If you are wondering whether there is a difference between a mass gainer and an anabolic mass gainer, there isn’t.
“Anabolic” is simply a marketing term used by supplement manufacturers to catch their target market’s attention. Since you are reading this, we can say that this marketing ploy works, right?
Anabolic, in gym jargon, simply means “muscle-building”. Scientifically, it pertains to anabolism which is a “set of metabolic pathways that construct molecules from smaller units.”
A mass gainer helps you gain muscle mass; therefore, it is, by nature, anabolic. Any supplement that aids you in building muscle tissue is an anabolic substance.
As a former skinny guy that was able to put on 35-pounds of mass, I can honestly say mass gainers served as a great tool in my pursuit of building a muscular physique.
But, you have to keep in mind that these are not magic powders that take you from skinny to muscular the moment you take them.
In gaining lean muscle mass, there are no shortcuts.
However, there are time-tested methods you can use to get the most out of a mass gainer.
As cliche as it sounds, knowledge is power…
In this article, you will find out what makes a mass gainer anabolic and I’lldrop knowledge bombs on how you should use them to put you in a constant state of anabolism, so keep reading!
Anabolic Mass Gainer Nutrition Facts: The Optimal Macronutrient Ratio
Anabolic mass gainers are high-calorie powder supplements that aid in muscle-building. And, they support the process by increasing your nutrient intake, more specifically your protein intake.
We already know that protein builds muscle. It is digested and broken down into amino acids that our body uses to repair the muscles we “damage” through resistance training. This process of breaking down and rebuilding makes your muscle fibers stronger and bigger.
The added calories from the high carb and fat contents give your body enough “fuel” to build your muscles back up.
This combination of high protein, high carbs, and moderate fats puts your body in the best state of anabolism aka mass gaining.
If your body was a house under construction, the raw materials you buy like bricks and cement would be the protein. And, the money you pay the workers with is your calories (from carbs and fats).
You won’t spend all your budget on just the raw materials nor would you pay the workers more than you should. What you want is to divide your expenses so you have enough to spend on raw materials to finish the house, all while paying the workers enough to make sure they do a good job.
An anabolic mass gainer manages your “nutrition budget” for you by giving you the right amount of proteins, carbs, and fats in a way that will be most conducive for muscle growth.
Anabolic mass gainers contain amino acids that are great for pre-workout use, creatine for post-workout, and other compounds to jack up the positive effects it has on your body composition.
So, it seems anabolic mass gainers can be used pre or post-workout, let’s talk about it more below.
Best Ways to Use a Mass Gainer
As a side note on nutrient timing: knowing when to give your body the nutrients it needs helps you fine-tune your body into a muscle-building machine.
Proper nutrition is more than just eating the right type and right amount of food. It is also about consuming them at the best times to induce the highest results.
In fact, you can drink your mass gainer any time of the day because you need a constant stream of protein.
However, each scoop comes with high amounts of carbohydrates. The fats can be negligible.
Consuming a high amount of carbs is great for pre-workout in order to load up your muscles with glycogen. These strings of glucose molecules provide the energy for contracting your muscles during a training session.
The more glycogen you have, the more intense you can exercise. This makes mass gainers a good pre-workout drink, especially if you work out early in the morning or are in a rush. Mass gainers provide you a quick and easy way of getting a meal, or a couple of meals, in.
A mass gainer is also great for post-workout use. Primarily, it helps you immediately replace lost glycogen. This allows you to continue with your other activities for the day without feeling fatigued or low on energy.
Carbohydrates also provide the needed calories post-workout so your body does not break your muscles down while repairing itself. The resulting insulin response may also halt the catabolic effects of exercise-induced stress by stopping cortisol secretion.
You can also take advantage of the heightened muscle glycogen uptake post-exercise. This makes it less likely that glucose will stay in your blood resulting in higher blood sugar levels or being stored as fat in adipose tissue.
This is important because, in the pursuit of gaining mass, you must remain in a caloric surplus. So, it is best to bring the nutrients where they are needed most.
If you have trouble sleeping at night, drinking a mass gainer shake may also help. The high carb content prompts the release of feel-good hormones like serotonin and tryptophan that reduce sleep onset.
No Need to Follow Instructions to a T
Let’s talk about nutrition facts, the typical mass gainer serving will have around 50-60 grams of protein, 200-250 grams of carbohydrates, and 5-10 grams of fats. This totals to over a thousand calories!
This high number of calories might be suitable for ectomorphs, lanky and skinny dudes with a very fast metabolism who want to get big and jacked. However, for most people just starting with their mass-gaining journey, this many calories would already equal two or even three meals.
One serving of a mass gainer usually amounts to 4 scoops. If a thousand calories is too high, you can play around with the number of scoops. While you need to consume a high amount of calories to gain mass, you should not go overboard. Otherwise, it will result in fat gain.
If 4 scoops contain a total of 1200 calories, dividing this by four gives you 300 calories per scoop. You can add a scoop or two to your water, oats, or cream of rice to slightly bump up the total calories for each of your meals.
Bottom line, you need to use a mass gainer for what it was meant to, as a supplement. Make sure you get most of your dietary intake from natural sources like meats, eggs, rice, and vegetables.
And, only go slightly above your baseline calorie needs. Keep this in mind, you cannot out-train a bad diet.
Is an anabolic mass gainer safe?
Yes, it is. It is a dietary supplement made to augment your daily food intake, especially for people who find it hard to purposely overeat to get into a caloric surplus.
Is anabolic mass gainer a steroid?
No, it is not a steroid. The adjective “anabolic” simply means to synthesize and build up through a metabolic process. In gym parlance, something is anabolic when it helps you build muscle. While both a steroid and mass gainer is anabolic, the former is illegal in most countries while mass gainers are completely legal and safe.
What are the ingredients of an anabolic mass gainer?
Proteins, carbs, and fats make up a mass gainer. Usually, the complete proteins are sourced from animals, or more often from milk such as whey or casein. The carbs can come from corn (waxy maize), rice powder, or simple sugars like maltodextrin. The fats are often also from the same source as the protein.
How many calories are in an anabolic mass gainer?
Calories in a mass gainer, in one serving, may range from 750-1250 calories.
What does an anabolic mass gainer do?
It helps you gain weight or muscle mass by providing you with a large number of calories in a single serving while also giving you a good proportion of proteins, carbs, and fats necessary for muscle growth.