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If you’re an athlete training several times a week, you’ll want to get your hands on the best recovery protein powder fast. Strenuous workouts break down muscle fibers, and proper nutrition is crucial for muscle repair and growth. When muscles don’t receive adequate nutrition to repair after intense exercise, you may notice a decline in exercise performance during your next training session. 

When looking for top-notch recovery protein supplements, it’s essential to consider the type of protein powder, its amino acid profile, protein content, and additional ingredients. Given all these factors, it’s understandable why selecting the best protein powder for muscle recovery can feel so tedious. That’s why our expert testers have narrowed down their top picks for you based on their experience and analysis of each product.

RELATED: Best Muscle Recovery Supplements

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.

Best Recovery Protein Powder

Best Recovery Protein Powder Overall: 1st Phorm Level 1

Good for: People seeking a blend of rapidly and slowly digesting protein sources to ensure a sustained release of amino acids

Best Overall

1st Phorm Level-1 Protein Powder

Product Highlights

  • Made of whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, and whey isolate
  • 24 g of protein per serving
  • 5 g of BCAAs per serving
  • 13 flavors available

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 24 grams of protein per serving
  • 13 flavors to choose from
  • NSF Certified for Sport

Cons

  • Artificial ingredients
  • Expensive
  • Not calorically dense enough to be a real meal replacement

Bottom Line

1st Phorm Level-1 is a whey blend protein powder with 140 calories per serving and 24 grams of protein per serving. While it doesn't have the calorie, carb, or fat content to be considered a true meal replacement in our eyes, it is a quality protein powder supplement you can use to up your intake.

1st Phorm Level 1 is a recovery protein powder designed to release a slow, steady supply of amino acids to muscles after a workout. It’s made with three combined types of protein: whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, and whey protein isolate. 

Whey protein is fast-absorbing, while milk protein digests more slowly. This protein blend ensures an immediate influx of amino acids, followed by a steady supply that supports muscle repair for hours afterward.

Furthermore, Level 1 contains 5 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), crucial for muscle repair, recovery, and growth. Leucine, a BCAA especially high in whey protein, is particularly important for stimulating muscle protein synthesis. 

RELATED: 1st Phorm BCAA Review

1st Phorm highlights that Level 1 is made with low-temperature processed protein to preserve its bioavailability and prevent denaturing or damage. This could improve how quickly and efficiently the protein is absorbed and utilized by the body for muscle recovery.

Each scoop features 23 to 24 grams of protein, which is plenty to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, a process essential for muscle growth and repair. In addition to protein, a serving includes 2 to 3.5 grams of fat and 4 to 7 grams of carbohydrates, depending on flavor. The extra carbs work to replenish muscle glycogen stores needed for energy to sustain prolonged exercise.

Level 1 comes in 13 different flavors. Each flavor includes artificial sweeteners, flavors, and dyes, which won’t appeal to customers looking for an all-natural product.

Each scoop costs $1.99, slightly above average compared to other protein powder options, but the high-quality protein, great taste, high protein content, and third-party testing might make it worth the splurge for those on a budget. 

Protein per serving 23-24 g (depending on flavor)
Flavors Blueberry Muffin, Caramel Latte, Chocolate Banana, Chocolate Marshmallow, Cinnamon Cookie Batter, German Chocolate Cake, Ice Cream Sandwich, Chocolate, Chocolate Natural, Red Velvet Cake, Strawberry Milkshake, Vanilla, Vanilla Natural 
Price per serving $1.99
Third-party tested?Yes

Best Plant-Based Recovery Protein Powder: Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein

Good for: Individuals searching for a clean protein powder made with minimal, yet effective ingredients 

Best Plant-Based

Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein Powder

GGR Score: 3.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • A rice and pea protein powder 
  • Rated with 4.3 stars on their website
  • Comes in 2 flavors 
  • 24 g of protein per serving
  • Organic product with minimal ingredients

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives
  • Organic and vegan
  • Only 5-7 ingredients
  • Reviewers love the taste
  • 24 g of protein per serving

Cons

  • Only 2 flavors
  • Stevia can cause GI issues for some
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

This organic rice and pea protein powder is a good choice for people who want a clean plant-based protein option with minimal ingredients.

Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein is made with plant-based protein for athletes and individuals who choose not to consume animal-derived ingredients. The product contains only five to seven natural and organic ingredients and may appeal to those who want to avoid artificial sweeteners, dyes, and preservatives.

Transparent Labs blends rice protein with pea protein to offer a diverse supply of essential amino acids in this protein powder. While rice protein is lower in lysine and pea protein is lower in methionine, combining them provides a complete and balanced amino acid profile ideal for muscle recovery.

RELATED: Pea Protein Benefits

Each scoop offers 24 grams of protein, making it convenient to get the 20 to 40 grams of protein every 3 to 4 hours recommended by the International Society of Sports Nutrition1 for building muscle. With 24 grams of plant protein per serving, we rated the formulation a 5 out of 5. 

Transparent labs Vegan Protein 1

GGR Senior Staff Writer and CPT Lauren Strong tested the chocolate flavor of Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein, rating taste a 3 out of 5. Lauren says, “Not too bad for a vegan protein powder, it tastes like a dark chocolate drink (not milk chocolate) but with an earthy hint because of the rice and pea protein.” 

The product isn’t as sweet as others flavored with added sugar and artificial sweeteners. “I would not suggest this for people who like sweet/sugary protein drinks,” Lauren adds. “There is not that much sugar and you can really taste the cocoa powder.”

Plant-based protein powders often have a different texture than whey protein. Although this product mixed well, it didn’t dissolve completely. Lauren says, “It’s not gritty but there is more residue/film in the shaker and I can feel that extra texture in my mouth, too.” We rated solubility a 3.5 out of 5 because of this.

A scoop of this vegan protein powder costs $1.66, which is comparable to many other protein powders on the market. Positioned between budget-friendly and expensive, we rated the price per serving at 3.5 out of 5.

Read our full Transparent Labs Vegan Protein review to learn more about Lauren’s experience. 

Protein per serving 24 g 
Flavors Chocolate, French Vanilla 
Price per serving $1.66
Third-party tested? Yes

Best Casein Recovery Protein Powder: Legion Casein+

Good for: Athletes who prefer to work out at night and aim to optimize muscle recovery while sleeping 

Best Casein

Legion Athletics Casein+ Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Milk-derived casein protein powder
  • Thick texture
  • 5 flavor options
  • Sourced from grass-fed cattle
  • 25 g protein per serving 
  • 5 grams of BCAAs and 11.4 grams of EAAs per serving

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sourced from grass-fed cattle
  • 100% micellar casein
  • Tasty flavor options
  • Smooth, rich, creamy texture
  • Analyzed for purity and potency in an ISO 17025 accredited lab
  • 0g added sugar
  • Includes BCAAs and EAAs
  • Subscribe-and-save option

Cons

  • Casein protein is significantly thicker than whey
  • Casein can cause bloating and gas, especially upon initial use
  • Takes quite a bit of shaking to get rid of all clumps

Bottom Line

Legion Athletics Casein+ Protein Powder comes in several delicious flavors, and we’re fans of the Banana Cream Pie. Casein can be consumed as a shake, or with less water, like a pudding. This protein has 25 grams of protein per 110-calorie serving.

Legion Casein+ utilizes casein protein powder sourced from cows raised without hormones or antibiotics. These cows, traceable to small dairy farms in Ireland, roam freely and graze on 95% grass. This all-natural protein powder is GMO-free, gluten-free, and made without any added sugar. 

We rated the formulation of this product an impressive 5 out of 5 for its use of high-quality casein protein, high protein content, and exclusion of artificial sweeteners and dyes.

The body digests and absorbs casein protein more slowly than whey, making it an excellent choice for nighttime consumption. This slow digestion provides a steady release of amino acids throughout the night and may support muscle growth and recovery as you sleep2.

RELATED: Benefits of Casein Protein

A hand scoops up some Legion Strawberry Casein powder.

Each serving offers 24 to 26 grams of protein depending on flavor—enough to activate muscle protein synthesis. This protein provides 5.2 grams of branched-chain amino acids to repair and build tired muscles after a workout.

Anthony O’Reilly, GGR performance editor and certified nutrition coach, tested the Banana Cream Pie flavor and rated the taste a 4.5 out of 5. He says, “It tastes more like a slightly under-ripe banana to me than the delectable dessert, but I still like it!”

The texture of casein is a little thicker than whey, but Anthony still rated solubility a perfect 5 out of 5 for this protein powder. It mixed well and didn’t leave behind any clumps. 

Legion Casein+ is third-party tested, so you know you’re getting what’s listed on the label. At $1.99 per serving, this high-quality, slow-digesting, third-party-tested protein powder is more expensive than several other options. 

To learn more, check out our full Legion Casein+ Review.

Protein per serving24-26 g (depending on flavor)
Flavors Banana Cream Pie, Dutch Chocolate, French Vanilla, Cinnamon Cereal, Strawberry
Price per serving $1.99
Third-party tested?Yes

Best-Tasting Recovery Protein Powder: Momentous Recovery

Good for: Those wanting a protein powder with added carbohydrates and glutamine to enhance muscle recovery 

Best-Tasting

Momentous Recovery

GGR Score: 3.75 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Blend of post-workout protein and carbs
  • Chocolate and Vanilla flavors
  • Amino acids and electrolytes
  • NSF-Certified for Sport

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Delicious flavor
  • Easy to mix
  • Contains ample protein and carbs
  • Low in fat and sugar
  • Third-party certified

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Serving size is 2 scoops
  • Only available in vanilla and chocolate

Bottom Line

Momentous Recovery features a balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, amino acids, and electrolytes for post-workout recovery. It contains grass-fed whey isolate protein sourced from Irish cows for muscle recovery and protein synthesis,  carbohydrates to safely elevate blood sugar levels, and L-glutamine and L-carnitine help support the repair and rebuilding of muscle tissue, reducing muscle soreness and promoting optimal muscle function.

Momentous Recovery is a blend of whey protein isolate and carbohydrates created to support rapid recovery post-workout. Additionally, it features glutamine, an amino acid that may promote muscle repair and reduce soreness after a workout, and carnitine, a compound found naturally in muscles that could enhance energy production and delay muscle fatigue.

A serving of Momentous Recovery offers 20 grams of whey protein isolate, 1.5 grams of fat, and 10 grams of carbohydrates. The relatively higher carbohydrate content serves to replenish glycogen stores, which are depleted during intense bursts of exercise or prolonged endurance exercise. Replenishing glycogen stores post-exercise is crucial for promoting muscle recovery and restoring energy levels.

RELATED: Momentous Essential Grass-Fed Whey Protein Review

momentous-recovery-protein-mixed-in-coffee

Even more, the product contains electrolytes, including magnesium, sodium, and potassium to support hydration. The added ingredients in Momentous Recovery earn it a 4.5 out of 5 rating for formulation. 

GGR Performance Editor and certified personal trainer, Anthony O’Reilly, tested Momentous Recover. He explains the consistency of the powder as “finer than sand” and rated solubility a 5 out of 5. 

Regarding taste, Anthony says, “Any NYC native knows the name Mr. Softee and their iconic vanilla ice cream—this tastes like that.” He describes it as slightly malted with a high-quality vanilla flavor and deliciously creamy. He rated Momentous Recovery a 5 out of 5 for taste.

The third-party-tested product falls short in the price per serving category, which we rated a 1 out of 5. With each serving costing $3.66 per serving, Anthony says, “This is an insanely expensive protein powder, but in terms of taste, it’s unbeatable.”

Protein per serving 20 g 
FlavorsVanilla, Chocolate
Price per serving$3.66
Third-party tested?Yes

Best Whey Isolate Recovery Protein Powder: Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Individuals looking for a fast-absorbing protein powder with a higher-than-average protein content 

Best Whey Isolate

Nutricost Whey Isolate

Product Highlights

  • 30 grams of whey protein isolate per serving
  • Available in 10 flavors, including unflavored
  • High-quality ingredients and third-party testing
  • Supports lean muscle growth and recovery after workouts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Non-GMO and gluten-free
  • Manufactured in cGMP-compliant facility
  • Unflavored option only contains one ingredient, instantized whey protein isolate

Cons

  • Some flavors are sold out
  • Different flavors have different prices

Bottom Line

Nutricost Whey Isolate contains 30 grams of high-quality whey protein isolate, which is more than the average protein powder contains. It's gluten-free, non-GMO, manufactured in a GMP-compliant facility, and third-party tested.

Whey protein isolate is a popular choice for those wanting to build muscle mass and recover quickly after a resistance training session. Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate contains a whopping 30 grams of protein per serving, which is higher than many other protein powder supplements. This high protein content serves to activate muscle protein synthesis, replenish amino acid stores, and support muscle repair. 

Whey protein is commonly thought of as the gold standard of protein powders. Whey protein isolate is rich in essential amino acids (including branched-chain amino acids), the building blocks of protein, essential for developing lean muscle mass and enhancing recovery. Leucine is an important BCAA, especially high in whey protein, that activates muscle protein synthesis for muscle building.

RELATED: Best Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein isolate is more filtered and contains less lactose (a type of carbohydrate) and fat than whey protein concentrate. Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate only contains 2 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fat per serving. This high-quality protein may lead to fewer digestive issues than those with a higher lactose content.

girl making smoothie with nutricost whey protein isolate

This protein powder contains artificial and natural ingredients. It’s sweetened with sucralose and Ace-K, artificial sweeteners that may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some individuals. Considering the product’s high protein content, quality protein, and additional ingredients, we rated the formulation a 4.5 out of 5. 

Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate comes in 10 flavors, including but not limited to, Cake Batter, Salted Caramel, and Strawberry Acai. The variety in flavor options gives consumers a fair amount of choices to alternate between. 

Each scoop costs $2.41, so we rated the price per serving a 3 out of 5. It’s certainly not the most expensive protein powder we have come across, but it might not fit into a tight budget. 

Protein per serving 30 g
FlavorsChocolate, Unflavored, Mocha, Salted Caramel, Strawberry Milkshake, Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cake Batter, Strawberry Acai, Cookies and Cream
Price per serving $2.41
Third-party tested?Yes

Best Budget Recovery Protein Powder: Orgain Organic Grass-Fed Whey

Good for: Anyone searching for a whey protein powder that’s naturally flavored and sweetened 

Best Budget

Orgain Grass Fed Whey Protein

GGR Score: 3.75 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 21 grams of grass-fed whey protein per serving 
  • Gluten free, soy free, no sugar added, kosher, non-GMO, carrageenan free
  • Available in vanilla bean and chocolate fudge
  • 100% New Zealand-sourced grass-fed whey protein

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Mixes well
  • Clean ingredients
  • Virtually sugar free
  • non-GMO certified

Cons

  • Contains stevia extract and erythritol
  • Mixed reviews on taste

Bottom Line

Orgain Organic Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder delivers 21 grams of clean, grass-fed whey protein that's great on its own or when used for baking.

Orgain Organic Grass-Fed Whey packs 21 grams of whey protein concentrate per 2-scoop serving. This is enough to stimulate protein synthesis for muscle repair and recovery. Because it’s whey concentrate, the lactose content is higher than that of whey isolate, so those with a lactose intolerance may need to avoid this product. Otherwise, whey protein concentrate is a high-quality complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids needed for muscle growth.

RELATED: Whey Protein Benefits

In addition to protein, Orgain Grass-Fed Whey protein contains a variety of organic ingredients, including erythritol (a sugar alcohol), sea salt, cocoa, natural flavors, sunflower lecithin, stevia, and guar gum. Erythritol, sea salt, stevia, and cocoa enhance the flavor, while lesser-known ingredients like guar gum and sunflower lecithin improve the product’s solubility and texture.

Sugar alcohols are natural sweeteners, but some people may have difficulty digesting them. This can lead to uncomfortable bloating and gas. All considered, we rated the formulation a 4 out of 5. 

This protein powder provides 130 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 11 grams of carbohydrates per serving. The higher carbohydrate content helps replenish glycogen stores depleted during high-intensity exercise. During such activities, the body relies on glycogen as a quick and efficient energy source.

Expert tester Anthony O’Reilly, GGR performance editor and certified nutrition coach, rated Orgain Organic Grass-Fed Whey a 3.5 out of 5 for taste. “The vanilla is just fine…nothing special, but not horrible either. Very middle of the road,” he shared. Solubility rated slightly higher than taste at a 4 out of 5. There were a few floaties but overall it mixed just fine. 

At $2.00 per serving, we rated the cost a 4.5 out of 5. While this price might seem mid-range compared to other protein powders, it’s a steal considering the product is made with mostly organic ingredients. 

RELATED: Best Organic Protein Powder

Protein per serving 21 g 
Flavors Creamy Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla Bean
Price per serving $2.00
Third-party tested? No

Best Meal Replacement Recovery Protein Powder: Huel Complete Powder Black

Good for: Those searching for a protein powder meal replacement with plenty of protein, carbs, and fiber to keep them feeling full and satisfied 

Best Meal Replacement

Huel Complete Powder Black Edition

GGR Score: 4.16 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based complete nutritional shake 
  • 400 calories, 40 g protein, 5-8 g fiber, 4-6g sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • 9 flavor options
  • Gluten-free meal shake

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Doesn’t need to be refrigerated
  • Resealable bag
  • 40 g protein in each serving
  • Contains all essential vitamins and minerals
  • 9 flavors available

Cons

  • Must sign up for subscription
  • Bit of an aftertaste from plant-based protein

Bottom Line

Huel Complete Protein Powder Black Edition is a nutritionally complete meal replacement shake powder, containing 400 calories per serving along with 40 grams of protein in all of the nine flavors. Fat, carb, and fiber content varies by 1 to 3 grams across flavors, but you can expect to find a healthy serving of unsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates, and fiber in each shake. Plus, each shake contains all essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids with no artificial sweeteners or gluten.

Huel Complete Powder Black is more than a protein powder, it’s a vegan meal replacement. It’s higher in calories, carbohydrates, and fat than your standard protein powder, which could be a pro for those wanting a quick, high-protein meal on the go with balanced macronutrients.

Every 2-scoop serving contains an impressive 40 grams of plant-based protein. A mix of pea protein, ground flaxseed, and brown rice protein offers a complete amino acid profile, including branched-chain amino acids particularly important for muscle repair after a workout. Forty grams of protein is much more than you’ll find in a typical protein powder that contains around 20 to 25 grams of protein.

RELATED: Best Meal Replacement Shakes

We love the essential vitamins and minerals featured in Huel Complete Powder Black. You get vitamin D for strong bones, iron for oxygen delivery throughout the body, vitamins A and E to support immune health, and B vitamins for enhanced energy metabolism.

Woman scooping Huel Black out of bag into a shaker bottle

As a meal replacement, this gluten-free product has significantly higher fat and carbohydrate content than a typical protein powder. Depending on the flavor, each serving provides 17 to 18 grams of fat and 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrates. Of these carbohydrates, 6 to 8 grams are fiber, which helps improve satiety, promote bowel regularity, and manage blood sugar levels.

We rated the formulation a 5 out of 5 as a meal replacement due to its high protein content, abundance of micronutrients, and substantial fiber. However, as a protein powder, we rated it a 3 out of 5. Most individuals using a protein powder aren’t typically seeking a 400-calorie supplement with extra carbs.

GGR Social Media Manager Brittany Combs tested Huel Complete Powder Black and rated the taste a 5 out of 5. She tried the Cookies & Cream flavor, describing it as “very sweet, but not too sweet, just the right amount.” 

Brittany mixed the powder with cold water and in her coffee. In water, it dissolved easily in a shaker bottle. She noted, “I can’t add the full serving size to my small espresso drink BUT putting in a fourth of the serving was still a great add to make my espresso more tasty and also give the benefits of added protein.”

At $2.50 per serving, this protein powder is pricier than most others on the market, which is why we rated it a 1 out of 5 for cost. However, if you’re using it as a meal replacement, $2.50 for a convenient meal is hard to beat. Ultimately, the value depends on how you intend to use it.

Protein per serving 40 g 
Flavors Vanilla, Chocolate, Banana, Strawberry Shortcake, Coffee Caramel, Cookies & Cream, Salted Caramel, Cinnamon, Unflavored 
Price per serving $2.50
Third-party tested? No

Best High-Protein Recovery Protein Powder: Muscle Milk Pro

Good for: Those looking for a protein powder with an ultra-high protein content and added vitamins and minerals 

Best High-Protein

Muscle Milk Pro Series Protein Powder

GGR Score: 3.9 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 50 grams of protein per serving
  • Mix of fast- and slow-releasing proteins
  • NSF Certified for Sport: No banned substances and product matches what is on the label 
  • Available in 3 flavors

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 50 grams of protein per serving
  • NSF Certified for Sport
  • 3 different flavors available
  • Available at wide variety of stores

Cons

  • Large serving size at 2 scoops/82 grams
  • Mixed reviews on taste
  • Contains sucralose
  • Low servings per container

Bottom Line

Muscle Milk Pro Series Protein Powder has a high protein content with 50 grams of protein per serving to help promote muscle growth and recovery.

Muscle Milk Pro packs an insane amount of protein per serving to promote muscle growth and post-workout recovery. In two scoops you get 50 grams of protein, mostly from milk protein isolate, 4 to 5 grams of fat, and 17 to 18 grams of carbohydrates depending on flavor. With 310 calories per serving and 20 vitamins and minerals, you could easily mix this with milk, fruit, and nut butter for a balanced meal replacement protein shake. 

Milk protein isolate contains both whey and casein protein. Casein is a slow-digesting protein that provides a steady supply of amino acids, and whey is a fast-digesting protein that provides a quick influx of amino acids. Additionally, milk protein has a complete amino acid profile. The combination of casein and whey supports muscle recovery, making milk protein a popular choice for post-workout sports nutrition.

Expert tester Caine Wilkes, GGR senior staff writer, Olympian, and strength coach, tried the chocolate flavor of Muscle Milk Pro and rated the taste a 4.5 out of 5. “I tried the Chocolate and it was very good and very rich. Not overpowering, although I could see someone thinking it has a bit of an artificial taste,” he shared. 

Man drinking Muscle Milk Pro Series protein powder

The slight artificial taste Caine mentions is likely due to the artificial flavors and sweeteners in the formulation. The product is sweetened with sucralose and Ace-K, both of which are artificial sweeteners. Despite this, we still rated the formulation a 4.5 out of 5, considering its high protein content and the inclusion of several vitamins and minerals.

Furthermore, Caine noted that the consistency of Muscle Milk Pro was a bit thick, but still rated solubility a 5 out of 5. With enough water, the powder mixed well without leaving behind any clumps. 

At $2.31 per serving, this NSF certified product is expensive, earning a rating of 1 out of 5 for cost. While there are many more affordable protein powders available, few offer the same amount of protein per serving. Nevertheless, you can still effectively activate muscle protein synthesis with 20 to 40 grams of protein per serving.

Check out our full Muscle Milk Pro Series review to learn more.

Protein per serving 50 g 
FlavorsIntense Vanilla, Knockout Chocolate, Slammin’ Strawberry 
Price per serving $2.31 (Amazon)
Third-party tested? Yes

Other Recovery Protein Powders We Researched

Finding the best recovery protein powders required testing a lot of protein supplements. There were others we liked that didn’t quite make the list. Here are a couple we thought were worth mentioning. 

  • Body Fortress: Body Fortress tastes great and delivers a substantial amount of protein, making it a solid choice for those wanting to boost their protein intake. However, we decided to leave it off our top picks due to its high-calorie content per serving.
  • Muscle Milk: We liked the taste and quality protein of Muscle Milk, but we chose to include the Pro version instead. Muscle Milk Pro offers a higher protein content and additional nutrients. 

How We Picked and Tested the Best Recovery Protein Powder

We carefully considered several key factors when selecting the best recovery protein powder. Our top priorities were high protein content, a quality protein source, and a complete amino acid profile. Here’s what we evaluated:

  • Protein Content and Quality: We chose supplements with at least 20 grams of high-quality whey, casein, or plant-based protein per serving, ensuring a complete amino acid profile for effective muscle repair and growth. 
  • Carbohydrate Content: Our selection includes products with a range of carbohydrate amounts to accommodate both individuals who need to restore glycogen after prolonged or intense exercise and those who prefer a low-carb supplement.
  • Ingredients and Additives: We favored protein powders made with natural ingredients and minimal artificial additives. Additionally, we preferred supplements that contained extra vitamins, minerals, branched-chain amino acids, and compounds like glutamine to enhance recovery.
  • Flavor and Solubility: Our testers chose protein powders with several flavor options that taste great and mix easily. 
  • Price and Value: We included protein powders with a variety of price points to suit different budgets.
  • Third-Party Testing: Our top picks include many options that are third-party tested because we value quality and safety. 

Benefits of Recovery Protein Powder

Many people associate protein powder with muscle gains, but it’s equally important for muscle recovery between workouts. Amino acids are vital for repairing muscle tissue damaged during exercise. Protein powder supports muscle protein synthesis by using these amino acids to rebuild and grow lean muscle mass. Additionally, recovery protein powders contain branched-chain amino acids, which can help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness. These benefits facilitate a quicker return to training, allowing for a more consistent training regimen. 

RELATED: Best Muscle Recovery Supplements

Dosing and Interactions 

Protein powders are not a replacement for whole-food meals and snacks. While using a meal replacement protein powder occasionally can be convenient, it is not recommended to regularly substitute balanced meals with dietary supplements.

A half-full green shaker bottle rests next to a container of Transparent Labs Vegan Protein powder

Individuals with lactose intolerance may need to avoid protein powders made from dairy, including whey, casein, and milk protein. These powders contain lactose, which can be difficult for those with an intolerance to digest, leading to gastrointestinal discomfort. 

If you have a food allergy, be sure to check the supplement label for potential allergens. Many protein powders contain common allergens such as milk, soy, and wheat.

Lastly, be sure to consult with your primary care physician or registered dietitian nutritionist before starting a new supplement. These healthcare providers can make suggestions based on your medical history and current medications. 

Third-Party Testing

Third-party testing helps give customers peace of mind. It shows that a product has undergone rigorous analysis to verify the ingredients on the label are accurate and the product doesn’t contain harmful levels of heavy metals or other contaminants. We prioritize protein powders with third-party testing for quality and safety. 

Buying Guide: What to Look for in Recovery Protein Powder

What to look for in a recovery protein powder will depend on your personal goals and preferences. Here are several factors to consider when shopping for the best protein powder supplement to aid in your post-workout recovery. 

  • Complete Protein Sources: Look for protein powders made with whey, casein, pea, soy, egg white, or milk protein. These are complete sources of protein that contain all nine essential amino acids for muscle recovery.
  • Protein Content: Use protein powders with 20 to 40 grams of protein per serving to stimulate muscle protein synthesis needed for muscle repair. 
  • Ingredients: Consider protein powders with added electrolytes, vitamins, and amino acids that aid in hydration and recovery. For example, glutamine is a non-essential amino acid often added to supplements to enhance muscle repair and reduce soreness.
  • Dietary Preferences: Consider gluten-free, vegan, or organic protein powders for recovery based on your individual needs and dietary preferences.
  • Customer Reviews: Check customer reviews on the company website and Amazon to see what other consumers think about the protein powder. This will give you insight into the product’s taste and mixability. 
  • Cost: Look at the price per serving before purchasing a protein powder to ensure you’re getting a deal that fits within your budget. 
  • Third-Party Testing: Give bonus points to products that have been third-party tested, ensuring that the ingredients listed on the label match what’s actually in the product.

Experts Who Contributed to This Article

  • Brittany Combs, GGR Social Media Manager
  • Lauren Strong, CPT
  • Perry Nix, MS, RD
  • Anthony O’Reilly, CPT, CNC
  • Caine Wilkes, OLY, USAW-L1
  • Frieda Johnson, CNC, SET

FAQs About Recovery Protein Powder

What protein powder is best for muscle recovery?

We recommend 1st Phorm Level 1 as the best recovery protein powder. It’s made with three types of protein that ensure a rapid influx of amino acids, followed by a steady supply that supports muscle repair for hours afterward.

Is protein good for recovery?

Yes, dietary protein is good for recovery. Protein contains amino acids, the building blocks of muscle. Muscle tissues are damaged during intense training sessions and protein supplies amino acids necessary for repair.

Does protein powder really help recovery?

Yes, protein helps muscle recovery by reducing muscle breakdown and providing essential amino acids that work to recover micro-tears in muscle tissue after a training session. Protein also supports protein synthesis for the growth of new muscle tissue. 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

References

  1. Kerksick, C. M., Arent, S., Schoenfeld, B. J., Stout, J. R., Campbell, B., Wilborn, C. D., Taylor, L., Kalman, D., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Kreider, R. B., Willoughby, D., Arciero, P. J., VanDusseldorp, T. A., Ormsbee, M. J., Wildman, R., Greenwood, M., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Aragon, A. A., & Antonio, J. (2017). International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14, 33. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0189-4
  2. Kim J. (2020). Pre-sleep casein protein ingestion: new paradigm in post-exercise recovery nutrition. Physical Activity and Nutrition, 24(2), 6–10. https://doi.org/10.20463/pan.2020.0009

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