Healthy protein intake is an essential part of gaining strength and muscles, as well as muscle recovery. This is why protein powder supplements are so beneficial to athletes and strength trainers.
It can be difficult to determine which protein powders are actually effective and healthy when it comes to muscle gain. Luckily, though, we’ve compiled our list of the 11 best protein powders for muscle gain.
Let’s take a look at the highlighted features, benefits, and specs of these protein powders. You’ll get to examine the pros and cons of each.
We’ll discover which are most ideal for muscle gain and bulking up. We’ll also discuss how protein powders work and how to use them safely.
The 11 Best Protein Powders For Muscle Gain Currently Available
After going through the majority of the protein powders on the market, we’ve managed to put together a top 11 of the best protein powders for muscle gain.
Continue reading to find out which products we’ve included in this list. We’re starting with the top-rated option!
#1. Huge Whey
Out of all whey proteins we’ve tried, Huge Whey was by far the best. It not only tastes great; it also delivers a high amount of protein. You can choose from four delicious flavors – Cookie ; Cream, Vanilla Milkshake, Strawberry Cheesecake or Chocolate Peanut Butter.
The Chocolate Peanut Butter powder has more protein, calories, and fat per serving, which is something to keep in mind. With that said, it’s our top-rated option and we highly recommend checking it out by clicking here.
Features of Huge Whey Protein Powder:
This protein powder mainly gets its protein from whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. You can easily mix the powder with water or milk to consume it without worrying about chunks.
It’s a go-to if you want to work on your muscle gains without compromising flavor.
Benefits of Huge Whey Protein Powder:
It’s highly reviewed at Huge Supplements for being a delicious and smooth protein powder. Customers commonly use it post-workout as an effective protein boost.
- Has a great taste
- High protein content for muscle growth
- Low carbohydrates and fats
- Mixes smoothly into beverages
- Best bang for your buck
- Plenty of delicious flavor options
- Made in the USA
- Positive user feedback
- Contains allergens such as soy, dairy, and peanuts
- Only available on Huge Supplements website
#2. Kaged Muscle Isolate
The Kaged Micropure Whey Protein Isolate is a fast-digesting protein powder designed for men and women. It’s a clean, healthy, and high-quality supplement for building muscles both before and after workouts.
Features of Kaged Muscle Isolate Protein Powder:
This protein powder utilizes Prohydrolase Enzyme Technology and 100% whey protein isolate. You can easily mix the smooth powder with cold water or your beverage of choice. The cold-processed and filtered powder enhances muscle recovery and growth.
Benefits of Kaged Muscle Isolate Protein Powder:
This isolate protein powder specifically targets muscle gains and strength building.
- It’s third-party, scientifically tested
- 100% Whey Isolate Protein
- Rapid absorption rate
- Deliciously sweet milkshake taste
- ProHydrolase enzyme blend helps break down the optimal amount of whey protein
- It’s a 2019 Bodybuilding.com Awards Winner
- Low in fat and sugar content
- Expensive protein powder
- May not be ideal for the lactose intolerant since it does contain trace amounts of lactose
#3. Gold Standard Whey
Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder is specially designed for post-workout muscle recovery and support. It’s “The World’s Best-Selling Whey Protein Powder” and for good reason.
It comes in more than twenty delicious, high-quality flavors to supplement the diets and exercise regimens of healthy adults. You can also check out our in-depth review on Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard.
Features of Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder:
This powder easily mixes into cold water, milk, or other beverages by mixing, shaking, or blending for 30 seconds. Depending on the flavor, your protein powder may contain added lactase, sucralose, cocoa powder, soy, dairy, or artificial flavors.
Benefits of Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder:
Gold Standard protein powder has multiple benefits, including muscle gain, as well as nutrient intake. It blends very smoothly for a delicious protein beverage in various flavors.
Further, it works well to restore and support muscles in the first hour post-workout. This formula also has the advantage of being pre-filtered to reduce excess fat, lactose, and carbs.
- Has a higher content of certain nutrients than other protein powders (i.e. calcium, iron, potassium) depending on the flavor
- Banned substance tested
- Ideal for hitting protein macros
- Highly-rated for flavor and effectiveness among over 1,000 customers
- Contains artificial flavors
- Not as budget-friendly as others on this list
#4. Genius Protein Powder
Genius Natural Whole Food Protein Powder combines egg white protein isolate and whey protein isolate. This mixture provides both slow- and fast-digesting protein isolates for both men and women to bulk up on muscle.
This protein shake powder works best as a post-workout supplement to target lean mass, muscle recovery, and weight gain objectives.
Features of Genius Protein Powder:
This protein shake powder is third-party tested and made in an FDA-registered facility. It’s made in the USA and quality- and purity-tested for the cleanest formula.
It contains both the protein standard (whey) AND the ultimate whole protein (egg white). Genius Protein can be used post-workout or as a supplement for meal replacement shakes.
Benefits of Genius Protein Powder:
One key benefit of this protein powder is that it features different types of protein sources for a comprehensive supplement. It also:
- Helps to build and maintain lean muscle mass
- Curbs hunger
- Boosts satiety
- Supports endurance
- Supports muscle recovery
- Very natural (no preservatives, GMOs, or other additives)
- Backed by testing
- Limits digestive discomforts
- 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee
- Limited flavor options
- Higher sodium content
#5. Body Fortress Whey Protein
The Body Fortress Whey Protein Powder is one of the picks on our list with the highest protein content. It comes in several flavors, including Cookies N’ Cream, Banana Cream, Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla, and Strawberry.
For the sake of our review, we’ll look specifically at the popular Cookies N’ Cream flavor.
This mass-building supplement combines premium whey protein, amino acids, creatine, and natural BCAAs from protein. You can take it immediately post-workout or as needed daily to supplement protein needs.
Features of Body Fortress Whey Protein:
This protein powder is made for individuals already taking part in an intense daily exercise program. It’s also designed to be used in conjunction with a balanced diet and caloric intake. The 100% whey protein mixture is enhanced by the creatine and amino acid content. It works to boost muscle recovery and build lean muscle mass.
Benefits of Body Fortress Whey Protein:
Body Fortress whey protein is packed with high-quality whey protein to get maximum muscle gains. It’s America’s #1 Muscle and Strength Development Powder Brand, offering delicious protein supplements.
- Added potassium and calcium nutrients
- Rich in protein and other nutrients
- Uses only naturally occurring L-Tryptophan
- Targets both recovery and strength building
- Low in sugar and fat content
- Limited to adults (minimum 18 years) who aren’t pregnant, breastfeeding, or experiencing kidney disease
- High caloric and protein content may be tougher on digestion
- Not allergen-free
- Has added sugars and added ingredients
#6. Vital Performance Protein Powder
Vital Performance Protein Powder is a great, budget-friendly choice for those looking to bulk up on lactose-free milk protein isolate.
It’s an ideal protein powder for both post-workout muscle recovery and “anytime nutrition” to boost muscle gains. You can purchase this protein powder in one of four flavors: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and coffee.
Features of Vital Performance Protein Powder:
This protein powder contains bovine collagen peptides (10g) derived from pasture-raised, grass-fed bovine hide. It has the same casein: whey ratio that milk has (80:20).
Furthermore, Vital Performance Protein Powder is rich in amino acids, which help support protein digestion and synthesis in muscles.
Benefits of Vital Performance Protein Powder:
One huge benefit of this protein powder is the amino acid content, which facilitates better muscle gains. The bovine collagen content goes beyond the powers of regular protein powders by providing healthy bone, joint, and tendon support.
Additionally, you can boost your leucine content by taking extra daily protein powder.
- Ideal for lactose-intolerant individuals who still want protein supplements
- HDPE BPA-free
- Very few additives
- More protein per serving compared to other protein powders
- Not allergen-free (contains milk and tree nuts)
- Higher sugar content compared to other protein powders
- Small product (only 1.72 lbs. compared to other 5-lb protein powder jars)
#7. Naked Whey
Naked Whey protein powder is a high-quality choice that comes from small US dairy farms (California).
It combines clean protein, glutathione, and important amino acids so you can bulk up. You can choose from vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors to take your protein shakes to the next level.
Benefits of Naked Whey:
One huge benefit of this protein powder choice is that it’s all-natural and contains just three key ingredients. Since it’s cold-processed, it is protected from added synthetics, heavy metals, and chemicals.
Additionally, you get the added advantage of receiving 10% of the RDV of calcium in one serving of Naked Whey.
- Free of most common allergens
- Made in acid- and bleach-free processing environment
- Free of artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors
- There is an “unflavored” option (most protein powders don’t have this option)
- Dairy ingredients sourced from cows that naturally graze in open pastures (ethical and eco-friendly)
- Not budget-friendly (just under $95.00) for 5 lbs
- Limited flavor options
#8. Musclepharm Combat Protein
Musclepharm’s Combat Protein Powder is a 5-protein blend formula ideal for athletes. It combines both fast- and slow-digesting proteins for a powder you can use pre-workout, post-workout, or any time of day.
This is a great budget choice that doesn’t compromise quality or taste.
Features of Musclepharm Combat Protein:
This powder features 5 proteins – whey protein hydrolysate, whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, egg albumin, and milk protein concentrate.
It also contains added cocoa bean powder, potassiums, lactase, L-Leucine, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine, L-Glutamine, sucralose, inulin, protease, and salt.
The result is a protein supplement that enhances athletic performance and supports muscle recovery and growth. The smooth powder mixes well with water, milk, almond milk, smoothies, and more.
Benefits of Musclepharm Combat Protein:
This protein powder is specially designed to have long-lasting effects. The product has undergone rigorous testing and checking to ensure that it is clean and uncontaminated for athletes.
You also get a 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee for 30 days.
- Tested for banned substances
- Informed-Choice certified
- Maximizes lean muscle growth
- Low content of fats
- Free of fillers and undesirable ingredients
- Only comes in a few flavors (chocolate milk, vanilla, cookies ‘n’ cream)
- Not free of all allergens (contains soy, egg, milk and gets processed in a facility that also processes egg, tree nuts, wheat, fish, sesame, peanuts, crustaceans, and shellfish)
#9. Body Fortress Energy Protein
This Body Fortress Super Advanced Energy protein powder goes a step beyond the regular Body Fortress whey protein powder.
This mocha cappuccino flavored energy protein targets lean muscle mass, as well as energy boosts and mental focus.
Features of Body Fortress Energy Protein
This muscle-building and energy-boosting protein powder supplement features 100% whey protein and real coffee as the main ingredients. It’s a powder that easily mixes or blends into your favorite beverage.
Benefits of Body Fortress Energy Protein
One benefit of this protein powder is that it’s advantageous beyond the scope of your workouts. The energy-boosting properties may even help you eliminate the need for a morning cup of coffee.
Furthermore, you get 24-hour protein coverage to supplement your diet. Another perk is that it’s high in BCAAs that are essential to rapid protein absorption to quickly build lean muscles.
- Made in the USA
- Contains 100% high-quality whey product
- Low sodium content
- Replaces your daily caffeine content in a healthier format
- One serving doesn’t contain as much protein compared to other protein powders
- Slightly higher in calories compared to other protein powders
This naturally flavored ProJYM protein powder supplement is designed to maximize your healthy protein intake.
What sets this powder apart from competitors is its blend of multiple protein isolates for better muscle gains. It’s designed to supplement the diets of both men and women.
Features of ProJYM Protein Powder:
This powder features four protein isolates – whey protein isolate, micellar casein, egg white protein, and milk protein isolate.
It comes in a naturally flavored chocolate brownie flavor so you can enjoy the taste of bulking up. It mixes easily into water or milk to make a delicious on-the-fly protein shake.
Benefits of ProJYM Protein Powder:
The benefits of this protein powder supplement go beyond just supporting muscle growth and workout muscle recovery. It also supports a healthy, higher metabolism so that you can achieve fat loss.
Furthermore, you get the added benefit of using ProJYM to supplement some of the calcium and iron in your diet.
- Naturally delicious flavor
- Can be taken any time of day (pre- or post-workout, night, morning, or between meals)
- Uses a high-quality variety of protein sources
- Not the most budget-friendly (just under $60.00 for a 4lb-bottle)
- Higher in caloric content than other protein powders
#11. MuscleTech Grass Fed Whey
MuscleTech’s Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder combines 100% grass-fed dairy protein and essential amino acids. The result is a fast-digesting supplement that powers a healthy, energized lifestyle for active men and women.
It’s well-suited to busy professional individuals, as well as fitness fanatics and athletes. This is a great all-natural budget choice for those looking for impressive muscle gains.
Features of MuscleTech Grass Fed Whey:
This protein powder is meant to get consumed between meals or as a pre- or post-workout supplement. You can easily blend/shake it into juice, ice, fruit, or a healthy beverage to achieve a smooth shake.
It notably contains added content of calcium, potassium, and iron. You can purchase it in the Deluxe Vanilla or Triple Chocolate flavors.
Benefits of MuscleTech Grass Fed Whey:
By far the biggest benefits of MuscleTech Grass Fed Whey are the energy boosts and lean muscle gains. Another benefit is that you know you are consuming clean and natural healthy proteins.
- Free of artificial additives
- Supports healthy muscle gain
- Amino acids support rapid muscle recovery
- Limited flavor options
- Higher in carb content
- Not free of common food allergens (lecithin, etc.)
What Does Protein Powder Do?
Protein powder typically contains one or more protein sources, along with added flavors and nutrients. Commonly, they contain milk protein isolate, casein, whey protein isolate, and/or egg protein.
In some cases, it even contains plant-based proteins such as pea protein, hemp, or soy protein.
They’re also often combined with essential amino acids (BCAAs) that help your body to quickly digest and use the protein. Further, it provides an extra source of carbohydrates, which are fundamental in boosting energy and muscle growth.
It’s recommended that women get around 46g of protein daily, and men get around 56g of protein daily. However, it’s not always possible to get healthy protein eating meat, nuts, or other sources.
This is why protein powder supplements are so useful. They are meant to help individuals meet their necessary daily protein intake required to tone muscles. They’re often marketed for their ability to:
- Help muscles recover post-workout
- Build lean muscle mass
- Improve muscle strength and size
- Boost energy levels during and after performance
- Boost mental focus abilities
- Assist in weight loss
It works by providing a necessary amount of protein to the body. In turn, this fuels the production of essential hormones, enzymes, and other substances.
In terms of weight loss, protein powder assists in curbing hunger by making you feel more full. This is partly why it’s effective in terms of metabolic function.
It’s important to note that protein powders alone do not support muscle gains or improved strength. An individual has to also lead a healthy, active lifestyle in which they’re working towards fitness and dietary goals.
In fact, many fitness fanatics and professional athletes turn to protein supplements in order to balance their protein intake. It’s also incredibly effective at aiding smoother and faster recovery following strength-training workouts and intense exercise.
Occasionally, vegans and vegetarians will even turn to protein powders to supplement protein in their diets that don’t include meat.
Why Protein Powder Is Good for Muscle Growth
When you strength-train and exercise, your muscles tear. The process of recovery post-workout is when these muscles have the potential to grow stronger.
This is partly why protein powder supports muscle growth – the added protein boosts faster recovery. Having more protein, especially when taken after you exercise, helps to repair those important microtears to build muscle mass.
Protein powder also helps muscle growth because it prevents you from overeating meat and other proteins in order to bulk up.
While overeating carbs and protein-rich foods can lead to weight gain, protein powder offers a low-calorie alternative. This way, you funnel your energy into the production of muscle mass rather than fat mass.
Protein powder also contains a substance that is essential in the body’s muscle growth process – amino acids. Many protein powder supplements feature amino acids, such as BCAAs. These are the “building blocks” that aid muscle growth.
Additionally, they tend to boost energy levels, which indirectly helps you to build muscles more easily by aiding your workouts. By having more high-performance and high-endurance exercise abilities, you open up the door to increased muscle strength and growth.
You may not realize, but protein powders also often contain some calcium. Calcium, like protein, is also important in supporting your muscles. In fact, calcium supports healthy muscle contractions, which relaxes muscles to aid in recovery.
Calcium also contributes to a healthy beating heart. Both of these processes contribute to improved muscle performance and muscle growth in the long run.
Also consider checking out muscle building supplements. They’re natural products that can help with packing on size and strength.
How to Use Protein Powder the Right Way
As with any dietary supplement, you should be aware of the correct dosages and ways to use protein powders. The first thing to know is that you should always consult your doctor/medical professional before consuming these products.
Protein powders generally aren’t recommended for individuals under 18 years old or pregnant/breastfeeding individuals. It’s also possible for them to have ingredients/additives that could cause an allergic reaction or interfere with other medications.
Beyond this advice, though, you should also be aware of your dosage. Protein powder shouldn’t be used to replace medical treatment, regular meals, or other nutrients you need from food. It’s merely intended to get used as a dietary supplement.
It’s also possible to use too much protein powder in your diet. You shouldn’t exceed the recommended dose for your sex and caloric intake.
Additionally, there are a few tips to help you use protein powder the right way to get optimal benefits:
- Make sure to use it as a supplement in a well-balanced diet that also includes other healthy protein sources
- Make sure you are eating enough food on a daily basis while using protein powders
- Make sure to supplement protein powder use with healthy regular exercise (strength training, high-intensity workouts, etc.)
- Closely follow the directions on your protein powder’s label, paying attention to dosage, when to use it, and how often
- Take protein powder consistently to achieve better results (don’t skip days or stop using it after one week)
- Mix or blend protein powders into healthy drinks, such as water or low-fat milk
- Make sure you have a clean bill of health before deciding to try protein powders
By following these precautions and tips, you can make the most out of protein powder and its included ingredients.
Is Using Protein Powder Safe?
Like any supplement, it’s safe to use protein powder, but you must do so in moderation and follow all precautions. Protein powder isn’t a replacement for food, exercise, or medical treatment.
Therefore, you must be careful when using protein powders and only use those that are made with clean substances.
Protein powders also sometimes contain added substances, like artificial flavors, sweeteners, and dyes. These aren’t the most healthy and may cause a negative reaction in certain individuals. So, you need to read the label and watch out for those.
You should also watch out for any added calcium, iron, or potassium in protein powders. Too much of these in supplement form can affect your body’s bone health balance.
Furthermore, supplements sold online aren’t always approved by the FDA or other important regulators. You do run the risk of consuming harmful substances such as heavy metals, GMOs, banned substances, etc. Again, this is why a proper label check and check with your doctor are both essential.
If you don’t follow the directions and recommendations, you also run the risk of negatively affecting your health. Some people get carried away by the prospect of muscle gains and strength improvement.
They might end up taking too much or replacing meals with protein powder. As we know, this is not healthy. It actually deprives you of essential nutrients found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and meat, while providing too much protein.
FAQs About Protein Powders for Muscle Gain
What type of protein powder is the best for muscle gain?
You don’t necessarily need a specific protein powder for better muscle gain results. All types of protein powders are good and effective. However, some may be more suited to your individual needs.
For example, you might have food allergies, follow a vegan diet, or need a smaller protein dose. In your case, you should find a protein powder that caters to these needs. You also may opt for a fast-digesting protein powder if you know you have a slow metabolism.
How much protein powder per day?
Generally speaking, you should only take between 1-3 scoops of protein powder daily. Most companies that produce protein powder supplements only recommend two daily doses for between meals or around workouts. This typically amounts to no more than roughly 40g or 50g of total protein intake.
Are these protein powders for men and women?
Yes, the protein powders listed in this product guide are both safe and effective for men and women. Protein powder supplements aren’t gender-specific. However, women do generally require less overall daily protein intake.
Therefore, dosages may differ slightly between men and women. Also, it’s important to note that women shouldn’t take protein powders if they are currently pregnant or nursing.
How much will protein powder cost me?
This depends on the price of the protein powder tub, its quality, the weight, and how often you take it. Some protein supplements cost as little as just $20.00. Conversely, some are a great value deal because they contain 5 or more lbs of product for around $40.00.
However, other powders that are arguably higher-quality with natural ingredients. These may even cost close to $90.00 for less than 5 lbs of product. Furthermore, if you take the maximum dose daily, you’ll quickly run out of powder and ultimately spend more money.
What is the best liquid to mix with protein powder?
Generally, you want to mix protein powders with water or milk. You can substitute these with fruit or vegetables if you’re making a juice or smoothie. But remember that protein powders already usually have over 100 calories per serving.
By adding anything other than water, you have to keep track of those calories you’re adding into the mix. Further, remember that most protein powder supplements are already flavored, so they might only mix well with certain beverages.
Can you mix creatine with protein powder?
Yes, you can mix creatine with protein powder supplements. It may even improve the benefits you get from your protein shake. Keep in mind, though, that some protein powders already contain added creatine.
Therefore, you need to stick to the recommended daily dose of this substance to be on the safe side. Also, keep in mind that other added ingredients may react negatively with creatine.
How long does protein powder last for?
In terms of using protein powder, the effects may last for 24 hours, or they might just last a half-day. Depending on the product you’re using, it will have different intensity/effects.
But when it comes to shelf life, most protein powders last between 10 and 20 months.
Those with little to no added preservatives or artificial substances probably won’t last as long as those with additives. If you use expired protein powders, you run the risk of bacterial growth. (This can be prevented by keeping it airtight and in a cool, dry location.)
Protein powders are supplements that combine different types of protein isolates, amino acids, and other nutrients. These substances are often used by athletes and individuals seeking muscle gains and improved strength.
They work in part by facilitating protein and carbs to your muscles, and partly by improving your energy and workout performance. This allows you to perform at a high level, while the protein facilitates faster muscle recovery, leading to growth.
Hopefully, our list of the top 11 best protein powders for muscle gain has given you some solid options. They each differ in their protein content, additives, and ingredients. However, they each are healthy and designed optimally for muscle gains and/or weight loss.
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