Guest Post: A Brief History of Nutritional and Mass Gainer Supplements

Arnold The nutritional supplement industry is a thriving business in the United States today with a cumulative worth of over 150 Billion Dollars. That’s right! I’ll give you a minute to wrap your head around the number of zeros on that number. However, once you get past the initial shock of it, the figure does make sense if you think about it. Our society is more obsessed with physical appearances than ever before, and these nutritional supplements, with the help of some clever marketing, claim to aid the general public in achieving their long-term fitness goals. Moreover, these supplements are not just used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts; every Tom, Dick, and Harry (also every Jane, Jill, and Jennifer) are now using supplements for a variety of reasons, like recovery after exercise, gaining muscle, meeting calorie and macro intake goals, bone health and so on.

We are often spoiled for choice with so many varieties of nutritional supplements available readily in the form of pills, powders, brownies, protein shakes, bars and more. Depending on your fitness needs, there are specialist brands that cater to all kinds of issues. For instance if you are on a body building journey, your fitness instructor will recommend the best mass gainer supplement for you, and more often than not, you will find it readily available in your nearest supermarket. So how did these supplements become so common?

Early Nutritional Supplements

Purportedly, the ancient Greeks used wine in lieu of energy boosting health tonics, and also used fish oils for strength, but the first commercial nutritional supplements emerged in the late nineteenth century. In the 1800s the European medical industry devised a method for separating casein and whey from milk and drying them into a powder form. These milk based powders were the innovation that laid the foundation for the modern day “protein powders”.

One of the earliest milk based powder supplements was called “Plasmon” and it was probably the first bodybuilding supplement to gain popularity in bodybuilding circles circa 1890s. It was publicly endorsed by Eugen Sandow, the father of modern day body building.

Another early supplement was “Bovril”, a drinkable concoction containing beef extract that was advertised as a “flesh-forming” food. In other words, it helped people gain mass and is one of the first mass gainer supplements.

A surprising supplement used for its nutritional benefit in the 1900s was cocoa. It was used by early weightlifters for muscle gain and energy retention. It was one of the most highly sought after supplements in the 1900s following Plasmon and Bovril. There were other supplements in the market at that time, but none came close to the popularity of these three till well after the 1930s.

Rise of the Proteins; the 1950s and 1960s

Eugene Schiff, a pharmacist founded a natural supplement company called Schiff Bio Foods that started selling whey protein as their main product in the United States. There were no other companies selling similar products so Schiff’s nutritional supplement line became exceedingly popular.  Other names that jumped on the bandwagon after the success of Schiff include Bragg, Hoffman, and York. Several products invaded the market, all selling high protein powders, both dairy and soy based. Hoffman can be credited for setting the wheels in motion for many of the products being used today. Hoffman and York are the pioneers in the soy protein formula, the marketing of protein bars, vitamin supplements and many other supplements. While some Hoffman’s products were eventually discontinued, they did set the precedent for other players in the market.

The 1960s saw a great boost of bodybuilding supplements in the market. At that time, steroid use was still in play and as such, protein powders, liver extracts and amino acid tablets became insanely popular. In addition to protein powders, many other exotic supplements also emerged at this time, like choline, inositol, brewer’s yeast, and wheat germ that promised users great health and greater muscle gain. These are the predecessors of the modern mass gain supplements.

What are Mass Gainer Supplements?

Mass gainer supplements are essentially fitness supplements that contain a large number of calories. These supplements are usually a combination of protein, carbs, and fat. You may note that these supplements are primarily rich in glucose and carbs. Therefore, mass gainer supplements are high-calorie supplements.

They typically contain protein and carbs in the ratio of 2:1 or 3:1. Besides helping users gain mass, the supplements also help users with muscle repair and recovery after strenuous exercise, enhance stamina, and aid muscle growth. The protein content in the supplements helps with muscle construction.

Growth of Mass Gainer Supplements Over the Decade

Stats say that the demand for mass gainer supplements has increased by over 34% in the past decade. The rise in demand for mass gainer supplements is attributable to more people engaging in gym-based workouts and other high-intensity workouts every year.

Today, several reputed fitness brands sell highly-optimized fitness supplements, including mass gainer supplements. You may choose from several affordable options. You may also consider comparing the ingredients and composition of the supplements with your nutritional needs before choosing mass gainer supplements.

Why Mass Gainer Supplements Have Been Gaining Popularity

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts who do intense cardiovascular exercises every day need additional calories to meet their daily requirements.

Meeting Nutritional Requirements

Running, HIIT workouts and other cardio-based workouts could lead to calorie depletion. You may not compensate for the calorie use-up with regular meals alone. Additionally, you will need extra calories to gain more muscle mass.

Mass gainer supplements can give you the much-needed protein boost and help you meet your calorie requirements for muscle gain. However, you may note that these supplements are not substitutes for regular meals or food that forms part of your daily diet. They are additional aids that you may consume alongside your regular diet.

You may also note that these supplements may not be ideal for weight lifting, powerlifting, and other forms of weight training. Consult your doctor or certified fitness instructor to decide if mass gainer supplements are the right choice for you. The fitness expert will also educate you on the best time to take these supplements. It is also vital to understand that mass gainer supplements are different from whey protein.

Muscle Building and Repair

Heavy physical exercise also causes muscle strain. Your body is likely to crave nutrition after a heavy workout. Mass gainer supplements supply the essential nutrition your muscles need to recover after a workout. Experts assert it is best not to consume mass gainer supplements immediately after your workout.

Protein shakes and other similar stamina boosting aids may work best as post-workout drinks. You may wait an hour after your workout to consume mass gainer supplements for the best results. It is critical to analyze your muscle gain needs, nutrition needs, and fitness goals to choose the best mass gainer supplements from the market. Prioritize quality over price when choosing fitness supplements.

Final Thought

Nowadays nutritional supplements are everywhere. It has never been easier to access supplements, and with modern health and safety standards, these supplements are safer to use than ever before. However, it is critical to buy the best mass gainer supplements from a reputed brand that meets all relevant safety standards and quality standards. You may buy these supplements as drinks or as powders. It is also critical not to over-consume these supplements daily. Your fitness instructor can educate you on the correct quantity and usage.

Author Bio:

Mr Tayyab is a Freelance Journalist and writes about Nutrition, Minerals and tools to help sportsmen.

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