Supplement Cage Match: Mass Gainers BSN's True-Mass vs. CytoSport's Cyto Gainer
BSN and CytoSport have received a lot of attention in the last several years as NO-Xplode and Muscle Milk gained popularity. While both companies have a pretty good reputation, I will never endorse a supplement without trying it first.
In my opinion, mass gainers are typically used by the wrong people. Many eager young lifters turn to mass gainers in an attempt to mutate from Gumby to Rambo in a 4-week cycle. That's crazy. When someone approaches me with a "no matter what I do, I just can't put on weight" comment, my response is almost invariable.
I scan them up and down.
I say, "You need to eat more."
They say, "I eat all the time!"
I say, "It's not enough. You need to eat more."
If they appear to be telling the truth, usually their training program is the problem, but I'll spare you my rant on inexperienced lifters following body-part split programs (leg day, arm day, chest day, back day, etc.). If you haven't already, read through my two program design articles and compare your program design against my recommendations there.
Having said that, busy schedules and individual-specific needs for high caloric intakes may justify the use of a mass gainer. So I thought I'd test two of the industry's most respected mass gainers.
Both products are similar regarding total calories and carbohydrate, but True-Mass has considerably more fat and less protein. If you follow the instructions (below), you'd be adding about 1,700-1,800 calories to your diet everyday. Think that will help you put on weight? Of course!
If you're extremely lean and tend to not put on weight regardless of your dietary habits, those recommendations may be valid. For those of you (like me) that tend to put on weight (and fat) easily, cut the serving sizes in half. Not only will that decrease the likelihood that you gain fat mass, but it will also prolong the life of your supplement.
In other words, cutting the serving size in half will double the amount of servings you get per container. Less cost, more effective. Sounds good to me.
- Serving Size (g): 145
- Servings Per Container: 18
- Calories: 630
- Fat Calories: 140
- Total Fat (g): 16
- Saturated Fat (g): 5
- Cholesterol (mg): 110
- Total Carbohydrate (g): 76
- Dietary Fiber (g): 5
- Sugar (g): 14
- Protein (g): 46
- Sodium (mg): 260
- Potassium (mg): 410
- Serving Size (g): 150
- Servings Per Container:10
- Calories: 570
- Fat Calories: 60
- Total Fat (g): 6
- Saturated Fat (g): 3.5
- Cholesterol (mg): 140
- Total Carbohydrate (g): 75
- Dietary Fiber (g): 4
- Sugar (g): 7
- Protein (g): 54
- Sodium (mg): 370
- Potassium (mg): 1130
- A Sustained Release Ultra-Premium Protein & Amino Acid Matrix Comprised Of (Ultrafiltered Whey Protein Concentrate [Milk], (Which Contains Alpha-Lactalbumin), Microfiltered Whey Protein Isolate [Milk], (Which Contains Whey Isolate Peptide Fractions), Calcium Caseinate [Milk], Micellar Alpha And Beta Caseins And Caseinates [Milk], Milk Protein Isolate [Milk], Hydrolyzed Whey Protein [Milk], Egg Whites [Egg], Glutamine Peptides, Glutamine AKG, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine), Maltodextrin, Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder, Richmix Sunflower Powder Consisting Of (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate [Milk], Mono-Glycerides, Di-Glycerides, Di-Potassium Phosphate), Litesse® II Polydextrose, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Nutrisperse MCT Powder Consisting Of (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Di-Sodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Vitamin & Mineral Blend Consisting Of (Magnesium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Acetate, Biotin, Chromium Chelate, Niacinamide, Iron, Vitamin A Palmitate, Selenium Chelate, Calcium Pantothenate, Zinc Oxide, Vitamin K1, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin D3, Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine HCL, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide), Qualicel Cellulose Gum, Ticalose® Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Gum Acacia, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose (Splenda®), Lecithin [Soy], Aminogen®, Papain.
- CytoCarb II
- (CytoSport's Unique Combination Of Branching As Well As Long Linear Chain Maltodextrins With Very Low "DE" (Dextrose Equivalence) Providing A Complex Source Approximately 96.5% Sugar-Free), CytoCarb II
- (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Hydrolysate), Cocoa Powder, Creatine Monohydrate, CytoVite I
- (Vitamin And Mineral Premix Consisting Of Vitamin A Acetate, Cholecalciferol, D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Folate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCL, Cyanocobalamin, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Di-Calcium Phosphate, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Chloride, Ferrous Fumarate, Magnesium Oxide, Copper Gluconate, Zinc Oxide, Chromium Nicotinate), Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Potassium Citrate, Carrageenan, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose
- 2-4 Servings Daily
- 3 Servings Daily:
- 1 serving 30-45 minutes immediately after you work out
- 1 serving throughout the day
- 1 serving before bed
- Cyto Gainer (for acknowledging the
On Both Jugs:
- These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- I tried True-Mass Chocolate Milk Shake flavor and Cyto Gainer Chocolate Mint Shake flavor. Both of these supplements were delicious. For those of you that have a sweet tooth, but try to stick to a sugar-free diet, this may be a fair compromise as both were relatively low in sugar, using sucralose/Splenda as a sweetener. After trying these two, I have no doubt that I'd like all the flavors that both of these products have to offer.
Before dedicating myself to training for ice hockey, I dedicated most of my time to... well, being a fat kid. The lifestyle wasn't all that different. Instead of lifting dumbbells, I'd lift tubs of ice cream; instead of running sprints, I'd walk to the fridge (equally as tiring); and instead of doing split squat iso-holds, I'd do couch-sits.
You aren't going to get a nickname like "Heavy Kevy" without working for it! One of my favorite delicacies was a Mint Chocolate Milk Shake. While I don't indulge in milk shakes anymore (very rarely), Cyto Gainer has provided a viable alternative.
- Cyto Gainer (because the fat kid inside of me says so).
- Both of these powders mixed very easily with water. Like with any powder, if you have trouble mixing it, add more liquid. If that doesn't work, try shaking or blending it instead of stirring.
- I have a confession. In general, I couldn't care less about putting on size. I know. That's heresy to a bodybuilding crowd. Truth is, I'm only concerned about
- , how much weight I'm moving in the gym and how I feel on the ice.
I'd rather be strong than big. Frankly, I have a hard time talking to the "I just want to get bigger; I don't care how strong I am" people. That's like putting the powerful engine (4 cylinder) of my 4-door family sedan into a Ford F1500. No thanks.
- I'll take a 1990 Saturn Wagon with a Viper engine in it any day. Having said that, it'd been a while since I tried to put on weight and thought the extra size could help me move some more weight in the gym. It was also a great goal (read: excuse) in consideration of the holiday meals I had coming up.
Having said all that, I put on a couple pounds using each supplement, even with my modified dosage (cutting the serving size in half). As an added benefit, both of these products were pretty filling. Getting in 6-8 meals everyday can be tough. These made great "meal replacements" as a quick breakfast or when I was in a rush during the day.
Despite my typical lack of utility for a mass gainer, I would recommend both of these products to anyone looking to add some extra size or simply to have around as a meal replacement in a time-crunch. These supplements allow you to add some great-tasting calories to your regular diet.
In consideration of the fat/protein content, recommended use, taste, and cost (True-Mass is $39.99 for an 18-serving jug; Cyto Gainer is $35.89 for an 18-serving jug), the winner of the Mass Gainer Cage Match is... Cyto Gainer.
My supplement disclaimer: My results and opinions are likely not applicable to everyone. It is always best to try things for yourself and see what works best for you. But remember, supplements in the absence of effective training won't get you the results you desire and deserve. Make sure your program is on point before you start spending money on supplements.
Kevin Neeld, CSCS has helped athletes of all ages fulfill their athletic potential. Through the application of functional anatomy, biomechanics, and neural control, Kevin specializes in guiding athletes to optimal health and performance. He is also the author of Hockey Training University's "Off-Ice Performance Training Course." To learn more about how Kevin can help you achieve your training goals.