A simple protein powder is one of the best and most effective dietary supplements that you can add to your diet. It’s essential in retaining muscle mass whether you are trying to add muscle while increasing overall size, or whether you are leaning out and shedding unwanted fat. Finding the best protein powder is extremely important to improving your physique and making sure that you have all the right building blocks to make sure you look great, no matter what your goals are.
Below you will find a nice write up of the Top 10 that make my favorites list, along with an interactive chart that breaks down each product as well as both their value and taste.
What Are the Benefits of taking one of these supplements listed above? I never understood the people that want to build a house on sand. What I mean is — your body cannot build and retain muscle if it’s not built on a solid foundation. Having the right amount of protein per day (usually 1 gram per pound is a great estimate) is integral in both gaining muscle and achieving that “lean Hollywood look.” Many people don’t understand how important this part of the process is and just jump right into working out without mapping out their dietary needs. It’s important to ensure your body is getting the proper nutrition at the right times, and making sure you supplement whatever nutrients you might not be getting. This is especially important if you are deficient in certain hormones like testosterone (see testosterone boosting products here), especially found at lower levels in older men.
What most beginners don’t realize is that not feeding your body enough nutrients will not only stunt muscle growth, but if you are working with a calorie deficiency, your body will actually start to eat away at your own muscles for nutrients to keep it going! That’s why when you see people that are overweight start working out, lose tons of weight overall and still look “skinny-fat,” it’s because these people don’t understand that your muscles still need the appropriate stimulation to help them continue to grow. They probably lack a proper diet and also the proper amount of protein to retain whatever muscle they are building while they lose weight.
Now that we’ve touched on the importance of “why” you need it, let’s take a look at my favorite top 10 products to help you supplement it in a little bit more detail.
#1. Legion Whey+: Legion is a newcomer to the supplement market and has already gained a lot of notoriety for being an extremely effective product. The manufacturers make sure that they are using products that have zero artificial junk, and Legion’s Whey + comes 100% naturally sweetened and flavored with no other dyes or chemicals. At only 102 calories, it ends up being one of the leanest compounds out there you can take making it highly effective for people looking to drop body fat while dieting. This is one of my favorite options, and has zero carbs because it’s sweetened with stevia extract.
#2. Gold Standard 100% Natural Whey by Optimum Nutrition: Most people know that I’m pretty much addicted to Optimum Nutrition Products. The Gold Standard 100% natural whey product is probably hands down one of my favorite products on the market. Similar to Legion, it’s sweetened naturally and only has 130 calories. I trust ON’s brands of just about everything because they not only work, but are much easier than others on your wallet. From a cost perspective, this one is hands down probably the toughest to beat. Plus the chocolate version tastes awesome, even mixed with water.
#3. Gold Standard 100% Casein by Optimum Nutrition: Casein is one of the absolute best types you can get during slower digestive phases. It makes a perfect breakfast shake and before bedtime snack as it’s slow release and takes time for your body to process. I usually take this in the morning before work, and if I get a late workout in before bed, I’ll mix a half of a scoop of this in with some type of Whey to give me the instant “pop” that I need right away after a good heavy lift.
#4. Gold Standard 100% Whey by Optimum Nutrition: I won’t go into detail here except to say that I will buy this if I can’t find the natural version. It’s basically the same thing, just has some artificial sweeteners and tastes a little worse in my opinion than the natural version. It may be different for you, but I will grab this only if I can’t find what you see ranked at #2 and I’m in a pinch because I’ve not planned ahead and am running low on product.
#5. Myotein by XPI: I can sum this up relatively quickly. Great product, but it’s more expensive than the others. If I have a budget for Myotein, I’m buying Legion instead. I used to take this brand more regularly until Legion was released. I did like the extra glutamine that it provided me and that seemed to help with muscle fatigue. I’d definitely grab one of these if I felt less frugal that day and ran out of Legion Whey+.
#6. Elite Fusion by Dymatize: Kind of similar Myotein, this brand is on the pricer side. It does only have 23 grams per serving, which is a little lower and less cost effective per gram than other brands. It does have a nice blend of BCAA’s (Amino Acids) that help you recover quickly, but I found the Optimum Nutrition products to have better quality for a cheaper price. Still a good option if you need a basic Whey with amino acids and nothing else is available.
#7. Isopure by Nature’s Best: Taste isn’t great, but it’s a great value and the quality of this product is second to none. If you are on a cut, this is absolutely one of the best brands you can buy. The reason I’m not giving it a higher nod is because there are cheaper alternatives for the average Joe that’s just looking to add some muscle. If you get into competitive bodybuilding or fitness shows, then you fill find Isopure is one of the top whey products that competitors use during a cutting cycle.
#8. Muscle Tech Nitro-Tech Pro Series: Tastes good, but more commercially flashy and expensive than some of the other products. The one thing this has going for it is that it contains creatine. If you don’t have a normal creatine supplement (like these here) that you normally would take, I’d highly advise giving Nitro Tech a run. Taking a combination supplement can be great for beginners and help them see results immediately.
#9. Syntha-6 by BSN: BSN is one of the more popular powders out there on the market. It is on the shorter end of the total count with only 22 grams, but it does have other vitamins and nutrients in the mixture that supposedly get the product into your bloodstream faster after an intense workout (I use some of these Pre-Workout Supplements found here before I hit the gym to maximize my intensity). It tastes good, but as usual, I prefer the ON options when it comes to cost and availability.
#10. Monster Milk by CytoSport: Another combination blend issued out by the makers of Muscle Milk. I will throw this in the “good but not great” category. I love muscle milk and the way it tastes, but Monster Milk seems to get trumped by a couple of the other products listed earlier in the list. It does make the list more than anything because like Muscle Milk, Monster Milk just flat out tastes amazing. Not many companies out there have gotten the taste portion down like CytoSport has.
Now that you’ve had a chance to review my overall list and the brands that made the cut in my Top 10, the choice is up to you on what direction you take for your workouts. Each person’s body chemistry and makeup is different, so one of these products just might make a better option for you than they do for me. I personally believe that truly any of these choices are great, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. There are others that may work for you outside this list, but my top 10 listed here should give you a great base line to work with as you start your fitness goals.
Choosing the best protein powder will often times come down to finding what works well with your body chemistry and trial. I wouldn’t have found that Legion is the best for my own makeup without testing several before finding the one that I prefer above all the rest. Our reviews should give you a very good place to start, and help you on your weightlifting and strength training journey. If this information here isn’t enough, checkout the video below for more info on why you need to start with this basic building block today.