The season has picked up the pace, but you probably haven’t yet managed to gain the amount muscle and weight you thought you would. Although you are giving your best in training, your weight gain results are still far from reality. And even worse, you have just couple months before your gym membership expires. Lately, just because you look skinny in your gym dress, your gym trainer came up to you and advised you to try brand X protein supplement to gain weight.
So, here you are at a crossroad, where you can either blindly follow your trainer and take the supplement powder to gain weight of his choice (I wouldn’t do it if I was you) or spend some time in acquiring due knowledge on which weight gain supplement can get you best weight gain results. If you choose the latter one, then continue reading further as I take you through some of the key points associated with choosing most effective weight gain supplement so you can be better informed to make your own choice.
Best Protein Supplements to Gain Weight
A) Whey Protein
If I’m not wrong, whey protein is probably the first supplement you ever heard of. Briefly, whey is obtained as a liquid by-product in cheese production process. It is a complete protein, containing all the 9 essential amino acids required by the body to build lean muscle mass.
You should be well aware of the fact that to successfully gain weight, you will have to consume 1.5 – 1.7 grams protein per kg of your bodyweight. Besides, you need to consume roughly 500 extra calories per day alongside your current diet.
A good quality whey protein powder contains around 22 grams of protein per scoop. So, for instance, you are a 60 kg (132 lbs) male trying to make it to 70 kg (154 lbs) in upcoming months. Right now, you are consuming roughly 110-130 grams of protein each day. As I mentioned before, to effectively gain weight, you will have to multiply 1.5 to your bodyweight (in lbs) and the number so obtained will the new amount protein required – in this case, it is 195 grams.
What I mean to say is, consuming a couple of high-quality whey protein shakes each day will not only help you achieve extra protein intake (without having to chew chicken and eggs all day long), but the extra calories obtained from these shakes will also prove handy for weight gain.
Moreover, whey protein supplements are usually very low in carbs and fat content which means that the calories obtained from them will help you gain a clean bulk devoid of unwanted fat.
To sum it up, here’s a study that showed that when subjects took two whey protein shakes a day with their training program gained 3.1 kg of lean body mass at the end of 21 weeks duration.
To know more about Whey Protein Benefits, click here
Choosing the right Whey Protein for Weight Gain
- Most Affordable
- 20 gram pure protein per serving
- Excellent amino acid profile.
Best suited for – everyone with a low budget yet high aspiration for top-quality nutrition, especially beginners.
- Ultra-pure protein for lean muscle growth
- Over 23 gram protein per serving
- Rich in amino acids, low in fat and carbs.
Best suited for – beginners and intermediates athletes who wish to maximize their lean muscle mass without spending too much money on supplements.
- Unique 80:20 whey concentrate to isolate ratio
- 26 gram protein per serving
- Best-in-class Branched chain amino acids profile.
Best suited for – intermediate and elite fitness individuals who just can’t afford to miss out single opportunity to build muscles.
When to take Whey Protein Supplement for Weight Gain
Breakfast serves as the ideal time for utilization of whey protein for weight gain. A whey protein shake along with a piece of your favorite fruit is a good breakfast choice for gaining weight.
Know when to take whey protein for weight loss by reading this article – Ask the Expert: What’s the best time to take whey protein?
B) Casein Protein
Similar to whey protein, casein protein supplements are another fine choice for people trying to gain clean bulk. Casein Protein is primarily obtained from milk. Infact, it accounts for almost 80% of the total protein present in cow’s milk.
Compared to whey protein, casein protein is digested much slower and thus does not cause a large amino acid spike in the blood. The lower the spike, the longer it takes to release the amino acids in the body. Besides, being a good “anti-catabolic” protein source, research has shown that slow-burning protein like casein protein is the best overall protein option for building muscle.
Moreover, another crucial importance of casein protein for weight gain is its glutamine content. Of all the protein powder supplements, the highest amount of glutamine is found in casein protein. Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid responsible for preserving muscle mass and hence the weight.
Talking about casein protein’s absorption rate, it is quite low compared to whey. But it has its own advantages. As casein protein flows through digestion system more slowly than whey protein, chances are it might be absorbed by your body in more proficient manner. Needless to say, better absorption will decrease the protein oxidation and wastage.
You can utilize casein protein for weight gain by consuming it as a meal replacement and before bedtime as well. Simply drinking casein protein shake twice a day, containing roughly 200-300 calories, in addition to your existing diet would help you gain roughly one-third of a pound a week.
Don’t consider casein protein as an ideal post-workout protein shake option as its slow-digesting nature may not help you around this time.
Choosing the right Casein for Weight Gain
- Ultra Slow Digesting Protein rich in Amino Acids
- 28 gram protein per scoop serving
- Tested for better absorption and premium quality.
Best suited for – individuals who wish to increase their daily protein intake for maximizing their muscle repair and growth.
When to take Casein Protein for Weight Gain
Due to its slow-digesting nature and “anti-catabolic” properties, casein is best consumed before bedtime. You can even ingest casein protein in between meals or even use it as a meal replacement to increase total protein and calorie intake and hence the weight.
There is more than one reason to buy Casein Protein. Some of them are mentioned here – What is Casein Protein and its Benefits.
C) Soy Protein
There’s no denying that vegans and vegetarians have a hard time finding a non-dairy protein supplement as good as whey protein and casein protein. Among the few limited options available, people mostly prefer Soy Protein.
A typical scoop of commercially available soy protein powder provides roughly around 22 gram of protein. Following a high-protein diet can help you bulk up, as long as it’s combined with a proper workout routine. However, there are no major scientific studies that can promote soy protein as a supplement for weight gain.
D) Egg Protein
Not many people know that egg protein can be purchased in a powder form as well. And without a doubt, egg protein powder is a good option for individuals who are eyeing for a clean weight gain.
Moreover, you will be glad to learn that recently a research conducted on rats demonstrated the egg protein’s ability to stimulate similar muscle growth response as whey protein. However, compared to whey protein, egg protein powder may cost you a lot of money.
E) Pea Protein
Another familiar non-dairy, lactose-free and gluten-free protein powder option available to vegetarians is Pea protein powder. It is rich in leucine – one of the three branched chain amino acid responsible for maximizing muscle growth. With a little over 20 grams of protein per scoop of serving, pea protein powder can be a good weight gain supplement choice for people suffering from gastric disorders, especially after using whey protein.
F) Hemp Protein
Of all protein sources mentioned on this list of best weight gain protein supplement, hemp protein is least preferred. And that is primarily due to three reasons – First, hemp protein powder usually contains a lot of carbs which may not be a good feature whilst on clean bulking up regimen; second, it contains only 30-50% protein by weight whereas other options such as whey and casein contain 80-100%; Third, citing the conclusion from the study conducted by the University of Manitoba, hemp protein is not as readily absorbed as whey and casein protein.
Dextrose monohydrate or popularly known as fast carb is a simple carbohydrate supplement. It is used by bodybuilders and athletes to trigger an insulin spike and refuel the glycogen stores lost during exercise. Dextrose Monohydrate sports a very high glycemic index which means it is absorbed extremely fast once it enters the bloodstream.
Like all carbs, dextrose enters the blood stream as glucose and is either used as energy, stored as glycogen or stored as triglycerides in fat cells. Upon consumption, it stimulates the release of insulin, which further collects glucose from the blood and decides where it is to be stored.
Being high in GI, dextrose enters our body extremely fast and induces insulin spike very quickly. The insulin response thus created helps in better transportation of not only glucose but also amino acids, protein and other essential nutrients to the muscles.
The best way to use dextrose monohydrate for weight gain is immediately after your workout alongside high-quality protein source like whey protein. An ideal post-workout shake should include dextrose, whey, creatine and amino acids. However, ingesting fast carbs at any other time of the day may not be a great idea.
Choosing the right Dextrose Monohydrate for Weight Gain
- Fast energy release source carbohydrate
- Rapidly replenishes glycogen stores
- High Glycemic Index (GI) carbohydrate
Best suited for: every gym-goer trying to ease up their weight gain process, especially skinny beginners.
No wonder, creatine had to be on this list of best supplement for weight gain for several reasons apart from adding few pounds of weight itself. For all those who don’t know what creatine is, here’s an overview – Creatine supplies energy to your body especially to your hard earned muscles. It helps increase the formation of ATP and thus increasing the energy in the cells as well. Creatine helps individuals increase muscle mass without adding any fat mass to their body.
So, how exactly does creatine help in gaining weight? Here’s your answer – As I mentioned above, the primary aim of creatine is to supply energy to your muscles. During intensive training, creatine speeds up ATP production and increases the supply rate of energy to the muscles. Needless to say, when you work hard in the gym, all your efforts will be used by the body to shed fat and build muscle mass. What creatine does is it causes water retention in the muscle cells and because water has its own weight, most individuals supplementing with creatine gain around 1-5 pounds of weight. In fact, when you saturate your muscle creatine stores once and for all, you may gain as much as 8-10 pounds of weight.
You can achieve complete creatine saturation by taking 3-5 grams of creatine for 3 weeks. Alternatively, you can follow a loading phase whereby you will have to consume 15-20 grams of creatine each day for 4-5 days. Read our detailed creatine usage guide –
Lastly, one thing you should always bear in mind that creatine does not cause any type of fat gain rather it helps you gain the exact type of weight you want to gain: lean muscle mass.
Here’s more to Creatine Monohydrate benefits – The Benefits of Creatine Monohydrate Powder
Choosing the right Creatine for Weight Gain
- 100% pure creatine monohydrate
- Ultra small size for fast absorption
- Enhance lean muscle growth
Best suited for: every individual who is trying to attain peak strength and improve his lean muscle growth.
Take Home Message
All in all, the overall idea behind any weight-gain program is to increase the total calorie intake which will eventually add up to your mass and increase size. However, you should keep in mind that majority of your calories should come from rich protein sources which are low in carbs and fats like whey protein and casein protein.
Of course, egg protein and pea protein are other good options. But considering the downsides, I don’t recommend you to use them daily. Alongside protein supplements, make sure that you also eat a balanced diet and follow proper training routine to get best weight gain results.