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MASS Gainer Shopping 101 - Its not all what they tell you.

As a young bodybuilder back in the early 90’s I would scour every mag that came out, read every article from Vince Taylors arm routine to the latest greatest new supplement, and I’d absorb every advert word for word believing it all.

A before and after pic was the gospel truth and so when a Mass Gainer came along that showed a bodybuilder growing from Joe Shmoe to Mr Universe in a matter of months…all on just this mass gainer, I bought it.

Much to my disappointment it didn’t happen for me that way :( Genetics or Training is all it could be right, it couldn’t be the protein, they had the pic to prove it? I trained harder than anyone, peuking from a leg workout was nothing unusual, burying training partner after training partner was a past time for me. Yet I still wasn’t Mr Universe.


What has this got to do with Mass Gainers?


Well a little and a lot, you see I looked through the latest Muscle & Fitness and saw more adverts for more different products than ever before, they all espouse to be the best and the only way, the cutting edge….and man have they got the athletes pics to prove it! So are they all right?

One issue here is marketing, and the strategies of the predominantly North American brands in targeting the young vulnerable guys (just like I was when I bought Ferulic Acid and proceeded to tell a National Champion bodybuilder how big it was going to make me….he was very kind in the way he let me know that I was going to be disappointed).

I have a sample bag on my work desk of the leading SELLING Mass Gainer in NZ, I say leading selling because in my opinion it is a bag a crap.


One Serve is 260g……how do you mix 260g in a 3-400ml shaker with water and not get glue?


The trick here is that by having a “convenient” 260g bag (their words on the bag) you get to have a massive 52g of Protein per serve.
And here lies the issue, Customers are buying by the serve, when really to compare products you should be buying by the 100g measure.


Imagine pulling into a petrol station and getting marketed “2000km per tank”, but of course your tank only takes 60 litres so probably will only get you 6-700km. Is it your cars “genetics” are you not driving properly?

OR was the 2000km per tank only on a petrol tanker?

Now to put on Mass/Bulk you need carbs and protein. Straight 100% WPI isn’t going to do it for you, so this Mass Gainer will get you closer to your goal than something clean.

To get massive, you do have to eat a little “dirty”, however there is a limit, ice cream has protein, but just as the WPI won’t get you massive, a Massive dump of 99% carbs equally isn’t going to get you massive, you need the right mix.


I like to use the analogy of builders on a building site. Builders are carbs providing the fuel that makes the building, and the bricks are the protein and amino acids that the muscle is made of.


If I have 10,000 bricks delivered and one builder…’s going to take a long long time, but that builder will not be sitting around wasted…..or turning to fat on you waist. Very likely he’d give up with the slow progress.

Equally if I have 2000 bricks delivered and 200 builders, then the 200 bricks will go up very fast, just like your weight when you start a super high carb mass gainer, but a lot of the builders are going to be wasted and unnecessary, so they will sit around doing nothing, just hanging around your waistline.


So we need the right ratio of builders and bricks.
And we need the right blend of Carbs and Protein.


One thing these mags got right for as long as I can remember is that to put on mass you need between 30-45% protein in your meal, now this varies from person to person, you may be 30 you may be 45. One thing your probably not is 21%….or 70% either. But remember with the high protein products….you can always add more carbs to the protein, but you can’t take carbs out of the high carb ones.


That is why I prefer BSc Mass Gainer ( Nitrovol LEAN MUSCLE 39%), having said that, if you are using a Mass Gainer that fits within this criteria you are at least well on your way…..hopefully?

Another issue with the predominantly North American brands is that nice little white box that states *These Claims have not been verified by the FDA*, some quick research discovered that the FDA does not check these products and an up to 20% variable is allowed.

If I went to a petrol station and the pump was allowed to be out by up to 20% I’m pretty sure the oil companies aren’t going to give me 20% more of the good stuff. Equally, protein is the good (expensive) stuff, carbs-fats-fillers are not.

What do you think they are going to give you up to 20% more of, and what are they going to take 20% of out?

The disappointing issue here is that I am absolutely certain that there are some exceptionally honest and amazingly high standard brands that are produced in North America, I have even tried some products and found them to be effective, but with so many brands, so much competition and the common method of competing for the consumer is to lower price, to achieve this requires cutting manufacturing cost by taking out the good expensive stuff.


So your Mass Gainer that claims to be 52g Protein per serve – which makes up like glue so you can’t drink/eat it anyway, and you can’t consume another meal for 3 or more hours which is critical for putting on mass, frequent eating – may actually only be 41.6g protein per serve (16.9%), and not 18g of fat per serve but 21.6g (8.4%), and a whopping 211.2g carbs per serve (85.8%).

And that 260g serve in a 5lb bag…is 8.7 SERVES per bag, which is 361.9g Protein in total. Basically like paying $70 for just under 1.5kg steak! (obviously it has the potato and gravy with it too)

Now comparatively LEAN MUSCLE is manufactured in Australia are required by TGA law to meet the standard printed on their Nutritional Information panel.

As a consumer this means you are a) getting exactly what you pay for and b) with  (LEAN MUSCLE is 21g per 60g serve) you will actually be able to consume the product as a drink, and eat again in 60mins to put on actual mass!

As a good rule of thumb, if you are buying a New Zealand or Australian brand, due to local labelling laws you should feel very confident that you are getting what you pay for….the marketing may not always be a exciting as the North American blends, but are you paying for the poster or the protein?

Let me give you the full stats on LEAN MUSCLE and top selling brand on my desk.

SERVES- Sample 8.7

Lean Muscle 25 (+ 287% more than sample)

PROTEIN: Sample 21.1%
Lean Muscle 38.9% (84.3% more than sample)

FAT: Sample 7.3%
Lean Muscle 1.8% (75.3% less than sample)

PRICE: SAMPLE $67 on special –                      $7.70 per serve
Lean Muscle $95 (41.7% Over sample)-           $3.80 per serve.

Now some of you may be saying, “Yeah Mike, I know what brand you mean, but we all just halve the serve so we can drink it, and it the bag lasts twice as long”. Great, the percentages remain the same, still 21.1% protein and 7.3% fat at $3.85 per serve.

Less Protein and more fat for more $??????   No thanks.


This is not an article about selling BSc, this is planned to educate the consumer on what they are basing their buying decisions on.

ps Lean Muscle also includes 3g Creatine; 4.4g Glutamine & BCAA's, so that will save you some money too, or give you more gainz. 



Mike Kingsnorth
3x National Bodybuilding Champion
Pan Pacific Bodybuilding Champion
Australasian Bodybuilding Champion
Overall Mr New Zealand
IFBB Pro Bodybuilder

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