Today was my first day back in the gym for strength training/lifting, and I’m pleased to report that all went well. No back issues made themselves known, and I was able to do everything I had scheduled. I even worked in an abbreviated and lighter set of deadlifts (6×65#) at the end, just to see how it felt. Good, that’s how it felt. I’m taking the successful workout as a sign that my back was merely irritated and not suffering some debilitating injury.
Returning to my regular workout schedule means I’ll need to up the protein to accommodate the lifting. My easy way to do that is to plan for eggs, chicken, and/or tuna meals on those days, but that doesn’t always work out right for my schedule or my pantry. When that happens, or if I’m just not feeling like having meat, I sometimes supplement with protein powder, usually in the form of a smoothie or a protein “cupcake.”
My first preference in protein powder is unflavored whey protein isolate with few or no added ingredients. (I read years ago that whey protein is better for muscle recovery. Later, I learned that it also microwaves better. ) I also use soy protein isolate, and I have a whey/soy protein blend on the pantry shelf as well.
1st Step Pro-Wellness recently sent me two of their whey protein powders to try. I normally refuse requests to review supplements, but since I already use whey protein, I agreed to this one.
Ooh, flavors! And two of my favorites–Triple Chocolate and Vanilla! I usually buy unflavored powder and add cocoa or vanilla extract, so this was a departure and a little bit of a treat. In the interest of research, over the past few days I have prepared a chocolate protein powder cupcake and a strawberry-vanilla smoothie using these products. (Not at the same time!) My verdict: Very tasty!
- Like many other protein powders on the market, 1st Step Pro-Wellness powders have added ingredients. If you decide to try them, you’ll want to check the label for anything you’re trying to avoid. I’m hoping they’ll eventually offer an unflavored version, which would eliminate some of those ingredients.
- Surprisingly to me, these protein powders contain real cane sugar! For some, that would be a deterrent but I’d rather have sugar than a substitute. Either way, it can’t be that much because a full serving (27g) only has 2g of sugar. That’s about the same as Met-Rx and Designer Whey and much better than some of the others on the market. (Note: I only used about 15g of powder in both recipes and didn’t add any additional sweetener. They tasted plenty sweet, but that might have been due to the dark chocolate Kiss I “frosted” my protein cupcake with or the super sweet and juicy strawberries I used in my smoothie.)
- The 27g serving is 110 calories and 15g of protein. While the calories are about the same as similar-type products, the protein is a bit lower. Considering that I usually have protein powder in half-portions, that means I’m down to single digits on my protein hit. Not good, considering my intention.
If I could judge on taste alone, the 1st Step Pro-Wellness Protein–both the chocolate and the vanilla–would be a contender. (For me, the nutritional component just doesn’t work out.) I’m hopeful they’ll stick around and eventually offer an unflavored version with more protein! And a peanut butter flavor would be good, too.
But please, I’m no protein-y expert and if your nutritional goals are different, this might be just the product for you.
1st Step Pro-Wellness products are now available at Walgreen’s, Kroger, and Bi-Lo stores. (On the Walgreen’s website, the protein powders are listed at $14.99.) You can even get a $2/off coupon on the 1st Step webiste.
Disclosure: I received these products at no cost with the expectation and understanding that my review would reflect my authentic opinion.