If you want to bulk up, a good protein powder is essential.
If you’re training your muscles frequently, they need plenty of protein to repair and grow bigger.
Of course, you can (and should) get plenty of protein from whole foods – but protein shakes allow you to get quick and convenient hits of protein to help you reach your protein intake goals.
However, the choice of protein powders available can be mind-boggling, and you might not know what ingredients are best for your situation.
I’ve used tons of protein shakes over the years, so here’s my list of the 9 best protein powders for bulking… and a simple breakdown of their pros and cons.
Optimum nutrition Serious mass bulking powder
Optimum Nutrition are a well-established brand in the supplement world with a wide range of products. In this case, the supplement pulls no punches – it’s high in calories, high in protein and fortified with vitamins and minerals. It’s more than just a weight gainer, it’s a general health supplement thanks to the range of additional health-boosting ingredients.
The serious mass bulking powder is a product with the person struggling to build mass in mind. It contains added vitamins, minerals and amino acids for to improve general health and performance. The product comes in 7 different flavours, so there’s plenty of options to choose from – at least one of them will suit your taste.
A 334g serving contains:
- 1250 calories
- 50-53g protein
- Less than 5g of fat
- 24 Vitamins and Minerals
- Added creatine, l-glutanine and glutamic acid for performance enhancement.
Bulk powders pure whey protein
Bulk Powders are known for their high-quality protein powders and this one is no different. The whey protein is derived from grass fed cows, meaning the milk is of a higher quality. It’s a product that mixes well, tastes great and packs a nutritional punch.
The high quality milk gives the protein powder a nice blend of amino acids, is gluten and GM free and naturally low in fat and sugar, whilst still packing in plenty of protein. The protein powder comes in at a surprisingly affordable price too. It mixes very well and is available in a huge range of flavours – 19 overall! The quality of the milk can be a big feature for people who are particularly interested in clean eating.
A 30g serving contains:
- 125 calories
- 23-29g protein
- 5g fat
- 3g carbohydrates
The Bulk Protein Company – Serious Gainz
Serious Gainz is a blended protein product designed to help gym goers add lean muscle to their frame. Using a combination of four different proteins to stagger their release over time, the Serious Gainz can be beneficial to users whatever time of day it is consumed at.
The powder is sold in huge 5kg tubs, meaning it’ll last you a long time given it’s a 125g serving size. It is available in eight different flavours and at around £25 for 5kg is a very affordable supplement. As a weight gainer it is smaller in serving size than some of the others, but it still offers a lot of calories and protein by volume.
A 125g serving contains:
- 468 calories
- 28g protein
- 5g of fat
- 81g Carbs
PBN Whey Protein Powder
The PBN Whey Protein Powder is a supplement whose quality outshines its price. Although the supplement is priced in the upper mid-tier, the ingredients and quality means it challenges the premium brands. This is protein powder, not a weight gainer so you have to bear that in mind and make sure you eat the extra required calories.
The product mixes well, taste reports say it tastes good and it delivers nutritionally. The PBN product is available in eight different flavours and is delivered in a 2.27kg tub, which contains 75 servings. The ingredients are high quality and the product is suitable for vegetarians so covers a few nutritional bases.
A 30g serving contains:
- 118 calories
- 23 protein
- 3g carbs
- 8g fat
BSN True Mass 1200 Weight Gainer Whey Protein Powder
BSN is a tried and trusted name in the supplement industry and their True Mass 1200 is a serious player in the weight gainer range. With a huge serving size and large, multi-source protein dose, it’s a product made with all-round nutritional and performance in mind.
The BSN True Mass 1200 contains five different protein sources to stagger the protein release over time, meaning there’s a long-term benefit to its use, rather than just the immediate post-workout protein hit. The product is in the upper ranges price wise, but it’s a premium product so that is to be expected. True Mass 1200 is available in 4 flavours. Each serving provides a huge calorie dose, which is vital for adding serious weight to your frame.
A 320g serving contains:
- 1248 calories
- 54g protein
- 210g carbohydrates
- 18g fat
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder
Many people consider the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey to be the best protein of its type on the market, with it’s whey isolate, concentrate and hydrolysed blend. This is a premium product so comes in at a premium price, but scores well with users on its mixing, flavour and general quality, all of which are really important – poor mixing makes for a pretty awful drinking experience.
The protein blend means it can be used at any time of the day and is beneficial, so you have convenience with the product – it’s not ‘best used’ at a particular point in your day. It comes in 15 different flavours, offering plenty of variety as well. Overall it’s an almost pure protein hit, with very low fat and carbohydrates per serving so is nutritionally sound when it comes to adding mass without adding additional fat.
A 29.4g serving contains:
- 110 calories
- 2g protein
- 9g fat
- 3g carbohydrate
MaxiNutrition Progain Extreme Mass and Size Protein Shake
The MaxiNutrition Progain Extreme Mass and Size is a long-standing and trusted weight gain product, with a reputation built over the years. It’s a very high protein product and gains extra credibility as it is screened for banned substances, meaning it is suitable for high-level sportsmen and women too. These points are reflected in the premium pricing of the product.
In terms of the product make up, the protein itself is a mixture of fast and slow release, benefitting the user for longer. Additionally, it’s high in amino acids, supporting muscle building further. Users report the powder mixes with water well and tastes good. Each tub contains 10, 150g servings of the product. With two servings per day, you’ll need to stock up! The Progain Extreme Mass and Size is available in chocolate and strawberry flavours.
A 150g serving contains:
- 603 calories
- 40g protein
- 2g fat
- 7g carbs
Matrix Nutrition Monster Calories Weight Gain Powder
The Matrix Nutrition Monster product is one of the best value weight gainers on the market. It’s priced at the lower end of the range, probably because the protein content is slightly lower than the premium brands, but is regularly well reviewed from a taste, mixability and general quality point of view.
It’s a high calorie, high protein and high carb supplement, fortified with additional amino acids to support lean mass gain. The protein recipe is blended for longer-term release as well, making it a long-lasting protein hit. Carbs come from a variety of sources, further increasing the energy density of the product. Matrix Nutrition Monster Calories is available in five flavours.
A 140g serving contains:
- 588 calories
- 33g protein
- 65g carbs
- 22g fat
Bulk Powders Complete Mass High Calorie Weight Gain Protein
Bulk Powders Complete Mass is a step on from their standard whey protein. They’ve upped the carbohydrate content with the inclusion of ultra-fine Scottish oats, then dramatically changed the protein recipe to allow for a staged-release of the proteins over a longer period of time. The protein in this case comes from whey, milk and egg.
In addition, the recipe contains added amino acids to further support muscle gain. The overall makeup of the supplement supports all aspects of the muscle building process – it’s high calorie, contains plenty of high quality carbohydrates and high doses of fast and slow release proteins. The Complete Mass comes in six different flavours.
A 135g serving contains:
- 538 calories
- 40g protein
- 9g fat
- 4g carbohydrates
What to look for in a bulk protein powder if you want to build muscle
Not bulk protein powders are the same – there are different recipes, ingredients, protein types, addition of amino acids, addition of multivitamins and minerals etc. If you want to spend your money wisely, you’d be best understand what a few of these basic terms mean, allowing you to pick the best product for you and your needs.
This is key – muscle gain requires a calorie surplus, so you need to be consuming more calories than you are burning. If you want to gain weight, you need to look at the amount of calories you’re consuming and make sure you are achieving this surplus every day.
The calorie content of a weight gainer is important, so don’t buy a low calorie protein powder if you really need to add extra calories. It just won’t work for you. Always check the nutritional information in this guide for advice.
Blended proteins are better for mass gainers as they allow protein to be released over a longer period of time than supplements only containing whey protein. Whey is a fantastic protein, but it is generally quick-release so is only really useful immediately post workout.
A blended protein in a mass builder would typically mix whey, milk and egg proteins which will allow the benefits to be spread over a longer period of time. You may also see the premium products will add additional amino acids into their mix, making the product potentially more anabolic.
How to use a bulking protein powder
The guidelines for each product vary, but typically speaking you’ll take a bulking protein powder daily, with a double dose on training days to offset the calories you burn whilst in the gym (especially if you are training Muay Thai).
Depending on your goals to build muscle and add mass, you’ll mix the products with water or milk, with milk obviously adding more calories to the shake. If you want to go extreme, you could mix them with whole milk and add additional calories.
Mixability of powders vary enormously, but there are a few basic guidelines….
- Put the powder in first, liquid in second. THIS IS VITAL – if you do it the other way round, you WILL end up with lumps.
- Ideally, use an electric blender – no amount of shaking will beat a blender.
- If you aren’t using an electric blender, don’t fill your shaker to the top with liquid – you need room for the liquid to move to mix the powder.
- Make sure your shaker has an ‘agitator’ – either a coil in the bottle or some sort of mesh to mix the powder. It helps to mix the product better.
Follow these and you won’t go far wrong.
Choosing your protein powder for bulking
Look at your requirements in detail – do you need the calories or the protein more? Some people want the protein more than the calories because they don’t get much protein from their diet (vegetarians for example). Them, look at your allergies – is there anything you should avoid? That can inform your choice.
Read reviews – do they taste good? Do they mix well? Is there a flavour in the range you like the sound of? These are all points to consider.
Finally, look at budget because that can be key – there’s a wide range of prices. Look at what you can afford and make your choices based on all of the above points. You won’t go wrong if you follow the advice in this guide.