What do you really need, proteins or weight-gaining supplements?

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A question usually pops up before shopping: What do you really need, proteins or weight-gaining supplements? You’ll find the answer here – whatever your goals are!

Choose your goal: shredding or bulking?

There is one more important thing before deciding what to take as a supplement: Find your goal!

What do we mean by that? Well, you need to get crystal clear about you aim to achieve primarily – building muscles or cutting fat? It is really hard to do both at the same time – actually it is on the verge of impossible. (There are some exceptions for this rule of thumb if you are a newbie, or you are very experienced, or you are off the natural athletes’ methods.)

Proteins or weight-gaining supplements?

If you have made up your mind about your main goal (you can find some help here), it’ll be much easier for you to know which product group you should choose from.

Protein, or weight-gaining supplement – what’s the difference?

To keep it short and simple: powdered proteins have little or no extra carbohydrates added. On the other hand weight-gaining supplements contain quite a nice amount of carbohydrates besides proteins, often in the form of sugars. The actual quantities vary, and this is the parameter you need to consider when you know you need weight-gaining supplements. You can find more on this here!

So when to drink a protein shake, and when to take a weight-gaining mixture?

When to choose a weight-gaining product?

The name says it all: you need weight-gaining products if you focus on gaining muscles, these represent a simple solution for covering extra macronutrient demands.

If you take weight-gaining supplements you don’t need to think about what to put into the shaker – you just take the right dose (all right, you need to know one thing: what that right dose is), mix it with water, then drink it. Mission accomplished.

During a diet you can only take a very limited amount of some of these products, and here are the preconditions for that: only if your nutrient intake is tuned precisely, and you are really sure about not screwing up your diet with a post-workout weight-gaining drink. We have a tip even for this case – we’ll tell it later.

Go through this list, and if your answer is YES for at least three statements, then you don’t need to keep reading; choose a weight-gaining product that is appropriate for your body type!

  • My primary goal is to increase my muscle mass.
  • I’d like to make my protein and carbohydrate intake as simple as possible.
  • I like it when one product has everything in it, and I don’t need to mix all types of wonder potions to get results.
  • I know that a weight-gaining supplement is a supplement only, it would not replace proper food.

You had three or four positive answers? Then click here to get some help in choosing a weight-gaining supplement for you!

When to choose a weight-gaining product?

When to choose a protein shake?

Well, its not that simple. If you are on a diet, it is not difficult either: you definitely need protein powders to complement your extra nutrient intake. Your extra nutrient demand means that you only need some extra protein, so you don’t need to expose your system to extra carbohydrates. That would surely affect your diet. So diet = protein shake, and that’s all.

But what about the bulking? We have outlined one of the options above, and that’s the simpler one. But if you like to be in charge of the nutrient content in every aspect (so not just the food, but the supplements too) then you should purchase protein powders for bulking too, and then you add the necessary extra carbohydrates from other ready-made products.

Buying weight-gaining supplements is definitely the easier way. Using the protein+carbohydrates method might have two advantages over weight-gaining supplements:

  • they are cheaper in certain cases, OR (please note that it is not an AND)
  • they represent a more professional, more customized solution, but then they will not cost less than weight-gaining stuff!

Let’s see an example. You know that you don’t put on weight easily. You know that even extra amounts of carbohydrates would not make you chubby. So instead of looking for weight-gaining supplements, you just mix 0.5 g/kg bodyweight of proteins, and 0.8–1 g/kg bodyweight of carbohydrates. You might add some extra BCAA, creatine, glutamine, or some other stuff you feel necessary. This mix will precisely cover your personal demands.

Building shredded muscle? Mix the right protein–carbohydrate ratio into your shake!

When taken with added extras, and the source of carbohydrates is chosen from amongst the better quality products, the overall cost will not stay lower than a weight-gaining product, but you’ll have a more effective solution than generalized product. If you buy low-cost whey powder and some basic dextrose, you’ll get a simple and cheap solution, but it is definitely not a professional mix. On the other hand after the workout you’ll get everything that is essential for your development.

In case your answer is a YES to the statements below (with the exception of a dieting period, because then you definitely need protein), then you don’t need to look for solutions anymore: your choice should be protein shakes as supplements!

  • I know exactly what amount of proteins and carbohydrate is needed daily for my body.
  • I know exactly what amount of proteins and carbohydrates I need after each workout.
  • I like to mix my supplements myself to achieve a solution that is tailor-made for me.


  • I’m looking for the solution with the lowest cost, even if it lacks the quality of the other ways.

In case you agreed with the first four statements above, or you commented YES for the last one, then you should forget about weight-gaining supplements, and queue up for protein!

It is as simple as that. When you have your goals set, and you measured up the effort you are ready to invest into compiling a supplement stash, deciding whether you need protein powders or rather weight-gaining products is a piece of cake!

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