It may surprise you that Optimum Nutrition’s Pro Gainer is not ranked #1. Frankly, it also surprised us to find out there were better mass gainers. This Pro Gainer review will explain why it is one of our favorite mass gainers out there, and what exactly makes it ranked #3 instead of #1.
Optimum Nutrition is a monster in the sports nutrition industry. Everything they do is for the most part exceptional and all of their products are extremely popular. Pro Gainer is no exception. ON is most famous for their Gold Standard whey protein, and Pro Gainer is another big success for ON…but read on to find out why it’s ranked #3 instead of #1.
ON Pro Gainer Ingredients
The ingredients are by far your most important consideration when buying a mass gainer, so we will start by analyzing the formula. The two most important things to consider when it comes to ingredients are the protein blend and the carb to protein ratio.
Ideally, you want a carb to protein ratio of 1.5 to 1 in order to ideally gain lean muscle mass and help ensure that you do not consume excess carbs, which can lead to fat gain. Pro Gainer has a carb to protein ratio of 1.4 to 1. This is excellent and nearly ideal. However, it is one of the reasons why Pro Gainer was not ranked #1. The #1 ranked mass gainer (R1 Gain) has an exact carb to protein ratio of 1.5 to 1, so it has Pro Gainer just barely beat in that regard (not a huge difference).
The protein blend is the other of your two most important considerations because the purer the protein blend, the better results you will be likely to get. A protein blend that is not very pure can lead to fat gain.
You want to see strictly whey protein isolate, whey protein hydrolysate, and sometimes whey protein concentrate (but ideally you want the blend to be ONLY isolate and hydrolysate, which are the purest forms of protein in existence).
As a general rule, you want the list of ingredients within the protein blend to be as short as possible. Pro Gainer’s blend is not pretty. This is the major downfall of the product, otherwise it might have ranked #2 or potentially even #1.
The blend is as follows: whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, egg albumen, hydrolyzed whey peptides, and glutamine peptides. You really don’t want any of this aside from the first one (WPI). The reason companies put this other stuff in there is because it costs a lot less than the purer forms of protein. ON is just being a little cheap with this protein blend. With that said, if you don’t care as much about quality and are more concerned with price, then Pro Gainer could be exactly what you need.
Overall, Pro Gainer is an excellent product with the exception of the average protein blend. Lets talk about what does NOT go into it that makes it a good product.
It’s important to consider what it contains, but it is equally as important to consider what it does not contain (avoid high amounts of fat, sugar, cholesterol, and sodium).
Pro Gainer has only 8 grams of fat in every serving, which is very low for a mass gainer (the #1 mass gainer has 5 grams of fat per serving). Cholesterol is the lowest of any mass gainer I have seen at 60 milligrams per serving (crazy low). It only contains 6 grams of sugar, which is also extremely low for a mass gainer (the #1 gainer contains 3 grams per serving).
Sodium is slightly high at 340 milligrams per serving, which is what makes the product taste good. Sodium is something you want to look out for, as excess sodium will cause you to gain fat over time. To give you an idea of what a low sodium count looks like, the #1 gainer has 270 milligrams per serving. Generally, anything below 300 is solid for a mass gainer.
The big question with any mass gainer: will it really cause you to gain muscle? Pro Gainer can very likely cause you to gain muscle due to the nearly ideal carb to protein ratio and its use of whey protein isolate. It will likely overall be an effective product, however, there are some things that knock its effectiveness level down.
The protein blend, as said before, is generally directly correlated to what kind of results you will see. Pro Gainer’s protein blend will not be as effective as the #1 or #2 ranked gainers’ protein blends.
The other thing you want to watch out for in terms of effectiveness is the slightly high sodium count. Pro Gainer can likely allow you to gain muscle, but you also might gain some fat due to the excessive sodium count. With that said, the level of effectiveness is overall pretty good. We would have liked to see a purer protein blend and less sodium, but this formula is still likely to get the job done.
Any product is hard to use if you don’t enjoy consuming it. Taste is important, and ON knows that. They didn’t get to where they’re at now by making products that taste bad. Pro Gainer tastes amazing, due mostly to the use of 340 milligrams of sodium per serving in addition to the 6 grams of sugar.
All of ON’s products taste fantastic, and this is no exception. It is worth noting however, that neither high sodium nor high sugar is necessary for the product to taste good. There are certainly products out there that taste good while still containing low sodium, low sugar, and low fat.
- Nearly ideal carb to protein ratio
- Produced by the one and only ON
- Low sugar
- Low fat
- Very low cholesterol
- Tastes great
- The protein blend lacks purity
- Slightly high sodium count
- Level of effectiveness can be slightly lowered due to the unpure protein blend
Pro Gainer is a high-end, high-quality product produced by an amazing company. I would recommend it to anybody, however there are a couple of gainers I would recommend before this one.
Although it is an awesome product, there are a couple of things they could have done better, and that is why it ranked #3 instead of #1. It is a cheaper product, so if your main concern is price, then look no further. However, if quality is important to you, I highly recommend you check out our #1 ranked mass gainer.
Hopefully, this Pro Gainer review has been helpful in giving you the information you need to make a decision if it is the right gainer for you.
BEST MASS GAINERS
I’m not just a supplement analyst. I’m an extremely qualified one! I am a Certified Nutrition Coach (CNC) and actually received my certification directly from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I am also a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, certified by the American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA).