Most often individuals are searching for solutions to lose weight, however, many are on the opposite spectrum and looking to gain weight.
This process most often focuses on building lean muscle mass, which requires an exercise program that includes strength training, nutrition, and increased caloric intake. Muscle gain can not only support fat loss and body composition, but also health.
Building muscle can benefit the body in a multitude of ways such as improved blood sugar control, increased bone strength, decreased bone loss, enhanced metabolic rate, increased fat burning, and reduced risk of cognitive decline and chronic disease.
Of course, we are all about healthy weight gain, which should combine physical activity, a healthy diet of fresh foods, rest, and dietary supplements where necessary. If you are already eating regular balanced meals, increasing healthy calories, and following a progressive exercise program, supplementation can help to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be with your fitness goals.
Supplements can not only increase your overall calorie intake but also provide supporting nutrients for healthy weight gain and physical performance.
Today we share our top 4 supplements for healthy weight gain in the gym.
The 4 Best Supplements to Gain Weight
Protein is an essential macronutrient for muscle growth and weight gain. It can also provide a number of health benefits including blood sugar balance, energy, satiety, muscle recovery, immune function, and growth and development.
Particularly rich sources of protein include lean meat, eggs, fish, beans, legumes, tofu, and dairy products.
You can obtain all the protein you need from a variety of foods, and whole foods should always be the main focus, however, some individuals will need some extra support.
Protein supplements can help to boost your intake of protein and meet your nutrition needs, which will increase with intense exercise. The recommended daily protein intake for building and maintaining muscle mass ranges from 1.4–to 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight a day (1).
Protein intake should be evenly distributed throughout the day. If you find it challenging to eat enough protein during your day, a protein shake can help to cover your bases and fit more calories into your schedule.
Whey protein powder is a popular option used to increase muscle as it is easily and quickly absorbed, includes all of the essential amino acids, and contains a high amount of leucine which is an amino acid that is particularly effective at turning on muscle protein synthesis (2).
Creatine Monohydrate is a nutritional supplement that has extensive research confirming its efficacy for muscle building and as a result, can help you to gain weight (3).
Though creatine is found naturally in the body and in foods, when taken as a supplement it can help to improve muscle strength, muscle growth, and exercise capacity (4).
A review of the most popular bodybuilding supplements found that creatine was the most effective and provided the most benefits (5).
Creatine supplements are one of the most popular nutritional aids for athletes and one of the few supplements that have consistently shown ergogenic benefits (6). It is also one of the top tested supplements and is recognized as safe with few reported adverse effects (7).
3. Weight Gainers
Similar to protein supplements, the intention of a weight gainer is to provide a convenient form of increased calories for someone working on their gains. These can be particularly useful for those who struggle to obtain enough calories, nutrition, and macronutrients from food intake alone.
These dietary supplements are characterized by a high content of protein and carbohydrates.
You can add these powders to your shake with water or to a smoothie for additional support, recovery, and replenishment.
Of course we always want clean sources of calories without the added nasties of artificial flavors, sweeteners, and colors. For this reason some of our favourite weight gainers to support your muscle growth and weight gain journey include Iron Vegan Athlete's Gainer, PVL Sport Gainer, and Precision Plant-Based Gainer.
A non-essential amino acid produced naturally in the body, beta-alanine can help to improve muscle mass and weight gain.
How so? Supplementation of beta-alanine can help to enhance exercise performance, reduce fatigue, and stimulate lean muscle mass (8).
A study found that a group of football players and wrestlers who supplemented with beta-alanine gained an average of 2.1 lbs of lean mass compared to 1.1 lbs for the placebo group, demonstrating that beta-alanine can increase lean muscle mass in just a few short weeks when combined with training (9).
One of its main functions and mechanisms of action is to increase levels of carnosine inside the muscle. Carnosine helps to buffer acidity in muscle tissue and reduce the effects of lactic accumulation. Increased lactic acid can result in fatigue and reduced performance (9). Beta-alanine can both increase carnosine levels and counteract the effects of lactic acid, helping to increase energy levels and improve high-intensity performance (10).
About the Author
Laurence AnnezLaurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals.