Whether you’re a serious athlete, a weekend warrior or just a dedicated gym goer looking to tone-up, it’s a good idea to have some powdered protein on hand. Protein builds muscle, boosts your performance and makes the most out of all your hard work in the gym. And thanks to the high protein content of powdered supplements, having a scoop or two in a shake, smoothie or bowl of oatmeal not only helps build and preserve lean muscle mass effectively, it also aids weight loss efforts by boosting calorie burn and increasing satiety.
But when there are so many options on the market, from industrial-sized tubs to indie vegan brands, how is a guy supposed to select the best protein powder for his needs? After all, not all protein powders are created equal. The Olivers team sifted through the good, the bad and the ugliest tubs and spoke with trainers and nutritionists to unearth the best options for your time and money.
While any protein is good after a workout, this “performance” blend is specially formulated to support recovery while boosting your body's muscle-building capability. The vegan blend of organic pea protein with brown rice and hemp delivers 30 grams of protein, plus a complete amino acid profile with five grams of BCAAs per serving and natural digestive enzymes that will help it work faster. Plus, it comes in tasty formulations like chocolate/peanut and tiramisu.
Performance protein, $39 by Form
Several nutritionists said that more clients are looking for protein powders with simple, wholesome ingredients. Of course, they have to taste great and mix easily too. This is one of the few powders that tick all of those boxes: Sprout Living’s Epic organic plant-based protein powder. Made from yellow peas, sacha inchi, Jerusalem artichoke root, and sunflower, pumpkin, and cranberry seeds, this vegan-friendly choice offers 26 grams of protein with five grams of fiber and only one gram of sugar. The rich chocolate flavor has a nutty caramel flavor as well.
Epic protein, $28.31 by Sprout Living
For Optimal Gut Health
The Nue Co.'s protein is fortified with a 20 million-spore probiotic and contains less than 0.1% lactose - making it both easy to digest and fast to be absorbed by your system. Your microbiome is an important part of your overall health and dairy-based protein has been proven to support the production of glutathione, a key player in your body's natural immunity. So while this grows and repairs muscles, it also strengthens your whole body.
Probiotic protein, $35 by The Nue Co.
If you love peanut butter (and who doesn’t?!), this creamy organic protein is a blend of pea protein, flaxseed powder and roasted peanuts, sweetened only with a touch of stevia. It's not only silky smooth and easy to mix into oatmeal and smoothies alike, but the natural taste is a welcome change from “flavored” options that can often leave an unpleasant aftertaste.
Organic plant-based protein, $27.99 by 22 Days Nutrition
Most Packable (and Unique)
This innovative nutrition brand uses just 13 ingredients to deliver 22 grams of high-quality protein plus B12, iron, fiber and prebiotics - all in a convenient single-serve pack (that coincidentally uses less plastic than a tub). The protein comes from cricket powder sourced from the only organic-certified cricket farm in North America. The addition of coconut milk, Himalayan salt and monk fruit delivers a smooth, creamy flavor and consistency that's easy to blend into coffee or smoothies.
Protein packs, $39.99, by hi! Human Improvement
Everyone's workout is a little different, right? So why not tailor your post-workout protein shake to your specific needs and goals? This well-rated subscription service offers up an easy questionnaire that they will then run through their system to create the perfect personal formula - either whey or plant-based - along with flavor packets so you can switch up the taste depending on your current craving. Your membership even comes with complimentary access to a registered dietitian to answer any nutrition questions you might have.
Personalized protein, from $45 at Gainful
* FYI: The human body contains around 100,000 different proteins made by the different combinations of 20 amino acids. Approximately 18-20% of the body weight is due to proteins.