When should you drink mass gainer – and can you drink mass gainer on an empty stomach?
These are two of the most important and popular questions we get from skinny guys trying to bulk up with mass gainer supplements. So, we’re answering them both today.
We’ll cover the short version of how mass gainer works in the body, what happens when you drink it on an empty stomach, and some of the best ways to get more from your mega-calorie mass gainer shakes – in a way that keeps you a little healthier while you pack on the muscle mass.
Table of Contents
The Short Version: Can you drink mass gainer on empty stomach?
Yes – you can drink mass gainer on an empty stomach, but you need to make sure that your serving size and choice of the product support this habit. You should try and use a moderate calorie mass gainer with plenty of protein to get a good total result and sustained release over time.
Skinny guys using mass gainers with too many calories will typically feel bloated, heavy, and sickly after too many calories.
Try to use complex-starchy mass gainers instead of sugar or simple starches (like dextrose), as these will release more slowly and keep you recovering and growing over time.
Mass Gainer Effects On the Body
A mass gainer is just like a simple mixture of carbs and protein in food, but with the basic distinction that it’s a powder that you mix into a liquid. This means it’s carbs and protein – but faster.
Mass gainers are worth it and it is one of the fastest ways to get more calories into your diet and into your body. It is literally fast moving and fast acting – you will clear a mass gainer shake from your stomach far more quickly than a comparable calorie content in real, solid foods.
This makes it a powerful force for rapidly replenishing carbs and proteins, especially during nutrient-sensitive times like post-workout.
The effects can be quite intense, however, which is why we’re asking if mass gainer is dangerous on an empty stomach. Because of the large and fast ‘dumping’ of calories into the body, it can be reasonable to worry if this might have some negative effects.
The main thing you need to consider is the content of a given mass gainer product (its calories, protein, and carbs respectively) and the servings you’re taking.
The more of each – i.e. the more per serving and the more servings you’re using – the more likely you are to experience side effects. Even beyond that, more of these contribute to the metabolic damage that some people fear from high-calorie supplements.
Can I Drink Mass Gainer On an Empty Stomach? (longer version)
Yes – you can definitely drink mass gainer on an empty stomach.
This may cause more side effects with ‘super mass gainers’ (anything over 1000 calories per shake), but shouldn’t be a problem with half-servings or a ‘lean mass gainer’ with more protein and fewer carbs and calories.
This is how most mass gainers are actually designed to be used. Since they’re typically there to replace snacks or for use during difficult or busy times, mass gainers are often taken on an empty stomach.
The ingredients are basically just carbs and protein, so there’s no real problem.
It’s like asking if you could eat chicken and rice on an empty stomach. Of course, you can, how would your stomach be full if you didn’t eat?
Mass gainer shakes have the same basic idea going on.
Drink mass gainers after workouts or during lulls in your daily diet and you’ll be fine consuming them on an empty stomach.
Some individuals do have an adverse response, and you should start with smaller servings to gauge your tolerance before jumping in, head first, with Dymatize’s 1350 super mass gainer, for example.
Considerations for Mass Gainers On an Empty Stomach
A mass gainer’s ingredients and design are most important for drinking mass gainer on an empty stomach.
Some of these are important for keeping hormones healthy, while others just keep your gut in good shape to prevent side effects like cramping, bloating, and horrid flatus.
- Ease into it: Using quarter- or half-servings can be a great way to build a tolerance to a mass gainer or just make sure you don’t have negative experiences with them. Start small and build up if you feel comfortable using these supplements.
- Liquid to the solid ratio: Get plenty of liquid per scoop of mass gainer – they’re notoriously thick and the consistency may be contributing to bloating or other side effects. Consider blending to really improve the consistency – especially with a little added ice.
- Starchier starches: More complex starches are better for you than simpler starch or sugar. Mass gainers provide enough calories to sustain muscle growth for a while and you typically don’t need super-fast all-at-once nutrient delivery.
- More protein: Higher protein content is just better. Mass gainers with more protein have sustained release in the body, better metabolic effects, and improved results both at rest and post-workout. More protein = better product, all things being equal.
- Homemade mass gainer: Consider making your own mass gainer at home using a mixture of a simple base liquid, protein powder, and oat flour or steel-cut oats. These give you more control, and more nutrient-density, and may suit your goals better.
- Time It Right: Mass gainer is best when taken during periods of hunger – and especially those that come after intense activity. Try to use a mass gainer in place of low-quality ‘junk food’ snacks in the mid-morning, or after intense exercise to get the best results.
These are simple principles that you should work on with your diet to support better total health, and they just happen to also be true with a mass gainer.
Weight gain diets can be demanding but using these rules of thumb will help you get the most from your mass gainer with fewer side effects or unwanted burdens to the gut.
Mass Gainer On an Empty Stomach: FAQ
Will Drinking Mass Gainer On an Empty Stomach Make Me Sick?
No – drinking mass gainer on an empty stomach should not make you sick.
While it may be a little ‘heavy’, most people will not get sick just from drinking mass gainer. Of course, some people may have a bad reaction but that’s more down to individual tolerance than the supplement itself.
Drinking mass gainer on an empty stomach is kind of the point – it’s there to replace snack meals in your diet.
Especially after exercise, you’re typically going to be using mass gainer on an empty stomach and it can be one of the best ways to use this calorie-rich supplement.
You shouldn’t get sick but – if you do – consider changing products or talking to your doctor.
Most people who get sick due to mass gainers are either using a dairy-based product they’re intolerant to, using a product that’s too much all at once or simply not used to the sheer digestive burden of 800+ calories at once.
Does Mass Gainer Have Side Effects?
Yes – almost any supplement can have side effects, but mass gainer is unlikely to have side effects in most people. The ingredients are very safe – typically a protein powder and a carbohydrate powder – and not particularly dangerous compared to normal, ‘real’ foods.
The side effects of mass gainer typically come from improper use or excessive intake relative to your needs.
If you go from never using a mass gainer to consuming 1350 calories in a single shake, you may experience some digestive side effects due to the immense demands you’re placing on your gut.
Be sensible about your use and try to focus on a leaner mass gainer – one with more protein and fewer calories – to judge your tolerance. If you’re not great with dairy (either intolerant or just a little volatile), then use a plant-based protein mass gainer shake like NAKED Vegan Mass or similar.
Is a Mass Gainer a Real Meal?
No – a mass gainer is not a real meal and has a significantly lower micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) content.
This is one of the main reasons why you should not consume most or even a significant amount of your daily calories from mass gainers.
A real meal includes many things that are either very small, or not present at all, in mass gainers: vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients from fruit and vegetables. These are all key parts of health and wellbeing that you’ll miss out on.
Depending on the product, this may also include essential fatty acids that you need for health and hormonal wellbeing.
A mass gainer is a supplement and you need to treat it like one.
Eat a well-balanced diet throughout the day and use a mass gainer to crank up the total calorie intake while making sure that your nutrient intake is still varied and sufficient from real foods.
Can I Replace Meals with a Weight Gain Shake?
You can replace snacks and light meals with a weight gain shake but this should primarily be during very busy times of day, after a workout, or when replacing an unhealthy or low-calorie snack.
Be careful not to replace important meals with nutritious real foods using a mass gainer, as these are absolutely key to your health, results, and longevity.
The replacement of meals with a mass gainer shake can really damage your diet.
Even a simple meal of chicken, vegetables, and a carb source provides a much wider variety of nutrients than a mass gainer shake – as well as the important digestive feedback and regulation you need (sometimes) to keep healthy.
Too much reliance on mass gainers can rapidly damage a diet and this is why we recommend adding a lean mass gainer to your diet rather than substituting one for a meal.
You’re better off using a smaller dose or a leaner mass gain shake, which only supports results, rather than replacing a meal with a high-calorie mass gainer.
Can I Drink Mass Gainer Early in the Morning?
Yes – you can drink mass gainer any time of day without any specific or severe side effects. The timing of mass gainer is typically not a massive deal, though you may want to use it specifically around times when you exercise to get the best results.
It’s a great option to drink mass gainer in the morning if you’d normally skip breakfast and need a high-calorie option to fuel you up from the start of the day.
For this purpose, look to get a higher-protein, lower-carb, and higher-fat mass gainer unless you train in the mornings (in which case the normal carb-and-protein style is just fine).
Otherwise, try and drink mass gainers just after a workout for the best results.
Morning workouts are easier with pre-feeding, too, so try and get a carb-rich mass gainer in before morning exercise if you’re running late or need something quick. Just be aware it will sit quite heavy in the stomach.
Is Mass Gainer Easy to Digest?
A mass gainer is easy to digest in smaller servings but some super mass gainers can be very hard to digest simply because they’re 1000+ calories in a single serving.
The basic scoop of mass gainer is fine, but the sheer quantities can make it hard to digest.
You should try and keep your mass gainer intake low in each serving. It’s usually better to use 2 shakes with a half serving, rather than one huge mega-shake that causes bloating or cramping.
Leaner mass gainers don’t have this problem since they’re typically around half the size anyway.
Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer, for example, is around half the calories of ON’s own Serious Mass product. For just about everyone, the leaner Pro Gainer is a better choice and will always be easier to digest than the larger, more carb-dense Serious Mass.
Focus on quality, not just quantity, and use your mass gainer in reasonable doses.
What is the Best Time to Drink Mass Gainer?
The best time to drink a mass gainer shake is after a workout – where the carbs and protein will act rapidly to boost your muscular carb stores and replenish protein to repair damaged muscle and tendon.
This is why most elite athletes will use mass gainers as a post-workout supplement and not just a way to get more calories into the diet.
Mass gainers are rich in protein and carbs – the two most important nutrients for muscular recovery and growth. They are also liquids, boosting the speed of absorption compared to real foods or a protein bar, for example.
These two factors combine to make mass gainers – especially leaner ones – the perfect post-workout supplement. They’re often ignored for this purpose but will outperform a protein shake with ease!
So, yes, you can drink mass gainer on an empty stomach.
The effects it has and what you use it for afterward are important, and you still need to focus on using a quality product and fitting it into your diet in a way that makes sense for your goals and needs.
A mass gainer is designed to be safe and comfortable to use, and it’s pretty good at those things if you’re able to balance it properly.
Be smart about serving sizes and discerning when it comes to buying a mass gainer powder.
Overall, just treat mass gainers with the same kind of care and thought that you should treat every food in your diet. It’s just one more tool in your toolkit for growth and being responsible with both dose and timing, you’ll get great results without any real problems.