MusclePharm Combat XL Review: Ingredient Analysis & in Depth Buying Guide

Image of the back of a muscular bodybuilder

MusclePharm is a well-known brand who position their supplements towards athletes wanting ingredient purity and banned substance testing. After trying their signature protein powder and 2 or their pre workouts, we decided to bump up the calories, and give their weight gainer a go.

In our MusclePharm Combat XL mass gainer review, we scrutinize the formula to see if 252g of carbs really hits the spot, or if it's just too much. We also talk flavors, whey, casein, and even flaxseeds, to see how the gainer stacks up against the best.

The Supplement Facts

Combat XL contains 1270 heavyweight calories per serving, which consists of all the necessary macronutrients to bulk up. These are protein (50g), carbohydrates (252g), and fats (7g). Out of all the carbs, only 16g are sugars, and from the fats, only 4.5g is saturated.

Being naturally high in protein, Combat XL contains 32% of the RDI for calcium, which comes from the whey and casein. More on the protein sources in just a minute. There's also 4.7mg of iron, which amounts to 26% of the RDI for a 2,000 calorie diet.

Calories

Protein

Gluten Free

Carbs

Sugar

Fats

1270

50g

check-circle

252g

16g

7g

Making up the carbs and fats are maltodextrin, sweet potato powder, quinoa powder, chia seed powder, brown rice flour, flaxseed oil powder, and MCT oil (MCT oil  is derived from coconut).

Rounding off the nutrition facts are typical supplement sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium, an enzyme blend (for better digestion), and a combination of xanthan and cellulose gum, both of which thicken the powder and keep the ingredients from separating.

The Ingredients

In total, there are 4 kinds of protein inside Combat XL; whey concentrate, hydrolyzed whey, milk protein concentrate, and micellar casein. For those that aren't familiar, milk protein is around 80% casein and 20% whey, whereas hydrolyzed whey has had the lactose and fats removed, which speeds up absorption.

The greatest thing about the ingredients is the combination of proteins. Being a whey/casein blend, it is fit for consumption right after a workout to get a fast anabolic response, but also before bed, to promote weight gain throughout the night.

Another compelling feature is the blend of flaxseed oil and chia seeds, which are a great addition to regular maltodextrin. While maltodextrin sure is good for weight gain, it's not exactly nutrient packed.

Flaxseed oil, on the other hand, is naturally high in omega 3s, as are chia seeds, which are also loaded with antioxidants and fiber.

Image of muscle building supplements and workout equipment

Who Can Benefit From Drinking It?

Anyone looking to gain weight and add more calories to their diet can benefit from taking MusclePharm Combat XL. However, those who will benefit from it the most, are those who are hardgainers, and those who are physically active.

Regular exercise, especially resistance training, increases the number of calories that used as fuel and towards muscle growth, rather than being stored as body fat.

This is why we say that Combat XL is best for athletes and people who lift weights. Whether you want to look like a bodybuilder, or just reach a healthy body weight, it's more desirable to gain mostly lean mass than it is fat tissue.

By lifting weights, some of the excess calories are used towards creating new muscle tissue, which takes a lot of energy for the body to do. Although your body can use some of your fat mass to add muscle (“recomping”), it can grow much more efficiently if you create a calorie surplus.

As mass gainer powder such as Combat Xl is an excellent way to put your body in a calorie surplus. Just don't use it as a replacement for whole foods.

Usage Instructions

  • Shake the bag before first use and weekly after that, to make sure the powder is mixed properly
  • Add 4 scoops (332g) into 18-20 oz old cold water
  • Use milk for protein and a creamier shake, or stick with water for a milder drink.
  • Blend or shake vigorously, and enjoy
  • Repeat 1-3 times daily (we recommend just the once)

Best Time To Take

Here are some ideas of when to take it, and how it can help you gain weight:

Image of a clock face

With Breakfast

if you want to bulk up, but don't have enough time to prepare a high-calorie breakfast from scratch, use Combat XL to give your muscles a good feed that will last until lunch.

Pre-Workout

hit the weight harder by energizing yourself with 1000+ calories from your MusclePharm mass gainer.

Post-Workout

End your workout the right way, by nourishing your fatigued muscles with the right amount of carbs, protein, and calories they need to grow bigger.

Before Bed

Make up heavier by ending the day with a creamy high protein milkshake. As it is naturally high in casein protein, it is one of the best gainer to take before bed.

Why protein can work fine too, but for bedtime, it's just not as good as casein protein. With Combat Powder, you don't even have to think about making a separate casein shake because its already in the formula.

Out of the four usage occasions, we recommend using it after training, or before bed on rest days. If you plan on taking more than one serving per day, go ahead and keep one serving back for post-workout, and then make another when it's convenient for your schedule.

image of a woman going to sleep

Sizes, Servings, And Scoop

It is available in an 8 serving 6 lb tub or a 16 serving 12 lb bag.

Each serving size consists of 4 scoops with each scoop weighing around 83g each, which adds up to 332g in total.

The Available Flavors

As of our MusclePharm mass gainer review, it is available in 3 different flavors

  • Chocolate Milk
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Vanilla

How Does It Compare?

To see how MusclePharm stands up against some of the best, check out our comparison chart below. Or, for a comprehensive evaluation, click the link to view our highest ranking weight gain supplements of the year.

Brand

Our Rating

Best For

Calories

Servings

Price

Serious Mass

Beginners

1250

16

True Mass

Best tasting

700

16

Combat XL

Athletes

1270

16

Overall Review

Overall, MusclePharm Combat XL is a good mass gainer. It packs a lot of punch considering the simple ingredients in the formula.

With over 1200 calories, it is a sensible choice for those seeking to gain weight on a budget.

However, we feel that it does fall short in some areas. As far as flavor selection goes, there is not a lot of choices, and we prefer Serious Mass for this reason. It is also relatively high in cholesterol which is something to consider.

That said, carrying an Informed Choice certification adds a layer of trust to the ingredients, which makes it a sensible choice if you are new to the world of mass gainers or are an athlete.

We hope you enjoyed our MusclePharm Combat XL mass gainer review, and hopefully, it helps you to decide which brand to go for in the future.

MP Combat XL | Recommended For Athletes

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Jonathan Abbott
Jonathan Abbott
Jonathan is a long time fitness enthusiast who specializes in helping others reach their goals faster with the most up to date sports science. When he's not working, you'll find him challanging his body with heavy squats and deadlifts.