If you've taken the time to consider your nutrition, you've doubtless heard it before: Active men should aim to get 20 percent of their daily calories from protein. That means throwing down about a pound of lean steak a day, assuming you consume a healthy 2,400 calories and weigh 180 pounds. Granted, that may sound like the world's greatest diet, that is, until your doctor reads you the riot act about saturated fat, cholesterol – much less all the potential hormones, antibiotics, and harmful additives that can turn up in today's meats.
For that reason, we've been supplementing our daily diet with two scoops of True Athlete Natural Whey Protein, a subtly flavored, hormone-free powder that's already paying big dividends after just two weeks of testing. Packing a full 20 grams of protein per serving, but just 120 calories, it's the healthiest option we've seen for promoting muscle without packing on pounds. Compared to the four other proteins we've tested this year (Mass XXX, Pro-Complex, Syntha 6, and Hydrowhey), we witnessed the best gains with True Athlete: After just 14 days, we experienced a noticeable increase in muscle mass and also improved performance in the gym.
The standard mixture is eight to 10 ounces of water or milk (though we mix ours with almond milk for a boost of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids) and one scoop of True Athlete. But for a more healthful alternative to your morning bowl of cereal, we recommend blending two scoops with one banana, one cup of almond milk, and one tablespoon of almond butter. [$40; true-athlete.com]