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Best Protein Powders for Muscle Gain for Men, Women, Beginners, and More

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You may benefit from adding a high-quality protein powder to your routine if you’re lifting heavy, eating well, getting plenty of sleep, and still struggling to pack on muscle mass. Eating enough protein is essential for gaining muscle, and it can be hard to consume the amount needed to maximize muscle protein synthesis through food alone. Luckily, protein…
The post Best Protein Powders for Muscle Gain for Men, Women, Beginners, and More appeared first on Breaking Muscle.

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You may benefit from adding a high-quality protein powder to your routine if you’re lifting heavy, eating well, getting plenty of sleep, and still struggling to pack on muscle mass. Eating enough protein is essential for gaining muscle, and it can be hard to consume the amount needed to maximize muscle protein synthesis through food alone. Luckily, protein powder provides a convenient way to boost your protein intake and feed your muscles.

In this review, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 best protein powders for muscle gain. We’ve considered everything from the protein source, macronutrient ratios, amino acid profile, cost, and brand reputation to help you find a protein powder that will give your muscles what they need to grow.

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.

Our Top Picks for the Best Protein Powder for Muscle Gain

Best Protein Powder for Muscle Gain for Men: Crazy Nutrition Tri-Protein


Crazy Nutrition 100% Tri-Protein

  • Protein type: Whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, and micellar casein
  • Number of servings: 33
  • Cost per serving: $2.12
  • Calories per serving: 108 to 110, depending on flavor
  • Protein per serving: 23 to 25 grams, depending on flavor
  • Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Salted Caramel 
  • Third-party tested: No


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Pros

  • Includes fast and slow absorbing protein sources 
  • Includes 23 to 25 grams of protein per serving
  • Only one to two grams of carbs and less than one gram of fat 
  • Added digestive enzymes

Cons

  • Includes artificial sweeteners
  • More expensive than other protein powders
  • Not third-party tested

Crazy Nutrition’s Tri-Protein is made with four protein sources to provide you with prolonged energy, which can help men with busy lifestyles power through their workouts, and increased muscle-building potential. The product aims to help you put on lean mass, improve muscle recovery after a workout, increase satiety, and boost metabolism.

Each two-scoop serving contains 108 to 110 calories, depending on the flavor you choose. The bulk of these calories come from a blend of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, and micellar casein to provide an impressive 23 to 25 grams of protein.

These four premium protein sources are absorbed at different intervals, meaning your muscles get a quick supply of amino acids after consumption and then continue to absorb amino acids for hours after. Whey protein isolate rapidly increases blood amino acid levels for up to three hours. The micellar casein is more slowly absorbed and increases blood amino acid levels for up to seven hours. (1)

Tri-Protein includes only one to two grams of carbs and less than one gram of fat per serving. You can increase your protein intake for muscle building without increasing other macros you already consuming enough of through food.

For some, protein powders are difficult to digest, leading to gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. Tri-Protein is formulated with digestive enzymes to help break down nutrients and aid in digestion to reduce uncomfortable side effects.

This protein powder is available in Chocolate, Vanilla, and Salted Caramel flavors, all of which are sweetened with sucralose. The safety of sucralose has been extensively researched and evaluated by regulatory agencies, and it is approved for use in foods and beverages as a non-caloric sweetener. (2

Regarding taste, customer reviews on the Crazy Nutrition website are strikingly positive. One verified buyer says, “Great taste and easy to shake and go.” Another customer says, “Tastes like a dessert. Nice and thick, but not too thick. I like to drink it at night to help curb my hunger cravings. Mixes well without clumping.”

At over $2.00 per serving, this protein powder is more expensive than others on the market. However, the combination of fast and slow absorbing protein sources along with the added digestive enzymes may make it worth the investment for men wanting to gain muscle.

Best Tasting Protein Powder for Muscle Gain: XWERKS Grow


XWERKS Grow

Protein type: Whey protein isolate

Number of servings: 30

Cost: $1.97 per serving

Calories per serving: 110

Protein per serving: 23 to 25 grams

Flavors: Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Strawberry, Vanilla

Third-party tested: No


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Pros

  • Offers 25 grams of high-quality whey protein isolate per serving 
  • Only zero to two grams of fat and carbs, depending on the flavor you choose
  • Made with minimal ingredients and no artificial sweeteners or flavoring

Cons

  • Not third-party tested
  • More costly than some other options

XWERKS Grow is carefully crafted with a focus on simplicity, effectiveness, and great-tasting flavor. It’s made with minimal ingredients and completely free of artificial sweeteners and flavoring.

Each one-scoop serving contains 25 grams of whey protein isolate protein and six grams of quality branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Of particular significance is leucine, a BCAA abundantly present in whey protein, which plays a vital role in activating muscle protein synthesis. (3) XWERKS Grow contains 2,506 milligrams of leucine, which is well within the 1,700- to 3,000-milligram range recommended to maximize the anaerobic response of muscle. (4)

Grow contains only zero to two grams of fat and carbs per serving, depending on the flavor you purchase, so you’re not getting a lot of extra calories from these nutrients. 
XWERKS Grow is available in Chocolate, Vanilla, Peanut Butter, and Strawberry flavors.

Customer reviews on the XWERKS website rave about this product’s taste and consistency. One customer who purchased the vanilla flavor says, “Tastes exactly like vanilla ice cream. Very easy to digest as well.” Another customer shares, “Creamy texture, easily digestible and delicious taste are just a few of the reasons why I like this product.”

XWERKS Grow Protein Powder does not undergo third-party testing for quality and purity, which could be a deal breaker for consumers who prioritize knowing exactly what’s in their supplements. 

The product is more costly per serving compared to other protein powders, but its minimal ingredients, quality protein, and mouthwatering taste may make it worth the extra spending for some.

Overall, XWERKS Grow Protein Powder’s grass-fed whey protein isolate, ideal macronutrient breakdown, and great taste makes it a solid option for athletes seeking an effective protein powder for muscle growth.

RELATED: Best Whey Protein Powders for Packing on Muscle

Best Whey Protein Powder for Muscle Gain: Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate


Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

  • Protein type: Whey protein isolate
  • Number of servings: 30
  • Cost: $2.00 per serving
  • Calories per serving: 120 to 150
  • Protein per serving: 28 grams
  • Flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon French Toast, French Vanilla, Milk Chocolate, Mocha, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie, Strawberry, Unflavored, Vanilla Peanut Butter
  • Third-party tested: Yes, by independent labs


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Pros

  • Boasts 28 grams of high-quality whey protein isolate per serving
  • All natural ingredients
  • Only one gram of carbs, no added sugar, and no fat
  • Third-party tested 
  • 11 flavors that customers love

Cons

  • The price per serving is a little on the higher side

Transparent Labs focuses on simple ingredients free from artificial additives, fillers, and harmful substances. Since it’s made with only whey protein isolate, natural flavors, sodium chloride, and stevia, you can feel good knowing what you’re consuming in this gluten-free product.

This protein powder includes an impressive 28 grams of protein per one-scoop serving. Whey protein isolate is more filtered than whey concentrate, meaning more fat and carbohydrate have been removed, resulting in a higher protein product containing at least 90% protein. (5) Whey protein isolate is a quality protein source for weightlifters wanting to gain muscle.

It’s ideal to find a protein powder that will increase your protein intake without extra fat and carbs, especially if you track your macros meticulously. Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate includes only one gram of carbs, no added sugars, and no fat, so you get the protein you need to build lean mass.

When it comes to flavors, this product doesn’t disappoint. With 11 flavors to choose from, including Milk Chocolate, Mocha, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, you’ll never get bored eating the same old for months on end. Regarding taste, customer reviews on the Transparent Labs website are overwhelmingly positive. One customer says, “I’ve only had two flavors, strawberry and dark chocolate. Both tasted and mixed very well.” Another writes, “Great tasting, clean protein powder! I’ve tried a few different protein powders and returned some after the first try. I finally found one that tastes good and doesn’t contain sucralose.”

All Transparent Labs supplements are third-party tested, which is a huge pro for competitive athletes who prioritize label transparency.

The price per serving is higher compared to other competitors. However, customers often find the whey protein isolate, minimal ingredients, and great taste of this protein powder worth spending a little more.

Best Lean Protein Powder for Muscle Gain: Legion Whey+


Legion Whey+

  • Protein type: Whey isolate
  • Number of servings: 30 to 78
  • Cost per serving: $1.54 to $2.00
  • Calories per serving: 100 to 130
  • Protein per serving: 21 to 24 grams
  • Flavors: Apple Pie, Banana Bread, Cinnamon Cereal, Dutch Chocolate, Birthday Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cocoa Cereal, Cookies & Cream, French Vanilla, Fruity Cereal, Honey Cereal, Mocha Cappucino, Pumpkin Pie, Salted Caramel, Strawberry Banana, Unflavored
  • Third-party tested: Labdoor


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Pros

  • Includes 21 to 23 grams of high-quality whey protein isolate per serving
  • Only one gram of fat and no added sugar 
  • Third-party tested 
  • 17 delicious flavors

Cons

  • The price per serving is a little on the higher side
  • Made with maltodextrin

Legion Whey Protein is known for its high-quality ingredients and transparency in its formulation. Each one-scoop serving contains only 100 to 130 calories, making it a suitable choice for athletes wanting to gain muscle while staying lean.

This protein powder contains 23 grams of whey protein isolate as the primary protein source. Whey protein isolate is a fast-absorbing and highly bioavailable form of protein. (5) This means amino acids are available for muscle building and repair rapidly following consumption, making whey isolate a great choice for a post-workout shake.

Legion Whey Protein is low in carbs and fat, with only four grams and one gram, respectively. The four grams of carbs come from highly processed maltodextrin. Maltodextrin provides a rapid source of energy, which is great for powering through a workout but can spike blood sugar if over-consumed.

Legion Whey Protein is available in 17 unique flavors, including Fruity Cereal, Birthday Cake, and Cocoa Cereal. Each flavor is sweetened with stevia, a natural sweetener. Based on customer reviews on the Legion website, it’s safe to say this protein gets an A+ when it comes to taste. One happy customer says, “I got the Dutch chocolate flavor, and out of all the other protein powders I have used, this one is the best by far!” Another says, “Smooth, tastes great, causes no stomach issues. Glad I gave Legion a try. Will definitely buy more in the future.”

The product is third-party tested, meaning it’s been analyzed for purity and potency by an accredited lab. This builds trust with customers who value transparency and knowing their supplements contain safe and effective ingredients.

At $2.00 per serving, this protein powder is relatively higher in price compared to some other protein supplements on the market. But if you’re looking for a protein powder made with whey protein isolate and low in carbs and fat to stay lean while gaining muscle, Legion Whey Protein may be worth a shot.

Best Protein Powder for Muscle Gain for Beginners: Jacked Factory Authentic Iso


Jacked Factory Authentic ISO

  • Protein type: Whey isolate
  • Number of servings: 30
  • Cost per serving: $1.20 to $1.33
  • Calories per serving: 110 to 130
  • Protein per serving: 25 grams, depending on the flavor
  • Flavors: Cookies & Cream, Unflavored (if you buy from Amazon)
  • Third-party tested: No


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Pros

  • Includes 25 grams of high-quality whey protein isolate per serving
  • Only 0.5 grams of fat and one gram of carbs
  • Affordable cost per serving 
  • Minimal ingredients

Cons

  • Includes sucralose, an artificial sweetener
  • Not third-party tested

If you’re new to building muscle, you may be looking for an affordable protein powder to help get you started. Jacked Factory Authentic Iso is budget-friendly, made with high-quality whey protein isolate, and made with minimal ingredients.

Each one-scoop serving contains 110 calories and 25 grams of protein, well within the recommended 20 to 40 grams necessary for optimal muscle protein synthesis. (6) Whey protein isolate is absorbed quickly to support the repair of lean muscle, making it ideal for recovery after an intense training session. (5)

Authentic Iso includes only 0.5 grams of fat and 1 gram of carbs. It’s almost all protein without any extra calories from other macronutrients. 

Some protein powders taste chalky, but Jacked Factory Authentic Iso is not one of them. Choose from seven flavors, including Blueberry Muffin, Cinnamon French Toast, and Cookies & Cream. Customer reviews on the Jacked Factory website frequently mention the product’s great taste. One customer says, “Love this ISO! Not loaded with unnecessary ingredients, mixes well, and all the flavors taste great.” Another says, “Mixes easily, tastes great, and perfect macro ratio.”

Authentic Iso is not third-party tested, which could disappoint consumers who value brand transparency and knowing that what’s on the label is what’s in the product.

At well under $2.00 per serving, this is one of the more affordable protein powders on our list. For whey protein isolate, a high protein content, and appetizing flavors, you might consider it a steal.

Best Protein Powder for Muscle Gain and Fat Loss: Myprotein Impact Whey Protein


Myprotein Impact Whey Protein Powder

  • Protein type: Whey protein concentrate
  • Number of servings: 10 to 200
  • Cost: $0.95 to $1.30 per serving
  • Calories per serving: 100
  • Protein per serving: 19 grams
  • Flavors: Birthday Cake, Chocolate, Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Smooth, Chocolate Stevia, Cinnamon Cereal, Fruity Cereal, Marshmallow Cereal, Mocha, Salted Caramel, Strawberry Cream, Unflavored, Vanilla, Vanilla Stevia, White Chocolate Peppermint
  • Third-party tested: No


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Pros

  • Includes 19 grams of high-quality whey protein concentrate per serving
  • Only one gram of fat and three grams of carbs
  • Available in 18 mouthwatering flavors
  • Most affordable cost per serving on our list

Cons

  • Includes sucralose and Ace-K, artificial sweeteners
  • Not third-party tested

Myprotein Impact Whey Protein is known for its affordability, many flavors, and low fat and carb content.

Each one-scoop serving includes 19 grams of whey protein concentrate. Whey protein concentrate has a higher lactose and fat content than whey protein isolate, but you’d never know it considering this product still only has one gram of fat and three grams of carbs. This makes it a solid choice for those who want to gain lean muscle without overdoing it on calories. Myprotein claims this product delivers over 80 percent protein and 4.5 grams of branched-chain amino acids per scoop.

With such a low fat content and only 100 calories, you get a super lean source of protein for muscle building and recovery.

In addition to whey protein concentrate, Impact Whey protein is made with natural and artificial flavors and sweeteners. Sucralose and Ace-K are artificial non-calorie sweeteners included in the formulation to avoid adding sugar with extra calories. Although artificial sweeteners remain controversial, these are both approved by the FDA and regarded as safe for consumption in food. (7)

With 18 different flavors to choose from, you can mix it up with each new order. What do customer reviews on the Myprotein website say about taste? One customer says, “Very great macros and flavor. Mixes well and overall a great protein for the price.” And this verified customer says, “I have tried so many other protein powders and they leave an aftertaste. My trainer recommended your product and now I look forward to making my protein shakes.”

Impact Whey Protein is not third-party tested, which could be concerning for athletes who undergo drug testing for banned substances.

One major draw to this protein powder is its modest cost. The 2.2-pound bag with 40 servings costs only $1.12 per serving. As if that’s not good enough, Myprotein offers periodic discounts of up to 50% off. As of this writing, a 2.2-pound bag was 30 percent off, putting each serving at only 80 cents per serving.

Overall, Myprotein Impact Whey Protein provides a convenient and cost-effective way to meet daily protein needs and support lean muscle growth.

Best Protein Powder for Muscle Gain with Creatine: Kaged Re-Kaged


Kaged Re-Kaged

  • Number of servings: 20
  • Cost per serving: $2.25
  • Protein per serving: 28 grams 
  • Flavors: Iced Lemon Cake, Orange Kream, Strawberry Lemonade
  • Third-party tested: Informed Choice Certified


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Pros

  • Boasts 28 grams of high-quality whey protein isolate per serving
  • Only one gram of fat and three grams of carbs
  • Includes creatine HCl for enhanced power and strength
  • Includes glutamine for tissue repair and recovery

Cons

  • More expensive cost per serving than other options
  • Not many flavors to choose from 
  • Fewer servings per container than other protein powders

Kaged Re-Kaged is formulated with ingredients to enhance your workout and accelerate your recovery so you can successfully gain more muscle. 

Re-Kaged is high in whey protein isolate, with 28 grams per serving. Whey protein isolate provides a complete amino acid profile, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids the body can’t produce on its own. It is rapidly absorbed and a suitable choice for post-workout recovery due to the quick availability of amino acids provided. (5)

Each one-scoop serving includes 140 calories, mostly from protein. With only one gram of fat and two grams of carbs, you can beef up your protein intake without inflating your other macros.

Perhaps the best part of this product is that it’s formulated with added glutamine and high-quality creatine.

Glutamine is an amino acid that supports muscle repair and can reduce muscle soreness and aid in recovery. (8)

Creatine is known for its ability to help improve muscular strength and provide energy during a workout. Creatine hydrochloride (HCl) isn’t as well researched as creatine monohydrate, which is most common in supplements. However, some believe it has a superior absorption rate. One study showed that weightlifters taking creatine HCl lost fat and gained muscle mass, while those taking creatine monohydrate didn’t experience changes in body composition. (9) Both groups saw improvements in strength. While these results sway positively towards creatine HCl, more research is needed.

Even more, this product includes digestive enzymes to help break down nutrients. Some find this helps them digest the protein powder without abdominal pain and bloating. 

Pertaining to taste, customer reviews on the Kaged website are positive. Overall, they approve of the three unique flavors available. One customer says, “Mixes well and tastes great.” Another customer writes, “Tastes wonderful and delivers as promised. Recovering faster after workouts and getting the proper things my muscles need post-workout!”

With the added creatine and glutamine, it’s no surprise this product is on the more expensive side, but it could save you money if you’re not buying other supplements separately.

If you’re looking for a protein powder that includes creatine for extra strength and explosive power during your workout, this could be the product for you.

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Muscle Gain: Orgain Organic Powder


Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder

  • Protein type: Pea protein, brown rice protein, chia seed protein
  • Number of servings: 10 to 20
  • Cost: $1.23 to $1.69 per serving
  • Calories per serving: 140 to 190
  • Protein per serving: 21 grams
  • Flavors: Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies ‘n Cream, Creamy Chocolate Fudge, Iced Coffee, Natural Unsweetened, Peanut Butter, Strawberries & Cream, Vanilla Bean
  • Third-party tested: No


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Pros

  • Complete plant-based amino acid profile 
  • 10 flavors to choose from 
  • Affordable price per serving
  • Certified USDA Organic

Cons

  • Not third-party tested
  • Higher in carbs and fat than other options
  • Not as many servings per container compared to others with 30+ servings

Orgain Organic Protein is a popular choice for those seeking a vegan protein powder with all the amino acids needed for gaining muscle. Made with certified organic ingredients, and free of artificial flavors and sweeteners, you can feel good about the ingredients you’re consuming.

Orgain Organic Protein is made with a blend of peas, brown rice, and chia seeds, which provide 21 grams of plant-based protein. Individually, these sources lack one or more essential amino acids. However, when consumed together, they provide the complete amino acid profile, which is optimal for gaining muscle.

Plant-based protein powders may contain a higher carb content than those with protein derived from cow’s milk (whey and casein protein). This protein powder provides 15 grams of carbs and four grams of fat per two–scoop serving, leading to a slightly higher calorie count.

I’m personally a fan of this product and approve of the Creamy Chocolate Fudge flavor. It’s rich and smooth, not too sweet, and mixes well in a shaker bottle. I’m not the only one who approves. A customer who left a review on the Orgain website says, “Strawberry protein is yummy. Tastes like a creamy strawberry shake! Best vegan protein!”

Orgain performs in-house testing for arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead. Heavy metals occur naturally in soil and can be absorbed into the plant fibers. Orgain ensures customers that its plant-based products do not contain harmful amounts of these metals.

At well under $2.00 per serving, Orgain Organic Protein is more affordable than several other options on our list. Overall, it’s the best organic protein powder for muscle gain, with a complete amino acid profile and great taste.

RELATED: Plant-Based Versus Whey for Athletes

Best Plant-Based Protein Powder for Muscle Gain: Onnit Plant-Based Protein


Onnit Plant-Based Protein

  • Protein type: Pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, sunflower seed protein, watermelon seed protein 
  • Number of servings: 20
  • Cost per serving: $2.25
  • Calories per serving: 100
  • Protein per serving: 20 grams
  • Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla
  • Third-party tested: Yes


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Pros

  • Complete plant-based amino acid profile 
  • Added leucine, a BCAA that helps activate muscle protein synthesis
  • Third-party tested

Cons

  • Only available in two flavors
  • Not as many servings per container compared to others with 30+ servings
  • More expensive than other options

Onnit Plant-Based Protein is made with a unique combination of plant-based protein sources to provide a powerful supplement to help you meet your protein intake and gain muscle.

Each one-scoop serving includes 20 grams of protein. The blend of pea protein and pumpkin, sunflower, and watermelon seeds provides a complete amino acid profile to support muscle recovery and growth. Most plant protein powders have less leucine, a BCAA that helps activate muscle protein synthesis, than whey protein powders. (3) Onnit goes the extra mile to add this important BCAA to its plant-based protein to enhance your muscle-building potential.

Onnit Plant-Based Protein includes minimal fat and carbs with one and three grams, respectively. The fat content comes from avocado powder, which provides a small amount of healthy fats and improves flavor.

Onnit keeps it simple with only two basic flavors to choose from — chocolate and vanilla. The supplement is sweetened with stevia and monk fruit extract. Customers who leave reviews on the Onnit website generally approve of the product’s taste. One customer says, “This is the best plant-based protein I’ve tried so far. Flavor is great and I always feel great after using it.” Another satisfied customer writes, “This is one of the best-tasting vegan protein powders I’ve ever tried! I don’t think I’ve ever had another plant-based protein powder that I actually ENJOYED just mixed with water.”

This plant-based protein is third-party tested by Informed Sport for banned substances, giving customers peace of mind that there are no hidden ingredients in their supplement.

At $2.25 per serving, this product is more expensive than most other protein powders on our list. With all nine essential amino acids, added leucine for muscle building, and customer-approved taste, it could be well worth it for vegetarian athletes.

Best Protein Powder for Muscle Gain for Women: Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake


Ritual Daily Shake Pregnancy & Postpartum

  • Protein type: Pea
  • Number of servings: 15
  • Cost: $2.67 per serving
  • Calories per serving: 115
  • Protein per serving: 20 g
  • Flavors: Vanilla
  • Third-party tested: Informed Sport


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Pros

  • 20 grams of plant-based protein to maximize muscle protein synthesis 
  • Added methionine, an essential amino acid that other plant-based proteins lack
  • Added choline, a vital nutrient that supports brain and liver function 
  • Third-party tested

Cons

  • Only available in vanilla
  • Not as many servings per container compared to others with 30+ servings
  • More expensive than other options

Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake is a plant-based supplement with added amino acids and nutrients that support muscle building, lipid metabolism (the breakdown of fats), and improved memory and mood. It also contains choline, a vital nutrient your body needs to function properly. Women who are pregnant or expecting to become pregnant may need increased choline to support the development of their growing baby’s brain and spinal cord. In individuals who are not pregnant, it may help reduce the risk of fatty liver disease and boost brain function. (10)

Each one-scoop serving includes 20 grams of pea protein, a sufficient amount to promote muscle protein synthesis. Pea protein contains all nine essential amino acids but is low in methionine. Ritual added methionine to its Essential Protein to improve its muscle-building capabilities.

In addition to its protein content, Ritual Essential Protein includes two grams of fat and three grams of carbs (all from fiber). With minimal carbs and fat, you can provide your muscles with the protein they need to grow without extra calories from other macronutrients you eat enough of through your diet. 

This protein powder is only available in a vanilla flavor, but based on customer reviews, that doesn’t seem to dissuade consumers from loving it. It’s sweetened with monk fruit and fermented sugarcane to help it taste great. One customer review on Amazon says, “I am very satisfied with this protein powder. Excellent product. Tastes good and blends well.” Another customer writes, “This is the best tasting plant protein I’ve ever tasted”.

Ritual Essential Protein is third-party tested by Informed Sport. The product has been rigorously tested for over 250 banned substances, including stimulants, narcotics, and diuretics.

At $2.67 per serving, this is the most expensive protein powder on our list. But if you’re looking for a vegan protein powder with added methionine and choline that can compete with whey to help you build lean muscle, the extra spending could be justified.

How We Chose the Best Protein Powders for Muscle Gain

With so many protein powders on the market, we took several factors into careful consideration when choosing the best protein powders for muscle gain. We understand everyone has different dietary needs, budgets, and flavor preferences, so we ensured our choices were diversified yet effective.

On our list, you’ll only find protein powders with quality protein sources, a complete amino acid profile (meaning they contain the nine essential amino acids the body needs to function properly), and optimal macronutrients to support your muscle-gaining goals. Not only that, you’ll find protein powders with simple, minimal ingredients and those with added ingredients for muscle recovery and repair, so you can choose the type of product that suits your personal needs and values.

How Can Protein Powder Help You Build Muscle?

Protein powder can contribute to muscle growth for several reasons. First and foremost, an increased protein intake will provide your muscles with the amino acids they need to repair and build lean muscle mass. Protein powders offer a simple way to reach your increased protein needs. 

High-quality protein powders made with whey, casein, pea, or soy protein are complete proteins, meaning they include all nine essential amino acids vital for muscle protein synthesis. Protein powder offers a convenient source of these building blocks of muscle tissue.

Additionally, protein powder provides an efficient way to increase your caloric intake, especially if you struggle to eat enough protein from food alone. These calories could help you remain in a small caloric surplus for muscle gains.

Although protein powder can be used as a tool to increase muscle mass, it’s not meant to be used as a meal replacement. Use protein powder as a supplement, and consume lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables to ensure you get enough vitamins and minerals from food.

How Much Protein Powder Should You Take When Trying to Build Muscle?

The current recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein for adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight daily. However, protein needs vary depending on activity intensity and fitness goals. Those trying to gain muscle will likely need to increase their protein intake.

An intake of 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily is recommended for weightlifters wanting to gain muscle. (12) To put this into perspective, someone who weighs 150 pounds would want to consume 81 to 116 grams of protein daily. That’s a lot of protein and may be difficult to consume through food alone. A protein powder can help you meet your protein intake goals.

Meet with a registered dietitian who specializes in sports nutrition for more personalized protein intake recommendations that align with your activity level.

RELATED: Like to Lift? Consume More Protein

What To Look For When Buying a Protein Powder for Muscle Gain

When it comes to gaining muscle, you’ll likely want a quality protein supplement to help you meet your increased protein needs. Here are some tips to help you choose the best protein powder for maximum muscle gains.

Calories

To gain muscle, aim to be in a slight caloric surplus. Experts recommend increasing your calorie intake by 10 to 20 percent above the calories you normally consume to maintain your weight. (11) Look for protein powders with 100 to 150 calories per serving. Aim to meet the majority of your calorie needs by eating a balanced diet containing lean protein (poultry, lean cuts of beef, white fish), healthy fats (seeds, nuts, olive oil), and complex carbs (carbs that are slower digesting, like whole grains).

Macronutrient Profile

Look for a protein powder high in protein with low amounts of carbs and fat. Protein powders with 20 to 40 grams of protein per serving are ideal, as this is the recommended amount of protein for athletes to consume at each meal to maximize muscle protein synthesis. (6)

Carbs and fat are still important, so be sure to eat whole-food sources of these macronutrients to provide the energy you need to power through an intense training session.

Flavors

Since you’ll likely be taking your protein powder daily, or at least on training days, you’ll want to choose a flavor that you won’t get tired of quickly. Look for protein powders that are naturally sweetened with stevia or monk fruit. Consider protein powders with several flavors you can alternate between.

Mix with peanut butter, berries, yogurt, or oats in a smoothie to meet your increased calorie needs with nutrient-dense foods that boost your supplement’s flavor.

Price

Most protein powders cost between $1.00 to $2.50 per serving. Anything under $2.00 is considered a more affordable option. Consider the ingredients list, flavor, protein content, and protein quality when deciding how much you’re willing to spend on your protein powder. There are plenty of affordable and effective protein powders to choose from, but they may lack added ingredients that support muscle growth and have a lower protein content than more expensive products.

Final Thoughts

Protein powder can be a convenient supplement to help you increase muscle growth when combined with a well-balanced diet and resistance training program. To find the best protein powder for muscle gain, look for a product with a high protein content, rich amino acid profile, and quality ingredients.

Incorporating a protein powder into your routine could help you meet your increased protein and calorie needs to promote optimal muscle growth. By strategically combining protein powder with a healthy lifestyle, you can enhance your muscle-gaining journey and work towards achieving your fitness goals.

FAQs

What type of protein powder is best for muscle gain?

We recommend Crazy Nutrition’s Tri-Protein for muscle gain. This protein powder is made with four protein sources (whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, and micellar casein) absorbed in different phases to provide you with long-lasting energy and increased muscle-building potential.

Does protein powder really help build muscle?

Protein powder can help you gain muscle when combined with a balanced diet, resistance training, and quality sleep. Protein is important for muscle repair and growth, and protein powder provides a quick and concentrated source of protein to support your muscle-building goals.

What is the best protein for building muscle and burning fat?

We recommend MyProtein Impact Whey Protein to promote muscle growth and fat loss. Protein powder does not burn fat, but it can help build muscle and increase metabolism to aid in fat loss.

What protein do bodybuilders eat?

Bodybuilders consume high-quality protein powders made with whey, casein, or plant-based protein. They choose protein powders that include a complete amino acid profile to boost muscle growth and recovery.

Is whey protein best for muscle gain?

Whey protein is thought to be one of the best protein sources for gaining muscle because of its high protein content, rapid absorption, and essential amino acid content. Because the body can rapidly absorb it, whey protein can deliver amino acids to muscles quickly to promote muscle protein synthesis. However, dietary needs and preferences vary, and casein, soy, and pea protein are also effective protein sources.

Research

  1. Antonio J, Ellerbroek A, Peacock C, Silver T. Casein Protein Supplementation in Trained Men and Women: Morning versus Evening. Int J Exerc Sci. 2017;10(3):479-486. Published 2017 May 1.
  2. Magnuson BA, Roberts A, Nestmann ER. Critical review of the current literature on the safety of sucralose. Food Chem Toxicol. 2017;106(Pt A):324-355. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2017.05.047
  3. Tang JE, Moore DR, Kujbida GW, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009;107(3):987-992. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00076.2009
  4. Mitchell WK, Wilkinson DJ, Phillips BE, Lund JN, Smith K, Atherton PJ. Human Skeletal Muscle Protein Metabolism Responses to Amino Acid Nutrition. Adv Nutr. 2016;7(4):828S-38S. Published 2016 Jul 15. doi:10.3945/an.115.011650
  5. Madureira AR, Pereira CL., Gomes AMP, Pintado ME, Xavier Malcata F. Bovine whey proteins – Overview on their main biological properties. Food Res Int. 2007;40(10):1197-1211. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2007.07.005
  6. Jäger R, Kerksick CM, Campbell BI, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:20. Published 2017 Jun 20. doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8
  7. Aspartame and other Sweeteners in Food. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Updated July 14, 2023. Accessed July 23, 2023.
  8. Legault Z, Bagnall N, Kimmerly DS. The Influence of Oral L-Glutamine Supplementation on Muscle Strength Recovery and Soreness Following Unilateral Knee Extension Eccentric Exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2015;25(5):417-426. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2014-0209 
  9. Elias de França, Bruno A, Caroline Y, et al. Creatine HCl and Creatine Monohydrate Improve Strength but Only Creatine HCl Induced Changes on Body Composition in Recreational Weightlifters. Food and Nutrition Sciences,06,1624-1630. doi: 10.4236/fns.2015.617167
  10. Choline. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-Consumer/. Updated June 2, 2022. Accessed July 24, 2023. 
  11. Iraki J, Fitschen P, Espinar S, Helms E. Nutrition Recommendations for Bodybuilders in the Off-Season: A Narrative Review. Sports (Basel). 2019;7(7):154. Published 2019 Jun 26. doi:10.3390/sports7070154
  12. American College of Sports Medicine. Protein Intake for Optimal Muscle Maintenance.

The post Best Protein Powders for Muscle Gain for Men, Women, Beginners, and More appeared first on Breaking Muscle.

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