine, pre-workout supplements, and testosterone boosters.
In one of my earlier posts, I gave the example that that, at Bodybuilding.com, I could buy a 6 lb. tub of Serious Mass and get a free Micronized Creatine Powder for only $22.99. In comparison, a 6 lb. tub of Serious Mass at GNC is $37.99. Throw in the creatine powder, and that is a savings of over $21! Easy choice.
I use Optimum Serious Mass, which per serving (2 massive scoops) contains 50g of protein, only 23g of sugar, only 3.5g of fat, and a whopping 1250 calories. Now, if you are a hardgainer and thinking of buying a mass gainer, I do not recommend taking a full serving right away. First of all, it is very filling. Not only that, but it can cause some unpleasant gastrointestinal disturbances. I recommend drinking half a serving (1 scoop)/day for a week, and then upgrading to a full serving. Better yet, you can just have 1 scoop in the morning, and one at night.
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