It sounds like a silly question – is mass gainer good for bulking or cutting? – but it’s not that simple.
Today we’re covering what mass gainer is good for, how you might use it on a cut or a bulk, and how you make sure that you’re producing healthy weight gain when you use a mass gainer shake supplement.
Let’s get right to the important answer that you’re here for, then we can look at the details.
Table of Contents
Is Mass gainer Good for Bulking or Cutting?
Mass gainer can be used when cutting or bulking, but it’s best used when bulking as it’s a high-calorie option that takes up a lot of your diet. This is a great choice when you’re trying to add more calories, carbs, and protein to your diet – the essential ingredients for a successful bulking phase.
You can use a mass gainer for cutting but it is far more difficult as you have to balance it up with a very small calorie intake relative to the bulk.
A calorie deficit diet – used to lose weight – is quite limited in terms of total intake and requires very efficient food choices: foods with more protein, fewer calories, and packed with vitamins and minerals.
These kinds of foods (like vegetables) are typically chosen for their lean nature. Mass Gainer is the opposite. Even high-protein, ‘lean’ mass gainers are likely to be around ¼ to 1/3 of your daily calorie intake on a weight loss diet (around 600-750 per serving).
Mass Gainer for Bulking
Mass Gainer is the perfect supplement for bulking – especially if you’re struggling to eat enough real food. This is the purpose of mass gainers, where they make it easier for skinny guys to gain weight and build muscle.
The liquid format makes them less filling and takes some of the pressure off of your diet and real foods.
This makes the mass gainer shake a mainstay of weight gain diets for skinny guys, emphasizing the ease and reliability of weight gain. It’s also specifically great for breaking through weight gain plateaus where it offers a huge calorie source that can start your diet moving again.
One of the great things about mass gainers is that – if your diet is set up properly – adding a mass gainer could be all it takes to go from a healthy maintenance diet to a healthy bulking diet.
The added 600-750 calories from a lean gainer (along with the 50-60g of protein) add up to provide exactly the extra energy and protein your body needs to gain weight and build more muscle.
Choosing a Mass Gainer Shake for Bulking
Not all mass gainers are made equal and some of the super mass gainers are a good example of quality vs quantity. When it comes to gaining weight, these products prioritize brute calorie content, and simply for more is a better approach.
Some of these products have 1300+ calories per serving. This is an absurd amount and makes them a questionable choice for most people, most of the time.
The added calories from a mass gainer shouldn’t represent too much of your diet.
This is the fastest way to limit the dietary quality and produce lower quality weight gain: more fat, less muscle mass, and an end result that requires more work to get into a leaner body composition.
Mass gainers are only unhealthy in situations like this where they take up a lot of your diet and can easily lead to nutrient deficiency – even while you’re eating more total food.
Nutrients keep you healthy, and excessive calorie intake from one source is usually a bad choice.
Leaner mass gainers with more protein per calorie and a better ratio of protein to carbs are important. This is the most important quality change for your diet and is a simple choice of product that makes all the difference.
Weight Gain Quality: Overbulking with Mass Gainers?
“Over-bulking” is basically any weight gain that causes unwanted fat gain. This happens often when you rush your diet – and it’s important to keep this in mind when using a mass gainer for bulking.
The slower you go, the more muscle you’ll gain and less fat. This is weight gain quality – since it affects performance, health, and the way you look.
Mass gainers can be used as a post-workout recovery aid in high-calorie bulking diets to get the best results. Even so, the whole diet and calorie surplus should be something you plan, track, and adjust based on your needs.
It’s important to make sure that you’re not just eating everything and bulking without concern for the actual amount of calories in your diet.
Not only that but making sure that your protein intake and carb intake are in-line with your goal macronutrient split is key to fitting a high-calorie mass gainer into your diet in a healthy and productive way.
Make plans and either build them around using a mass gainer or use a mass gainer when your diet allows (or needs) the calories.
Take care because the quality of your bulking phase can depend on it – and if you get it wrong, you may end up stripping those hard-earned muscle gains off because you have to diet too hard afterward!
Mass Gainer for Cutting?
You can use a mass gainer for cutting but it should specifically be used as a way to maintain high levels of energy and protein after a workout.
This allows you to maintain and even build muscle mass while burning fat and getting leaner.
For cutting and weight loss diets, you’ll want to make sure you’re using a leaner mass gainer. This keeps the calorie content per serving lower to ensure the best results, especially in products with a higher protein content to produce less fat gains and more muscle mass.
During cutting diets, muscle mass can be at risk for ‘recycling’ if your body experiences prolonged periods of low energy or low protein.
The use of a mass gainer after exercise can be a great tonic to these risks and studies show that proper carb and protein intake increases the protection of muscle after intense exercise during a calorie deficit.
Even more than that, proper feeding around these times can actually build muscle while losing fat. A mass gainer can be a great way to support this if you get the right product, the right timing, and the right balance of calorie intake and output throughout your whole diet.
Best mass gainers for cutting
When you’re cutting, the best mass gainers have high protein, lots of micronutrients, and modest calorie content.
This is why lean mass gainers are better – just like for bulking – as they need to do more per calorie during a cutting diet.
You just don’t have the spare calories to get 1000 calories from a mass gainer that is low in protein, vitamins, and minerals. That will rapidly lead to nutrient deficiencies as you’re consuming 30-60% of your cutting diet from a low nutrient density source.
Mass gainers for cutting are rare because of this. Most of them simply don’t offer the quality you need.
If you’re set on using one, look at CrazyNutrition Mass Gainer, Universal Real Gains, or Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer, which offers around 600 calories per serving and both have 50+ grams of protein.
This is a far more effective ratio for cutting, building muscle, and keeping your calorie intake controlled.
Mass gainer for bulking or cutting – FAQ?
Mass Gainer for bulking and cutting have different roles and you need to respect your personal goals and what you can tolerate when using them.
Let’s answer some of the most important, burning questions for mass gainers and weight change – and how they pair up.
Should you use Mass Gainer to build muscle?
You should use a mass gainer to build muscle if you’re struggling to get enough solid calories into your diet through your normal, everyday food intake. This is a good idea for skinny guys and hard gainers who can’t (or won’t) eat enough to sustain reliable weight gain.
These are simple ways to change your diet from a well-balanced approach to a calorie surplus.
This is one of the simplest but healthiest ways to gain weight, where you can focus on high-quality protein sources, fruit, and vegetables for health purposes.
Mass Gainer is just one option and it’s key that you remember a few things when considering mass gainer shakes for weight gain:
- You need to account for the extra calories, carbs, and proteins in your total daily intake
- Make sure your mass gainer focuses on quality, not just calorie total
- A higher protein supplement means better muscle gain and less fat
- Your whole diet is most important don’t just focus on supplements
- Use mass gainer at times (like post-workout) when you need more energy and protein
These are the basic rules of thumb and major considerations that will help you build muscle using mass gainer shakes and supplements.
Are mass gainer shakes good for you?
Mass gainer shakes are good for you when they’re part of a well-balanced diet and offer a moderate calorie boost. Super mass gainers are usually not good for you, but mass gainers can improve your health by supporting muscle growth, replacing junk foods, and supporting post-workout recovery and growth.
Mass gainer shakes can be good for you but it’s all about how you use them. They’re often unhealthy because they’re over-used, as part of a bad diet, and with an irresponsible choice of mass gainer product.
Get something high in protein and make sure you use the right serving to suit your calorie, protein, and carb needs. If the rest of your diet is healthy and you’re using an appropriate amount of mass gainer powder, then mass gainer shakes will be good for you!
Is it better to gain mass than cut?
It depends on your body if you’d like to gain mass or cut – the more fat you have, the more likely you need to cut.
Most people should get to a manageable and healthy body fat percentage as a priority, and skinny guys are typically the ones that want to focus on massing earlier on.
Most beginners can use a maintenance diet with high protein to simply recomposition: gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously. This is the best of both worlds and it’s a great way to make the most of your ‘newbie gains’ while improving your total training performance.
For most people, a mild cut is a good way to stay strong and focus on high-quality habits while improving total health.
This is probably the best way to go for most people since more people are overweight (around 70%) than underweight.
Can you lean bulk with mass gainer?
Yes – you can definitely lean bulk with a mass gainer. Lean bulking is just about the amount of calorie surplus you use (it has to be lower than normal) and very high protein content. These two factors, alone, make a lean bulk work no matter what food sources you use to get these nutrients into your diet.
A mass gainer is typically not a great choice for a lean bulk in large doses.
High-calorie options like super mass gainers are a bad idea, but smaller portions of lean mass gainers and half- or even quarter-servings of a normal mass gainer could be perfect for this dietary goal.
Can you gain mass while cutting?
No, you can’t gain mass but you can gain muscle while cutting. Mass refers to your whole-body weight – everything from bone to muscle to fat to water.
Cutting – eating less than your body needs so that you can lose fat – will reduce your mass.
You can gain muscle mass while losing weight, but you won’t gain total mass. This also requires a lot of hard work and planning, with a high protein intake and smart carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral intake.
Should I bulk or cut first?
You should bulk first if you’re only interested in size and strength. You should cut first if you’re training for health or if you already have a high body fat percentage.
Most people should bulk before cutting, unless they have too much body fat, because bulking will make cutting later easier, but for many people, the added body fat and high-calorie dieting are counterproductive for health.
This means that you should bulk first if you can, or if you’re not training specifically for health. The more body fat you have, the more you should consider cutting first.
Recompositioning is perfect for beginners, where you can build muscle and lose fat on a high-protein, maintenance (or slightly below maintenance) diet. This makes you healthier, stronger, and more able to shred in the future.
Should a skinny guy bulk or cut first?
Skinny guys should bulk first, using a moderate calorie surplus to take advantage of beginner gains. You can build muscle rapidly during your first year of training and a calorie surplus of 500-800 is a great idea.
As you become more experienced, this should come down to around 500, so you can gain more muscle mass without gaining more fat.
Skinny guys are in a great place: you can see the results more clearly and typically don’t have enough body fat to worry about going over the top during a bulk.
You can rapidly improve your physique and build an aesthetic body without making significant changes or investing a huge amount of time compared to the effort of cutting and then bulking that you’d need when skinny fat or overweight.
Should I cut or bulk if I am skinny-fat?
If you’re skinny fat, you should probably bulk first, as your cutting diet will be difficult and you don’t have enough muscle mass. This means the end result of cutting first can be very challenging for a skinny fat beginner.
You should also consider recomposition: a small calorie deficit that is very high in protein to produce muscle growth.
This is far easier for beginners and those with less experience, in the first year of training, and can be a perfect foundation for deciding to bulk or cut in the future.
Whether you bulk or cut, the important thing is to accept the changes to your body that will come and be willing to go a little slower. This produces a better quality of weight gain or loss, and a better end result that doesn’t require too much compensation for a sloppy bulk or over-cut.
Mass Gainer is a good choice for bulking, but can also be used for cutting if you’re smart. The real question is about the servings or doses you’re using, and what the rest of your diet looks like.
Most people should not use mass gainer while cutting since it has a lower nutrient density and can easily take up space in your diet that should be used for other foods. When cutting, you just don’t have enough spare calories for a low-nutrient-density option.
Mass Gainer is perfect for bulking – especially if you’re not very good at eating large amounts of food or eating many meals per day.
You still need to make sure you’re focusing on protein, but you can consume more total calories and carbs – and don’t need to worry about being as efficient as you would on a cut!
Mass gainers are perfect for bulking but are very tricky to use on a cut. In both diets, they work best when you pick a high-protein mass gainer, a strong nutrient-dense diet, and when you use post-workout mass gainer shakes.
Get these right, and your bulk or cut will be great.