Protein powder can have a place in almost everyone's lives, regardless of what their goals are. For example, you could be someone looking to bulk up as much muscle as possible, or you could simply be a vegetarian who wants to add more protein into your diet. The point is, everyone has a different use for protein powder, and that's really what Gainful is looking to deliver upon (with that link, you get 50% off your first purchase).
The process is quite simple: you go to their website, take a brief quiz on your lifestyle and health goals, and get a recommended blend to help you achieve those goals. For me, I wanted a low-carb protein blend and something that could help me get leaner but still retain core muscle. As a result, my blend looks like this:
- 91.0% whey protein isolate
- 7.5% flavor boost (more on this later)
- 1.5% green tea extract
Gainful is subscription-based ($49 a shipment), so it renews every single month, but you can skip a shipment or two whenever you want. For me, since I don't use it everyday, one shipment lasts at least a couple of months. In your shipment you get the following:
- 28 scoops of customized protein powder (2 bags)
- 4 choices of flavor boosts
You're also assigned a Registered Dietitian (R.D.N.) that you can reach out to at anytime with questions. That's enough background for now, let's get into how I feel about this product.
Packaging & Ingredients
The powder itself comes in some pretty nice packaging, which definitely makes you feel like you've got a premium product in your hands. It's very light and easily dissolves into any beverage that I mix it with. It also caters to any dietary restrictions that you mention in your online quiz (lactose intolerance, soy allergies, etc.), which is fantastic for people with specific preferences.
One thing that I really really like about this powder is how natural it is. Just look at the ingredients list - there's only 3 items there! And since the powder is unsweetened, there are no artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda) that come with negative side effects on your body long-term - this is a big win, especially for something you're putting into your body so often.
The Flavor Boosts
As I mentioned before, each shipment comes with your choice of 4 flavor boosts. The available flavors change occasionally, but for this particular shipment I chose Matcha Green Tea, Caffe Mocha, Cookies & Cream, and French Vanilla. Each flavor comes in its own box and contains 7 sticks of that flavor boost. Because of how it's organized, these flavor boosts make it really easy to try out different flavors of protein shakes.
When it comes to the ingredients that these contain, I was very happy to see that they also do not contain any artificial sweeteners such as sucralose. Instead they use organic stevia extract and monk fruit extract to provide the sweetness. Almost every other flavored protein powder contains artificial sweeteners, so this is a huge differentiator in the protein powder business.
Packaging & Ingredients Rating: 9/10
Taste & Performance
When it comes to the taste of this protein shake, I've found that it varies a lot based on what you mix it with and how much you mix it with. The more watery your shake is, the more of that "chalky" taste you get. The more liquid it contains relative to the amount of protein powder, the less sweet it tastes. My perfect combination that I've found is this:
- 1 scoop of protein powder
- 1 flavor boost stick
- 4 oz of whole milk
- 4 oz of water
I mix it all up in a blender bottle (Gainful gives you one for $5 on your first order), and it's perfectly smooth. There's enough cream from the milk, and the taste of the flavor boost is evenly spread out. Furthermore the sweetness is subtle and omnipresent, as opposed to a concentrated sugar rush. Sometimes I feel the flavor boost can be a little weak and wish it was stronger, but adding less milk/water usually balances that out. While it's not the best tasting protein shake out there, it's really solid and gives your drink a smooth, comfortable flavor.
Performance-wise, I feel that the powder does its job. I feel less muscle soreness with the protein powder than I do without it, and as a breakfast supplement, it keeps my appetite in control throughout the day. My particular blend is a whey isolate, so performance may vary based on the type of blend that you get.
Taste & Performance Rating: 8/10
I think this conclusion all comes down to value. For $49, are you getting your money's worth? The biggest pros of this powder are: 1) being able to customize your blend and preferences, 2) variety in flavors so you're not stuck with one flavor, and 3) no artificial sweeteners. The cons of this powder are: 1) the price, and 2) a slightly weak taste. For me, not having artificial sweeteners in my protein is a big deal and I love being able to choose what flavor I want on any particular day. I don't care too much about the weaker taste, because the subtlety is more appealing to me anyway. It's also nice to have every blend/flavor/modification that you could want all in one place with the customer support and your dietitian to help. With that said, I think it's worth the $49, however if it was priced at $40, this would be close to perfect.