Does Mass Gainer Work For Skinny Guys?

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

If you want to learn the pros and cons of weight gainers and find out whether mass gainers actually work, then this guide is for you.

I have years of mass gainer experience under my belt and have personally tried and tested 70 different supplements, so I have a pretty good idea of the mass gainer benefits and drawbacks.

Does Mass Gainer Work? 

A row of weight gainer scoops of various sizes

Yes, mass gainers do work because they contain enough protein for you to build muscle and enough calories and carbohydrates for you to increase your body weight.

However, to experience a successful mass gainer before and after transformation, you need to do the work in the gym and exercise some dietary discipline in the kitchen. So, as I’m fond of saying, weight gainers only work if you do.

Sure, mass gainers help you achieve the calorie surplus, but for those calories to trigger muscle mass development, you actually need to train hard on a consistent basis, not just when you feel like it.

Also, some weight gainers are naturally much better than others, and it’s certainly not a case of the more calories, the better. Go with a quality supplement that contains between 400 and 800 calories per serving, one which ideally uses oats for carbohydrates rather than just maltodextrin.

How Does Weight Gainer Work?

Lots of different weight gainer bags and tubs

Weight gainers work by increasing your calorie intake, which, depending on the rest of your diet and your activity level, should help to put your body in an energy surplus, which is necessary for gaining weight.

An energy surplus is simply where your body has an excess of energy that it can use to build new muscle tissue, i.e., when you consume more calories than you burn off.

Mass gainers are also high in protein and BCAAs (at least, the good ones are), helping to stimulate hypertrophy by triggering muscle protein synthesis.

Just remember that mass gainers take time to work because you need to eat in a calorie surplus for a while in order to see noticeable changes in your muscularity. So, while your 1 week mass gainer results might not be that impressive, your 1 month mass gainer results should be a lot more noticeable, although complete transformations can certainly take 6 months or more.

Pros and Cons of Mass Gainers

While mass gainers definitely work, there are some weight gainer pros and cons that you should know about.

Pro: Convenient Calorie Source

Closeup of three mass gainer scoops

The biggest pro of mass gainers for those who struggle to gain weight is that mass gainers provide a convenient liquid calorie source that could mean the difference between gaining muscle mass and staying skinny.

You can make a mass gainer in just a couple of minutes, and you can take the shake with you to school, work, or to the gym, which makes it really easy to meet your daily calorie and macronutrient targets.

On the other hand, wholefood meals require way more preparation and can’t easily be consumed when you’re at work or on the go. Also, mass gainers are often quicker to consume and less filling than regular food, enabling you to consume more calories overall.

Pro: Ideal For Hardgainers

An unhappy skinny man

Weight gainers are especially useful for those who struggle to get enough calories from their regular meals because one shake can often have 500 calories or more, especially if you mix the powder with milk.

So, if you lack the time or appetite to eat enough muscle-building food, having a mass gainer can really set you up for bulking success because weight gainers are an extremely calorie-dense supplement.

Con: May Lead To Fat Gain

A man showing his tummy

While mass gainers themselves won’t make you fat, they can lead to an excessive calorie surplus, which, in turn, could lead to unwanted fat gain.

The key to using mass gainers properly is to keep your overall calorie surplus in check. 

Don’t have 1,000 extra calories per day unless you want to get fat. Instead, stick to a moderately high calorie surplus of around 500 calories per day, which will give your body plenty of extra fuel to gain weight and muscle mass.

See Also: Can You Drink Mass Gainers Without Exercising?

Con: Doesn’t Have Many Micronutrients

Fruits and vegetables

Most mass gainers are just “empty calories” in the sense that they’re devoid of vitamins and minerals. This is why weight gainers should be used as a supplement to your diet and not as a meal replacement shake.

To be sure, you can have three meals and a mass gainer, but don’t do the opposite and drink three mass gainers and eat only one wholefood meal.

For a hardgainer, empty calories could be just what they need to gain weight. After all, there’s only so much food you can eat, especially when you’re skinny. Mass gainers, on the other hand, are much less laborious to drink, which makes them ideal for bulking up without forcing yourself to eat lots of food.

Pro: Makes a Great Post-Workout Shake

A muscular man drinking a weight gainer

Mass gainers contain all the carbohydrates that your body needs to replenish its muscle glycogen levels after a workout, which helps to kickstart the recovery process.

Likewise, weight gainers are protein-packed, meaning that they contain all of the necessary amino acids that your muscles need to grow and repair.

So, although you can take mass gainers at any time of the day to boost your calorie intake, they’re especially suited to the post-workout period because of their carb and protein density.

This is really useful if you need to head straight to work after the gym and don’t have time to eat a meal right after your workout. In this case, you can drink your mass gainer and have a meal a few hours later.

Con: Can Get Expensive

A big selection of mass gainers

Due to their large serving size, mass gainers can quickly become expensive because a hardgainer can easily burn through an entire bag or tub in a couple of weeks or less.

Now, to be fair, you do get a lot of calories and protein for your money, and you should definitely be prepared to pay for a quality supplement. However, it’s still something to consider if you’re on a budget.

One money-saving option is to subscribe to your favourite mass gainer like I do. Not all brands offer this option, but the one I use gives you a 30% discount if you subscribe to their mass gainer, which is quite generous considering the quality on offer.

Con: Some Mass Gainers Taste Bad

A man drinking a weight gainer

Mass gainers don’t have a great reputation for taste (or for mixability, for that matter). Some people will say that this is just part of bulking and that it’s all about the ingredients.

And while I certainly agree to an extent, nobody wants to gulp down a sicking shake every day of their bulking journey.

So, while my taste buds have certainly toughened up after taste testing 70 different weight gainers, I definitely still appreciate a weight gainer that actually has a pleasant, drinkable flavour.

Some brands do offer mass gainer samples, but most don’t. So if you’d like to find a supplement that tastes great and gets results, be sure to read around my website to find all my taste tests.

In Conclusion

The reason that I continue to use mass gainers even though I’m no longer skinny is because they work well and give you exactly what you need to gain muscle mass.

For the hardgainer, mass gainers provide plenty of calories to create a calorie surplus, which is really important for bulking up.

For people like me, weight gainers help during a bulking phase by providing an additional source of calories that can easily be consumed at work and between meals.

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.
the logo for Best Mass Gainer UK showing a tub of weight gainer protein powder
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