As a trusted personal trainer and coach, one of the questions I get most often – “What protein powders (or shakes) do you recommend?”
The short answer is, “None of them. If you have a tub of protein at home, the best way to use it is to… throw it in the garbage.”
(Special Note: Check out my shake made exclusively with real food – at the bottom of this page)
The problem is mostly that some random POWDER in a plastic tub WILL NEVER be as good as REAL FOOD. Period. Without getting overly complicated, the largest obstacle in the supply of high quality proteins (to be sold to the public) can be summed up in two words: shelf life.
That being said, there are still those who persist and need a recommendation on protein powder. The main issue being CONVENIENCE. To me, the number one convenience item for quick protein on the go is simple. A hard boiled egg. Additionally, liquid egg whites are available at nearly every local supermarket. But, not everybody likes eggs. So, if you are going to back me into a corner and demand an answer, I can offer you some solid advice:
1. Good quality protein (powder) costs money.
Do not expect a good quality protein powder to be cheap. You are just fooling yourself. Stop making Wal-Mart your one-stop shop for EVERYTHING. Bad protein (powder) is pretty easy to spot – plan on having many, disgusting smelling farts, and skid marks in your underwear. Imagine giving bad baby formula to an infant – same symptoms.
2. DO NOT listen to the MSM (Main Stream Media) for advice on which protein sources are best.
The “news” is not news at all – at best, it is entertainment with a biased agenda… at worst, it is corporate and/or political propaganda. Insulate yourself against the constant bad advice on everything from “healthy” foods and proteins, to money management, investment, and relationship advice. It’s called the “idiot box” for a reason, people. Remember the most recent advice on a “terrific, healthy protein” to include in your diet – soy? Yeah… how’s that working out for everyone… now the fact that it promotes cancer in the body, and gives men “man-boobs” is coming to light. Don’t make me do my I-told-you-so-victory-dance. #stopbeingsuchasuckerfortheMSM
3. Do NOT just mix your protein powder with water and “go”. That is just not smart. You are going to need to get a little more creative than that if you want to get the most out of your protein powder supplement. I can be talked into posting recipes, but not right now.
4. You still need to eat “real” food to favorably alter your body composition (maintain/increase LBM, decrease bodyfat).
5. Do NOT throw away your money on any protein supplement(s), or any health supplements, that you can buy from your neighbor, friend, family member, “trainer”, or other misguided fool, through any of these pyramid scheme, “work-from-home-and-make-2K-a-week” operations. Just STOP IT. Unless you like throwing away your money. The same magic formula(s) promised by these people can often be found for a lot less from a reputable retailer. Or, you can combine a couple items, if you know what you are doing, and come up with an even better formula – for a lot less money.
6. If you are taking a protein powder to gain substantial amounts of strength and/or muscle mass, or promote body fat loss, please understand that the protein powder, or magic shake, is only a SMALL part of the larger, well-designed training and eating program. And no amount of jumping around like an idiot (e.g. burpees), or dancing around in your living room like an epileptic on crack is going to change that.
7. Please do not be one of these poor misguided fools who thinks 400+ grams of protein per day is a good idea. You will be sorry when you are 40. Promise. I’m speaking from experience.
Now, let me give you those protein recommendations, starting with Shakeology alternatives:
Please continue to check this page regularly, as I will update it with additional, high-quality, cost-efficient protein powders and meal replacements as they become relevant.
UPDATE Jan 2018: I still believe, more than ever that ALL protein powders and shakes are CRAP. These recommendations I made above represent better, bad choices. Real food trumps shakes, powders, and bars, EVERYDAY of the week. I posted a REAL FOOD SHAKE on Instagram that I make regularly and have recommended to friends and prescribed to clients… lots of positive feedback on this one – check it out: