Best Protein Shakes For Men and Women 2021 (Must-Read Guide) 🍼👫💪

Protein shakes have been around for decades. After all, it’s a great way to help the body recover after a workout or if you simply want to build lean muscle mass. However, the options available can be overwhelming at times. You might be wondering what exactly makes one protein shake better than another?

At, we take reviewing products and supplements seriously. This is why our testing is always done in-house with our very own guinea pigs, our writers. To find the best protein shakes for men and women, Bavinder, Laura, Malik, and I spent 6 weeks undergoing rigorous testing to truly understand the best protein shakes for men, the best protein shakes for women and everybody else!

To crown the ‘best ofs’ we rated the:

  • Taste
  • Nutritional Content
  • Mixability
  • Value for Money

The whole team regularly exercises in various sports, ranging from Weight Lifting, Yoga, and Rugby, to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Badminton, and Skateboarding. We all supplement with different brands typically and take vitamins regularly, but we stuck to our assigned protein shake brands for this testing.

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If you want to skip ahead, here are our top 3 picks for the best protein shakes for men and women in 2021 👇

Best Protein Shakes For Men

Our research prior to the 6-week study showed the men typically sought after a protein powder that provided them not only with high protein content, but additional nutrients and vitamins to supplement hypertrophy, strength, and explosive sports activities. In addition to this, some level of recovery aid to further act as a catalyst to faster recovery of muscle soreness.

Unless you’re looking for a complete meal replacement protein shake, typically a lean source of protein powder per scoop is expected. Low carbohydrates and sugar, and a high quantity of protein powder. Moreover, the ability to ingest protein quickly and therefore recovery quicker can be achieved using a better source of protein. In our case, we looked at Whey Protein Isolate.

This brings us to our winner, a long-time player in the protein powder scene with a solid reputation and brand name to back it up.

PROMIX- Whey Protein Powder

FTD Top Pick

promix 1lb grass fed indonesian vanilla whey protein powder 1000x 1 edited 1

PROMIX- Whey Protein Powder

✅ Unsweetened, light, and smooth taste
✅ Made from milk from certified grass-fed cows
✅ Minimally filtered for a higher concentration of Omega-3s and CLA
✅ Since 2011 Promix has been working directly with farmers.
✅ 5.9g of branched-chain amino acids per serving
✅ Multitude of flavors

When talking about the best protein powders for men on the market today, Promix is always a top contender. Ethically sourced ingredients from farmers that work directly with the brand, and have done since 2011. This not only displays the corporate responsibility of Promix, but also the quality of the ingredients used for the products. In addition, 1% of all Promix sales go to environmental conservation – more happy cows!

There is a wide array of delicious flavors to choose from in their product range, from the unique Indonesian Vanilla (where the best vanilla is produced) to Peanut Butter and Raw Chocolate. All of their whey protein and supplements are packaged in the USA in a GMP-certified facility so you can rest assured of good quality control throughout the entire process.

Every Promix product run in their facility is 3rd party tested. This stands out leaps and bounds above all other competition, you know exactly what you’re getting when the tub arrives at your doorstep. All you have to do from there is drink and watch the gains!

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound (Packaging May Vary)
208,446 Reviews
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound (Packaging May Vary)
  • Packaging May Vary - New look, with the same trusted quality
  • GOLD STANDARD 100% WHEY BLEND – 24g blended protein consisting of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides to support lean muscle mass – they don't call it the GOLD STANDARD of quality for nothing
  • OVER 5G OF BCAAS – help build lean and strong muscles with naturally occurring BCAAs

With almost 3,000 reviews on Amazon and a 4.3 out of 5 rating, it’s difficult not to crown this the all-time best protein shake for men. A multitude of high-quality flavors to choose from including the classics:

ON Whey Protein comes with a whopping 24 grams of protein per scoop, and roughly 120 calories in each scoop. A typical 200lb male might have a scoop pre and then post-workout to ensure maximum muscle protein synthesis. Although slightly more expensive than those from MyProtein or Bulk Powders, ON Whey comes with 5g of BCAA’s and 4g of Glutamine – the sought after supplement to aid in recovery.

Our research showed very high ratings for mixability, value for money, and overall taste. Backed by a long and stable brand, there are few reasons not to choose Optimum Nutrition. If you’re keen to build muscle mass to help burn more fat overall then this protein source is efficient, delicious, an has the amino acids to keep you anabolic.

Best Protein Shakes For Men
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 Stars)
-Evander Armstrong

Best Protein Shakes For Women

From our research, protein shakes for women are typically marketed towards a lower calorie or lower carb nutrient content as well as alternatives to your standard whey protein, such as pea protein, vegan, or hemp. Why this is the case, we’re not 100% sure – marketing teams, please let us know! Women need just as many nutrients as men do.

Gone are the days where protein shakes and powders were targeted towards male bodybuilders in a rough house, back alley gym. In more recent years the diversity of protein powders has grown massively and caters to a multitude of different needs and goals, such as boosting protein intake, muscle recovery, muscle growth, and replacing foods for certain meals.

Our research on the best protein shakes for women conducted by Laura Oswald indicated that women prefer more natural ingredients, fewer additives, and were typically made from either pea, hemp, or whey. Lee Mullins, the founder of ‘The Workshop Gymnasium’ echo’s these thoughts and also recommends trying different types of protein to test for intolerance before settling.

With this being said, our final verdict on The Best Protein Shake for Women goes to:

Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder

Vega Premium Sport Protein Chocolate Protein Powder, Vegan, Non GMO, Gluten Free Plant Based Protein Powder Drink Mix, NSF Certified for Sport, 29.5 oz
  • Vega Premium Sport Protein Chocolate Protein Powder: One 29.5 oz tub of Vega Premium Sport Protein Chocolate Protein Powder contains about 19 servings; the chocolate drink mix blends seamlessly into water, milk, or protein smoothie for rich chocolate protein shakes without the clumps or grit
  • Protein for Post Workout Recovery: Vega Premium Sport Protein Chocolate drink powder contains 30 grams of protein and 5 grams of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) in each serving to help you recover, rebuild and reset for round two
  • Zero Sugar Added Vegan Protein: Enjoy an added boost of protein in your smoothies or protein shakes without adding any sugar; this keto protein drink contains 2 billion CFUs of probiotics and 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving, and is sweetened with stevia

Vega has a great formula for a women’s protein shake, blended together with 30g of plant-based protein. It contains 30 grams of protein per scoop made up of Pea protein, Cocoa powder, Pumpkin seed protein, Organic sunflower seed protein, Alfalfa protein, and probiotics.

This protein powder is made for athletes and is NSF certified. Not only is it vegan, but keto-friendly too. The perfect whey protein powder for women to recover and become stronger – whatever sport you choose.

In Laura’s notes, she highlighted that the mixability is great, and bears no resemblance to some popular brands which can be chalky which makes both mixing and drinking difficult. In addition, the Vanilla flavor is “super tasty, I can have this daily without a doubt!”. However, you are limited to a handful of classic flavors such as Ginger Biscuit, Chocolate, and classic Strawberry.

The Best Protein Shake for Women
Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder
Laura Oswald

Protein Shakes For Men and Women To Gain Weight Fast

For those on the journey to monstrous gains, looking to pack on the pounds and max out at the gym, a good weight gainer is necessary. When trying to eat a surplus amount of calories whilst balancing a regular lifestyle and day job, it can be difficult to fit meals in between meetings and travel.

Ultimately you’ll need to eat more calories than you burn, and if you’re very active this can be difficult to balance. A good weight gain supplement should be calorie-dense, higher in carbs than protein, and be tasty enough that you can tolerate it.

We looked at a number of different protein shakes to gain weight fast. We needed to figure out which ones Malik would be drinking to gain weight and muscle over the course of 6 weeks. Having read terrible reviews for some big name brands (we don’t need to mention these), we found a clear winner in this arena.

MyProtein The WHEY

In the end the ultimate decider came down to nutritional content, value for money, and taste.

With the recommended serving size (which we followed), MyProtein nets 35 grams of protein, 62g of carbs, and just 7.8g of fat, a total of 502 calories. Having tried the likes of Optimum Nutrition’s ‘Serious Mass Weight Gainer’, we found that the serving size of 1,250 calories was incredibly difficult to drink. It also meant feeling sluggish and not optimal to perform mentally and physically. It was too many calories (and carbs) in one go.

Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Weight Gainer Protein Powder, Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin D for Immune Support, Chocolate, 12 Pound (Packaging May Vary)
  • High calorie weight gainer: 1,260 calories per 2-scoop serving
  • 50 grams of blended protein per serving
  • Over 250 of carbohydrates per serving

MP’s Exteme Gainer Blend provides a good combination of calories and feeling full, to flavour and cost. In terms of grams of protein per scoop this is much higher than your the average. It has all the essential amino acids you would want from a whey protein powder for solid muscle growth expectations.

Protein content here is key, a higher amount will be more efficient both on the amount of powder you use, and overall value for money. Boost the protein content and you get more amino acids and closer to your goals.

Protein Shakes To Gain Weight Fast
MyProtein The WHEY
Malik Kwan

Best Protein Powder For Lean Muscle

Our final category, the best protein powder for lean muscle. This category might be my favorite – trying to find a protein powder that delivers everything you need as well as containing low overall calories but also pack a mineral and vitamin punch too!

We already know that not all protein powders are created equally. Protein powders typically fall into these categories:

  • Whey Protein Isolate
  • Whey Protein Concentrate 
  • Casein

For a good lean muscle protein powder, a high-quality source of protein should be used. This is typically your Whey Protein Isolate which contains 90% protein per scoop. The methods applied to involve reducing the carbohydrate and fat content to boost the ratio of protein in whey isolate – this is how a higher ratio of protein is formed and we’re omitting the unnecessary carbs and fats.

There are a lot of competitors in this arena but after much research we landed the best of a big bunch.

BulkSupplements – Whey Protein Isolate 90%

FTD Editor’s Pick


Best Protein Powder For Lean Muscle Whey Protein Isolate 90%

✅ BulkSupplements is Sourced in the USA
✅ This protein has a high source of BCAA’s
✅ Free of Soy!
✅ Guaranteed to aid in muscle recovery
✅ Standardized to at least 90% protein content
✅ Lab-tested for purity

BulkSupplements is really one of the best protein shakes for men and women. The market leader in premium grade, innovative sports nutrition products. From when we first came across this brand in 2013 they had the best flavors and forward-thinking products. Not only that but they offer an Exclusive Lifetime Guarantee that if you’re not satisfied with their products you can replace them with one of the same values.

Whey Protein Isolate 90% has just 110 calories per scoop, with no carbs! This is perfect for anyone trying to lose fat and gain muscle. The best part is, a whopping 26 grams of protein – this is on the higher end of the scale and competes with the premium brands. This protein powder combines a rich source of leucine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). These tasty essential amino acids are largely found in muscle tissues and used primarily in the production of proteins.

Because this is an unflavored protein powder it can be effortlessly adding into almost anything without changing the flavor profile. Think about cooking with protein pancakes, delicious mug cakes

Best Protein Powder For Lean Muscle
BulkSupplements – Whey Protein Isolate 90%
Bavinder Patel

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Is there a difference between male and female protein powder?

There is no difference between male and female protein powders – this is because both male and female biomechanics are the same for turning amino acids and protein into muscle. Men and women are both human and therefore the bodies work in the same manner.

The main difference is typically the marketing of the products and the quantity of protein per serving. Women are usually smaller and therefore require slightly less grams per scoop.

What is the best and healthiest protein shake?

Protein powders come and go and most haven’t been around for a long time. To trust a brand that is not only the best but also the healthiest you must look to Optimum Nutrition. They have produced the Gold Standard Whey Protein for decades and are known in the industry as the best around to stay healthy, have few sugars and extra chemicals, and provide the best long-lasting results.

When should a female drink protein shakes?

Women have three options when it comes to consuming protein shakes for optimum results. First, you can take it up to 1 hour prior to training – this will yield high results. Secondly, you can take it post training which is the most common and still effective method. Or thirdly, take half before and half after ensuring your muscles are in an anabolic state with enough protein throughout the full workout.