When it comes to building size and bulking up, it really comes down to 2 main factors:
- Dramatically increasing your daily calorie intake
- Following a good resistance training program involving mostly heavy weights and compound exercises.
Eating more food is the key, but how much solid food can we actually consume in one day without making ourselves sick?
Weight gainer protein shakes are great for increasing your overall daily calorie intake, as not only do most of them taste great and are a welcome treat to the usual bodybuilders diet of chicken breast and brown rice, but they contain a HUGE amount of calories. Some products quoting upto 1200 Calories in a single shake! Take this 2 or 3 times a day and your potentially taking in an additional 2400 - 3600 calories a day!
Whats the difference between standard protein powders like WPI or WPC and so called "Weight Gainers"?
WPI and WPC products are just that. They contain a high percentage of Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Concentrate which is a type of protein. The main difference between that and Weight Gainers, is mainly the addition of carbohydrates. Now remember that not all carbohydrates are created equal.
The main types of carbohydrates to look out for when selecting a quality weight gainer supplement, is the amount of Complex Carbohydrates and amount of Simple Carbohydrates the supplement contains.
Note: Before reading on, it is important to know about the Glycemic Index and terms such as Low GI and High GI. Here is a quick summary below:
What is the Glycemic Index and what does High GI / Low GI mean?
The Glycemic Index or GI, is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. It's a measuring system to find the extent of which various foods raise the blood sugar level. The benchmark is white bread, which has a GI of 100. The higher the score, the greater the extent to which blood sugar is raised. Eg Dextrose scores 138 (which is high) whereas fructose is 31 (low).
What's the difference between Complex Carbohydrates and Simple Carbohydrates?
Complex Carbohydrates - ie. Polysaccharides (poly meaning many) and (saccharides meaning sugars) are composed of 3 or more monosaccharides (single sugar molecules) joined together. Complex carbohydrates take a longer amount of time for the body to digest. This is fantastic when you are trying to gain size while keeping body fat to a minimum because as the complex carbohydrates are broken down, they release glucose into the blood stream at a slower pace than simple carbohydrates. This is what is known as a Low Glycemic Index Carbohydrate or as bodybuilders call it, a Low GI Carb.
Simple Carbohydrates also know as sugars, are already in their simplest form which means they are easily digested and enter the blood stream at a much faster rate. Simple carbohydrates are known as High Glycemic Index Carbohydrates or High GI Carb's.
Remember, whether it's a simple carbohydrate or a complex carbohydrate, your body will convert the carbohydrate into glucose to produce ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate), the energy molecule to power your workouts.
Why does it matter if I'm taking a High GI Carbohydrate or Low GI Carbohydrate?
This is where Insulin comes in. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas of the human body. As Wikipedia states, "Insulin is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body". When you consume a High GI Carbohydrate such as dextrose, this produces a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. In order for your body to get your blood sugar back to normal levels, it will release a high amount of insulin. For bodybuilders or people trying to gain size, this is ok to take after your heavy workout, as your body has depleted its Glycogen stores. The sugar will be stored in your depleted muscle and liver stores to replenish your exhausted reserves. However, when your glycogen stores are full, and you are constantly eating high GI foods such as sugar, candy, cookies, honey, sodas etc throughout the day, this excess glucose present in the blood stream, will be converted to BODY FAT. Not good if your trying to build lean muscle tissue and keep your body fat to a minimum.
As complex carbohydrates are low GI, they take a while for your body to break them down into glucose. This slows the release of glucose into the blood stream, providing a slow and steady release of energy and avoiding the "Insulin Spike" that simple sugars create. Complex carbohydrates also naturally provide many of the vitamins and minerals needed for energy production aswell as fibre which is important for a healthy digestive system.
As you can see, the type of carbohydrates present in the weight gainer supplement you select is quite important, depending on when you take it (straight after your workout or several times throughout the day), how often you train in a week and how long you train for.
If your after the best Weight Gainer Supplements, Protein King recommends...
The Optimum Pro Complex Gainer is one of the best weight gainers available on the market today. Not only is it extremely low in sugar, but it is made up of several different premium protein sources: WPI, WPC, Calcium Caseinate, Egg Albumen, Hydrolyzed Whey Peptides, and Glutamine Peptides for a full range of your fast to your slow absorbing proteins. It also includes complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, MCT's (Medium Chain Triglycerides), digestive enzymes, vitamins, essential minerals and tastes absolutely fantastic. At 650+ calories/serve which includes 60g of quality protein and 85g of quality carbs, this is sure to get you big, not fat.
Maxs Supersize is one of the most popular weight gainer supplements currently available, and at just under $90 for 5kg, is also great value for money for the budget conscious. The single protein source in this weight gainer supplement is WPC - whey protein concentrate. It's very low in sugar and high in complex carbohydrates, and contains all your essential vitamins and minerals.
If your one of those people who find it next to impossible to gain weight, and are purely after size and strength and just want to pack on those kilos no matter what, this is the product to get you there and FAST! Inner Armour is a Canadian brand and quite well know in the Australian market. At the full recommended serving, this product delivers you a WHOPPING 1277 Calories PER SERVE. In other words, if this doesn't get you massive nothing will! This product also has added Creatine and Glutamine peptides and a number of proven ingredients to increase ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate - Your bodies energy source), endurance, electrolytes and muscle dependent amino acids to keep you anabolic (in a muscle building state).
Black Widow is an Australian company and probably not as well known as some of the other brands, but nonetheless Black Widow has a great range of products and at rock bottom prices. Definitely worth a mention on the Best Weight Gainer Supplements list of products. At number 4, Black Widow Mega Bulk is a basic weight gainer. If you already take your creatine, glutamine and multi-vitamins separately, or just starting out on weight gainers, and purely after a weight gainer at an affordable price with no added ingredients besides Protein, Carbohydrates and MCT's (Medium Chain Triglycerides - A great source of energy that is unlikely to be stored as fat by the body), then check out the Black Widow Mega Bulk.
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