The very first thing we are reviewing technically isn't a piece of "gear," but it is definitely something we love and would consider essential. Whey protein powder.
For those training to go to OCS or TBS, whey protein serves as a great way to supplement daily protein intake and allow muscles to rebuild and recover.
For those currently at TBS or in the fleet, whey protein shakes can serve as stand-alone meals in the absence of healthy and nutritious food options . In addition, if you are strapped for time (ie a student at The Basic School) but want to eat clean and train hard, protein shakes are simply the best option or at least a great alternative to whatever is being served in the chow hall. We've tried a bunch, and this one is the king.
Ascent Native Fuel Whey Protein Powder.
The first, and most important thing about it is that it tastes good.
We use the chocolate flavor and unlike other brands, it doesn't taste like its full of chemicals. It can certainly be mixed with just water and does not need to be part of an elaborate smoothie to taste good.
The second thing we love about it is the short, natural, ingredient list:
Whey Protein Isolate Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Native Whey Protein Isolate), Whey Protein Concentrate, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Natural Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Sea Salt, Monk Fruit Extract, Stevia Leaf Extract
In their words, "Ascent Whey Protein contains zero artificial ingredients or flavors. It is naturally sweetened and contains only 1g of sugar, which is naturally occurring. Ascent is also Certified Gluten Free, and Informed Sport Certified – meaning it’s tested and free of any banned substances."
Third, it's made in the USA. Enough said.
Fourth, "native whey" is the least processed whey protein available and digests easily and quickly. No upset stomach afterwards.
With 25 G of protein per scoop, one scoop is equivalent to 3 full cups of whole milk, 3 (8oz) servings of yogurt, 4 large eggs, 1 small chicken breast, or ¾ cup of almonds.
To sum it up, it tastes like good, real food, it has a short, all natural ingredient list, it's unprocessed and digests easily, and it's made in America.