Protein Works – premium-looking packaging with a premium-range price tag – but are the products premium quality? Ben Hardman’s Protein Works Review will give you all the answers from someone who’s tried and tested many of their supplements.
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As a health and fitness enthusiast, I like to try new products and new brands, alongside my favourite staple supplements.
I first came across Protein Works (also known as The Protein Works, or TPW) whilst I was working at Myprotein.com. They were a smaller competitor at that point, but it was only fair to try out some of their flagship products to see if they were any good.
This review will give an overview of the brand, before delving into the quality and effectiveness of their products, the taste of their shakes, and the overall customer experience. By the end, you’ll have a full understanding of whether Protein Works are worth trying out for you.
Protein Works: An Overview
Protein Works is a Cheshire-based fitness company that offers a wide range of shakes, snacks and nutritional supplements. They aim to provide high-quality products to help people achieve their fitness goals, whether it’s building muscle, losing weight, or improving general health and wellbeing.
In recent times, their branding has shifted from the sports nutrition, muscle-type towards a more health and fitness lifestyle approach. It looks good to be fair.
TPW was founded in 2012 by the former Marketing Director at Myprotein.com. Since then, TPW has slowly grown in popularity. They pride themselves on being the underdog, offering good-quality products, made from premium ingredients for the lowest price possible. Although that said, the price of the products isn’t low.
But the premium part is true. The quality of TPW supplements and shakes is very good. They manufacture as much as they can from their own facility, known as The Factory, in Cheshire. This includes a wide selection of their shakes, from protein and mass gainers to vegan shakes and weight loss.
Overall, Protein Works is a reputable company with very good reviews and a varied product range to help people achieve their fitness goals.
Protein Works Product Range
Protein Works offers a wide range of products to cater for different fitness needs. Interestingly, they’ve stuck to nutrition, supplements and food products, rather than going heavy into the merch and clothing side. I like this simple approach to health that focuses on quality.
Let’s have a look at the main product areas.
Considering the name is Protein Works, it’d be rude to start elsewhere.
Protein shakes are TPW’s bread and butter. And they’ve got all your bases covered here, whether it’s putting on mass or looking to lean up with a diet shake. They also offer vegetarian and vegan versions for all of their main products, including mass gainers and diet shakes.
Some of the most popular protein shakes include:
- Whey Protein 360
- Whey Protein 80 (Concentrate)
- Vegan Protein
- Diet Whey Protein Isolate 90
- Total Mass Matrix
- All In One Recovery
- 100% Micellar Casein
And the list goes on. All in all, there are 32 different types of protein shakes listed on TPW.
I’ve tried the Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Protein 360. The quality does shine through and both shakes hit the spot in terms of taste and effectiveness.
I generally go for the plainest chocolate flavour (Chocolate Silk) or banana (Banana Smooth), but TPW specialise in fancy flavours too, like Millionaire’s Shortbread and Blueberry Cheesecake Riot. I’m boring, and these fancy flavours aren’t to my liking. Not when I’m drinking the stuff everyday. But it’s fair to say the general reviews on all flavours are very good.
The dosing and ingredients are good too.
Let’s take the Whey Protein 80 Concentrate. Made with 100% whey protein concentrate, each 25g serving packs in 20g of protein. There are no added sugars, just 2.1g of carbs and 100 calories per shake.
Bump it up to the Total Mass Gainer and you’re looking at 477 kcals, 31g of protein and 63g of carbs per serving. This comes from a carbohydrate blend of oat flour, maltodextrin and dextrose, coupled with a protein blend of soy protein isolate, milk protein concentrate and whey protein concentrate. You’ve also got MCTs in there to provide healthy dietary fats.
Drop it down to Diet Whey Protein Isolate 90 and you get 23g of protein per 25 gram serving, 2g of carbs and just 92 calories. This is perfect if you’re looking to lean up and drop body fat.
As well as a commitment to selecting the best ingredients, TPW tend to include whey protein that is undenatured and micro-filtered, rather than being heat treated. I like this as it ensures the protein is as pure as can be, which is better for your body. It also helps to mix the protein powder, creating super smooth, non-gritty shakes.
Protein Works currently stock a number of different meal replacement shakes. Again they’ve covered all their bases, including meal replacement shakes that are vegan friendly, diet-focused and genuine meal replacements for convenience.
Some of the popular meal replacement shakes include:
- Complete 360 Meal
- Vegan Complete 360 Meal
- Diet Meal Replacement
- Vegan Diet Meal Replacement
- Ultimate Diet Breakfast Shake
Taking a quick look at Complete 360 Meal, they’ve included eight core ingredients, such as oats, tri-protein blend and MCTs, and paired them with 25 micronutrients. Each serving contains 382 calories, including a very healthy 30g of protein, as well as 46g of carbs.
Switching across to the Diet Meal Replacement, the calorie count is reduced to 250 calories with 20g and 37g of slow-digesting carbohydrates coming mainly from oats. You also get 23 vitamins and minerals to support body health, which is important when dieting.
As far as diet meal replacements go, I think this is a good choice to be honest. You get some diet meal replacement shakes that contain very little nutrition and about 200 calories, which won’t get you very far.
I personally haven’t tried any of their meal replacement shakes, but the reviews are generally very complimentary.
Protein Works has a small range of supplements aimed at building muscle and strength. I’d say these are good for any beginner and potentially intermediate lifters who are getting into their resistance training.
These supplements include:
- Creatine Monohydrate – 100% creatine mono.
- Creapure – a trademarked micronised creatine monohydrate.
- Creatine Extreme – that comes with beta alanine, taurine, arginine and glycine. You get a tri-blend of creatine mono, citrate and pyruvate adding up to 7g in total. This is good.
- Amino Acids – BCAAs and glutamine.
- Pre-workouts – A half-decent selection mainly focused on fat burning. The Raze pre-workouts aren’t particularly well-dosed if you’ve had experience with pre-workouts before. They have a non-stimulant version too for those who train in the evenings.
- Nootropic – Endless Nootropic looks like an interesting product aimed at supercharging the brain and reducing fatigue. I haven’t tried this, but the dosing looks good and I’d like to give it a go.
General Health-Focused Supplements
Alongside the shakes and fitness products, TPW also sell a range of general health supplements. A small, but well-formed range.
General health supplements include:
- Super Greens Shake – A greens powder shake with 13 active ingredients, or you can opt for the super greens extreme with no fewer than 41 active ingredients.
- Gut Love – 11 active ingredients to help with gut health. The formula combines prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes.
- Sleep Deep – A combination of some good-hitters when it comes to improving sleep quality. Magnesium, zinc and glycine are all present (which I take separately), as well as L-tryptophan, chromium and chamomile.
Food and Snacks
Protein Works offers a range of high-protein snacks. These include protein bars, oats, pancake mixes, and nut butters. The spreads and nut butter range looks great – chocolate Hazelnut Protein Spread and Loaded Nuts are particular favourites here.
TPW also have a range of ‘SuperMeals’. These are powdered forms of full meals that you mix with boiling water. Flavours include Tikka Masala, Korean Noodles, Chicken Noodle, and Spaghetti Bolognese. Interesting.
The nutritional profiles for these SuperMeals look pretty good. For example, the Tasty Chicken Noodle has 353 calories, 22g of protein, 46g of carbs and 9g of fats, plus added vitamins and minerals.
Protein Works used to manufacture protein bites, crispy clusters and brownies, but these seem to be no longer available.
Quality and Effectiveness
One of the key factors that sets Protein Works apart from other supplement brands is their commitment to transparency.
They provide detailed information about each product, including how many active ingredients are included. This allows you to weigh up exactly what you’re buying.
In terms of effectiveness, Protein Works products are excellent. They have sourced good-quality ingredients and have high manufacturing standards. This is particularly true when it comes to the taste and texture of the protein shakes.
Another factor that Protein Works bring to the table is innovation. The company is constantly researching and developing new products that are designed to bring health and good nutrition to everyday life. The nut butters and spreads are a good example of this. They also sell a range of healthier desserts like the pancake mix and cake mixes.
Ok, admittedly sometimes these sweet treats don’t taste as good as the real thing, but they help to hit the spot, particularly when you’re on a reduced calorie diet. TPW have some of the tastiest treats on the market.
Any downsides to Protein Works?
No brand is perfect, of course.
And whilst Protein Works has a lot going for it as a brand, there are a few short falls to consider.
The first one is the price. Protein Works positions itself more in the premium category, offering high-quality products that often come with a slightly higher price tag.
With their focus on quality, this isn’t that surprising.
Some of the prices are a little steep, which might pose a challenge for those on a tighter budget. But other products, like the nut butters, are competitively priced and offer good value for money.
In its early days, Protein Works seemed to have a more targeted approach towards the muscle and strength community. However, over the years as this community has expanded across a wider audience, the brand’s focus has pivoted more towards general health and lifestyle goals.
This does make sense for the brand, but it will deter some old-school lifters. And whilst TPW do offer basic muscle building supplements, they lack some of the more advanced or niche products that bodybuilders or powerlifters might seek.
It’s clear that Protein Works is a classy, UK-based brand offering high-quality sports nutrition and fitness products.
I’m a fan of the protein shake range and like the fact that TPW opt for some of the finest ingredients they can source. The products are well-dosed and contain a good balance of nutritionals.
Even the meal replacement and diet shakes offer balance, which I think is lacking with other brands. This makes Protein Works more of a sustainable choice for me.
Each of the main products can also be bought in a vegan-friendly version, which is beneficial for this growing market.
The only negative aspect really is the higher cost. Whilst some products offer good value for money, some of the shakes are on the higher side. This makes buying them on a monthly basis quite difficult unless you’ve got lots of spare cash.
But the old saying is true: you get what you pay for. And in the case of Protein Works, it’s usually high-quality and trustworthy health-based products.