Over the past few years, I’ve tried about 20 of the so-called best protein powders for building muscle, and to be honest, most of them suck.
They taste horrible, make you gassy, are loaded with chemicals, and don’t do anything.
But a few do work, and I feel happy to recommend them.
Here are my top 5 picks:
They taste great and, most importantly, will help you pack on muscle.
So let’s start with my number 1 recommendation.
Tri-Protein is a chocolate-flavored protein shake made by CrazyNutrition and is my number 1 recommendation if you’re looking for a protein powder to help you build muscle.
Unlike other powders that are underdosed, taste horrible, and only contain one kind of protein, Tri-Protein contains a blend of six different types of protein that are “released” in three separate phases.
By releasing in 3 phases, Tri-Protein fuels your muscles for longer, helping them repair and grow faster.
So you get the quick hit of protein your muscles need after a challenging workout and a nice sustained delivery from the slower digesting proteins.
Before I bought Tri-Protein, I looked into the ingredients to see if there’s any science to their claims that it will help you gain muscle fast.
Here’s what I found:
According to the label, each serving of Tri-Protein contains:
- 21g of protein
- 06g of carbs
- 09g of sugar
- 84g of fat
Those are some impressive macros.
Even though there are powders that contain more protein per serving, Tri-Protein makes up for it with its 3-phase release for better results.
And it’s not loaded with cheap fillers like other protein powders.
The six types of protein in Tri-Protein are:
- Whey Protein Isolate
- Whey Protein Concentrate
- Micellar Casein
- Milk Protein Concentrate
- Calcium Caseinate
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate
And these proteins have all been shown to boost protein synthesis and increase muscle mass.
For example, this study found that whey protein isolate can increase upper-body strength by 5.15% in just eight weeks.
And this study found that whey protein concentrate can boost upper-body strength by 6.7% over the same period.
It also contains cocoa powder for flavor, sucralose as a sweetener, and a digestive enzyme to improve digestion.
Clear evidence shows the benefits of combining fast and slow digesting proteins.
For example, this study found that taking whey protein (which is quickly digested) and casein (which is slowly digested) has a “major effect on whole-body protein anabolism, leading to faster recovery times and muscle growth.”
Combining proteins post-workout will fuel your muscles with the steady supply of proteins they need to repair and grow.
Why Tri-Protein is the Best Protein Powder for Building Muscle
I first heard about Tri-Protein from a friend telling me it’s the best protein powder he’s ever tried.
And after learning about the 3-stage release system, I was excited to try it. So I ordered some, and it arrived in less than 48 hours.
I’m naturally skinny, so I couldn’t wait to see if Tri-Protein worked and started taking it as a post-workout shake.
The first time I took it was after a back workout. That meant lots of pull-ups, deadlifts, and rows.
I thought it tasted pretty good for a protein powder. Very chocolatey and smooth.
You could easily make it tastier by adding milk and maybe some crushed ice instead of water.
After a heavy back workout, I’m usually very sore the next day, but after drinking Tri-Protein, I felt like I hadn’t worked out at all.
By the next morning I was almost fully recovered and ready for another workout.
I’ve noticed this a lot since using Tri-Protein. No matter how hard I work out, I feel great the next day, even after leg day.
Since using Tri-Protein for about a month, I have gained just over 11lbs (5kg) and look more muscular and ripped.
My girlfriend even asked if I’m using steroids because I’m so jacked.
After using Tri-Protein for a month, I love it.
It’s the best protein powder I’ve tried, and I would recommend it to anyone who lifts weights and wants to make gains.
Plus, it comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee, so if you don’t like it, you can get a full refund.
2: Gold Standard Whey
Second place on my list of the best protein powders for building muscle goes to Gold Standard Whey.
Gold Standard Whey by Optimum Nutrition is one of the most popular protein powders on the market and has more than 69,000 ratings on Amazon.
As its name suggests, this protein powder aims to be the “gold standard” whey protein powder supplement.
Here’s why I rate it the second-best protein powder for building muscle.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Ingredients
Gold Standard has one of the best macronutrient profiles of any protein powder I’ve tried. Each serving provides:
- 24 grams of whey protein (a blend of isolate, concentrate, and peptides)
- 5 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
- 3-4 grams of carbs
- 1-3 grams of sugar
- 1-1.5 grams of fat
The main benefits of Gold Standard Whey are that it contains three kinds of whey, is gluten-free, and has an enzyme to improve digestion.
Taste and mixability
Gold Standard Whey mixes easily with water or milk and doesn’t clump up. It comes in several great flavors, including:
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Cookies & Cream
- Extreme Milk Chocolate
- Mocha Cappuccino
- Strawberry & Crème
- Vanilla Ice Cream
When I tested Gold Standard whey, I bought the strawberry flavor and loved it. It tastes best when mixed with milk but also tastes nice when mixed with water.
And I found it great for recovery and muscle gains too.
Others seem to like it too.
Gold Standard Whey has a 4.7 out of 5 rating on Amazon.com based on 69,280 global ratings.
Gold Standard Whey is delicious, comes from a well-known brand, has thousands of positive reviews, and is great for building muscle and recovery.
3: Ghost Whey
Third place on my list of the best protein powders for building muscle goes to Ghost Whey.
Ghost is one of the best-tasting whey protein powders on this list.
I bought the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor and loved it.
It might not be best if you’re on a diet because it contains slightly more fat and carbs than other protein powders. But if you’re on a bulk that shouldn’t matter too much.
Ghost Whey Ingredients
Ghost is made in the USA in a facility that meets cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) certification.
This means that the ingredients and final product are tested by an independent organization, NSF International, to ensure they are safe.
Depending on which flavor your choose, each 39-gram scoop of Ghost contains:
- 120-160 calories (depending on flavor)
- 25 grams of protein from whey isolate and whey concentrate
- 3 grams of fat
- 7 grams of carbs
Ghost is very transparent about the type of protein in its products. About 14 grams is whey protein isolate, and 13 grams is whey protein concentrate, while the rest is hydrolyzed whey for fast digestion.
Ghost doesn’t have any added soy (so you don’t have to worry about insulin spikes), but it does contain salt, cellulose, thickening xanthan gums, and sucralose.
Mixability and Taste
Ghost mixes instantly with water and tastes fantastic.
It comes in a variety of exciting flavors, including:
- Chocolate chip cookie dough
- Cereal milk
- Chocolate milk
- Peanut butter cereal milk
- Nutter Butter
- Chips Ahoy
- Coconut Ice Cream
When I tested Ghost, I bought the Cookie Dough flavor and was pleasantly surprised. It tastes fantastic combined with milk and contains bits of cookie dough and chocolate chips.
The extra carbs also gave me a bit more energy too.
Ghost is rated “Excellent” on TrustPilot and has a rating of 4.3 stars out of 5.
If you’re trying to bulk up and build some muscle, then Ghost Whey is worth a try.
It tastes great, contains a good amount of protein, and the extra fat and carbs are beneficial if you’re on a bulk.
4: NOW Sports Egg White Protein
If you’re all about whey protein, then you’ll do fine with my top three picks; Tri-Protein, Gold Standard, or Ghost.
But if you’re open to other options, I highly recommend egg white protein.
Egg white protein is just as good as whey in terms of absorption and amino acid profile yet has fewer calories, less fat, and fewer carbs.
Best of all, egg white protein powder is dairy-free, so it doesn’t produce side effects like gas and bloating.
That’s why fourth place on my list of the best protein powders for muscle gain goes to NOW Sports Egg White Protein.
Here’s why I rate this protein powder so highly.
NOW Sports Egg White Protein powder has fewer calories and fat than other whey protein powders.
Each 28-gram scoop provides:
- 110 calories
- 20 grams of protein
- 5 grams of fat
- 4 grams of carbs
NOW Sports Egg White Protein powder is ideal if you want to avoid dairy or limit your daily intake.
Mixability and Taste
NOW Sports Egg White Protein powder comes in three primary flavors; chocolate, vanilla, and unflavored.
The downsides are that it doesn’t mix as well as the other powders on this list and doesn’t taste too great.
If you’re looking for a no-prep protein powder that you can throw in a shaker and mix up with some water, then NOW Sports isn’t for you.
However, this powder is awesome for mixing into things. If you’re following a bulking diet and want to make a dairy-free chocolate-peanut butter shake, then NOW Sports is great.
My favorite thing to do with the chocolate version is to mix it with a scoop of peanut butter and have a high-protein, low-carb snack to keep my energy levels up during intense workouts.
This protein powder has excellent reviews on Amazon, with a 4.4 out of 5-star rating based on 533 reviews.
NOW Sports Egg White protein might not be the best tasting or the most effective, but it is a good choice if you’re trying to go dairy free.
5: PlantFusion Complete Plant-Based Protein Powder
Fifth place on my list of the best protein powders for building muscle goes to PlantFusion Complete Plant-Based Protein Powder.
PlantFusion combines five different plant proteins, and each serving provides:
- 120 calories
- 21 grams of protein
- 2 grams of carbs
- 4 grams of BCAAs
- 100 mg enzyme blend
The BCAAs in PlantFusion are great for recovery, while the enzyme blend helps digestion.
PlantFusion is a “clean” protein powder and doesn’t contain dairy, gluten, soy, or any artificial chemicals or fillers like rice dextrin.
Mixability and Taste
PlantFusion mixes instantly with water and can also be used in smoothies and baking.
Unlike some cheaper protein powders, it doesn’t contain rice protein, so it doesn’t have a chalky aftertaste.
For a healthy protein powder, I think it tastes pretty good.
When I used PlantFusion, I noticed a boost in recovery and felt like my muscles were fuller.
PlantFusion is rated 4.3 out of 5 on Amazon.com based on over 8,000 reviews, so others seem to like it too.
This one is a bit expensive, but if you’re looking for a good plant-based protein powder to help gain some muscle, this is definitely worth a try.
Best Protein Powders for Building Muscle: Recap
With hundreds of protein powders for sale, it can make choosing the right one a bit difficult, but hopefully this post helped.
To sum up, here’s my top 5 picks again:
- Tri-Protein: 3-phase release, a mix of fast and slow digesting proteins for maximum muscle gains. Great for recovery too. My number 1 choice.
- Gold Standard Whey: Good overall whey protein powder.
- Ghost Whey Protein: Best tasting.
- NOW Sports Egg White Protein: Best non-dairy protein powder.
- PlantFusion Complete Plant-Based Protein Powder: Best organic, vegan protein powder.
If I could recommend just one protein powder for building muscle, it would be Tri-Protein by CrazyNutrition.
Something about the mix of fast and slow digesting proteins really does boost protein synthesis and help you build muscle faster.
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