For starters, I’ll give some background about me. I started taking supplements around 5 years ago while working out with friends who introduced them to me. Ever since then I have been taking supplements on and off when I workout. And for the last six months I have had supplements to help me gain the ideal weight and lean mass.
I am a hard gainer, meaning I have high metabolism, so I use supplements to augment my diet. I stand 5ft 7inches tall and weigh around 62kgs. And to give you an idea of how much I can carry, my max 1RM(rep/minute or max rep) in the bench press is 80kgs, in the preacher curl 43kgs and 100kgs for squats.
If you want to bulk up and do not really care about gaining some body fat, then generic weight gainers are for you. These supplements have high calorie content which come from complex carbs and often have high sugar content.
When it comes to servings, I usually do not follow the recommended servings because I find it impossible to consume so much in a single day. I usually divide one serving into three shakes and take it in between meals. Here are some of the products I have tried:
Mega Mass has a lot of calories but comes in insanely huge servings. One serving is equal to around 1200+ calories if I remember correctly. One serving is like scooping up three mugs full of the powder. I needed to use a blender to prepare the shake. And it’s very heavy on the stomach. It works well and includes some creatine in the mix. But overall, I wasn’t really into it because of the huge serving sizes. I would recommend this to the advanced users.
Serious Mass is a good weight gainer. And it worked surprisingly well and is very affordable. It doesn’t have creatine but it’s worth the money. And it’s cheaper than most other weight gainer products in the market. From a 12lbs sack, I gained around 6lbs in about a month which is good for someone like me. I would recommend this to beginners and advanced users.
If you’re looking for lean muscle mass gains then lean gainers are the way to go. They have around half the calories of weight gainers and more protein and amino acids to help build muscle. I usually take them once during the day as a replacement for a snack and one serving after working out. As with the weight gainers, lean mass gainers have high sugar content. But they come in smaller serving that can actually be consumed in one shake.
I tried out the Vanilla flavor and it was too sweet. I had to take one scoop less than the recommended 4 scoops because of the sweetness. But overall it was good. I managed to gain 4lbs from a 6.5lbs jar of Cytogainer in about 3 weeks. And this has creatine so it also helps with strength gains as well. It has around 54g of protein which is good. Two servings a day is more than enough. It’s very good for beginners.
This one is also good as a lean mass gainer. It delivers around 600 calories and 45+ grams of protein. It’s not as sweet as I expected which is a good thing; I tried the chocolate flavor. I gained around 6lbs from a 5.5lbs jar but I also took creatine and animo acid caps so I really can’t tell exactly how much I gained from it. My friends say he gained around 3lbs in two weeks. I’d like to recommend this for advanced users and those who would be stacking supplements.
Protein is essential for building muscle. If you want to gain muscle but not weight then whey protein supplements is your best friend. It doesn’t have high calories or sugar but high protein content per serving. A typical 30g scoop has around 25g of protein. The recommended protein intake is 1g per pound of body weight.
You may need to go as high as 1.5g per pound for high intensity workouts but it hasn’t really been proven. I take around 3 servings per day: one serving before working out and two serving immediately after. Whey Protein should be a staple supplement for anyone who wants to have muscle gains.
This is the king of lean muscle gains. But it is the most expensive and the worst tasting of them all. It works well but then again, I really don’t like the taste. And works really really well when stacked with Celltech (I’ll discuss stacking later).
Muscle gains are guaranteed when taking Nitrotech. I have to warn you, don’t buy the strawberry flavor. Recommended for people who want to see great results and do not care about the taste (and have a huge budget for supplements). Read Also : BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder
It didn’t win the Best Protein Supplement Award @ bodybuilding.com for nothing. This is by far my favorite supplement. It tastes great, is very affordable and works really well. I’ve tasted chocolate (which tastes like Enervon HP), Rocky Road and Cookies and Cream.
I take one scoop in the morning, one before workout and two after. And it mixes really well even when using a spoon. Recommended for everyone. Read more : Gold Standard Pre-Workout Review
It’s a lot like ON’s Gold Standard minus the taste which is a bit bland. It’s cheaper than ON too. I’ve tried chocolate and it’s so so.
Casein Protein – take casein before going to bed. It’s a slow digesting protein so it works best when at rest. Casein is essentially milk protein. I haven’t tried it yet but my instructor says it’s good when stacked with whey protein.
Amino Acids – protein building blocks. There are a lot of types that come in powder, liquid and capsule form.
Other types – there are egg proteins and soy proteins. Best stick to the tried and tested whey protein.
Creatine is an energy booster supplement. It helps in recovery (so you don’t feel as sore the day after) and in strength gains. I have observed that I become a little hyperactive when taking creatine and don’t tire easily. It also helps prevent lactic acid buildup which adds extra reps to your sets. Another benefit is water retention in cells which aids in gaining muscle size.
Usually comes in capsules or powder. Take high glucose drinks and a lot of water when supplementing with creatine for best results. Dehydration may be an issue if you don’t drink a lot of water. Follow the instructions on the product.
I will discuss only Cell-Tech because all other creatine supplements whether powder or capsule work in the same way. Again, creatine is one of the staple supplements for gym rats.
It works well and fast. There are huge strength gains from this product. The only setback is the price. It’s very expensive and you have to follow the dosage cycle to get the best results. And this product has high caloric and sugar content. Works well when stacked with Nitro-Tech.
I haven’t tried them but HydroxyCut by Muscle Tech is the most popular one on the market. Just be sure to find the one that doesnt contain ephedrine. Better yet, look for the Stimulant-Free Thermogenics. They aren’t as effective but at least your much safer. Read Also : Instant Knockout Fat Burner
I’ve tried a few capsule based amino acids. Essentially, they are protein building blocks. They help in the growth, development and repair of muscle tissues. All of those that I have taken got the same results so I figure I don’t really need to elaborate. And besides, most protein supplements will have Branched Chain and Essential Amino Acids built into the formula already. Only take when not taking regular protein supplements.
Stacking is taking one supplement on top of the other. Some products work well when stacked and some don’t because they become redundant. Here are some of the supplement stacks I have tried:
ON Whey Protein (or UN Prostar Whey) and Creatine – I take the usually whey powder with capsule form creatine. I take creatine an hour before or after workout with my whey protein shake.
Nitro-Tech and Cell-Tech – Basically, it’s like the Whey and Creatine stack but this one has better results. And a higher price tag. Well, it works really well. Best advice is to follow stacking instructions in the directions label.
Weight Gainer, Amino Acids and Creatine – Well, this one was a effective too because the amino made up for the lesser protein content of the weight gainer. The only draw back is the digestion of all these things combined take some time.
Whey Protein and Casein Protein – I take one scoop of whey in the morning, before and after workout then take a serving of casein just before sleeping. My instructor explained that doing so supplies the body with enough protein through out the day. It really helps when you want muscle gains.
Read Also : How to Choose Supplements With Care
Well, there you go. My little supplement guide. I can’t explain the science behind the supplements but I know from first and second hand experience what works well. Best advice, read the nutritional facts and directions in the product label. And seek advice from your doctor before you try any of these.
By Henry Wallace