Bess Be Fit

A former collegiate athlete's journey of trying to stay and get as fit as possible in life after soccer!


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GNC Protein Powder Review

As an Ambassador for FitFluential, I was selected to be a tester of GNC & Vega protein powders.  I have been a long time fan and user of whey protein, so I was very excited to try out some other varieties!

*These products were sent to me for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

The four GNC protein powder products that I have tested are:

And the Vega Sport Performance Protein:

As you can imagine, I was super stoked to see this arrive on my doorstep two weeks ago:

Where to begin really was my biggest issue…I mean look at all those glorious protein powders!  In case you may be looking around for some new protein powders as well and perhaps aren’t quite sure what kind is best for you, read through my review.  I will share when and how to use the different kind of protein powders as well as my own personal thoughts on taste, texture, mixability, energy levels, satiety, and overall performance.  I have tried each of these proteins in the following different forms:

  • protein pancake/microwave cake
  • stirred with milk
  • stirred into oatmeal

Those are the 3 ways that I personally use protein powder the most so I felt those would be the best, most true ways for me to test them all.  So let’s get to it, shall we?  In no particular order…

1. Vega Sports Performance Protein:  “A complete multi-source, alkaline-forming, plant-based protein blend, Vega Sport Performance Protein is formulated to: Improve strength and exercise performance, repair and build muscles, and reduce recovery time between training.  The recent innovation to Vega Sport Performance Protein comes from the addition of SaviSeed (sacha inchi) protein, a rich, plant-based source of the amino acid tryptophan.  Tryptophan is a key component of serotonin production.  Serotonin–the feel good hormone–helps with the mental aspect of recovery, so you’ll keep the drive alive and be motivated to train again.  Take Vega Sport Performance Protein within 30 to 90 minutes of your workout or throughout the day to meet your individual protein needs to recharge and repair so you can do it all again.”

My thoughts:  This was one of my favorite protein powders not only of the five sent to me to try, but of any I’ve ever had.  The flavor was spot on vanilla (with a touch of cake batter?) and it mixed very easily into both my oatmeal and with my milk.  There were zero clumps of protein in the milk and I only stirred with a spoon.  It was very creamy and thick, making the drink and the oatmeal even more satisfying that normal.  The protein pancake was a little harder to make, as it wanted to fall apart slightly when flipping, but the taste was still delicious and was worth the extra effort of making.  I had these both post and after workouts and felt strong and replenished.  It feels very light to eat/drink, which I like a lot because no one enjoys the heavy feeling of food.  I definitely recommend this protein powder on all aspects and it is one I plan to use in the future.

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2. GNC Pro-Performance 100% Whey Protein:  “Whey Protein is a fast absorbing protein typically used before or after workouts.  Many people also start their day with whey protein for breakfast to replenish their muscles after a nights sleep.  GNC Whey protein is micronized, making it easy-to-mix and dissolve in water.  It’s also low temperature treated, which delivers one of the highest quality forms of whey protein.  Protein supplementation is important for all athletes who seek an increased protein intake while working out.”

My thoughts: Like I mentioned previously, I am a big fan of whey and have been using it for around 7 years now.  I usually buy vanilla, but I’m glad I was sent chocolate to try out.  The flavor is good, not my favorite, but definitely tasty.  It mixes well into milk and oatmeal, leaving only a few small pieces with stirring.  I have no doubt that with a shaker bottle or a blender that there would be zero clumps.  The protein pancake was perfect, easy to make and flip plus slightly moist and fluffy.  The drink mixed with milk was a savior after a really difficult long run!  It helped me recover quickly and I wasn’t sore the next day.  I didn’t think my opinion would change about whey protein when I got this new case of it, and it didn’t.  I still love whey and probably always will.  It always fills me up but never feels like it’s heavy or weighing me down.  Definitely recommend!

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3. GNC Pro-Performance 100% Casein: “Casein is a slow digesting protein derived from milk.  When compared to other sources of protein, casein increases blood amino acids at a much slower and steadier rate.  This delayed digestion and absorption of amino acids may be beneficial between meals or in the evening to provide a steadier supply of muscle fuel, crucial to maintaining an anti-catabolic state and significantly decrease protein breakdown.”

My thoughts: I really liked the Casein.  For most nights this week, I have been using it to make my protein chocolate cake, which is a nice little healthy dessert.  It’s also good because Casein is good to have at night since it’s a slow digesting protein.  I tried making the same cake with the other proteins but it’s just not as good as the Casein for this purpose.  It has really good flavor, similar to the Egg protein, but it has slightly higher calories with 1 scoop having 160.  It still has 25g of protein.  It mixed great into my overnight oatmeal but wasn’t as easily mixed into the glass of milk.  Just a few pieces left but it was still drinkable.  Thick and creamy, almost like a chocolate milkshake.  I would say this is probably the most filling of the protein powders along with the Egg protein, but it felt a little heavier than the egg protein to me.  But I really liked it and look forward to incorporating it into my diet.

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4. Pro-Performance Soy Protein 95: “Soy is the only complete plant-based protein; it contains all of the essential amino acids including BCAA – leucine, isoleucine, and valine.  Soy Protein 95 is cholesterol free.  Pro Performance Soy Protein 95 feature Supro® brand soy protein.  Supro® protein is one of the most clinically studied soy proteins.  Supro® protein is made from Certified non-Genetically Modified (non-GMO) soybeans that are produced while being tightly monitored and controlled from planting through processing.”

My thoughts: I’ll just come right out and say it…this was my least favorite.  But even so, it wasn’t terrible.  I’m not always a fan of soy products, though, so I kind of anticipated this reaction but was open to trying it just like all the others.  I’ve using soy products when baking in the past and I didn’t love the flavor and it upset my stomach.  I was just hoping that I wouldn’t have any tummy issues when trying this kind.  Luckily, I didn’t at all!  Definitely a good thing.  I was sent the vanilla flavor, which was only alright in my opinion.  It was best in the protein pancake.  It was just OK in the oatmeal, didn’t really do anything for me, but I really did NOT like it in the milk.  I mean, I guess a lot of people who are going to be using Soy protein wouldn’t be mixing it with milk, but to be consistent that’s what I did.  I didn’t think it mixed all that well.  It had the most clumps left over than any of the others.  This is the one that I probably wouldn’t use again in the future, just because I’m not vegan nor concerned with needing a 100% plant-based protein.  But for those who are, I would still say that this protein powder is worth trying. You might like it more than I did.

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5. Pro-Performance 100% Egg Protein: Unlike dairy based proteins (whey or casein) egg protein is naturally free of lactose and therefore much easier to digest for those who have trouble with dairy based protein powders.  One serving of GNC Pro Performance 100% Egg Protein provides the quality protein found in 4 eggs but with much less fat and cholesterol.  This a good pre or post workout protein.”

My thoughts:  I was sent the chocolate egg protein to review and I’ll be honest, it was the one I was most hesitant about trying.  For some reason, my initial though about egg protein was that it was going to have some weird taste or sulfur-y type of smell.  I could NOT have been more wrong.  This ended up being my favorite of all the five products I was sent to review!  The protein pancake got huge and fluffy and was SO filling that I had trouble finishing the whole thing.  Mixed in milk it has barely any clumps except for a bit of a chocolatey gathering at the bottom of the cup, much like you get when you have hot chocolate or chocolate milk, which I thought was DELICIOUS to eat with a spoon.  The milk mixed with chocolate egg protein tasted smooth and creamy, just like a Yoo-hoo!  So yummy.  I didn’t get a good picture of that one so the bottle of Yoo-hoo is the replacement photo;)  Just trust me.  I also tried it in overnight oats in a jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams PB…there was just a very little bit of PB left but it was the perfect compliment of the protein.  One of the best OIAJ I’ve ever had.  I would definitely recommend this protein.  I also love that it’s only 120 calories, 25g of protein, and only 3g of carbs and 1g of sugar! Great stats.

SUMMARY

Overall, I would be happy to use any of the protein powders that I was sent to try.  They are all top of the line products, taste good, and do the job they are meant to do.  I wasn’t crazy about the Soy Protein, but all the others I would be happy to incorporate into my diet as staples.  And now that I have about a year’s worth of protein powder, you can be sure that you will see it used lots more in the future!  I will be sure to let you know which protein I use, when I use it, and for which recipes.

All of the proteins, and many more, are available at GNC.  It really is the essential one stop protein shop.

Be sure to follow along with the conversation and other updates and news by following GNC on Twitter: @GNCLiveWell and the hastag #LiveWellNow and FitFluential on Twitter: @FitFluential

You can follow me on Instagram, on Twitter, and on Facebook to see other pictures and recipes using GNC protein powders.

Which protein powder would YOU be most interested in trying?  


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Chocolate Protein Pancakes and more Janae Hugs :)

For breakfast this morning I decided to make some chocolate protein pancakes.  I originally had planned to put dark chocolate chips in the pancakes…but GASPPP I didn’t have any!!!  I know, sad moment.  It ended up okay though because these pancakes were the best I’ve ever made!

In the pancake mix was :

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pancake mix (I have Aunt Jemima)
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
I added a layer of Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter between each layer of pancakes and sprinkled some Heath Toffee Bits on top in place of the lack of dark chocolate chips.  Put some sugar free syrup on top and I was ready to dig in 😉
So filling…
must…power…through…
I ended up not being able to eat the last bite.  I shoved one last bite in my mouth despite being stuffed because it still had some DCDPB and toffee bits on it and I’m not about to waste that goodness.
Once I finished breakfast I decided it would be a good time to bake a birthday sugar cookie cake for my brother’s and grandmother’s birthdays.  We are all going to the beach house this weekend to have a little early birthday celebration.  Ben is turning 21….uh oh.
Even bigger uh oh?  Me trying to make this cookie cake and spread the icing with out getting into it.  I will admit I had a few “icing fingers”.
The finished product:
I wonder if Cake Boss is hiring…I bet I’d be a good addition.
I put on a mix from DJ Lindsay Luv while I baked and I couldn’t help but dance around while I was baking…think of it as extra exercise!! Go here to download the same mixes I was listening to for free…they’re pretty amazing.  Just TRY not to dance.  I dare you 😉
Then Maverick and I went out and did a 4.5 mile walk/jog in the beautiful weather.  75 degrees and sunny.  This is what heaven must feel like.
GORGEOUS:
When I got back I was still pretty stuffed from my breakfast even though it had been about 3 and a half hours so I just made a little snack.
Organic tortilla chips, salsa, laughing cow cheese wedge, and pickles 🙂
I sat on the porch and ate it and that is currently where I’m sitting typing this…further working on my tan!  Don’t worry I put SPF on Mom, in case you are reading this.
Guess what??!! I have more Janae Hug pictures!!!
Katie from Fit Mommy: