A New Workout + Protein Powder
Megan O’Neill is the senior beauty editor at goop. Which is another way of saying she has a passion for clean products, loves anything that reduces stress, and will happily guinea pig herself in the name of wellness.
When you work at goop, there’s no not trying a Tracy Anderson class: Everyone here goes or has gone. I’m no bum—yoga and the occasional four-mile jog are part of my morning routine—but a session at TA (as goop staffers affectionately refer to it) is famously next-next-level intense/ass-busting. Mainly because all die-hard TA-goers sport the same signature cut abs and powerful shoulders; I’m guessing those bodies didn’t get that rocking without some serious—torturous?—isometric holds and elbow grease.
I want in—and I want those shoulders—but I’m daunted. What if I can’t keep up? Or get weirdly flustered (once, in boxing class, I insisted the tears rolling down my cheeks were just sweat)? My biggest worry, though: a painful aftermath. Next-day sore muscles are no joke. Exercise creates microtears in muscles, which cues the body’s supply of amino acids—proteins linked to muscle integrity—to repair the damage by building up (and chiseling) your muscles.
Apprehensive, I sign up for a TA Attain Definition class (best for first-timers, my coworkers say) at the TA Tribeca studio. At the same time, I start on protein powder in hopes of building strength and staving off soreness. I hadn’t realized how crucial protein is: Every one of our cells needs it to carry out essential activities from strengthening and maintaining muscles to making our hair and skin look spectacular. Our muscle mass drastically declines after around thirty, and plenty of protein is a secret to the body staying supple and strong. (You want robust muscles to feel powerful and sexy of course, but more importantly, muscles help regulate metabolism and burn more calories than body fat does, even when the body’s at rest.) Some studies show that when protein is ingested within thirty minutes of working out, it improves muscle recovery and decreases soreness, and The Nue Co. Milk Protein’s blend of amino acids, gut-balancing probiotics, and organic, hormone-free milk protein is an amazing (and delicious) way to get it.
So every morning before work, I scoop a tablespoon of Milk Protein + Gut Food powder from a tall, sleek, black glass jar from The Nue Co.—the company makes a vast range of amazing supplement powders—along with a teaspoon of the Energy Food + Prebiotic powder into a glass of almond milk and swirl a spoon around until things are blended and creamy.
The Nue Co. Milk Protein + Gut Food 200G goop, $70
There’s a reason protein is called the building block of life—and why we need some daily: Every cell needs protein to survive, and our bodies use it for everything from immune function to hair growth to post-workout support. This supplement powder is a blend of all nine essential amino acids, spore-based probiotics, and organic, hormone-free milk protein. Take one tablespoon, once a day, any time, but especially after working out.
Energy Food’s infusion of vitamin- and magnesium-packed maca and goji berry plus brown rice protein may or may not help prevent heave-crying in the middle of class, but together with the almond milk, it tastes like a healthy milkshake.
The Nue Co. Energy Food + Prebiotic goop, $75
This vitamin- and magnesium-rich blend of maca, goji berry, and beetroot is made with an infusion of prebiotic inulin to support gut health. All Nue Co. formulas are food-based—which makes them easy to digest—and contain no added sugar, gluten, or filler. The chic black glass bottles protect the potent ingredients inside, eliminating the need for preservatives.
Judgment day arrives. I call up Nue Co. brand founder Jules Miller, a workout buff herself, for last-minute pro tips.
“Maybe I take an espresso shot before the class, you know, to get extra amped?” I ask.
“Sure, but it’s not ideal to rely constantly on caffeine for energy,” she says. For best results, she recommends the long-term approach I’ve meticulously kept up (four weeks!) to give my protein regimen time to kick in. As we’re hanging up, she reminds me to drink some Milk Protein immediately post-class.
Fast-forward to 5:30 p.m.: I’m spandex-clad, drenched—and having a blast. The music is pulsating, EDM-ish, and encouraging; I half feel like I’m in a music video as I flail along behind the impossibly svelte teacher, whose graceful form never degrades. In the middle of hamstring lifts—with resistance bands strung around our feet!—I start promising to some higher power that I’ll trade in my whole family and favorite Acne sweater for the end of these excruciating reps. I bounce around for the last half-hour cardio portion of class, lost in the music and movement.
These are the musings and opinions of Megan O’Neill based on her own personal experience. Individual responses can vary greatly.
- Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care (2010): Muscle mass decreases 3 to 8 percent per decade after the age of thirty.
- Mayo Clinic article (2015): Muscle burns calories when the body is at rest.
- The Future of Sports Nutrition Nutrient Timing; John Ivy, Ph.D. and Robert Portman, Ph.D. (2004): There is a thirty-minute metabolic window after exercising in which protein consumption may affect muscle integrity.
- International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2006): Amino acid supplementation may attenuate muscle damage and soreness when ingested immediately after exercising.