Blog Nutrition Protein Shakes For Muscle Gain: Why They Work, And How To Make Your Own At Home

Protein Shakes For Muscle Gain: Why They Work, And How To Make Your Own At Home

After some time of lifting weights and not seeing the results you want, it’s easy to get frustrated. You’re putting in the work, but your muscles just aren’t growing like they should be. At this point, you might want to consider protein shakes. Protein shakes are not just a trendy food choice for athletes and bodybuilders. They’re a convenient, easy way to get the extra protein your body needs to build muscle. Research has shown that a high-protein diet can help you build muscle, even if you’re not lifting weights regularly (2). It can be tough to get enough protein from food alone, that’s where shakes give your body a much-needed boost. If you’re looking to add protein shakes to your muscle-building routine, there are a few things you must know. We’ll answer all your questions, from what kind of protein to use, to how to make your own shakes at home.


What Role Does Protein Play In Muscle Growth?

Protein is a key player in muscle growth. When you work out, you” damage” your muscles. This may sound like a bad thing, but it’s actually a good thing. The “damage” allows your muscles to grow back stronger than before.

A microscopic look at your muscles will show that they are made up of long, thin fibers.

When you work out, these fibers break apart. Then, over the next few days or weeks, your body repairs and strengthens the muscles by building new protein fibers. The efficiency of this process (often called muscle protein synthesis), is determined by the amount of protein you eat (4).

If you don’t consume enough protein, your body will have a harder time repairing and strengthening your muscles after a workout. This means that you’ll see less results from your efforts in the gym.

On the other hand, if you consume too much protein, your body will simply excrete the excess. This is why it’s important to find the right balance. Most experts recommend that people who are trying to build muscle should consume 0.7-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight (c). 

What Are The Best Sources Of Protein For Muscle Gain?

There are many different sources of protein, but some are better than others when it comes to building muscle. The best sources of protein for muscle growth are:

  • Red meat
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Beans
  • Lentils
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These foods are all high in protein and also contain other nutrients that are essential for muscle growth, such as iron and vitamin B12. If you’re not getting enough protein from your diet, protein supplements can help you bridge the gap.

Read More: The Best Protein Blueberry Pancakes Recipes For Hitting Your Macros Goals

What Are Protein Shakes?

Protein shakes are a type of protein supplement. They’re typically made with milk or water and contain a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and sometimes other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Protein shakes come in powder form, which you can then mix with milk or water to make a shake. They’re usually consumed before or after a workout, but can also be consumed throughout the day as a snack or meal replacement.

protein shakes for muscle gain

What About Protein Powders?

Most fitness enthusiasts are faced with a dilemma: macros vs overall calorie consumption.

While they want to eat more protein, they are equally mindful of the calorie implications. This is where protein powders come into play, as they are an easy way to boost your protein intake without having to eat more food.

Protein powders are a concentrated source of protein that has been isolated from whole foods. In that they come in many different forms, we’ll go over each one along with its pros and cons:

Whey Protein

The most popular type of protein powder. It’s made from cow’s milk and is a byproduct of cheese production. Whey is quick-digesting, which means it’s great for post-workout recovery. However, some people are allergic to dairy and may not be able to tolerate whey.

Casein Protein

It’s also made from cow’s milk, but it is digested more slowly than whey. This makes it a great choice for a bedtime snack or before going to bed. People with allergies to dairy may also be allergic to casein.

Soy Protein

It’s made from soybeans and is a good choice for vegetarians or vegans. Soy is a complete plant protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids.

However, some people avoid soy because it contains phytoestrogens, which are plant-based estrogen (6). The controversy surrounding soy and its effects on hormone levels is still being debated.

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Brown Rice Protein

It’s made from brown rice and is another good choice for vegetarians or vegans. Brown rice protein is a complete plant protein and is also high in fiber.

Pea Protein

It’s made from yellow peas and is another good choice for vegetarians or vegans. Pea protein is a complete plant protein and is also high in iron.

Hemp Protein

It’s made from hemp seeds and is another good choice for vegetarians or vegans. Hemp protein is a complete plant protein and is also high in omega-3 fatty acids.

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protein shakes for muscle gain

Are Homemade Protein Shakes Effective?

Yes, homemade protein shakes can be just as effective as store-bought ones. The main difference is that you’ll need to be more careful about the ingredients you use and make sure you’re using a high-quality protein powder.

A common concern about store-bought protein shakes is that they may contain harmful additives and sweeteners. Dishonest companies may also add fillers to their protein powders to cut costs. However, you can avoid this by making your own protein shakes at home.

How Can I Make A Protein Shake Without Protein Powder?

If you want a more food-based option, have digestive issues, or are out of protein powder, there are a few other options you can use to make a protein shake. These include using milk or milk products, soy products, nuts or nut butters, seeds, or legumes. 

Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Protein Shakes?

It depends. If you’re using high-quality protein powder, it’s likely that store-bought shakes will be cheaper.

However, if you’re using a more budget-friendly protein powder or making your own shakes with whole foods, it’s likely that homemade shakes will be cheaper.

You can further reduce the cost of making your homemade protein shake by:

  • Buying ingredients in bulk – this is especially helpful if you often use the same ingredients in your shakes.
  • Making larger batches – this will help you save time in the long run and can be helpful if you have a busy schedule. 
  • Buying in-season fruits and vegetables – this will help you get the freshest ingredients at the best price. 
  • Buying frozen fruits and vegetables – this is a great way to get fresh ingredients without them going bad before you have a chance to use them.
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How Do I Make My Own Protein Shake?

There are a few things you’ll need:

  • A protein base –  this can be whey, casein, soy, brown rice, pea, or hemp protein powder. It can also be food-based like milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese.
  • A liquid – this can be water, cows milk, or plant-based milk
  • A sweetener – this is optional but can make your shake taste more delicious. You can use honey, agave nectar, or stevia.
  • Flavoring – this is also optional but can be used to add more flavor to your shake. Vanilla extract, chocolate extract, or fruit juice are all good options.
  • Filling – this is optional but can help add more volume to your shake. You can use oats, chia seeds, or flaxseeds. Other whole foods like fruits or vegetables can also be used, but keep in mind that they will add more calories to your shake.
  • A good blender – this is necessary to mix all the ingredients together and create a smooth shake.

Read More: Pea Protein Vs Whey: Which Is Better For Muscle Building, Weight Loss And Overall Health?

6 Of The Best Homemade Protein Shakes For Muscle Gain

We’ve rounded up 6 of the best homemade protein shakes for muscle gain. These recipes are quick and easy to make, and they’re packed with nutrients that will help you build muscle. 

Superfood Protein Shake (7)

Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This shake is packed with superfoods like kale, blueberries, and flaxseeds, and it’s quite delicious. 


  • 1 cup frozen sliced bananas
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh kale packed
  • 2 Medjool dates pitted
  • ½ tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 large frozen cauliflower florets
  • ½ cup chocolate protein powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk* or more to taste
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  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. 
  2. If the shake is too thick, add more milk until it reaches the desired consistency.

Nutritional information: Calories: 263kcal, Carbohydrates: 56g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 4g, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 35g

This recipe is courtesy of

protein shakes for muscle gain

Oatmeal Apple Protein Shake (1)

Oatmeal and apple come together to create a warm and filling protein shake that’s perfect for fall. This shake is made with oatmeal, ripe apples and almond butter. 


  • 3 tablespoons oatmeal
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 peeled and chopped apple
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • Cocoa powder


  1. In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients except cocoa powder until smooth. 
  2. Add cocoa powder to taste and blend again.

Nutrition information: Protein: 21.48 grams 

This recipe is courtesy of

Strawberry Ricotta Protein Shake (3)

Ricotta cheese is an unlikely but excellent addition to this strawberry protein shake. The ricotta adds creaminess and a boost of protein, while the strawberries add sweetness and flavor. This shake is also packed with healthy fats and fiber. 


  • 1 cup (150 grams) of frozen strawberries
  • 3/4 cup (160 grams) of ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons (14 grams) of honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) of cow’s milk (or milk of choice)


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutrition information: Protein: 19 grams 

This recipe is courtesy of

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protein shakes for muscle gain

Green Tofu Protein Shake (3)

Another unlikely but excellent addition to a protein shake is tofu. Tofu is a great source of vegan protein, and it gives this shake a lovely creamy texture. Paired with frozen peas and spinach, this shake is packed with nutrients and flavor. 


  • 1 cup (140 grams) of frozen peas
  • 1 cup (30 grams) of spinach
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup (70 grams) of frozen mango
  • 8 ounces (250 grams) of silken tofu
  • 1 teaspoon (7 grams) of honey or maple syrup
  • 1 cup (240 mL) of cow’s or plain soy milk, plus more to thin
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  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. 
  2. If the shake is too thick, add more milk until it reaches the desired consistency.

Nutrition information: Protein: 41 grams

This recipe is courtesy of

Triple Berry Protein Shake (8)

Berries are loved by many for their sweetness and antioxidants, so it’s no surprise that they make their way into this protein shake. This particular recipe uses a mix of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, but feel free to use whatever berries you have on hand. 


  • 1.5 cups frozen triple berry mix
  • 1 medium frozen banana
  • 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1.25 cups unsweetened almond milk


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutritional information: Fat: 3g, Carbs: 32g, Protein: 12g

This recipe is courtesy of

protein shakes for muscle gain

Banana, Ragi And Chia Seed Shake (1)

Ragi is a type of flour made from millet. It’s a popular ingredient in Indian cooking, and it has a nutty taste. Chia seeds are a popular superfood known for their high nutrient content. When paired with banana and milk, they make a delicious and filling protein shake.


  • 2 small bananas
  • 3 tablespoons sprouted finger millet (ragi) powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 6 almonds
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon powdered jaggery
  • ¼ cup warm water


  1. In a high speed blender, pulse the almonds and chia seeds to form a powder. 
  2. Add the bananas, ragi powder, chia powder, milk and jaggery to the blender and blend until smooth. 
  3. Add the warm water and blend again. 

Nutrition information: Protein: 15.5 grams

This recipe is courtesy of

The Bottom Line

Using protein shakes for muscle gain is an effective and convenient way to increase your protein intake. However, store-bought shakes can be expensive, and they often contain added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

Making your own protein shake at home is a simple and affordable way to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need. Use the recipes above as a starting point, and feel free to experiment with different ingredients to find a shake that you love.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 15 Homemade Protein Shakes – Healthy & Tasty 5-Min Recipes (2022, 
  2. Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit (2019, 
  3. How to Make a Protein Shake Without Protein Powder (n.d., 
  4. Protein and Weight Loss: How Much Protein Do You Need to Eat Per Day? (n.d., 
  5. Skeletal muscle and resistance exercise training; the role of protein synthesis in recovery and remodeling (2017, 
  6. Straight Talk About Soy (n.d., 
  7. Superfood Protein Smoothie (2022, 
  8. Triple Berry Smoothie (2022,
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