Are you ready to start packing on lean muscle mass? To maximize full body muscle protein synthesis, you need between 1.7 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilograms of lean body mass per day.
For example, if you weigh 150 lbs with 14% body fat, you have 129 lbs of lean bodyweight. You need to consume 100-128 grams of protein every day to gain muscle.
If you can’t get all this protein from your diet, you need weight gain protein powder. Gains can vary drastically from person to person, but with proper training and diet, the average new lifter can expect to put on 4-7 lbs in 10-12 weeks. Let’s take a quick look at 8 helpful tips that will help you find a high-quality weight gain protein powder!
1. Choose the Right Type of Protein Powder
Whey protein and casein protein are the two most popular animal-based protein powders. Soy is one of the most popular plant-based powders.
Whey is by far the most common type, which means you can choose from plenty of brands. It’s a byproduct of cheese manufacturing. It contains all 9 essential amino acids, and it digests the fastest.
Casein, like whey, is a complete protein source. It’s also manufactured from milk. However, it digests much slower than whey, and it doesn’t blend nearly as well.
Soy protein has a pretty strong amino acid profile. It’s a solid option for those who are lactose intolerant. Also, it’s usually less expensive than the other options.
All in all, whey is the best weight gain protein powder. It digests well and blends easily, making it perfect for post-workout shakes.
2. Read the Label Thoroughly
It’s important to look through the ingredients before buying, and not just if you have food allergies.
When it comes to protein powders, fewer ingredients is usually a good sign. Make sure you can read each ingredient too.
Steer clear of powders that list individual amino acids such as taurine. While taurine still counts towards the protein content, it isn’t useful for building muscle whatsoever.
If you get annoyed with clumps in your protein shake, keep an eye out for lecithin. It helps improve dispersion.
3. Know the Difference Between Protein Isolate and Concentrate
You may notice that some protein powder containers have the word “Isolate” on them.
Protein isolates undergo more filtering than concentrates. As a result, they contain fewer carbohydrates and fats.
On average, protein concentrates have anywhere between 60% and 80% protein. But isolates contain upwards of 90% protein.
Isolates tend to be higher quality than concentrates. However, this usually means they’re more expensive.
4. Consider Plant-Based Powder If You Suffer from Allergies
Whether you’re a vegan or suffer from allergies, keep in mind that you’re not limited to animal-based protein powders such as whey and casein. When it comes to plant-based powders, you’re not limited to soy either.
Other plant-based weight gain protein powder options include the following:
- hemp protein
- pea protein
- chia seed
- brown rice protein
Plantfusion Complete Plant Protein is one of the best hypoallergenic, plant-based powders available. It offers 21 grams of protein per scoop and comes in 5 different flavors. It doesn’t contain any soy, dairy, gluten, artificial sweeteners, or animal-based ingredients.
Another excellent option to check out is Orgain Organic Protein Powder. Its organic protein blend consists of pea protein, brown rice protein, chia seed, and hemp protein.
5. Check to See If Most Calories Come from Protein
Most protein powder containers showcase basic information on the front of the label, such as how many grams of protein there are per scoop. But this doesn’t always tell the whole story. Look at the nutrition facts to get a better idea of the value you’re getting for your money.
Aim for a protein powder that has a high P/Cal, which is the percentage of calories that come from protein. To calculate this, multiply the grams of protein per serving by 4, as there are about 4 calories per gram of protein. Next, divide the product by the number of calories per serving.
Jarrow Formulas Whey Protein, for example, has 18 grams of protein per 94 calories, or a P/Cal of nearly 77%. Many weight gainers dip well below 40%, which means they contain a lot of empty calories. But a powder with a higher P/Cal gives you better control over your macronutrients.
6. Pay Attention to the Serving Size
Always check how many scoops are in each serving. Never assume each serving is 1 scoop. Some companies may claim their powder has 50 grams of protein per serving, but each serving is 2 scoops.
Also, think about how many servings you plan to consume per day. Are you only using protein powder for post-workout purposes? Do you plan to drink a pre-workout shake as well?
7. Make Sure It Tastes Good
If you’re trying to gain weight, chances are that you plan to drink at least one protein shake per day. Therefore, you want to choose best-tasting weight gain protein powder.
Consider what liquid you plan to mix with your powder. If you want to use milk, read plenty of online reviews before buying, as not all powders mix well with it.
If you can’t find a flavor you like, buy an unflavored protein powder and flavor it yourself. This allows you to sweeten your protein shake with the sweetener of your choice. Try adding some of the following ingredients:
- vanilla essence
- instant coffee powder
- cocoa powder
- chicory powder
- banana powder
- orange zest
- lemon zest
- almond essence
If you want to boost your calorie intake, use real fruits instead. Adding raw oats can also increase the fiber content.
8. Don’t Fall for the Hype
Once in a while, you’ll notice protein powders that make big promises. Most of them work about as well as the average weight gain protein powder. But that doesn’t mean you should pay a premium price for them.
Some of the best protein powders have bland packaging. They don’t make unrealistic claims either.
Your best bet is to read the label, calculate the P/Cal, and compare the ingredients. Ignore the marketing tactics.
Getting the Most out of Your Weight Gain Protein Powder
When trying to gain weight, you can’t just drink protein shakes all day. For best results, avoid consuming more than 50 grams of protein in one sitting. Your body can only utilize so much protein for muscle synthesis at one time.
Make sure you drink your protein shake within one hour after finishing your workout. You can also drink a pre-workout shake 30-60 minutes before starting your workout.
Don’t use a weight gain protein powder as a meal replacement. It’s important to continue eating 3-5 balanced meals per day if you want to gain weight.
Check out our protein powders guide to find one that works for you!