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Universal Nutrition Real Gains Review

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One of the most common goals of all bodybuilders is to add mass, for most this is often an arduous task. To do this correctly you need a sound training program designed to induce muscle stimulus, usually through a high intensity training program and a nutrition program structured around a hypercaloric diet to ensure your body has the maximum availability of required nutrition in order to initiate the muscle building process. Simply put you are going to have to consume more calories than you expend in order to grow. Weight gainer supplements have been developed in this regard, offering a convenient way to add extra calories to your diet and are designed to digest both quickly and efficiently to make it possible to eat another meal without feeling overly full.

Universal Nutrition's Real Gains is a protein supplement that fits into the weight gainer category. When selecting a weight gainer supplement there are many factors to consider. Proteins should be derived from high quality sources (Whey and casein) in order to provide a quick and sustained release source of protein into the body in supplying the building blocks for muscle development. It should contain a high number of carbohydrates, complex in nature, to provide both valuable nutrients and assist in protein absorption. It should be low in simple sugars which have been shown to spike insulin and encourage the body to store fat.  Finally, it should also contain a small proportion of healthy fats which help to not only increase the overall calories of each shake but also aid in natural hormone production. With these considerations in mind a decided to give Universal Nutrition's Real Gains an extended trial to see if it could assist in my mass building goals.

Taste

Universal Nutrition's Real Gains sticks to the basics and comes in four flavours – Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla and Banana. Over my trial I went through a tub or both the Chocolate and Banana flavour. Mixed in either milk of water both flavours taste pretty good, although were nothing exceptional. Chocolate does a good job at recreating the chocolate flavour without being too sweet or too over bearing on the cocoa as sometimes happens with chocolate flavoured proteins, it's not the best tasting chocolate protein on the market, but for a weight gainer does a fairly amicable job. Banana on the other hand was more enjoyable; texturally the taste was much richer taste than the chocolate and is definitely one of the better flavoured banana products I've tasted across all protein lines.

Ease of Mixing

It would be unrealistic to expect the same type of mixing as a Whey Protein Isolate, but as far as weight gainers go Universal Nutrition's Real Gains mixes better than a lot of the competition. The product can be readily mixed either within a shaker or blender, although I found I needed around 400ml of water to produce a good mix. When using a shaker the powder always exhibited some clumping which leaves a little bit to be desired and you need to ensure you give the powder a vigorous shake for 10-15 seconds for an effective mix. Most of these issues were alleviated when blending the product, not to mention added a level of creaminess to the product which improved the overall taste and texture.  Foaming was relatively minimal for both forms of mixing.

Effectiveness

As with all weight gainer products Universal Nutrition's Real Gains is designed around providing a nutritionally dense, easily digested and convenient meal to assist in meeting macronutrient intakes and calorie requirements associated with a bulking type diet. In conjunction with a well set out training and nutritional program, supplementing with Real Gains I was able to effectively make good weight increases and were accompanied by increases in muscle size and strength throughout my bulking period. Obviously Real Gains was not the magic bullet directly response for these gains, but assisted me in reaching my goals by providing a quality, calorie dense and convenient product that upon consuming left me neither full nor bloated at my next meal.

Nutritional Analysis

Real Gains is a high-calorie, low sugar weight gainer that consists of Universals protein complex, maltodextrin, flaxseed oil, MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) and inulin. Each serve (155g) provides 610 Calories coming in at 6g of fat (3g saturated), 87g of Carbohydrates (5g sugar) and 52g of Protein. The protein complex consists of ultra filtered whey concentrate, micellar casein but also includes higher quality proteins if the forms of whey protein isolate. The whey concentrate and isolates ensure you are getting a good mix of quality fast acting proteins, where the micellar casein, represents a slower digesting protein source which is ideal for providing a steady stream of amino acids and preventing muscle catabolism, so no complaints on this front.

One commonality among most weight gainers is the choice of Carbohydrate source, typically these will contain Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Fructose or a combination of all three. Reals Gains derives its carbohydrate directly from Maltodextrin which itself is often misaligned. Due to its molecular structure Maltodextrin is essentially a complex carbohydrate by definition, but performs similar to a simple carbohydrate and has a high Glycemic Index (GI) rating. Some people have an issue taking Maltodextrin at times other than around a training session, but personally if I'm trying to put on weight I don't have too much of a concern with this, instead I try to concentrate more on reaching my calorie requirements for the day. Ideally I feel this justifies the use of Maltodextrin in a gainer, as it is easily digested and not heavy on the stomach to ensure you feel neither full or bloated. Provided the purpose of a gainer is to provide necessary calories to help reach calorie intakes, if the gainer fills you up then you will most likely not take in enough whole food, defeating its purpose. In this sense I would much prefer to take in Maltodextrin than simpler forms of sugar such as dextrose or fructose and the fact that Real Gains avoids both of these is a plus in my view.

Fats are provided in the form of Flaxseed oils and MCTs. Flaxseed oil contains beneficial essential fatty acids that promote fat metabolism and leanness where as MCT oils promote leanness while retaining muscle energy. In addition MCTs are more easily digested than larger fat molecules, allowing for a slow and steady release of energy. Finally the addition of inulin should help with overall digestion and promote the healthy absorption of the proteins, carbohydrates and fats. With its blend of fast and slow proteins, a low sugar easily digested carbohydrate source with added healthy fats, I think Universal Nutrition's Real Gains offers a high quality nutritional profile which is ideally suited as both a postwork calorie dense protein supplement or a convenient meal (or between) replacement for those looking to assist in their mass building goals.

Value for Money

Universal Nutrition's Real Gains is available in both a 3.09kg ($79.70) and 1.07kg ($49.95) size. With a suggested serve size of 155g this means you get 21 and 11 serves in each of the sizes respectively. The larger size works out more cost effective equating to $3.79 per each full serve as is typical when compared with other gainers on the market. Initially this might come across as expensive but when you consider you are getting a complete meal consisting of quality proteins, carbohydrates and fats the value is hard beat. Throughout my trail I actually lowered my serving size to 500cal serve (127g) so I was able to draw an extra couple of serve out per tub.

Conclusion

As far as weight gainers go Universal Nutrition's Real Gains is a solid product. The taste why nothing outstanding is better than much of the competition, mixability leaves a little to be desired although wouldn't deter me from repurchasing, its proof really lies in its effectiveness which when combined with a sound training and nutrition program meant I was able to successfully put on quality mass without drastic fat gain. As with all weightgainers, there is always the debate of the use of high-GI carbohydrate and homemade vs store bought gainers, but with no sucrose or fructose, a quality protein complex and added flaxseed oil, MCTs, inulin and the convenience of a nutrient dense meal you can take anywhere, I can recommend Real Gains to anyone who's is looking for a bit of assistance in trying to add some mass.

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