5 Ways To Choose The Right Protein Powder For Your Goals

Having trouble choose what protein supplement is right for you? Joey Vaillancourt gives your 5 ways to to choose the right protein powder for your goals.

Protein PowderProteins are the building blocks required to repair and grow muscle tissue when participating in any type of activity that breaks down muscle tissue including particularly in our case, progressive resistance training.

Examples of common protein rich foods include chicken, beef, eggs, milk, cheese, fish and of course supplementary protein sources known as protein powders.

There are proteins found in potatoes, rice, pasta and nuts, but the majority of proteins found in these sources are not considered to be ‘essential’ proteins and their bioavailability is not as high as what is found in the meats and dairy groups. Therefore, when calculating our daily protein needs, it is best to only count the ‘complete/essential’ proteins.

Typically to gain muscle mass or even lose fat, you have to keep your protein intake high. A good rule of thumb to calculate protein for lean muscle gain is to multiply your lean body mass by 1-1.5. Then we would want to divide that intake into 5-6 meals over the course of the day.

Now to anyone who is a newbie to this concept, the thought of eating 6 chicken breasts a day or 8 eggwhites each meal can seem like a daunting task. Fear not as there is an alternative to eating 6 whole food protein sources a day that is guaranteed to deliver just as good as results.

The alternative is to ingest 2-3 protein powders in the form of a protein shake.

There are several advantages to consuming 2-3 protein shakes in place of whole food protein sources throughout the day and they include:

  • Convenience
  • Faster absorption for post-workout protein requirements
  • Better absorption and digestion
  • Constant flood of amino acids at all times

By now It should be clear that including a good protein powder in one’s diet is very beneficial in ingesting your daily protein requirements. The tricky part is trying to pick a GOOD protein powder that will contribute to muscle gain and not break the bank.

My 5 ways To Pick A Good Protein Powder

Mass Gainer VS Protein Powder

First, you need to understand that not all protein powders are created equally.

First there are powders that are known as mass gainers. A mass gainer is basically a powder that includes proteins, carbs and fats. Although, all three of those macronutrients are required in a diet, when picking a protein powder, a person should never purchase a mass gainer if they really only want a protein powder.

Some people who are new to lifting often make the mistake of purchasing one of these so called protein powders not knowing that they are also consuming much more than just protein which may contribute to excess fat gain due to the excess calories.

When choosing a powder make sure it has the following:

  • Low fat (1-5 grams is ok)
  • Low carb (1-5 grams is ok)
  • High protein (normailly about 20-30 grams per serving)

The Test of Time

Another factor to consider when picking a protein powder is to find out how long that company or product has been on the market.

My general guideline is to only consider products that have been around for at least three years and have received positive feedback.

Normally, if a product lasts this long it is because it is a quality product that people continue to purchase because it works.

Natural and Pure Powders

The quality of a protein powder is in my opinion more important than the total quantity of protein.

Always look at the label when deciding on a protein powder and make sure it doesn’t contain any more that 7-10 ingredients. Also, try and find a powder with more natural ingredients. Typically if you have a hard time pronouncing all the ingredient names, that might be a sign to put that one down and look for another one.

When choosing a powder it is also important to never get pulled in by advertisements that states it has so called added ingredients that will promote even more muscle growth.

Supplement companies use a dirty little trick where they will include a small trace amount of an extra ingredient that may be helpful in promoting more muscle gain on its own, but the amounts they include in their product is not enough to make a significant difference. When they do this, the price is normally inflated and not worth considering.

Concentrate, Isolate or Casein?

There is also lots of debate as to which type of protein is the best to ingest. To make this simple, here is what you need to know.

In my experience, I have tried them all at different times in my training and have found that it really doesn’t make a difference. Of course, that is just my opinion, but that being said, if you have the money and you truly believe the type of protein will make a or break your results, then here is a basic guideline.

  • Joey VaillancourtConcentrate – This is a good source of protein powder that is absorbed at a moderate pace. Typically it is good to include this type between meals.
  • Isolate – This type of protein is more rapidly absorbed and is recommended to have immediately following a workout to shuttle proteins and amino acids into the starving muscle cells.
  • CaseinCasein has a longer digestion period, more so that concentrate and isolate. Bodybuilders and many athletes normally include this type of protein as their final meal before bed as it provides a constant flood of aminos throughout the night time fast during sleep.

Stay Away From The Hype

Supplements are notorious for hyping up their products with unrealistic claims and promises. DO NOT buy into the hype of major companies that price their product above and beyond what you really need to pay.

I am not saying their products are not good or that you will not see results with them, but rather, they are just not worth the cost they are charging. Take the time to compare ingredients, company track records and do not let the hype influence your decision.

I get my protein powder from a very generic company. The packaging is simple and there is not any excessive marketing tactics behind the product. The product is simply composed of high quality ingredients and I trust the company. That’s all that matters.

Joey Vaillancourt is the author of the muscle building program, Bones to Buff.

About The Author
I am a former skinny/out of shape guy who turned his entire life around by doing the same thing you are doing today…searching for answers to a better body.

168 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sun, 07/25/2010 - 01:27

I was just wondering your take on my supplement regiment
Right now I'm taking Myofusion (by Gaspari) for my morning shake
Pure isolate whey protein (by muscle gauge nutrition) for my post workout shake and gold standard 100% casein (by optimum nutrition)...
Also I was wondering if it would be beneficial to switch out the myofusion for premium protein blend (by muscle gauge nutrition) so I could have some spare money to add a Creatine Monohydrate like the one Dymatize makes (top seller) and possibly a Micronized L-Glutamine Powder such as the one Dymatize makes (again a top seller)
Or if you think something would be beneficial for me to tale instead please let me know
Thank you very much for your time.
Sinserly a bodybuilder in training

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 07/25/2010 - 20:15

Hi Austin,

I would swap the proteins and give creatine a test run. There are so many quality brands of protein. I would pick a cost effective best seller and save some money.

If you try glutamine, I would highly recommend trying Scivation's Xtend. It helps me with recovery and soreness, and contains glutamine.

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Posted Thu, 12/02/2010 - 15:32

Hey I was also wondering about my protein supplement intake. Here is my current schedule:
Morning - ON Casein Protein
Pre-workout - N.O. Xplode
Post-workout - ON Pro Complex
Before bed - ON Casein Protein

I also take L-Glutamine and BCAA capsules before and after workouts. Both are by ON.

Thanks for any help or suggestions you can offer.

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 12/07/2010 - 11:05

Hi Eric,

That looks like a very good plan. I might suggest glutamine before bed. Other than that, thumbs up!

Do you take a multivitamin or fish/flax oil?

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Posted Wed, 12/08/2010 - 09:49

Alright thanks! And I do take a multivitamin for teens during meals (usually twice a day) but I do not take any fish oils yet. Should I do that?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 12/08/2010 - 11:08

Hi Eric,

If you can afford it, fish oil is a great supplement for overall health.

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Posted Sun, 01/20/2013 - 14:51
Jessica. villarreal

EHi, my name is jessica i just had a baby se is now 2 months old. I have gained a bit weight and wouldn't. Mind turning it into muscles any suggestions please

Joey's picture
Posted Mon, 01/21/2013 - 15:17

You may want to work on losing the fat for a while - you can't turn it into muscle. Losing fat will be dependent on your diet. I'd encourage you to start a weight training routine to maintain as much muscle as possible during your weight loss. Here is a helpful calculator to help you determine how many calories you need per day to maintain your current weight. Start by eating slightly less than what's estimated for you and go from there.

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Posted Mon, 07/26/2010 - 15:30

Thank you very much

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Posted Thu, 08/19/2010 - 19:18
salahaddin ayoub

i lern something and thank u very much i need best in my jim.

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Posted Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:30

how about muscle infusion which contain 7 vitamin..
does it suitable for beginner like me???
i'm in the starting mode to build up lean muscle and fat loss...


Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:52

Hi Koy,

Muscle Infusion is a quality product.

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Posted Thu, 12/23/2010 - 03:29

i came to know this product
"Metabolic Drive(micellar casein/whey isolate)" through the website and i want to conform that this is good or not. if it is good please reply so that i would purchase and use. and what results it can give.

thank you & regards

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 12/23/2010 - 12:10

Who makes this supplement?

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Posted Tue, 12/28/2010 - 00:13

i'm just started workout last month and now i only took goat milk every morning.Here i want to take the supplement for your opinion what should i take that enough only whey protien powder?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/11/2011 - 12:01
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Posted Mon, 01/03/2011 - 15:31

hi steve...i live in pakistan and american or other imported supplements here are about 3 times the original price so i cant afford them at all neither can i buy it online from international shopping sites because the duty levied on these supplements is about 3 times their price...what to do now?any alternatives for the supplements...?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 01/05/2011 - 15:35

Hi Sameed,

I would recommend asking for assistance with this question on the forum:


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Posted Mon, 02/21/2011 - 15:46

Hi Steve,

I started doing gym excercises 10 mnths back but still i didn't see any satisfied result. My body weight is 58 kg and height is 5'5, Age:26 yrs. Can u pls suggest me what should my exercise schedule and what kind of supplement i should take.

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Posted Tue, 03/01/2011 - 11:12

i plan to take ON whey protein for morning and postworkout and ON casein for bedtime and between lunch and workout( i workout at 2pm/3pm)..and top up with Multivitamin/Fish Oil/Vitamin C

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Posted Mon, 05/07/2012 - 10:21

Hey steve, is muscle milk a good protien blend ?

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Posted Tue, 05/22/2012 - 06:35

Hi Steve,

Im trying to find protein powder that wont gain mass i dont wanna big mucles, just want a protein powder that will help tone, aid in weightloss and repair muscles and curb cravings

help please

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Posted Thu, 06/07/2012 - 16:29
Charlene Knight

I am 65 years old and take many vitamins and make a fruit smoothie with yogart, strawberries, blue berries, agci juice, banana, wheat germ, coconut, raw sunflower seeds and Almond milk. Vitamins I take are Vitamin C, D-3, Zinc, Fish Oil, B-complex and Calicum. I was ill and for over two years didn't leave the house I am trying to lose weight and have lost 30 lbs since Nov 2011. I have bone density issues and my spine and hips are full of arthritis due to an accident many many years ago leaving my left leg 2/3rds shorter than the right. I am doing physical therapy and back stretching but I am very weak and can feel weakness in my posture, arm/hand strength. I would love for you to email me what you think of adding whey power to my fruit smoothie each morning but not sure what will be the best for me. Getting old sucks! I have always been very sport oriented and of course at 65 I realize and worry about my body strength. Any suggestions you have I would be interested in receiving. Thank you

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Posted Thu, 05/31/2012 - 03:49
karthik sekar

hi i am 23 my height is 5.9 and weight is 56
i workout at gym daily i want to gain mass and muscle i dont want to look fat so which supplement should i take-mass gainer or whey protein

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Posted Fri, 09/12/2014 - 10:25

Hi Karthik

Since you are quite skinny I would suggest a mass gainer since you will not get fat very easily (if you watch your food intake and especially your alcohol intake), I would suggest Mutant Mass by PVL nutritions since that one made me gain 15 kgs in 4 months while keeping the same bf % 3 years ago, and add in some creatine to gain muscles even faster, just 1 shake after your workout to start off and you will start to gain muscle without getting fat (if you eat right, get enough sleep and make sure you WORK out, the work is in capitals since it is supposed to be hard ;-) )

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Posted Sun, 07/29/2012 - 19:24

I have been in the gym for 3 months, and i m taking an amplified whebolic extreme 60 supplement. Is this supplement good for my body? Also, i studied on the internet that protein shakes are harmful for our body, which confused me whether should i take it or not. I want to grow my body so that i can look like a bodybuilder. Any suggestion

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Posted Sun, 08/12/2012 - 00:55

Hi Steve I was wondering if mucle milk is a good rought to take for building mucle I've herd it wasnt that good

Joey's picture
Posted Wed, 08/22/2012 - 14:21

Hey Kevin,

I think Cytosport is a great brand. Any reputable brand like that should help in building muscle. Think of whey protein powder as food. Look at the nutritional info and then fit it into your muscle-bilding diet.

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Posted Tue, 08/28/2012 - 16:44

I currently take a whey protein drink that I mix with another energy protein complex (to make it thicker) with water and a date, bee pollen and cinnamon each day, ususally mid morning. I work out three times a week at a gym and do toning exercises six days a week at home. I take a plethera of supplements which seem to keep me healthy until this summer. I got a "bug" which caused me to lose about 6-7 lbs. which I have regained about three. I weigh 122 Lbs. and my body fat is 21 for my 5'9" frame. My body is toned, but thin and I would like to increase my muscle mass. Even though I am female, I am not afraid of gaining too much muscle as I think it would make my arms particularly look better. Should I just keep on doing what I am or increase the times I use the protein drink or??? I am a vegetarian as well. Looking forward to your comments.

Joey's picture
Posted Thu, 08/30/2012 - 11:44

Hey Susie,

You will need an excess of calories in order to efficiently build muscle. Here is a helpful calculator that will give you a good estimate of how many calories you'll need to consume per day in order to maintain your current size. http://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-and-daily-calorie-calculator....
A good place to start would be to eat 200-500 calories above this amount.

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Posted Sun, 09/02/2012 - 07:10

hi i was just wondering what protein shake gives u the most muscle gain and generally more bulier??

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Posted Tue, 09/11/2012 - 21:08

Hi, I am 16 years old, almost 17, and i have started working out 5-6 days a week, im pretty scrawny, 5"11 129 lbs and i am very fussy with food, i dont eat much vegtables, i dont eat eggs, fish, and much more, i do eat steak, chicken, porkchops etc i was wondering what kind of protein powder i should get and how often i should take it?

Joey's picture
Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 11:43

Hey Logan,

Any reputable brand of whey should help in building muscle. Think of whey protein powder as food. Look at the nutritional info and then fit it into your muscle-building diet as many times a day as you need.

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Posted Sat, 09/15/2012 - 02:08

Hi, im 6foot tall and 80kg but im really skinny and got a big belly from bad foods n drinking. I have just started using my gym again and i would like some advice on what powder to use to gain some quick muscle and loose my belly? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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Posted Sat, 09/22/2012 - 17:22
Santiago Abrego

Hello Steve,
I was just wondering which protein powder (brand) is best for me and also the type, I really dont want to get bulky I just want something to help repair my muscles after the gym and cardio workouts and also keep me from eating all the time because thats a mayor issue wanting to have a Snack all the time and you know It's tricky to always choose a good snack for you
Thank you

Joey's picture
Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 11:48

Hey Santiago,

Any reputable brand should help you reach your goals. The leanest option would be an isolate whey protein. Think of whey protein powder as food. Look at the nutritional info and then fit it into your diet.

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Posted Sat, 09/22/2012 - 23:17
Said Anbare

i am still confused about which the best protein powder for me to build muscle, as i do gym and boxing too
many thanks

Joey's picture
Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 11:52

Hey Said,

Any reputable brand of whey should help in building muscle. Think of whey protein powder as food. Look at the nutritional info and then fit it into your muscle-building diet.

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Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 02:44

I'm looking for a very good protien with zero carbs as i need to loose some fats too.
Is isopure a good product to buy??
Also need your advice of other vitamins i take as follows:
After breakfast----- Royal jelly.
Brunch time Salmon oil (gnc).
Mega man multivitamins (gnc).
Post workout------ isopure protien

I'm still beginer

Joey's picture
Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 11:51

Hey Mahmoud,

Isopure is a GREAT option! Any isolate protein like that will have no carbs or fat.

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Posted Fri, 10/05/2012 - 21:51

I have been doing zumbo for 3 months & have seen some changes, but would really likea protein shake that would work well for me,I work out at night & don,t eat befor I go,so when I get home,I'm famished! What would you suggest?

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Posted Sun, 10/07/2012 - 01:52

Has any tried ladybird figure tone?

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Posted Mon, 10/08/2012 - 08:16

i am sajith,am 22 year's old and my weight is 55 kg only i want to be fat please tell me a good protein powder to me

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Posted Mon, 10/15/2012 - 07:14

where to start ok im 6foot7 and im about 76 kg and i want to know what i should be take. i eat like a horse but i just cant put any muscle on.

thank you

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Posted Wed, 10/24/2012 - 23:02

Hi Steve,

I just bought some gold standard WHEY and Casein. How should i take this two things and how my whole meals should be? I usually work about at 5pm. what if i change my work out plan to 9am, how it suppose to look like??? In addition, Im 5feet and weight 120 lbs.

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Posted Thu, 10/25/2012 - 11:29


I'm new to all this protein stuff. I have read numerous articles relating to adding a supplement of some kind to one's diet, and I find it very confusing. I am not a body builder per say...that is I do not lift weights. I am a martial artist (not MMA...traditional Karate). I have just returned back to training after numerous years and am in definite need of aid to helping me improve my diet. Most of my training is intense cardio with typical calisthenics (ie..push-ups, squats, crunches, etc)along with the karate stuff. I would like to know what products would be beneficial to help build my strength and muscle endurance.



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Posted Tue, 10/30/2012 - 01:43

I am trying to increase my size/wt. so, what should i refer, and of which company is the best manufacture of those supplements. reply

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Posted Tue, 10/30/2012 - 14:02

hi im new to body building and i want to build muscle i just dont know what supplements to get or take to help me out?

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Posted Tue, 11/06/2012 - 21:21

hello steve i m 5'9 20years of age my weight is around 70kg and 14inch arm i am an athlete please give me a schedule of protein powder please i m dedicated please let me know what to do

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Posted Thu, 11/08/2012 - 05:12

I am looking for a the best whey protein and that will give me that best muscle growth with no artificial sweetners and all natural. Any suggestions?