Despite what those monstrous clouds and big gusts of wind are telling you, summer is right around the corner, and with it, we have certain goals to hit. And to hit those goals, we need one thing: protein shakes.

Whether you're a gym newbie or the world's biggest gym bro/gal, you need protein to get your body in tip-top shape. I've been using protein since I was a stick-thin 16-year-old. Now I'm 30 and at a wedding recently the first thing a friend who hadn't seen me in a year said, mouth agape, was: "There's so much of you."

That's protein, baby. But not all are made equally, so I put two variations of MyProtein's Impact Whey - vanilla and cookies and cream - up against Huel's Black Edition in vanilla and chocolate. I also recently switched it up by trying out Bulk's Pure Whey Protein Powder. With my nine years of writing about food and drink mixed with my 14 years of going to the gym and getting increasingly large, I'm hoping to give you the best information to make the right nutrition choice.

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Top: Bulk Pure Whey Protein Powder Shake, Vanilla

Laugh all you want: vanilla is the best flavour in protein shakes. I don't make the rules, I only possess the taste buds and a four-times-a-week gym schedule. Bulk's protein powder comes with 22g of protein and 5g of naturally occurring branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) in each serving. With 113 calories per scoop, I normally use two rather than the recommended one.

These are milk based, so not suitable for vegans. However, it's absolutely delicious. Drinking Bulk is a genuine delight and a treat after a gruelling gym session. I've been using Bulk since February and have seen some pretty decent gains (the above photo is from July last year). Definitely my new go-to, though the only downside is they have inconsistent stock in the bigger sizes.

Rating: 5/5

You can get Bulk Protein Powder in Vanilla for £16.99 in 500g packets (good for the gym bag) on Amazon, as well as a lot of different flavours in different sizes. Otherwise you can check out their range on their website.

Bulk protein powder with the scoop next to it
I normally use two scoops of Bulk to get a full dose of protein after a workout

Second Place: MyProtein Impact Whey Protein, Vanilla

Yes, it's the vanilla flavour again - sue me! If a company makes their vanilla flavour taste top-of-the-line, it's likely they can provide you with a tasty protein shake. I normally go for the diet version because I love food so much I don't need more calories - and it DOES taste better, in my opinion.

But the main event is the tastiest one. It's smooth, touching the cusp of milkshake quality. It's 40g of protein, but both Impact wheys are rich in amino acids and BCAAs (all important for recovery). I've also tried the Chocolate Brownie flavour and it was my least favourite out of all three. If you want a smooth, delicious, 40g injection of protein, vanilla is the way forward.

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Vanilla Impact Whey Protein at MyProtein for £41.99 for 1kg, £94.99 for 2.5kg (with a 55% discount for subscription) and £179.99 for 5kg. (However, there's often a sale). Otherwise, you can get 1kg from Amazon for £17.99.

Third Place: MyProtein Impact Whey Protein, Cookies and Cream

Cookies and cream, to someone with a sweet tooth like mine, is irresistible. However, it doesn't matter what brand you go with, all protein shakes are going to taste a bit off - it's just this one is much more dessert-y than the next flavour I'm talking about.

It blends well in a shake and there's 40g for a two scoop serving, which I would recommend. There's only 204 calories in this impact protein too. The downsides to these - they are not meals like Huel, but purely post-workout shakes. There's a hefty price tag of £174.99 for 5kg, though this comes with two caveats: MyProtein constantly has a sale and the bags last for a good few months.

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Cookies and Cream Impact Whey Protein at MyProtein for £41.99 for 1kg, £94.99 for 2.5kg (with a 55% discount for subscription) and £174.99 for 5kg. (However, there's often a sale). Otherwise, you can get 1kg from Amazon for £18.99.

Fourth Place: Huel Black Edition, Vanilla

Okay, here me out, this one is actually all right. It has all the benefits of the chocolate one above, but I just think vanilla is a much easier flavour to embed into a tasty shake. Also a weird difference: I found it harder to dissolve the chocolate one in a shaker, needing a strainer and then to reshake when the first batch was done. However, the vanilla one merged seamlessly.

It still has the same metallic edge putting me off, however. Drinkable, nutritious, good if you're in a rush.

Rating: 2.5/5

You can get the Huel Black Edition, Vanilla for £39.19 from Amazon or on their site for £28.50 for a bag (and 10% off if you subscribe).

Fifth place: Huel Black Edition, Chocolate Flavour

When I worked at DesignMyNight, one of my colleagues ate nothing but Huel: he wore the Huel top, he drank a liquid lunch, and he told me how good it was at Friday drinks. He was also stacked. Cut forward six years and I ordered Huel, tempted by the thought of not having to cook my lunch every day and having the body fat of, admittedly, a 23-year-old.

I immediately regretted my decision. I've since been warned their savoury shakes are tastier, but the thought of drinking like... a soup? From my shaker? Makes my skin go funny. This tastes like chocolate in the same way the Star Wars sequels are like the original trilogy: I'm confused, I'm angry, and there's a bad taste in my mouth.

My flat mate has a much higher appreciation of it, though complained of a metallic taste. Unlike a protein shake, Huel is a meal supplement, boasting 40g of protein in a 90g portion (400kcal). It's also made without whey (eggs), with the protein coming from peas and brown rice and so is suitable for vegans. Moreover, it contains all 26 essential vitamins and minerals - and I got a T-shirt too.

Rating: 1/5

You can get the Huel Black Edition, Chocolate for £37.96 from Amazon or on their site for £63.34 for two bags (and 10% off if you subscribe).