Best Protein Bars For Bodybuilding Growth & Performance 2020

These protein bars are sure to keep you full and aid in your bodybuilding goals by pumping you with protein and other nutrients that are vital for maximum growth.

Protein bars are designed to serve as a convenient source of nutrition for athletes, gym-goers, and everyday people to keep nutrition at the top of the list for priority. If you’ve ever walked through the isle at a store, boxes upon boxes of protein bars line the shelves and the choices become so overwhelming, you just give up. And we don’t blame you. That’s why we provided this list of the best protein bars for your bodybuilding goals for 2020.

Don’t let an overly saturated market keep you from seeing great gains and while many companies claim their protein bars can serve as solid meal replacements, it is important to remember that many bars are loaded with sugar and other additives that you just don’t need from a bar. This list has some of the best bars on the market today to make your life a little easier when it comes to choosing the right protein bar.

protein bars

While many people say it is important to get as many nutrients from whole foods as possible, a protein bar is something to count towards that. Supplementation with pills or powder can be great, but many protein bars that exist now are filled with all of those essentials that are more than important for your body to properly function. Finding the right bar can be challenging. We agree with you on that. But just because this is considered a snack, doesn’t mean you are hurting your goals. Using bars as a replacement for a meal or just an extra boost throughout your day can really work to your advantage with a high quality, great tasting protein bar.

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Importance Of Protein For Growth

Protein is a macronutrient vital for many functions in the human body. Since the body cannot produce protein, we must obtain this vital nutrient from foods. Once digested, amino acids are produced which are the building blocks of protein the body then uses to build and maintain muscle (1), produce blood and connective tissue, and work to keep your body primed for whatever comes its way.

While it is easy to obtain protein from a great whey powder, whether that be a concentrate or an isolate, sometimes we need to get protein from other sources, those sources preferably being whole foods. Yet even still it can be hard for us to make a home cooked meal with our busy schedules and this is where protein bars come into play to really advance our goals and give us all of that protein for serious growth. As a vital component for muscle growth and muscle maintenance, protein in whatever form should never be overlooked, especially for workout recovery and a protein bar is a great way to get that nutrition.

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Why You Should Eat Protein Bars For Performance?

Protein bars are simple, tasty, and convenient snacks to enjoy while also adding protein and other nutrients quickly into the body for any lifestyle. It is important to not fall victim to the best looking box or advertisement because its all about ingredients. You need to find the right bar for you as many are flooded with sugar and other ingredients that can really hurt your gains (2). While this may seem like a daunting task, trust us, we get it. We’ve all spent time wandering the isles in the supermarket or health store, or browsing endless pages online searching for the next best thing to elevate our health and fitness. Sometimes there is a diamond in the rough and once we find it, it is game over. But sometimes it takes more diligence than we want, or have time for, and that can really hurt our chances of finding a really great supplement or health food product.

protein bars

We’ve narrowed down some important aspects of a good protein bar to hopefully make things a little easier.

Good protein bars will be:

  • Packed with protein: Provide enough protein content to offer growth and keep you full while still allowing for proper digestion. This will also aid in muscle building and maintenance and workout recovery.
  • Full of fiber: Keep you full longer and moving regularly which is an important piece for your body to properly function and keep weight off.
  • Short on sugar (if any at all): Be careful of added sugar and other sweeteners that ruin the health benefits of a good bar and ruin all of your dietary work thus far.
  • Inexpensive and convenient: Don’t break the bank for a protein bar that will only provide some benefits and really look for one that will give you everything you need (and deserve) from a bar.

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A good protein bar will have:

  • Minimal calories: Be sure to look for a lower calorie bar that also has plenty of benefits. They do exist.
  • A quality fat content: Depending on your goals, knowing the fat content can be extremely important. Also, make sure it is conducive to whatever diet you may be on.
  • Clean ingredients: Be sure to look for any harmful additives or just extra junk that you do not want in your protein bar snack.

Choosing the best bar for you all comes down to preference. What you desire in taste, what you want in texture, and what you seek for your bodybuilding goals. The best part is, you can always mix and match bars and are not tied down to one in particular. Many companies offer a variety of bars for various occasions while you can work to create your own group of different bars to really diversify your palate and your goals. Don’t get hung up on trying to find the one perfect bar for you because the truth is there may be more than one that fit your desired goals. In fact, there are more than one and it just takes some work in finding it.

protein bars

Check out our list of the Best Protein Bars for Bodybuilding Goals 2020 as you aim to continue your health hunt to aid in your overall growth, performance, and wellness for the best protein bar. We seek to make your life easier by providing you with a solid list to start to narrow down your search as you look for nothing but the best for your fitness, health, and wellness goals.

Best Overall: Dynamik Muscle Protein Bar

Dynamik Muscle protein bar is the best choice for any fitness or health enthusiast looking for a high-quality choice in protein bars. Packed with 20 grams of high quality protein, this bar is made from quality all natural whey protein isolate so no added ingredients or fillers ruin this protein bar. With just 5 simple natural ingredients, free from artificial ingredients, this is a tasty, simple, yet highly effective and great tasting protein bar for whatever your needs may be with a snack.

As part of the King Kai series from Mr. Olympia runner up Kai Greene, this product has the backing of an elite athlete who knows what it takes to eat right and stay fit to be as lean and shredded as possible. While Dynamik ranks similarly to other bars when it comes to macronutrients, the difference is how they could do it with so few ingredients while also keeping a great taste from a whey protein. Real food based and delicious, this protein bar is exactly what you need for your pre- or post workout and weight loss goals to keep on lean muscle.

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  • 20 grams of high quality whey protein for muscle building
  • All natural, whole food ingredients
  • Tastes great and is a very convenient, delicious option for whatever time of day


  • Not suitable for diets due to a high calorie count
  • 23 grams of carbs limits certain diets as well

Price: $23.99/ 12 bars

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Dynamik Muscle Protein Bar won our Supplement Awards in the Best Protein Bar category. Check out our winner and the other finalists here!

Best Tasting: GNC Total Lean Layered Protein Bar

protein bar

GNC Total Lean Layered Protein Bar is a great protein bar to satisfy hunger and provide for lean, high quality protein support. Being gluten-free, and with great flavors, you can enjoy this bar and get all of the benefits without the guilt. At 190 calories per bar and with 16g protein, 8g fat, and 14g carbs, this provides a perfect ratio for all of these macronutrients for your diet. Made with a protein blend of whey concentrate and isolate, as well as other ingredients to fuel muscle growth, repair damaged muscle, and aid in other bodily functions, this meal replacement bar is perfect for a pre-workout boost or a post-workout recovery protein packed snack while also being great tasting to boost your protein intake and help lose weight.

Pros: Great ingredients with 190 calories and 16 grams of protein. The Girl Scouts Thin Mint flavor is delicious and a great option that really does taste like a thin mint.

Cons: It does contain sucralose and maltodextrin so it may not be as clean as people want. The high amount of sugar adds to the taste but may not be compatible with certain diets.

Price: $9.99/ 5 bars

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Best For Recovery: Optimum Nutrition Opti-Bar

protein bars

Optimum Nutrition Opti-Bar is a high quality and very convenient protein bar designed for on-the-go muscle support to assist muscle recovery  and muscle growth in efforts to get you primed for that next workout. As a leader in sports nutrition and a reputable brand you can trust, Optimum Nutrition seeks top-tier products with innovative technology to really get consumers to where they need to be with their diet, like with this meal replacement bar. With 20g of protein per bar, up to 10g of fiber per bar, and less than 5g of sugar, your recovery goals are surely on their way. Three great flavors in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Brownie, and Cookies ‘N Crème make this bar a delicious option for your on-the-go needs as one of the best bars on the market to build muscle.

Pros: With high protein, low carb, and very little sugar add to the health benefits of this bar. From a reputable company with great flavors and taste, this is a bar you can trust.

Cons: Little sugar is very healthy but may add to some consumers not enjoying the taste. Some may not enjoy the texture as well.

Price: $29.95/ 12 bars

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Best For Tackling Cravings: Quest Nutrition Protein Bar

protein bars

Quest Nutrition protein bars are made with complete, dairy-based proteins to provide your body with 9 essential amino acids. With a lot of flavors to choose from, each bar is a sweet treat with less than 2g of sugar in each bar to satisfy cravings to keep you full longer. With up to 21g of protein and 16g of fiber per bar, net carbs round out to 4-6g giving you a really great ratio of all of those macronutrients you need for fuel, growth, and recovery along with your diet needs. With a solid protein blend and not a lot of ingredients, this bar comes out to be a great option for those looking to satisfy cravings while also seeing gains from a protein packed snack with clean ingredients to provide energy and build muscle.

Pros: There are a multitude of flavors to choose from and the ratio of macronutrients is perfect for being in high in protein and one of the best tasting bars. Full of protein and with little sugar will keep you full and not hurt your goals.

Cons: May be hard to digest for some and the improved formula may have hurt the taste. It does contain sucralose as well.

Price: $22.22/ 12 bars

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Best Ingredient Transparency: Naked Nutrition Protein Bars

protein bars

Naked Nutrition Protein Bars are made with real almond butter sourced in the U.S. and grass-fed whey protein from small family-owned farms. Tested for quality and accuracy, these bars are perfect for athletes or fitness folks to see gains and stay full longer. With 7 real food ingredients, this protein bar contains 15g of protein, 7g of fat, and contains no hidden sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners. Being soy, gluten, and GMO free is a huge plus for all of your health needs and muscle growth. A transparent ingredient label ensures you don’t hurt your diet goals and stay committed to big gains and a healthy lifestyle with a post workout snack for energy.

Pros: Limited ingredients with a good amount of protein and no artificial sweeteners makes this a healthy option. Transparent labels ensure honesty with what you’re getting for a meal replacement.

Cons: Lacks slightly in taste and is more crumbly and not as chewy as others. 12g of sugar is a lot and may not be conducive to some diets.

Price: $18.95/ 12 bars

Click here for the best price

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Wrap Up

Protein bars should work for your benefit and your benefit only. While they should taste good, they should also provide for overall quality health benefits and it is possible to have both. These protein bars listed above are really great sources of protein that taste good and will give you that boost to fuel a workout, recover from tough training, or offer a healthy snack during the day as you power through to the end.

With protein as an essential building block for muscle, having a protein packed bar is something to really look for to advance your goals. While it can be frustrating to search and search for the best option, it is out there. Your goals are priority number one and while it can be daunting to know there are a ton of products on the market, the benefit is that you don’t have to change your goals to find the right one. It will find you. Check out these protein bars for your bodybuilding goals and see your progress unfold today with a great meal replacement.

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  1. Pasiakos, Stefan M.; McLellan, Tom M.; Lieberman, Harris R. (2015). “The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review”. (source)
  2. Hassan, Sami Kadhim (2020). “Quantitative and qualitative effects of proteins and natural sugars on hardening and color of high-protein nutrition bars during storage”. (source)
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.