10 Best Protein Bars to Build Muscle

February 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Build Muscle, Extra Protein Boosts

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Protein bars offer a lot of health benefits. Whether you are a bodybuilder, a busy person that needs a quick meal replacement, or a dieter trying to lose weight, protein bars are a great supplement to your daily diet. They give you energy, they keep you full for longer, and they can be a great pre- or post-workout treat that gives you the energy to hit the gym hard or recover from a difficult workout.

There are a lot of flavors, brands, and types of protein bars offered, and we have reviewed ten of the top options below to give you a comprehensive picture of different products' pros and cons.

Product FAQ

1. WHAT ARE PROTEIN BARS?

2. ARE PROTEIN BARS HEALTHY?

3. WHO SHOULD EAT PROTEIN BARS?

4. WHEN SHOULD YOU EAT A PROTEIN BAR?

5. HOW SHOULD YOU CHOOSE WHICH PROTEIN BAR TO PURCHASE?

How We Reviewed

We reviewed ten popular protein bars and analyzed the quality of their ingredients, the amount of protein they offer, additional nutritional information (including carbs and fiber), and whether they are appropriate for strict diets (such as lactose-intolerant consumers or those with nut allergies). Further, we considered the flavor offerings and price of each product.

What We Reviewed

  • RISE BAR NON-GMO, GLUTEN FREE, SOY FREE, REAL WHOLE FOOD, WHEY PROTEIN BAR
  • QUEST NUTRITION PROTEIN BAR, DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHUNK
  • MUSCLETECH NITROTECH CRUNCH PROTEIN BAR
  • MET-RX BIG 100 COLOSSAL MEAL REPLACEMENT BAR, SUPER COOKIE CRUNCH
  • QUEST NUTRITION PROTEIN BAR, CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH, HIGH PROTEIN BARS
  • MUSCLEPHARM COMBAT CRUNCH PROTEIN BAR
  • DETOUR LEAN MUSCLE WHEY PROTEIN BAR
  • PROMAX LOW SUGAR BAR PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE
  • SOURCE BAR CHOC CHIP COOKIE DOUGH
  • GOMACRO ORGANIC PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP

Rise Bar Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Real Whole Food, Whey Protein Bar

FEATURES

RiseBars are a great protein bar option for pre-workout, post-workout, recovery, or an on-the-go snack. They contain only three ingredients: almonds, honey, and whey protein isolate. They are low carb and lactose-free, and they are essentially fat-free. High in protein, vitamins and minerals, and fiber, RiseBars have no added sugar and are gluten-free.

PRICE

A twelve-pack of RiseBars can be purchased on Amazon for about $20, which is not a high price compared to similar products.

Rise Bar Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Real Whole Food, Whey Protein Bar (20g), No Added Sugar, Almond Honey High Protein Bar with Fiber, Potassium, Natural Vitamins & Nutrients 2.1oz, (12 Count)

                                                        

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Pros

  • No added sugar
  • Three ingredients total and does not contain "filler" ingredients
  • Lactose-free and gluten-free

Cons

  • Oil can make the bar a bit oily in the packaging
  • Some customer reviews say they are not "fresh"
  • Some customers say that a few bars arrive as rock solid and others are soft and mushy

Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, Double Chocolate Chunk, 20g Protein

FEATURES

A Quest protein bar contains 20 grams of protein and they are full of fiber that will keep you satisfied for a longer time. Quest bars can serve as great snacks, and they are great for pre and post workout consumption.


They can also be baked into a dessert, which is a great option for people who have a sweet craving. All the flavors used are natural, and the bars are gluten and soy free with no added sugar.

PRICE

The price of Quest bars depends on the flavor that you purchase. A 12-pack box of Double Chocolate Chunk protein bars costs about $23.

Quest Nutrition Chocolate Caramel Pecan Hero Protein Bar, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Soy Free, 10 Count

                                                        

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Pros

  • All natural flavors, including unsweetened chocolate
  • Contains only 4 grams of carbs
  • 20 grams of protein, great for pre and post workout

Cons

  • Contains milk-derived substances, so not suitable for people that are lactose-intolerant
  • Contains almonds and should not be consumed by anyone with a nut allergy
  • Some customer reviews say the bars taste "chemically" 

MuscleTech NitroTech Crunch Protein Bar

FEATURES

MuscleTech NitroTech Crunch Protein Bars contain 22 grams of whey isolate protein along with 5 grams of dietary fiber. It has a very clean micronutrient profile, and it is an excellent option for people on a strict diet.

It has fewer carbs than other similar protein bars, which makes it a great option for bodybuilders. NitroTech offers a variety of flavors, and it is a perfect snack for pre and post workout performance energy.

PRICE

You can purchase a twelve-pack of MuscleTech NitroTech protein bars for about $24 on Amazon, which amounts to about $2 per bar.

MuscleTech NitroTech Crunch Protein Bar,Birthday Cake, 22 Grams Protein, 5 Grams of Fiber, 240 Calories, Low Carb, Gluten Free, 65g Bars, 12 Count

                                                        

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Pros

  • Comes in seven delicious flavors
  • Fewer carbs than comparable products
  • Contains high-quality whey isolate

Cons

  • Contains milk and not suitable for those that are lactose-intolerant
  • Contains nuts and not suitable for those with nut allergies
  • Contains soy and not suitable for those that are allergic to soy

MET-Rx Big 100 Colossal Meal Replacement Bar, Super Cookie Crunch

FEATURES

The Met-RX Big 100 protein bar offers a lot of protein in one snack-sized bar— 28 grams. It uses several types of protein, including soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate, casein protein, and egg whites, to offer a balanced mixture of slow and fast-acting proteins. Further, it has added vitamins to boost energy and health. It is a great meal replacement, it can serve as a pre or post workout treat, and it comes in a variety of flavors.

PRICE

MET-Rx Bg 100 Colossal Meal Replacement Bars cost about $47 for a pack of twelve. This is one of the more expensive options compared to similar products.

MET-Rx BIG 100 Colossal Meal Replacement Bar Crispy Apple Pie -- 9 Bars

                                                        

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Pros

  • Contains 28 grams of protein per bar
  • Includes different types of protein, mixing slow and fast-acting proteins
  • Contains added vitamins for more nutritional value

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other protein bars
  • High in sugar
  • High in calories

Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, High Protein Bars

FEATURES

These Quest bars contain 21 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber. They are made from high-quality and bioavailable proteins, and they also contain fiber-rich carbohydrates to give you a lot of energy either pre or post workout. They use simple and healthy ingredients, and they only contain 1 gram of sugar per bar.

PRICE

You can buy a twelve-pack of these bars on Amazon for about $23.

Quest Nutrition Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar, High Protein, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Keto Friendly, 12 Count

                                                        

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Pros

  • Made with a mix of whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate
  • Low net carbs and only 1 gram of sugar
  • 21 grams of protein per bar

Cons

  • Contains milk-derived substances, so not suitable for people that are lactose-intolerant
  • Contains almonds and should not be consumed by anyone with a nut allergy
  • Some customer reviews say that the bars taste "chemically"

MusclePharm Combat Crunch Protein Bar

FEATURES

MusclePharm Combat Crunch bars contain 20 grams of protein and use whey protein isolate for fast-acting protein combined with milk protein isolate for extended protein release. They contain 12 grams of dietary fiber per bar, only 210 calories, 5 grams of sugar, 28 grams of carbohydrates, and 7 grams of fat. They use simple ingredients, and MusclePharm bars are available in six different flavors.

PRICE

You can buy a twelve-pack of these bars for about $18 on Amazon.

MusclePharm Combat Crunch Protein Bar, Multi-Layered Baked Bar, Gluten-Free Bars, 20 g Protein, Low-Sugar, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Bars, 12 Servings

                                                        

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Pros

  • Contain 20 grams of protein per bar
  • Combination of milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate
  • Simple ingredients

Cons

  • Contain 28 grams of carbohydrates
  • Some customer reviews indicate a bad recipe change that leaves them dissatisfied
  • Not suitable for those that are lactose-intolerant

Detour Lean Muscle Whey Protein Bar

FEATURES

Detour is a brand that aims to provide clean ingredients and overall healthy bars. This protein bar only contains 2 grams of sugar, 110 calories, and 10 grams of protein. They are gluten-free, and they contain whey protein.

PRICE

You can purchase a 9 count of these bars for less than $12, making them one of the more affordable protein bar options.

Detour, Lean Muscle Bars, Cookie Dough Caramel Crisp, 12 Bars, 3.2 oz (90 g) Each Detour, Lean Muscle Bars, Cookie Dough Caramel Crisp, 12 Bars, 3.2 oz (90 g) Each - 2pcs

                                                        

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Pros

  • Low-calorie protein bar
  • Made of clean and natural ingredients
  • Only contains 2 grams of sugar

Cons

  • Only contains 10 grams of protein (versus typical 20 grams)
  • Not suitable for those that are lactose-intolerant
  • Not suitable for those that have nut allergies

Promax Low Sugar Bar Peanut Butter Chocolate

FEATURES

ProMax bars contain a lot of protein, with 28 grams per bar. Further, they have a blend of whey, milk, and casein protein, making them a complete and balanced source of protein in a snack-sized form. They are gluten-free, kosher, and vegetarian-friendly, and they do not contain artificial sweeteners or preservatives.

PRICE

You can purchase a 12 pack of these bars for just under $15, making them a very affordable option.

Promax Low Sugar Bar Peanut Butter Chocolate, 12 bars, 28.36 oz

                                                        

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Pros

  • Contain 28 grams of protein
  • Use a blend of whey, milk, egg, and casein proteins 
  • Do not contain high fructose corn syrup, maltitol, or gelatin

Cons

  • Not suitable for those that are lactose-intolerant
  • Contain a relatively high amount of sugar
  • Low in fiber

SOURCE BAR Choc Chip Cookie Dough

FEATURES

The SourceBar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor is non-GMO, gluten-free, and contains no artificial sweeteners. It is made of 20 grams of protein, and it contains only 2 grams of sugar. It contains grass-fed whey protein, almonds, and 100% organic cacao.

PRICE

You can purchase a twelve-pack of these bars on Amazon for about $30.

SOURCE BAR Choc Chip Cookie Dough - Made with: Grass Fed Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, and Milk Protein Isolate.

                                                        

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Pros

  • Contains 20 grams of protein
  • Only contains 2 grams of sugar
  • Contains no artificial sweeteners

Cons

  • Not suitable for those with nut allergies
  • Some customer reviews say that they are too chewy
  • High in carbohydrates

GoMacro Organic Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

FEATURES

GoMacro is a delicious protein bar that makes a great meal replacement and can serve as an easy grab-and-go snack. It uses plant-based products and is genuinely vegan with a balanced mixture of macro-nutrients. It is also gluten-free, GMO-free, organic, and it contains no added preservatives.

PRICE

You can purchase a fifteen-pack of these protein bars on Amazon for about $42.

Gomacro (ONLY 1 BAR) MacroBar Protein Pleasure Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

                                                        

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Pros

  • Organic and genuinely vegan
  • Contains slow burning carbs for enduring energy
  • No additives or preservatives

Cons

  • Not suitable for those that have nut allergies
  • Expensive compared to similar products
  • High in calories

The Verdict

While we reviewed ten of the most popular protein bars, there are a lot more options on the market that we did not discuss. The right choice for you entirely depends on your goals, taste and diet preferences, and budget.

Make sure you try a bar before ordering an entire pack, and we hope that this review narrows down your choices and is helpful in your health and fitness journey.

How Much Protein Do I Need to Build Muscle

January 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Build Muscle, Weight Lifting

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lifting

If you've ever asked yourself "How much protein do I need?" as you were starting a new fitness program to increase your muscle mass, the answer could lie in increasing both the level and type of protein in your diet. Your ability to Increase muscle will rest, largely, on your personal genetics, experience as a bodybuilder, and your diet.

Many people ask, "How much protein do I need?" when they want to gain muscle mass. This article reviews current opinions on amounts of protein needed per day to increase muscle mass and key factors to consider when creating individual meal plans. We also review different sources of protein and how to maintain muscle mass once you've achieved your ideal weight.  

Although our key focus is increasing your protein intake by eating protein rich food and drinking protein drinks, this article also considers the importance of specific types protein, the regularity of meals, and how other factors such as age and genetics affect your ability to build muscle.  

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Diet for Muscle Gain - How Much Protein Do I Need?

why protein powder

To increase muscle mass, it's critical to eat, every day, more calories than you need. Although the amount of calories a person needs every day is debatable as dieticians and experts argue it's different for each person due to individual metabolic rates and genetic factors, most people need to eat over 1,200 calories a day, to put on weight.

To improve muscle mass, we know you need to increase the amount of protein you eat. However, answering the question, "How much protein do I need?" is a little more complex. Protein breaks down into amino acids the body uses to build new muscle and for a range of other essential functions. Therefore, we recommend a protein level of 2.5 to 3.3 grams per kilogram of total body weight, or of your ideal body weight, for someone who works out and wants to increase muscle mass.

When increasing muscle mass, it is not only essential to increase the amount of protein in your diet, it is also important to know which type of protein will assist you the most in your goal to increase muscle mass.

Different foods have a different NPU or Net Protein Utilization, which shows the amount of protein the body can use. For example whey powder has a 90% NPU and a high level of essential amino acids making it the top supplement for bodybuilders. It is easy for the body to absorb and its amino acids assist in building muscle. Beef protein also has an NPU of 79-80% and the body digests it quickly. So a better question than "How much protein do I need?" might be "What kind of protein can my body absorb the best?"

Foods to Include in Your Meal Plan:

fish dish
  • High protein meats: chicken and lean beefs also provide minerals and B vitamins
  • Fish: HIgh in omega-3 fatty acids which helps muscle protein and overall protein synthesis
  • Eggs: a complete protein high in vitamins and packed with amino acids
  • Tofu: A vegan option high in minerals calcium and iron
  • Legumes: Also high in carbohydrates and fiber
  • Milk: complete protein with minerals potassium, calcium and B vitamins
  • Whole grains: Oats and brown rice are high in magnesium
  • Nuts: unsalted and unsweetened almonds and walnuts are high in protein and healthy fats
  • Protein shakes: many unsweetened, additive-free options are available including soy protein isolate and hemp seed power
  • Meal Frequency

    food clock

    To maximize muscle mass increases, you need to eat 3 to 4 meals a day with snacks. There is medical evidence showing that the timing of meals affects muscle gain, and four 20g servings of protein a day can be more effective in building muscle than two large intakes of protein. Medical studies show that eating at least a 40g serving of protein before you go to sleep also significantly increases muscle strength.

    Most medical studies confirm that there are significant benefits to eating in the 30-45 minutes window after your workout as this will directly impact your muscles' ability to rebuild and repair.  

    There are no miracle short cuts to building muscle. It will take at least a month before you'll notice significant results, so see this as a long-term plan. If the changes to your diet do not lead to any increase in muscle mass, you need to consider the following factors:

    • Are you doing the right workout?
    • Are you eating enough carbs, proteins, and total calories?
    • Are you allowing muscles to rest and repair themselves for 48 hours between workouts?

    EXAMPLE MEAL PLAN

    meal plan

    Build individual preferences into every meal and be realistic about how much preparation time you have during the week. Prepare to shop and to cook in advance. A good stock of frozen meat, carbs and protein shakes should be available to you at all times, and protein rich snacks such as nuts, and seeds so you never skip a meal. Reducing protein and total calorie intake for even one day will impact your muscle-gain program. An example meal plan could look like:

    • Breakfast: Oats or muesli with milk, seeds, nuts and a banana with high grain bread toast
    • Lunch: Chicken or turkey breast with steamed leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli or kale with brown rice or quinoa
    • Snacks: Protein shakes and almond or walnuts
    • Dinner: Grilled fish or beef with a large green salad, and dairy dessert of sweet rice or yogurt with fresh fruit

    Breakfast can also include high protein flour pancakes or breads made from quinoa, almond or amaranth flour. You can prepare sandwiches with large green salads for lunch when you have less time or opportunities to cook. Although newbies often wonder how much protein they need for each meal, most experts agree that the total amount of protein per day is a better focus. Online, you can find a wide range of recipes available to inspire your new meal plans.

    How Much Protein Do I Need to Build Muscle?

    As you increase your protein intake to build muscle your experience as a bodybuilder will also affect how much muscle you will build monthly.  An experienced bodybuilder could build 2 to 3 pounds a month while a novice may only build 0.5 lbs.

    Although genetics influence protein absorption, studies show there is no benefit to anyone eating more than 2g protein per day per kg of body weight to build muscle. Other studies show that a person weighing 57kg needs 125g-187g of protein a day to build muscle. Age is also a factor in how much protein the body needs to build muscle, and those aged over 50 will need more since they process protein less effectively.

    We know the body absorbs types of proteins more easily, and that whey protein is most effective for building lean muscle. With high amino acids levels that support protein synthesis, there are vegan alternatives available for people who don't consume whey. Pea flour, soy protein isolate, and casein isolate all have a high absorption rate.

    How Much Protein Do I Need to Maintain Muscle Mass?

    Once you have achieved your ideal muscle mass, you will need to maintain it through your diet and workouts. On average a 57kg person will need 125g-187g of protein a day to maintain their size. However, for overweight and obese bodybuilders the recommended daily protein intake is 68g to 85g.  Replacing carbohydrates and fats with protein as part of your daily calorie consumption will lead to more weight loss from workouts.

    Conclusion 

    It is not straightforward or easy to answer the question, "How much protein do I need?" for building muscle mass. Once you realize that genetics, age, and how much experience you have as a bodybuilder are all factors affecting the answer. Once you have weighed yourself and figured out how much protein you need to eat every day to achieve your target muscle mass increase, you can change your daily diet to move you closer to your goal.

    It is important to be realistic as there is no "quick fix" solution and a long term view is necessary if you are to stick to your plan to accomplish your goals. Maintaining your ideal body weight can prove more difficult for some as it requires constant vigilance on your daily protein intake and overall calorie consumption. However, since you already have displayed the discipline needed to stick to a regular workout program, a new meal plan will seem easy in comparison. Once started, meal planning will become second nature.

    Avoiding processed foods can be difficult, but the 80-20 rule works well for most people. This rule encourages you to eat healthily 80% of the time while allowing you to enjoy more decadent snacks and unhealthy treats occasionally, but not over 20% of the time. Once you train your body and your digestive system, you'll find you no longer have cravings for processed foods high in sugar and chemical additives, and you'll gravitate to healthy snacks and healthy food choices.

    Get Definition for Body Building and Build Muscle with Free Weights

    April 9, 2014 by  
    Filed under Build Muscle

    Body building is as much of an art form as it is work. If you like the look of chiseled muscles and a tight physique, and want to know how to get that for yourself, it is possible. Of course, it takes a lot of labor, and you need to be ready to sweat and work hard. You may not be able to achieve the look of a famous body builder winning competitions, but you can have the look of defined muscles through hard work and the proper diet.

    Body building is not only about strength, but also endurance and determination. If you are really wanting to get the look of a body builder, you need to be ready to put down the roll, and pick up the weights. It is not something that happens right away, but if you find a good program for building muscle and eat plenty of the right foods, you are on your way to defined and attractive looking muscles. If you belong to a gym, but have not really explored all of the equipment and weights that are in it, you may want to work with a trainer at first to make sure that you learn the most effective exercises and methods so that you are doing them safely and correctly.

    Weight lifting using the machines at the gym will help you get defined muscles and build strength, but you are really going to see those muscles appear when you do the right kind of weight lifting using free weights. Free weights are the ticket to defined muscles and by isolating the individual muscle groups, you are able to give an all around defined look to your body. Free weights are able to target specific muscles that it is harder to do if you only use the machines. Building core strength first is always a good idea, and once you have mastered the basics using the machines, get a trainer and move on to the free weights.

    Even if you do not belong to a gym, you can use free weights at home to help build muscle. You can go online and find a number of exercises that you can do in your own home using free weights of varying weights and sizes. Be sure to learn how to use them properly so that you do not injure your muscles.