While losing weight is a common goal for many gym-goers, plenty of people are also trying to pack on the pounds. Gaining weight in a healthy way means building muscle mass, and is often the goal of bodybuilders, those who want to do it for fitness and functionality reasons and others for aesthetic reasons.
Whatever the goal, the focus should always be on gaining weight by building lean muscle, and not by simply increasing calories. Weight gain supplements can be split into four main categories (protein, creatine, calorie reinforcers and exercise stimulants). But whichever you choose to help you gain weight, remember it will only work as part of a carefully balanced diet and frequent exercise.
Most people know that protein helps to build muscle tissue. There are also a number of scientific studies to show that protein supplements will help regular exercisers to gain muscle over time. However, whether the protein is in the form of supplements or from food makes no difference.
The key is to get enough protein into your diet. General medical guidelines say that between 10 and 35% of your daily calorie intake should be protein. This equates to between 0.6 to 0.9g of protein per lb of bodyweight (between 1.3 and 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight).
If you do increase the protein in your diet for weight gain purposes, you also need to boost your overall calorie intake. A high protein low carb diet will cause you to lose, not gain, weight.
Creatine is a molecule that exists naturally in your cells. It’s also found in some foods, or you can boost the amount of creatine in your muscles using a supplement. Studies show that creatine supplements can help to increase muscle mass as the molecule increases energy production.
The best type for this is creatine monohydrate, which is widely available. You should take a loading dose of 20g per day for about five days to start with. Split this into four doses of 5g per day, and after about a week move onto a maintenance dose of between 3 and 5g per day.
To gain weight, you need to be taking in more calories than you need. However, people who want to gain weight often struggle to take in the amount of calories they need to reach their goals. This is where weight gain supplements in the form of shakes come in. These supplements are pretty simple and just add calories, although they often have vitamins and minerals incorporated in them too.
They remain popular mostly due to the convenience of taking them. Usually fairly high in protein, they will very high in carbs and typically contain about 1,300 calories per serving.
If you want to gain weight, you can’t rely on supplements alone. Instead, combine them with the correct diet and exercise for best results. There are plenty of exercise boosters on the market that can also help you build lean muscle mass. For example, D Bal Max, is described as a ‘legal steroid’ but made of all natural ingredients. It boosts exercise, endurance and muscle growth.
Other exercise boosters include supplements that contain caffeine, which gives short, intense bursts of energy. This makes caffeine a good choice for sprints or HIIT. However, caffeine isn’t enough to help you gain weight – it must be taken alongside a higher calorie intake and suitable exercise.