Gainers are a special type of nutrient that contains about 80% carbohydrates and only 10-20% protein. The high prevalence of sugars over proteins makes gainers a good source of energy in the diet of strength trainers. The use of this type of nutrient has its drawbacks - they are not able to cover the daily requirement for amino acids, and often also contain carbohydrates with high glycaemic index. When do Gainers make sense and how to dose to get the best results?
Gainers - what are they?
Gainers are used to increase muscle mass and speed up recovery after training. Compared to other supplements, gainers contain less protein, but more carbohydrates. The 100 g supplement usually contains:
- 60 to 90 g carbohydrates,
- 10 to 30 g of amino acids,
- 3-10 grams of supporting substances.
Because of the relatively cheap price (the cheapest gainers cost about £5 per kilo, while good quality whey protein starts from £12 / kg), gainers are usually picked up by the beginner gym goers. Most often, they are young, inexperienced people who believe that daily nutrition will help them get the desired muscles.
Are gainers really effective? Who can gain anything from using gainers?
Gainers – how do they work?
The effects of gainers depend on the time that they will be delivered to the body. Consumed before training, they add energy and delay the fatigue symptoms during exercise. Immediately after training, they rebuild glycogen stores in the muscles and aid in muscle tissue growth. In addition, because of the high carbohydrate content, gainers increase body fat. A study of athletes in the 1990s showed that after 4 weeks of supplementation, participants in the experiment had a fat increase of 700 g and was only about twice less than total muscle growth.
Gainers - who are they recommended for?
From the results of this study, it can be concluded that gainers are best for people with low body weight because in addition to muscle growth, they increase fat mass. It is good news for ectomorphs, which are people who are naturally slim, with a poor body structure, who also have difficulty gaining weight. By using gainers they can easily increase their daily supply of calories (a supplemental portion of 100 g contains 300-400 kcal).
Much less benefit from gainers is observed in advanced bodybuilders and those who are primarily interested in increasing muscle mass. In such cases, regular whey protein supplements are most effective, with the highest content of essential amino acids (depending on the product, they are between 75 and 95% of the composition).
Gainers - dosage
There are indications for the recommended daily dose of the supplement. The recommended daily allowance is 50-150 g. However, these are very indicative guidelines that do not take into account individual nutrient requirements. For this reason, the best way to estimate your daily protein and carbohydrate intake is to figure out how many of these nutrients you are gaining from your diet and if you are deficient in any one of them determine the right dose of the gainer.
Gainers - when to take the it?
People who want to increase their muscle mass should take gainers just after training as part of a regenerative meal. Because the gainer contains a relatively small amount of protein, an additional portion of amino acids should be added over the next 2-3 hours - preferably in the form of fresh, natural ingredients such as chicken breast or cottage cheese (or whey protein). In exceptional situations when we do not have time to prepare a full-fledged meal, the gainer can also be eaten during the day as a substitute for plain food, for example instead of dinner. In addition to the mentioned cases, the use of gainers in normal metabolic rate is not necessary, and is not recommended because of the risk of exceeding the daily calorie requirements.
Ectomorphs can take gainers in larger amounts and more often. It’s recommended eating the first dosage in the morning, the next 1-2 hours before the training, the last one after the training. In addition, you can increase the calorie content of conventional meals with the help of a gainer - for example, you can drink the nutrient as a dessert or drink it while eating.
Gainers - what to look for when you buy them?
When deciding to buy a gainer, you need to pay attention to the type and quality of the ingredients used. There are many cheap but low-cost supplements of this type available which have virtually no effect.
Gainers - side effects
The use of gainers according to their caloric needs is generally safe and does not cause side effects. Only mild cases of gastrointestinal disturbances are observed - usually the bloating caused by the intake of gluten-rich gainers (this refers to gainers that have a plant-derived protein). People with acne may notice deterioration of the skin condition when using gainers - it is a natural reaction of the body to increased amounts of simple sugars in the diet.
The most serious side effect of misuse of gainers may be uncontrolled weight gain associated with exceeding the daily dose of the supplement. Then the extra calories supplied with the conditioner are deposited in the form of fat, mainly around the waist.
It is equally unhealthy to replace the traditional, full-fledged meal with a portion of the gainer. Keep in mind that this supplement is devoid of many essential components for your body. Vitamins, trace elements and fibre, therefore, cannot be the basis of a varied diet. In any case, the main source of carbohydrates and proteins should be fresh products of natural origin, and not powder supplements, which only help boost muscle tissue.