Have a hard time building mass? A quality weight gainer might be exactly what you need to break through plateaus and put on muscle. High in calories and carbs, mass gainers provide energy, speed up post-workout recovery and support athletic performance.
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Beware, though, that you might end up gaining both muscle and fat. These supplements boast thousands of calories, so they're not the best choice for those trying to build lean mass. GNC's Weight Gainer 1850, for example, delivers a whopping 1,490 calories per serving.
GNC’s Weight Gainer 1850 may help you build mass and strength when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Muscle growth requires a caloric surplus. Eating too many calories, though, can result in fat gain. As an athlete or gym-goer, you want to build lean muscle with little or no fat. To do so, it's important to gradually increase your calorie intake.
Weight Gainer 1850 provides 1,490 calories per serving (three scoops). Start with one scoop per day, measure your progress and adjust the dosage accordingly. Take this supplement before and/or after exercise to fully reap its benefits and minimize fat gain.
Why You're Not Gaining Weight
The term "somatotype" was coined by Dr. W.H. Sheldon back in the '40s. It covers the three main body types, namely "ectomorph," "endomorph" and "mesomorph." Each somatotype has specific characteristics, or physical traits.
Endomorphs, for example, have a medium-large bone structure and a rounder, smooth body. They are predisposed to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease, as the American Council on Exercise notes. These individuals are sensitive to insulin and carbs, which can make it hard to maintain a healthy weight.
Mesomorphs, on the other hand, are naturally muscular and have a medium-sized bone structure. Think about those famous bodybuilders and fitness models with a tiny waist, wide shoulders and lean muscles. Those who fall into this category find it easy to build mass, but they also tend to gain weight.
Read more: Your Ultimate Guide to Gaining Lean Muscle
At the opposite end are ectomorphs. These people have a fast metabolism, so weight gain is rarely an issue. In general, they're tall and skinny, with small bones and joints. The downside is that they have trouble building mass, despite eating a well-rounded diet.
Few things are more frustrating than not being able to reach your fitness goals after months of training and clean eating. If you're an ectomorph, your body is very efficient at using energy, so it burns more calories than you take in. Sure, you could binge on junk food and cookies to increase your calorie intake, but you'll end up gaining fat, not lean mass.
In fact, the American Council on Exercise points out that some ectomorphs have quite a lot of body fat despite their slender appearance. Therefore, adequate nutrition is a must. Weight gainers can make it easier to boost your energy intake and still eat clean.
How Do Mass Gainers Work?
Along with protein powder, mass gainers are some of the most popular sports supplements on the market. Their role is to increase your calorie intake so that you can build muscle and strength. When used as part of a balanced diet, they may help enhance athletic performance and facilitate muscle repair.
Fat loss requires a calorie deficit, meaning that you need to burn more calories than you take in. Hypertrophy (muscle growth), on the other hand, requires a sustained caloric surplus, as reported in a June 2017 review published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Maintaining a caloric surplus facilitates the anabolic processes that support muscle growth and helps your body keep up with the demands of strength training. How many extra calories you need depends on your fitness level, overall diet and training goals.
Unfortunately, increasing your energy intake isn't that easy. If you're an ectomorph, you may find yourself eating for two without seeing any results. That's where mass gainers can help.
These supplements are high in protein and carbs. Both nutrients play a key role in athletic performance and hypertrophy. Each provides 4 calories per gram.
Protein supports muscle growth and repair, while carbohydrates are the only nutrients that can be metabolized quickly enough to provide immediate energy during high-intensity training. Furthermore, carbs help replenish muscle glycogen stores, which in turn, may improve exercise performance.
Not all mass gainers are created equal, though. Some contain low-quality protein, refined carbs, artificial flavors and additives that may affect your health in the long run. Weight Gainer 1850 is one of the highest in calories and simple sugars.
Read more: The 12 Most Overrated Supplements
Weight Gainer 1850 Nutrition Facts
GNC's Weight Gainer 1850 is no longer available in the U.S. However, you can still purchase it online from other countries, such as the Philippines. GNC reports that each serving (three scoops) provides the following nutrients:
- 1490 calories
- 50 grams of protein
- 316 grams of carbs
- 102 grams of sugar
- 3 grams of fiber
- 2.5 grams of fat
It also boasts significant amounts of calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C. Rich in protein, it may help increase muscle size and strength.
According to a July 2017 review featured in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, protein supplementation stimulates hypertrophy and may induce strength gains when combined with resistance training. However, more isn't necessarily better. Researchers have found that protein intakes higher than 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight per day didn't cause further improvements in muscle mass or strength.
GNC's Weight Gainer 1850 contains more protein than a typical protein powder. This doesn't mean it works better or faster, though. If your diet is already high in protein, you may not notice any changes in terms of muscle and strength gains.
What makes this product stand out is its high calorie and carb content, which can work for or against you. If you eat too many calories and carbs without burning them through exercise, your body will store them as fat.
Additionally, GNC's Weight Gainer 1850 contains simple carbs from corn syrup solids, maltodextrin, fructose and dextrose. These sugars may put you at risk for diabetes and other chronic diseases, according to a November 2016 review published in the journal Nutrients.
As the researchers note, added sugars should not exceed 20 percent of the calories consumed on a daily basis. Some sugars, such as fructose, have been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and inflammation.
How to Use It Safely
According to GNC, Weight Gainer 1850 is a good choice for gym-goers and those trying to gain weight. Its ingredients are questionable, though. If you add milk (as the manufacturer recommends), the calories will add up.
Before you start using this product, assess your overall diet. Determine your current energy intake and then try to figure out how many extra calories you need to gain weight.
Beware that one pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. Eating too many calories will result in fat gain. If you're like most gym-goers, you want to build mass while keeping fat gains to a minimum.
To do so, increase your calorie intake gradually. Consume an extra 500 calories per day for a week or two and track your progress. GNC's Weight Gainer 1850 has 1,490 calories per serving, but that's three scoops. Start with one scoop per day and increase the dosage if necessary.
Keep an eye on your overall diet. Bulking up isn't an excuse to binge on ice cream and other goodies. Sports supplements, including GNC's Weight Gainer 1850, are designed to complement your diet. If your daily meals are based on junk food, the pounds will add up. Those pounds, though, will consist of fat, not muscle.
Ideally, take this supplement before and/or after hitting the gym. That way, your body will use the extra carbs for energy and muscle repair rather than storing them as fat.
- GNC: "Weight Gainer 1850 Chocolate Flavor"
- National Academy of Sports Medicine: "Body Types: How to Train & Diet for Your Body Type"
- American Council on Exercise: "How to Eat and Train for an Endomorph Body Type"
- American Council on Exercise: "How to Eat and Train for a Mesomorph Body Type"
- American Council on Exercise: "How to Eat and Train for an Ectomorph Body Type"
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: "International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Diets and Body Composition"
- USDA: "How Many Calories Are in One Gram of Fat, Carbohydrate, or Protein?"
- American Council on Exercise: "9 Things to Know About How the Body Uses Protein to Repair Muscle Tissue"
- NCBI: "Carbohydrate Dependence During Prolonged, Intense Endurance Exercise"
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: "The Role of Carbohydrates in Exercise and Physical Performance"
- British Journal of Sports Medicine: "A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression of the Effect of Protein Supplementation on Resistance Training-Induced Gains in Muscle Mass and Strength in Healthy Adults"
- Nutrients: "Relationship Between Added Sugars Consumption and Chronic Disease Risk Factors: Current Understanding"
- NCBI: "Potential Health Risks From Beverages Containing Fructose Found in Sugar or High-Fructose Corn Syrup"
- Mayo Clinic: "Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Timing Your Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition"