There’s no free ride on the gain train.
Arriving at destination ‘muscle’ needs an intense weight training program built around the core compound lifts and a comprehensive nutrition and supplement plan that supports recovery and muscle growth.
Consuming sufficient calories is the cornerstone of any successful bulking plan. But give the hollow calories from fast foods, processed ingredients and convenience products a skip. Focus instead on quality nutrients and calorie-dense foods from natural sources.
And you can support your diet with the appropriate supplements – they offer an easy and effective way to augment a wholesome whole food diet if you need to boost your calorie and macronutrient requirements.
However, supplements should never replace natural whole foods.
When it comes to selecting the best supplement to support your growth, you need something that delivers the right amount of calories and sufficient protein to repair damaged muscle tissue and support growth.
Well, the correct decision boils down to your specific needs and circumstances. Individual requirements from a dietary, genetic, metabolic and training perspective vary because we’re all different.
Our unique genes determines how we respond to training, our diet and the environment, while our differing metabolic rates impact how efficiently our bodies process specific macronutrients.
What we know for sure is that everyone needs sufficient protein, which is why adding a product like an MRP to a comprehensive and intelligently designed eating plan can meet the demands of a muscle-building program for some people.
There are, however, those who thrive on higher carbohydrate diets. Individuals who enjoy a higher metabolic rate generally metabolise carbs more efficiently than the average person. But they’re also more likely to fall into the hard-gainers category.
While a humming metabolism is beneficial for weight loss and conditioning, it can make it difficult to build and hang onto significant muscle. This happens because you can often burn muscle tissue for energy when you fail to consume sufficient calories, especially carbohydrates.
That’s why building serious muscle mass requires serious calories and ample carbs. In these instances, achieving the gains you are after by using an MRP shake alone may prove ineffective.
Rather choose a high-quality, well-formulated mass gainer. These products will help you hit those lofty calorie targets while providing the right macronutrients in the appropriate ratios.
These formulations deliver all the building blocks (protein and amino acids) necessary to maintain and add new muscle, along with the energy required (from carbs and some fats) to fuel intense weight training sessions and the growth process that follows.
The additional carbs also boost the anabolic (muscle-building) response after exercise by helping to keep levels of the stress hormone cortisol in check after training. Unchecked cortisol levels can break down muscle.
And a beneficial dose of carbs after training raises insulin levels. This storage hormone helps muscle cells rapidly absorb circulating amino acids. Once in the cell, they repair muscle cells and help form new cells for added growth.
When selecting the best mass gainer supplements, opt for products that are rich in carbs and protein, with low to moderate amounts of fat. A 70:20:10 carb to protein to fat ratio is ideal.
Additional factors to consider include:
- Carbohydrate sources: Opt for products that contain a mix of carb sources, including both faster-digesting and more complex carbs. This mix is digested at different rates to deliver an immediate and more sustained energy release.
- Protein content: A serving should supply 30-60g of protein.
- Protein sources: Most mass builders are formulated with whey protein to support the muscle-building process.
- Fat content: Ensure any fats included are from healthy sources, such as essential fatty acids or MCTs.
- Calorie content: Mass builders typically offer 500-1000+ calories per serving.
The most important times of the day to use either an MRP shake or mass builder supplement are generally the same.
Optimal timing is typically first thing in the morning and directly after training. Downing a shake in the morning kickstarts the anabolic process after the night-time fast to limit muscle loss, while another serving after a workout supercharges the anabolic process to rebuild and add more muscle.
You can also use both to replace a snack or meal or augment your current diet to add extra calories to your meal plan.
The final decision boils down to choosing the right product based on your individual nutritional needs, your current whole food diet and your ultimate goal.
Be sure to read the label and do your homework to select the most appropriate product. Also, make sure to check with your healthcare practitioner or dietitian before introducing any supplements into your new fitness plan.