By Kath Ross, PhD.
You probably already knew (or maybe you didn’t) that the key to putting on muscle is to lift heavy and eat more, especially protein and carbohydrates. While certain people find gaining muscle easy, others can struggle.
Mass Gainers can be a highly useful product for anybody who’s interested in gaining lean muscle mass or simply increasing their overall body weight (meaning they’re a great supplement to use for those who are underweight too).
Why are mass gainer shakes so effective for the purposes of gaining weight and muscle? Simple, they’re loaded with high-quality calories, protein and carbohydrates, and they make hitting your daily macros a much easier task.
As these shakes are one of the supplement industry’s most popular products, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that there are literally thousands of different ones to choose from. While many are great, there are many mass gainers of there using cheap and ineffective ingredients.
To help you find a mass gainer that works, we’ve put together this top 10 of the most effective mass gainers we’ve came across:
1. BULKUP Gainer
BULKUP is a high calorie gainer shake produced by Astral Nutrition.
We have placed this product at the very top of our best mass gainer shakes roundup list because it is without a doubt the most effective shake to use for rapid muscle and mass gain.
It is clear that Astral Nutrition have cut no corners formulating this product – it only uses high-end ingredients, premium carbohydrate sources, natural fibers, and a top rated protein blend.
The formula contains a very impressive 717 calories per 100g serving – the powder mixes well, and it can even be mixed with milk to buff out the calories and protein content further.
BULKUP is loaded with BCAAs, vitamins and minerals, 111g of carbs, and a massive 69g of protein. If you’re the type of person who has difficulty gaining weight (be it muscle mass or body fat), this shake contains everything your body requires to see fast results.
The bottom line: this premium mass gainer shake is extremely affordable, packed with ingredients that are backed by scientific research, has excellent macros and is even backed with a money-back guarantee. If you’re bodybuilding and are looking for a highly effective shake to jumpstart muscle growth, look no further. Likewise, if you’re underweight and just want something high-in-calories to help you easily add weight to your frame, this product is perfect.
2. Up Your Mass
Up Your Mass is a mass gainer shake produced by MHP (Maximum Human Performance).
We have put this in the second place of our most effective mass gainer shakes list because it’s another shining example of an excellent protein shake for weight gain that’s been formulated to perfection.
The product contains a “6-phase anabolic protein blend” (consisting of whey, soy and casein), and a potent carbohydrate complex of maltodextrin, sweet potato powder and dextrose – it even contains digestive enzymes and 2000mg of creatine monohydrate per serving too!
Per 178g serving, consumers will be getting around 660 calories, 50g of protein and 100g of complex carbohydrates.
The bottom line: if your goal is to gain as much lean muscle mass as possible in the shortest amount of time, then MHP’s Up Your Mass is a fine choice that’ll serve you well. Highly recommended.
3. Less Naked Mass Gainer Shakes
Less Naked Mass is a high calorie mass gainer protein shake produced by Naked Nutrition.
We’ve put it at number 3 of our best rated mass gainers roundup because we like how naked nutrition have taken a “stripped-down” approach (excuse the pun) to formulating this product – where most mass gainer shakes contain 20-30 different ingredients, the Less Naked Mass shake only uses 5 ingredients, and keeps it totally organic and natural.
Inside each shake is a potent carbohydrate blend of organic maltodextrin, coconut sugar and cacao powder, as well as a fast and slow release protein blend of whey concentrate, and micellar casein.
The bottom line: this weight gain powder offers customers great value for money, is high in protein and calories, and is a good option for those looking for a product without all the unnecessary bells and whistles.
4. BSN True Mass Gainer
True-Mass, if hadn’t already guessed, is a mass gainer shake made by BSN.
It’s at #4 because it’s calorie-dense, packed full of quality complex carbohydrates, and contains an impressive 44g of protein per serving.
When combined with a good training regime, we don’t see why True-Mass wouldn’t be an extremely helpful supplement for supporting muscle gain – especially when each serving has 702 calories and lots of branched chain amino acids.
The bottom line: BSN are an industry heavyweight, and their products are formulated by the best – if you’re looking for one of the finest mass gainer shakes on the market, look no further.
5. Combat XL Mass Gainer
Combat XL is a weight gain powder manufactured by MusclePharm (MP).
It finds itself directly in the middle of our best rated mass gainers list due to it being very affordable, stuffed full of high quality protein from whey sources, and it being made by a company with a reputation for excellence.
The product contains an impressive 1270 calories per 332g serving, though we believe that’ll likely be too large a serving for most people – you’ll probably find yourself halving that.
In addition to the high-calorie content, the formula contains naturally occurring amino acids, natural fibers such as flax and chia seeds, and is of course packed full of protein.
The bottom line: you can’t go too far wrong with MusclePharm products – Combat XL Mass Gainer is a cost-effective product with some excellent macros. Two thumbs up from us.
6. Serious Mass Gainer
Serious Mass is a high protein weight gain powder that’s made by Optimum Nutrition.
This product is at #6 of our best mass gainers list because Optimum Nutrition (also known as ON) have possibly one of the highest reputations in the entire supplement industry. Their products are renowned for being of the absolute highest quality, and being highly effective.
The gainer formula inside Serious Mass contains a potent complex of quality carbohydrates, fast and slow release proteins, and is also packed full of naturally occurring BCAAs.
The bottom line: Serious Mass has great customer feedback and contains highly impressive macros (for example, there’s 50g of protein in each serving). It’s cost-effective and is ideal for hardgainers or anyone simply looking for help building muscle mass.
7. Mass Tech High Calorie Gainer
Mass-Tech is a self-proclaimed “scientifically superior mass gainer” manufactured by MuscleTech.
We’ve positioned this product at #7 of our best mass gainers list due to it being made by one of the most reputable companies out there. It has a calorie-packed formula with a seriously impressive macronutrient content.
Each 231g serving contains 80g of protein, 17g of BCAAs, and a crazy 1010 calories (admittedly a 231g serving is huge, so we’d imagine most consumers would probably only end up using half the amount).
The bottom line: provided you’re putting in the hard work in the gym, we don’t see why this shake wouldn’t be awesome for those looking to pack on some additional lean mass – the protein and calorie content is good and the BCAAs will further assist muscle growth.
8. Clean Gainer
In 8th place we have Clean Gainer, a muscle and strength enhancing protein blend sold by Rivalus.
It’s evident that Rivalus have spent some time designing this product, as it contains impressive macros, uses clean carbohydrate sources (as the name implies), and is extremely low in sugar, containing only 8g per serving. Furthermore, the powder is instantized to ensure it mixes well and doesn’t clump up.
Consumers get an impressive 30g of protein, 90g of carbs and 560 calories in each 2-scoop serving. In addition to this, the product is totally free from banned substances and is part of the “trusted by sport” collective.
The bottom line: this is an excellent mass gainer shake for those who are looking to bulk up while monitoring their sugar intake – it’s also very low in fat too and uses quality maltodextrin.
9. Promix Mass Gainer
Promix’s Mass Gainer formula finds itself at #9 of our best mass gainer shakes list because it’s affordable, uses organic carbohydrate sources, and contains a vitamin and mineral complex too.
This shake mixture comes in multiple sizes, is quite affordable and is great for those who struggle to gain. One serving contains a whopping 252g of maltodextrin carbohydrates, and 50g of protein from grass-fed whey and casein.
The bottom line: another excellent, calorie-dense shake that’s designed especially for hardgainers and bodybuilders. We recommend it.
10. Iso Mass Xtreme Mass Gainer
And finally, in 10th place we’ve got Ultimate Nutrition’s Iso Mass Xtreme Gainer – a weight gain shake that’s great for anyone looking to quickly put on mass.
The formula contains quality carbohydrates, lots of calories and features an impressive 60g of slow-releasing proteins per serving.
The bottom line: while it may not be the must hyped up mass gainer shake our this, this is still one of the best ones. Highly recommended if you’re simply looking for an easy way of boosting your calorie and protein intake.
Mass Gainer Shake FAQ
Below you'll find a list of the most commonly asked questions.
Overall, yes mass gainer shakes do work and they offer consumers good value for money, especially if you’re on a budget. We all know that to gain weight you need to eat good quality food that’s rich in BCAAs, proteins etc., which has the potential to become costly.
In order to see real weight gain results, you will need to be consuming a caloric surplus (i.e. eating more calories than your body really needs) – often men will need to be eating around 3000-3500 calories per day, while women will need around 2500-3000.
There’s no doubt about it – if you’re aim is to gain weight, you’re going to need to be eating a lot more than you normally do. Mass gainer shakes are so popular because they make hitting these daily calorie-targets much easier.
Simply drinking your additional daily calories can be much more easy and convenient than cooking + eating an extra 2-3 meals.
Please note that mass gainer shakes should not be used to completely replace food!
Mass gainer shakes offer consumers high quality calories and macronutrients at a reasonable price, though we cannot stress enough that this is a supplement, and should be used accordingly. We highly advise that you eat real food and drink mass gainer shakes.
No, though they are similar.
Most protein shakes are made using whey or soy, which typically aren’t particularly high in calories at all.
Mass gainers build upon the concept of a protein shake, however their formulas also contain additional ingredients to significantly increase the caloric value per serving. Certain weight gainer shakes may also have ingredients like creatine and digestive enzymes too.
Absolutely, in fact doctors will often prescribe high calorie drinkable meals to those who are unhealthily underweight. We believe that, if you’re underweight and struggle to eat enough food, using mass gainers as an easy means of getting calories into your body could be an excellent way to help bring yourself back up to a healthy BMI range.
PSA: if you’re underweight, speak to your doctor prior to using high calorie mass gainer supplements!
It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to these things. Ensure you speak with a healthcare professional if you feel that you’re underweight; get their approval to use such products first – you should establish the root cause of your low body weight prior to supplementation.
There is no optimal time to consume the shakes, however we recommend drinking it 2-3 hours before your workout, or directly after your workout.
If consumed too close to your gym session, you may become bloated or sluggish, which could have an impact on your performance.