If you had to choose just one supplement to use in conjunction with your training regimen, what would it be? There are obvious arguments for all sides; maybe you need something to get you through the difficult sessions, or perhaps you need something that can get you started, at all. Everyone most likely holds certain ones to varying standards, but I genuinely don’t think that there is a more common supplement than whey protein. It’s in grocery stores, shopping malls, advertised online across many vendors, and offered in different concentrations and applications. There is protein for vegans, protein for those who are trying to gain mass, and protein for people who are trying to lose body fat. It’s the one thing that people probably think of when they hear the terms ‘gym’, ‘supplement’, or ‘bro’, and probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear a shaker bottle off in the distance. Across many manufacturers, it can be very difficult to figure out which one to choose. So how do you?
It’s important to know just what to look for in a protein supplement, particularly because it is an offering that can be found almost everywhere. You’ve got to be able to identify proper ratios in macronutrient distribution [based upon what your goals are] and evaluate whether or not you feel the cost is worth the return you get on your purchase. Oh, and it has to taste good.
On that note, we’ll segue into our first section.
I’ll be honest and say that I don’t think I’ve ever tried an especially bad protein powder. I’m also not really a massive stickler for taste. As I said in my Koala Freak video review, I don’t particularly take supplements for their taste, but rather the effects they have on my training and circumstantial stimulus. However, I think it’s also really hard to get a protein powder wrong. I’ve tried a lot of them (MuscleTech, BSN, Dymatize, and ErgoGenix, among others), and they’ve all tasted pretty good. STAUNCH Whey Isolate comes in three flavors (well, four, if you count the Basic B**** Peppermint seasonal release – which I unfortunately didn’t get to try… noooooo!), which are Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel Von Mocha, and Hot Chokkie. Of course, I’ve tried them all and they all taste as their naming convention implies. This is a good thing. Tied for first place are Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Von Mocha, as they each bring something different, yet desired, to my palate. This whey has a smooth, clean taste/finish and mixes almost instantly; I will attribute this to the minimal ingredient list (which I will touch upon a bit more in the following section). There aren’t any chunks that get stuck to the bottom of the blender bottle, but it does create quite a bit of foam, upon initial mixing. I have circumvented this by making my shakes the night before, and letting them sit in the fridge; for whatever reason, if it’s shaken the following morning to move the ingredients around before drinking, it doesn’t create any froth/foam, at all. Must have something to do with the first stage of mixing/oxygen content relative to the liquid. And yes I totally made that up, but I said it and now we’re talking about it.
I don’t believe one can truly quantify (without scientific intervention and higher levels of data-based scrutiny) the physical effects that whey protein has on the body. In fact, I don’t think that most people drink it other than the fact that they figure it’ll add some muscle and/or serve as some sort of meal replacement, while being tasty in the process. However, it is important to understand what makes the profile of STAUNCH Whey Isolate so important, relative to many other offerings on the market. For starters (and most importantly for lots of folks), it contains 0% lactose. Dairy products cause gastrointestinal problems for many – myself included, depending on the amount of time allowed for my body to fully process it (I MAY sneak some milk and cookies overnight and go back to sleep, which causes many poos in the AM) – so the absence of it is a huge win in the land of protein supplements. This also makes it an appropriate choice for vegans, as it isn’t milk-based. According to STAUNCH, this protein is low temperature cross-flow micro-filtered, which means that lactose, excess fats, and less bio-absorbable molecules are removed from the final product (this is a big reason as to why the powder mixes so easily). With that, I think it’s an appropriate time to go over the macronutrient profile of this whey, since it is most definitely the party piece: 0g of total fat, 2g or less (across all flavors) of carbohydrates, and 24g of protein at 100 calories, all within an approximately 30g scoop. This is spectacular, since in the past I had a rough time finding protein (with the exception of Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey, among select others) that had a 24g yield or greater with no fats or less than 5g of carbs (which obviously merits a relative increase/decrease in calories per scoop) that wasn’t exorbitantly priced. A 10% DV of calcium and virtually no sugars (0g to <1g) are just icing on the…shake. Ingredients include a modest blend of whey protein isolate (sole protein source – no egg/milk here), natural and artificial flavors, and a digestive enzyme complex (as if a lactose-free protein really needs it – but it doesn’t hurt to include!) among a couple of others. No proprietary blends. This is a top shelf protein.
Because whey protein is not necessarily timing dependent (unlike pre-workout supplements, where if you take something with a high level of stimulants – like Koala Freak – and don’t go to the gym, your head will explode), when you choose to take it is left to preference. What works best for me is to have it at work after leaving the gym; it’s a nice carryover before breakfast a few hours later. It is also not something that needs to be consumed solely with milk (or water *shudder*) in a blender bottle; you can get creative with how you take it. One way that I have seen Calum von Moger consume his is [still] with milk, but instead he pours it over cereal (again, because this protein is so airy, it won’t make you feel like you’re eating a bowl of oatmeal with an ounce of water in it). And because of the minimal number of ingredients in this protein, it is ideal for baking; the profile should not upset (or be upset by) whatever it is you choose to bake it into. I haven’t yet tried this, but will definitely do so and report back. Perhaps.
I’ve been taking this whey for around 6 months, consistently, and still look forward to drinking it every morning. Although I only take it on training days – mainly to extend its usage – it manages to meet (and exceed, in some aspects) my needs and requirements of a protein powder. What I ultimately look for is a clean ingredient profile, superb macronutrient ratio, and a great taste, all of which can be found here in spades. It’s got everything a pure protein should have in it, period. If you want to find your way toward good whey, then buy yourself a tub.
STAUNCH Whey Isolate can be had for $39.00 USD on the STAUNCH website, also linked at the top of the page.