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man using weight gain shake in bottle

Weight gain shakes – do they work?

23 Nov 2022 • 1 min read

Instead of adding high calorie foods to your diet, you should look to gain weight the healthy way, with the addition of weight gain shakes, also known as mass gainers.

A weight gain shake is an effective way to get all the nutrients your body needs.

Weight gain shakes do work, but it is important to ensure that you use them as a supplement to a balanced diet and exercise programme, rather than relying solely on them to gain weight.

What are weight gainer supplements?

Weight gainer supplements are similar to other protein powders, with the main difference being that they are very high in calories.

Some gainer shakes contain over 1000 calories per serving, whereas protein powders will normally be around 150 calories.1

They also might include other ingredients which help to build muscles, including BCAAs, glutamine, creatine and vitamin blends.2

Why add weight gain shakes to your diet?

For lots of people, losing weight is their ultimate fitness goal.

However, for some people their goal is to put on weight and they may be finding it difficult to do this through diet alone.

There are a couple of reasons why you might want to look into adding protein shakes for weight gain to your diet. If you are underweight you may have been advised by your doctor or nutritionist to gain weight.

Another reason is to sculpt your body and gain muscle quickly to become more well-built. This requires dedication – both in the kitchen and in the gym.

Having a weight gainer shake in between your meals is a convenient way to add extra calories to your diet in a smaller portion, so that you do not need to keep eating meal after meal.3

Eating a lot is time consuming as well as expensive and it can also make you feel uncomfortably full.

If you do not have a huge appetite, you may just find it impossible to get the amount of calories that you need for weight gain through eating alone.

How do weight gain shakes work?

Weight gain supplements usually contain a lot more calories than normal protein powder.

They contain a mixture of slow and fast acting carbohydrates, fats and protein. They help your body to be in a caloric surplus which then leads to weight gain.4

In order to build muscle your body must be in a hypercaloric state, which means that every day it is consuming more calories than it is burning.5

Mass gainers are high in carbs as carbs are our primary energy source. If you are looking to gain muscle, then you will be exercising more. Carbohydrates store glycogen in your muscles, which makes it less likely for you to accumulate body fat through the calories you are consuming and will maximise your potential muscle gain.6

Weight gain shakes as part of a healthy diet

It is important that you use weight gain shakes as a supplement to a healthy balanced gainer diet, rather than relying on them completely to gain weight.

You should ensure that you are not eating unhealthy foods and that you are getting a good amount of protein through your diet.

You can get protein from your diet through meat, fish and dairy products. If you are looking for plant-based sources of protein then nuts, legumes and lentils are all high in protein.

You should add weight gain shakes to your diet gradually, adding them in as extra nutrition between meals.

You should also ensure that you keep up an exercise routine (or start one if you do not have one!) otherwise these extra calories will be stored in the body as fat.

You should avoid overdoing it when it comes to weight gainers, as this can be counterproductive, by storing more fat in your body and also putting pressure on your liver.7

If you do decide to try a mass gainer shake, ensure that you read the instructions first, so that you know how much you should consume per day.

How to add weight gainers to your diet

Take weight gain supplements in between your usual meals as well as after you workout and before you go to bed.

You might like to try Precision Engineered Muscle & Size Gainer, which comes in vanilla, strawberry and chocolate.

Optimum Nutrition also offer ‘Serious Mass’ powder in strawberry, chocolate and vanilla.

For best results, mix your protein powder for weight gain with milk or a plant-based milk substitute, rather than water, in order to get extra calories.

You should eat three balanced meals, or six smaller meals, each day.

Last updated: 14 April 2021



Author: Donia HilalNutritionist

Joined Holland & Barrett: Jan 2018

Bsc in Nutrition, Registered Associate Nutritionist and Certification in Pre and Post Natal Nutrition

Donia started her career as a freelance nutritionist, later she joined Nestle as their Market Nutritionist to help support their healthier product range, before joining the team at Holland & Barrett in January 2018.

Donia has over 6 years experience as a Nutritionist and also works with clients on a one to one basis to support their goals which include weight loss, prenatal and postnatal nutrition and children’s health.

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