Best Protein Shakes For Muscle Gain

Best Protein Shakes of 2020

Protein Shakes for muscle gain have been popping up on all your radar for quite some time now. It’s something that every fitness enthusiast is familiar with and uses. It is an on-the-rise, health-boosting shake that has been known for its game-changing results. After all, you can prepare it the way you want to if you are using protein powder for muscle gain, or drink it straight from the bottle that is premade shakes.

The magic of it all is that no matter what your excuse is to skip out on healthy meals and drinks, you are never too busy for protein shakes. It comes with the same old benefits of homemade healthy meals, except, you need almost no preparation at all. Mind you, if you are looking for something extra, something customized, then you can always use protein powders to make your very own recipe.

Now you may ask why opt for protein shakes with extra money when you can dedicate your diet to protein based meals. Which brings me to another issue that comes with these ‘protein based diet’, which is the lack of taste.

For instance, a lot of celebrity fitness trainers restrict the trainees’ diet when there’s a deadline and you need quick results. So you can expect bland, boiled chunks of chicken breast and boiled greens, which are not the tastiest shortcut to a muscle-bulked body.

The reasoning behind this is to dramatically increase the protein intake without adding any extra calories that the trainee can do without. However, this is where protein shakes come in. You take them on-the-go, while you workout, after you workout. This way you don’t have to sacrifice the pleasure of food. Plus, you have a wide variety of flavors and protein sources at your disposal to choose from. 

So, we went deep into the research to dig up the best protein powder for muscle gain that is popular, went through trial and errors to stabilize the product quality, have been in business for years, and the many added health benefits these protein shakes came with.

10 Best Protein Powder for Muscle Gain – Comparison

Product Name Ratings
(Out of 5)
Muscle Milk Pro Series Protein Shake4.3Check Price
VEGA Sports Premium Protein4.3Check Price
Pure Protein Shake3.8Check Price
Odwalla Mango Protein Shake5.0Check Price
Premier Protein Shake4.8Check Price
Rebbl Superherb Protein Elixir4.0Check Price
Isopure Cocotein3.8Check Price
Naked Protein Greens3.1Check Price
Koia Plant Protein Shake4.4Check Price

1. Muscle Milk Pro Series Protein Shake

Muscle Milk Pro Series Protein Shake

Best For: Athletes

Nutrition/11 fl oz bottle:

Protein Source: Milk Protein

Calories: 160

Protein: 32g

Fat: 2g

Sodium: 230mg

Carbs: 7g

Muscle Milk Protein Shake is a venture of CytoSport in California.

This particular series of the brand boasts a whopping 32g of protein, after all, it’s pro series by product tag.

Muscle Milk offers a wide variety of flavors to pick from, so you can rest assured that after your workout session, or even before it, you can treat yourself to a tasty dessert in a bottle, that will not only help you build muscle but lose weight as well.

Muscle milk protein shake is not a dairy product even though it’s in the name. The source of its protein comes from milk derivatives, so anyone who is lactose intolerant can consume it as well while getting to enjoy the same old taste of milkshakes.

2. VEGA Sports Premium

VEGA Sports Premium

Best For: Vegans

Nutrition/11 fl oz bottle:

Protein Source: Pea Protein

Calories: 170

Protein: 20g

Fat: 5g

Sodium: 230mg

Carbs: 14g

This is a super popular sport shake for vegans and vegetarians alike, as the brand uses pea protein as its protein source.

The protein shake adds other veggies & leafy greens to your shake formula that will definitely boost your immune system.

The fiber content is pretty impressive as well, about 3-4 grams of it. Vega also brings omega-3 ALA from flaxseed.

Another great thing about this green shake is that once you open it, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

However, one thing that might bum you out or potentially fill you with joy is that you will pick up a bit of veggie taste in the protein drinks, not too strong, but it will be there.

The company also claims the average on-the-go athlete can use this to replace meals.  

3. Pure Protein Shake

Pure Protein Shake

Best For: Weight loss

Nutrition/11 fl oz bottle:

Protein Source: Milk Protein

Calories: 170

Protein: 35g

Fat: 1.5g

Sodium: 150mg

Carbs: 4g

Pure protein shakes too come with significant protein content- 35g. This particular protein shake has one more use other than fueling your muscles with protein to synthesize new and stronger muscle tissues, which is to act as an energizer. So, if your workout regimen requires you to do a lot of cardio, you can rely on this protein shake to fill you with energy.

A unique ingredient of pure protein is carrageenan. It hails from a group of polysaccharide sulfates, which is found in red seaweed. It’s used mostly in weight loss supplements. Plus, it’s great for anyone suffering from intestinal and stomach secretions.

4. Odwalla Mango Protein Shake

Odwalla Mango Protein Shake | best protein powder for muscle gain

Best For: Hydration

Nutrition/15.2 fl oz bottle:

Protein Source: Isolated Soy Protein

Calories: 310

Protein: 19g

Fat: 1g

Sodium: 340mg

Carbs: 54g

This is undoubtedly a different blend of protein shake than most of you are used to or even know of. 

It has a high-calorie count, but I still put it in the best protein powder for muscle gain list for its uniqueness. Plus, the carb-rich formula will boost your energy to high levels.

This fruity shake is gluten-free, pasteurized, and non-GMO. Admittedly the fructose content is rather high, hence the extra calories. 

But more calories necessarily don’t mean you are going to get fat. Your body starts storing fat when your overall calorie consumption is greater than you calorie expenditure. This product has excellent hydrating properties for when you are dehydrated from your CrossFit or HIIT session. 

You should drink this when you skipped a meal, or you are in a calorie deficit. It holds the potential to get misused if you indulge your taste buds, so moderation is the key.

One small issue surrounding this protein product is the drink’s grainy consistency. Some like it, while others don’t. So you decide if it’s your cup of shake or not. 

5. Premier Protein Shake

Premier Protein Shake | best protein powder for muscle gain

Best For: Flavor Versatility 

Nutrition/14 fl oz bottle:

Protein Source: Milk, whey & casein Protein

Calories: 160

Protein: 30g

Fat: 3g

Sodium: 410mg

Carbs: 5g

Premier protein shake is yet another heavyweight name in the world of protein shakes.

Premier protein derives its protein from multiple sources. The taste of this wonderful health drink is fantastic. 

All these high protein beverages taste really good, but among the similar tasting ones, this one would be my first pick. 

Premier protein received its fair share of recognition. One worthy mention is the ”American Master of Taste Gold Medal” awarded by Chefs in America throughout the years 2015, 2016 & 2017. 

6. Rebbl Superherb Protein Elixir

Rebbl Superherb Protein Elixir

Best For: Pre-workout and coffee substitute

Nutrition/12 fl oz bottle:

Protein Source: Organic Pea & Sunflower Protein

Calories: 170

Protein: 12g

Fat: 9g

Sodium: 100mg

Carbs: 8g

They currently have an arsenal of 8 different flavors you can pick from. 

  • Matcha Latte
  • Reishi Cold Brew
  • Maca Cold Brew
  • Maca Mocha 
  • Turmeric Lemon Tart
  • Reishi Chocolate
  • Ashwagandha Spicy Chai
  • Matcha Latte
  • Turmeric Golden Milk

These protein elixirs are price efficient. Despite the milk and coffee like flavors, the protein source is organic and green, so just about anyone can try it. 

However, Turmeric Lemon Tart, Turmeric Golden Milk, and Matcha Latte contains honey, so these 3 flavors aren’t ideal for vegans and vegetarians. 

The magic of this product lies in its list of super ingredients like maca, ashwagandha, and reishi, which will help you maintain your endurance and speed up your recovery time. Plus, the use of cocoa will give you a boost without making you hyperactive, as most energy drinks and coffee do.

Their supply of natural ingredients come straight from the province of Rajasthan, where the land stretches over 1500 acres of farms, where the ingredients are harvested, and all of them are organic and certified.

Most users fall in love from the first sip.

Moreover, the company funds local schools and medical facilities there and has substantial economic support for women.  

7. Isopure Cocotein

Isopure Cocotein

Best For: Post Workout Recovery

Nutrition/11 fl oz bottle:

Protein Source: Whey Protein

Calories: 100

Protein: 20g

Fat: 0g

Sodium: 70mg

Carbs: 6g

This is yet another product loved by its customer base.

The company reassures us and says it is ideal for both post and pre-workout. However, I personally found it to be the best RIGHT after an intense workout session.

Firstly, the coconut water combined with its hydrating properties and the protein source will revive you back from your workout fatigue, and it is a great way to cool yourself down.

If you are one of those individuals who need some form of drinking beverages with meals, then you can carry it around. It will be hitting 2 birds with 1 protein shake bottle.

Cocotein uses sucralose, which may be a deal-breaker for some. Still, again, this is great for hydration and better than using aspartame and other harmful sweeteners. 

One other plus point is that this natural blend of protein shake can do wonders for hangovers.

8. Naked Protein Greens

Naked Protein Greens | best protein powder for muscle gain

Best For: Meal Replacement

Nutrition/15.2 fl oz bottle:

Protein Source: Whey & Soy Protein

Calories: 390

Protein: 30g

Fat: 2g

Sodium: 260mg

Carbs: 62g

This fruity protein shake comes with great macros. In fact, the ‘great macro’ part may be a turn off for a lot as it comes with 62g of carbs and a scary 390 calorie content. 

However, if you look at it differently, naked protein greens can be your best friend if you are on a liquid diet, or even too busy to manage time for your meals. Another thing that gets overlooked about this wholesome drink is the list of super ingredients that come in just 1 bottle. 

  • 1400mg Spirulina
  • 430mg of Alfalfa
  • 107mg Spinach
  • 80mg Barley Grass
  • 80mg wheatgrass
  • 54mg Parsley
  • 54mg Ginger
  • 53mg Kale
  • 2 1/3 Apples
  • 1/3 Mango
  • 1/12 Pineapple
  • 1/2 Kiwi
  • 1/2 Banana

9. Koia Plant Protein Shake

Koia Plant Protein Shake | best protein powder for muscle gain

Best For: Morning pre-workout and post-workout recovery drink and vegans.

Nutrition/12 fl oz bottle:

Protein Source: Brown rice, pea, & chickpea protein

Calories: 190

Protein: 18g

Fat: 7g

Sodium: 280mg

Carbs: 14g

The success of Koia plant protein powder shakes was so great that the company decided to expand its lineup with other popular flavors and drinks like Koia coffee.

The unique selling point for these plant-based shake is that they offer a 100% plant-based protein, without sacrificing the taste. And the best part is that they do this without adding extra calories and sugars(5:1 plant protein to sugar ratio) to enhance the taste and flavor.

Even if you don’t work out, you can still drink this and reap wondrous health benefits. In fact, this protein shake is so great that it made its way to Forbes.

10. Calnaturale Svelte Organic Protein Shake

Best For: Pre-Workout, Tea Lovers & Vegans

Nutrition/11 fl oz bottle:

Protein Source: Soy Protein

Calories: 180

Protein: 11g

Fat: 7g

Sodium: 135mg

Carbs: 21g

Calnaturale Svelte hails from a winemaking company. So they have experience making bottled drinks. 

Calnaturale meets all the necessary micronutrients(over 20 vitamins and minerals) your body needs. This more than makes up for the measly 11grams of protein. Plus it’s light on the calorie toll as well, so it’s well justified.

For a vegan product, it provides a generous amount of Vitamin B12 and calcium, which is not that easy to find in most plant-based diets. So any vegans reading this, I recommend you try this. 

Even though the company says you can replace meals with this, I would just use it like any other protein shake. Besides, it’s comparatively not very expensive.

Benefits of bottled protein shakes

There are numerous benefits of ingesting protein through protein shakes. Some of these are as follows:

  • Protein fills you up fast, by slowing down the digestion of carbs, which will regulate your blood sugar levels. Plus, fewer chances of you stuffing your mouth with unnecessary calories.
  • Protein is more calorie efficient for weight loss enthusiasts because it taxes your body more calories than carbohydrates or fat.
  • Protein is the building block of your muscles, so expect to maintain your strength and increase it gradually through workouts and protein shakes to refuel yourself and your muscles.
  • Drinking protein shake can significantly speed up your recovery after an intense session of physical exertion.
  • Protein shakes can pass on added nutrients into your system.

Protein shakes come in 2 different primary forms- powder and pre-made shakes. Both have their perks and drawbacks, depending on the user. When, and how the person drinks it and the related variables.

These protein shakes aren’t solely about protein. They come with various added and infused nutrients to replenish any food your body may lack or even require to build muscle quicker, and more efficiently. Like iron, zinc, and electrolytes, your body needs to recover fast. Plus, there are other added benefits to these super ingredients, like boosting your overall energy reserves so you can work out more intensely and get more gains.

The wonders of protein shake do not end here. If you think about it, we get protein from milk, whey, eggs, and meat. So, various protein sources are being used to formulate your protein shake.

Different Protein Sources used in Protein Shakes

  • Whey Protein
  • Casein Protein
  • Soy Protein
  • Pea Protein
  • Hemp Protein

If you are vegan, meat eater, or even lactose intolerant, you have nothing to worry about, as you have all the options to meet your dietary needs.

Should you drink a protein shake before or after a workout?

People take in protein both- before and after a workout. So it all depends on your body goals and specific needs. 

Because both the drinking windows work in their own individual ways.

If you want to experience no fatigue or lethargy throughout your workout, then you can try replenishing your glycogen and energy reserves. To do so, it is advisable to start drinking your shake before working out. If the workout session is stretched out long enough, you can drink it while you work out.

Now, let’s move on to a different scenario. You have to maintain your energy level throughout the day after a workout, and you also want to recover fast from DOMS. In this case, it is best to drink it afterward.

According to NCBI, there’s a mechanism of your body’s metabolism called the anabolic window, which opens up 30 minutes RIGHT after your workout, where your muscles soak up the most amount of protein. So drinking during this window will help your muscles to recover faster and come back reinforced with more densely packed muscle. 

How we refined our top picks of Protein Shake from the mediocre ones? 

As great as protein shakes are, you will have to be aware of the low-quality ones. Not all protein shakes that pop up on Amazon is up to the mark.

Some of these use second-grade sources of protein, colors, additives, harmful chemicals to preserve their product and chemically blend in flavors to sell them.

The Bottom Line

It does not matter if you are about to embark on a long journey or even visit your place of work, it is always helpful to carry these handy, ready-made protein shakes with you. Let’s face it, athlete trainers and even dedicated workout enthusiasts work out even on vacation.

The habit of quitting something good can arise at any time with just a small amount of time away from your daily rituals. So, if you have protein shakes on the go, it will be easier to stay on a one-track mind to work out. The best protein powder for muscle gain to drink on the go would be Fairlife Corepower Protein Shake.

So that will be an incentive to bring one of these protein shakes with you, and if you liked this article, or want to add your two cents, please let me know in the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. How we refined our top picks of Protein Shake from the mediocre ones?

Ans: As great as protein shakes are, you will have to be aware of the low-quality ones. Not all protein shakes that pop up on Amazon is up to the mark. Some of these use second-grade sources of protein, colors, additives, harmful chemicals to preserve their product and chemically blend in flavors to sell them.

Q. How we refined our top picks of Protein Shake from the mediocre ones?

Ans: As great as protein shakes are, you will have to be aware of the low-quality ones. Not all protein shakes that pop up on Amazon is up to the mark. Some of these use second-grade sources of protein, colors, additives, harmful chemicals to preserve their product and chemically blend in flavors to sell them.

Q. Are protein shakes good for weight loss?

Ans: Protein intake, in general, promotes weight loss in various ways. More protein will boost your metabolism, suppresses your hunger, and helps build lean muscles, which all lead to weight loss. Good protein powders can also help you lose weight.

Q. What protein drink has the most protein?

Ans: Pure Protein Shake has one of the highest protein counts if not the highest. You can expect to take in a whopping 35g of protein from an 11 fl oz bottle. But you should also look at natural sources of protein too.

Q. What are the best protein shakes for weight loss?

Ans: Whey and Casein protein seem to contribute the most to weight loss, and a combination of the 2 is just as effective.

Q. Is it good to drink protein shakes?

Ans: Yes, it is good to drink protein shakes. One of the healthiest beverage you can find. These protein drinks increase muscle mass, your metabolism, and promotes fat loss. Plus, the fun flavors these come in can easily help you cut out sugary bevergaes.

Disclaimer: The products reviewed are not owned by or are registered trademarks of FitBabesClub.

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