November 24, 2016

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Icon Meals VS Bite Meals

*Disclaimer: I am not sponsored, endorsed, or compensated in any way for my reviews.  They are 100% my opinion used to help you make an informed purchase.

     If you follow any popular bodybuilders on social media, you’ve probably heard them talk about Icon Meals, or more recently Bite Meals.  Both companies produce fully cooked pre-packaged meals that can be shipped to your door to help you meet your calorie and macro goals.  I’ve found that both Icon Meals and Bite Meals are much more macro friendly than other companies that offer a similar product.  Many of these pre-packaged meal companies only focus on calories, but Icon Meals and Bite Meals also focus on macros.  Their meals are typically higher in protein and lower in fat than other meal prep services.  So, is one better than the other?  If you’re interested in trying either service, check out my review below to help you decide which service is right for you.

Meal Choices

Icon Meals was started by a group of mostly male bodybuilders and Bite Meals was started by Katy Hearn.  This difference between the two companies is very visible in the website design and meal choices.  The Icon Meals website is very simple with strong black and red colors whereas the Bite Meals website is slightly more complex with softer, more feminine colors.  The meal choices on the Icon Meals website is very “no frills” with meals like cheeseburgers, chicken and rice, and a PB&J sandwich.  The meal choices for Bite Meals are more flavorful, with choices like chicken stuffed sweet potato, salmon pesto pasta, and taco pizza.

It almost seems like Icon Meals are marketed more for men and Bite Meals are marketed more for women.  However, don’t let that stop you from choosing one over the other.  The calories and macros for both companies are very similar with meals ranging from under 300 calories to over 500 calories.  Both companies create meals that are low in fat, high in protein, and moderate in carbohydrates.  I personally found the Bite Meals to be more unique and flavorful than Icon Meals.

Shipping

Unless you live near Dallas, TX for Icon Meals or New Albany, IN for Bite Meals, you’re going to need to have your meals shipped to you.  Both companies offer shipping dates of Tuesday - Saturday (you can’t have your meals arrive on Sunday or Monday).  However, I found that I’ve been able to receive my Icon Meals a little faster than the Bite Meals.  For example, today is Thursday and I can place an order through Icon Meals and have it arrive on Tuesday.  The earliest that I can receive an order through Bite Meals is next Thursday, one week from today.

Both companies ship through FedEx Standard Overnight or FedEx Priority Overnight and can cost anywhere from $20-$50+ depending on how much you order and where you live.  The shipping cost is almost a deal breaker for me.  The meals themselves cost around $7 but when you factor in shipping, it can raise the price of each meal to around $12.  You may still be able to justify this cost when you factor in the fact that you’ll know exactly how many calories and macros you will be eating and you’ll have tasty and healthy meal without having to go through the laborious process of meal prep.  But if you can spare the time to prep meals yourself, the amount of money that you can save preparing the same meals that you’d order from Icon Meals or Bite Meals nearly makes it not worth the shipping cost.

Quality

The quality of the meals from both companies is impressive.  The meals come shipped with dry ice to keep them cold, but they aren’t frozen.  Even after reheating them in the microwave, the meals are still quite tasty.  I’ve never found the chicken to be dry or anything to be undercooked or underseasoned.  I have had some packaging issues with my Icon Meals.  Two different shipments contained at least one meal where the packaging had broken during shipping.  Luckily, Icon Meals was nice enough to make up for it by giving me a code for a free meal (although I still had to pay for shipping).

Summary

Overall, both Icon Meals and Bite Meals are very similar companies.  Both offer calorie- and macro-friendly meals delivered to your door for around $7 per meal plus shipping.  I give the slight edge to Bite Meals because of the unique and flavorful meal options that they offer.  Icon Meals are more simple, but just as effective at staying within your macro and calorie goals.

 

Have you tried Icon Meals or Bite Meals?  Have anything to add?  Comment below and let others know what you think.  Check out the rest of the site for more reviews, articles, training plans, and athletic apparel.

 

October 13, 2016

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Ghost Lifestyle's Whey Protein

*Disclaimer: I am not sponsored, endorsed, or compensated in any way for my reviews.  They are 100% my opinion used to help you make an informed purchase.

Ghost Lifestyle is a relatively new supplement company founded by IFBB Pro Ryan Hughes, Daniel Lourenco, and Paul Haverland.  Currently, they sell a pre-workout, amino acid supplement, and just recently launched their own brand of protein powder.  The protein powder currently comes in one flavor, called cereal milk.

Packaging/Branding

If you’ve ever bought any other products by Ghost Lifestyle, then you already know that they put a little extra effort in making sure that their products are packaged in a unique container.  The whey protein is no exception here.  From the graffiti covered label to the bright red lid and customized scoop, I really appreciate their style and attention to detail.

Ingredients

The protein in Ghost Lifestyle’s whey is a mixture of an isolate, a concentrate, and a hydrolyzed isolate.  Because it’s mostly a whey isolate, it has a very low amount of fat at just 1.5 grams per serving.  It also contains just 4 carbs per serving, and delivers 25 grams of protein.  This protein is also low in sugar (just 2 grams).  The guys that run this company are bodybuilders, so they know what makes a good protein powder and I think they’ve done a good job with this one.  There are no extra or unnecessary ingredients.  They even make a point to say that they don’t amino spike their protein, which is a common scam for less reputable brands.

Taste

I found the name of this flavor of protein powder to be interesting - cereal milk.  Once I tried it, I was really surprised at how much it really does taste like cereal milk.  It’s like drinking the leftover milk after eating a bowl of Fruity Pebbles or Fruit Loops.  However, I ran into a problem - and it’s the same problem that I experienced with the cake batter flavor from Muscle Milk.  The first sip tastes great until you realize that you have to drink an entire shaker of this stuff.  While cereal milk does taste good in small quantities, drinking an entire shaker of it is much less appetizing.  I found myself having to chug it down quickly before I got tired of the flavor and didn’t want to drink anymore.  I never had this problem with boring flavors like chocolate or vanilla from other brands.  You may enjoy it more than I did, but I found the flavor to be a little less appetizing when drinking a large quantity of it.

*UPDATE* - Ghost Lifestyle has now released a new flavor for their Whey protein product, called Milk Chocolate.  I found the taste of the Milk Chocolate flavor much more agreeable than the Cereal Milk flavor.  The Milk Chocolate flavor does taste very similar to other chocolate flavored protein powders, but I found it much easier to drink an entire shaker of this flavor.

Summary

Overall I think this is another solid product from the Ghost Lifestyle company.  They’ve really been producing some great stuff in my opinion from the packaging to the quality of the ingredients.  This whey protein is a great blend of protein isolates and a protein concentrate with very low fat and carbs.  The flavor is a little bit of a strange choice for me.  I would have preferred something more drinkable in large quantities.  It does mix easily with water with little to no clumps.  I would definitely recommend giving this brand a try if you’re looking for a new brand of whey protein (and you like cereal milk).  

 

Have you tried Ghost Lifestyle's Whey Protein? Let me know what you think in the comments below!  Also, be sure to check out the rest of the site for more reviews, articles, athletic apparel, and online personal coaching.

July 31, 2016

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Ghost Lifestyle's Legend Pre-Workout

*Disclaimer: I am not sponsored, endorsed, or compensated in any way for my reviews.  They are 100% my opinion used to help you make an informed purchase.

Ghost Lifestyle is a relatively new supplement company founded by IFBB Pro Ryan Hughes, Daniel Lourenco, and Paul Haverland.  Currently, they only sell a Pre-Workout and an Amino Acid supplement, but there is a Protein Powder supplement coming soon.  The Pre-Workout and Amino supplements are available in Blue Raspberry or Fruit Punch flavor.

Packaging/Branding

I don’t normally talk about the packaging or branding of a supplement in my reviews because there’s usually nothing remarkable to talk about.  However, I really like the style of the Ghost brand.  It’s bright, colorful, with a graffiti aspect to it.  The container for the supplements is also unique.  The red lid has a rubber feel to it, making it easier to grip.  Inside, you’ll find the scoop wedged into the ridges at the top of the container due to its unique design.  No more digging through the powder to find the scoop!

Ingredients

I’m actually quite impressed with the effective ingredients in Ghost’s Legend Pre-Workout.  All of the main ingredients have been proven or show strong indication that they can improve your workouts by increasing endurance, increasing strength, or promoting recovery.  There are no over-hyped but under performing ingredients.  Unfortunately, you’ll need 2 scoops in order to get the clinically effective dosages of most ingredients.  This cuts your 30-servings per container down to just 15.

Each scoop of Ghost’s Legend contains:

2500mg of Citrulline Malate 2:1

2000mg of Beta Alanine

500mg of Agmatine Sulfate

500mg of L-Citrulline

100mg of Norvaline

1000mg of GHOST Smart Pre Blend

215mg of GHOST Energy Blend

Taste

I tried both flavors of Legend and I much prefer the Blue Raspberry over the Fruit Punch flavor.  The Fruit Punch flavor tastes pretty good and definitely reminds me of Hawaiian Punch that I had as a kid, but there is a slightly strange aftertaste that I didn’t enjoy.  If you were to mix Hawaiian Punch with a little milk, I would image that taste would be similar to the Fruit Punch flavor of Legend.  The Blue Raspberry flavor tastes amazing and didn’t have the same aftertaste that I got with the Fruit Punch flavor.  The Blue Raspberry flavor reminded me of cotton candy or a popsicle.  It has a sweet candy-like flavor without being too sweet.

Summary

Overall, I am really impressed with Ghost Lifestyle for their quality of supplements while still being such a new company.  Their attention to detail with their packaging is also unique and impressive.  Both flavors of their Pre-Workout taste good (although I prefer Blue Raspberry) and contain effective ingredients.  Unfortunately you’ll need 2 scoops in order to get the clinically effective dosages of most ingredients, meaning a container will only last you for 15 workouts.  And at a price of $49.99 per container (before taxes and shipping), it can be quite expensive to keep your supply going for a long period of time.  But that's the price you pay if you want effective ingredients at effective dosages!

**UPDATE 12/18/2016***

Ghost has released a new flavor of their Legend Pre-Workout.  They've paired with the candy company WARHEADS and created a Sour Watermelon flavor.  I have to say, this new flavor is AMAZING!  It tastes just like the WARHEADS candy.  It's slightly sour and slightly sweet and very easy to drink.  It might be one of the best tasting pre-workouts I've ever tried!  

They've also slightly changed up the formula for Legend - some for the better, some for the worse.  Citrulline Malate is no longer included in the Legend formula.  Instead, they include 4000mg of L-Citrulline.  The malic acid in Citrulline Malate is what gives your body more energy and endurance.  Without the malic acid, citrulline by itself can increase your Nitric Oxide levels (aka blood flow to your muscles) but you're missing out on the endurance and extra energy that you get from the malic acid.  So, it's a bit of a bummer that they decided to make that change.  However, they did make the formula less clumpy so it's easier to pour into water bottles and other smaller openings.  Overall the new flavor is great, but the formula change is a little disappointing.

 

Have anything to add?  Leave a comment below!

For more reviews, articles, athletic apparel, online personal coaching, or fully customized nutrition plans, check out the rest of the site!  If you have any questions about pre-workouts, feel free to send me an email at michael@uproarathletics.com.

-Michael McGill

January 26, 2016

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Quest Nutrition Protein Powder

*Disclaimer: I am not sponsored, endorsed, or compensated in any way for my reviews.  They are 100% my opinion used to help you make an informed purchase.

Protein powders in general are a great way to help you meet your required daily intake of protein.  They're definitely not necessary in order to gain muscle, but they can provide a big convenience if you struggle to eat enough protein throughout the day.  For a more comprehensive look at protein powders in general, check out my article Everything You Wanted To Know About Protein Powder.

Quest Nutrition's protein powder consists of a protein blend made up of a whey isolate, micellar casein, and a milk protein isolate.  Since it is primarily an isolate, most of its nutritional value is going to come from protein.  It contains anywhere from 0-2 grams of fat, 1-7 grams of carbs, and 20-24 grams of protein depending on the flavor.  Quest also doesn't market their protein powder as anything other than what it is - protein powder.  They don't load it with BCAA's or a bunch of other unnecessary ingredients that you may not want in a protein powder just so that they will sound more impressive in advertisements.

One thing that I like about Quest Nutrition as a company is that they're always trying to help satisfy your cravings while keeping you eating 'clean'.  Their website is full of various recipes that include their protein powder to help you make delicious and satisfying snacks or meals without completely messing up your diet.  Quest Nutrition also offers other products such as protein bars and even protein chips to help you get in your daily protein goals while satisfying your unhealthy cravings.  They even make a brand of protein powder that's unflavored and specifically designed to use with baking.

Perhaps one of my favorite attributes of Quest Nutrition's protein powder is the taste.  As far as protein powders go, this is one of the best tasting brands that I've ever tried.  I love peanut butter and I don't know of any other brands of protein powder that make a peanut butter flavor.  One of my favorite post-workout shakes was to mix a scoop of the chocolate milkshake flavor with a scoop of the peanut butter flavor.  It's like a peanut butter cup protein shake and it's delicious!  If you aren't sure about which flavor to buy and you don't want to commit to an entire tub of protein powder, you can buy a sample package of every one of their flavors so that you can try all of them before you decide which one you like best.

The protein can be a little thick if you don't mix it with a lot of water, so make sure that you use a large shaker bottle or blend it with a lot of water, unless you like your protein shakes thick.  If you haven't tried Quest Nutrition's protein powder, I recommend checking out one of the sample packs to see if you like the taste as much as I do.  If you have tried Quest's protein powder, comment down below and let me know what you thought of it!

If you like this review, be sure to share it on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform and help promote the site!  Also be sure to check out the rest of the site for athletic apparel, online personal coaching, and fully customized nutrition plans to help you reach your fitness goals.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me an email at michael@uproarathletics.com.

Thanks!

Michael McGill

Uproar Athletics

January 10, 2016

1 comment


Cellucor's C4 Pre-Workout

*Disclaimer: I am not sponsored, endorsed, or compensated in any way for my reviews.  They are 100% my opinion used to help you make an informed purchase.

Cellucor's C4 is a decent pre-workout supplement and it is definitely a popular supplement among a large portion of gym-goers.  However it is lacking some key ingredients and doesn't include enough of others.  I'll go into the details of those ingredients below:

Vitamins and Minerals

C4 contains many B vitamins such as Niacin (aka Vitamin B3), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and Folic Acid.  However, the dosages are either severely overdosed (583%DV of B12?! ) or aren't necessary in a pre-workout, especially if you are already taking a multivitamin.  In addition to B vitamins, C4 also contains a large amount of Vitamin C, which is also unnecessary if you are taking a multivitamin.  Finally, C4 contains a very small amount of Calcium.  All of these vitamins and minerals can be helpful if you have a poor diet, but there have been no studies that I'm aware of that show that these dosages will help prepare your body for an intense workout.

Other Ingredients

In addition to the vitamins and minerals mentioned above, C4 contains other ingredients that have been shown in clinical studies to provide some benefit during your workouts, however the dosages are too small.

Beta Alanine - Beta Alanine is an amino acid that has been proven to reduce exercise-induced fatigue, improve anaerobic capacity, and increase potential workload.  However, studies have shown that the clinically effective dosages need to range from 4 to 10 grams.  C4 only contains 1.6 grams of beta alanine per serving, meaning that you would need to take at least 3 servings to reach an effective dosage of beta alanine.

Creatine Nitrate - Creatine nitrate is a form of creatine that is bound with nitrate.  There have been hundreds of studies that show that taking creatine can help you build more strength, muscle endurance, and recover faster from workouts.  It is recommended that you take around 5 grams of creatine in order to maximize the effects.  However, C4 only contains 1 gram of creatine nitrate, meaning that you would need to take 5 servings in order to consume an effective dosage of creatine.

Arginine - Arginine is used to help increase your body's nitric oxide levels, which can increase growth hormone levels.  And while spiking your growth hormone levels can have anticatabolic effects, it's not going to stimulate the growth of skeletal muscle or increase strength.  Furthermore, the 1 gram of arginine in each serving of C4 will not even spike your growth hormone levels enough to take advantage of the anticatabolic effects.

Explosive Energy Blend - C4's Explosive Energy Blend is just a blend of stimulants like caffeine.  Caffeine can be helpful in a pre-workout since it gives you a jolt of energy, helps speed up your metabolism, improves mental performance, and improves your mood.  However, caffeine has not been shown to directly stimulate muscle growth, improve strength, or improve muscle recovery.

Summary

Overall, Cellucor's C4 contains a fairly weak dosage of effective ingredients mixed with some vitamins and stimulants.  I do notice a tingling feeling from the beta alanine and the stimulants get me pumped up for my workout.  Because of that, it's not a terrible pre-workout supplement, but it could be better.  The taste of C4 also bumps up its score.  My favorite flavors are the watermelon and icy blue razz.  This definitely isn't a pre-workout that you have to choke down.  If you've never tried Cellucor's C4, ask your local supplement store for sample sizes to see if you like it before buying an entire container.  It's a good brand to start with if you're new to pre-workouts, but it's a little pricey due to its popularity (not its effectiveness).

For more reviews, articles, athletic apparel, online personal coaching, or fully customized nutrition plans, check out the rest of the site!  If you have any questions about pre-workouts, feel free to send me an email at michael@uproarathletics.com.

Thanks!

Michael McGill

Uproar Athletics

January 06, 2016

0 comments


Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Isolate Powder

*Disclaimer: I am not sponsored, endorsed, or compensated in any way for my reviews.  They are 100% my opinion used to help you make an informed purchase.

Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder is one of my favorite protein powders on the market today.  Protein powders in general are a great way to help you meet your required daily intake of protein.  They're definitely not necessary in order to gain muscle, but they can provide a big convenience if you struggle to eat enough protein throughout the day.  For a more comprehensive look at protein powders in general, check out my article Everything You Wanted To Know About Protein Powder.

I prefer this particular brand of Optimum Nutrition's protein powders because it's primarily a whey isolate thats also blended with whey concentrate and whey peptides.  So, you get some of the advantages of all three types of whey protein powder.  Since it's primarily an isolate, there aren't a lot of carbs and fat in each serving.  If you're counting your macros, this means that you can easily add to your daily protein goal without affecting your carb and fat goal too much.  

This brand of protein has also been instantized, so it won't clump up or stick to the sides of your blender, glass, or shaker bottle.  This was a huge bonus for me because I carefully weigh the exact amount of protein powder that I need in my post-workout shake.  With other brands, once I mix in the water, I find that some of it will clump to the bottom of my shaker bottle and I end up consuming less protein than I planned because of the large clump at the bottom of the bottle.  That doesn't happen with this brand.

And finally, taste!  The things that make a protein powder taste good are usually things that you don't want in the powder, like cheap sugars, naturally sweet amino acids, fats, and carbs.  If you were to taste nothing but pure powdered protein, it would be extremely bitter and bad tasting.  Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard Whey Protein manages to find the right balance so that the powder tastes good, but doesn't have a bunch of undesirable ingredients.  This powder tastes great.  I personally prefer the Extreme Milk Chocolate flavor.

If you're new to protein powders or haven't found one that you like yet, try Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder.

For other reviews, articles, or athletic apparel, check out the rest of the website.  We also offer online personal coaching as well as fully customized nutrition plans to help you meet your goals.  If you have any questions or comments, please email me at michael@uproarathletics.com.  

Thanks!

Michael McGill

Uproar Athletics