Having been a hard gainer since high school, I’ve gone through quite a number of brands of weight gainers in my time. Desperately trying to put on size on my thin frame, I made it my religion to have my recommended daily serves on time, every day, and at the max dosage possible.
According to the National Health Service UK, the average male adult requires approximately 2500 calories per day to keep his weight constant. Not too hard to do if you're eating 5 or 6 meals a day like I am, however to gain weight you need to be eating a surplus of calories. Now that’s hard as there is only so much food you can stuff in your mouth in a day without making yourself sick.
Being a big Optimum Nutrition fan, I was very excited to hear that one of the biggest and most popular brands in the supplement industry was about to release what they claim to be “the Gold Standard” of weight gainers. Hmm….
We hear a lot of crazy claims when it comes to supplements so let’s take a closer look and see if this product is really the best weight gainer, or just another bulking powder to add to the ever expanding supplement shelf.
Proteins: First ingredient on the list is a Protein Blend made of Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Milk Protein Isolate and Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate. Awesome! Manufacturers always list the ingredients in order of the amounts that are in the product, so for example, the first ingredient, in this case “Protein Blend” means that the majority of this product is made up of the “Protein Blend”. There will be less of the 2nd ingredient in the product, even less of the 3rd ingredient and so on and so forth, so by the time you get to the last ingredient, in this case “sucralose”, there would be only a very small amount.
Having a blend of proteins as the first ingredients truly suggests that Optimum didn’t “cheap out” in their Optimum Gold Standard Gainer. Protein is expensive and a hell of a lot more expensive than carbs, which is usually the first ingredient in a lot of cheaper gainers out there. Not only that, but the proteins used are WPI, WPC, MPI and Hydrolyzed WPI. The best of the best, especially WPI and Hydrolyzed WPI, which is the most expensive to produce and the crème de la crème of protein powders.
The great thing about having a blend of proteins rather than just one type of protein is that all 4 proteins digest in your stomach at different rates. This keeps you fuller for longer, and allows your stomach to digest the protein in a way that it “drip feeds” your muscles, allowing for growth and recovery throughout the day.
Carbohydrates: Don’t forget, this is a weight gainer, and you need carbs to gain weight. But there are different types of carbs out there. Dextrose and maltodextrin or “glucose polymers” are what makes up the majority of typical weight gainers in the market, however Optimum Nutrition have taken their gainer one step further and used the best of the best complex carbohydrates available…a blend of Oat flour, Pea Starch (Carb10) and Potato Starch as their main carbohydrate sources and maltodextrin as a secondary source.
Fats: The good kind of course! MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides), Flaxseed, and Chia seeds. Fats provide a great source of energy (and calories) as they contain 9 calories/gram, compared to Protein and Carbs that contain about 4 calories/gram. Flax and Chia contain Omega 3 FattyAcids…great for heart health, blood pressure, joint support and digestion amongst other health benefits.
Sizes and Prices: Optimum Gold Standard Gainer currently comes in 2 sizes, a 2.2kg foil zip lock bag and a 4.6kg foil zip lock bag. The 2.2kg bag provides 11 serves (at the full 2 scoop dose of 203g) which works out to be $6.63/serve and the 4.6kg bag provides 23 serves which works out to be $5.74.
Flavours: Optimum Gold Standard Gainer currently comes in Colossal Chocolate, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Cookies and Cream. I am currently drinking the Colossal Chocolate flavour and I have to admit, out of all the gainers I have had, this would definitely be at the top of my list for taste and mixability. If I could describe the Colossal Chocolate flavour in 2 words I would have to say “liquid mudcake”, it really is heaven!
What we REALLY like about this product: You have to have a sweetener in all proteins to make it drinkable, and Optimum Nutrition have used sucralose, a much better alternative to Ace-K and Aspartame. Also there are no ridiculous food colourings, unpronounceable ingredients or proprietary blends. The ingredient list is clearly transparent and to the point.
Our Final Thoughts: We have to admit, this is not a cheap gainer and you will definitely find some other cheaper brands out there, but with 55g of protein per serve primarily from isolate sources, 112g of carbs which are from Oat, Pea and Potato, and Fats from MCT, Flax and Chia all in the one bag providing a very nice (and realistic) 760 calories per serve, you would be hard pressed to find a better quality gainer. If you want the best weight gainer out there, this is definitely it!