Ok, so I thought I’d do a review of a good old fashioned weight gainer for once, but when the big bag of PVL’s Mutant Mass arrived and I had a look at the contents, I figured this stuff might not be so old fashioned after all. While weight gain products have kinda gone out of fashion a bit since I used to use them myself, they sure have changed with regards to content. Back in my day (damn, it hurts every time I say something like that) a weight gainer was basically a whole bunch of carbs mixed with some protein, a little fat and the requisite flavoring – not so today: PVL’s Mutant Mass sports a long list of ingredients, and some of them might actually even hold some merit. Let’s take a closer look at this rather complicated product:
So what’s in this Mutant Mass thing then?
Quite a lot. Have a look at the list of ingredients:
Waxy Maize, Maltodextrin, Fructose, Dextrose, Corn Solids (starch), Whey Protein Concentrate, Protein Matrix [Whey Protein Concentrates, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate, Egg White Albumen Protein, Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Hydrolysate], dextrose, Fractionated Coconut Oil [Supplies MCTs], soy powder (fiber source), corn syrup solids, guar gum, Real Cookie Crumbs [Contains Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Oil Shortening, Water, Cocoa, Modified Corn Starch, Sodium Bicarbonate, Glucose-Fructose, Modified Milk Ingredient, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor; May Contain Sulfites and Tartrazine], Waxy Barley Starch, Flax Seed Powder, Glutamine Peptides [From Wheat], Sodium Caseinate, Milk Fat Solids, Inulin [Fiber Source From Chicory], Powdered Sunflower Seed Oil [Supplies CLA], Colostrum, Inositol, Cinnamon Extract, Sucralose, Mono & Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Soya Lecithin, Natural & Artificial Flavors (contains vanillin and salt).
That’s a pretty darn long list. Yes, weight gain products didn’t look like this when I was in dire need of them myself. Like I said, times have changed when it comes to weight gain supplements too.
Why would you use a product like this?
You would use a product like this to put on weight fast. That weight would probably consist of both muscle and fat. That’s fine, as long as you don’t overdo it. I’m not a fan of long term mega calorie bulking, as that could be counterproductive with regards to muscle growth. If you do it short term, though, then you’re probably going to be all right. Like I said, I used weight gainers like this to put on weight in the past, and I was happy with the results.
This time, however, I bought Mutant Mass to use as a post workout drink, for which it seems fine. I certainly have no problem replacing glycogen stores with this as I’ve done some pretty heavy workouts and recovered quickly. That could be due to the special carbohydrate blend, but I couldn’t say for sure. I could see myself using this as a post workout drink a lot more, though, that’s for sure.
Here’s what I’m not a fan of:
- The addition of fructose. Obviously, I think fructose in fruit is fine – within limits. I’m not so sure about adding fructose to stuff, though, for various reasons. I guess the jury is still out with regards to whether or not added fructose is any worse for our health than other carbohydrates, but I’d honestly rather have something else while waiting for them to come back into the court room, so to speak.
- A couple of other ingredients I wouldn’t personally miss: like corn syrup solids and vegetable oil shortening. Corn syrup solids are generally accepted as being safe for human consumption, though, and the obviously tiny amounts of vegetable shortening probably aren’t worth getting all hung up about.
- The addition of fairly miniscule amounts of nutrients like CLA and colostrum. You have to consume a lot of this product to get any meaningful quantities of those nutrients, so unless you do that their addition could be seen as… well, a bit of a waste, frankly. PVL recommend 520 grams per day, though, so if you follow their recommendation perhaps those doses start being meaningful.
- There could be more protein in this. Yes, I know it’s a weight gain powder and weight gain powders tend to be this low in protein – very often even lower than in Mutant Mass – but I’d like to see that change, and I think more people would buy these products if that was the case. How about dropping some of the carbs in favor of some more protein?
- Not the easiest to mix for a weight gainer. It’s still fine, but I’ have used weight gainers that mixed more easily than this one. It’s no problem whatsoever with my new Philips blender, though, so I’m happy.
How about the taste?
The taste is decent. Not really my thing, but I’ve had much worse. Taste is subjective, of course, but I could see a lot of people having no problems ingesting vast quantities of this stuff. And that’s important if you’re using a product like this to gain weight, because you’re going to have to chug down quite a bit of it.
What about the company?
Founded in 1996, PVL Authentic Sports Nutrition have been around for a while, and I quite like their approach to things: Unlike some of their competition they don’t seem to spend half their money sponsoring big bodybuilding names, and you know what that means for me and you: We get a better deal, basically. Besides, we get to not have our intellect insulted when a sponsored pro bodybuilder tells us that what made him so fantastic was the can of protein he’s holding up (and not that stash we saw sitting in his fridge in some motivational video he also sells). I like that. I’ve been using nutritional supplements for over two decades and been in this business long enough to know when someone is trying to BS me. And trust me: there are a couple of companies whose products you won’t see reviewed on this blog simply because of the fact that ever time I look at one of their ads I get the impression that their marketing department thinks I’m eleven years old and learning disabled.
PVL definitely come across as serious enough for me to try some of their other products as well, some of which are probably more suited to me personally. So look for a review of Whey Maxx here in a few months time, as I’ll probably order a can of that after summer (I’ve got some other protein products to review first, like Reflex’ Instant Whey and Promax from Maximuscle, which arrived today).
Bottom line then?
I’ll be the first to admit this: I’m not the ideal person to review a product like this. The reason for that, of course, is that I don’t use it as intended. I pretty much feel that I weigh enough already, so for me, Mutant Mass is more a post workout drink than a weight gainer. Besides, I’m not really a huge fan of weight gaining products or the typical mega calorie bulking up routine. That said, if you have problems putting on weight and are after a weight gaining product like this, then I suppose this is not much worse nor better than many other similar products. The list of ingredients might be a bit longer than absolutely needed, but I think factors such as the special carb blend along with the good taste and the favorable price gives this an edge over quite a few of its competitors. If you’re the proverbial bean stalk like I used to be, then using something like this short term might be beneficial. You wouldn’t see a recommendation of long term use of this coming from me, however, but mostly has to do with how I feel about this type of product, not Mutant Mass specifically. Mutant Mass is a good product for what it is.
(By the way, watch this space as an update to this review is likely – in a few weeks or so, probably. I have a client who has expressed an interest in trying a weight gaining product, and he might actually even be well suited for it, so I’ll mention this to him when I see him on Wednesday.)
A 260 gram serving of Mutant Mass will give you 18 grams of fat, 52 grams of proteins and a grand total of 1050 calories. Two of those a day in addition what you’re already consuming should certainly help you pack on the pounds. The product comes in 5 and 15 lbs bags, and four different tastes: Triple Chocolate, Strawberry Banana, cookies & Cream, and Vanilla.