Does Mass Gainer Make You Fat?

A picture of Best Mass Gainer UK founder, personal trainer Andy Williams
Written By
Andy Williams
Last Updated on

Mass gainer is very high in calories and carbohydrates and, unsurprisingly, is the supplement of choice for increasing one’s body weight. But does mass gainer actually make you fat?

I’ve been using mass gainers for years, and during that time, I’ve seen a lot of other people use weight gainers as well. And let me tell you, people get very different results from these supplements.

Some people build slabs of muscle mass and set new PRs in the gym, whereas others gain a bunch of fat and only increase the size of their stomach!

Related: Is Mass Gainer Bad for You?

Does Mass Gainer Make You Fat?

A large selection of mass gainer supplements

So, does mass gainer make you fat? Yes, mass gainer does have the potential to make you fat because mass gainer powders are extremely calorie-dense, so if you’re overall calorie surplus isn’t kept in check, then it’s very likely that your weight gainer will make you fat.

But there’s an important distinction.

It’s not the mass gainer itself that makes people fat; it’s the fact the mass gainer leads to an excessive calorie surplus, which, in turn, leads to an increase in body fat.

So, indirectly, weight gainers can make you fat. But technically, you could even lose weight while taking a mass gainer if your overall calorie intake puts your body in a caloric deficit.

After all, a mass gainer is just a collection of carbs, proteins, and fats, which adds up to a certain amount of calories. Whether or not these calories make you fat depends on the rest of your diet and your activity level.

Does Mass Gainer Increase Your Belly Fat?

Loads of weight gainers positioned on a table

Mass gainers can definitely increase your belly fat if you consume them in excess or if your mass gainer usage leads to an excessive calorie surplus.

Men tend to store a lot of their body fat around their waist, so this type of fat gain may be more of a problem for males.

However, when you gain fat, other parts of your body, such as your legs and chest, will increase in body fat as well. It’s just that the stomach has a large surface area, which makes the fat gain more obvious.

So, there’s nothing special about mass gainers that increases your belly fat. But when your calorie surplus is too high, it’s likely that you’ll realise you’re overeating because of an increase in belly fat.

Does Mass Gainer Make Your Face Fat?

A person with a fat face and a double chin

Taking mass gainer will usually only cause your face to become fat if your overall calorie surplus is too high. So, while some fat gain is to be expected during a bulk, you know that you’ve probably overdone it if your face starts to get noticeably fatter.

However, if your face seems to get fat, you might just be holding water, which is another reason why I always say to use mass gainer as a supplement and get most of your calories from whole foods.

When most people cut and lose body fat, their face usually ends up looking more chiselled. So it only makes sense that you’ll gain some facial fat when you’re bulking, but this doesn’t mean that your face will actually get fat. Rather, if you bulk properly, you might just gain a small amount of facial fat.

How Can You Use Weight Gainer Without Getting Fat?

A person pouring some mass gainer powder into a shaker bottle

Some mass gainer manufacturers, believe it or not, recommend taking their supplement 3-4 times per day. However, this is far too much for most people, for several reasons.

First, overconsumption of mass gainers can lead to an underconsumption of vital vitamins and minerals. This is because many weight gainers are just empty calories, which is exactly what a hardgainer needs much of the time. However, you should still get the majority of your calories from whole food sources so that you get plenty of micronutrients.

Also, supplement brands have a financial incentive to get you to take their mass gainer as often as possible so that you need to buy it more frequently. And while there’s nothing wrong with making weight gainers an integral part of your lifestyle, you shouldn’t overconsume them because, as mentioned, doing so can lead to fat gain by way of an excessive calorie surplus.

So, in general, drink 1-2 mass gainer servings per day to put your body in a suitable calorie surplus for building muscle.

More Mass Gainer Concerns:

Why Do Some People Get Fat From Weight Gainers But Not Others?

A man pinching his stomach fat

Some people just have better genetics for putting on muscle mass than others. Likewise, some lifters can eat a load of food and drink mass gainers all day long without getting fat.

But underneath all this lies the much-discussed calorie surplus, or, more accurately, the energy surplus.

Your energy surplus (or energy deficit) is basically how many calories you consume minus how many calories you burn off.

As an example (don’t let this be you!), if you need 2500 calories to maintain your current body weight and, with the help of mass gainers, you consume 5000 calories each day, you’re going to get fat very quickly. Why? 

Because your body is in an excessive energy surplus.

The lifters who make the best progress are those who put their body in an energy surplus for prolonged periods of time, but who don’t go overboard with the calories.

Think about it; if you double your calorie intake, you’re going to have to end your bulk pretty quickly because of the fat gain. But, if you put your body in a moderate energy surplus, you can bulk for much longer and gain a larger amount of muscle mass. 

So not only will you gain less fat with a sensible calorie surplus, but you’ll very likely build more muscle mass as well.

Conclusion: Are Mass Gainers Really Fattening?

A long line of mass gainer scoops

Mass gainers are a weight-gaining tool that needs to be used sensibly in conjunction with a good resistance training routine.

While it might be tempting to consume more mass gainer in an ego-fueled attempt to increase your body weight as quickly as possible, this is only going to lead to disappointment and lots of fat gain.

While novice lifters may well be able to eat in a bigger calorie surplus without gaining fat (because they still have so much muscle mass to gain), most people should aim for a moderate calorie surplus of around 500 excess calories per day.

A picture of Best Mass Gainer UK founder, personal trainer Andy Williams
Andy Williams
Andy Williams is a UK-based personal trainer and bodybuilder who coaches gym-goers of all levels using proven evidence-based techniques in strength training, nutrition, and supplementation. He’s tested over 70 different mass gainers for their ingredient quality and muscle-building effectiveness and regularly shares his findings in his mass gainer reviews.
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