I lift heavy things probably 4 days a week on average these days. While I try to get most of my calories from nutrient dense foods, our busy life and my general
laziness intermittent fasting in the mornings leaves me with a few holes in my daily diet. As such, I supplement with protein powder to try and reach somewhere around that 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight a day, though I don’t really track it very closely or frequently. I can tell if I’m not reaching that mark (along with getting enough sleep) in that I recover slower or am sorer longer. Over the years I have tried a number of different powders at various price points, with varying flavors and have recently found what I consider right up there in terms of value, taste and mixability.
Taste is an individual thing. Holly is a big fan of banana flavored protein powder, and that’s not my favorite, though I can stomach just about anything and actually like most powders. The type of protein also matters some. For post-workout recovery whey isolate is probably the best for those that don’t want to spend the extra money on BCAA. Whey absorbs very quickly and helps recovery right away. Mixed protein types (with egg or cassain mixed with whey) has a longer tail on the absorption timing, meaning it’s often better as meal replacements or right before bed. It probably doesn’t matter that much, but for some it may be a consideration. Finally, the ability to mix an dissolve in water varies a lot across brands. Some are great, others not so much. So below are the powders that I’ve ordered and what I’ve thought of them.
Muscle Pharm Combat Powder, Cookies and Cream. Though this links to Amazon’s page (and has tons of great reviews), Costco has an exclusive with Muscle Pharm to sell a 5-lb version (of cookies and cream flavor only) for basically the same price as everyone else sells the 4-lb version (roughly $43). This is about the lowest price point I buy, though maybe you could find lower quality protein cheaper. It’s a blended protein, so not 100% whey and has a longer absorption window, which I like since I do use it as a snack or before bed drink sometimes. This stuff tastes great (maybe a little sweet for some), it mixes as clean as any powder I’ve ever used, maybe even the best (which is saying something) and it is really tough to beat the price. If I ever get sick of the cookies and cream flavor, I would like to try some of the others, even though the price is higher for the 4-lb tub. This will be my regular powder from here forward as a Costco purchase.
Dymatize Nutrition Gourmet Elite, Cappuccino Rush. I am still working my way through this flavor and type. I’ve bought many 5-lb tubs of Dymatize over the years. It is a working man’s protein, reasonably priced, taste is usually pretty good, mixes ok. I never loved Dymatize, but it got the job done. They have different mixes, this one is a whey and cassein mix. Their Cookies & Cream flavor (which we tried a sample, it was good) you can find for under $40, but most are priced similar to, or higher than, the 5-lb version of the Muscle Pharm tub above. My biggest complaint with this brand is that depending on what you get, it sometimes is a poor mixer (small clumps that don’t get broken down). I’ve purchased this brand off and on over the years, trying different flavors (chocolate, cappuccino rush, banana, butter cream toffee, chocolate fudge, cafe mocha), often in the smaller 2-lb tubs to try it. Flavors were all good. Bottom line, you can’t go wrong with Dymatize if you can find a way to mix it clean which can sometimes (not always) be an issue (we use standard shakers and balls).
Metabolic Nutrition Protizyme, Peanut Butter Cookie. This was my favorite mix for a long time, but I think they may have mispriced it at Amazon when I first bought a few tubs since it was about $40 then, and now it’s $70 (you can find vanilla cake still for a few bucks less on Amazon). I haven’t been able to find it cheaper anywhere else either (when you account for shipping). Thus, it’s pretty pricey and that’s why I stopped buying it. It’s another blended protein, super high quality, tastes great (love the peanut butter cookie, but Holly didn’t especially like that flavor, but did like their banana cream), mixes great. If price isn’t an issue, I would highly recommend this brand. It doesn’t mix as cleanly as the Muscle Pharm above, maybe just due to the mixture but it felt thicker than MP, certainly mixes clean enough though.
Cytosport Whey Chocolate Protein Powder. I don’t remember what I paid for this at Costco but I’m pretty sure it’s less than Amazon which is pretty typical. Like the reviews on Amazon would indicate, I’m not a fan of this brand either. It tasted like a medicinal or light chemical flavor which really turned me off. On the bright side was priced pretty well and mixed really well. I purchased this at Costco when I was completely out one time just to try it, would not buy this or Muscle Milk products again unless I was desperate.
Trutein, TruNutrition brand protein powder is another high quality mixed protein type that I bought a lot of the last couple of years. You may find it on Amazon (very overpriced, $90 for 5 lb – really Amazon?!), instead BodyBuilding.com has it for about $30 for a 2.5 pound tub. I’ve only bought the cinnabun flavor, which is outstanding, but they have other unique flavors that some people like such as pumpkin pie. It’s a little more expensive and maybe not my everyday mix these days, but is definitely a mix I will buy again to mix it up. It mixes great and tastes great.
That is the entirety of the brands and types I have purchased over the years, with the exception of whatever generic types that Wal-Mart or Target had in one-pound tubs when I was just starting out. Those weren’t any cheaper compared to buying in bulk, and I questioned the quality. Hope that helps.