The best way to add weight is through the whole foods in your diet, but sometimes that’s just not possible. These three products will help you get the extra calories you need to bulk up—without wearing out your jaw muscles. Eating to gain can be a relentless task. After a while, it just gets hard to consume all those damn calories. There are a few ways to get some extra calories, and I’ll talk about three in particular. Protein shakes, meal replacements (MRP), and weight gainers provide relatively fast and convenient ways to get those extra calories, but they’re not all the same. Which one is right for you? It depends.
As the most versatile and least expensive of these three options, protein shakes are probably the most useful supplement. Compared to meal replacements and weight gainers, protein shakes are lower in calories, carbohydrates, fats, and sugars, and usually contain fewer than 150 calories per serving.
Protein shakes come in two forms. Standard protein powder comes in a tub and must be mixed with a liquid such as water, milk, or almond milk. Ready-to-drink (RTD) protein comes in a can or bottle. The RTD version is by far the most convenient. All you need to do is grab the premade mixture, shake it, open it up, and drink it down. The powdered version takes a little more effort, plus you must clean up the container you mixed and drank it in. The trade-off is that you can save some money mixing it yourself.
If you’re looking for a powder with the lowest amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and sugars, your best bet is to search for a brand that contains whey isolate. If you’re looking for the least expensive option, choose a straight whey concentrate. A blended protein powder, with whey concentrate, whey isolate, and casein protein, lands right about in the middle. This blend provides fast-, moderate-, and slow-digesting protein sources all in one product.
If you want a nighttime protein that will support overnight hypertrophy, look for a casein powder. This is the slowest-digesting form of protein available, releasing a steady stream of nutrients for about seven hours.
The nice thing about protein powder is that you can turn it into a meal replacement or a weight gainer simply by adding other ingredients to your shake. To make it more like a meal replacement, increase the carbohydrates and fats by adding oats and natural peanut butter. To make it a weight gainer, add still more ingredients such as fruits, ice cream, ground or slivered nuts, yogurt, and flax oil.
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