Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Power of Protein

Last week I heard a "thud" that was immediately followed by Bernie barking his head off and when I went out on our porch I was greeted by a HUGE box.  I alluded to it last week, but this is what was inside said box:

I sent Mike this photo right away because I was so shocked!

Absolutely amazing!  The folks at GNC, with the help of FitFluential, sent me FIVE containers of protein powder to try and review.  Honestly, my jaw dropped when I opened the box.  Four of the powders are GNC brand and one is Vega Sport.

I was really excited to try all of the protein powders because I am not sure I get enough protein through my diet alone.  I only eat chicken and turkey and while we eat other foods that have adequate protein, I'm not always sure if it is enough.  Protein is essential for runners because we need it to perform and to recover, and I'm sure this applies to triathletes as well!

Here are some specifics about each of the different GNC Pro-Performance protein powders:


Whey Protein - This protein powder is fast absorbing and is best when used before and after workouts.  You can also start your day with whey protein to help replenish your muscles.

Casein Protein - Casein protein powder is slow digesting and increases blood amino acids at a slower and steadier rate than other protein sources.  Casein is derived from milk.  This protein powder is best used in between meals and right before bed because of the delayed digestion and absorption of amino acids.

Egg Protein - If you have issues with milk-based products, you should give egg protein a try!  It is naturally free of lactose and is easier to digest for those who have issues with dairy.  This protein is best used before or after workouts.

Soy Protein - Are you vegetarian?  If so, this is the protein powder for you!  This is the only complete plant-based protein powder and it contains all of the essential amino acids including BCAA - leucine, isoleucine and valine.

I was also sent the Vega Sport Performance Protein, here's a brief description:


Vega Protein - This protein powder is a complete multi-source, alkaline forming, plant-based protein blend.  This protein is formulated to improve strength and exercise performance, repair and build muscles and reduce recovery time in between training, which makes it perfect before workouts and throughout the day.

I was truly unaware of how many kinds of protein powders are available, which honestly makes everything a little bit confusing!  I don't really have any dietary restrictions so I don't need to choose the egg, soy or Vega protein powders but they are great options for those with restrictions.

I tried EVERY single kind of protein powder over the last week.  To be honest I mostly had them in the morning for breakfast but I did try the egg and soy protein powders before and after working out, respectively.  I can't say if I noticed a difference after just one time, but I didn't have any GI issues.

I don't like chocolate and I was a little sad when three out of the five powders were chocolate flavored (egg, soy and whey).  Ironically, these are the powders that I like just mixed with water.  I do not like the vanilla protein powders with just water!  Mike tried sips of two of the chocolate protein powders and he liked them too.

Unfortunately, I don't like the Vega Sport Performance protein powder AT ALL.  I tried it plain and I tried it as a smoothie with strawberries and pineapple and I couldn't drink it.  My mom is going to try it when we visit my parents in August because I don't want it to go to waste!

My favorite way to use the protein powders has definitely been to mix them with other ingredients.  You already saw my tropical protein smoothie, but I have come up with a few other ideas since then!

Peanut Butter Cup Shake

1/4 cup oats, 1 cup milk, 1 scoop whey protein (chocolate), 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp chia seeds

No Bake Chocolate Protein Energy Balls

The same as these, but no vanilla (I was out) and 1 scoop of egg protein (chocolate)

Blueberry Smoothie

 8 oz water, 1 scoop soy protein (chocolate), 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup frozen blueberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

  8 oz water, 1 scoop whey protein (chocolate), 1 cup frozen strawberries

I have felt full after all of these smoothies/shakes and the addition of protein powder to the energy balls is great!  Hopefully I will start to notice an increase in energy during my workouts, but with the extreme heat it is hard to tell right now.

Check out GNC's website, they are definitely the one stop protein shop (and they have lots of other great items and discounts)!  Luckily we have GNC stores in Rochester because I can honestly say that they have a customer for life!

Do you use protein powders?

I was provided these protein powders for the purposes of review.  All of the opinions expressed in this post are, as always, my own.  

37 comments:

  1. Interesting! I might have to incorporate some protein powders into my diet. Do you know if all of the bottles are labeled gluten-free?

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    1. The Vega Sport and the GNC Soy 95 protein say no gluten/gluten free. I can ask about the other ones!

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  2. I believe in using protein powder to supplement added protein into my eating

    I prefer to use vanilla, allows me to make what ever flavor I am in the mood for by adding ingreditents

    Right now my favorite is Apple Pie Ala Mode, Vanilla Protein Powder, Milk, cinnamom apple sauce and blend

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    1. I was JUST thinking the other day that I wanted to try a smoothie with apples, maybe use Chobani Apple Cinnamon! Yours sounds really good too.

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  3. Could not comment here earlier--damn puter!
    I use protein powder like it's my freaking job. Maybe because I was into weights before getting into running. You've got quite the test lab going on!

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    1. Haha it does feel like a test lab sometimes, I really am enjoying them all (except the Vega)!

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  4. Right now, I use Click intermittently. I eat a fair amount of plant-based protein and dairy protein like yogurt but will supplement with Click after a workout or in the AM. It is an espresso protein drink so i gives a little extra kick.

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    1. We tried CLICK but we didn't like it, unless mixed with other things. I might get some instant coffee and add that to one of my shakes with chocolate protein powder for the extra kick.

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  5. This is a really great post on proteins. Great to know about all of the varieties. There are many and each serve different purposes.

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    1. Thanks Katie! It's true they all serve different purposes and it can be confusing at times but I think I'm slowly figuring it out.

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  6. Great product review! I haven't used protein powder in quite a few years although I used it a lot when I was doing heavy weight lifting. I do like it but find unless I mix it up I get tired of the flavor. Your smoothies look and sound delish! :)

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    1. I definitely think I am going to have to mix it up or I will get bored, that's why I am coming up with so many smoothie recipes. They all have been delicious!

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  7. i use vega sport after all of my workouts, but I'm really interested in trying the egg protein powder for some other recipes

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    1. I wish I had liked that one! I don't really know why, I guess I just didn't like the taste, if it had been in chocolate I might have liked it. The egg tastes really good by itself (that's actually the first one of the bunch that I tried).

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  8. So awesome! I do use protein powders but love all the info that you provided. There are so many different kinds out there and it's hard to know which one is right for me:)

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    1. Thank you! I'm still trying to decide which one I want to use from now on, after all of them run out :)

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  9. Great review, Jamie! I wasn't a big fan of Vega Sport either, although I wanted to like it as I prefer the plant based options. I need to try your energy balls!

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    1. Thanks Laura! I know I really wanted to like it since I have heard great things but it was like CLICK it just didn't work with my taste buds I guess.

      You should try them! Either with or without protein powder :)

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  10. I definitely use protein supplements--I don't get enough daily AND I workout a lot like you so I need the boost! I'm very curious about this egg protein..might have to give it a try! :)

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    1. You should try it! I think other than whey, it might be my favorite. Still trying to figure out what works for me :)

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  11. Questioning our friendship over your dislike of chocolate!!

    In all seriousness though, I've always been curious about protein powder. These might be a good place to start!

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    1. Haha well I like dark chocolate and white chocolate (which doesn't really count since it isn't actually chocolate), but I don't really like milk chocolate. If it has stuff in it, like peanut butter, then I like it :)

      You should definitely give it a try!

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  12. Lots of different protein options!

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    1. Definitely! I like having options :)

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  13. Never tried a protein powder- maybe bring a little sample of one when we meet in Utica, Jamie? I would be willing to try!

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    1. If I remember I can do that, it might be hard to bring it. Might have to be in ziploc bags since I've opened them all.

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    2. That's what I figured you could do... just bring a little in a ziplock bag- if you think of it!

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  14. I do love protein powders & I especially enjoy making protein balls/bars and smoothies with them!

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    1. I am enjoying my daily smoothies and the energy balls are so easy to make!

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  15. Huge GNC fan and I love this post! I just need some more GNC protein powder! :)

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    1. Thank you! I know I am going to be sad when I run out, I'll just have to get some more though :)

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  16. I'm a HUGE Vega sport fan!! Feel free to send it to me! :)

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    1. Haha if my mom doesn't like it I might be able to do that, even though it has already been opened so it might make a mess.

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  17. What a great review! Must have been awesome to get all that in the mail :) I may have to check these out, always looking for good protein powder!

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  18. I love your in-depth descriptions of the different protein powders! The Vega Sport definitely has a unique flavor to it but it is starting to grow on me. My favorite protein powder is probably the egg protein.

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  19. Holy buckets, that's a lot of protein!! The chocolate covered strawberry smoothie looks right up my alley!

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  20. If you are going to get into weight training, you are going to need to have even more high calorie protein powder in your eating habits plan for muscular development and restoration and to offer the power you will need for your exercises.
    XYZ smart collagen

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