Best Mass Gainer: How and Why Protein Powder Can Help You Gain Mass
Why gain mass?
It’ safe to say, most people getting into fitness are doing so to lose weight; there is however a large portion of people who are getting into fitness to gain weight. There are several reasons you might be looking to gain weight, or “mass” as it’s commonly referred to in the fitness community. The most popular reason is simply because you’ll probably look better with some extra muscle mass on your frame. I’ve found that this rings especially true for younger athletes who are just getting into fitness and looking to bulk up their bodies quickly. Also, if you’re physically smaller than your competition, in many sports it’s a disadvantage (excluding high endurance sports, generally). Other reasons for gaining mass may include recovery from a health condition that has resulted in drastic weight loss, or developing muscle structures to help prevent injury.
How does our body gain mass?
Right off the bat it’s important to note that simply eating lots of protein, or drinking protein shakes WILL NOT increase muscle size and mass. Science has demonstrated repeatedly that the only way our muscles grow is the result of strenuous exercises. All exercises will build muscle, some more efficiently than others. Weight lifting, for example, is shown to be one of the quickest ways to build muscle, but doesn’t necessarily build the most efficient muscles. It’s important to cross train, but that’s a subject for another time. After a workout, your muscles will begin using proteins to recover and grow, therefore it’s important to take a protein supplement, or eat a protein rich meal, no longer than 60-90 minutes after your workout. If your muscles don’t get enough protein to fully recover then they won’t be able to grow. It’s better to have a surplus of protein in your system than a shortage, if your goal is gaining mass.
What’s a good tool for achieving mass gain?
The most effective trick for gaining weight and muscle mass, is also the simplest. The same way we lose weight by altering our diets, we can gain weight by increasing our caloric intake. While the theory of “calories-in versus calories-out” has been criticized by lots of healthcare professionals for its simplistic approach to dieting, it is still an effective way to alter your body weight. If you want to gain weight, look at what you are regularly eating, and increase it. Maybe add another small meal or two to your day, or increase each meal by 25%. It’s important that you increase your calories the right way… shoving junk food in your face might help you gain weight, but it will jeopardize your overall health. Increase your caloric intake by eating high calorie whole foods that fit your diet. For vegans and vegetarians this can mean more beans, lentils, starches (sweet potatoes, yams, etc) and carbs; for meat eaters, it generally means more lean animal proteins such as chicken or fish, and increasing carbs. During the weight gaining process, it’s important to make sure you are getting enough protein after your workouts (60-90 minutes) so that your muscles are growing along with the rest of your body.
In short, if you want to gain muscle mass: calories in > calories out, and don’t forget to consume protein right after any workouts. While gaining mass is generally a simple and safe process, it’s always best to consult a doctor or health care provider before making lifestyle changes, and seeking to alter your weight. Odds are that your doctor won’t think twice about you trying to build more muscle mass, but always best to check with a trained medical professional! Who knows, maybe they’ll have a killer protein shake recipe to share.