Best Rowing Machines
Get up to speed on the best rowing machines and how to get a full body workout right at home.
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We taste-tested protein powder in a variety of flavors and used them in different recipes. We found out which powders complemented other ingredients and which powders couldn’t play without other flavors. We learned that the efficacy of protein is difficult to determine, as people react differently to each protein supplement. In addition to the effects we personally felt, we consulted thousands of consumer reviews and became familiar with safety and health guidelines to compile this resource guide for purchasing the best protein powder.
Protein is found in food that you’re likely already eating. So why would you want more?
If you don’t eat or enjoy much meat, dairy, or beans, your body may need the extra protein to build and repair tissue. Teenagers going through growth spurts and folks transitioning to a vegan diet could probably use more protein as well. If you want to gain more muscle or recover faster from intense workouts or injuries, you can get the boost from protein supplements.
With so many types of protein available in a variety of forms (powder, capsules, liquid), it may be difficult to choose the right one for you and your body. We’ll do a deep dive on protein powder to help you determine the best protein powder for you.
It’s rare to find a protein powder that checks all the marks: good taste, little to no texture, high efficacy, truly healthy ingredients (these are the factors we based our reviews on). Protein powder has a tendency to taste too artificial or feel too chalky, but NAKED Nutrition’s Undenatured 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder aced our taste test.
For our taste test, we shook our protein powder up (real good) with water. We wanted to understand what the powder actually tasted like when it wasn’t in a fruit smoothie or rich shake. We were pleasantly surprised that the powder dissolved quickly without leaving behind any residue. It didn’t feel chunky or chalky and, to be honest, it didn’t taste like much of anything.
We mixed the various flavors that were included in NAKED Nutrition’s sample pack—vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and unflavored—with different levels of water. The flavor and texture remained ultra light every time. Actually, the flavor was almost too light when mixed with water. We recommend adding the protein powder to a smoothie or shake, breakfast bowl, or bakes to bring out the natural flavors of the powder.
Aside from taste, efficacy is also important too. You want a health supplement to deliver results and enhance your performance in and outside the gym. An efficient protein should make you feel energized, satisfied, and strong. This was a difficult point to include in our review since everyone responds differently to each protein supplement. However, we all agreed that we didn’t feel too full or jittery.
Lastly, we wanted to determine just how healthy and natural these protein powders were. Natural ingredients are hard to come by in anything these days, even in so-called health supplements. Of all the products we reviewed, NAKED Nutrition had the purest ingredients—hence the name “NAKED.” There’s only one ingredient in their protein powder: grass-fed whey protein. No artificial sweeteners, flavors, or coloring. It’s soy-, bleach-, acid-, hormone-, GMO-, and gluten-free.
If you’re allergic to certain foods, you may experience the same reaction from protein that is sourced from said food, like milk. Always double-check the source of your protein powder before consuming it.”
As with anything you consume, you should always read the nutrition label and product description to find out what’s exactly in your protein powder. Here are five commonly used ingredients that you should avoid:
Some take protein powder before a workout to build energy and natural momentum as they exercise. Others take it after they exercise to rebuild muscle, curb appetite after a metabolic workout, and avoid feeling too full at the gym.
It’s important to take protein powder before or after a moderate to intense workout. Although it’s filling and can curb an appetite, protein builds muscle and aids in body recovery. If you’re not exercising, your body likely won’t need the extra protein; it could store the extra calories as fat and make you gain weight, especially if you drink dense protein shakes for breakfast or before bed.
You’ll see that protein is sold in large containers of five or more pounds of powder. These can get expensive—$40 to $90. Refer to the serving size for an accurate price comparison. Sometimes one serving equals three whole scoops of powder.”
Here are the three most popular types of protein powder:
Whey—The most popular protein, whey is a combination of proteins isolated from the watery part of milk that separates during cheese production.
Casein—Also sourced from milk, Casein makes up 80% of protein found in milk whereas whey makes up 20%.
Soy—This protein is sourced from soy flour made from soybeans.
Mass gainer is a cheap alternative that’s sold in the protein powder category, but they’re high in calories and non-protein nutrients that you may not want or need.”
Although there are ready-to-drink protein beverages on shelves, we think protein powder is more versatile and fun. You can add powder to just about any shake, smoothie, breakfast bowl, or even bake that you’d like. Here’s how to mix it up:
Basic beverages—Simply add a scoop or two of protein powder to milk or water and shake it up in a blender bottle. You’ll get a true taste of your protein powder in this form. If the mixture is not flavorful enough, or if the flavor is overpowering, try a different method.
Shakes and smoothies—Mix your protein powder with different fruits, veggies, spices, and sweeteners in a blender for an enhanced shake or smoothie. Some of our favorite smoothie ingredients are coffee, almond milk, spinach, pumpkin puree, apples, bananas, sunflower butter, turmeric, and ground cinnamon. Rotating ingredients are a great way to keep protein drinks interesting and tasty.
Breakfast bowls—For a more filling breakfast bowl, pour your blended protein smoothie into a bowl and garnish with granola, nut butter, cocoa nibs, or fresh fruit.
Bars and balls—There are countless recipes for protein-rich snacks, but the foundation is usually a binding ingredient, like chocolate or nut butter, and something with texture like rolled oats or shredded coconut. You’ll bake the bars and refrigerate the protein balls.
Bakes—You can also add protein powder to just about any baked good that calls for at least a cup of flour. Simply substitute up to a ⅓ of the flour with protein powder.
We rated NAKED Nutrition’s Undenatured 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder as the best protein powder for its subtle taste, smooth texture, lightness on our stomachs, and pure ingredients. However, finding your favorite will depend on your taste preferences, your allergies or intolerances, how you plan to take it (smoothies are time-consuming), and the type and intensity of exercise you enjoy. We recommend ordering a sample pack before you invest in a five-pound container.
The average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Gym rats and competitive athletes will need more protein than the average person.
It provides essential amino acids that the body does not naturally produce. These amino acids build muscle quickly and efficiently. A higher protein intake helps the body recover from intense exertion and injury.
As with all health supplements, protein powder should be taken in moderation. Forcing your body to metabolize too much protein can cause dehydration, weight gain, and even kidney problems.
Protein powder is not equal to a weight loss supplement. It often makes you feel fuller for longer, which can curb your appetite and cause you to snack less throughout the day. This could result in weight loss.
However, if you’re not actively burning fat, your body could store the extra protein as fat and result in weight gain.
If you are lactose intolerant, you could experience the same side effects from whey protein as you do from your dairy allergy. That’s because whey protein is sourced from milk. According to WebMD, other possible side effects include increased bowel movements, nausea, dehydration, bloating, cramps, reduced appetite, fatigue, and headaches.
Whey protein is the most popular protein powder for gaining muscle. Whey is fast-acting and includes peptides, which send blood flow to muscle tissue. Bodybuilders also like beef protein (although it isn’t as well-researched) because it increases creatinine levels which may help you burn fat and gain lean muscle.
Get up to speed on the best rowing machines and how to get a full body workout right at home.
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