No matter what your fitness goal is, meal replacement supplements could very well come in handy for you. When on a mass gain diet, you'll typically be eating 5-7 meals a day especially if you're a really skinny guy who finds it hard to pack on any weight. Obviously, cooking and preparing 5-7 meals every single day sounds like a nightmare to manage. By doing this you will likely lose motivation, and fast. So what you can do is replace a few of those meals with meal replacement powders.
Meal replacement powders (known as MRPs for short) provide all the nutrition, including high quality protein and carbs that your body needs, and it comes in a very convenient form. Instead of cooking something, all you need to make an MRP is a shaker bottle and some water or milk.
It's like having a whey protein shake, and most meal replacements will have some when in them anyway, but unlike most whey shakes meal replacements are usually fortified with more nutrients, vitamins and mineral to make it more suitable as a complete ready-to-go meal.
This makes it easy to have a quality meal if you're stuck in a situation where you can't cook up a meal. Just bring your MRP packet with you and a shaker bottle, and then when you need to eat just add water or milk and shake it, then just drink it. How easy is that?
It's like having your own personal chef available 24/7. Whenever you need a quality meal to feed your body the muscle-building nutrition it needs, you just call upon your magic chef Mr MRP.
But, and there's always a but, you shouldn't replace a quality whole food meal for a meal replacement if you don't have to. Meal replacement supplements should only be used to make it more convenient at certain times, but they shouldn't form the majority of your diet. That's why they are called a 'supplement' after all.
A quality whole food meal with nutritious protein, carbohydrates, fiber and a bit of healthy fats is always the best choice as a quality muscle-building meal. I would say it's fine to replace a maximum of 2-3 of your daily meals with an MRP, but nothing more than this. Never use more than 3 in any one day.
You should stick to quality meal replacement supplement products from reputable brand names in the fitness industry. Such good names are EAS, Optimum Nutrition, Met-Rx, and Prolab to name a few of the best. Some factors to consider when choosing the best meal replacements to include in your diet are the price, nutritional content, and taste.
The taste of an MRP can be a mixed opinion. Some people may love the taste, while some won't really find them too appetising. Personally, most of them I've ever tried have tasted good to great. But you may have to try a few different ones first to end up with your favorite.
If you have never tasted them before, don't go out and buy a box full because with meal replacements you can sometimes get a bad flavor that you can hardly stomach if you just select one randomly.
For me personally, it was an acquired taste. I started out with EAS Myoplex, which is one of the best meal replacements out there. At first, they were really hard to get down because of the thickness and the taste. I told myself to toughen up, and I kept drinking them until I started actually enjoying them after a week or two. Now I absolutely love them when I do ever have one.
The price is another factor to consider. Some people may say that MRPs are expensive, but when you do some basic math it's clear to see that they are very affordable for most people. For example, with the meal replacements I used recently they worked out to be just under 2 and half dollars each when bought in a box. In my view this is great for a high quality, protein-rich nutritious convenient meal that I can have anywhere on the go to maintain proper protein intake.
Hopefully this article has answered your burning question or aided you in your further research, but remember that whilst information is crucial, what's even more crucial is taking consistent action on a good well-balanced, optimally-designed muscle building program if you're serious about getting great results and levelling up your strength, health, physique, confidence, and your life. To get off on the right foot with a great program fine-tuned for maximum lean muscle gains, there are essentially three paths you can take:
Option A: Design Your Own Program (no investment)
Learn all the crucial basics, principles and over-arching strategies you need to know about planning the best well-balanced, science-based, all-natural mass building program for your specific goal and workout/diet preferences with our pillar 7-step comprehensive guide for beginner lifters and future heros. If you don't want to spend any money at all, this is how you do it, but be sure to thoroughly research all aspects of your DIY muscle gain program as an unbalanced/bro-science/straight-up-bad program can mean little to no gains at best, and bad posture, injuries and a whole lot of having to backtrack later at worst.
Option B: Follow An Existing Program ($)
To save time having to research and plan the best muscle building program for your specific goals as a hardgainer/skinny-guy/skinny-fat-dad-bod/whatever, there are indeed some excellent pre-made online programs out there (ie eBooks) that have stood the test of time in getting guys great results. It can give you a great head-on your transformation journey, and will make things simpler for you as it's simply a matter of executing a specific eating and workout program and not having to worry about getting all the little important details of your program on-point.
Option C: Find a Good In-Person Trainer ($$)
I personally don't do 1-on-1 training with clients for various reasons (mainly 'cause I run a business which takes up all of my time, and plus I travel a lot which isn't ideal for training people), but if you have the money to spend on this (PTs can quickly add up in costs) and you care about getting results then ensure they understand the science behind muscle gain, fat burning, supplementation, nutrition, etc, and most importantly pick one who practices what they preach and has similar results to what you want (and if you're a hardgainer, ideally you'll want a trainer who was once a hardgainer themselves and managed to build muscle successfully otherwise they may not understand the best course of action for you or worst-case they'll falsely tell you that you can't build the physique you want; don't listen).
Whichever path you take, if you're a hardgainer/skinny noob who's a little sceptical that you can actually build the strong and muscular physique that you know would change your life - remember this: no matter what anyone tells you, your destiny is 100% in your own hands despite where you may be starting from. Don't fall victim to the illusion that being a hardgainer or [insert excuse] will hold you back, as smart strategies and persistence will always win in the end.
To your success,
Mad-Scientist of Hardgainer-to-Hero Transformations for 12 Years & Counting
Last and Definitely Least: Certified Fitness Instructor