This article describes if mass gainer use leads to belly fat buildup and how you can avoid it.
Yes, excessive use of mass gainers combined with little to no physical activity increases belly fat. However, lean bulking using gainers is possible with proper adjustments in your lifestyle, training routines, and dietary habits.
I have covered all these healthy-gaining methods below in the article.
But let’s start with the reason behind fat buildup due to mass gainers;
Why does a mass gainer increase belly fat?
Mass gainers lead to a fat deposition if your calorie/nutrient intake exceeds the requirement for healthy bulking.
It’s true that you need to maintain a calorie surplus (calorie intake higher than what your body requires for proper functioning). But just taking so many calories won’t give you the lean, hulk look you are longing for.
Instead, you must work out regularly to utilize that additional energy in muscle building. Otherwise, all unused calories are converted to adipose droplets and stored as fatty layers beneath the skin.
And as the abdominal region is the primary storehouse for these fats, you will end up with a blabby belly rather than chiseled muscles.
Mass gainers usually include a bulk of all three macronutrients, and here is what happens when you take too many carbs, fats, or proteins:
Carbohydrates are the primary ingredient of mass gainers, and our body uses them to extract energy for all metabolic functions.
That is why it is recommended to increase the carbs intake to some extent when someone is trying to increase weight, as these molecules will compensate for the energy used during workouts and the muscle recovery process.
However, our bodies eventually convert the additional carb molecules (that are not broken down for energy) into fats, increasing the body fat percentage.
Due to this fat-enhancing effect of carbs, it’s best to take gainers a short time after exercising to immediately consume the energy-rich nutrients.
Secondly, mass gainers have a good proportion of fats to enhance their calorie profile.
In small proportion, these are helpful as growing muscles use them for energy during strenuous workouts. However, when the intake is too high, most of them form fatty layers above your abdominal muscles.
Then come the proteins-the most esteemed macronutrient of all.
Though high-protein intake is advice that you get most often from fitness experts and health professionals, like anything else, there is a limit to protein consumption as well.
Research shows that your body cannot use more protein than 1.6 grams per kilogram of your body weight.
And like the other two macronutrients, additional proteins would eventually be converted to fat droplets and stored in adipose tissues around the belly and other body parts/organs (also called visceral fat).
Summary: To sum up, taking high doses of gainer for faster bulking is a strategy that mostly backfires because lean growth is a gradual process that cannot occur overnight.
That is why I suggest you not to hurry and use mass gainers wisely to get the most out of it, with the least side effects like stubborn belly fat deposits.
Next, I have listed a few tips to do that;
How to use a mass gainer without getting fat?
I cannot stress enough that exercise is vital for lean growth and cutting belly fat. Your muscles won’t take up the nutrients and grow larger unless you are not using them enough.
Besides that, growing muscles eat up fat around them because they need energy during exercise and also for recovery processes.
Hence, your gym routine must match your high-calorie intake. (more tips on how to work out with mass gainers in the next section)
Take your gainer at the right time.
While it’s important which gainer to use and how much, it is also worth knowing when to take mass gainer for best results.
Consuming gainers post-workout is better because, on one side, your exhausted muscles get immediate energy and nutrients to grow.
And on the other side, when calories are used right away, nothing is left to be stored as belly fat.
Avoid dietary trans fats.
Healthy bulking also requires a well-managed diet besides proper mass gainer selection and usage.
Hence, eating a lot of fast food and processed items would serve you no good.
Yes, such foods offer a lot of calories, but most are empty calories from trans fats. (empty calories are those calories that do not participate actively in metabolic processes but are stored as fats).
Trans fats are artificially produced unsaturated fats used in commercial cooking oils. These fats increase overall body fat percentage and modify healthy fats into harmful derivatives.
Hence, you should avoid processed items and oily fast food, especially nighttime snacks. Instead, you can munch on nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts, etc.
Don’t overdo calories.
As discussed above, eating too many calories is of no use. If you create a large energy surplus, you are hitting the axe on your own feet.
Sure, your weight will increase sooner by taking large doses of mass gainers, but most of this would be fat mass, as all unused nutrients from gainers would end up as belly fat.
Hence, don’t blindly take the large gainer dose as your heavyweight gym pal does because he requires a different calorie intake than you do (calorie requirements are higher for muscular people).
Instead, think about how much mass gainer I should take depending on my BMI, calorie count of the mass gainer, and dietary intake.
Here are some tips to help you figure this out;
- For healthy bulking, you need to maintain a small calorie surplus (about 500 calories)above your daily calorie requirement.
Use online calculators to determine your BMI and daily requirements according to your activity level.
- Check your optimum protein requirement by multiplying your current weight by 1.6.
For example, if you weigh 70 kg, the maximum amount of protein your body can utilize per day is 70×1.6 = 112 grams.
- Count calories and nutrients you get from your meal to know what you want from a gainer.
Now, adjust your gainer serving depending upon its nutritional value.
- Another helpful tip is to divide your gainer serving into two shakes rather than one high-calorie drink. Small servings offer better nutrient absorption and utilization with lesser fat buildup.
Careful gainer selection
A good mass gainer helps you get more calories easily without leading to crazy fat deposits around your belly. So, always check the nutritional labels before choosing a product.
I recommend you opt for a mass gainer with a moderate calorie count and a high protein-to-carbohydrate ratio.
Cardio while taking mass gainer: does it help prevent belly fat?
Yes, regular cardio workouts reduce fat buildup around the abdomen.
Cardio exercises are called aerobic exercises because they increase your heart rate, making you breathe faster and inhale more oxygen as your muscles consume oxygen faster. This oxygen is then used to break down fats to extract energy for muscle functions.
Hence, doing cardio while taking mass gainers would help prevent belly fat. This fat-burning efficiency increases with the intensity of workouts.
That is why high-intensity interval training (HIIT) would provide you with fat loss in less than half time as compared to slow-paced cardio.
Not to mention that cardio workouts are best known to burn more fat in a session compared to resistance training.
However, research also proves that resistance training increases resting metabolic rates as it leads to muscular growth, consuming more energy utilizing stored fats.
Hence, the best practice for gaining weight without getting fat is to combine both workouts because, in this way, you would burn fats during training and afterward.
You can do it by designing a training session including both types of exercises, or you can dedicate different days for each type.
Following are some cardio and resistance workouts to burn belly fat and build muscles.
Mass gainer vs. whey protein – Which is best for gains without fat buildup?
Well, mass gainer vs whey protein comparison is a mixed deal, and the precise answer varies with body type and dietary intake.
Whey protein is better for easy gainers (endomorphs) and people who eat lavishly.
It’s because such individuals already consume more calories than their bodies can actively metabolize. Thus, taking mass gainers would supply too many carbs and fats, leading to quick fat buildup.
Instead, these people can achieve their gain goals by optimizing their protein intake using whey shakes.
On the other side, mass gainers would work better if you are a hard gainer (ectomorph) or find it difficult to consume enough calories for bulking.
Whey protein is beneficial but to less extent, as you are less likely to get fats with whey, but on the other side, it would not supply as many calories as required for gaining.
In this case, gainer shakes are a great solution to supply the bulk of calories and nutrients. It also provides whey benefits as the protein content of most gainers is derived from whey.
However, it’s worth mentioning that never overdo anything, whether its mass gainers, whey, or your regular food, as you remember;
Our bodies convert all extra stuff into fats.
Does mass gainer increase weight?
Yes, mass gainers increase body weight by supplying a large number of calories and nutrients.
Does mass gainer make your face fat?
Yes, it can make your face fat if you overdose on these high-calorie supplements.
Will Mass gainer make me lose my abs?
Yes, excessive use of mass gainers can increase your body fat percentage and will mask your six-pack muscles.
However, if you consider your calorie intake carefully and follow the right training regime, gainers won’t be that bad for your abs.
Check out my blog on mass gainers for abs for more tips on building core muscles.
Mass gainers are an easy way to boost carbs and fats intake. While this feature provides additional energy required for extensive training, it can also lead to fat buildup with improper diet management.
Mass gainer shakes can cause a quick increase in body fat percentage, developing a thick layer of belly fat if you don’t incorporate enough physical training or overdose on the supplement.
Thus, you should first figure out your calorie requirement and calorie intake from meals. Then adjust your gainer serving accordingly.
Besides managing nutrient intake, workout modifications like high-intensity cardio exercise like HIIT and mixing cardio with resistance training help bulk up using mass gainers without getting fat.
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