The Men’s Fitness and Women’s Fitness Nutrition Awards are back and better than ever, featuring the standout products for general health, endurance and muscle & strength in 2022…
Struggling to navigate the sports nutrition market? We hear you! So, let us help… After the inaugural Awards last year, the Men’s Fitness and Women’s Fitness Nutrition Awards are back. Covering 17 sub-categories in total – including protein powders, healthy snacks and on-the-go energy – the Awards are split into three distinct sections: General Health, Endurance and Muscle & Strength.
This is an authentic endorsement of first-class products, based not on snap decisions or unqualified opinion, but a six-week testing process conducted with the help of some of the UK’s leading sports nutritionists and dieticians. All products have been selected for their nutritional merit, quality of ingredients and real-world effectiveness, helping you navigate the world of fitness fuel and buy products that offer the biggest bang for their nutritional buck. Read on to discover the best products for your fitness goals…
- Best low-calorie beers
- The best nutrition tech to keep your health on track
- 5 protein powder recipes to feed your muscles
MEN’S FITNESS & WOMEN’S FITNESS NUTRITION AWARDS 2022:
GENERAL HEALTH CATEGORY
From the best ready meals and multivitamins to the healthiest snacks and drinks, discover the best products to give your general health and nutrition a boost.
Best Healthy Ready Meals
For the days when you’ve got zero time to whip together a balanced lunch or dinner, nutritionally sound ready meals can take the hassle out of healthy eating. From delivered-to-your-door meal-prep services to a new (healthier) generation of add-hot-water-and-go convenience foods, here are our favourites.
BUY IT NOW – From £20 per day; naturalfitnessfood.com
Available across all of London’s Third Space clubs, as well as through delivery and subscription, Natural Fitness Food offers a range of flexible food packages. We particularly love the Build Your Own plan for its healthy meal offerings, which you can choose based on your own fitness and health goals.
There are plenty of excellent meal options, including Chicken Pesto Egg Wraps and Thai Red Prawn Curry. Natural Fitness Food also provide an automated calculator, which tracks your calories and macros to help you align your diet with your health and body ambitions.
Highly Recommended: Huel Hot & Savoury Pasta Bolognese
BUY IT NOW – £2.66 per meal; uk.huel.com
Packaged in an easy-to-open sachet, this meal-on-the-go option comes into its own when time is short. Just add water, stir and cover, and you get a wholesome vegan meal – packed with pea protein – in five minutes flat. The pasta has a nice texture, and there’s an authentic Bolognese flavour running through the slightly spicy sauce.
Recommended: eatplanted.chicken Skewers
BUY IT NOW – £3.99 for two; planetorganic.com
With a meaty texture and pleasant herby marinade, these skewers are primarily made from pea protein. Two skewers offer a mighty 40g of protein (double many servings of protein powder) making them a highly effective post-workout snack. Throw them under the grill for a couple of minutes, serve with a big salad and you have a nutritionally sound, low-calorie meal – each skewer contains 143kcals, to be precise.
While it’s always wise to take a food-first approach to nutrition, a simple multivitamin is a fairly low-cost way of ensuring that your body is getting everything it needs. But it’s a saturated market, and finding a multivitamin that ticks all your boxes can be overwhelming. To help you make that choice, these are the three products our experts rated the best.
Winner: Vitl Personalised Vitamin Pack
BUY IT NOW – £24.95;vitl.com
These tailor-made monthly subscription vitamin packs offer a convenient way to complement a healthy lifestyle. After a quick online consultation, supplements are chosen based on your individual requirements and made with highly absorbable ingredients, so you know you’re getting the most bang possible for your buck.
The supplements are separated into easy-to-tear daily sleeves, which each contain four tablets targeting different health goals (based on your unique needs). We like that each of these are marked with a day of the week, so you can easily keep track of what you’ve taken.
Highly Recommended: Form MULTI
BUY IT NOW – £19 for 60 capsules; formnutrition.com
This high-quality sustainable vegan supplement comes with a 30-day supply. The all-in-one comprehensive formula means you take two capsules with food, for a dose of vegan DHA and brain-boosting choline, vitamin D3, iron and B12. These are all nutrients which can be difficult to obtain on a plant-based diet, so you get peace of mind that you’re fuelling your body with what it needs to avoid major deficiencies. As an added bonus, the glass bottle is fully recyclable.
Recommended: Wicked Gummy Co Multivitamin Gummy
BUY IT NOW – £14.99 for 60 gummies; wickedgummyco.com
If you hate swallowing traditional supplement pills, these vegan gummies are an excellent alternative. The taste is more ‘sweet treat’ than ‘take your medicine’, but what makes them really special is that they deliver a good dose of vitamins A, C and E. Factor in that they are free from artificial colourings, flavours and gelatine (which is usually a key binding agent in jelly gummies) and this is a winning formula.
Best Healthy Snacks
Snack choice can make or break a busy day. Choose a junky, high-sugar option and your increased productivity is likely to end with an energy crash. But snack on something that’s healthy and nutritious, and you’ll get the energy boost you need to make it to mealtime (or the end of a workout). Here are three healthy snacks that will set you up for success.
Winner: Trimbella Chocolate Shake
BUY IT NOW – £27.99 for 12 servings; trimbella.com
This chocolate-flavoured shake offers everything an active body needs. The powder blends perfectly with either milk or cold water, resulting in a thick yet smooth consistency that’s low in calories and sugar, and has zero artificial aftertaste.
With nutrition at the forefront, each shake provides 24 essential vitamins and minerals. Though marketed primarily as a meal replacement shake for women (one serving contains 203kcals), anyone can benefit from the 25g of protein per serving by using this as a regular post-workout snack.
Highly Recommended: Push Chocolate Honeycomb Choc Buttons
BUY IT NOW – £4.99; pushchocolate.com
Despite the name, these bite-sized buttons are actually free from honey and 100 per cent vegan. There are no artificial sweeteners, preservatives or flavours on the ingredient list, either, but there is a handy helping of pea and rice protein. The taste is similar to regular chocolate, with a pleasant crunch. And the eco credentials are also a bonus: each pouch is plastic-free and fully recyclable.
Recommended: Pura Collagen Flex + Powder
BUY IT NOW – £39.99 per tub; puracollagen.co.uk
Formulated to help joints, this powder is the perfect supplement for anyone who does regular weight-bearing exercise or suffers with joint problems. Not a snack as such, but something you can add to a snack to enhance its nutrition, this fully dissolvable powder can be mixed into yoghurts and smoothies – you can even cook with it.
There’s no strong taste, so it mixes well with just about anything. Choose to take two scoops in one go or one scoop twice per day, for a comprehensive supplement easily added to snacks for a powerful health boost.
Best Digestive Supplements
Digestive supplements are having a moment, as a growing bank of data supports the role that ‘good’ bacteria and digestive enzymes have on helping us build our healthiest bodies. It’s a competitive market, so here are three gut-friendly supplements we rate.
BUY IT NOW – £35 for a 30-day supply; fodmarket.co.uk
Designed to support healthy digestion, this supplement contains five billion prebiotic plant fibres to nourish good bacteria, and eight billion active probiotics which work together in order to nourish the gut microbiome and reduce bloating. There’s a handy measurement scoop included and the sachet can also be securely sealed after opening to ensure freshness. When mixed with water (or added to smoothies or cereal) there is a neutral flavour and no unpleasant aftertaste.
Highly Recommended: Bimuno Daily Targeted Digestive Nutrition
BUY IT NOW – £19.99 for a 30-day supply; bimuno.com
Offering excellent value for a 30-day supply, the individual sachets are handy when you’re travelling, and we appreciate the convenience of taking just one sachet per day. The powder formula is completely taste-free and mixes well with water or sprinkled onto food, leaving no unpleasant chalky residue.
The formula feeds and increases bifidobacteria in seven days – a claim that’s been tested in independent scientific studies – and we noticed less bloating and stomach discomfort in a matter of days.
Recommended: Inessa BioSoothe supplement
BUY IT NOW – £38.99 for a 30-day supply; inessawellness.com
This sleek-looking branding is reflective of the high-quality product within. Targeting inflammation to help maximise wellness is the name of the game here. Packed into each easy-to-swallow capsule are nine potent anti-inflammatory ingredients including liposomal turmeric, bromelain and resveratrol.
And that’s not all: the delayed-release formula means the ingredients reach the gut in an optimal state for enhanced absorption. Most importantly, there are no fillers or binders, so you have complete peace of mind that you’re buying a product that is going to live up to expectations.
Best Healthy Drinks
Craving something a bit more than water to rehydrate? From kombucha to beverages with added vitamins, health drinks promise to quench your thirst while delivering a body-boosting dose of nutrition. Here are the three we’re raising our glasses to right now.
BUY IT NOW – £14.95 for a pack of six cans; catalyselifedrinks.com
This sparkling, revitalising, aromatic blend of ginger and hibiscus is reminiscent of tropical holidays. The drink is slightly spiced with black pepper and chilli, while a distinctive taste of herby sage runs through each sip. The vitamin profile boasts 100 per cent of your zinc and vitamin C daily recommendations, with the addition of skin-boosting retinol, as well as biotin, which helps to keep hair and nails healthy.
Highly Recommended: No1 Living Raspberry Kombucha
BUY IT NOW – £35.98 for a pack of 24; hollandandbarrett.com
This kombucha concoction offers numerous benefits. Kombucha is a fermented tea drink packed with probiotics. This option from No1 Living has a fresh berry taste that ticks all the flavour boxes, while the live cultures help gut bacteria to thrive. The light bubbly taste is a good alternative to regular fizzy drinks, and contains the right balance of sweetness without being too sickly.
BUY IT NOW – £23.99 for a pack of 12 cans; ohmgwater.com
This functional drink has wellness high up on the agenda, helping to fill the demand for non-alcoholic drinks that make you feel good. Made from natural fruit extract, it contains zero sugar or artificial sweeteners, but still manages to nail a zingy fruity flavour.
Each can also contains 60mg of magnesium from three different sources (that’s almost a quarter of the current RDA and about the same amount found in one avocado). Magnesium is an important nutrient with multiple functions, including muscle and nerve control, stress relief and improving focus and concentration, making this drink a great all-rounder.
Related: Best Low-Calorie Beers UK
MEN’S FITNESS & WOMEN’S FITNESS NUTRITION AWARDS:
Top up your energy levels with these winning energy bars, gels, drinks and more.
Whether you’re struggling halfway through a run or ride, or simply need to arrest the post-lunch slump, there are a wide variety of healthy pick-me-up products – beyond the high-fat high-sugar chocolate bars of old. These are our favourites for providing either an instant boost, or more sustained energy throughout the day.
Winner: Healthspan Elite Energy Gel
BUY IT NOW – £35.99 for 24 gels; healthspanelite.co.uk
Not many energy gels could be described as genuinely tasty, but the real fruit extracts in this gel – we’re particular fans of the Passion Fruit flavour – are worth a try. Each sachet contains 25g carbohydrates and three electrolytes, making it suitable for delaying fatigue and replacing minerals lost during training sessions lasting an hour or more – or topping up fuel stores beforehand.
The thinner consistency of this gel means it’s possible to squeeze and swallow straight up, making it a convenient fuel source, but remember to consume water alongside it – without water, the carbohydrates will take longer to enter your bloodstream.
Highly Recommended: B.Fresh Focus Wellness Shot
BUY IT NOW – £2.80 per shot; b-fresh.co.uk
This 70ml mini juice shot contains 90mg caffeine, which is about the same as a cup of filter coffee. That’s sufficient to increase alertness and attention, so this is one way to temporarily reduce feelings of tiredness without turning to coffee – research suggests that when consumed before a workout, caffeine may reduce fatigue and positively alter perception of effort.
Thanks to the fruit content, it’s also rich in vitamin C, which contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and supports iron absorption. Try alongside an iron-rich breakfast to help you power through your session.
Recommended: Form Boost
BUY IT NOW – £19 for 30 capsules; planetorganic.com
If you want to get the cognitive benefits of caffeine without drinking it, form Boost ticks the box. Each one-a-day capsule contains compounds from tea and coffee (L-theanine and caffeine) which, in combination, have been shown to improve short-term sustained attention and memory. The capsules also contain vitamins B6 and B12, which play a role in reducing tiredness and fatigue. As they’re in capsule form, they’re ideal to keep in a bag, locker or drawer.
Best Energy Bars
Energy bars are primarily designed to replenish calories and tend to be higher in carbohydrates to keep you fuelled. To keep hunger at bay and balance blood sugar, choose a bar that also provides some easy-to-digest protein. Many combine glucose and fructose in a 2:1 ratio for ease of absorption. For moderate-intensity exercise, you will be looking to consume around 45-60g carbohydrates per hour.
BUY IT NOW – £3.30 per bar; humanfood.bio
Human Food makes plant-based snack bars with an impressive range of nutrients. Its Goji Berry Bar tops the taste charts: it’s sweet (but not too sweet) and is packed with seeds, oats, pea protein and dried fruit. Coming in at just under 300 calories, each bar offers 25g carbohydrate, a third of your daily fibre needs, and 14g protein – a combo which makes this a sustaining, filling snack that should keep your energy levels on an even keel.
It also contains useful amounts of iron, iodine and vitamin B12: nutrients which are more difficult to get enough of when following a vegan diet. Plus-points for the zero-plastic, home-compostable wrapper, too.
Highly Recommended: The Protein Ball Co. Protein Balls
BUY IT NOW – £1.99 per 45g bag; ocado.com
Protein balls are bite-sized snacks – these are made from dates, nuts and whey protein. Each bag of these contains 10-13g protein and around 200 calories. Plus, there are numerous flavours to choose from (Cacao & Orange gets our vote). They’re a sweet and tasty on-the-go snack. Stash a few bags in an office drawer or your gym bag.
Recommended: Applied Nutrition Critical Cookie
BUY IT NOW – £2.50 per cookie; appliednutrition.uk
If you’re a biscuit fan but want something that offers more in the way of protein for a snack, the Critical Cookie is worth a look. At 390 calories it’s best suited to individuals with higher energy needs. It could also be a helpful addition to a post-workout recovery meal or evening snack, thanks to 40g carbohydrate (which will go some way to replenishing fuel stores) and 20g protein, which supports muscle recovery and synthesis. Good with a cup of tea.
Best Energy Drinks
Looking for a natural lift without loads of sugar and additives? These healthy energy drinks are ideal for an instant, hydrating boost – with added functional ingredients for focus and alertness.
Winner: OHMG Raspberry and Lemon Balm
BUY IT NOW – £23.99 for 12; planetorganic.com
OHMG makes sparkling water with a bit of oomph. Each 330ml can contains fruit extracts and botanicals, plus 20 per cent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium (which plays a role in contributing to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue), in an easily absorbed form.
With a recent study finding that one-in-five adults in their 20s has magnesium intakes well below the recommended level, this is one way to top up your levels while staying hydrated. These are also sugar-free.
Highly Recommended: Applied Nutrition BCAA Amino-Hydrate + Energy
BUY IT NOW – £14.99 for 6 cans; appliednutrition.uk
So-called ‘functional drinks’ contain non-traditional ingredients designed to have a beneficial effect on one or more functions of the body. In the case of these BCAA Amino-Hydrate cans, it’s branched chain amino acids and caffeine (the same amount as you’d find in a cup of strong coffee).
BCAAs play a role in switching on muscle synthesis, while caffeine may reduce perception of fatigue – all useful stuff. As with all drinks that contain BCAAs, there is a very specific, sour aftertaste to these. However, the apple and elderflower flavour was the best we tried.
Recommended: Foodspring Energy Aminos
BUY IT NOW – £29.99 per tub of 20 servings; foodspring.co.uk
Energy aminos come as a fruit-flavoured powder (Lemon Apple or Passion Fruit) that you stir into water and consume as a pre-workout drink. Each serving contains 200 milligrams of caffeine (equivalent to a couple of cups of filter coffee), plus plant-based BCAAs and small amounts of vitamins C, B3 and B12.
A drink like this could be convenient to have on-the-go, or for those following a plant-based diet. As with all drinks containing BCAAs, the taste can be a bit of a challenge, but the black pepper extract provides a spicy distraction.
Best Brain Health Supplements
Brain-boosting nootropics – substances that can improve memory, and increase mental alertness and concentration – are becoming increasingly popular. These so-called ‘cognitive enhancers’ are cropping up in everything from protein powders to snack bars. Here are three products worthy of your attention.
Winner: Healthspan Love Your Brain
BUY IT NOW – £19.95 for a 28-day supply; healthspan.co.uk
This three-a-day supplement contains a broad range of nutrients known to support cognitive function – all in convenient tear-off strips. As well as 100 per cent of the recommended intake of micronutrients such as vitamin B12 and iodine, the supplement meets the daily recommendation for omega-3, in the form of algal oil.
Since these nutrients are more difficult to meet to get on a vegan diet, it’s a good option for those who are plant-based. The last supplement in the trio is a nootropic, an umbrella term for substances designed to boost memory and cognitive function. In this case, it’s ‘bacopa monnieri’, a herb with some evidence around beneficial effects on memory and brain power.
Highly Recommended: Nutrimuscle Omega 3 Epax
BUY IT NOW – £14.95 for 45 capsule; uk.nutrimuscle.com
Omega-3s are a family of essential fats which contribute to the normal functioning of the heart, but there’s also evidence they may help with training adaptation and exercise recovery. The main source is oily fish (one to two servings a week), but if you’re not a fan, these Nutrimuscle capsules are a good alternative – so long as you’re happy consuming animal products.
The capsules contain a much higher quantity of quality omega-3 than you’d usually find in a supplement: four capsules a day will provide around 2g, meeting the recommendation from the International Olympic Committee for athletes. For general health, one capsule is sufficient to meet the recommended combined intake of 250-500mg of EPA & DHA, making a tub last around six weeks.
Recommended: BE 100% Raw + Activated Nutrition Bar
BUY IT NOW – £7.99 for two bars; behundredpercent.com
This is a chocolate bar with serious nutrition credentials. Nuts and seeds form 50 per cent of the bar’s ingredients, with cocoa powder, cocoa butter and dried fruit making up the rest. Half a bar provides a satiating combination of a third of the recommended daily fibre intake, 7g of protein and 235 calories. Granted it’s more expensive than most other bars, but more nutrient-dense and no more costly than a fancy coffee. Props for the zero-plastic, biodegradable wrapper, too.
Best Electrolyte Powders
Endurance sessions mean attention to hydration and electrolyte balance. Sweating is your body’s defence system against overheating. Unfortunately, though, when you sweat, you lose some important minerals known as electrolytes, including sodium and potassium. Electrolytes support a number of bodily functions, including energy production and fluid balance. Top your reserves up with the following products.
BUY IT NOW – £24.99 for 30 servings; appliednutrition.uk
This fruit-flavoured carb and electrolyte powder contains maltodextrin and fructose: a clever blend of carbohydrates which ensures the gut uses multiple absorption pathways, increasing the rate of carbohydrate delivery during exercise compared with a single carbohydrate.
When training for long periods (more than two and a half hours), this type of carb mix has been shown to improve fluid delivery and, in turn, performance – so this is one for longer endurance workouts. It’s easy to prepare and comes in three flavours – Blackcurrant, Lemon and Lime, and Orange – so there should be something to suit most palates. Add one scoop to 500ml of water in a bottle, shake well and you’re good to go.
Highly Recommended: bulk Electrolyte Powder
BUY IT NOW – £7.99 per 100g pack; bulk.com/uk
bulk is all about creating transparent products with simple packaging. Its electrolyte powder contains sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium – minerals necessary to maintain fluid balance and muscle contraction. Having a drink with electrolytes is crucial when exercising for 60 minutes or more. However, powders like this can also be useful for shorter duration in hot weather – or for those who are particularly heavy or salty sweaters.
The powder is unflavoured, so it’s easy to mix with water or squash. Simply add a 1g serving to your drink and allow to dissolve. An added bonus is that most of the packaging is now fully home compostable.
Recommended: Healthspan Elite Activ Hydrate + Caffeine
BUY IT NOW – £12.99 for 40 tablets; healthspanelite.co.uk
These fruit-flavoured effervescent tablets are designed to replace electrolytes lost via sweat during exercise, and provide a lift from added caffeine. Caffeine can reduce fatigue and sensations of pain during exercise, although the quantity in these tablets (75mg) will be at the lower end of what research suggests in an effective dose for most people (2 mg/kg body mass). Still, it may provide a lift in the later stages of exercise if you’re out for a longer session.
MEN’S FITNESS & WOMEN’S FITNESS NUTRITION AWARDS:
MUSCLE & STRENGTH CATEGORY
Support your post-workout muscle recovery with the best protein powders, bars and snacks.
Best Whey Protein Powders
Whey protein is a staple in most athletes’ diets, and for good reason: it’s digested quickly, absorbed efficiently and generally tastes good. However, when it comes to price, nutritional profile and ingredient lists, there is a lot of variability. Whether you’re looking for a whey concentrate, isolate or hydrolysate, ideally you want a high protein content by weight, with low carbs and fat, and without unnecessary fillers and additives.
Winner: DY Nutrition Shadowhey Isolate
BUY IT NOW – £59.99 for 2kg tub; dynutrition.co.uk
Of the many protein powders tested, this one not only tasted the best but also delivered an impressive 26g of protein – and only 116 calories. It also has the highest leucine content, which is the main amino acid responsible for protein synthesis. As this is a whey protein isolate, it is the best quality protein you can get. Plus, it tastes great with either water or milk. This is a fantastic post-workout protein, and you can’t go wrong with the Chocolate flavour, which will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Highly Recommended: Applied Nutrition ISO-XP
BUY IT NOW – £69.95 for 1.8kg tub; appliednutrition.uk
Clinical blue and white packaging suggests Applied Nutrition’s ISO-XP came straight from the lab, and the fact that this protein is batch-tested means it’s certified for use by elite athletes. It mixes really well, and the neutral Vanilla flavour (our favourite) allows for the addition of fruit or nut butter if you want more of a meal. Each serving provides 25g of protein from whey protein isolate. It’s also a halal-certified product, which is quite rare in the protein market.
BUY IT NOW – £29.99 for 750g pack; healthspanelite.co.uk
This post-workout protein is Informed-Sport accredited, meaning it complies with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) rules on substances and is, therefore, safe for athletes to use. The Strawberry flavour is our pick of the bunch (there’s also Chocolate and Vanilla), and each serving delivers 24g of protein with more than 5g of branched-chain amino acids. It also includes ‘actazin digestive enzymes’ – from New Zealand kiwi fruit, if you’re interested – which helps to break the protein down.
Best Vegan Protein Powders
Plant-based protein powders have come a long way, and most now not only match whey protein for post-workout appeal, but also in terms of their recovery credentials. Blends, or single-protein sources – such as pea, soy, hemp, rice, pumpkin seed and so on – are widely available. Many people opt for rice and pea blends, as they tend to be gentle on the stomach and provide high amounts of the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, making them particularly good for building muscle.
BUY IT NOW – £26 for a 520g pack; formnutrition.com
Simply the best-tasting vegan protein we’ve tried. We tested a range of flavours, but the Tiramisu and Chocolate Hazelnut gets our vote. The taste is backed up by some serious nutritional credentials: each serving delivers a whopping 30g of protein, from a number of plant sources to deliver a complete amino acid profile. The protein also has added turmeric, to help reduce inflammation post-exercise.
Highly Recommended: MyPRO The Plant
BUY IT NOW – £26.99 for 20 servings; myprotein.com
Don’t let slightly underwhelming packaging put you off what is ultimately a very high-quality protein powder. The Chocolate flavour, in particular, is sweet, clean and refreshing. Each serving delivers 25g of protein – derived from pea protein isolate, rice protein isolate and hydrolysed pea protein. It mixes well with water or oat milk, but oat milk provides the smoothest consistency.
Recommended: Motion Nutrition Peanut Butter
BUY IT NOW – £24.99 for 400g box; motionnutrition.com
This is one of the most interesting products we’ve seen for a while. It’s a vegan protein shake, made from: organic, fat-reduced, high-protein peanut flour; organic, yellow pea protein; organic, raw pumpkin seed protein; and organic, hemp seed protein. Each serving delivers 17g of protein – at less than 100 calories. While it can be used as a shake, it’s also suitable for baking, or adding to yoghurts or porridge to boost your breakfasts.
Best Clear Protein Powders
More fruit squash than chocolate milkshake, these protein powders are easy to mix, light and refreshing. They’re still an emerging product, so you won’t find the huge range on offer for more conventional powders, but to help you make the right choice, we’ve rounded up three of the most effective clear whey isolate protein powders on the market right now.
BUY IT NOW – £26.95 for 425g tub; appliednutrition.uk
This clear whey protein is nice and clean (there’s none of the ‘clagginess’ sometimes associated with conventional whey protein powders), and the Watermelon flavour is refreshing post-workout (top tip: add a few ice cubes). It dissolves easily in water, too – better than most whey protein powders – and each serving delivers 21g of protein with less than 100 calories. It’s also tested for athletes, so if you’re subjected to anti-doping testing, you can use this product worry-free.
Highly Recommended: Healthspan Elite All Blacks Clear Whey Protein Isolate
BUY IT NOW – £39.99 for 750g; healthspanelite.co.uk
Each serving of this premium-feel protein delivers a clean 21g of protein from hydrolysed whey – with more than 5g of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAS). It dissolves easily, and the Orange and Mango flavour, in particular, is sweet and refreshing, either during or after a workout. (Small aside: the all-black All Blacks packaging looks the real deal.)
Recommended: Myprotein Clear Whey Isolate
BUY IT NOW – £28.99 for 20 servings; myprotein.com
Myprotein has done a fantastic job of putting together its clear whey range, with a huge variety of flavours on offer. It’s all personal preference, of course, but we enjoyed the Watermelon option. Each serving delivers 20g of protein and less than 90 calories. This is a clean and crisp clear whey product, which mixes well. Plus, it contains 4g of BCAAS and 3g of immune-boosting glutamine.
Best Protein Bars
If you’ve had your fill of dried chicken and eggs, protein bars are the snack of choice for anyone leading an active lifestyle, providing an on-the-go alternative to more cumbersome shakes and time-intensive meals. Word to the wise, though: some are little more than glorified chocolate bars, so you do need to be a bit careful with your selection. Look for bars that contain at least 15g of protein, with plenty of fibre.
Winner: Grenade Carb Killa
BUY IT NOW – £24 for 12 bars; grenade.com
Grenade has been making protein bars for a while now, and there’s a reason it’s one of the biggest names in this space. Each bar packs a mighty 21g of protein – equal to most protein powders – with just 1.6g of sugar, making these worthy post-workout recovery snacks, particularly if you’re pushed for time. The Carb Killa bars will satisfy any sweet tooth, but there’s enough other flavour going on to prevent them being too sickly. The fact they’re Informed-Sport approved means athletes can enjoy them.
Highly Recommended: MISFITS Plant-Powered Choc Protein Bar
BUY IT NOW – £24 for pack of 12; misfits.health
This vegan protein bar packs 16g of protein from a blend of pea and soya protein. It only contains around 5g of carbohydrate, which is quite low – and obviously good for anyone keeping their carbs reduced. Feed your muscles post-workout, or enjoy as a snack if you’re lagging at work. The Chocolate and Caramel flavour works a treat with a cup of coffee.
Recommended: PE Nutrition THE BAR
BUY IT NOW – £20 for pack of 12; hollandandbarrett.com
Another bar with 21g of protein – derived from whey and soy – and all less than 200 calories. There’s also 20g of carbohydrates in there, which can replenish glycogen stores between strenuous workouts. Products with added protein run the risk of being chalky, but these bars are coated in a crisp outer layer that negates that.
Designed to power you through the toughest of workouts even when you feel completely spent, pre-workout powders contain a range ingredients (not just caffeine) to provide a near-instant boost of energy. If you get the jitters after a cup of coffee, these probably aren’t for you, but if you’re in need of some extra get-up-and-go, there are few more effective options than these three products.
BUY IT NOW – £29.99 for a 480g pack; healthspanelite.co.uk
For this rare caffeine-free pre-workout powder, Healthspan has utilised the fast-acting power of maltodextrin – a highly processed form of carbohydrate – to deliver a less intense but more sustained energy boost than conventional, high-caffeine pre-workout options. In general, these powders can be an acquired taste, but this one is more palatable, with a refreshing berry flavour.
Also on the ingredients list is creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, l-taurine and tyrosine. All of these will energise both body and mind for the workout ahead. As mentioned, one thing to note is that each serving also delivers 26g of carbohydrate, so while it will give you an energy boost, it’s not suitable if you want to train in a fasted or low-carb state. Elite athletes will appreciate that it’s Informed-Sport accredited.
Highly Recommended: Applied Nutrition All Black Everything Ultimate Pre-Workout
BUY IT NOW – £29.95 for 30 servings; appliednutrition.uk
With All Black Everything (nothing to do with the rugby team), the carefully selected blend of citrulline malate, beta-alanine, creatine, caffeine and a few other ingredients serves the purpose of raising pre-workout energy levels. The flavours are a bit of a mixed bag (Bubble Gum Crush, for instance, is nice but a little sickly), but there are plenty to choose from.
Recommended: DY Nutrition Nox Pump Ultimate – Extreme Pre-Workout
BUY IT NOW – £29.99 for a 400g tub; dynutrition.co.uk
This is a serious pre-workout product that won’t fail to get your juices flowing. However, as a word of warning, each serving delivers an enormous 350mg of caffeine – that’s equivalent to three cups of strong coffee. So, best to avoid if too much caffeine makes you feel weird. That said, the combination of beta-alanine, citrulline malate and a range of other ingredients will power you through any session, and the Iced Blueberry flavour is refreshing, with only 1g of carbohydrate per serving.
Best High-Protein Breakfasts
We’d all love a well-balanced, nutritionally complete breakfast every morning, but sometimes (most of the time) life gets in the way. When that happens, you need convenience that doesn’t come with a health cost. These products achieve exactly that, providing a hit of protein to kick-start the recovery process first thing.
BUY IT NOW – £1.99 per pack; groceries.morrisons.com
These things are delicious, and a handy quick-grab breakfast option when you’re rushing out the door. They come packed in bite-sized packs, easy to fit in your bag or pocket. Plus, the Coffee Oat Muffin flavour is top notch. They’re sugar- and gluten-free, and suitable for vegans. Each serving provides 185 calories, 18g of carbohydrate, 6g of protein and 9.2g of fat (mainly from hazelnuts).
Highly Recommended: MISFITS Plant-Powered Choc Protein Cereals
BUY IT NOW – £15 for 280g box; misfits.health
Part of the growing range of protein-packed cereal options, MISFITS’ vegan-friendly breakfast option contains an impressive 14g of protein and only 1g of sugar – along with almost 5g of satiating fibre. In terms of pure protein count, it’s top of the charts when it comes to protein cereals. Plus, all three flavours – Chocolate, Cinnamon and Caramel – combine well with some fresh fruit and your milk of choice.
Recommended: Super Zeros Carb Rebel
BUY IT NOW – £12.99 for 2 boxes; super-zeros.com
Traditional cereals are loaded with sugar and carbs – but not Super Zeros. Each serving provides 2.3g of fibre and only 13g of carbohydrate, with less than 0.5g of sugar. There’s also a competitive 10g protein per 32g serving (but you’re doubling that, let’s be honest). For us, the Cocoa flavour is head and shoulders above Apple & Cinnamon.