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Let me describe myself:

I have been weightlifting since I graduated (2010). Before graduation I weighed close to 120lbs, now I weigh (on a good day) 163lbs (I'm 5' 11"). I have plenty of definition but want to build mass. I have done a lot of research for different routines and everything that has to do with body building.

Body fat %: 8.8

My Diet: I'm happy with my diet. It consists of high protein (chicken) and healthy carbs (whole wheat bread, fruits, oatmeal). Not Much fat though. (Usually several servings of peanut butter a day) On Saturdays, I eat anything I want.

My Ultimate Goal: Body Building - I get compliments all of the time, but I'm still "too skinny" (for my own standards). I want to gain probably 10 more healthy pounds.

My Routine:

Right now I have a 6 day routine and substitute the cardio and abs for high intensity kick-boxing classes. I usually switch up my workout routines every 3 months or so. So I am fairly satisfied with that.

  • Bench Press Max: 225lbs (~145% of my body weight)
  • Deadlift Max: 255
  • Squat Max: 235 lbs (I know this needs to be increased, I've been focusing more on legs recently)

My Main Question: - GNC Mass XXX

Right now, I'm taking GNC's Mass XXX. I only take a little over half a serving (about 30g of protein) because I know my body does not process the full 50g)

  1. Is it worth it?
  2. Is there an alternate suggested supplement? (Really any weight gaining supplements)
  3. Should I not be taking anything at all and do something different?

So to sum myself up - I'm pretty experienced with weightlifting and dieting, and ultimately I'm satisfied with where I'm at. Why not get stronger and bigger though? With my low body fat percentage and intense workouts, what should I do to gain strength and weight? I have been at a plateau for almost 6 months with only seeing gains in my abdominal area and legs.

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How did you get such a specific bodyweight reading? Is it very important to you to maintain that as you get bigger? –  Dave Liepmann Feb 4 '13 at 19:44
    
@DaveLiepmann At my gym they have a body fat analysis machine that gives a detailed description of your body's needs and contents. Any major gym should be able to do an assessment for you. I know sometimes they can be expensive, mine was included in my membership. –  Jordan Carroll Feb 4 '13 at 19:48
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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Only you can decide if a supplement is worth the cost. Personally, I would prefer an extra steak and three extra helpings of buttery mashed potatoes to a mass gainer supplement. There's nothing magical about powders, though I do find them useful for getting a quick post-workout protein-and-carbohydrate package that doesn't fill me up. But whole milk provides that too.

Your note about limiting fat intakes makes me wonder if you believe that fat makes you fat, which it doesn't--at least any more than eating protein or carbohydrate makes one fat. I'd advocate a high-protein diet to prioritize lean muscle mass, particularly during cuts, but restricting fat isn't necessarily part of that. If getting bigger while maintaining a low bodyfat is important, I would look into Martin Berkhan's LeanGains or another form of intermittent fasting.

At 5'11'' and ~160-165 pounds, you've got plenty of space above you to get stronger and heavier. I recommend lifting heavy, eating big, and making sure you've got all your ducks in a row for recovering. Reviewing your diet from your other posts suggests to me that eating twice as much food in half as many meals would probably work.

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So eating more... that's usually the answer I get. I'm afraid of gaining fat on my stomach though. My abs and obliques have just become nicely defined. (Probably because of the kick-boxing/muay thai workouts) –  Jordan Carroll Feb 4 '13 at 20:05
    
If you're lifting or kickboxing six days a week, you're not going to get a pot-belly. It is, however, difficult to maintain low body fat while getting bigger. Intermittent fasting is one way to go on that front. Going on a bulk phase, acknowledging that you'll gain some body fat, is another option--you can always lose the fat later, and if you pull it off right, you'll still be bigger and stronger. –  Dave Liepmann Feb 4 '13 at 20:08
    
I appreciate the advice, thanks. That is also the second recommendation for intermittent fasting I have gotten. I'll check that out. I would up-vote if I had enough reputation. –  Jordan Carroll Feb 4 '13 at 20:12
    
Also, there's fundamentally no difference between "eating more" and drinking a shake. They're both calories, and so both will make you equally fat (more or less). –  Doc Faustus Feb 4 '13 at 20:38
    
@DocFaustus While I agree on a basic level, I have heard evidence and noticed in myself that liquid food is not as filling in accordance with its caloric content as compared to solid food. This is part of why people looking to gain weight will add milk or shakes to their diet. In this case, however, the "real food" side of the equation is not nearly maxed out. –  Dave Liepmann Feb 4 '13 at 21:09
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There's nothing magical in GNC Mass Gainer, or in anybody's Mass Gainer.

Take a look at the ingredients list: Maltodextrin, Mass XXX Protein Blend (Whey Protein Concentrate, Soy Protein Isolate), Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Lecithin, Salt, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose.

So, in order, it's a simple carbohydrate, protein, flavorings, and artificial sweeteners. The only reason that Mass Gainer supplements exist is that some people find it easier to consume calories in a liquid form, rather than as real food.

If you want to gain weight and find that a mass gaining shake helps you meet your nutritional goals, then go ahead and use it. But if you'd prefer to get your carbs and protein from other sources, that's fine too.

On a personal note, I'd advocate getting your carbs from whole grain sources, rather than maltodextrin, but at least in the short term there's probably no harm.

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