On the one hand, as reviewers, we aim to be impartial. On the other hand, as people, we do have to say that we’ve come to like The Protein Works. It may seem a bit of an odd comparison, be we see them as the health-and-fitness world’s answer to Lush (the cosmetics company). They’re young, they’re fun, they’re innovative and their products really do work. Just like Lush, they’re (very) far from being the cheapest out there, but they’re great value for what's inside the packaging and part of the reason why their range carries a premium price tag is because of this emphasis on high-quality, all-natural ingredients.
The Protein Works Well With Whey
TPW actually has a very extensive range of products, but we’d be willing to bet that if you asked someone in a gym to name one of them the answer would probably include the word “whey” and we suspect we’d still win more often than not if we specifically said “Whey (Protein) 80”. Given that they’re a company which still specializes in protein supplements rather than just general health-and-fitness supplements, this is pretty understandable. At this point in time, they offer a whole lot more than “just” whey, but since whey is basically their signature product, as it is with so many, it seems as good a place as any to start this review.
First of all, we’d like to say that TPW score points with us for the fact that they sell their various whey powders in a decent selection of sizes ranging from 500g to 4Kg, which covers people living in small spaces as well as those with more generous storage space and budgets. They also provide a decent choice of flavours, some of which, frankly, are just spins on old favourites (Banana Smooth, Chocolate Silk, Strawberries ‘n’ Cream and Vanilla Crème), while others are a whole lot more original (Caramel Macchiato, Cherry Bakewell). All of these come free of artificial flavours or colours, plus they have an unflavoured option for those wanting to add further ingredients themselves. In spite of the absence of artificial thickeners, these whey products mix well and have a very acceptable consistency, i.e. smooth and thick without clumps.
The nutritional value of the various whey products obviously depends on what you buy, but it’s safe to say that it will be at the top end of the scale for the product in question. In addition to being made from only the finest ingredients, it is processed to the highest possible standards, for example being micro-filtered rather than heat-treated, to preserve maximum purity. If you on a reasonable budget and want the best protein for you 'buck' then TPW must be one of the front-runners in the game.
Much more than whey powder
Although we suspect that whey powder makes up the vast majority of TPW’s sales, if you prefer to take your protein by other means you have plenty of options.
TWP has done an excellent job of making it possible to enjoy protein as a tasty snack, rather than sticking to protein shakes, then you have plenty of options. In fact TPW has done an excellent job of making food which actually does you good, look and taste like its somewhat less healthy counterparts. Hence we have the likes of Protein Brownies, Diet Protein Truffles, Protein Grazers and, our personal favourites, Superfood bites. Several reviewers have commented that they had to work to resist eating a whole tub of these in one go and we agree. You’ll also find plenty of nut butters and a product called Rawtella, which looks, spreads and tastes remarkably similar to a product you may have noticed at your local supermarket.
There’s now more to TPW than protein
While the protein does indeed work, TPW are clearly branching out. For example, their Super Greens product has basically nothing to do with protein but is full of all kinds of nourishment from no less than 23 “super foods”. TPW is also producing supplements for key nutrients which, in typical, TPW style vary from the commonplace (BCAA) to the somewhat more exotic (vegan omega 3:6:9 ahiflower® oil). They also have a zero-calorie flavour syrup, presumably to add some taste to unflavoured powders.
People with special dietary needs are covered
Vegetarians, diabetics and those on Halal diets are generally pretty well catered for (no pun intended) when it comes to nutritional supplements in general and protein supplements in particular. TPW’s commitment to all-natural products, pretty much be definition, mean that their range is GM-free. Their products contain options for those on gluten-free and lactose-free diets, low GI diets, wheat-free diets and vegan diets. In fact TPW’s vegan protein routinely gets rave reviews.
In the real world
Going through general information about products is all very well, but what most people probably want to know is what products are relevant to them and whether they’re worth the money. Well we can answer the second question straight off. If you’re serious about achieving a goal, then TPW is well worth the money. If, however, you simply want a product to help you with general health and fitness then there are more affordable options, however you do have to accept the fact that many of them use artificial ingredients in at least some of their products (particularly the budget-end ones), hence if cutting artificial additives out of your diet is important to you, then again, TPW is worth the money. So, having said that, let’s take a closer look at their products and how they can be used.
If you’re looking to bulk up and gain power
Your first need is protein and, unless you’re a vegan, whey protein is probably going to be your staple since whey delivers a whole lot of protein goodness at a very reasonable price. If you are vegan, you’re still covered with vegan protein and also various nut-based protein options.
For most people, however, we suspect that the good old whey protein shake will be their first port of call and you have plenty of options with TPW such as:
100% Whey advanced
100% Whey extreme
Whey protein 360
Total mass matrix
Total mass matrix extreme
Whey protein 80 (concentrate)
Whey protein 80 SF+
All in one protein the works
All in one protein the works advanced
There’s also a product called Whey protein 360 i-shake, which is essentially a ready-made whey protein shake. We must admit that when we first saw this product, our immediate reaction was “why”, but we soon grasped the fact that this product is intended as a (fridge-based) standby for people to grab when they’re rushing out the door rather than having to make up a shake or measure out the ingredients so they can add the mixer later. To be honest we tend to think that if you’re the sort of person who frequently finds themself running out of the door at the last minute, you probably just want to sort out your shake in advance and have it in your bag or buy some of the protein snacks instead, but we can see that for some people this could be an attractive option for occasional use.
If you prefer to avoid whey or just want to get extra protein in different forms, then TPW has plenty of choices for you. Nut butters are a favourite with many people and TPW has a wide range of them:
Peanut butter luxe
Cashew butter luxe
Indulgent nut butter
Superfood nut butter
We think that Rawtella’s protein content means that it qualifies as a nut butter in spite of its chocolate taste.
Those looking to use casein to help with overnight recovery will be pleased to know that TPW offers its own 100% Micellar casein, which is pretty much what it says on the pouch.
TPW also offers the standard range of supplements in this area (BCAA complex, BCAA Ultra 5:1:1, Protected BCAA, Creatine monohydrate, Creatine mono creapure, Zinc and magnesium) and a few more unusual options such as Vegan omega 3:6:9 ahiflower® oil. If you eat meat, ignore the vegan bit and focus on the fact that it delivers omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 in the sort of quantities you expect from a super-premium fish oil, without the fish taste, in a highly bioavailable format and at a very reasonable price.
If you’re looking to develop lean muscle
You’re probably going to be looking at the whey protein shakes and nut butters we’ve already mentioned and you could potentially benefit from some of the supplements and you may want to add Glutamine to your list and possibly the Thermopro fat burners. You might also want to look at Super Greens and Muscle Super Greens, as the name suggests, the latter has been specifically developed to promote the development of muscle and assist in muscle recovery after exercise.
Chances are you’ll also be looking for other ways to get the significant quantity of high-quality protein you need to achieve your goal. If you’re stocking up on TPW products anyway, you may simply want to take the opportunity to buy some of their large tubs of various nuts (currently Almonds, Brazils and Cashews) since these are bulky products so it makes sense just to add them to your order and have them delivered (particularly if you’re close to qualifying for free delivery) and also they are very good value. You might also want to try at least one of the many protein snacks offered by TPW. As we’ve already mentioned, we’re big fans of the Superfood bites and the Protein Grazers can be handy if you’re just looking for a convenient and tasty way to top up your protein during the day.
This being TPW they do, of course, have a couple of more unusual products, both of which we love. One is the Whey protein smoothie, which combines a whey protein shake with a fruit smoothie and tastes great. The slightly quirky touch is the inclusion of organic bee pollen, which is full of all kinds of vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, omega 3 oils, folic acid and antioxidants, along with rutin, an antioxidant bioflavanoid, which helps to strengthen blood vessels.
We have, however, kept (what we think is) the best for last – the Protein coffee coolers. We love the taste of coffee and therefore love these, if, however you want the (pre-workout) caffeine boost without the coffee taste then Performance Caffeine could be the product for you.
If you’re aiming to develop your endurance
In addition to the products we’ve mentioned so far, many of which could potentially be helpful for you, you may want to look at Raze pre workout, recovery protein and All day protein – tapered release. For supplements, we’d suggest you consider Ultra Cab, Dextrose and Malodextrin.
While TPW is very far from being a company which is focused on the weight-loss market, the fact is that there are a large number of people out there who could benefit from products which could help them to reduce their weight in a healthy way and/or to manage it once they have reached an appropriate weight. If that’s you or someone you know, TPW does have a fairly broad range of “diet” products, which could help to shift excess fat (along with exercise). A fair number of these are high-protein products, which obviously help to stave off those hunger pangs and keep sugar levels constant (and hence can be especially useful for diabetics). For vegans, the vegan protein will do the same job and the nut butters may also be helpful. In terms of supplements, Thermopro may be worth a look as it is designed to help burn fat, alternatively you could look at Spirulina and/or Green tea ultra tablets both of which are plant-based products with excellent fat-burning qualities.
The Protein Works Review Conclusion
As we said at the beginning, we really like TPW. While we’re far from being obsessive about “all-natural” everything, we do prefer it when reasonably possible and try to steer clear of the likes of artificial flavourings and colourings except as special treats. We also like the overall quality of TPW products and believe that although they’re at the premium end of the market, they do offer good value for money.