A new fitness goal has been set.
The magazines I tend to read are full of health and fitness advice. One such mag is Muscle & Fitness Hers. they feature some great workouts, but my favorite parts are always about the figure competitors. The ladies in those competitions blow me away – they are smaller and less and vascular than bodybuilders, but have a physically fit/well-balanced physique. Getting to that level of health has long been a dream for me.
Last week I took action to reach that goal. I joined and gym and hired a trainer to help ready me for a competition. 8 days (and a chunk of money) later, I’m on my way with a custom workout schedule, a diet plan, and a whole lot of support and encouragement.
I’d met with trainers before, but after talking to this gym I knew it was the perfect fit.
Despite the fact that it’s 30 miles away. House of Payne is a serious gym – none of the “see and be seen” BS. They offer everything I need from training to posing classes!
My first workout with the trainer was legs and butt last Monday. I wasn’t able to lower myself to the toilet without a firm grasp on the counter until Friday. Good workout, no?
One of the most challenging things about training is the food. In addition to not being allowed booze (*whimper*), I am aiming to get 150g of protein a day over the course of 7 meals (basically, I eat ALL the time). I have to gain weight and some serious muscle! This is especially difficult on a vegetarian diet – it involves a ton of Greek yogurt, egg whites, cottage cheese, beans, tofu, and tempeh. The heavy rotation of dairy, beans, and soy gets old, so look forward to a couple of protein powder creations each day.
Which brings me to the next topic – the loot I returned home to after the Chile trip!
I was given the opportunity to sample and review a variety of GNC and Vega protein products through Fitfluential! If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I have always been a stickler for getting my post-workout 20g protein in to build muscle and aid in recovery. Protein shakes are a great way to do that – especially if you find it hard to eat solid foods after a hard workout (like me).
Below is the line up of powders I received, pics and some quick thoughts. I made them ALL into green smoothies with spinach and banana for 2 reasons.
- 80% of the time I ingest my protein powder in green smoothie-form, and
- I wanted to “test” them all with the same base (fair and balanced!)
The Smoothie Base Recipe:
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 C spinach
- 1/2 large Banana
- 1/2 in piece fresh ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon (or 1 4-5 inch cinnamon stick)
- 1/4 C unsweetened almond milk
- 7-8 drops vanilla liquid stevia
1. GNC Casein – Vanilla flavor:
Slow digesting, making it perfect between meals or before bed for overnight muscle repair.
I am a big fan of casein; however, this one is a bit gummy/slimy. I even tried the smoothie sans spinach to see if it would help the texture. Notsomuch. The flavor is great, and I do think having it in a smoothie at night contributed to my being able to getting out of bed in the morning.
2. GNC Egg – Chocolate flavor:
Great for breakfast, and for the lactose intolerant; consume just before or after workouts.
This one is a favorite. I’d never tried an egg protein powder before, and I really expected it to be slimy too. Quite the opposite! Great texture and a natural-tasting chocolate flavor.
3. GNC Whey – Vanilla flavor:
Fast absorbing; consume just before or after workouts.
This one also has a great texture when blended in a smoothie. You can tell it’s a “protein powder vanilla” flavor. I’m totally used to it, but if you’re new to powder it can take some adjusting. Add a cap of vanilla or almond extract and it will be just fine. I also tried it mixed with water just for fun… and remembered why I always make smoothies.
4. GNC Soy – Chocolate flavor:
A plant-based protein; good pre-or post-workout, or as a snack throughout the day.
I’m a sucker for chocolate. This made an awesome midnight snack while I laid on the couch lamenting my sore glutes.
5. Vega – Vanilla flavor:
Another plant-based protein; within 30-90 minutes of working out, or to recharge/repair.
This was my #1 vanilla-flavored pick. The plant-based powders tends to taste a bit more natural to me. I had tried Vega a couple of years ago and didn’t care for it - their new formula is awesome though! Perfect texture and just the right amount of vanilla flavor. One warning – if you are sensitive to salt, it is a bit on the salty side.
These products were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Like I could ever keep them to myself.
20-25g pf protein per meal is hard… but I already notice a difference! Now I just need a sponsor… anyone?
Have you ever tried to amp up the protein on a veggie diet? Any new ideas are welcome and appreciated!
What is your favorite protein powder?