Variety is the spice of life! Until that variety is mostly corn starch or rice flower filler and tastes like it is filtered through a used, flaming baby diaper. If you have found your way to this article, you probably take your training and nutrition seriously. You probably also know what a frustrating and overwhelming experience it can be to select the ideal protein powder for your goals.
We live in a time where more people in our society are engaging in physical fitness and exercises programs. This fitness influx has exploded the supplement market and had made the nearly 40 billion dollar a year industry almost impossible to navigate without a little guidance. That’s the purpose of this post.
To shed some light on what you want to look for and, most importantly, where to actually find the protein products that are going to help you reach your goals as efficiently as possible. This is definitely not going to be an all-inclusive list. This list is just going to share some of the highest quality proteins you can buy as well as a couple honorable mentions I will throw in for anyone feeling extra adventurous or for anyone who needs protein on a budget.
First and foremost, you better get dialed in on exactly how much protein you need to be eating a day to recover from hard training, recreational fitness, and competition. I am not really going to get into the actual recommendations for dietary protein consumption, but here is a good place to start learning more info about all things regarding diet and supplementation for performance:
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: Exercise and Sport Nutrition Review: Research and Recommendations: https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-7-7
MusclePharm Combat Powder:
MusclePharm, as a company, exploded onto the scene several years ago. The high quality, high effectiveness, and promises of all ingredients will not flag positive on a World Anti-Doping Agency drug test (they have delivered on all of these promises so far). As an aside, MusclePharm as a company really goes above and beyond supporting its sponsored athletes. Even with all that information, what separate MusclePharm from other companies is the process how they developed their ingredients and proprietary blends. They utilized a system called the Omega Wave. The Omega Wave is a computer program that uses measurements of heart rate variability, ECG readouts, respiratory rate, and even your brains delta waves to determine an athlete’s readiness to train. An athlete will show up as either red, yellow, or green based on normative data collected from tens of thousands of other athletes. Green means good to partake in brutal, soul rendering training. Red means they just need to go back to bed. MesuclePharm used this system to find efficient ways to bring athletes from red to yellow and yellow to green faster than just rest alone. The Omega Wave is truly one of the most sophisticated athlete analysis tools available. It’s amazing that MusclePharm realized this and took the time to make the most scientifically precise product they could.
Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard:
Called the Gold Standard for a reason, Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard has been year in and year out producing one of the bestselling proteins in the world. Being one of the few supplement companies that actually owns and operates its own manufacturing and production facilities, they can oversee what goes into every single container of their protein. Although this is one the pricier end of protein market, you do get what you pay for. The combination of housing their own manufacturing facility, having decades to dial in all their flavors, and just their ability to stand the test of time, the outcome is one of the best tasting and easiest mixing proteins of our time.
You really can’t beat a company whose motto is “The best input=the best output.” Rule1 was formed by the previous CEO of optimum nutrition. Rule1 is one of the newer companies on this list but they have definitely picked up a huge social media following and look to expand into big endeavors in the future. You can expect that same “gold standard” here but Rule1 is doing straight up sorcery with their flavors. You would think that concoctions like frozen banana, lightly salted caramel, or red velvet would be hard to swallow, but they have these dialed in. They are a little pricier than other options on the list but just consider them the “gourmets of gains.”
There is a reason Myprotein holds the number one and number two spot on the LabDoor.com rankings (a non-biased supplement testing and ranking website). What this means is that out of the 77 different protein products they ran independent tests on, this one came out the highest in regard to value, quality, label accuracy, product purity, ingredient safety, nutrient value, and projected efficacy. Also, the Isopro 97 product was found to have a concentration of bound protein over 90%. This was the highest concentration of complete whey protein compared to all other products tested. This might be the best tasting, greatest valued protein that has ever existed. They are branching out to other products as well including caffeine, water containers, and even beef jerky. It’ll be interesting to see if they keep branching out. I’d love to see a product line from them that rivals the vast expanse of NowFoods/NowSports. If they can keep up with the standard that has been set by their excellent protein products, this company will be absolutely booming (more so than they already are) in the next couple years.
NowFoods Whey Protein Isolate
NowFoods prides itself on the natural ingredients and lack of filler in their products. It shows in their whey isolate. This product received an A rating on Labdoor.com due to its accurate nutrient profile and its absolutely incredible affordability. NowFoods has a huge product line and everything they offer is produced and distributed with the same quality. Several years ago, they branched off into sprots and recreational training supplements with the formation of NowSports. This was a glorious day for meatheads everywhere because the lack of processing and unnecessary ingredients allows for fantastic value for their products. They specialize in everything from multivitamins to olive oils. Usually, when companies spread themselves too thin the quality of the products is lost. NowFoods somehow seems to keep pumping out better and better products as their spectrum of food and supplements extends its reaches. The company is literally a one stop shop for all of your supplement wants and needs.
Novus Life Solutions Unflavored Bulk Whey Protein Concentrate
Although this company is not very active on social media and are almost non-existent on amazon, this bulk protein deserves an honorable mention. This might be the most affordable protein option on the planet. Even though this is in reference to the companies concentrate variety, they also have an isolate option for a slightly increased cost. When purchased through bulksupplements.com, you can order this unflavored whey in sizes ranging from 1lb to 100lbs (yes, this is over 1,500 servings of protein). This protein weighs in at anywhere from .45 to .5 cents per serving. Warning: This is without a doubt the worst tasting protein on this list. But, for many of us who need to bulk on a budget, it is a fantastic option. I’d strongly suggest pairing this with some nesquik, powdered peanut butter, or something fruity to cut the bitterness of it. In the past, I have mixed it with heavy cream, cinnamon, and coffee for a pretty decent breakfast on the go. With that being said, I like to consider myself a pretty hardcore meathead, but one sip of this without something to nullify the natural flavor brings tears to my eyes.
Dymatize is a very interesting company. First off, their Iso 100 scored an A- on Labdoor.com. This did miss the top protein brands they have researched but, not by much. As a product, it still scored some of the highest numbers in product purity and projected efficacy. Even though it caught a red flag for using minimal amounts of sucralose, this is one of the few products on the list that uses stevia as a sweetener. The company itself prides itself on its product being used in copious amounts of in house and university research. Dymatize has its own sports science lab and state of the art training facilities at its headquarters. Another testament to the companies drive to have one of the most clinically tested products on the market, they created an advisory board of experts that includes world renowned researcher and lecturer Brad Schoenfeld. Brad is one of the most sought after resources in the world regarding performance and exercise nutrition. His website lookgreatnaked.com has an excellent collection of posts and book regarding body composition and nutrition information.
Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein
Ok. Bear with me here. The verdict is still out according to the research on this one. The claims are that powder derived from bone broth can have benefits to your bones, joints, general health, immune system, and even certain mental conditions like depression, dyslexia and ADD/ADHD. Again, the limited amount for research here makes it hard to speak definitively. Some of the practically applying proponents of bone broth say the higher mineral content of an extended broth making process spike the mineral count. The only issue a logical thinking person would have against this is the fact that the majority of the available protein would be coming from a collagen source. This would greatly decrease the bioavailability of the protein itself. But, still, if at least 10% of these claims are even remotely accurate, this may turn out to be an incredibly powerful recovery tool. Especially for those recovering from bone and ligament injuries.
Jay Robbs Whey Protein Isolate
Touted as the “best tasting protein on the planet, “Jay Robb might not be wrong here. Not only does this brand have a sixth place standing overall on labdoor.com, it also has some of the highest concentrations of actual whey on the market. Also, doing their part to do well for the environment, Jay Robb proteins are now sold in re-sealable bags and can also be stored in their re-usable metal containers. This is some seriously good stuff and they have their flavors dialed in better than pretty much every single other bran available. One testimonial on their main site simply states:
“Okay. I don’t believe there could be a better whey protein powder on the planet or in the universe.” Well, they might not be wrong!
Integrated Supplements Whey Isolate Protein
Did we save the best for last? This protein secured the number three spot on Labdoor.com with a solid A rating. Integrated Supplements promises that this is the absolute purest protein you could ever get your hands on. According to independent analysis, they are absolutely correct with that claim. No other product on LabDoor.com combine scored higher in the categories of product purity, nutritional value, and ingredient safety. Keeping with the core company values of functionality and efficiency, even the container the protein comes in is specifically designed to better fit in most people’s kitchens and cabinets. They didn’t want to send people bulky bags or 10 gallon buckets that don’t actually fit anywhere. If you’re currently running low on your protein stash, I would strongly suggest giving this one a shot next. Also, Integrated Supplements Whey Isolate Protein is not available at Target! Now you can get your high quality protein and picture frames all in the same place!
What did you think of our list? Have you tried any of these products? Do you plan on trying any now after reading? Let us know in the comments!