If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ll know that good quality Whey Protein is one of my all-time favorite supplements.
It’s safe, effective and has been studied extensively.
But what’s specifically great about Whey Protein is its super high score on the Biological Value (BV) scale.
This scale was developed to measure the quality of a specific protein by measuring how much nitrogen and amino acids your body is retaining from the protein source.
The higher the score, the more nitrogen/amino acids you’re retaining with the end result being MORE GAINZ.
(Surprisingly, many people don’t know about this and hence underestimate the power of Whey.)
Now as for gaining weight, Whey Protein can be a really useful weapon…
…But only if the principles of weight gain are followed.
In other words, if you’re taking Whey Protein whilst neglecting the basic principles of weight gain, then you’ll fail your objective.
So, as a little refresher, let’s kick things off with the principles of weight gain.
The Basic Principles Of Weight Gain
Before we start with the first principle, I’m going off the assumption that by weight gain, we’re talking about lean (i.e. muscle) mass.
1. You need to be in a Calorie surplus
This principle comes down to basic math.
Let’s say you consume 2500 calories per day but you’re burning 2900 calories per day, then the net calorie intake is -400 calories.
Or in other words, you’re “losing” calories each day which translates to losing mass.
This is obviously bad if you’re wanting to gain weight, so to put on mass, you’ll need to consume more calories than you burn.
Out of the 3 macros (Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins), Fat has the most calories per gram at 9 calories per gram whereas Carbs and Protein both have 4 calories per gram.
So, eating fatty meats is a great way to match your protein goal as well as getting sufficient calories in.
As for added fats, butter and coconut oil are good additions but avoid vegetable seed oils (canola, safflower, soy, etc.) like the plague, as they’re very, very bad for you.
2. You need to be eating sufficient Protein
Lean mass (i.e. muscle) is made from protein, the king of all 3 macros.
The saying “You are what you eat” carries some truth here as if you want to be made from protein (i.e. muscle) then you better be eating enough of it.
Joking aside, many studies including this one, show that a higher protein diet results in higher lean mass.
3. You need to be getting quality Sleep
So many people underestimate the importance of good quality sleep when it comes to building muscle.
They think that sleep will help you “not feel tired” but there’s much more to it than that.
For example, it’s estimated that 70% of Human Growth Hormone release occurs during your sleep.
But that’s not all; poor sleep is associated with a decrease in testosterone.
A study on young healthy men showed that only a week’s worth of sleep restriction to 5 hours per night resulted in a 15% decrease in testosterone levels.
As you’re probably aware, testosterone is the master anabolic hormone when it comes to gaining weight so it isn’t something you want to be lowering!
(Related reading: Do Cold Showers Help You Sleep?)
4. You need to be resistance training
Your body is an adaptive machine.
Imagine you’re being crushed by a boulder to the point of your muscles reaching failure.
From a survival viewpoint, this results in your body screaming “WE ARE GOING TO DIE BECAUSE YOU’RE TOO WEAK!”
Afterwards, your body freaks out and responds by adding more muscle, so the next time you’re being crushed by the boulder, you can use your strength to move it.
This is essentially why you build muscle.
Your body’s first priority is survival and so the best way to respond to muscle failure from a survival perspective is to add more muscle.
Now I’m obviously not telling you to start crushing yourself with boulders.
But nowadays, there are so many safe ways to train your muscles to failure, including weights, bodyweight exercises and resistance machines.
Tips For Using Whey Protein To Gain Weight
Taking Whey Protein on its own at any time of day will be helpful to gaining weight (as long as you follow the principles above of course).
But at Vitalized Future, we’re perfectionists when it comes to optimizing health.
(You should know this by now.)
So, by using the tips below, you’ll get more bang for your buck when supplementing with Whey Protein.
1. Take your Whey Protein alongside Creatine
Creatine is another excellent supplement that you should be using if your goal is to put on lean mass.
Like Whey Protein, it’s cheap, effective and has been studied extensively.
By taking your Whey Protein alongside Creatine, the result is even more muscle gain than if you were to take them separately. (Source)
Creatine is pretty much tasteless too so you don’t have to worry about a foul-tasting shake.
2. Take your Whey Protein alongside Carbs
It was once believed that taking Whey Protein with Carbs would result in more muscle gain than just Whey Protein alone.
But a recent study has shown that that’s not the case.
So, the reason why you should be taking carbs with your Whey Protein is convenience.
Chances are if you’re wanting to gain weight, it’s difficult to meet your calorific needs with food alone.
So, by adding a couple of scoops of powdered oats into your Whey Protein shake, you’re easily adding a few hundred calories without having to stomach food.
(It also saves 15 minutes of your valuable time by not having to cook rice/pasta/sweet potato.)
3. Double up your serving size
This is closely related to tip #2.
If you’re wanting to gain weight, then you NEED to be consuming adequate protein.
(The 2nd pillar of weight gain, remember?)
But for some, it may be difficult to eat enough protein via solid food only, especially when eating in a calorie surplus (since protein is the most filling macro).
So, a simple way of getting in extra protein without forcing food down you is to add an extra scoop (or 2) to your shake.
I can tell you first hand that it’s much easier to consume 3 to 4 scoops of Whey Protein than it is to eat 3 or 4 chicken breasts.
We’ve covered a lot in this article so you may want to read it again to memorize all of the info.
But to summarize, we’ve established the 4 principles of weight gain and made clear that it’s vital to follow them all before we expect to see results with Whey Protein.
Then we covered 3 simple tips you can use to help you gain weight from Whey Protein.
Please let me know how you get on with using the tips and advice in this article, and if you have any tips of your own, please share in the comments below!