Weight gainers normally contain a mixture of carbohydrates and protein. Gaining weight can be difficult because an increased supply of nutrients is required to build up and maintain muscle mass. It is difficult to get them with the diet in such amounts. That is why the energy density of a meal or supplement is important – this value means a high supply of energy in a relatively small portion. Good-quality dietary supplements aimed at increasing mass are characterized by high energy density.
The energy density of a weight gainer is especially helpful for anyone who is not so hungry or who have difficulty eating large amounts of food (e.g. the elderly). It is important to keep muscle mass and protein intake high in old age, as muscle protein synthesis decreases by around 44% in those over 60 years of age.
Regardless of age, weight gainers are a great way to get enough calories and gain weight, building muscle mass.
Let’s briefly look at the most popular types of weight gainers and their characteristics that can help you achieve your training goal.
Muscle mass nutrition – HMB
HMB (3-hydroxy-3-methylbutyric acid) is a leucine metabolite (i.e. a metabolic product of leucine). Leucine is a branched-chain amino acid that excellently stimulates muscle protein synthesis. HMB, on the other hand, prevents muscle breakdown (catabolism). However, only 5% of the metabolized leucine is converted to HMB, making it difficult to obtain 3g of HMB, which is necessary for maximum muscle growth. Supplementation is a possible option here.
A group of elite rugby athletes took HMB for an 11 week intensive training period prior to training. While the players in the placebo group lost weight, the HMB group was able to gain weight despite the enormous expenditure of energy.
HMB is particularly beneficial when it is inactive. We’re not talking about non-training days, but rather a break from training due to an injury. HMB can compensate for the loss of exercise performance. There are numerous studies that are worth a closer look.
In one study, older adults were “tied” to the bed for 10 days. All they did was relax (sounds good, doesn’t it). Half of them were taking 3g of HMB per day. As expected, the participants lost body weight during the period of total inactivity. Interestingly, the weight loss in the HMB group was 0.17 kg, much less than in the other group with 2 kg.
HMB was also successful in maintaining body mass and lean mass recovering from hip surgery.
Overall, HMB is a good way of maintaining body mass that would otherwise be lost during prolonged inactivity. An HMB supplement at 3g per day can be taken in addition to other weight gain supplements to ensure that muscle gain exceeds muscle loss for overall weight gain.
Supplements that do not help you gain weight
The effect of soup elements is very individual. We have a list here where we’ve compared helpful and unhelpful supplements to make your choice easier – assuming your goal is to gain weight.
Positive – supports weight gain:
- protein powder (whey, casein or soy for vegans)
Negative – supports weight loss
- α-lipoic acid
- raspberry ketones
- bitter orange
- green tea, green coffee
Now, as a conscious consumer, you can boldly make purchasing decisions by introducing properly matched supplements to your diet that will support your intentions.