Even though you can get pretty creative with protein powder, there's no denying a protein shake can be a little lackluster. Most powders aren't that palatable once you toss 'em around with water, plain and simple.

But whirring together a shake bulked up with smart ingredients can absolutely transform your liquid muscle-maker's texture and flavor from tolerable to tasty. Here's how.

1. Add fruit

Start with strawberries, cherries, raspberries, bananas, and fresh peaches. Dump everything into a blender, and process until smooth.

2. Use more water

It helps to reduce thickness, and mellow out flavors and sweetness for a more optimal taste.

3. Swap water for milk

It’ll create a smoother, creamier texture that’s more like a milkshake—and add more protein.

4. Make it a full-on smoothie

Instead of blending in fruit, add a cup of ice before you blend. You can also toss in a few spoonfuls of regular or Greek yogurt or peanut butter—again, for extra protein plus a thicker, creamier shake texture.

Try these eight boredom-busting smoothie recipes or these seven muscle-building shakes for even more ideas. Oh, and to make sure you've got a quality protein powder, look for these 12 ingredients.