In order to bulk up muscles, bodybuilders and fitness fans need to increase the number of calories they consume. When you’re regularly working out and burning thousands of calories, you need to exceed that number with calories consumed to make any progress in the measurement of your bicep or thigh.
In this article, we’ll cover how to create an attainable goal for gaining weight and muscle mass, how to add healthy calories through your diet, and how and why mass and weight gainer supplements might be right for you. High calorie shakes for weight gain can be great for bodybuilders who want to gain mass, but they need to be managed properly.
Creating a Goal
Gaining weight is not as easy as some might assume. Consuming junk food like candy and pizza might sound like a surefire way to gain weight, but junk food is high in fat, not protein. There are a few steps you can take to ensure that the weight you gain is creating solid muscle mass, not soft fat. For one, set a goal. Having an attainable, measurable goal holds you accountable for your progress, which is just as important in gaining weight as in losing it.
To create a goal that you can reach, you need to know how many calories you’re burning a day and how many more you need to consume through food and supplements. Determining your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) will help you understand this relationship between calories in and calories out. Your BMR is how many calories you burn with no activity.
BMR = 66.5 + ( 13.75 x weight in kg ) + ( 5.0 x height in cm ) – ( 6.76 x age in years )
BMR = 655 + ( 9.56 x weight in kg) + ( 1.85 x height in cm ) – ( 4.68 x age in years )
Then, to calculate how many calories you’re actually burning daily with activity, multiply your BMR by your Activity Factor (if you’re needing to gain weight you should be solidly in active or very active).
Active: 1.6 – 1.8
Very Active: 1.9 – 2.4
Now, you should have a number that equals roughly how many calories you’re burning per day.
The next step is to determine how many calories you need to gain weight and muscle mass correctly and safely. Generally, you want to gain about 1-2 pounds a week. This is a safe rate to add muscle without going overboard and straining your body with a massive overhaul overnight. To calculate this, add 500 calories for every one pound you want to gain to your estimated calories burned per week. So if you want to gain 2 pounds every week, you would add 1,000 calories to the estimated number of calories you burn in a week.
Adding Healthy Calories
As noted earlier, junk food is not the kind of food that you want to be eating all day every day to gain weight. Bodybuilders gain weight to gain muscle mass, not to gain fat. This requires adding lean protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Not only do healthy foods like nuts, fish, dairy, and eggs add calories to your diet, but they also help support your nutritional needs in vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients.
Many bodybuilders use high calorie shakes to gain weight – consuming 3000 or 4000 calorie shakes to help reach their calorie goals. Normal protein shakes aren’t the same as high calorie shakes for weight gain, but you can amp up protein shakes to create a weight gainer. Using heavy cream or coconut cream instead of lower-fat milk can help add calories while still adding vitamins and minerals.
Many bodybuilders use fruits and nuts in their high calorie shakes. For example, one cup of banana has 200 calories, while almonds and pecans add texture and crunch as well as upwards of 250 calories. Of course, peanut and almond butter are both highly used as weight gainers and sources of protein, adding healthy calories.
Weight and Mass Gainers
What if you just can’t seem to make your calorie goal with healthy food sources? Mass gainers are protein supplements designed to give you a high number of calories. Usually weight gainers are used post-workout or at meal times, although they should be supplementing meals, not replacing them.
While most weight gainer shakes are high-protein, the majority of the calories will come from carbohydrates. Making sure the rest of your macros are met and balanced will help you to gain mass and bulk quickly and properly.
Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass (6lb and 12lb)
Serious Mass is the ultimate in weight gain formulas. With 1,250 calories per serving and 50 grams of protein for muscle recovery support, this instantized powder makes the ideal post-workout and between meals shake for sizing up your goals. Serious Mass provides you with the tools you need to pack on the pounds and help you develop the physique you’ve always wanted.
Available in: Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Cookies and Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana
Dymatize Super Mass Gainer (6lb and 12lb)
Gaining muscle mass and size can be very challenging, especially when you have a fast metabolism or find it difficult to consume enough calories and protein during the day. Super Mass Gainer is a high-quality mass and size gainer that is loaded with enough protein, BCAAs, calories, and other nutrients to help even the hardest gainers pack on mass and size. Unlike many other mass gainers out there, Super Mass Gainer also tastes delicious and has amazing mixability!
Available in: Chocolate and Vanilla
MUTANT’s #1 selling gainer! 1,100 calories per serving Made with natural whole foods (barley, sweet potato, rolled oats, avocado, coconut oil, flaxseed, pumpkin seed and sunflower oil) 56 g of pure protein, 192 g of clean carbs, 12 g of fat 26.1 g of EAAs and 12.2 g of BCAAs (naturally present) Essential fatty acids (EFAs) and natural oils from coconut, avocado, flaxseed, pumpkin seed and sunflower Engineered in our own state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to maintain gold-standard quality Gourmet taste!
Available in: Cookies & Cream
MASS-TECH – More Protein, Better-Quality Calories, Bigger Results! New MASS-TECH is an advanced muscle mass gainer designed for any individual that has a tough time adding size, is in their bulking phase and/or wants to break through their strength plateaus. Power-packed with 80 grams of protein and 1170 mass-producing calories when mixed with 2 cups of skim milk, this potently superior formula is enhanced with proven anabolic drivers for rapid mass gain and strength!
Available in: Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, and Cookies & Cream
Carnivor Mass (5.7lb and 10lb)
CARNIVOR MASS is called by some an anabolic superfood and is more advanced than the typical mass gainer. Where regular foods and typical gainers may be limited in terms of speed of absorption and the potential for insulin spiking, CARNIVOR MASS excels. It combines pure hydrolyzed beef protein isolate (BPI) with a dual-action insulin signal amplifying technology known as iSpike. BPI and iSpike act in tandem to support improved muscle anabolism while minimizing fat storage. CARNIVOR MASS is a fast, clean and highly anabolic gainer.
Available in: Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla Caramel
BSN True Mass (5.82lb and 10lb)
TRUE-MASS® 1200 is the Ultimate Mass Gainer engineered for the true hard-gainer in need of serious caloric support. TRUE-MASS® 1200 features a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, with 50g of our signature protein formula along with 215g of a unique complex carbohydrate blend that includes ground whole oats. Plus, the formula includes 12 grams of naturally occurring BCAAs and 25 grams of EAAs per serving along with added dietary fiber and Medium Chain Triglycerides to round out the nutritional value of each shake. Used post-workout, between meals and/or before bed, TRUE-MASS® 1200 can fuel your recovery from heavy training while providing the nutrients your body needs to keep on building.
Available in: Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate, and Cookies and Cream
MusclePharm Combat XL is a revolutionary weight gaining supplement formulated with dense, functional calories and essential nutrients partitioned precisely to create the perfect muscle building environment an athlete needs. Featuring essential fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, and 4 sources of protein, Combat XL works to promote muscle recovery allowing you to get big and stay big!
Available in: Vanilla