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Updated September 29, 2020
Should You Take a Gainer, and If So, Which Ones?
The supplement industry is thriving. In 2016, the market was valued at $132.8 billion. And by 2022, experts expect that number will reach $220.3 billion. That’s a CAGR of 8.8%. And within that lies the growing sports nutrition and supplements market, which is expected to grow 7.1% to reach $11.4 billion by 2025.
The increased interest in health and fitness is driving people around the world to hone in on their health, and optimize their daily routines and workouts with supplements that can help them achieve their body goals faster.
Gainers are one of these popular sports supplements. While they may not be as visible as protein powders and drinks, and weight-loss products, gainers are an important part of a fitness and nutrition routine, driven by your unique goals.
What do gainers do?
Just as their name suggests, gainers help you gain weight. While that may not be the goal of many fitness enthusiasts, for bodybuilders (or those who constantly fall below their recommended weight) gainers can be an effective supplement to protein and creatine routines.
Gainers can be used in conjunction with your protein powders or creatine supplements to improve the look and muscular development you’re going for. They’ll not only help you put on weight, but they’ll help you pack on the muscle too to make your body a lean, mean, fat-torching machine.
Not only can gainers help you gain weight, but they also help you meet your daily calorie needs (which, if you’re really active, is a lot more than some people care to eat in a day). Gainers come in a variety of forms to make them ideal for your pre- or post-workout consumption, giving your muscles what they need to recover faster. And, with the right protein blend of purer whey protein isolates or why protein hydrolysates, they can help build lean muscle mass rather than pack on fat.
What to look for in a gainer
The ingredients of the gainers you take matter. Sugar, fats and salt naturally make foods taste better. But those same ingredients can be detrimental to any healthy weight or muscle gaining goals you have. Why? Between contributing to water retention or fat gain, the presence of high amounts of bad fats and sugar has been linked to a number of diseases.
When to take a gainer
While you can take your gainer anytime, one of the best times to take it is when your muscles are in need of the most recovery—post-workout. By filling your depleted muscles up with some quick carbs, the amino acids and proteins are able to more efficiently enter the muscles to rebuild them, and start to bulk you up.
Quick list of top gainers
The fact is that not all gainers are created equal. If you’re looking for a quality gainer, it’s vital to read honest, unbiased reviews to determine which ones can help you meet your goals, and which ones are just washing your money down the drain.
- Rule One Gain
Unlike many types of gainers that just try to pack on the weight, Rule One Gain takes a unique approach: packing on lean muscle, without the fat. Made by Rule One Protein, the manufacturers know a thing or two about fitness and how to meet those goals. The company focuses on a cleaner approach to sports nutrition, which is vital when you care about your health just as much as your muscle gain. Read the full review here.
- Elite Mass Gainer
If you’ve been less than impressed with other products from Dymatize, you’ll have to rethink everything you thought you knew. Because Elite Mass Gainer is a game-changer for the company. With low calories (for a gainer) and a nearly perfect carb-to-protein ratio, this gainer is one that can stand up to the competition. With some of the lowest sugar and cholesterol levels of any gainer, this one might just be what you’re looking for. Read the full review here.
- Pro Gainer
Pro Gainer is made by parent company (and sports nutrition giant) Optimum Nutrition, which has been making home runs with many of its products. And this one fits right in with the rest. With nearly the ideal carb-to-protein ratio, and a low fat and low sugar (for a gainer) claim to fame, this blend rightfully earns its place in any list of top supplements. Read the full review here.
\Gainers are an important part of a well-rounded bodybuilding (and fitness) routine where mass and weight are the goal. Make sure to read reviews of any supplement you take to make sure that it does what it claims to do, instead of pack on weight in the form of fat.