Protein is one of the three essential nutrients in your diet, alongside carbohydrates and fats. They’re essential for building up and repairing damaged muscle tissue. Although it’s not a primary energy source, protein is essential to put on mass.
If you’re hoping to make progress quickly, a few protein shakes a day can help you gain weight very quickly, especially when combined with exercise. They’re easy to mix and often they can taste pretty great too.
Finding the best protein shakes to gain weight often involves a few things: you want a shake that’s effective, nutritional, and also something you’ll enjoy drinking, because you’ll need to drink them regularly.
This article is written to help you out. There will be a few different sections.
First, we’ll look at a few of the best protein powders on the market, and I’ll give my two cents on why they’re so great.
Next, we’ll cover a few of my favourite recipes. If you’re going to the trouble, why not add a few things and make that shake amazing?
Lastly, I’ve got a few practical tips to make your life easier.
What’s the Best Protein Powder to Gain Weight?
First, I’m going to go over a bunch of different powders that make the best protein shakes for gaining weight quickly. But before I start, I want to add a note of caution: protein is not a primary energy source.
It can be broken down into energy by the body, but it’s not an efficient source by a long shot. Protein is meant to build up damaged muscles after a workout.
It does provide energy, in a sense: if your diet lacks protein, you will feel lethargic, and your workouts will be less effective. Just don’t expect it to add mass on its own. You need to add carbohydrates to any protein shake in order to gain weight fast. More on that in a bit!
1) Syntha-6 Protein Powder by BSN
BSN produces some of my favourite protein powders for weight gain for one important reason: they taste great! A major detractor with any powder product is bad taste; it just doesn’t encourage you to eat. With Syntha-6 you’ll probably look forward to your post-workout shake.
They have flavours like chocolate milkshake, cookies and cream, and chocolate peanut butter. What’s more, it is resistant to clumping and mixes easily, especially if you have a shaker.
Another reason I dig Syntha-6 is the economy factor. It’s not super expensive, and the tubs are massive and should last you a long time.
It’s one of the best protein powders for shakes because it is easy to digest and doesn’t make you feel bloated or heavy. It’s soy free, in case you have an allergy to it.
It has about 22 grams of protein per scoop, which is what they recommend as a single serving.
Energy wise it has about 200 calories per scoop and contains a good amount of fibre too. The protein is sourced from a combination of whey, milk and egg.
Overall Syntha-6 by BSN is among the best protein shakes for weight gain due to the low price, great taste, easy digestion and high nutritional value.
2) Body Fortress Whey Protein Powder: Best for post workout shakes
If you’re after something for your post-workout routine specifically, this is a high protein powder that’s perfect for recharging your body after an intense exercise.
Let’s start with the brass tacks: the powder contains a huge 30g of protein per scoop. That’s a lot more than many of the competitors, and it’s a great way to ensure your body has the raw materials to repair muscles after a long workout.
It also has 170 calories per serving, and very little of that is in the form of fat. The cholesterol is quite low too, so this is a healthy powder to incorporate into your diet.
Another reason that this is one of the better protein shakes for gaining weight quickly is the focus on branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs. If you frequent workout forums or the like you’ll see this term thrown around.
Protein is made up of amino acids. BCAAs help the body synthesize simpler amino acids into complex muscle tissue. They also help with production of insulin to provide muscle cells with energy. In short, they are essential for quick gains and energy.
Body Fortress contains 7 grams of BCAAs per serving, which is just about optimal. It’s a great protein shake to put on weight because it’s designed to be quickly absorbed.
Body Fortress whey protein shakes are among the best, and they are certainly worth your time to take a look at.
3) PlantFusion Protein Powder: Highly digestible protein powder for putting on weight
If you’re someone who wants to make use of a naturally derived protein powder, or if you’re someone with dietary restrictions of any kind or specific allergies, this is one of the best protein shakes to put on pounds without discomfort.
It contains no dairy, no soy and no products derived from animals, making it one of the best vegan protein shake powders on the market. It’s hypoallergenic and gluten free. It contains no lactose.
As for nutrition, it contains about 21 grams of protein per serving. That protein is derived from plant sources, such as quinoa, peas, artichoke and amaranth.
It’s a powerful post-workout or supplementary protein source because it contains a slew of amino acids, including over 3 grams of L-glutamine per serving, which is a useful supplement when you’re working out.
I find that many cheaper protein powders for shakes contain extras that you don’t need, including excess sugar and chemicals your body doesn’t need. This one is sweetened with stevia and fructose, but has few other additives beyond the protein sources themselves. There is almost no fat, zero cholesterol and yet it still tastes pretty great, go figure!
Because it’s not overly calorie or carbohydrate rich, I’d definitely recommend using this as the protein in a shake containing a good amount of carbohydrates to round it out as a weight gain booster. More on that shortly. For anyone who wants a simple and ‘green’ protein powder to gain weight fast, Plant Fusion is a nice option with great reviews.
Protein Shake Recipes: The Best and Tastiest Mixes
If you’re hoping to put on some pounds quickly, the best way to do that is to use high energy, nutritional foods that you’ll actually want to eat.
The best protein shakes for weight gain will offer a rich source of complex protein that will rebuild your muscles and repair damage, as well as a healthy dose of energy in the form of carbohydrates.
Most people want shakes right after a workout: they’re quick to prepare and easy to digest. I’m assuming you’re the same. If that’s so, you’ll want to make sure your body has the fuel it needs immediately after exercise, so that it doesn’t start using up your reserves (body fat, etc).
1) Will’s Pre-Workout Primer:
This one is great as a rich energy source and protein booster before you hit the gym. It should be thinner in texture and not too filling. Drink it about an hour or so before hitting the gym.
- 12 ounces of water (approximately 350 mL)
- 1-2 scoops of protein powder of your choice, preferably chocolate or peanut butter
- 1 banana (frozen or fresh)
- 4 – 6 ice cubes
- 1 scoop of peanut butter (optional)
This one has around 25 to 45 grams of protein and between 350 and 490 calories, depending on how many scoops you use. Blend it for 30 seconds and enjoy!
2) Morning Weight Gainer Protein Shake:
You can drink this one anytime, but I prefer it in the morning due to the ingredients! It’s a kick in the pants to your digestive system that’ll also help wake you up!
- 12 – 16 ounces of orange or mango juice (350 – 470 mL)
- 2 scoops of protein powder of your choice, preferably vanilla
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
This one has approximately 50 grams of protein and about 640 calories, depending on brands and sizes. Blend until it’s the consistency you want and enjoy! Makes at least 2 servings.
3) Chocolate Avocado Smoothie:
Chocolate and avocado, who would have thought? It’s a great combination that includes some great and nutritionally dense foods that work well together. It makes a wonderful drink between meals or a post workout booster.
- 1 ripe avocado, halved , pitted and scooped into blender.
- 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, unsweetened.
- 3 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup, or more (to taste).
- two tablespoons of melted dark chocolate, unsweetened.
- two scoops of protein powder, chocolate or peanut butter flavour work best.
- 12 ounces of milk (soy or almond ok too)
- 12 ice cubes (optional, makes texture much like iced cappuccino)
This is a thick and satisfying smoothy that ‘s great to prepare ahead of time and take with you on the go. You might want to adjust the various ingredients to your taste preferences. This recipe will make several servings, which total around 1050 calories, 40 – 50 grams of protein and lots of healthy fat from that avocado. Blend it up in the morning and enjoy it all day!
I will add more smoothie and shake recipes as I find time.
Alternatives | Make Protein Shakes to Gain Weight Without Powder
You can find good sources of protein without resorting to buying protein powders, but you have to be a bit more intentional about it. There are a lot of great foods to toss into a shake that will offer great energy density and protein.
Yogurt is a cheap protein source for nutritional shakes. It contains a huge amount of protein, and it’s delicious. Fortunately, it also blends amazingly well and tends to make a blended shake much creamier and more delicious. Did I mention it’s full of probiotics?
Greek yogurt is an awesome choice if you’re wanting to make a protein shake without using any powder.
Peanut butter tends to work well in shakes to put on weight, and it’s cheap and loved by most people. It contains a good amount of protein, with about 4 grams of it per tablespoon. It mixes nicely and works wonders when combined with chocolate, banana and milk.
PB is obviously rich in fat too, so adding it to any shake boosts the calories automatically. Almond and other nut butters are equally good options (albeit more expensive).
Cottage cheese is a good protein source for your shake. It contains high quality protein that will give you long lasting energy, and it’s really inexpensive. An ounce of cottage cheese contains about 3.5 grams of protein, so it’s a pretty potent option to choose.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s still worth considering. Besides, in a blended smoothie with lots of other flavourful ingredients you’re unlikely to taste it.
Milk, Soy or Almond
Take advantage of the natural protein found in milk, soy milk and almond milk. Adding a cup or two of milk to any protein shake makes it taste better and adds bonus calories and protein. A half gallon of milk is pretty affordable so it’s a no-brainer in most situations.