Muscle Up with the Cleanest and Smartest Formulations on the Market
For the seasoned bodybuilding enthusiast, protein is synonymous to muscle growth. After all, this macronutrient helps you grow and repair muscle tissue in conjunction with regular exercise, sound nutrition, and enough sleep. This Best Protein Supplements 2020 guide will break down the trends, ingredients, and top-notch protein powders which will take the year by storm.
When you include these protein supplements in your bodybuilding stack, you will step up your game several notches. We’re confident they’re game changers in every sense of the word.
Quick List: Best Protein Supplements 2020 Edition
The best protein supplements feature superior stacks that produce impeccable long-term results.
More on these later, but for now here is a quick list of the Best Protein Supplements of 2020:
|#1. Jay Robb Whey Protein – Established clean whey protein brand which has been around since the late 1980s. Continues to make huge waves in 2019. Jay Robb website|
|#2. Transparent Labs ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate – Grass-fed whey protein isolate from New Zealand gives you an awesome 28 grams of protein per serving. Transparent Labs website|
|#3. SFH Pure Whey Protein – Another grass-fed whey protein supplement which the manufacturer remains a mainstay on Labdoor.com. SFH website|
|#4. Do Vitamins WonderWhey – The so-called “Purest Organic Whey Protein Concentrate” which gives you benefits without theB.S. Do Vitamins website|
|#5. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant – This is far and away the best plant-based protein supplement on the market today. Optimum Nutrition website|
Or, read on to learn about the trends, formulations, and other secrets behind the Best Protein Supplements – 2020 Edition.
Protein Supplement Developments in 2020
These supplements continue to evolve in 2020. During the Golden Era of Bodybuilding, it was as simple as chugging on Rheo H. Blair’s Protein Powder or blending a few egg whites in a blender and then you’re all set. That’s not the case nowadays.
Many supplement manufacturers want to stand out so they can catch the attention of customers. Aside from the usual whey protein component, they’ll include creatine, additional BCAAs, and the like. Some protein powders and cleaner than others. With the heaps of protein supplements in local store shelves, it’s easy for consumers to lose their way.
The key takeaway: while protein supplements are more diverse in 2020, this macronutrient remains the key if you want to build serious muscle mass and shorten your recovery time.
Let’s now check out the benefits you should look for in this bodybuilding supplement category in 2020.
What Protein Supplement Benefits Should You Look for this year?
One of the first things which come to mind when you see a protein supplement is muscle mass. Make no mistake about it, protein is the key macronutrient if you want to pack on some muscle.
According to the New Zealand journal Sports Medicine’s January 2015 issue (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov), “As the duration, frequency, and volume of resistance training increase, protein supplementation may promote muscle hypertrophy and enhance gains in muscle strength in both untrained and trained individuals. Evidence also suggests that protein supplementation may accelerate gains in both aerobic and anaerobic power.”
In other words, if you’re into strength training at the gym, protein supplementation should help you achieve that muscular look you’ve always wanted. Not only that, but they’ll also help you become stronger. Even endurance athletes can reap the benefits of protein supplements.
People who exercise vigorously need more protein than sedentary ones. Studies show athletes have a maximum recommended protein intake (RDI) of 2.0 g/kg/day. The average healthy adult needs only 0.8 g/kg/day. That’s a huge difference.
Here’s the key: athletes or active individuals need more protein because of their training demands. Meeting one’s daily protein requirements via whole food intake and supplementation go hand in hand.
Training at the gym day in and day out is no joke: while it helps boost your health, it can also result in muscle fiber trauma (muscle damage or injury). One way around this is to ensure a greater rate of muscle protein synthesis than muscle protein breakdown.
When that happens, not only will you increase muscle mass, but you’ll speed up recovery time. Expect to conquer your training sessions on a regular basis.
On that note, taking a protein shake (say 25 to 30 grams of protein) after a grueling workout should help you switch from a catabolic state (muscle breakdown) to an anabolic (muscle-building) one.
Strenuous exercise (particularly anaerobic exercise or strength training) breaks down muscle fibers. It’s crucial to chug on a fast-absorbing protein (such as whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate) to help kickstart the muscle recovery process.
Like we earlier mentioned, people normally associate protein supplementation with muscle. It’s something which dates back to the Golden Era of Bodybuilding in the 1960s.
However, these products aren’t just about muscle building. They can also help you torch fat.
In fact, contemporary research suggests protein supplements help boost fat loss and preserve muscle mass. With that in mind, if you remain consistent in your exercise, nutrition, and sleep habits, you will eventually achieve your lean-muscle-building goals.
Many fitness enthusiasts live a frenetic lifestyle – they’re always on the go. In fact, life has gotten busier for many people as the years go by. If there’s one thing many individuals want, it’s convenience. That’s exactly what protein supplements offer you in 2020.
For one, chowing on a piece of meat immediately after a strenuous workout won’t cut it (a post-workout meal is more appropriate an hour or so after training). A fast-absorbing protein shake for anabolic and recovery fits the bill perfectly.
Fitness experts also suggest a protein shake makes for a great snack between meals. If you have no time to prepare your food, simply put a scoop or two of protein powder in your shaker bottle or blender, and you’re all set. Try including some fruits and low-fat dairy or milk for a healthier concoction.
It bears repeating: protein supplements are about more – much more – than just muscle. These products can help you achieve long-term health. Let’s rattle off their key benefits:
- Increase glutathione (a powerful antioxidant) levels
- Strengthen immunity
- Regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels
- Keep inflammation at bay
- Increase satiety
- Provide ample doses of calcium (for a healthier heart and stronger bones)
Clearly, protein supplements are your allies in safeguarding your long-term health. When you include a respected protein powder brand in your supplement stack, your body will thank you for it.
Daily Protein Requirements
If you want to achieve your fitness goals, it’s crucial you meet your daily protein requirements. The average person’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 gram per kilogram of body weight . With that in mind, a 70-kilogram person needs 56 grams of protein daily. You can easily consume that much with three balanced meals.
However, hard-training athletes (recreational or professional) need more protein – they need as much as 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This much allows them to recover faster from intense training, boost fat loss, and increase muscle mass.
One detriment to reaching one’s RDA for protein is busyness. To offset this, taking a protein shake between meals should help immensely. Don’t forget: manufacturers intended supplements to complement your regular protein intake. Remember to consume excellent protein sources such as salmon, beef, chicken, and turkey to help you reach your RDA for protein and boost your overall health.
Best Kinds of Protein Supplements for 2020
Whey protein is the go-to of many bodybuilding enthusiasts. The reason is fairly simple: whey’s muscle-building advantages are superior to other protein sources.
Whey is a fast-absorbing protein which comprises 20 percent of cow’s milk. The human body normally absorbs eight to 10 grams of whey in a span of 60 minutes. Experts also consider whey as a “complete protein” because it features all nine essential amino acids (which the body cannot synthesize; hence, one must obtain these from whole foods or supplements).
Whey protein has three types:
- Whey protein concentrate (WPC): This kind of whey typically has 70 to 85 percent protein. It has more lactose, fat, and cholesterol than the second type of whey, whey protein isolate (WPI). Nonetheless, WPC is cheaper and tastes better. Plus, it is also better for weight loss thanks to its slower digestion rate (which results in increased satiety).
- Whey protein isolate (WPI): This kind of whey is typically 90 to 95 percent protein. It undergoes an extra process which filters out the excess lactose, fat, and cholesterol. Because of that, WPI is a great option if you’re trying to build lean muscle mass. WPI is also perfect for individuals who have lactose issues.
- Whey hydrolysate: Here, the manufacturer breaks down the protein molecules into smaller protein peptides via enzymatic hydrolysis. As a result, whey hydrolysates are the fastest-absorbing kind of whey on the market. The downside: they’re also the most expensive.
Some fitness experts consider whey protein a superfood. Its benefits range from increased muscle mass and fat loss to better cardiovascular health and protection against free radicals. Indeed, whey protein is a bona fide health and fitness virtuoso.
Casein protein comprises 80 percent of cow’s milk. It has a much bigger structure than whey protein. Thus, its absorption rate is also much slower – the body absorbs it around seven to eight hours after consumption. Just like whey, casein also has a solid essential amino acid profile.
Casein protein also has three types:
- Micellar casein: This is the most common form of casein which is around 70 to 90 percent protein. Some supplements even feature 90 percent undenatured protein. Micellar casein also has impressive branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) and glutamine content.
- Calcium caseinate: This is the type of casein manufacturers derive from skimmed milk and contains roughly 90 percent protein. Just like micellar casein, calcium caseinate is also a rich source of glutamine. The difference lies in solubility: the latter has better solubility because of its calcium content.
- Casein hydrolysate: Here, the manufacturer breaks down the amino acids into smaller peptide fractions for improved bioavailability. However, clinical researchers are the ones who mainly use this type of casein. Bodybuilding supplement manufacturers typically use micellar casein or calcium caseinate for their superior muscle preservation benefits.
Whatever type of casein protein you prefer, it’s a good idea to consume it an hour or so before bedtime. Its slow absorption prowess allows your muscles to remain in an anabolic state during sleep. Long story short, casein feeds your muscles for seven to eight hours during your slumber.
Remember, the body releases human growth hormone (HGH) during sleep. When you throw casein protein into the mix, expect to preserve hard-earned muscle mass over time.
If you want to reap the benefits of both fast- and slow-absorbing protein, milk protein is right up your alley.
Milk protein combines whey (20 percent) and casein (80 percent) protein. It’s the perfect alternative for fitness enthusiasts who want to remain in an anabolic state hours after their last rep at the gym.
“Formulated products containing nine grams of milk protein would be expected to exert a stimulatory effect on muscle anabolism after resistance exercise,” per the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition’s June 8, 2017 issue. Plus, another study revealed males who consumed milk protein daily during a 12-week training period put on 3.9 kilograms of muscle mass and lost 5.5 percent of body fat. If you want to kickstart the muscle recovery process and achieve your lean-muscle-building goals, milk protein is a great choice.
Typically, milk protein supplements such as PEScience SELECT Protein (28 percent of the daily value) and Beverly International UMP Ultimate Muscle Protein (30 percent of the daily value) boast of high amounts of calcium – the mineral which has positive effects on bone health, blood pressure, and cardiovascular function.
Make way for another unheralded bodybuilding supplement superstar in 2020: pea protein.
Manufacturers derive pea protein from dried field peas (Pisum sativum). It contains roughly 50 to 70 percent protein (pea protein isolates can provide you with as much as 90 percent protein).
One 30-gram serving of pea protein yields the following:
- Twenty-three grams of protein
- Seven grams of carbohydrates
- 0.3 gram of fats
- 400 IU of vitamin D
- Five IU of vitamin E
- 200 IU of vitamin A
- Five micrograms of vitamin K
- Six grams of fiber
Clearly, pea protein packs a serious wallop. Researchers also say pea it’s as effective as whey protein in terms of growing muscle mass and increasing satiety (therefore boosting fat loss). It can also increase muscle thickness of individuals who are into anaerobic exercise.
Here’s a little-known secret of pea protein: it’s an excellent source of l-arginine.
This alpha amino acid is a powerful vasodilator (an agent which widens and relaxes blood vessels) which increases muscle pumps, improves nutrient uptake, and regulates blood pressure levels. You can find it in many pre-workout supplements.
Because of its plant-based nature, pea protein is the perfect alternative for vegans and vegetarians. Moreover, it’s also a good choice who have issues (allergies or intolerance) to whey, casein, and soy protein since it’s hypoallergenic in nature.
How Best 5 Supplements Rates and Ranks the Best Protein Supplements of 2020
For general information on purchasing high-quality supplements, please check out the Best 5 How to Buy a Good Supplement guide. In terms of the Best Protein Supplements of 2020, here are the criteria we used in our ratings:
- Combinations: Smartly-stacked protein supplements usually produce great long-term results.
- Healthy: Not only do these first-rate protein supplements increase muscle mass, but they also boost long-term health.
- Quality: Manufacturers who put a premium on quality win more customers over.
- Research: Many consumers prefer supplements with science-backed and patented ingredients for better results.
- Service: Fast shipping, returns policy, and money-back guarantee
- Value: We love protein supplements which give customers a fast return on their hard-earned investment.
- Cleanliness: We give precedence to protein supplements without artificial food colorings and sweeteners as well as harsh “other ingredients.”
We also take into account which companies have a strong online presence and good reputation. These manufacturers stand behind their products.
Best Protein Supplements 2020 Edition
#1: Jay Robb Whey Protein
Many protein supplements fizzle out as the years go by. Not Jay Robb Whey Protein – it has been on the market since the late 1980s. The secret lies in the manufacturer’s penchant for producing quality products. Jay Robb Whey Protein has 25 grams of whey protein isolate per 30-gram serving. That much is a sure bet for increased muscle mass and shorter recovery time.
You also can’t go wrong with the inclusion of stevia, a natural sweetener which helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Plus, this is the so-called “Best-Tasting Protein on the Planet.” Sure, there are other protein powders which give it a run for its money in this regard. However, they come up short on the intangibles.
In sharp contrast, Jay Robb Whey Protein continues to lord it over the pretenders in 2020. It’s a simple and clean protein powder which you should include in your supplement stack.
Jay Robb Whey Protein Summary
|Ingredients: Calories 110, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 g, Sodium 150 mg, Potassium 390 mg, Total Carbohydrate 1 g, Dietary Fiber 0 g, Sugars 0 g, Protein 25 g, Vitamin A 0 IU, Vitamin C 0 mg, Vitamin C 0 mg, Calcium 30 mg, Iron 0 mg|
|Clean Label: Yes. Jay Robb Whey Protein boasts of a clean ingredient profile.|
|Advanced Delivery: No. The manufacturer uses regular protein powder.|
|Price: $43.76 for a 24-oz. (23-serving) container|
|Any Deals? Yes. Auto-ship members receive a 20 percent discount on orders at least $40.|
|Service: Customer service hotline, money-back guarantee, returns policy, exchange policy|
|Official Website: https://www.jayrobb.com|
|Read our in-depth Jay Robb Whey Protein review|
#2: Transparent Labs ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Transparent Labs ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is one of the rare protein powders which the manufacturer sourced from New Zealand cows. Aside from that, the company says this supplement has no artificial ingredients and is “one of the cleanest proteins on the market,” per its official website. One look at its supplement facts, you’ll wholeheartedly agree with that claim.
Transparent Labs ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate has 28 grams of whey protein isolate per scoop. Many competitors give you 20 to 25 grams per serving or so. This one goes the extra mile. This is a sure bet for packing on lean muscle mass in conjunction with training, nutrition, and sleep.
Transparent Labs ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate Summary
|Ingredients: Calories 112, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 5.5 mg, Sodium 221 mg, Total Carbohydrates 0 g, Dietary Fiber 0 g, Sugars 0 g, Protein 28 g, Calcium 2% DV|
|Clean Label: Yes. You won’t find any fillers or dirty ingredients in this product.|
|Advanced Delivery: No. The manufacturer uses regular protein powder.|
|Price: $59 for one 1.41-lb. container (30 servings)|
|Any Deals? Yes. Free shipping on U.S. orders at least $150. The company’s referral program entitles your friends to a $20 discount on their first order while you receive $15.|
|Service: Customer service inquiry form and hotline|
|Official Website: https://www.transparentlabs.com|
|Read our in-depth Transparent Labs ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate review|
#3: SFH Pure Whey Protein
SFH Pure Whey Protein is another protein supplement which should make waves in 2020. It comes as no surprise: it gives you 23 grams of grass-fed whey protein concentrate per serving. Labdoor.com gave it exceptional marks in terms of product purity (90) and ingredient safety (96) – two criteria which make a huge impact on customers. SFH Pure Whey is one of the cleanest protein powders on the market, bar none.
As an added bonus, this product is also low in cholesterol, sodium, and lactose. If you want a clean and simple protein supplement which will help you achieve your fitness goals, SFH Pure Whey Protein is more than up to the task.
SFH Pure Whey Summary
|Ingredients: Calories 110, Calories from Fat 10, Total Fat 1 g, Saturated Fat 0.5 g, Total Carbohydrates 3 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Protein 23 g, Calcium 110 mg, Sodium 40 mg, Potassium 135 mg|
|Clean Label: Yes. SFH Pure Whey is one of the cleanest protein powders on the market today.|
|Advanced Delivery: No. The manufacturer uses regular protein powder.|
|Price: $49.99 for a tw0-lb. bag (30 servings)|
|Any Deals?†Yes. No., list deals and make notes|
|Service: Customer service email and hotline, returns policy|
|Official Website: https://www.sfh.com|
|Read our in-depth SFH Pure Whey Protein review|
#4: Do Vitamins WonderWhey
Do Vitamins WonderWhey is another first-rate whey protein concentrate (WPC) supplement worth your while in 2020. Just like SFH Pure Whey, Do Vitamins WonderWhey is another clean grass-fed protein powder which should help you achieve your fitness goals (Labdoor.com gave it a 90 for product purity and a perfect 100 for ingredient safety). The latter has 24 grams of protein per two-scoop serving for an impressive 48 percent of the daily value for protein.
Little wonder the manufacturer says Do Vitamins WonderWhey gives you “benefits without the B.S.” This is one bodybuilding product which cuts to the chase. It’s also a worthy addition to your supplement stack.
Do Vitamins WonderWhey Summary
|Ingredients: Calories 120, Calories from Fat 14, Total Fat 2 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 55 mg, Total Carbohydrate 3 g, Sugars 2 g, Protein 24 g, Sodium 40 mg, Potassium 95 mg|
|Clean Label: Yes. Do Vitamins WonderWhey has a clean label.|
|Advanced Delivery: No. The manufacturer uses regular protein powder.|
|Price: $59.95 for a two-lb. container (30-day supply)|
|Any Deals? Subscribe to the newsletter and receive a 10 percent gift card valid on your first order. The company also offers free shipping on orders over $75 as well as student, military, and re-order discounts.|
|Service: Customer service email and five-star return policy|
|Official Website: https://dovitamins.com|
|Read our in-depth Do Vitamins WonderWhey review|
#5: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant
We stand by our claim: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant is the best plant-based protein supplement on the market today. This product has 24 grams of protein per serving from organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, and organic sacha inchi protein. These give you four grams each of naturally-occurring BCAAs and l-glutamine. You also get hefty doses of iron (25 percent of the daily value), vitamin B12 (25 percent of the daily value), and vitamin C (100 percent of the daily value).
To top it all off, customers say Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant is easy on your taste buds. Plus, it also has great solubility.
So, if you’re a vegan or vegetarian who wants a plant-based protein powder which can help you muscle up and more, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant is your best bet. It should exceed your lofty expectations.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant Summary
|Ingredients: Total Fat 3 g, Saturated Fat 0.5 g, Sodium 210 mg, Total Carbohydrate 7 g, Dietary Fiber 2 g, Total Sugars 1 g, Protein 24 g, Calcium 100 mg, Iron 4.6 mg, Potassium 220 mg, Vitamin C 90 mg, Vitamin B12 0.6 mcg|
|Clean Label: Yes. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant boasts of clean plant-based ingredients.|
|Advanced Delivery: No. The company uses regular protein powder.|
|Price: $35.99 for a 680-gram container (19 servings)|
|Any Deals? No.|
|Service: Customer service hotline and 30-day returns policy|
|Official Website: https://www.optimumnutrition.com|
|Read our in-depth Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant review|
Conclusion on the Best Protein Supplements of 2020
As we usher in 2020, the best protein supplements on the market give you a diverse range of choices. Some are downright simple, while others give you more than just muscle-building benefits.
Whatever the case, it all boils down to the most efficient and cleanest products which will help you muscle up, recover faster, boost your long-term health, and make it more convenient for your lifestyle.
Buying any of these first-rate protein supplements is a wise investment. However, you can also check out our full protein supplement reviews. You never know, you could find a potential diamond in the rough or superstar in the making.