Mass Gainer vs Weight Gainer - 5 Main Differences to Know

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: January 15, 2024
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Mass and weight gainers serve distinct purposes, with specific macronutrient profiles for different body goals.

Through my fitness journey, I've learned that choosing between mass and weight gainers is crucial: mass gainers for lean muscle, weight gainers for more significant weight increases, each tailored to specific fitness goals and dietary needs.

So, to help you choose which best works for you, I spent hours delving into the matter and discussing it with the experts. Here’s everything I found.

Quick Summary

  • Mass gainers provide protein and fiber for muscle, while weight gainers offer more calories and carbs for weight.
  • Mass gainers support muscle strength; weight gainers help meet the calorie requirements to increase body weight.
  • About 2,800 excess calories are needed to gain one pound of lean mass.
  • Personally, I find that choosing the right supplement depends on your fitness goals. If it's lean muscle you're after, mass gainers are the way to go, but overall, weight gainers might be more beneficial.

5 Differences Between Weight Gainers and Mass Gainers

A scoop of weight gainers

The best mass gainers and weight gainers both provide more calories to help you gain weight; however, they have a huge difference in levels of their nutrient content and purpose.

Select mass or weight gainers based on your fitness goals and body type for optimal results.:

1. Nutrient Components

Mass gainers and weight gainers contain calories and macronutrients serving completely different needs.


Weight gainers provide higher amounts of calories than mass gainers that help you gain weight.

“Gaining weight happens when you consume extra calories, more than your body burns.”

- Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD, Registered Dietitian & the Owner of Dakota Dietitians


Mass gainers contain higher quantities of protein than weight gainers. It’s because the weight gainers are only used in refueling body’s carbohydrates storage for improved performance.


Weight gainers contain more carbohydrates. Extra carbs help you gain weight.


Fiber is essential to maintain healthy and active digestion and also helps in muscle power gain. Mass gainer contains more fiber than weight gainers do.

2. Weight Gain

Scooped a weight gainer from the table

If you are too thin or underweight, and your main goal is to gain weight, the weight gainer supplements are for you.

They contain more calories and carbohydrates, particularly simple carbs, resulting in weight gain and fat gain.

Hard gainers - those bodybuilding folks who find it hard to increase muscle weight no matter how much they eat may find weight gainer supplements do the trick.

On the other hand, mass gainer supplements grow lean muscle mass fiber and add extra weight without body fat.

So, it may help those who are not so skinny but want to add more weight.

3. Muscle Building

A protein supplement high in carbs may not be beneficial for individuals who want to gain muscle mass.

It is because too many carbohydrates result in gaining fat. More carbs increase our sugar level, which signals our body to store the excess sugar as fat.

So, you should go for a mass gainer for muscle building because it contains fewer carbs helping you avoid the buildup of unwanted fat [1].

It also provides you with more calories plus enough protein to bulk while strengthening your muscles.

4. Athletic Performance

A mass gainer spread out

Mass gainers offer a protein-rich, low-carb calorie boost for athletes and bodybuilders to enhance strength and muscle mass without excess fat.

It pumps the necessary energy to perform quick, explosive movements, helping them run further or jump higher.

5. Health and Safety

Mass and weight gainers are safe, providing essential macronutrients like protein, carbs, and vitamins for balanced nutrition.

A mass gainer is considered one of the safest supplements in the industry. However, you must take these supplements at the right dosage and at the right time.

If you are intolerant to certain foods, it may upset your stomach. So, better check the ingredients of the supplements before using them.

Is Mass Gainer Good for Building Muscle?

A mass gainer being scooped

Yes, mass gainers can be beneficial for building muscle when used in conjunction with an appropriate workout regimen.

They are high in calories (at least 300-1200 calories per serving), fiber, rich in proteins, and have fewer carbohydrates.

Mass gainer supplements’ primary purpose is to help increase lean mass.

Therefore, if combined with the proper workout regime, they can work as muscle gainers, helping you build up.

What Are The Benefits of Mass Gainers?

A scoop of mass gainers

Extra calories

A calorie is the amount of energy we can get from what we eat or drink. To gain more muscle weight, you need to consume more calories than your body burns.

It takes more calories to build muscle mass – around 2,500 to 2,800 excess calories are needed to get one pound of lean mass. Mass gainer saves the day by giving you the extra calories you need for lean muscle growth.

Increasing muscle mass

If you aim to grow more muscles, then mass gainers are for you because they contain vast amounts of calories and protein quantity.

Growing your muscle weight improves your metabolism, keeps you strong and in good health, and helps you recover from injury and illness.

Providing balanced nutrition

Mass gainer supplements contain the essential nutrients your body needs, such as protein, carbohydrates, fats, amino acids, and even vitamins. Maintaining balanced nutrition is essential to help our bodies function effectively and stay healthy.

Who Should Take Mass Gainers?

If you want to spare lean muscle mass during calorie restriction, mass gainers may do the job.

A bodybuilder or a fitness enthusiast can greatly benefit from a muscle gainer supplement.

Additionally, it may help them perform explosives during heavy-weight training, thus meeting their fitness goals.

For those who consume mass gainers, we recommend you read a how-to guide on proper mass gainer supplements use.

When Not to Use Mass Gainer

Mass gainers are loaded with calories to promote muscle mass increase.

So, if your activity level doesn't justify such a high caloric surplus, you might gain fat instead of muscle.

They are less suitable for those with a slow metabolism or who do not train with the intensity needed to use these extra calories effectively.

Weight Gainer: A Quick Overview

A single scoop of weight gainer

People often confuse mass gainer with weight gainer supplements. Both are mass gaining supplements but have different levels of nutrients.

Weight gainer supplement is a high-calorie supplement in the form of carbs and fats.

It has more carbohydrates, less protein, and less fiber and best helps an individual with a skinny body who struggles with weight gain.

Why Take Weight Gainers?

Scattered weight gainers

Increasing calorie intake

Hard gainers and underweight folks struggle to hit their calorie intake with their regular diet. It may be due to some factors, such as fast metabolism and genetics. So, weight gainer supplements promote weight gain by providing extra calories to increase body weight.

Speeding up recovery

A weight gainer is also known to help in muscle recovery. Muscle repair is important for muscle gain and strength. In addition, the extra calories from weight gainers help regrow damaged muscle tissue.

Helping you stay lean

A weight gainer can come with specially formulated fat to help you keep a lean physique. They have good fat content, an essential part of a well-balanced diet, so they can help you cut out saturated fats.

Who Should Take Weight Gainers?

Weight gainers mainly help underweight people or those struggling to gain more weight. Taking weight gainers with their regular meals helps meet their calorie requirements.

Weight gainers also contain high amounts of carbohydrates since fats and carbs help increase body weight.

When Not to Use Weight Gainer

While weight gainers can be useful for quickly increasing weight, they are not ideal if you're trying to maintain strict muscle definition.

If your goal is to gain weight while staying defined, it's crucial that the weight gainer you choose has a proper balance of macronutrients and not just an excess of calories that could translate into an increase in body fat.


Should I Take Mass Gainer or Weight Gainer?

It will depend on the results you desire to have. If you are skinny or a hard builder and want to gain more weight, weight gainer supplements work best for you because of their high calorie and carb content. If you want to gain a muscular body, mass gainers may work well with you because they help increase muscle weight.

Should I Take a Whey Protein Supplement or Mass Gainer?

If you want fewer calories and to lose weight, go for whey protein; however, if you want a huge amount of calories and to gain weight, go for a mass gainer.


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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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