If there’s one bodybuilding supplement that everyone should be taking, it’s protein powder. Protein powder is very simply a convenient way to get high quality protein in your diet. It comes in various different forms but each of these offers protein that’s lean, affordable and ready to go.
But while protein powder might sound straightforward, choosing the best protein powder for men is actually not all that simple. That’s because protein powder can come in a range of different forms and each has different strengths and weaknesses. There’s a lot of jargon to dig through and a lot of choices to make and all of this can be confusing to the bodybuilding noob.
Read on then and let’s take a look at the different types of protein powder and what the best protein powder for men really is.
The first place to start is by thinking about what you actually want from your protein powder. What does protein powder mean to you?
Or better yet: what are your goals with regards to fitness and muscle? Do you want to add lean muscle mass? Are you not bothered whether your muscle is lean, as long as you bulk? Do you want a complete all-in-one solution?
Most protein shakes will provide you with around 20-40 grams of protein per serving. Your aim is to get 1 gram of protein for every pound of body mass if you’re trying to lose weight, so this is a good supplemental amount of protein for those who want to add a bit of bulk.
What you also need to consider when choosing the best protein powder supplement though, is just how many calories are included with that. If you’re trying to lose weight, then you don’t want to be downing 400 calories every time you have a scoop of protein! Check the calories and carbs and if you’re trying to stay lean, look for a ‘diet whey’ product.
Other people will be looking for a protein powder to increase their size and bulk. In this case, you might actually want extra calories – as maintaining a caloric surplus is the key to building muscle (along with protein). In this case, you might want to look for a ‘bulking powder’ instead.
Finally, note that some protein powders come loaded with other stuff – like BCAAs, creatine, amino acids and more. These are great ‘all in one solutions’ for people who can’t be bothered to hunt down all those components individually but they tend not to be great value and don’t always offer optimum quantities. Think of these like ‘Jacks of all trades – masters of none’.
Once you know what you’re looking for in your protein, the next thing to look for is the type of protein. Protein powder can be made from different sources and again, the best protein powder supplement will depend on your goals and requirements.
Here are the leading examples…
Whey protein is what many people consider the best protein powder for men. Whey comes from milk and is highly bioavailable, affordable and convenient. It also often makes for the best tasting protein powder, being ideal for making shakes with.
It’s convenient, tasty and affordable and that’s why it’s by far the most popular option. It absorbs quickly too.
Casein protein also comes from milk but what’s different this time is that it is much slower to absorb. This means that a casein protein shake can help to provide a steady supply of protein for the body throughout the day.
Better yet, it means that if you consume casein just before bed, it will release slowly throughout the night while you grow!
Most people prefer whey though for their everyday shake because it lets them choose precisely when they get that protein hit. What’s more is that it is also cheaper.
Another place to get protein powder is from eggs and this is ideal because it provides 100% of the essential amino acids that you need to build muscle and maintain general health. Eggs are perhaps the most bioavailable and complete source of protein in the world but there’s also a problem with this option – it’s more expensive than whey protein.
Soy protein is the best protein powder supplement for vegans and the lactose intolerant. If you can’t consume either milk or eggs, then this option is the next best thing. But note that this is still a compromise and comes with caveats.
For starters, soy protein is not as bioavailable (no matter what vegans may say) and doesn’t contain as many amino acids in the right format. What’s more, is that it might also increase estrogen, which of course is the last thing that most bodybuilders want!
Look at it this way: when you consume an animal product, you are recycling protein that was previously meat into more meat. When you consume a plant product, you have more work to do to make it suitable for use in the body.
Most people are going to choose whey as the best protein powder supplement for them and in that case they have one more decision to make: do they want concentrate, isolate or hydrolized? This tells you how processed the protein has been, which may affect usability. Concentrate isn’t as lean as isolate or hydrolized but it is more bioavailable. As a general rule, this is preferable unless you’re looking for very lean bulk.
Otherwise, it comes down to things like the taste, the mixability, the value and how many servings you get per tub – the latter is always worth checking! Once you know the type of protein powder you want and your criteria, start reading protein powder reviews in order to find the best option for you.