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Champion Heavyweight Gainer 900
3.3lbs. $18.99
7 Lbs. $29.99



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Weight gain powders offer a quick, high calorie solution for hardgainers. They are high in protein and carbohydrates and very convenient. However, not all weight gain powders are the same, and being able to identify which ones are the best for good keys is a good attribute for a bodybuilder.

To determine the quality of a weight gain, a good place to start is by determining the quality of the protein itself. The quality of a protein is determined by how well your body can use it, a factor termed "biological value," BV for short. This rating is calculated by taking the total nitrogen retained from eating a protein and dividing that by the total nitrogen absorbed by eating that protein. Basically, it refers to how well and how fast your body actually gets and uses the protein. So a whey like whey isolate (BV 159) is the most readily absorbed, while a milk protein like casein (BV 77) is absorbed less readily and is said to be pf less quality. Now, sometimes it's good to eat lower BV rated proteins because you want to absorb it slowly, like before you go to bed. But generally, you want protein with a higher BV rating, because you're body is getting more of the protein you're ingesting, and more quality products use higher quality proteins. Here's a list of some common proteins with their BV:

Whey Protein Isolate 159 Whey Protein Concentrate 104 Whole Egg 100 Egg White 88 Chicken/Turkey 79 Casein 77 Soy 74

Keep this information in mind whenever you buy a gainer, because you'll be an informed customer when buying it.

Another thing to consider is how much sugar is contained in the gainer. Excess amounts of sugar have been shown to give an insulin spike, as well as increase levels of seratonin. This has been shown to give most people a feeling of drowsiness, irritability, and headaches. This doesn't affect everyone, but some people are more sensitive than others. Plus, the insulin spike sets your body to storing fat. Look at the nutrition label on the gainer, and see how much sugar it contains, listed under the carbohydrates. Somewhere in the 30-60 gram range is pretty good.

This brings up the question of what you want in the carb/protein/fat ratio. You need carbs to help protein absorption, and you know you need the protein. Fats are definitely your friends in a gainer (though not saturated fat), as they seriously up the calorie content. A general rule of thumb is twice as much protein as fat, and twice as many carbs as protein.

Don't want to spend the money on a supplement and want to try to make your own gainer? It's quite possible and effective. The easiest thing to do is get a regular protein powder, and mix in a few tablespoons of flax or canola oil and some fruit for flavor. You can also throw in some peanut butter or processed egg whites for more calories and protein. Be creative, you'll be surprised how decent some of it tastes. Here's an example recipe:

16 oz. 2% milk 2 tablespoons canola oil 3 tablespoons peanut butter 1 banana 1 serving whey protein (example Optimum Nutrition's 100% Whey)

Approx. Total: 820 calories 95 g carbs (40g sugars) 48g fat (but only 10g sat fat, plus lots of Omega 3) 53g protein

You don't even have to buy a whey powder, you could use an egg substitute for protein, but whey powders are pretty affordable and I'd recommend that.

Now to look at some specific weight gainers. I've examined some of the more popular ones for the qualities I've talked about, and given my opinion on them.

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