Gaining muscle mass, without all sorts of extra fat, can be a pretty frustrating challenge for many people. Even if you get your hands on a weight gainer protein powder, you aren't necessarily guaranteed the results you're looking for.
To really see significant gains, you need to pick a well-designed supplement and use it along with a properly designed workout routine.
So... how do you do that? What should you look for in a weight gainer protein powder and how should you be working out in order to gain bulk?
Picking Your Powder
On the surface, it might seem like selecting a weight gainer protein would be a pretty simple project; just pick one that has lots of protein and lots of calories.
In reality, though, this likely won't give you what you need and won't create the results you want.
For one thing, you have to consider the protein source. The most common protein source used in supplements is whey – which is frequently valued for its impressively quick absorption. When it comes to a pre-workout snack, this is perfect.
If you're looking to gain mass, though, that fast burst of protein might not be enough to keep your muscles properly fuelled throughout the day. That's where casein comes in.
Unlike whey – which is actually a liquid before it's powdered for your convenience – casein has a tendency to clot up into a solid mass.
And, even though it sounds a little weird and unpleasant, this is exactly what makes casein a valuable protein source. By balling up in your stomach, casein essentially becomes a slow-release protein that gradually fuels you for hours after consumption.
But, it's really not all about protein. Sure, protein is key when it comes to muscle repair and recovery but the other macros are also important for gaining mass, particularly carbohydrates.
Because of their impact on insulin – the hormone responsible for moving nutrients where they need to go for use and storage – carbohydrates have a fast and significant impact on body weight.
A complex carbohydrate is ideal for these purposes so that you won't experience any exhausting blood sugar crashes.
For example, organic maltodextrin, one of the ingredients in Naked Mass, is complex carbohydrate that can give you a boost in energy and calories during a workout.
Evidence has shown that maltodextrin supplements can help you maintain anaerobic power during high intensity workouts.
Just slamming down weight gainer protein powders, though, isn't going to help you gain muscle – you'll probably gain a significant amount of fat.
To get the desired results, you need to work out in a way that applies the correct stimulus to your muscles so that your body will send all those extra calories toward the rebuilding efforts.
To do that, your workouts need to be frequent – but with enough rest that your body has time to recover and build your muscles. Typically, a 2-day on 1-day off schedule is recommended.
So, for example, you might workout Monday and Tuesday, rest Wednesday, and get back to it on Thursday and Friday. Weekends can be taken as rest or used for other activities.
Ideally, you would focus on large compound exercises like the squat, bench press, deadlift, shoulder press and bent-over row to engage as many muscle fibers as quickly as possible. Your weight should allow you to perform 12 reps with good form and no more.
Isolation exercises can be used after each compound to hit the smaller muscle groups. For instance, target your triceps after the bench press and your biceps after rows.
Of course, it may take some experimentation to find the workout that works best for your fitness level, body type and interest.
The key is to continually challenge your muscles so that your body knows where to send the nutrients you're getting from your weight gainer.