05 May 2011 ~ Comments Off on Protein Review: CytoSport Muscle Milk

Protein Review: CytoSport Muscle Milk

I admit it, I’m a protein shake junkie. (Not that it’s a bad thing—more on that later.) I must have sampled 20-30 different brands of protein over the years. I’ve got a couple of go-to brands, but when the price is right I’m not above sampling something new.

My addiction is your gain: here’s the first of a series of reviews of popular protein brands I’ve tried. We’ll begin with one of the best-selling brands, CytoSport Muscle Milk.

Overview

Muscle Milk is not a “pure protein” powder. Neither is it a meal replacement. It’s billed as a nutritional drink with “good” fats (called “lean lipids”), vitamins and minerals.

Protein: 32g/serving

The protein content in a serving of Muscle Milk looks really high. That’s because the recommended serving size is really large: two scoops, rather than one for most “pure” proteins. So ounce-for-ounce there’s less protein for the money in Muscle Milk. If you’re having trouble gaining weight, however, this might be for you.

Taste: Great

The foremost selling point for me is Muscle Milk’s flavor – most protein drinks play games with the name of their chocolate flavor, calling it “Chocolate Shake” or “Chocolate Frost” or other modifications. Muscle Milk has a “Real Chocolate” flavor that tastes like real chocolate. Add milk instead of water and it tastes like chocolate candy! It may be the first protein supplement I’ve ever drank for enjoyment.

However, in the full two-scoop serving size it’s really sweet. One scoop in milk should be a reasonable tradeoff.

Mixability: Good

I didn’t have any problems shaking up Muscle Milk, either in a regular shaker cup or my protein shaker.

Verdict

I loved the flavor of Muscle Milk, but don’t need the “extras.” I get plenty of fats and nutrients in my diet, and just need my protein drink to deliver protein and taste good. I can find more cost-effective, purer protein supplements that taste fine to me, like GNC’s Pro Performance brand.

But if you’re a hard-gainer, two scoops of this stuff in 16 ounces of milk are as many calories as a Big Mac, with a lot more nutrition and a taste not unlike a dessert. Additionally, in my favorite meal replacement shake (almond butter, banana, protein, ice and milk) the chocolate flavor harmonized perfectly with the others—not something I can say of every protein powder.

I’ve got more reviews in the pipeline for you, but let me know if there’s one you’d like me to try. And if you’ve tried Muscle Milk, you can contribute a review of your own in the comments below.

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09 December 2010 ~ Comments Off on Fitness Gifts: Protein Shaker

Fitness Gifts: Protein Shaker

Stuck on a simple but useful holiday gift? Want to give something that says, “I support your fitness goals” but doesn’t say, “you really need to work out more”? I’ve got just the thing: a deluxe protein shaker.

If you’ve had much experience with protein powder (and if you’re doing any kind of muscle-building exercise, you should), you’ve probably found that it’s difficult to quickly mix it into milk or water without blobs of unblended powder floating on the top. With some powders, you can shake until you’re blue in the face (an exercise of its own) and it still clumps.

No longer, thanks to something called the Blender Bottle. This is a protein shaker cup with a difference: a wire ball that acts like a whisk, breaking up those blobs and leaving you with a smoothly blended protein drink.

In addition, this protein shaker has a tight-fitting screw-on lid and a “pop-top” drinking/pouring spout so you don’t have to remove the wire ball to enjoy your protein. All parts are easy to wash and dishwasher-safe.

I discovered the Blender Bottle when I got one as a gift—believe it or not, I had taken to using my electric blender to make batches of protein drink, but once I tried this shaker I never went back. It only takes about 15 seconds of moderate shaking to fully mix even the clump-prone powders I’ve had lying around. To sum up, awesome.

Anyone who uses protein powder will thank you for giving them a Blender Bottle. In fact, this gift reduces the “what if they’ve already got one?” factor: even if they DO own a protein shaker, most people will be happy to have a second one to take to work or school. And if their old protein shaker isn’t a Blender Bottle, they’ll probably throw the old one away.

Get the Blender Bottle protein shaker at Amazon.com.

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