You don't need to be an avid supplement user or gym junkie to have heard about protein powder before. In fact, did you know that most people struggle to get in their daily requirement of protein? Believe it or not, our bodies require a considerable amount of protein to function optimally and to aid us in reaching our fitness goals. Fortunately enough, ASN is home to some of the best protein powders in Australia.
What is Protein Powder?
As one of the most popular supplements on the market, protein is one of the core building blocks of bone, muscle, and skin and is required to produce hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals. When it comes to improving your health and fitness goals, supplementing with protein powder is a no-brainer as it's an essential macronutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, and assist in weight management.
Who should use Protein Powder?
Whether you're a gym buff wanting to gain lean muscle, a HIIT warrior wishing to help your muscles recover after an intense workout, or an everyday health conscious person who wants to manage your weight by choosing satiating snacking options, protein serves many purposes and is designed for people of all fitness levels.
How and when should I consume Protein Powder?
Protein powder is highly versatile and can be mixed with water, milk, coconut water, blended with a healthy fruit smoothie, or used as a baking ingredient. As for when you consume your protein powder, the best time is after a workout, as that's when your muscles need it most. As a general rule of thumb, aim to consume your protein shake within 30 minutes of completing your workout, which will promote muscle recovery and growth by shuttling amino acids into your muscle cells to repair and form new muscle tissue. However, you can also consume a protein shake throughout the day to tie you over between meals.
Top 6 Protein Powders for Every Goal
Looking for the best protein powders? Not sure which protein powder is suitable for you? At ASN, we’re home to only Australia’s best protein powders, which means we stock everything from WPI and WPC to vegan protein, mass gainers and more. Check out our guide below:
1. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
Known for its fast absorption rate and leaner and lower fat profile, Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) offers one of the purest and highest protein sources on the market. While both Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Protein Isolate are derived from the same milk concentration, Whey Protein Isolate has gone through a more refined filtration process to remove the lactose content creating a high serving of protein, with the least amount of carbohydrates, fats, and additives. Due to this filtration process, WPI is an extremely fast absorbing protein source, allowing your muscles to utilise it much quicker than other proteins. WPI generally supplies about 90-95% protein!
Whey Protein Isolate is ideal for all fitness levels and generally a safer alternative for those who struggle with lactose intolerance or gastric stress. While generally less flavoursome than its milky counterparts, Whey Protein Isolate is a suitable solution for those seeking a pure and high protein formula that will encourage lean muscle growth when paired with a healthy diet and solid workout regime. Looking for the best WPI in Australia?
Our recommendation is the Evolve WPI, one of the best lean protein powders in Australia!
2. Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC)
Known to help boost the effects of weight training, encourage healthy fat loss, build muscle, and assist with reducing food cravings, Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) is the most common and popular form of whey protein. WPC generally supplies 60-80% protein, with the remaining 20-40% composed of fats and carbs.
While WPC is the least processed form of whey protein (compared to WPI and Hydrolysate), it is richer in other non-protein ingredients that are beneficial for a range of health and fitness goals, including healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Ideal for topping up your daily protein intake or for pre or post-workout nutrition, a quality Whey Protein Concentrate will offer high protein, low-carb, low-fat, sustained release, a complete protein, and a solid source of amino acids. However, suppose you're lactose intolerant or struggle with digesting dairy products? In that case, Whey Protein Isolate is a smarter choice for you as Concentrate contains higher traces of dairy. Due to the higher amount of lactose in Whey Protein Concentrate, you will also find that most are a little higher in calories also.
Our recommendation is the Evolve Incredible Whey, as it's the best protein powder for a sustained release.
3. Whey Protein Blends
As the name suggests, a whey protein blend generally combines whey protein concentration (WPC) and Whey Protein Isolate (WPI). At times, another protein source, such as Casein Protein, may be added as well. Regardless of what proteins are used in a whey blend, it will usually contain a lower net percentage of protein than whey isolates but is a much more cost-effective solution for those wanting to utilise the benefits of protein without putting a dent in their budget.
Using a slow and fast digesting protein allows for a constant release of amino acids and nutrients instantly and over the following few hours to achieve sustained energy. A blended protein provides the benefits of multiple protein types in one while supporting your body goals.
Whey protein blends are the best protein powders for users who wish to:
Enjoy a full spectrum of benefits from multiple protein sources. For example - You can enjoy the fast absorption of WPI while also enjoying the fats, vitamins, and minerals and sustained protein release exclusive to WPC.
Meet their daily protein requirements without the more expensive price tag with refined and higher quality whey protein sources, such as WPI and Hydrolysate.
Our recommendation is the Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Protein, one of the top protein powders in Australia!
4. Milk and Casein Protein Powder
Casein protein is the ultimate slow-digesting dairy protein that will work hard while you rest. Casein is perfect for people wanting a time-release protein that will keep their muscles nourished while reducing muscle breakdown and helping to maintain and build muscle around the clock.
Casein Protein Powder works as a slow-releasing protein by feeding your cells with amino acids at a slower rate and over a more extended period. Unlike whey protein that is best taken pre or post-workout due to its fast absorption, milk and casein protein powders are best taken just before bed to help you preserve muscle mass during a resting or fasting period. As your body is more likely to break down its own muscles for feeding during times of fasting, casein protein is anti-catabolic and helps to reduce protein/muscle breakdown. Much like other animal proteins, casein is a complete protein source, which means that it contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs for muscle growth and repair!
Our recommendation is the Muscle Nation Custard Casein Protein, one of the most popular Australian protein brands!
5. Vegan Protein Powder
Are you looking for a protein source to suit your vegan dietary requirements? Or perhaps you're looking for a protein source that's low or free from allergens and sensitive ingredients? Or maybe you're just simply looking for a naturally sweetened protein source rich in healthy plant proteins? Whatever your reason, vegan protein powders are a popular protein source among athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all fitness levels and preferences!
While the ingredients will vary from product to product, all vegan protein powders are composed of a range of plant-based ingredients, including soy, rice, pea, and hemp. When looking for a good quality vegan protein, be sure to find one that contains several different plant protein sources to ensure your body is getting the essential amino acids it requires for muscle growth and recovery. For instance, Evolve Vegan Protein combines three different plant sources - peanut, pea, and rice, to provide a complete protein source for maximum results. A vegan protein should be consumed, much like whey protein, as a pre or post-workout shake. It can be mixed with water, added to your fruit smoothie or greens juice, or used in baking.
Our recommendation is the Evolve Vegan Protein as its smooth, creamy consistency is favoured by many!
6. Mass Gainer
Whether you want to gain serious muscle mass, struggle to see muscle growth, or simply don't have a schedule that allows you to commit to a strict high-calorie diet, a mass gainer may be precisely what you need to achieve your goals!
It's no secret that to increase muscle mass, it's fundamental that you first increase your daily calories above maintenance mode to provide your body with sufficient protein, carbohydrates, and fat to build new muscle tissue. Yet, while increasing your daily food intake sounds fun in theory, it's often easier said than done, which is where a high-quality mass gainer comes in handy. Combining your two favourite components for solid muscle growth, a mass gainer is the efforts of a high calorie and high protein formula, explicitly designed to assist you in muscle growth without having to rely solely on a calorie-dense diet. And when used alongside a premium quality creatine and protein powder, bulking to your fullest will feel more achievable than ever before. A mass gainer can be mixed with water, milk, or juice and can be taken in the morning, between meals, or post-workout.
Our recommendation is the Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass for a high-calorie mass gainer and the Evolve Incredible Mass for a lower-calorie mass gainer. These are two of the best protein powders for muscle gain in Australia!
Finding the best protein powder for your nutritional needs and body goals may seem a little overwhelming with so many on the market. We highly recommend evaluating your personal goals to help with the selection process e.g.
Our recommendation for lean muscle mass goals would be an amino charged WPI for fast absorption and quality recovery.
For specific weight goals, our recommendation would be a blended weight management protein. Our most popular weight goal protein is the Evolve Lipo Whey. It is the best protein powder to support weight goals due to its comprehensive list of ingredients!
Our recommendation for those with specific dietary requirements around lactose would be either a plant-based protein powder or WPI as it is lower in lactose.
For those wanting to 'bulk,' our recommendation would be a high-protein, high-carb protein powder with added benefits like creatine and aminos.
For those wanting to support their daily protein intake, our recommendation would be a protein blend. These are the best protein powders for smoothies!
If you're still feeling a little unsure, which protein powder will provide the most benefits to your goals, then reach out to our online team or pop into one of our stores and have a chat with our friendly team members. Australian Sports Nutrition stocks an array of well-known reputable supplement brands and is home to the best protein powders in Australia. Together, we can identify the best protein powder to suit your nutritional needs and support your health journey.