T Nation

Weight Gainers

I was wondering if anyone could help me out with my current situation. I’m looking to put on the pounds (currently am 150), but don’t know if I should be using weight gainers to help me do it. My job prohibits me from getting to eat sufficiently during the weekdays, and I’ve been reading that calories are extremely important in gaining lean muscle mass. It seems weight gainers would be very convenient to help me achieve weight gain, in addition to of course my training program. Any recommendations as to what I should be looking for in a weight gain product would be beneficial as well. Thanks!

I used them when I was in high school and they helped me out at the time mostly because I didn’t really have a true understanding of calories or what they were supposed to do or how much of them I needed. Here’s the deal, to gain mass you HAVE to take in more calories than your body uses to maintain your weight. Many of the people on this site seem to make this much more complicated than it really is. All of the special diets you hear about are all fluff until you actually have some size on you to work with. You build that base by not letting one day pass where you aren’t making sure that your body is getting all of the food it needs. I can’t remember the last time I went a day without eating, however, I guarantee if you quizzed all of these people who claim to not be able to gain any size, you would find that they may eat well on Tuesday, but come Wednesday and Thursday, things get a little sketchy. When I weighed 150lbs, I had to work up to increasing my caloric intake. You can’t expect to go from how you are eating now to the way you should be eating over night. That means you start by gradually adding more meals each day (shooting for 5-6 meals daily). Notice I said EACH day which means there are no days that you go through where you don’t make eating a major priority. I see a use for weight gainers at your stage of training, however, I feel they should only be used until you learn how whole foods, even fast food occasionally if you have a fast metabolism, work for you as well as how to fix those foods. I think everyone should have a Foreman Grill for one, but I digress. I used GNC’s 1850 when I was in high school. Each scoop has about 200 cals in it so I would add about 3 scoop to two cups of milk (milk, by the way, can be your best friend as far as putting on size). The bottom line is, you can not expect to put on much size while trying to maintain your abs year round. You must build a base first and chicken breasts don’t always cut it for those of us who need more calories than average.

If you don’t care to add fat, I would suppose you could use a weight gainer. Personally, I think you would benefit much more from a few jugs of Advanced Protein and add you some carbs to it. You have to be creative when thinking of times to eat. It can be a bit of a hassle at times, but I still manage to get eight meals a day…I am a full-time college student, have a part time job, train four times a week, and will begin my job as an intern strength coach for our football team in the Fall. Check out John Berardi’s Massive Eating columns. His numbers are a bit high for me, but you can get some good meal ideas from them. Hope this helps.

Nope, skip the weight gainers. IMO, they’re a waste of money: weight gainers are around the same price as Whey concentrate protein but they’re filled with cheap dextrose and maltodextrin. If you want a good weight gainer recipe, check out “Shake it up” at T-mag. It’s really dense on kcal BUT rich in protein and quite good on carbs.

A quick question, what kind of job are you doing? I’ve rarely heard from someone who don’t have time to sip a protein shake and eat some nuts during coffe breaks but…

Hope this helps,

I’d start by using a search engine here.

I think the biggest problems with weight gainers is that they’re way too expensive for what you get, and the P/C/F ratios might not be the way you want. i would suggest getting some whey protein from a reputable company and mixing it yourself with maltodextrin and dextrose sugars. after you figure out what your daily calorie and macronutrient goals are, you can break out the calculator and mix the protein and carbs to suit you. add flax or natural peanut butter for the fat. maltodextrin and dextrose are around $1-$2 a pound. hey, maybe i need to start making/marketing weight gainers, that’s a get-rich-quick-scheme if i ever heard one.

Podge, now that you mention it, towards the end of the time that I was using them (around my sophomore year in college) I had started mixing a protein powder in with the weight gainer. The weight gainer itself was fairly cheap considering how much the same amount of real food would cost. The point is, if he is anything like I was, it will take more calories than a lot of people can get away with for him to boost his weight up. Protein is important, but not more important than the overall amount of calories when trying to gain weight, especially if the goal is to break a “weight set point” that your body has become accustomed to.