At Fitness 101, we always recommend some form of supplementation to support high intensity exercise programmes. Regardless of your fitness and body weight goals, almost all forms of training and dieting can benefit from supplementation with a whey protein. If you’re trying to increase lean muscle mass or lose weight while preserving muscle, a high quality whey protein is a great way to increase your overall protein intake in a healthy and convenient way.
During the last 4 weeks I have been using Gold Standard Whey Protein almost every day. There are many different times during the day when you might take it depending on your training, however I had one scoop first thing in the morning with another followed immediately post workout.
Gold Standard Whey Protein by Optimum Nutrition is one of the best selling proteins on the market, and is now my new personal favourite.
Gold Standard Whey: Ingredients
The ingredients in Gold Standard Whey really are second to none. It is primarily made up of whey protein isolates, which are 90% protein and the purest (and most expensive!) form of whey protein that you can buy. A single 29.4g scoop contains:
- 120 calories
- 24g protein
- 3g carbohydrates
- 1g fat
- 5.5g BCAA (branched chain amino acids)
- 4 glutamine
- Enzyme blend
The first thing you’ll probably notice is that each serving is only 120 calories, but still provides a huge 24g protein making it perfect for those on low calorie diets as well as individuals bulking up. The protein consists of a blend, as all the best protein powders do. This includes the whey protein isolates already mentioned, whey protein concentrates and whey peptides. We already know that whey protein isolate is almost pure protein; well concentrates are slightly less processed meaning they contain less protein and are considered more whole. Peptides are hydrolysed proteins that have been pre-digested with enzymes into a highly bio-available source that is rapidly absorbed. Optimum Nutrition refers to these as their “fast acting HYDROWHEY whey peptides”.
The addition of the 5.5g BCAAs further increases the effectiveness of the product, and provides anti-catabolic effects to prevent muscle breakdown. This is combined with the 4g serving of Glutamine which is used for tissue repair, making this a brilliant product to take first thing in the morning after fasting for 6-8 hours (or more if you’re lucky!) or immediately post workout.
It’s also worth pointing out that I am lactose intolerant, and despite the claims of many products that they are suitable for people who struggle to digest dairy, often they leave me feeling bloated and have unpleasant side effects! With Gold Standard Whey, I found it really easy to digest which will be due to the quality of the ingredients as well as the lactase.
Gold Standard Whey: The taste
I have actually tried Gold Standard Whey before. I read up about Optimum Nutrition as a company, and I like the idea of the high quality products they made and so tried a batch of their product, which was flavoured “Milk Chocolate”. I almost always try chocolate first as it tends to be a safe bet. Now taste is a very subjective thing, but I did not enjoy the taste one bit. It was perfectly pleasant in texture and in smell, but the after taste left much to be desired.
In the latest batch, I had “double rich chocolate” which was a huge improvement. Although I wouldn’t perhaps choose it as a drink of choice, it was more than acceptable for a protein shake. This opened up a whole world of possibilities for me, as I was now able to use this protein powder as an ingredient for cooking recipes! This made the protein powder incredibly diverse. My favourite recipes using Gold Standard Whey were “chocolate and banana protein muffins” and “chocolate and raspberry protein pancakes”. I will post the recipes on the site at a later date, but they tasted amazing.
Optimum Nutrition has a whole range of other flavours including:
- Chocolate Mint
- Cookies and Cream
- Rocky Road
- French Vanilla
- Milk Chocolate
- Strawberry Banana
- Caramel Toffee Fudge
I have now tried just two flavours, but I may well request some samples of the other flavours before investing in another large tub. Cookies and Cream & Strawberry Banana sound tempting…
Gold Standard Whey: Mixability
This stuff really does mix in an instant. It is definitely one of the best mixing proteins I have tried. I use slightly more water than recommended on the tub, but it only takes 5 seconds of shaking and it’s pretty much ready to go. This was very surprising to me as typically the higher the percentage of protein concentration, the worse it behaves in liquid. The powder has been instantized, and I really believe that I could mix this with a spoon, which would have been great in the days prior to having a protein shaker! The mixed product is smooth, and has no noticeable texture. Once finished, if you look in your protein shaker you will also notice that there are no left over lumps or “sandy” looking bits of remaining powder like some other competitor products.
Gold Standard Whey: Value for money
Compared to some other proteins, Gold Standard Whey is quite expensive. However, you certainly get what you pay for. Gold Standard Whey has minimal additional ingredients, making this a high quality product with a high percentage of protein (approx 90%). When you consider that cheaper products are made up of just concentrates that maybe only contain 60% protein and all kinds of ingredients and fillers that you don’t really want to consume, then it really puts it into perspective.
I have recently been enjoying the 2.2Kg tub of Gold Standard Whey (5lbs) which is typically priced around £60.00. This tub contains 77 servings, so even at £60.00 it still works out at about £0.77p per serving which is great value for money. I have been taking it almost every day (2 scoops) for the last 4 weeks, and I still have quite a bit remaining in the tub.
Gold Standard Whey: Results
As summer approaches I have changed my primary goal from gaining muscle, to stripping back my body fat so that my levels will be low enough to show a nice set of abs should the weather ever get warm enough again for me to take my t-shirt off! In the last 4 weeks my calories have been quite low compared to normal, at around 2,500, and my protein consumption has been between 180 – 270g per day depending on how much I trained. I have lost 5lbs in total in that time while still maintaining my size.
One of the big things I noticed was that 2 scoops went a long way towards my protein goals (providing 48g) while only using up 240 calories of my daily allowance, and that my recovery in particular from stressful workouts was much improved. As my body goals changed, I increased the intensity of my workouts by lowering the weight slightly but increasing the reps and having shorter rest periods betweens sets. Normally I have DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) for days later after this kind of exercising, but my recovery so far has been much faster.
I’m so impressed by this product that I’m going to continue using it as a staple product regardless of whether I’m bulking or cutting. The only thing that put me off this product in the past was the taste, but the double rich chocolate flavour was a great improvement.
Gold Standard Whey can be bought from Proteins Depot. I recommend the 5 lb tub as it is great value for money.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Review