To gain weight, you need to consume more calories than your body needs for normal functioning. However, how much extra you have to eat can vary between people
Weight gainers are a broad group of high-calorie supplements that are marketed to those who have trouble gaining weight.
Similar to protein supplements, there is nothing magical about these supplements. They simply are a convenient way for some people to get more calories.
Typically, weight gainers are shakes very high in carbohydrates and high in protein.
For example, one popular supplement contains 1,250 calories, 252 grams of carbohydrates, and 50 grams of protein per serving.
While adding weight gainers to your diet can certainly increase the number of calories you are eating, some people find the taste and consistency of these products unpleasant.
Though these supplements can be convenient when you’re on the go, another option is simply to eat more real food, which would also provide other beneficial nutrients.
Very few, if any, supplements lead to substantial weight and muscle gain without exercise.
However, several supplements exist that may help you exercise harder, which could lead to more muscle gain over time.
Caffeine is consumed widely around the world. Active people often take it before exercise to improve exercise performance.
Research has shown that caffeine is indeed effective at enhancing exercise performance.
For example, it can improve power output, the body’s ability to produce force quickly, which is important for activities such as weight training, sprinting and cycling (18).
Over time, exercising harder due to caffeine consumption could lead to better muscle gain. However, this would only occur if adequate calories and protein are consumed.
Citrulline is an amino acid that is produced in your body and found in foods
One of its functions is to increase blood flow to your body’s tissues
Several studies have found that the amount of exercise performed in a single session may be increased when taking this supplement
Long-term research is limited, but this supplement could help with muscle gain over time if it allows you to perform more overall work during exercise.
Beta-alanine is another amino acid produced naturally in your body. Among other functions, it can help your muscles fight fatigue during exercise (25).
Taken as a supplement, beta-alanine may help improve performance during intense exercise that is carried out in one- to four-minute bouts .
Although more research is needed, there is evidence that beta-alanine can enhance muscle gain while you exercise.
Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a molecule produced when the amino acid leucine is broken down in your body
This molecule may help with recovery after intense exercise and reduce the breakdown of muscle proteins.
While mixed results have been reported, HMB supplements may improve muscle recovery and muscle gain, especially in those without previous training experience .
However, the studies showing the greatest benefits of HMB supplements have recently been questioned, and more information is needed to clarify their true effects