10% off €30 OR 15% off €40


10% off €30 OR 15% off €40


Use code:JOY

A man pouring a scoop of protein powder into a shaker filled with water.

Your guide to bulking powders

20 Jul 2021 • 3 min read

Bulking powders are BIG business within the world of bodybuilding, as they’re essentially used to help people ‘bulk’ up their muscle mass.1

Also known as protein powders, bulking powders aren’t just for bodybuilders, they’re used far and wide by people who want to achieve their fitness goals and individual growth plans.

Some people may use them multiple times a day, especially if they really want to bulk up, as they’d have to eat a huge amount of calories to fuel their growth.

Meanwhile, others may use them less frequently; the ‘rules’ associated with using them are as varied as all of the different bulking protein powders that are on the market.

What are bulk powders?

Are what they say on the tin. They are used by people to bulk up and support their training and fitness regimes.

They range from whey protein powders, casein protein powders and egg white protein powders, to collagen protein powders, hemp powder, plant-based protein powders, and more…2 

These bulking powders can be taken in all sorts of different ways. You can:3

  • Mix them into drinks
  • Create a protein powder drink by mixing some scoops with water
  • Blend them with other ingredients to make a smoothie
  • Stir them into yoghurt, oatmeal or dips
  • Add them to soups
  • Blend them into baking recipes
  • Incorporate them into your diet in the way that works best for you!

When to take bulking protein powders

It depends on what you are using them to achieve. For instance, depending on your fitness/bulking plans, you may have just one large serving or lots of smaller portions a day.4

And if your goal is to lose some weight, then you may also want to bump up your diet with some high protein foods, such as poultry, cheese, yoghurt, milk, beans, peas and lentils and eggs,5 throughout the day too.

Handpicked content: 13 of the best protein bars & snacks

You can use bulking powders:

  • Before exercise/workouts
  • After exercise/workouts
  • Two hours after working out
  • During the day in small quantities
  • Before you go to sleep

4 of the best protein powder for bulking – our top picks

Everybody’s bulking goals are different so it’s difficult to say one particular protein powder is better than all the rest.

Plus the fact that bulking powders work differently on different people, people’s metabolisms are different, some people’s workouts may be more difficult than others, etc, etc…

With that in mind, here are our top picks, based on customer ratings, to help you find the best protein powder for bulking:

H&B customer rating: 4.5 stars

About this bulk powder: Optimum Nutrition's Serious Mass is the ultimate weight gain formula. Each delicious shake delivers an incredible 1,250 calories, but no added sugar. This includes 50g of blended protein to support muscle growth and 252g of carbohydrates.

Flavours: Chocolate peanut, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, banana, cookies & cream.

Ingredients (Chocolate peanut): Maltodextrin, Whey Protein Concentrate (milk), Calcium Caseinate (milk) (Emulsifier: Soy Lecithin), Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder (2.3%), Flavouring, Minerals (Sodium Chloride, Dipotassium Phosphate, Ferric Pyrophosphate, Zinc Oxide, Cupric Gluconate, Manganese Sulphate, Chromium III Chloride Hexahydrate, Potassium Iodide), EGG Albumen, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Creatine Monohydrate, Choline Bitartrate, L-Glutamine, Glutamine Peptides [Wheat], Whey Powder (milk), Inositol, Vitamin Blend (L-Ascorbic Acid, Nicotinamide, DL-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Calcium D-Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamin Hydrochloride, Retinyl Acetate, Pteroylmonoglutamic Acid, D-Biotin, Cholecalciferol, Cyanocobalamin), Sweetener (Sucralose).

How to use it: Add 2 heaped scoops (330g) of Serious Mass to a blender filled with 710 ml of water. Blend for 45 to 60 seconds. Then add a few ice cubes and, if desired, other calorie-contributing ingredients and blend for an additional 30 to 45 seconds. 

  1. PE Nutrition Performance Gainer Chocolate 6000g

H&B customer rating: 4.5 stars

About this bulk powder: PE Nutrition Performance Gainer contains everything you need to put on weight and muscle healthily in one easy-to-make drink. This powerful formula makes it easy and convenient to add additional calories to your diet without forgetting the all-important ingredients. Each serving provides high-quality protein, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and energising fast-release carbohydrates and slow-releasing complex carbohydrates.

Flavours: Chocolate, vanilla or strawberry

Ingredients: Maltodextrin, Milk Protein (Whey Protein Concentrate (23%), Oat Flour, Fructose, Fat Reduced Cacoa Powder (8%), Maize Starch, Tapioca Starch, Fat Powder (Sunflower Oil, Maltodextrin), Flavouring, Salt, MCT-Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides of Palm Kernel Oil, Glucose Syrup, Milk Protein, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium phosphate), Thickener: Cellulose Gum. May contain traces of Soy and Egg. For Allergens

How to use it: Blend four 30g scoops (120g) of Performance Gainer with 300ml of water or whole milk. For best results, use an electric blender and once mixed the product should be consumed within 20 minutes.

Skimmed milk may be substituted for whole milk for less fat, kilocalories and cholesterol.

TOP TIP: For quicker weight gain, boost your calorie intake by blending your shake with ingredients like ice cream, nuts, honey, fresh berries, bananas and other foods that are high in kilocalories.

  1. USN Muscle Fuel Anabolic All-In-OneShake Caramel Peanut 2kg

Customer rating: 4.6 stars

About this bulking powder: Scientifically engineered supplement for muscle building specifically formulated for athletes that are serious about building muscle mass. This is the bulking powder for you if you're a bodybuilder, an athlete or on a mass-gaining plan.

Flavours: Caramel peanut, banana, chocolate, cookies & cream, strawberry, vanilla or grab a variety pack.

Ingredients: Carb Matrix (Maltodextrin, Dextrose monohydrate, Fructose), Protein Matrix [Whey protein concentrate (Milk), Soya protein isolate, Milk protein isolate, Egg albumen, Calcium caseinate (Milk)], Creatine monohydrate, Flavouring, Thickeners (Guar gum, Xanthan gum), Sodium chloride, Starch, L-Glycine, Fat powder (Milk), HMB Calcium hydrate, Beta-alanine, BCAA powder 2:1:1, Tricalcium phosphate, Magnesium lactate, Colour (Caramel), Tri potassium citrate, Taurine, Stabilisator (Cellulose gum), Sweeteners (Acesulfame K, Sucralose), L-Glutamine, Avena sativa [oats (gluten)], Vitamins (Ascorbic acid, Folic acid, D-Alpha Tocopherol, Nicotinamide, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavine, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Thiamine hydrochloride, Retinylpalmitate, Cyanocobalamine, D-biotin, Cholecalciferol), Glutamine peptide [Wheat (Gluten)], Anti-caking agent (Silicon dioxide), Zinc bisglycinate, Tolerase™ L (pH-stable lactase).

How to use: Add 3 scoops to 500-600ml of cold water, then use a blender or handheld shaker for 30 seconds to make a great tasting shake. Have one or two servings daily. Servings may be halved.

  1. Applied Nutrition Critical Mass Protein Chocolate Mint 2400g

Customer rating: 5 stars

About this bulk powder: Critical Mass is packed full of the highest quality of ingredients, all of which have been carefully selected for the ability to deliver quality Lean Mass Gainz allowing you to rack up the calories for your daily count.  You'll benefit from added a reduced sugar formula that contains; HMB, glutamine, leucine, creatine matrix, and added fats: CLA & MCT. It's also informed sport registered and halal certified.

How to use: Mix 2.5 scoops (150g) with 500ml of water or skimmed milk and shake well using a shaker bottle. Consume 1-3 servings daily depending on your calorie requirements.

Last updated: 20 July 2021


  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • AmericanExpress
  • PayPal
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Limited, 2023. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.ie is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Limited. Registered office: 45 Henry Street, Dublin, Dublin 1, D01 E9X8. Registered in Ireland: Company no. 79819. Registered VAT no. 4682002U.