You’re pumped to be hitting the gym again post lockdown and want to do everything you can to maximize your gains while your motivation levels are sky high. And knowing the best way to mix protein powder will help you to maximize your time in the gym.
First, you need to select the best protein powder for you. Naturally, you start scouring the internet for the best protein powders around and look at the huge amount of choice available.
You finally settle for a protein powder that checks all of the boxes in terms of protein, carbs and other natural ingredients.
Then comes the next question…“What’s the best way to mix protein powder?”
Should you use milk, water, almond milk or something else?
The truth is that there is no one “best way,” it depends on your taste, your goals, your budget and what works best for you and your training plan.
In this post I’ll outline some of the best ways to mix protein powder so you can give them a go to see what works best for you.
Probably the most known way to mix protein powder is with milk. Let’s take a deeper dive into the milk option.
#1 Mixing Protein Powder with Milk
Milk is a fantastic option for several reasons:
- It adds a lot of flavour to your drink, especially if you use a full fat option
- The milk itself contains a good amount of protein
- It’s cheap compared to non dairy milk alternatives like almond milk
Having said that, it’s also full of calories so if you’re looking to maximize protein intake without too many calories, this is probably not the best choice for you.
It’s also not good if you are lactose intolerant. (1)
The bottom line when choosing milk…
If you want to increase calorie intake, you like a thicker more creamy taste and you don’t have any issues digesting lactose, milk is a great option.
#2 Mixing Protein Powder with Water
The cheapest option of all and the least calorific, but unfortunately the least tasty, too. Water is good for powders that are flavored already and taste good without the need of added ingredients.
You want to make sure you get one which mixes well, as most of the time if you’re taking just the powder to the gym with you so you can have it post workout, you won’t have a blender or anything to hand so will be looking to just shake it up.
This is a good go-to option for keeping costs down and staying lean with the ingredients. You know you’ll only be consuming what’s in the protein powder and nothing from added ingredients.
The bottom line when choosing water…
If convenience and a low calorie option is what you are after, hit the H2O.
#3 Mixing Protein Powder with Non Dairy Alternatives
For those that have issues digesting lactose, non dairy alternatives are a good choice. They’re not the cheapest, but definitely add more flavor than water without as many calories as a full fat milk option.
However, watch out for those added nasty ingredients which don’t look natural. Check out the ingredients list and look for items which sound like chemicals. There shouldn’t be any, so if there are, it’s best to avoid them.
You’re looking for something like oat, almond or hazelnut milk. Another top tip is to watch out for added sugars. You might want them if you’re looking to bulk up, but if you’re looking to add lean muscle, you need to be careful with the sugars.
Having said that, if you’re drinking your protein shake post workout, that’s a great time to replenish your glycogen stores. Maybe you’re even aiming to hit that elusive “anabolic window” which a lot of people think exists? (2)
The bottom line when choosing non dairy alternatives…
Check the ingredients, find a high quality one and be careful with the added sugars and nasties some of them have.
Other Options for Mixing Protein Powders
In addition to protein powder, there are some other options for improving your overall health and energy, pre, during and post workout. Here are two options:
- Creatine – One of the most well studied supplements out there, there is no disputing that creatine works well for building muscle and improving performance. If extra performance is your goal, it’s worth trying out some creatine as part of your workout regime. (3)
- Supplements – This one is slightly more disputed, but there is no doubt that a lot of people are deficient in certain vitamins, such as Vit D from a lack of sunlight and Vit B because not all of us are efficient at digesting and absorbing it efficiently.
Be warned, though, that not all supplements are created equal. There are some great ones out there, such as the We Are Feel supplements, which get great reviews, as they are some of the cleanest ones you can get without using just powder form. But just how effective they are is unique to each person. (4)
So, which option for mixing do you want to try out first?
Here’s a top recipe tip for trying one out which I use a lot:
- 1 x 30g scoop of vanilla protein powder
- 1 x Tbsp of oats
- 1 x pinch of ground cinnamon
- 1 x medium banana
- 10 oz of water (slightly more than a cup)
Add that all together in a blender, like a NutriBullet and you’re good to go. It’s really filling, packed full of protein and contains natural ingredients. Job done.
Return to building lean muscle.
1. NHS. (n.d.). Lactose Intolerance. Nhs choices. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lactose-intolerance/.
2. Nunez, K. (2020). Anabolic window: What it means and whether it exists. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/anabolic-window.
3. Cooper, R., Naclerio, F., Allgrove, J., & Jimenez, A. (2012). Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: An update. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407788/.
4. We are feel vitamins review (discount code inside). Minimal FIT. (2021). https://www.minimalfit.co.uk/we-are-feel-vitamins-review-discount-code-inside/.