If you’re trying to gain weight you’ve probably wondered what the best supplements for weight gain are.
Today we’re looking at how weight gain supplements work – which ones are most important – and how you should approach them.
Importance of Supplements in Helping Gain Weight
Weight gain is a process that requires dedication, time, and a smart approach.
It’s a simple thing to gain weight but packing on high-quality muscle mass requires a little more effort. The goal is simple: maximise the amount of muscle you’re gaining without excess bodyfat.
Supplements play an interesting role here – they help optimise a weight-gain diet. They’re not necessary to gain weight (we’ve all gained a few pounds without even trying), but they help shift you towards better recovery, results, and habits.
The main role of weight gain supplements is to take some of the stress off of you in terms of prep. Things like cooking, storage, and preparation of weight gain foods can be a real hassle if you’re trying to eat more calories than you use in a day.
Supplements offer a helping hand by either providing a convenient food source with specific nutrients or helping support your body’s processes. For example, whey protein helps increase daily protein intake, while appetite-support helps digestive clearance and helps you avoid getting too full.
Supplements are adjuncts: they’re strategies we use to bring down the cost – in time, effort, and money – of the weight gain process. Building muscle is easier with supplements, where they can help take the edge off and bring you closer to the perfect weight gain diet.
5 Best Weight Gain Supplements
Protein Powders for Weight Gain
Protein is the king when it comes to gaining weight and building muscle. It provides the raw materials your body needs to respond to exercise stress and ensures that as much weight as possible is muscle.
When we eat protein, we’re telling our body that it’s okay to fire up the weight-gain processes and build new tissue. Leucine is an amino acid in protein that signals this abundance and – when you’ve exercised – it pushes your muscle protein synthesis up – but only if you’ve got enough energy to fuel it.
This is why protein alone is great but requires calorie surplus to gain weight. Your body wants to go through this process when you’ve got plenty of protein, but it also needs the energy to make it work from other foods (and primarily carbohydrates).
What are Protein Supplements For?
Protein supplements like whey protein powder or protein bars are popular choices for weight gain supplements.
These are simply high-protein foods that come in a convenient and easy-to-use format. They’re not super filling, they absorb quickly, and they top up your daily protein intake. They’re especially useful after a workout to replenish protein levels and get carbs back into your muscles and liver.
Many people overestimate the importance of supplements in helping weight gain. There’s nothing magical about a protein powder, but it’s one of the easiest ways of increasing daily protein intake.
The fast-absorption in shakes is a classic example with whey and soy proteins being faster-absorbing and a great post-workout choice.
Equally, long-term protein availability has been shown to improve muscle protein synthesis (1). This is more closely related to slower absorbing protein sources like a casein protein powder or even a slower-digesting plant protein blend (ideally with something like Oryzatein brown rice protein).
These slower proteins are usually taken in before bed to support muscle-building along a 7- or 8-hour window. They also rely on high-quality sleep so you can make the most of your nutrients.
Obviously, they’re also a great low-satiety food source which can be helpful if you find yourself getting full easily.
How Should You Use Protein Supplements?
Protein shakes aren’t essential, but they can be an amazing tool for topping up protein levels when you’re gaining weight. They’re neither a magic bullet for weight gain nor unhealthy – but somewhere between. What matters is how you’re using them.
They’re high purity, low satiety, and can be taken at any time of day. This is why they’re so popular among people who need to gain weight – elite athletes and bodybuilders alike.
You can also use a protein powder as the base for a healthy homemade weight-gain shake with things like bananas, oats, and other fruits. These can be a great way of increasing your calorie and protein intake without the expense of a usual weight-gainer supplement.
Speaking of which, you can’t talk about weight gain supplements without the classic mass gainer…
Mass Gainer for Weight Gain
Mass gainers are a high-calorie protein and carb mixture that sell by the kilo, and one of the best supplements for weight gain.
They’re a huge part of the culture of weight-gain diets and tend to produce a thick shake that is like a protein supplement but with a slurry of carbs – usually in a 3:1 ratio.
This ratio is common because it represents the usual rate of protein and carbs that your body is utilising during a workout.
Weight gainer shakes or mass gainer supplements (they’re often called both) are about packing in as many calories as possible for trainees who are struggling to gain weight.
The market for mass gainers is pretty hit-and-miss: some products are just using sugar and protein which will mean a delicious but unbelievably high-GI shake.
On the other hand, there are some really thoughtful and healthy choices that use carb blends and other ingredients to support muscle growth, making them one of the best weight gain supplements for skinny guys.
How Should You Use Mass Gainer Supplements?
Mass gainers are – like protein shakes – about convenience. Even the heavier blends are less filling than a whole meal at equivalent calories and they can obviously be mixed easily throughout the day for a boost of calories and protein.
What you want to avoid is depending on mass gainers. A good diet requires whole foods and variety, and it’s good to build a better approach to cooking and full meals, rather than just drinking more shakes.
Use gainers and protein shakes as a way to boost intake and support a good diet – but don’t let them interrupt building a better diet full of high-quality calorie-dense foods!
Creatine for Weight Gain
Creatine is the king of performance-boosting supplements to drive weight gain.
While it doesn’t directly add weight, it can significantly improve the muscle-gain process by boosting other factors like strength training quality (by boosting strength-endurance) and muscle growth signalling.
Creatine Boosts Performance in Workouts
Creatine supports your energy turnover in the muscles themselves – driving better performance.
Muscles run on ATP, which is used up and needs replacing rapidly. You have around 5-8 seconds of ATP stored up, after which your body uses creatine-phosphate to rebuild ATP. Creatine in the diet allows you to perform this process more effectively.
Creatine levels provide depth to these energy reserves, boosting your ability to maintain maximal strength for longer. This is key in building strength and muscle mass since it allows you to perform more heavy reps without losing out to fatigue. It basically makes training more effective at pushing muscle growth.
Creatine Improves Muscle Recovery and Signalling
After exercise, creatine’s role as an osmolyte – water-absorption – supplement is important.
By increasing the uptake of water into muscles it also boosts the replenishment of carb stores and cell volume after exercise. This is one of the mechanisms that seems to improve the signalling for muscle protein synthesis in your body.
This can be a significant factor in building up better long-term muscle growth response. It’s not going to make 10kg of difference, but it does add up over time – especially when you’re looking to get that competitive edge and get the most of your efforts in the gym.
How Should You Use Creatine?
You can take creatine at any point during the day to get the strength-boosting benefits. It isn’t a rapid-absorption compound like a whey protein or carbohydrate – but builds up over hours and days.
However, Creatine is one of the best synergists with other kinds of weight-gain and muscle-building supplements and nutrients.
When you consume it with carbs, it helps shuttle them into the muscles to provide a rapid energy source for growth.
Equally, you can take creatine and protein together to signal for both amino-acid and energy abundance, which is great for short-term nutrition like pre- and post-workout.
Carbohydrate Powders for Weight Gain
You can probably guess what is in a carbohydrate supplement.
These are refined, high-concentration carbohydrate powders that are usually used in shakes and smoothies to provide more calories.
They’re very calorie-dense since they take up relatively little space but offer up to 400 calories per gram (a gram of carbs contains 4 calories).
These can be a huge benefit if you’re struggling to gain weight normally. They are also a common post-workout supplement where your body is energy-deprived and needs more carbs to kickstart the recovery process. This can drive muscle-gains, especially combined with protein powder.
How Should You Use Carb Supplements?
Figure out if you’re going to use your carb powder as a boost to your calories through the day or as a post-workout supplement.
This matters for which product you should buy. Fast-absorbing carbohydrates are perfect for post-workouts, while slow-absorbing carbs are better for general use through the day. This helps you avoid risks to your health, such as dumping tons of fast-absorbing carbs into your body at rest, where it can spike insulin response.
This would be great after exercise but, when you’re not physically active, just destabilizes metabolism and may lead you to carb crashing.
Weight Gain Pills: What to Look for and Avoid?
Weight gain pills come in a variety of styles and priorities.
The market comes with range, just like other forms of supplements. To get the best from weight gain pills, you need to look for what really works: support for long-term, healthy habit building.
You’re not going to take a pill that takes you from under-eating to a perfect calorie surplus. However, weight gain pills that support appetite, digestion, and overall health are a significant benefit to any weight-gain diet.
Avoid anything that claims to do all the work for you – it’s lying.
How Weight Gain Pills Work
An effective weight-gaining pill like AppetiteMax focuses on the quality of your diet. It helps you make better choices and supports your overall, full-day calorie intake.
The main function is reducing fullness and improving appetite. These combine the mental well-being and fullness regulation you need to get the most from a weight-gain diet, even when you’re eating a ton of food.
This is especially great when you’re starting to gain weight and the shift to larger portions is a little daunting. If you’re eating 100s more calories than you’re used to, it can be helpful to boost appetite and reduce feelings of fullness – letting you eat more and gain more.
Long-Term Success: Improving Habits with Weight Gain Pills
This is useful – like a protein shake or mass gainer – because of how it supports a better overall diet.
It’s supplementary and improves the processes you’d already need to perform in order to gain weight. This stops you from using it as a crutch (like a mass-gainer, for example) and lets you get in with building the high-quality habits that make for a better weight-gain diet.
This is a crucial benefit for people who just don’t have the time or lifestyle to eat more often. If you’re busy with work or a tight, structured schedule AppetiteMax is going to be a great way to avoid over-fullness and still eat 3 big meals a day to get your calories and protein in.
Focusing on Nutrients: Quality and Health-Support
High-quality appetite and digestion pills will also be rich in vitamins and minerals. These are both how they work and how they show a real concern for your well-being.
Crucial vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, zinc, B vitamins, and electrolytes (like magnesium) support both better health and performance. They allow you to perform better as well as eating more, turning up both the training stimulus and the nutrition/recovery sides of your journey.
You should also look for specific compounds or factors that make up a good appetite-support and digestive well being supplement:
- High-quality herbal extracts
- Digestive enzyme support for better absorption and gut health
- Health-supporting fatty acids and regulating factors (like D-Aspartic Acid)
- Other recovery boosting compounds (like ashwagandha, piperine, or stress-control compounds).
These are the ways a weight gain pill can support recovery and health, as well as improving appetite and reducing the digestive burden of weight-gain.
Frequently Asked Questions1) What are Mass Gainers?
Mass gainers are supplements that are designed to help you gain more weight.
They’re rich in calories and usually made up from a mixture of protein and carbohydrates. These allow mass gainers to be calorie-dense but also convenient enough that you can add them to a normal diet.
These additional calories help support weight gain, fueling muscle growth and providing plenty of calories. They’re popular for bulking since they’re not as filling as 1000+ calories of food.2) Are Mass Gainers Healthy?
It depends how you use them. Some mass gainers are healthy.
High-quality gainers that contain complex carbs and protein – as well as vitamins and minerals – can be part of a healthy and balanced diet.
What you want to look out for is high-sugar mass gainers. These can really mess up your metabolic health. You also need to make sure the rest of your diet is nutrient-dense and includes high-quality wholefoods.3) When Should I take a Mass Gainer?
Mass gainers are usually taken later in the day where they are easily digestible and after other foods.
The last thing you want to do is take a mass gainer and end up eating less because you’re full. Some people will also use mass gainers as a post-workout shake due to the large carb content – and they’re great for this.
You just need to find a space in your day when a mass gainer won’t interrupt other eating.
Whether that’s post-workout or in the evening, prioritize real food and remember a mass gainer shake is a supplement – not a meal.4) What Makes a Good Mass Gainer Supplement?
A good mass gainer uses low-GI carbohydrates and high-quality protein. Ideally in a 3:1 ratio with additional vitamins and minerals to help support your health.
A great mass gainer will also use a protein blend to offer a mixture of faster- and slower-releasing proteins. This can be helpful for maintaining muscle growth consistently for longer.
You want a large spike of protein immediately for post-workout shakes, but a slower clearance time overall is a great benefit. Look for blends wherever possible.5) Do I Need a Mass Gainer?
No – but they can be useful.
A mass gainer supplement or protein shake is not the answer to all of your problems. It may be a great way to reach your daily requirements, but it should still be secondary to better eating habits and high-calorie, nutrient-dense foods.
You don’t need a mass gainer, but you can use them to your advantage.6) How Do I Gain Weight?
Eat more calories than you use.
It’s a simple system but requires a few steps:
These are the 3 steps to gaining weight but – for most people – the challenge is in getting it right time and time again.
Consistency is the hard part, and the day-to-day eating and heavy lifting are the challenging parts.
Weight gain is simple, but not always easy.7) What are the Best Supplements for Weight Gain?
Weight gain is easier when you’ve got a protein shake handy – and a mass gainer can also be useful.
However, natural weight gain from food is better. Appetite-boosting, natural weight gain supplements like AppetiteMax are a way of increasing your ability to eat real, high-calorie, nutrient-dense foods. This offers the best results due to the wider range of nutrients.
It also helps with long-term habit formation since you’re not crutching your weight gain and muscle growth on a shake.
The more real food you eat, the better your results will be and the more control you will have over dietary change and adjustments in the long run.
Weight gain supplements are designed to help you reach the goals you’ve set for your calorie and protein intake. Either directly – through a whey protein or mass gainer – or indirectly by increasing appetite, digestion, and metabolism.
A great weight gain supplement offers you a combined benefit to both results and health – driving more than just weight. It’s a development of the best habits that make high-quality weight gain possible.
Weight gain needs to be deliberate and consistent so that it really adds up in the long-term.
As long as you’re using supplements to gain weight as a tool, not as a crutch, a high-quality weight gain pill or supplement can be a great step towards optimizing your results!