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Shoveling plants down your mouth but not gaining any weight? Eating enough food to support muscle growth on a vegan diet can be, well, let's face it -- brutally hard.
But there's one awesome 'hack' that allows you to add easy-to-consume calories to your diet, and that is drinking them instead of chewing.
While there aren't too many of them, if you do some digging, there are, in fact, a few decent plant-based products for gaining muscle mass.
Here are some of the best vegan mass gainers that I recommend if you want something convenient to help you reach your daily caloric goals despite being purely plant-based.
We'll even look at how to create your own highly effective vegan mass gainer.
Top 4 Vegan Mass Gainers (2020 Updated)
OUR #1 RATED
OUR #2 RATED
GNC Earth Genius PurEdge
OUR #3 RATED
1. IRONVEGAN Gainer (Editor's Choice)
IRONVEGAN has created a plant-based weight gainer that is high in calories.
Packed with 720 calories and 42 grams of protein per serving, this vegan mass gainer stands out when compared to other competitors.
The blend of non-GMO pea protein, organic brown rice protein, whole grains, and sea vegetables makes it a reliable supplement to grow lean muscles and promote its fast recovery.
IRONVEGAN Gainer also provides well-balanced macros with its vegan carbohydrate blend, giving a 2.85:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio.
This vegan mass gainer is also naturally high in fiber that supports a healthy digestive system.
Learn more about IRONVEGAN and find out why it's the best vegan mass gainer by watching this review:
This is a supplement that is ideal for people who wants to bulk up and gain muscle mass while on a vegan diet. It's safe, reliable, great-tasting, and affordable for those who want to have significant gains.
Per serving (2 scoops): 720 Calories / 42g protein / 120 g carbohydrates / 8 g fat
2. GNC Earth Genius PurEdge Plant-Based Gainer
This is one of the highest-calorie protein powders on this list, clocking in at 570 calories per serving, making it an ideal vegan meal replacement supplement.
It also contains 50g of vegan protein per serving. This amount of protein may help a vegan mass gainer to build their muscles naturally and healthily.
Sourced from 7 different natural plants, this powder is said to be a strong performance booster and muscle mass builder. It contains Betapower, a beetroot-derived ingredient that is said to enhance athleticism.
The calories and protein content found in this vegan mass gainer is likely the ideal way to build your gains.
VEGANMASS is considered the “Powerhouse Plant Protein Blend”, with 30g protein, 31g carbohydrates, and 6g fat per serving. It has a total of 280 calories, which is adequate nutrition for vegan bulking.
The 1:1 protein to carbohydrate ratio may support lean muscle gains while lessening the potential increase in body fat. It also contains certified organic coconut water that may support the natural pH levels of the body.
This vegan mass gainer may be ideal for anyone who’s working on building muscle mass while on a strict natural, plant based diet, as it has no artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors.
If you’re looking at gaining lean muscle without the extra carb or fat, VEGANMASS may be an excellent choice. The brand behind VEGANMASS, Vegun Nutrition, is also well-known for many other quality vegan products.
4. Nutiva Organic
Nutiva Organic is as the name suggests -- a 100% pure organic and vegan supplement. This vegan protein powder for weight gain is marketed as a complete source of fatty acids, amino acids, and protein.
This product is naturally extracted from hemp using a 'cold press extraction' which results in a clean protein powder.
It is full of Omega 3 and antioxidants without the use of harmful chemicals.
It is a smart choice when you choose Nutiva Organic supplement as your partner in gaining weight.
What I like about this vegan protein powder for weight gain is that it has a clean ingredient list (no filler, sweeteners or junk) with only hemp protein as the main ingredient.
Per serving (30 g) of this vegan mass gainer, you get 15 g of protein and 8 g of fiber. It's one of the obvious choices in terms of choosing the right plant-based supplement for your body.
In summary, this vegan weight gainer would be a great choice for people who want to have enough fiber. The body needs as much fiber because gaining weight is as important as losing the toxins, too.
How to Gain Weight as a Vegetarian?
There are many hurdles to overcome in your quest to building a great vegan physique:
The last bit about 'not eating too little' is something that I know many of you struggle with. If want to put on any significant amount of muscle mass, you will have to be in a caloric surplus i.e. eat more calories than you burn.
Any vegan hard-gainer will have a particularly hard time with this endeavor, as whole plant food as a rule of thumb isn't very calorically dense. For example: to obtain 1000 kcal from broccoli, you'd have to eat 3 kg or 7 lbs of vegetable matter - pretty rough. (1)
1000 kcal from cheese, on the other hand, would be about 250 grams which is a LOT less food volume.
The problem is further compounded by the fact that you are burning calories at the gym that also needs to be replenished. If you can relate to these difficulties, you can also look out for a guide that you probably will want to implement in your life.
You can also watch this video to learn more tips on how to gain weight as a vegan.
Why Do You Need a Vegan Weight Gainer?
I don't believe there are any strict definitions of what constitutes a "vegan mass gainer". So here's one that I just made up:
"A mass gainer is a high-calorie liquid which helps you put on muscle."
Getting in the calories you need (while not wanting to kill yourself because you are too full) is a hell of a lot easier by drinking calories instead of chewing them.
The products recommended above do exactly this -- provide you with your caloric requirement without making you want to throw up.
People, especially in vegan bodybuilding, typically use mass gainers to put on significant muscle gains.
What are the Ingredients?
A vegan weight gainer typically takes the form of a beverage made up out of two - potentially three - key components:
Your body needs adequate protein (the basic building blocks of muscle fiber) in order to support the growth and repair of new muscle tissue.
Right around 1.6-2.2 grams protein per kg body weight has been shown in studies to maximize muscle mass growth - and adding some extra nutrition to a vegan weight gainer can make it a lot easier hitting these targets each day. (2)
An extra boost of carbohydrate in your vegan weight gain shake provides the energy that allows for a high training intensity in the gym (which means more gains), and moreover, these calories help contribute towards a caloric surplus which promotes an anabolic, or muscle-building, state.
And no don't worry, a surplus coming from carbohydrate won't automatically make you fat. This has been debunked over and over again as keto/paleo/low-carb bullsh*t. In fact, it's been shown that overfeeding with fat leads to greater body fat gain compared to overfeeding with carbs!
3. Healthy Fats
It's not uncommon to find a vegan weight gain powder with some healthy fats thrown in for good measure. A few grams of fat sprinkled in will boost total calories, and it's crucial for healthy hormonal function such as testosterone which increases the rate of muscle growth.
When should I take mass gainer, before or after a workout?
There’s a lot of confusion around this topic. Should you take a mass gainer post workout or as a pre workout supplement?
Although opinion is always going to be divided, most professional gainers agree that post workout is the best option. (3)
This is because your muscles are tired after a workout, so they need energy (in the form of protein isolate and friends) afterwards to help repair themselves and grow bigger.
When you take your mass gainer after working out, you’re providing your muscles with everything they need to grow after their exhausting gym session!
Is it bad to take mass gainer before bed?
There’s a lot of scaremongering (if you can call it that) about taking mass gainers and other calorie-dense products before you go to bed, as some bodybuilders think that this will make you fat.
However, taking mass gainers before bed is common practice in many fitness enthusiasts, who frequently report no adverse effects on their gains.
Nonetheless, if you’re consuming a mass gainer which is high in calories and sugars, it may be best to consume it at a more appropriate time if you can. If nothing else, it could send you on a mad sugar rush just as you’re trying to fall asleep!
Should You Buy One or Make One Yourself?
That’s totally up to you!
If you can find vegan mass gainer products that have everything you need in them, then you’ve just made your life (and your health) a little bit easier. Just place the order and you'll be ready to build some vegan muscles in no time.
If you want something a little more specific, however, then you could consider making your own.
For instance, you might want to mix creatine in there with a certain type of protein isolate, or perhaps you want a vegan mass gainer infused with rice protein and creatine due to some diet restrictions. You may want to stack rice protein with other plant protein sources to ensure that you're getting all the essential amino acids the body needs.
Below, we give you an idea for a protein shake which works as a great DIY vegan mass gainer if you don’t fancy anything on our list above!
DIY Vegan Protein Shake Recipe
So, you're ready to go from skinny to not-skinny and need a decent weight gainer shake to help you out on your mission. First, let's look at how to make your mass gainer using a blender or any similar device.
Here's a generic recipe that will work really well:
Here are two examples of how to tailor this recipe for your needs and goals:
1) This beauty right here was made from 2 cans of black beans (drained and rinsed), 2 ripe bananas (frozen for milkshake quality), 1-2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder, about 6 pitted dates and about 1 cup of soy milk.
2) I believe this vegan weight gain powder recipe was something like 1 can white beans (drained and rinsed), 2 bananas, 200 g of frozen mango and pineapple, two tablespoons of flax seeds, two handfuls of kale and then water for desired texture.
This comes out to roughly 600 calories with 20 grams of protein or so.
With the tropical fruits, soy milk, dark leafy greens and flax seeds, you also get a bunch of nutrients and beneficial compounds such as omega-3's, calcium, vitamin K, lignans etc.
Our #1 Vegan Mass Gainer Is...
After sorting through the list of vegan mass gainer products, we’ve come to the conclusion that IRONVEGAN is our recommended vegan bulking product.
Unlike other protein powders, IRONVEGAN contains 720 calories and 42 grams of protein in every serving, with its blend of brown rice protein, pea protein, and many other ingredients making it the ultimate vegan mass gainer.
This affordable vegan mass gainer is a convenient addition to your diet and workouts if you’re trying to gain muscle mass and you don’t want to break the bank (or your body) to do it.
All the information presented above should make your life easier when choosing the best vegan mass gainer.
Best Vegan Mass Gainer
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