Whey Protein Powder vs Mass Gainer: Which is Better For Muscle Growth?

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Written By Samarjit Sinha

Working out for 10 years | Has a home gym | CPD (UK) Certificate holder in Fitness

Protein Powder vs Mass Gainer: Which is Better For Muscle Growth?

What are the benefits of using protein powder?

1. Protein powder supplements are a convenient way to increase your daily protein intake.

Protein powder supplements can be a great way to increase your daily protein intake. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make sure you are getting the right amount of protein for your needs:

  1. Determine how much protein you need per day for your goals. A high-protein diet, one that provides 30% of daily calories, has been shown to be effective in promoting weight loss.
  2. If your current diet does not provide the recommended amount of protein, supplement using whey protein. A commonly recommended dose of whey protein is 1-2 scoops daily (25-50 grams) usually after a workout.
  3. Make sure to consume the right amount of protein. Too much can cause digestive symptoms such as nausea, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Additionally, too much protein can be dangerous and can lead to kidney failure and heart problems.
  4. Consider using a whey protein supplement that is free of additives and caking agents.
  5. Pay attention to any adverse reactions to the protein supplement and make sure to discontinue use if you experience any symptoms. People with a whey allergy should not take whey protein.

Following these steps can help you use protein powder supplements safely and effectively to increase your daily protein intake.

2. Protein powders can help boost muscle growth and recovery after workouts.

Protein powders are essential for anyone looking to build muscle, increase strength and recovery after workouts.

Sore Today, Strong Tomorrow

Whey Protein Powder vs Mass Gainer

By providing high-quality proteins, BCAAs, and other micronutrients, protein powders can help boost muscle growth and optimize recovery.

Consuming whey-based proteins after workouts helps muscles quickly absorb the essential nutrients needed to rebuild muscle tissue and support lean muscle mass.

For that reason, I usually take a scoop of whey after a workout.

But many researchers would say that the timing does not matter. Total protein intake is what counts the most.

Consuming whey protein between meals, after workouts, and during non-training days can help maintain a positive nitrogen balance in the body, which is essential for muscle growth. Therefore, protein powders can be an effective way to increase muscle growth and recovery after workouts.

3. Protein supplements are available in a variety of flavors, making them more appetizing than other sources of protein.

The types of flavors available for protein supplements vary widely. Common flavors include chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and more.

Chocolate is a popular flavor since it has a sweet, mellow flavor and can be easily mixed into shakes or smoothies.

Vanilla is a classic flavor, with a mild and pleasant flavor and aroma. Strawberry is another favorite, with a slightly tart and sweet taste. Other flavors such as fruits, nuts, and spices can also be found in protein supplements, such as blueberry, banana, peanut butter, cinnamon, and more.

I always try to get unflavored whey proteins. They taste like milk and often have more protein per scoop as well.

Unflavoured whey proteins are often the cheapest ones too.

Some supplements also offer natural flavors, or plant-based flavors, like pea protein and hemp protein.

4. Protein powders are often cheaper

With mass gainers, your serving size is huge. But protein powders generally have one-scoop serving sizes.

Meaning a tub of protein will last way longer days than a mass gainer.

For budget home gym users whey protein makes more sense.

Protein powders such as whey protein are often cheaper than other protein sources such as meat and eggs.

This is because protein powders are more concentrated so you need less of it compared to other sources like meat and eggs.

Often you will need to eat three whole eggs to match a protein content of only one scoop.

PS: You will need to cook the eggs too.

Furthermore, whey protein is a more efficient form of protein because it is quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, providing your body with the essential nutrients it needs.

This makes it a more cost-effective solution than other protein sources such as eggs or meat.

5. Protein powders can be used in smoothies, shakes, and other recipes for variety.

Yes, protein powders can be used in recipes other than shakes and smoothies.

While mass gainers can also be used in smoothies but you do not have much choice in there.

With protein powders, you are free to choose the amount of oats, sugar, honey, and fruits you want to put in.

Protein powders are also much more versatile and can be used as an ingredient in a variety of recipes.

For example, protein powders can be used to make pancakes, muffins, protein bars, and other baked goods.

Protein powders can also be used to create savory dishes, like protein-enriched pasta dishes, or added to sauces or soups.

Protein powders are also a great way to add a protein boost to smoothies and shakes, making them a great choice for active individuals who need extra protein to help their muscles recover after a workout.

6. Protein powders can help provide some calories and aid in weight gain.

Protein powders can provide calories and aid in weight gain by providing an easy-to-digest liquid form of calories.

Since you have the liberty to make any kind of dishes or smoothies you can eat a lot of calories as well.

7. Protein powders can be used in conjunction with other sports supplements such as creatine and BCAAs.

Yes, protein powders can be used in conjunction with other sports supplements such as creatine and BCAAs. Protein powders provide essential amino acids and can help to build lean muscle mass and improve overall health.

Creatine and BCAAs can be taken with protein powders to further support lean muscle growth. Creatine is a molecule that helps to increase energy levels, while BCAAs are essential amino acids that help to build and repair muscle.

Both creatine and BCAAs can be useful in combination with protein powder to help athletes reach their goals.

By the way you can also add creatine or BCAA with mass gainers as well.

8. Protein powders can be incorporated into meal plans to help supplement other protein sources.

  1. Determine how much protein you need per day for your goals. A high-protein diet, one that provides 30% of daily calories, has been shown to be effective at promoting weight loss.
  2. Incorporate whole-food protein sources into your meals. This should provide most of your daily protein needs. Good sources of protein include meat, poultry, eggs, dairy and plant-based options like legumes, nuts, and seeds.
  3. Add a protein shake or two to supplement the protein you would normally get from whole food sources. A commonly recommended dose of whey protein is 1-2 scoops daily (25-50 grams), usually after a workout.
  4. Drink plenty of water to help with digestion if necessary. Consuming too much whey protein may cause digestive symptoms including nausea, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  5. Be mindful of your protein intake. If you already eat a lot of protein, adding whey protein in addition to your current intake may be unnecessary. People with a whey allergy should not take whey protein.

Best whey protein for beginners!

A typical mass gainer scoop

What are the benefits of using mass gainer?

1. Mass gainer contains high amounts of nutrients and calories which are essential for muscle growth.

A mass gainer is a supplement that contains protein, carbohydrates, and fat in varying amounts to help individuals gain muscle mass and weight. Typically, mass gainers contain a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, meaning each serving of mass gainer provides 90 grams of carbohydrates and 30 grams of protein.

Mass gainers may contain other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and sugar for added calories. The carbohydrates in mass gainers are typically derived from sources like maltodextrin, which is a complex carbohydrate that helps to increase calories and provide energy for workouts.

I am in general against mass gainers since they pack a lot of things by their nature.

I feel you should just get a good protein source and mix it up with the ingredients that you have.

The best mass gainers also combine high and low-glycemic carbohydrates for post-workout glycogen replenishment.

This combination of carbohydrates and proteins helps individuals gain the weight they need, while also providing the essential nutrients necessary for muscle growth.

2. Mass gainer can be used as a meal replacement to ensure adequate calorie and nutrient intake.

Mass gainer can be used as a meal replacement by following these steps:

  1. Calculate your daily calorie requirements. A mass gainer can be used as a meal replacement if you need extra calories to meet your daily needs.
  2. Choose a mass gainer that contains high-quality carbohydrates and protein in a 3:1 ratio. Look for a product that contains natural ingredients and no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
  3. Read the label and make sure that the product contains your daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals.
  4. Make sure to drink plenty of water when using a mass gainer as a meal replacement.
  5. Replace one meal a day with a mass gainer shake. If you are looking to gain muscle mass, you can replace two meals a day with the shake.
  6. Monitor your progress and adjust your calorie intake accordingly.

Ideally consume a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in addition to the mass gainer shake.

homemade mass gainer smoothie shake

3. Some Mass gainer contains different protein sources which can support different types of muscle growth.

Mass gainers typically contain a combination of high-quality proteins and complex carbohydrates.

The proteins are typically derived from sources such as whey, casein, egg whites, and plant proteins.

Whey is the most popular source of protein in mass gainers as it is high in essential amino acids and rapidly absorbed by the body.

Casein is a slow-digesting protein, making it great for maintaining a steady supply of amino acids in the blood.

Egg whites are a great source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids, and are low in fat and carbohydrates.

Plant proteins such as peas, rice, hemp, and quinoa are vegan-friendly and provide a good source of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. plant proteins taste very bad so the mass gainers will taste bad too.

I would suggest you stick with whey protein-based mass gainers so you get the benefit and the good taste.

4. Mass gainer can help recovery after workouts.

Mass gainers can help prevent muscle catabolism and support recovery after workouts by providing the body with the high amount of calories, protein, and carbohydrates it needs for energy and muscle rebuilding.

The high levels of carbohydrates in mass gainers, such as maltodextrin, can help increase calorie intake and provide an energy boost for tough workouts.

By providing the body with extra fuel, it can help to prevent muscle breakdown, as well as facilitate recovery and repair of muscle tissue after workouts.

One research from 2017 has shown that mass gainers combined with exercise can help with muscle protein synthesis. You will feel less sore as well.

However, as per a 2018 study, it is confirmed that you should rather focus on hitting your daily protein intake goals and that should take care of everything.

5. Mass gainers can help to increase weight quickly

Mass gainers can help to increase weight and muscle mass in a short period of time by providing extra calories and carbs.

The high-quality ingredients in a mass gainer, such as maltodextrin, provide extra fuel and energy needed for intense training sessions.

This can help hard gainers improve their performance in the gym and build muscle faster.

Consuming a mass gainer before or after a workout can help to replenish glycogens and rebuild muscle.

By combining a mass gainer with a sensible diet and intense training program, people can expect to gain significant muscle mass and weight in a short period of time.

bodybuilding supplements

6. Mass gainer can be used with other food and supplements to create a personalized plan for muscle growth.

Since mass gainers are a mix of protein and carbs they do not react with other food or supplements.

Here is what you should do maximise your protein and carb intake:

Step 1: Determine your caloric needs. To do this, calculate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This determines how many calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight.

Step 2: Add 500 calories to your TDEE. This should be the amount of calories you need to consume each day to gain weight.

Step 3: Choose a mass gainer that meets your nutritional needs. Look for a product with an appropriate amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Step 4: Divide your daily caloric intake into meals. Make sure to include a mass gainer shake in one to two of your meals.

Step 5: Incorporate other foods and supplements into your plan. For example, you can add whey protein to your morning shake or consume other sources of protein, such as eggs and lean meats, throughout the day. You can also add healthy fats, such as nut butters, and complex carbohydrates, such as oatmeal, to your shakes.

Step 6: Monitor your progress. Keep track of your weight and body composition to make sure you are achieving your goals.

By following these steps, you can create a personalized plan that combines a mass gainer with other foods and supplements to support your muscle growth.

7. Mass gainers generally do not have any side effects

  1. Read the ingredients list on your mass gainer supplement to confirm it is free from any harmful additives. Look for a product that contains digestive enzymes for better absorption of nutrients.
  2. Log your progress and make sure you take time to rest. Proper rest is essential for muscle repair.
  3. Don’t go overboard with your intake. Consume mass gainers in moderation, depending on your calorie needs.
  4. Make sure to have a balanced diet along with your mass gainer supplement. Eating a variety of proteins, healthy fats, complex carbs, and fiber is important for muscle building.
  5. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and muscle cramps.
  6. Incorporate resistance training into your routine. This will help build muscle mass and strength.
  7. Consider also adding cardio exercises to your routine. This will help with fat burning and will also improve overall fitness.
  8. Get adequate sleep. Sleep is important for recovery and muscle growth.

But many cheap mass gainers have lots of simple calories like sugar – and that is not helpful for your health at all.

Best protein with no side effects for home gym users

Myprotein 25 gram scoop

How to choose between protein powder and a mass gainer?

Nutritional value

Protein powder and mass gainer are nutritional supplements that can help people to gain weight and provide essential vitamins and minerals to their diets. Both products offer various nutritional values, but there are differences in terms of their protein-to-carbohydrate ratio and ingredients.

Protein powder typically has a higher protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, with 1-to-2 or 1-to-3 ratios being common. Protein powder also contains only protein, with different types such as whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, and egg whites.

Mass gainer, on the other hand, has a 1-to-5 protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, and contains additional ingredients such as creatine, glutamine, and glutamic acid. It also contains 25 vitamins and essential minerals.

Overall, protein powder may be best for those looking for more protein and fewer calories, while mass gainer may be a better choice for those looking for a wider range of vitamins and minerals.

Calorie intake

Calorie intake is a major factor when deciding between a protein powder and mass gainer.

Protein powder is typically lower in calories, containing around 120 calories per serving, while mass gainers can range from 500-1,000 calories per serving.

Protein powder is usually used as a supplement to increase dietary protein intake, which is important for muscle growth.

A mass gainer is specifically designed to help you add significant amounts of calories to your diet, so if you need to gain weight if you are skinny then a weight gainer might help you.

Macronutrient content

The macronutrient content of protein powder and mass gainer affects the choice between them.

Protein powder typically contains fewer calories and more protein per serving than a mass gainer.

A mass gainer has a higher calorie count, with 50g of protein, 100g of carbs, and 5-10g of fat per serving. Protein powder usually has 20-26g of protein, 2-5g of carbs, and 2-4 g of fat per serving.

The scoop is pretty large too.

Mass gainers can also have added vitamins and creatine.

Protein powder contains only protein and all related amino acids nothing else.

Carbohydrate content

Protein powder and mass gainers have different carbohydrate content. Whey protein mainly contains protein with little fats and carbohydrates.

On the other hand, mass gainers have high amount of carbs which might help you if you want to increase your daily calorie intake.

Protein content

When choosing a whey protein supplement, it is important to compare the protein content with its other features.

Whey protein concentrate contains up to 70-80% protein, with a relatively small amount of carbohydrates and fat, and can contain up to 50% lactose.

In comparison, whey protein isolate offers 85-90% pure protein, with less than 1% lactose, and is a great option for those who are lactose intolerant.

Mass gainers generally don’t tell you what type of protein they are using. so it is safe to assume that they are using whey concentrate.

Fat content

Neither protein nor mass gainer has a fat content. But mass gainer is really high in calories so there is a chance of gaining fat with the consumption of mass gainers.

And a little fat does not hurt.

Serving size

The serving size for protein powder is typically around 120 calories, while the serving size for mass gainers can range from 300 to over 1000 calories.

Since mass gainers have more than one scoop of serving size thus you will empty the jar before the month ends.

So you will be spending more money on simple carbs and a low protein source.

Post-workout recovery

While it is a popular belief that eating whey protein after a workout might help with recovery. But in truth, most studies like this study done on 2020 confirms that eating protein right after a workout does not have any significant benefits.

So you should try to get a dose of high-quality protein throughout the day.

But this does not mean that you should not drink mass gainer or whey proteins after a workout.

If possible you can replenish yourself with protein or mass gainer shakes after workout.

I would suggest you go with whey protein only.

Muscle repair

Muscle repair is the process of rebuilding muscle fibers after they have been broken down by exercise. It is an essential part of building muscle size and strength.

Protein powder contains higher levels of individual amino acids, which are essential for muscle repair and growth, whereas mass gainer contains a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, which may not be as efficient for muscle repair.

Protein powder is usually more affordable, making it an attractive option for those looking to build muscle on a budget.

Endurance

Endurance is a measure of physical or mental stamina, and it is essential for athletes and sportspersons to maintain their performance levels.

Research done in the year 2021 confirms that having more protein gave an extra 26.4% boost in oxygen use.

Since protein is the main ingredient to boost your performance and endurance I would suggest you get good quality whey proteins for athletic performance.

Taste and flavor

Protein powder often comes in a variety of flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, berry, and more, and can also be flavored with a variety of natural and organic ingredients.

Mass gainers also come in many flavours but they are high in sugar.

Otherwise, both taste similar.

ON Mas gainer ingrediant

Quality of Ingredients

Protein sources such as whey, casein, egg, beef protein isolate, and milk protein isolate are commonly used in mass gainers and should be assessed for quality.

In general whey isolates is often the best quality. If you have the budget they go for those or whey concentrate is just fine.

Mass gainers are always known for shady ingredients so if you are cautious about that then you can avoid them completely.

Price

Mass gainers tub gets empty very quickly since their serving size is very high.

Their price on the label seems lower than whey.

But in the long run, whey gives you high-quality protein at low prices.

Let’s compare ON mass gainer and ON whey gold.

You get 50 grams of protein per 2 servings of ON mass gainer. Each ON mass gainer serving is a massive 334 grams.

And for ON whey protein, you get 24 grams of best quality protein from a 30.4-gram scoop.

So the 3000 grams of mass gainer pack will be consumed in under 10 days.

And the 907 grams of whey protein pack will be consumed in under 29 days. Even if you take 2 scoops a day, you will empty the pack under 14 days. Still longer than the mass gainer.

Way better than eating packaged carbs.

Side effects

Whey protein can cause digestive problems such as bloating, nausea, cramps, and diarrhea.

Mass gainer, on the other hand, can lead to increased fat intake and bloating, as well as potential increases in cholesterol and risk of heart disease.

Both of these supplements should be taken in moderation and in line with a healthy diet in order to avoid the potential side effects.

Availability

Both mass gainers and whey proteins are always available.

And you can try both.

FAQs

What is the recommended intake of protein supplements for muscle growth?

The recommended intake of protein supplements for muscle growth is 1.5-2.2g per kg of body weight per day for active individuals. For an average active man, this means 105-154g of protein per day, while an average active woman requires 86-127g of protein per day.

However, people should only consume about 20-30g of protein each meal, (as per a 2018 study published in the National Library of Medicine) which is equivalent to 60-90g of protein daily.

Taking a whey protein supplement is a good option to reach the recommended protein intake levels; for example, MusclePharm Combat or Dymatize ISO100 shakes provide 25g of protein per serving.

Active men may require two protein shakes a day to meet their daily protein needs.

How do mass gainers compare to whey protein for muscle growth?

Whey ProteinMass Gainer
CompositionContains mostly protein or 100% protein.Contains a mix of protein, carbs, and fat
PurposeSupports muscle growth and repairAids in gaining weight and muscle mass
Calorie ContentGenerally much lower in caloriesHigher in calories
Macronutrient RatioHigher protein, lower carbsHigher carbs, moderate protein
Fat ContentAlmost 0 for isolates and low for concentrated protein.May contain a higher amount of fat but some have low fat too.
Recommended UsageSuitable for individuals looking to increase protein intake for lean mass building without adding excessive caloriesSuitable for individuals looking to gain weight and muscle mass
TimingCan be consumed any time of the dayTypically consumed as a post-workout or meal replacement
VersatilityCan be easily added to various recipes and beveragesMainly consumed as a shake or beverage
AvailabilityWide range of options availableWide range of options available
Popular BrandsOptimum Nutrition, Dymatize, MuscleTechMuscleblaze, Optimum Nutrition, MuscleTech

What are the main ingredients of mass gainers and whey protein?

Mass gainers generally have carbs, protein, and added vitamins and minerals.

What is the carb content of mass gainers and whey protein?

Mass gainers are huge on carbs, ON mass gainer has a daily serving size of 340 grams and out of that 340 grams, 252 grams are carbs.

And most probably oats.

Now ON whey gold standard has 3-gram carbs out of 30.4 grams of scoop size.

Even if you scale that 30.4 grams scoop to 10 times to make it 304 grams, the carb content is still only 30 grams.

A lot lower than the massive 252 grams of carbs.

Muscleblaze XXX mass gainer ingrediants

Are mass gainers and whey protein good sources of essential nutrients?

Mass gainers and whey protein are both good sources of essential nutrients for those looking to build muscle and strength.

Mass gainers provide carbohydrates as well as proteins, making them a convenient way to get the extra protein, carbs and calories needed to put on muscle mass. Whey protein, on the other hand, is a great source of pure protein and helps to hit daily protein and macros, aiding in muscle development and optimizing body composition.

However, the high carbohydrates present in most mass gainers can cause insulin to spike, which can lead to unwanted fat accumulation.

Ultimately, for those who are looking to build muscle and strength, whey protein is the better choice over mass gainers.

So, what’s best for a home gym user?

If you are unable to eat real food to increase your calorie intake then use mass gainers.

Otherwise, whey protein is the best value-for-money source of protein for any home gym user.


About The Skinny Author

Author HomeGymindia.in

Working Out for 10 years | Owns a home gym |Certificate course done on Improving Aerobic Fitness, Diet | CPD (UK) Accredited Certification on Fitness

Yo Friends, this is Samarjit! A skinny guy who is building his tiny home gym.

I have successfully gained 10 kgs in 10 months going to commercial gyms. And I have been working out on and off for about 10+ years now.

I have gone swimming, done martial arts, Olympic lifts and body-building-type workouts!

I canceled the gym subscription as I was more into making my home gym for workouts. And getting ready, then getting my cycle and ride to the commercial gym seemed a drag after 10 hours in the office.

Thus, I needed a home that I could access at any moment!
And I started building my home gym!

I had to research a lot to build my home gym and decided to share effective, budget-friendly home gym machines, and nutrition to buy as per your goals here in homegymindia.in

If you have question then contact me here

Ps: The author is highly experienced with making small workout routines, understanding and guiding people to get gym equipment, and setting up the home gym as per their Fitness goals.

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