Do you need specific weight gain supplements to help with your fitness regime? Are you an ectomorph wondering what your options are and what you should be looking for?
Here be our definitive guide on what you should look for in mass gainers and weight gain supplements.
Do I need to train and eat based on my body type?
There is still scepticism regarding the categorisation of somatotypes (body types). Although not proven without a doubt to be scientific fact, there is much research to support the fact that different body types respond uniquely to specific diets and exercise. And in a world with so much conflicting information, it is great to have a starting point. Try working on elements suited to your body type, and if you are not seeing results after a few months, then change it up – simple as that.
Whether the tale about somatotypes is accurate or not, there is no denying that some metabolisms burn calories at a crazy rate, making it nigh on impossible to gain weight. And for that reason, we are looking at weight gain supplements that might help out our hard gainer friends.
Although the positive factors (such as putting on less fat while you grow) are high, the negatives such as how much food you will need to consume can be tiring. We all know how it feels when you’ve eaten a more substantial meal than necessary. The classic symptoms are:
- Feeling lethargic
- Stomach Ache
- Shouting at yourself in the mirror “Why?! Why did I eat all that cake?!”
Working out and continually being overly full is not a great combo. And filling up on pizza, takeaway, ice cream, chocolate and other calorie-dense foods seven days a week in an attempt to meet your caloric intake will undoubtedly lead to other health problems down the line.
Which supplements I should consider?
So this is where weight gain supplements come in to play. The idea is that they are calorie dense, and formulated to give you the extra boost you need – without filling up (or excluding) other macro and micronutrients that would otherwise be detrimental to your fitness goals.
Ectomorph weight gain supplements will typically come in the form of shakes. But what goes typically into these supplements? And what should you be looking for in particular?
Firstly, something that tastes good! If it doesn’t taste fantastic, you’re going to struggle to drink it. And this whole fitness thing is about enjoyment – not torture. Unfortunately, we’re not you. Or are we? Mwhahahahaha! No seriously, we’re not you – nor are we psychic, for that matter – so we could only try guessing what you like.
Instead, we suggest trying the most popular flavours/makes. One would assume the products with excellent reviews to be tastier. Therefore you are more likely to enjoy them – in theory. Lots of companies also have sample size packs you can try, so you can make sure you grab a few kilos of a flavour you’ll love.
At Fitness Savvy, we tend to try a variety of supplements before settling on one that tastes great and is good value. We are also not in the business of recommending or promoting any particular brand; we like to provide a choice of options on our price comparison page which you can use to help you save money while choosing precisely what you want.
Secondly, you want a high-calorie supplement – something with 500+ calories, ideally if you are serious about bulking. Some contain over 1,000 calories, and others are less than 500kcal per serving. However, even the most petite hard-gainer would struggle to make much progress on the lower calorie varieties, unless they are only just falling short of their daily calories.
Then there is the protein content – this should be a given. But considering you will be seeking to consume a higher volume of calories than your non-ectomorph friends, protein content will likely form a lower proportion of your macros, with dietary fats being slightly more elevated.
Therefore there is little need for protein to overload the supplement. For this reason, anything over 30 grams per portion against 500 calories of product should be adequate.
In terms of fat, studies have shown that fat oxidisation (a process of breaking down fat into smaller parts which can be used as energy) increases during exercise, including resistance training, but that it reduces at higher intensities and with a higher fat diet.[note]Achten J, Jeukendrup AE: Optimizing fat oxidation through exercise and diet: 2004[/note]. So a higher level of healthy fats should be your priority to ensure the health benefits from fat (such as testosterone regulation) are not diluted. Additionally, fat contains around nine calories per gram compared to 4 grams or so from carbohydrates and protein. So the calorie density of fat combined with the evidence mentioned above makes dietary fat even more essential for you.
You will see other added ingredients to weight gain supplements such as leucine and glutamine peptides. Leucine is a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA), and glutamine peptides are glutamine molecules bonded with other amino acids (which means they are absorbed faster). Studies have shown that glutamine levels deplete significantly during intense exercise and can take several days to return to normal.
Low glutamine levels have shown to decrease strength, stamina and recovery. Glutamine also plays a vital role in protein synthesis by improving protein metabolism and minimising protein breakdown – all of which are important when looking to maximise your muscle gains.
Do I need glutamine and leucine in my weight gain supplement?
It depends: If you are taking supplements that already have these ingredients in, then no. BCAA powders (which some choose to take during workouts) contain leucine and may also have glutamine, too, so there is no benefit of looking for a weight gainer that contains them as well – especially if you are paying extra for the privilege. You may also want to watch how much leucine you are consuming, as too much can have negative health benefits, as covered in our BCAA article.
What does Fitness Savvy recommend?
We recommend assessing your needs and choosing supplements that suit you. At Fitness Savvy, we don’t force-feed you (excuse the pun) supplements from companies who pay us a huge commission.
We are not biased towards any particular brand or type of supplement. We simply bring together products from a variety of retailers and allow you to compare prices and pick up something that works for you, at the right price. Check below to see some products, their reviews and prices.
You’ve been reading Ectomorph Weight Gain Supplements – Do I Need Them? – part of fitness education at Fitness Savvy. Be sure to check out more articles and subscribe to Fitness Savvy, so you don’t miss the latest fitness news and updates.