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Should You Take Weight Gainer Before Or After Workouts?

By: Zack Mathews NASM - CPT, CES, & PES. PN-L1

weight gainer before or after workout

If you’re looking for information on whether to take your weight gainer before or after working out, there’s a good chance you have an ectomorph (hardgainer) body type.

The good news is that you’re in the right place!  As a fellow ectomorph who has taken more mass gainers than I can count, I’ll give you all the info you need.

In terms of whether you should take your mass gainer before or after you workout for overall weight gain, the truth is that it doesn’t matter.  At the end of the day your total calorie and protein amount will dictate your weight gain.

There is a difference in how you will feel though so let’s dive into that!

Weight Gainer Before Or After Workout Recommendations


Now that you know that a weight gainer can be drank before or after a workout and your results will be the same as long as calories and protein are in check, the next step you want to examine is what will make you feel and perform your best.


If you decide to drink a mass gainer before a workout, make sure to drink it 2 - 3 hours before your workout.  Since it’s going to be loaded with calories, you don’t want to be lifting with a full stomach of liquid.


That sounds like a recipe for disaster if you drank it as you walked into the gym…

Most people perform best with a small to medium sized meal consisting of protein and carbs 1 - 2 hours before a lifting session.


The benefit of drinking your weight gainer post workout is that your body is primed for calories and protein and you’ll feel lighter during your workout without being weighed down from a 1000 calorie drink.


If you have a meal within an hour of working out, you’ll be fine drinking your mass gainer up to 2 hours after your workout.


Let's reiterate something. You should do what feels best for YOU.  I’ve found with myself and my hardgainer clients, we do better with a weight gainer AFTER a workout.

The Best Type Of Weight Gainer

I mentioned earlier I’ve tried countless weight gainers.  All of those were consumed early on my lifting career before I knew how to read food labels.

Weight gainers do their job of providing you with calories but do it in a cheap fashion.

They are loaded with carbs and sugars and usually don’t contain a lot of protein.  


For those reasons you are better off making a homemade weight gainer shake that is packed with protein, carbs, good fats, fruits, and vegetables.  You’ll get a lot of calories in your system and do it in a way that will provide good nutrients that your body needs.


Instead of a weight gainer supplement, use protein powder and mix in many of the items listed above.  Find a protein powder that you enjoy the taste and does not upset your stomach.

My go to is Legion Athletics.  Their protein is more expensive than the average container you’ll find at Wal-Mart but its made of high quality ingredients.

If you want to try it out, click the link below to get 20% off your first order and double reward points anytime you use the link.

Legion Athletics 20% Off.  Use the code VBAFITNESS at checkout.


Here’s my go to homemade weight gainer you can have before or after your workout that can be part of a healthy, muscle building ectomorph diet:

mass gainer before or after recipe

Mass Gainer Workout Details

Odds are you are having your shake to assist you with your mass gainer workouts.  If you’re not, you’ll just be adding fat to your body.


To build muscle from your workouts and mass gainer drink, have your workouts include these important points:

  • Lift weights 3 - 5 times per week.
  • Implement progressive overload. This means you are improving each week with more weight, sets, and/or reps.
  • Push yourself with weights that get you to 1 - 2 reps until failure.  If you constantly leave multiple reps in the tank you are never going to build muscle.
  • Include compound lifts in your workouts.  Variations of squats, deadlifts, lunges, rows, presses, push-ups, and pull-ups are the lifts that are going to move the needle in the right direction.
  • Get good sleep and manage stress.


Want a free workout to try?  I have a 3 day per week full body mass gainer workout program you can find here.

mass gainer workout details

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is In A Weight Gainer?

Most weight gainers consist of some type of protein blend (whey, casein, vegan), maltodextrin which is type of carbohydrate that is processed down to a powder, and a mix of natural and artificial flavors and sugars.

Maltodextrin is the ingredient that helps add the high amount of calories you get in each scoop of weight gainer.

Will Weight Gainer Make You Fat?

Yes, if you drink enough weight gainer shakes to put yourself in a calorie surplus and you don’t lift weights and eat enough protein, you will gain fat.

Regardless of the type of food, if you eat more than the amount of calories your body needs to maintain your weight, those excess calories will be stored as fat or built into muscle.

Curious to know how many calories you should be eating and how to make sure you’re gaining muscle?

Check out my Ultimate Guide On Ectomorph Weight Gain

Can You Take Mass Gainer As A Pre Workout?

Normally a pre workout is considered a drink that will give you an added boost for your workout with the main ingredient being caffeine.

A mass gainer does not contain caffeine.  Instead it is made up of large amounts of calories that may leave you feeling full and tired if you drink it before you exercise.

If you want to take a mass gainer before you workout, it’s best to drink it 2 - 3 hours before your workout and find another supplement that can give you a boost if that’s what you are after.

Should I Take Weight Gainer Or Protein Powder?

If gaining weight is your primary goal you will be better off taking a weight gainer supplement over protein powder.  The weight gainer is going to have far more calories and still include the amount of protein you would get in a scoop of protein powder.

As I recommended above, I would opt for homemade mass gainer shakes over a weight gainer supplement.

Weight Gainers Before Or After Recap

In terms of total weight gain, you can take a mass gainer before or after your workout.  

At the end of the day total calories will dictate your weight gain.  

For best performance in the gym, it’s best to drink your weight gainer shake after you exercise so you don’t go into your workout heavy and full.

As for the quality of your weight gainer, it’s best to pair your mass gainer workouts with a homemade shake to optimize your progress and provide your body with better ingredients.