The amount of information you need to have to familiarize yourself with mass and muscle development can be daunting.
Unfortunately, no supplement will magically make you like the Hulk overnight: the way to go requires dedication, lots of training and proper nutrition.
Each needs a personalized approach, however there are some basic rules to keep in mind at the beginning of your journey, as well as scientifically proven supplements that can support your progress (when used in conjunction with a balanced diet).
Where to start?
The first point to consider - before going into the merits of the supplements and the exercises to be done - is that to put on mass, whatever it is, you must make sure you reach a caloric surplus.
This involves eating more calories than you burn. So if you take in 2500 calories in a day, but burn 2000, you have created a "surplus" of 500 calories.
It will be a revelation for you, but that doesn't mean you're free to binge on junk food while expecting to get biceps like The Rock's. The calories in question must come from proteins, carbohydrates and unsaturated fats, while you should minimize industrially processed foods, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats, in order to avoid storing a surplus of fat.
To make sure you reach a caloric surplus, you first need to calculate the amount of calories your body needs based on two factors: your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and your daily energy consumption (TDEE). In this way you will be aware of the threshold to be crossed in order to obtain the surplus.
How are BMR and TDEE calculated?
The BMR or basal metabolism corresponds to the amount of energy burned by the body in conditions of pure rest for 24 hours (in practice, the energy needed for breathing, heartbeat, etc.)
This is the minimum amount of energy used by the body to keep vital functions active, excluding the calories used for movement or physical activity.
To calculate the BMR, use the following formulas1.
Women: 10 x weight (kg) + 6,25 x height (cm) - 5 x age (years) - 161
Men: 10 x weight (kg) + 6,25 x height (cm) - 5 x age (years) - 5
Once the calculation is done, you will be able to obtain your TDEE or daily energy consumption, which is the amount of energy (expressed in calories) expended by the body to stay functioning, this time including physical movement derived from daily activities and work out.
In the first instance, you will need to determine your physical activity level (PAL), which depends on the type of life you lead. We have identified three options below, for example.
Sedentary or slightly active lifestyle: you spend most of the day sitting or standing without moving much. For example, you do an office job that does not require a lot of movement or particular physical effort; you mostly use the car when traveling; do not participate in sports or physical activity regularly.
Active or fairly active lifestyle: you do a slightly more strenuous job, like that of a waiter who never stops, or a worker; or do an office job, but play sports or physical activity regularly on the weekends.
Energetic or very energetic lifestyle: you are constantly struggling with strenuous tasks, for example you are enrolled in the armed forces or work in the agricultural sector, or you perform physical activity for more than a couple of hours, such as athletes, personal trainers or dance teachers.
Activity level Average PAL value Sedentary or slightly active lifestyle 1,5 Active or fairly active lifestyle 1,8 Energetic or very energetic lifestyle 2,2
Once you have determined the PAL value, simply multiply it by your BMR to get your total daily energy consumption.
BMR x PAL value = TDEE
The TDEE value obtained represents the number of calories to be consumed daily to maintain your current weight. So, if you want to build muscle and gain mass, that is the minimum value you should always try to exceed in order to achieve a surplus.
"What supplements can help me go into calorie surpus?"
After calculating your calorie surplus, you will find that you should start eating a lot more than you currently do.
This risks being costly not only in terms of expense but also in terms of time. If you intend to double the amount of meals you eat daily, it is not very realistic to think that you can prepare and cook them from scratch.
This is where proteins come into play.
Protein for weight gain, with a complete "all in one" formula, is a practical and quick substitute for meals: they can integrate proteins, carbohydrates and calories into your diet with almost immediate effect, leaving aside sugars or unnecessary fats. Here are some of our hottest blends!
Impact Weight GainerOur most affordable supplement contains a whopping 30g of slow and fast digesting protein, making it perfect for steady release throughout the day, and 50g of carbohydrates per serving for a total of 388 explosive calories.
Hard Gainer Extreme: the ideal companion for gaining mass, with 35g of protein and 61g of carbohydrates, it offers 446 calories per serving. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals and 5g of creatine monohydrate, whose physical performance enhancing effects are scientifically proven - making it a great support for your workout.
Mygainer™: Our premium muscle building product, ideal for building strength and muscle. Each serving contains a staggering 45g of protein, 120g of carbohydrates, 4g of BCAAs, 5g of glutamine, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. The result? 784 calories. Yes just like this.
Weight Gainer Vegano: our solution for those who lead a plant-based lifestyle; this vegan blend contains 29g of quality protein derived from pea protein isolate and brown rice protein, plus 39g of carbohydrates.
The result is a smoothie containing 400 calories per serving. Getting your goals thanks to vegetables is possible!
There are many other supplements that you can use to increase the calorie intake of various meals.
Try adding Instant Oats or Egg Yolk Powder to your protein shakes, thus creating your own blend for bulk gain; or use the calorific Three Nut Butter to enrich porridge, smoothies and other snacks.
"How much protein do I need to build muscle?"
Well, we've wrapped up the mass gaining part, but to make sure this results in swollen biceps, you'll need to make sure that a lot of the calories you eat come from protein.
To build muscle, you should aim for 2,2g of protein per pound. For example, if a person weighs 80 kg, they should have at least 180g of protein per day.
It is important to receive a sustained release of protein throughout the day, especially after training, to aid in muscle recovery and growth of new muscle tissue.
As mentioned in the previous section, our shakes make it easy and convenient wherever you are, without the need to prepare a full meal. High-protein snacks are a great way to not get bored and satisfy cravings that may arise throughout the day.
Protein cookies: A state-of-the-art high-protein snack, each containing an amazing 38g of high-quality milk protein. You can choose from seven delicious flavors that offer 20g of carbohydrates, as well as 70% sugar and 40% less fat than products sold in supermarkets.
Pro Bar Elite: With a whopping 26g of protein, 22g of carbohydrates and 3g of fiber per bar, reaching your caloric surplus won't be a problem - and also works well as a post-workout refill. It is available in three irresistible flavors: Caramel and Hazelnuts, Toffee Vanilla and Berries and Dark Chocolate.
Barrette High Protein: Each bar contains an incredible 30g of slow and fast release protein, making it the ideal snack to consume between meals, for a constant supply throughout the day.
The abundance of fiber, the reduced sugar content and the 23 g of carbohydrates make them suitable for supporting muscle development.
The best supplements for muscle development
Supplements cannot replace a healthy and balanced diet or hours spent in the gym. However, they can help you either way, making it easier for you to achieve your goals.
• Protein Powder: Whether it's a whey protein formula or a bulking blend, they can't be missing from your shopping cart. Protein is an essential macronutrient that promotes the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, making it an integral part of your journey.
• Creatine monohydrate: the boost you need in your workouts! It improves your physical performance in exercises that require successive bursts of intense and short-lasting energy, it is scientifically proven.
• BCAAs: branched chain amino acids are the key to gaining mass, thanks to the essential amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine, which constitute them. Naturally present in proteins, they help build and repair new muscles.
• Beta alanine: a non-essential amino acid present in nature, suitable for sports that require explosive movements and long-lasting endurance exercises.
• Multivitamin in powder or tablet: a very practical way to obtain an adequate daily intake of vitamins and minerals, difficult to achieve solely through food. It will help you stay healthy - essential when testing your body by putting it through a tough training program - and get back to the gym, day after day.
• Omega Supplements: Getting fatty acids into your diet has never been easier - and without the expense or effort of preparing fish every day! The EPA and DHA acids found in omega 3, 6 and 9 promote normal heart health.
Why choose creatine
Creatine Monohydrate is a supplement that can support you in the toughest workouts. It can be used by your body as an instant energy source during intense, short-term activities, such as weight lifting or sprinting.
Giving your muscles extra energy will allow you to get more out of your workouts. Don't take creatine as a shortcut to perform at your best right away, but as a valuable support along your path.
Those who are not used to taking creatine should start with a loading phase to saturate the muscles, taking one 5g scoop four times a day at regular intervals, before starting with the recommended standard use of 3g per day.
We offer a range of creatine supplements to please everyone, both those who find it practical to add a scoop of creatine powder to their smoothie, and those who prefer to take it as tablets.
The best exercises to gain mass
Your training should focus on compound exercises, which involve several muscles at the same time, rather than isolating a single group. These movements include:
- bench press
- overhead press/row
Set yourself goals and monitor your steady progress, instead of overdoing it during the first session expecting immediate results and risking injury.
Applying the progressive overload principle is the most effective way to develop muscles. This consists of gradually increasing the training intensity.
As your body gets used to the weights you are lifting, get out of the comfort zone and increase the number of repetitions or the weight. This is where the body will begin to grow muscles to adapt to the new load.
The importance of rest days
To repair the muscles, you need to give them time to recover after training. As you lift weights, all you do is break muscle fibers to make room for new muscles, so working them hard every day will do more harm than good.
Your ligaments are also put under strain during training, making rest days essential here as well to prevent injuries due to over-training.
Furthermore, a break is always good for mental health: you will return fresher and more focused. Being calm when you enter the gym will certainly help you perform well. Training is not a punishment, which is also why it should be enjoyed.
"Should I track my progress?"
It is important to record what you do during your workouts to help you apply the progressive overload approach.
Even simply writing down the exercises, the weights and the number of repetitions performed will make you more aware of which is the target to be reached for the next time - it does not matter if it is to repeat the previous workout or to raise the bar slightly.
When it comes to nutrition, keeping track of what you eat daily can be really helpful to make sure you reach the calorie surplus and consume consistent amounts of protein.