Most people who consistently workout most likely take supplements. I’m one of those people. It’s not unusual to see someone at the gym scooping powder into a bottle before and after working out. As much as possible, I try to eat clean even when I’m not training, though I still have cheat days. A good protein shake is a post-workout staple, though. Aside from my post-workout meal, I drink a whey protein shake after each workout.
Currently, I take the following the supplements on training days: a scoop of beta-alanine 20 minutes before each workout, a scoop of BCAAs intra-workout, and a scoop of whey protein immediately post-workout followed by a meal.
I’ve tried a couple of protein shakes. One of them is Musclepharm’s Fitmiss Delight, with 16g protein per serving. However, I felt that it was too sweet, and I was ingesting a lot of other things I didn’t need while getting a really small amount of protein. Plus the “protein for women” angle just felt a little sketchy. So my fiance convinced me to switch to Optimum Nutrition. I purchased a huge tub of Double Rich Chocolate with 74 servings. Now, I’m down to my last few scoops with a fresh tub of Optimum Nutrition in Vanilla Ice Cream flavor just waiting to be cracked open as soon as I polish off my current tub.
First off, taste. If you’ve got an extreme sweet tooth, this probably isn’t for you. While I do have a sweet tooth, I realize that I tend to go for milder flavors post-workout. I’m also not a big milk chocolate fan, so I’m not after a really sweet chocolatey taste. The flavor on this is on the mild side. It doesn’t taste like a chocolate bar, there’s no aftertaste. I also tend to mix it with too much water, so it’s a bit on the bland side when it hits my tongue. The taste is not awful, but it’s also not awesome. It’s still good enough to chug down in a few seconds without wanting to throw up. If flavor is a major issue for you, then tread lightly and don’t commit to a huge tub.
As for quality, I have a blender bottle with a little agitator ball for my post-workout shakes. Before that, I used a Starbucks tumbler. What I like about Optimum Nutrition is it doesn’t give me those little surprise undissolved protein bits that suddenly explode in an icky powdery mess in your mouth. The powder mixes well with any temperature water. And I like my protein shakes cold.
Now let’s talk about the gainz. Protein powder is a supplement. It’s not a primary source. As far as gains are concerned, you need to have something to work with. I train three times a week, eat clean, sleep properly, have a weekly cheat day, and stack with other supplements (I take a multivitamin and fish oil daily, beta-alanine and BCAAs on training days). According to my scale, I currently have 19% body fat and 40% muscle. That said, whey protein isn’t going to work on its own. I only started taking supplements when I modified my diet and actually stuck to it. And before taking supplements, I did a lot of research. I had to find out what the difference actually is between whey protein isolates and whey protein concentrate – and why it’s important to know. I had to look at brands, sugar content, find out what ingredients should be red flags. All that stuff. I’m by no means an expert, however.
Now, side effects. This is really gross, but other protein powders cause acne on parts of my body like my back and shoulders. But so far, I have not experienced this with ON.
Optimum Nutrition works for me. It has given me gains, but it’s because of a planned out training schedule and thought-out diet. I can actually do better, be stronger, be healthier, but I’m taking it one step at a time.