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The truth about weight gainers

Are Weight Gainers Worth Your Money?

by Dejan Antic | Follow Dejan on Twitter

Are weight gainers worth your money?

If you listen to the companies that make/sell them, you’d think that they’re worth every penny.

But are they?

Well, to shed some light on this topic, I’m going to share with you my experiences with weight gainers.

How weight gainers got me “big”

The first ever supplement I bought was a weight gainer.

I still remember the day.

I was 19 years old, and I didn’t know a thing about nutrition.

The only thing I knew for sure, was that I wanted to get big, fast.

Hungry for knowledge and quick gains, I did what every gullible guy would do—I went to the local supplement shop to get some nutrition advice.

Back in 2005, there weren’t a lot of supplement shops around but luckily for me, my hometown had one.

It took me some time to find the place since it was a hole in the wall, but once I found it, I felt like a kid in a candy store.

The racks were jam-packed with the latest shakes and drinks, the walls were plastered with famous bodybuilders and at the counter, there was this mountain of the man.

The owner of the store.

His arms were the size of my torso and the veins on his arms looked like they were about to burst.

A true freak of nature!

Anyway, after a bit of chit-chat, I told him that I was a newb who was in search of a shake that will help me gain muscle mass.

After talking for 5 minutes about some bro-science stuff, he cut to the chase and said that he had a one of a kind thing for me.

He went to the storage room and came back with a 24-pound weight gainer bag.

He told me that this was his #1 secret for building big guns and ripped abs. And if I was serious about building muscle, I had to get this.

I was sold.

I paid an arm and a leg for that weight gainer, but I didn’t mind since I finally had the holy grail that would put my muscle growth into overdrive.

I was stoked beyond belief.

As soon as I got back home, I drank my first ever weight gainer shake.

It tasted like victory.

For the next few weeks, I’d drink these weight gainer shakes 3x per day:

  • breakfast
  • lunch
  • dinner/post-workout

And the results?

I got big.

But not big as in jacked and shredded, but big like fat and ugly.

Below you can see my weight gainer bulking results.

Weight gainer result

In the space of just 2 months, I gained 14 pounds of fat and no muscle mass or strength gains whatsoever.

So much for that weight gainer being the store owner’s #1 secret for building big guns and ripped abs.

Now when I look back, I can see that I made 2 big mistakes:

  1. I ate too much calories (a ton of food + the weight gainer shakes)
  2. I didn’t train hard enough

As a strength training newb, I failed to create the demand for all of those extra calories.

And with no way to make good use of those extra calories, my body did the only thing left to do—store those extra calories as fat, to be used some other time.

So, if you are new to the iron game, don’t buy weight gainers.

They’re a waste of you money and they’ll make you fat fast.

And even now that I’m skilled lifter, I still stay clear of weight gainers. The darn sugar content of these things is just too damn high.

But if you’re one of those guys who wants to have his weight gainer no matter what, then why don’t you make your own natural weight gainer?

At least you’ll know what goes into it.

If you want to make the best natural weight gainer on your own, I got a recipe just for you. I got this idea from none other than the all-time bodybuilding champion, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The best natural weight gainer (by Arnold Schwarzenegger)

I like how Arnold Schwarzenegger puts it in his book The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding:

In my own career, before there were as many commercial protein drinks (or bars) available as there are now, I always preferred to create my own drinks, since that way I knew precisely what was in them and what kind of nutritional benefit I was getting.

~Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold’s book is jam-packed with great advice and tips. And one of those tips is how to make the best natural weight gainer.

Each of the drinks below is made in sufficient quantity for 3 servings day, which are supposed to be drunk between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner, and an hour or so before you go to bed.

And since the protein takes a while to digest, make sure to have the protein drink at least 1½ hours before your workout.

Level I

(protein = approx. 50 grams)

20 ounces milk or juice

4 ounces cream (or 1 ounce safflower oil and 3 ounces water)*
2 eggs
2 teaspoons lecithin granules
¼ cup whey protein powder
Flavoring

In a blender, place the milk, cream, eggs, and lecithin; blend for an instant. Wait several minutes for the lecithin granules to dissolve, then add the protein powder and blend until mixed.

For flavor, just use your imagination:

  • a very ripe banana
  • vanilla extract
  • any other fruit or flavoring

To make the drink sweeter, add a tablespoon or less of fructose—do not use high sucrose foods like ice cream or chocolate syrup.

Dejan’s note: I use coconut oil instead of safflower oil. The medium chain fatty acids found in the coconut oil are very healthy and are a great source of energy.

Level II

(protein = approx. 72 grams)

16 ounces milk or juice
6 ounces cream (or 2 ounces coconut oil and 5 ounces water)
4 eggs
4 teaspoons lecithin granules
½ cup whey protein powder
Flavoring

In a blender, place the milk, cream, eggs, and lecithin; blend for an instant. Wait several minutes for the lecithin granules to dissolve, then add the protein powder and blend until mixed. Flavor as in Level I drink, except that you can use as much as 2 tablespoons of fructose for sweetness.

Level III

(protein = approx. 98 grams)

16 ounces milk or juice
8 ounces cream (or 3 ounces coconut oil and 6 ounces water)
6 eggs
6 teaspoons lecithin granules
¾ cup whey protein powder
Flavoring

And if you find that you’re not gaining weight as much as you want, even with the Level III, add 4 more ounces of cream to it.

These drinks will help you gain mass, guaranteed.

Just make sure that your training volume and intensity are high enough as to stimulate muscle growth.

Over to you…

Here’s what I want you to do now.

First of all, next time you’re at the gym, make sure to work your ass off so your body gets a clear sign that it’s time to pack some muscle mass.

And the best way to do this is by following an effective workout program.

Second, throw your weight gainer into the trash bin and go to the store to get some ingredients to make your own natural weight gainer.

Third, in the comments section below, let me know two things:

  • Have you ever tried a weight gainer? What were your results with it?
  • Share your favorite DIY natural weight gainer recipe.

May the gains be with you!

Dejan

###

Image credit: Noodles and Beef

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Reza

Hi Dejan,

Very interesting article and quite true! While the weight gainer may help, nothing is a quick fix on its own. I found the ingredients in those “natural” weight-gainers, based on *the terminator* Schwartz’s recipes, to be quite astounding actually! That much cream (and eggs!?). Wow. I’d just look weird and suspicious in front of my family doing that- and a fuss would be made of the mess. But hopefully I don’t need to do that just yet.

I had a question on another matter. Do you believe you can still get good muscle stimulus by increasing only or mostly the volume of your exercises, without increasing intensity? Because at this point I am only able to do bodyweight exercises and am focusing on increasing tonnage or volume with each subsequent time I do a particular exercise. Thanks

Reply

Dejan

Hey Reza,

Sure that’s doable! If you have a lot of time then why don’t you try working out 2x per day? I think this will really help you grow, if your workouts are intense enough.

Reply

Reza

Cool! I appreciate your input. You know what the real odd thing is though? The one exercise where I feel doing it twice a day would help the most is pushups. Even though I can do no more than maybe 10-12 (regular ones & initial sets) with good form, I feel like they don’t give me as much a pump as other exercises do. I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that bench press was one of the main things I worked on, back when I sometimes went in and out of gyms, in University, and I did 3 months straight in last year of high school. That’s why it’s excellent that you suggested the diamond pushups, that I thought I’d also try decline pushups, and that dips also exist:). With squats and pullups/chins I don’t have this problem as much- probably since I didn’t even work back/biceps, quads and glutes before?

Reply

Dejan

Push-ups are great for training 2x day. But you should also have some kind of back exercise to balance things out–I recommend you do inverted rows.

And I have something in store for all of you people who love bodyweight exercises :) It’s coming on this website really soon!

Reply

Joel Waters

Can’t wait to see your upcoming bodyweight training article!!!

Reply

Dejan

Joel, I think you’re really going to love this one :)

Reply

Joel Waters

Dejan,

I hope you are doing well. Just a quick question for you…..Per your recommendation, I’ve been squatting daily and it has been going great! I’m not really following much of a “program” right now – just squatting, doing a push (dips, pushups, or barbell press), and a pull (pullups, deadlift, or powerclean) every day. I am going by feel and adding weight when I can. I’m finding I’m doing the same thing with my diet right now – more of a “listen to your body” type of plan instead of counting, tracking, programming, etc. Is this an effective way of training/eating for the long term, or should I be more structured?? For the short term I like it and it is allowing me to progress slowly and without injury . . . Your thoughts?? Thanks again! Joel

Reply

Dejan

Hey Joel!

If you’re making progress, then your approach is OK. But when you’ll notice that your progress is slowly starting to dwindle, then you need to step up your game by counting calories or by logging your workouts, or both. Just to break the plateau.

Reply

Joel Waters

Thanks for the info, Dejan. It feels really good physically and mentally right now…I don’t feel “stressed” to eat a certain amount, lift a certain weight, etc. It’s working at the present time so I’ll continue onward and upward!

Reply

joel waters

Dejan,

You mentioned an article about bodyweight training. Any idea on when we can expect that article?!!

Thanks,

Joel

Reply

Dejan

Hey Joel!

I think I’ll finish the thing soon, really soon (around the start of December) :) I think you’re going to love this one.

You’ll be the first one to know :)

Reply

Reza

For those who only have body-weight exercises accessible to them, I still wouldn’t rule out including squats. Find a way to make them challenging enough, because they really help overall strength as suggested on Dejan’s blog here and other sources. If you’re doing it properly you should be able to feel the difference it makes in your workout routine.

Reply

Dejan

Hey Reza,

Goblet squats are a great exercise for people who are working out at home and don’t have limited exercise equipment available to them. Just get yourself a 45 lbs kettlebell and start busting out those reps … you’ll see a dramatic increase in your squat strength if you do these exercises.

Reply

John Andre

I don’t mess with weight gainers or even protein, I always gained too much body fat. I stick with only natural sources, but I am only 5’8

Reply

Dejan

Weight gainers are seriously a waste of my money! Marketing hype to the max :)

Reply

Scott

Hey Dejan!

Just discovered your site today… Keep up the great work.
Couldn’t agree more with Arnold’s quote – not to mention the fact 99% of mass gainers on the market are ridiculously overpriced and filled with crap ingredients (the carbs are almost entirely simple sugars).

My go-to mass building shake is:

500ml water
2 scoops of whey protein concentrate (brand doesn’t matter, chocolate tastes best though)
1 cup of rolled oats
1 banana
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter

easy 800~ calories right there!

Reply

Dejan

Hey Scott,

Thanks for the comment!

Your go-to mass builder sounds delicious, I’ll give it a try after I’m done with my cutting phase :)

Reply

Nader

Awesome site Dejan, I found your site from a niche study from another site. I’m glad I discovered your place here. You’ve come a long way! I’m inspired to do the same with my site.

As for weight gainers, I used to take them back when I first began. I was weighing around 100 pounds so I would have taken anything to be honest (except for roids lol). So after investing in 2 giant buckets, I never realized how much sugar was in it until I tried it!

The biggest mistake I made.. I should have checked the label rather than reading the claims. I’m sure many will learn the hard way as the labels become more and more tricky.

Fantastic article though, I would use coconut oil my self as well.
Nader

Reply

Dejan

Hey Nader,

Thanks for chiming in :)

I guess the hype got all of us at some point, it’s a mistake you need to make in order to see the light :P

Nice job with your website mate (and awesome transformation), keep on doing what you’re doing! :)

Reply

lucky

I have. Three gainers as well as high may be highest calorie diet but didn’t helped me in gaining any weight, my muscles are good but I don’t seem to add any size in them. I don’t know what is wrong with my body. Help please.

Reply

Dejan

Do you track calories? If not, start doing that because chances are that even with 3 gainer shakes you’re not eating enough food.

Reply

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