Ultimate Nutrition Prostar 100 Whey Protein vs ON Gold Standard — A Close Call

Optimum Nutrition is a brand that’s so well-known it almost needs no introduction. They produce the most popular protein powder on the market, Gold Standard Whey, which can be found in practically every supplement store in the United States.

Ultimate Nutrition has a slightly smaller reach, but they have a pretty dedicated following among bodybuilders, in part because they sponsor Mr. Olympia Phil Heath.

Both brands offer a variety of different protein powders (check out our reviews of Ultimate Nutrition’s Gold Whey and Iso-Cool), but we wanted to compare Gold Standard Whey with Prostar 100% Whey Protein, which seems like it was made to compete with Gold Standard. The two brands have nearly identical calories, macros, cost, and ingredients — but across these domains, we’ve stacked them up to see which is tops.


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

Both products have 120 calories per scoop, and ON has a pretty competitive macro split: 24 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs (1 gram of sugar), and 1 gram of fat.

It’s also got 10 percent of your recommended daily intake of cholesterol (30mg), 5 percent of your daily sodium (130mg) and 8 percent of your daily calcium.

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

While it has the same amount of calories and fat as Gold Standard, it has just a little bit more protein (25 grams) and fewer carbs (2 grams, 1 gram of sugar). This means the Ultimate Nutrition has more protein per calorie, but just barely.

The real difference is in the micronutrients: Prostar has about 30 percent less cholesterol (20mg versus 30mg), it has over two times more calcium (20 percent of the RDI versus 8 percent) and it has far less sodium (30mg versus Gold Standard’s 130mg).

On a macronutrient and micronutrient basis, Prostar comes out ahead.

Winner: Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

ion Prostar 100 Whey Protein vs ON Gold Standard Nutrition


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

There are three kinds of whey in the following order: isolate, concentrate, and hydrolysed. Then there’s cocoa (we sampled the Double Rich Chocolate flavor), soy lecithin (for mixability), natural and artificial flavors, the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium, and the digestive enzymes Aminogen and Lactase.

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

The ingredients are nearly identical. The same whey proteins in the same order, they both have soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavors, and acesulfame potassium.

There are two main differences: Prostar has a second artificial sweetener, sucralose (also called Splenda®) and it doesn’t contain digestive enzymes.

For these reasons, I think Gold Standard has better ingredients. Both sucralose and acesulfame potassium are controversial in some circles so it’s smart to only include one of them, but the main selling point was the digestive enzymes. These may help the user to absorb more of the protein and may minimize digestive issues among folks with lactose sensitivities — and both products contain lactose.

Winner: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

ON Gold Standard Whey


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

If you buy a standard two-pound tub, it’s $30 for 29 servings. That’s $1.03 per serving, or 4.31 cents per gram of protein.

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

A two-pound tub goes for around $29, which provides 30 servings. That comes to 96 cents a scoop or 3.9 cents per gram of protein.

The difference is small, but clear: Prostar delivers more protein for your dollar.

Winner: Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar 100% Whey


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

I tried the Double Rich Chocolate flavor, which despite the name is relatively mild. It’s closer to a dark, cocoa-y chocolate than a milk chocolate so while it’s great with milk, it’s pretty bland with water.

Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

I picked up the Chocolate Crème flavor, and boy is it creamy. For a product with 1 gram of fat, I was bowled over by how creamy it tasted. With milk, it made for a decadent shake that was almost like melted ice cream. But here’s the kicker: it tasted great with water.

Gold Standard, while an excellent all-rounder, doesn’t taste as great with water. Prostar, therefore, is more versatile — and it’s more useful for folks trying to lose weight because you can ditch the milk and save on calories.

Winner: Ultimate Nutrition Prostar

Winner? A Close Call

These are both great products, and the fact that Prostar comes out ahead by a nose in some categories doesn’t mean that Gold Standard isn’t worth your money; it’s a very good product, and it has many flavor options to fit your individual tastes. They’re both fantastic, cost-effective proteins, and Gold Standard is most likely a better pick for folks with sensitivities to lactose. However, on the basis of taste and protein-per-calorie, I tend to prefer Ultimate Nutrition Prostar.

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Catching Up With 77kg Colombian Weightlifter Jeison Lopez

Jeison Lopez is a Junior weightlifter from Colombia, and he frequently turns heads with his crazy strong lifts. To further my point, Lopez is only a teenager with two more years of Junior eligibility. His best snatch currently sits at 170kg, and his best clean & jerk at 200kg.

This year alone, Lopez has claimed first at the IWF Junior World Championships with a 356kg total, and first at the Senior Pan American Championships with a 352kg total (his first ever Senior competition). There’s no doubt Lopez is one of the Western Hemisphere’s best weightlifters.


The 2017 IWF World Championships take place this November in Anaheim, California. So we thought it was only fitting to take a moment and learn a little more about this record setting Junior in the lead up to the year’s biggest meet!

BarBend: How long have you been weightlifting?

Lopez: I started lifting seven years ago.

BarBend: What originally got you into weightlifting?

Lopez: I started lifting due to my cousin Wilmer Torres, who is a former national team member who encouraged and inspired me every day. I was motivated because of the challenges and disciplines weightlifting demands.

BarBend: What’s been your greatest accomplishment so far?

Lopez: Recently, it was taking first at the Junior World Championships.

BarBend: You have an amazing snatch. But is there any area you struggle with this lift?

Lopez: Thank you. I actually need to keep working on my technique. Technique is everything, and the base of Olympic weightlifting.


BarBend: How do you prep for the snatch?

Lopez: To prep for snatches, I usually follow a certain amount of pulls, deadlift, and accessory movements for snatch specifically, and I do strength workouts.

BarBend: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from weightlifting?

Lopez: Nowadays you cannot underestimate anything or anyone. Today you may look like a world class lifter, and then tomorrow you might just be an average athlete. That’s why my mindset is to compete against everyone, as if they are the champs of my weight class. I always see every lifter as my principal opponent, every single one.


BarBend: What’s your best tip for a beginning weightlifter?

Lopez: My advice to all the youth-amateur, or just daily enthusiasts is: Be humble at every moment, have discipline, and consistency. Also, work hard and be conscious of every single day and achievement. Do not settle and take things for granted.

If Lopez can continue crushing big lifts and compose a total similar to his 370kg best lift total, then he may find himself in medal contingency at the 2017 World Championships. Until then, we’re excited to see what the future holds for this young weightlifter.

Feature image screenshot from @jeison_lopez99 Instagram page. 

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Check Out How CrossFit Changed the Lives of This Father Daughter Duo

Robert and Josie Portell are father-daughter CrossFit® athletes unlike many others. Robert has been an athlete and gym-goer for most of his life, but it wasn’t until recently he found CrossFit, which soon got Josie involved. Josie, like her dad, was an athlete who turned to CrossFit to immerse herself into another physically challenging activity.

Currently, Robert is helping Josie prep for the functional fitness competition Wodapalooza, which has its first online qualifying round in the second week of September 2017. Josie will be competing against other adaptive athletes in their growing adaptive divisions.

Josie was born with Spina Bifida, which is a birth defect that prevents proper development of the spinal cord. This defect has left Josie in a wheelchair since the age of two. But none of that has stopped her from achieving any of the athletic endeavors she’s set her mind to.

We caught up with this father daughter duo to learn a little more about their background in both older sports and functional fitness.

BarBend: How long have you and Josie been doing CrossFit?

RobertI’ve been doing CrossFit for just under two years and Josie has been doing it for one year. I’ve done “Bodybuilding” since high school with cycling or running as cardio. I played men’s league baseball until I turned 40.

Josie does track and field and wheelchair wasketball in addition to CrossFit.


BarBendHow did you guys find CrossFit? And who introduced who to the sport?

RobertI had followed “The Games” for many years before actually deciding to go to an affiliate and try it out. I guess you could say ESPN introduced me to CrossFit, but the owner of our affiliate, Trent, was the person who in reality introduced it to me. He also was open to Josie becoming part of the community, when she decided she wanted to try it.

BarBendRob, you’re a certified CrossFit Level 1 Trainer now, did Josie inspire this certification, or was it always on your agenda?

RobertThe inspiration for becoming a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, was to start an Adaptive CrossFit and CrossFit Kids program at our affiliate. I had coached youth football, back before Josie, and currently help coach her track and field and wheelchair basketball teams. I have always loved working with kids, and since working with Josie, adaptive athletes also.

BarBend: You mentioned you and Josie are in prep for Wodapalooza, what does your weekly prep and training look like?

Robert: Josie’s regular CrossFit routine includes trying to get into our gym at least once a week, year round. Her Basketball season runs September to April. Track season runs April to July, so during those seasons, CrossFit enhances her performance in those sports.


In March, she participates in a local CrossFit Kids Competition at one of the local affiliates. The Wodapalooza Online Challenge Qualifier typically starts the second week of September. Once Josie competes at Track and Field Nationals, in mid-July, we put our focus on CrossFit and try and get to the affiliate as many times as possible before school starts in August.

Currently, we’ve been working on some movements that were in the workouts for Wodapalooza 2017, movements that Josie and I felt we could use some additional work on to do better at, such as the rope climb. We really put an increased focus on practicing proper technique and efficiency in the movements and transitions during this period. We’ll continue this push through the three weeks of Wodapalooza qualifying. The time frame from Labor Day to the first week in October is challenging because basketball starts too.


Once we know she qualified for Wodapalooza, we then juggle both sports till Wodapalooza in January. My biggest concern during this period is we don’t have any major injuries from basketball that would effect Wodapalooza. The one thing that comes before all of this is that Josie has to maintain her performance in school.

BarBend: Rob and Josie, what’s your favorite exercise, and what’s your least favorite? Why?

RobertI prefer WODs that have what I call “Grunt Work” like “Murph”. Ones that have running and lots of bodyweight movements, like air squats, sit ups, push ups, and pull ups, etc. I probably prefer them because I’m a better endurance athlete, and I really have to work hard on getting proper form for barbell movements correct. The barbell movements do not come naturally to me.

JosieMy favorite movement is rowing because it is one of the few exercises that gets my whole body involved. My least favorite movement is wheeling/running because my gym has a steep hill to get to the flat surface and gets me worn out.

BarBend: Do you guys have a favorite partner workout?

Robert: As mentioned above, I prefer partner workouts that include “grunt work.”  

JosieMy favorite partner workouts include rowing, snatches, and wall balls.


BarBend: Josie, do you have friends that do CrossFit? Who’s been your biggest motivation when improving in workouts?

Josie: Not that attend my gym. But I went to a CrossFit Kid’s Competition and met a friend. We’re currently trying to set up a date to do a workout together. My biggest motivation when improving in workouts is my favorite elite CrossFit athlete Brooke Wells. Brooke and I live pretty close to each other. So I enjoy getting to work out with her when we can.

BarBend: Josie, what’s your favorite part of the CrossFit community?

JosieMy favorite part of CrossFit is that I get to work out with non-adaptive athletes. In many sports, such as basketball, track and field, and softball, this is not possible. I like that CrossFit is inclusive for all athletes.


BarBend: What are your current CrossFit and workout goals? What do you hope to accomplish by the end of the year?

Robert: The short term goals I have for myself is to get the CrossFit Kids and Adaptive CrossFit programs going at our affiliate. Over the next eight years, my goals are to continue to coach Josie, and hope to put her in the best position possible to get a track and field or wheelchair basketball college scholarship, if she continues to have that as a goal of hers.


My main goal is to give her all the positive character traits possible, to help her succeed in life, and athletic competition. Josie has also expressed interest in becoming a CrossFit trainer when she gets old enough, so I would like to help her achieve that also.

The real long term goals I have for myself are to transition from my current career to coaching full time. In eight years, if Josie is in college and working with a college coach, and I’m still capable, I would like to work towards trying to compete as a Master’s Athlete in CrossFit.

Wrapping Up

Robert and Josie are amazing examples of strength athletes who are working to further their sport. We plan to follow Josie through her Wodapalooza prep, and continue reporting on her progress towards competition.

Feature image courtesy Robert Portell. 

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China Could Miss 2017 IWF World Championships After Losing Beijing Olympic Medals

China could miss this year’s International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships, which will take place in Anaheim, California, this November. This news comes after two of their weightlifters recently lost appeals based off of failed doping retests from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Inside the Games reported that two of the three Chinese weightlifters originally testing positive during Beijing re-analysis tests have lost their appeals at the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS). The original news of their failed doping tests were announced last year prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Inside the Games quote an IWF spokeswoman as saying, “Based on the rules applicable, IWF will duly take over the results management of their cases in terms of sanctions extending beyond their Olympic Games participation.”

She added, “As for the sanctions to be assessed against the athletes’ Federation, the IWF Executive Board will now notify the Federation of the alleged breach and the possible consequences in line with its decision of 22 June 2016 and Article 12 of the IWF anti-doping policy.” Additionally, she added that the IWF will make no further comments until the case is closed.

A post shared by Jim Kiernan (@jimkiernan) on Aug 3, 2017 at 1:46pm PDT


The two weightlifters who lost their appeals were 2008 Beijing gold medalists Chunhong Liu (69kg) and Lei Cao (75kg). Both of these weightlifters failed dping tests after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) re-analyzed 2008 Beijing Olympic samples prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Both weightlifters tested positive for the substance GHRP-2, which is a growth hormone that releases hextapeptide.

Chinese 48kg weightlifter Chen Xiexia is the third weightlifter involved in the failed retests. She also provided a positive test for GHRP-2 upon re-analysis, but wasn’t involved in the appeals. With both athletes failing their appeals, this could leave China with an official one year ban per the International Weightlifting Federation’s rules.

According to IWF rules, “national federations confirmed to have produced three or more anti-doping rule violations in the combined re-analysis process of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games shall be suspended for one year.” 

As of right now, there’s been no official word from the IWF about China’s involvement in the World Championships. We’re still waiting to see how these lost appeals will impact China’s participation in international competition.

Feature image from @jimkiernan Instagram page. 

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Focus on Weightlifting Technique: Chad Vaughn Breaks Down the Clean Deadlift

“Clean Dead Lift” does not just indicate clean grip and then you can deadlift however you want or feel you are the strongest at picking up weight from the floor (perhaps with back angle close to parallel with floor/high hips, and/or rounded back). It’s a deadlift with 100% intention of mimicking the clean start position, back tension and position maintenance, bar closeness throughout, and creation of desired above knee position on the way up and, why not, on the way down.

If you never practice this and you are currently stronger from a different position/movement (high hip, rounded back, bar away) then where do you think your body will want to go in the heat of a heavy clean?

A post shared by Chad Vaughn (@olychad) on Aug 17, 2017 at 8:16pm PDT


So, with this concept in mind, let’s first consider what your “clean” start position is and make sure that it is A) as quality as it needs to be and B) as effective for the clean as it could be. (And remember, THIS will also be your clean deadlift start position.) The two most common changes I find myself recommending to others is more tension in the start position (and maintain as initiating from the floor) and repositioning the shoulders more on top of the bar.

The tension is usually a matter of the lifter simply focusing on it, emphasizing as one of their few and main cues, and therefore making the effort to feel it before they get the bar moving. It can also be lack of awareness of how to lock in, and/or insufficient mobility, which can be overcome by adjusting the shoulder position as mentioned above, adjusting the position of their feet, and/or ensuring that their knees are out sufficiently. (This is not so much that they are causing a break in the elbow, but touching the inside of arm with outside of knee with each giving pressure to the other.)

Further awareness can be created with many different drills and exercises, with my typical go to being “cat/cows” (very simple yet very effective; tell them to find the “cow” position as they set up for the clean right after performing a set of the cat/cows). These can also lend to increasing mobility for that tension in the start position if needed, but more specific and individualized mobility is usually in need here for anyone that is having trouble being cued, repositioned, or tricked into locking in. The most common areas I find needing mobility improvements for this purpose are hamstrings, internal hip rotation, entire thoracic, or upper back specifically.

A post shared by Chad Vaughn (@olychad) on Aug 2, 2017 at 2:47pm PDT


For ensuring that the shoulders aren’t too far in front of the bar and/or hips are not too high, take a look at the sample sequence shown above. Keep in mind that “shoulders over the bar” doesn’t necessarily mean ideally in front (depending on who you’re talking to). How about more on top where one can use a better combination of the legs and posterior (versus more back/hamstrings with the hips set higher)? This will also allow one to achieve true leg drive and literal back angle maintenance, aka back angle at the floor matches back angle with bar above knee, and back is holding position as legs lift as opposed to back raising the load. Also, this creates a better chance to keep bar close (setting up with shoulders in front means bar will be tugging forward and body will want to follow).

Featured image: @olychad on Instagram

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Jenn Rotsinger Smashes the World Total and Squat Records at 50kg Bodyweight

There were a ton of historic performances at the Boss of Bosses IV meet this weekend. The Florida-based athlete Jenn Rotsinger delivered one of their best: she added two more world records to her name, utterly shattering the previous world record total — her own — by over 33 pounds.

Weighing in at 50.6 kilograms (111.5 pounds), she squatted 162.5 kilograms (358.3 pounds), benched 92.5 kilograms (204 pounds), and deadlifted 190 kilograms (419 pounds) for a total of 445 kilograms (981 pounds). For her -52kg weight class, this amounted to an all-time world record squat and total.

A post shared by Jenn Rotsinger (@jrotsinger) on Aug 28, 2017 at 6:30am PDT


She fought for that one!

In a Facebook post, she thanked her coach Trevor Jaffe and wrote a short recap:

I had lofty goals for this meet, some of which I achieved and some I fell short. I weighed in at 50.6 (111.6) and squatted 162.5 (358.25) for the ATWR in sleeves, benched 92.5 (203.9) on my second (missed my third), and pulled 190 (418.88) on my second for a 445 (981) ATWR total.

I “attempted” 200 on my third for the 1k total, but somebody glued it to the floor. I won’t have another chance to increase my total until next year, so I hope it stands for a while.

The previous squat record had stood for over three years, when Rotsinger made a 154.5-kilogram (340-pound) squat that you can see, in not-great quality, at a RAWU event below.

The last time we wrote about her was when we were covering her own USPA meet called “The Jenn,” or the 2nd Annual Jenn Rotsigner Women’s Empowerment Weekend. It took place in Tampa this June and she floored us when, in a lift-off with Complete Human Performance’s Trevor Jaffe, she was able to deadlift triple bodyweight… for twenty-three reps.

A post shared by Jordan Wong (@wongstwong) on Jun 25, 2017 at 12:22pm PDT


She also holds the total world record with wraps: 460 kilograms (1,014 pounds), which she achieved just this past April at a USPA meet, according to Powerlifting Watch.

In addition to being a world class elite powerlifter, she coaches at Complete Human Performance, co-owns the Gorilla Bench Training Center in Clearwater, Florida, and is also a working microbiologist.

Featured image via @jrotsinger on Instagram.

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Standing vs. Sitting Dumbbell Shoulder Press

In an earlier article we discussed the dumbbell shoulder press, a great movement to gain valuable muscle mass, strength, and address asymmetries for athletes and lifters of all sports. When looking at the dumbbell shoulder press, some questions came up regarding which variation (sitting or standing) was best, and why.

A post shared by Iron House Co. (@ironhouseco) on Jul 12, 2017 at 10:01am PDT


Therefore, in this article we will briefly demo each exercise and discuss the distinct differences to help coached and athletes determine the best movement variation for their goals.

The Sitting Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Below is a brief demonstration of how to perform the sitting dumbbell shoulder press.

The Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Military Press)

Below is a brief demonstration of how to perform the standing dumbbell shoulder press.

Sitting vs Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Below are five differences between the sitting and the standing dumbbell press.

Core Strength and Stabilization

Lifting anything up overhead is a great way to develop core strength, however when doing from a standing position one can really maximize core stability. When sitting, the lifter is not required to fully support themselves (the seat will offer support), often allowing for increased loading and/or volume. In the standing press, core strength and stabilization is highly demanding, especially as the loads increase.

Isolation of Shoulders in Lift

Both pressing movements hit the shoulders, however the sitting press may be a more direct approach as it requires slightly less core stability and strength (often a contributor to weakness and failure in the standing press). Additionally, lifters may find that they have a harder time pressing from a sitting position relative the the standing, often because they cannot use leverage (leaning back) and additional core strength to move the barbell overhead.

Injury Precautions

In the event a lifter has issues with their lower body and lumbar spine, the standing press may aggravate the movement especially at heavier loads/higher volume as fatigue sets in and often leads to sloppier repetitions. The sitting press can be a great way to isolate the muscle groups needed to be hit while minimizing spinal extension, which will result in great shoulder usage and less leverage to move the lift (often leaning back into hyperextension of the spine).

Application to Muscular Hypertrophy

Due to the sitting press often allowing for increased emphasis on the shoulders (as the lifter does not need to stabilize the core as much as in the standing), the sitting press can often be a good way to isolate the pressing muscles to develop muscle hypertrophy. This is not to say that standing cannot build shoulder mass, it is just that often lack of core strength could be a leading contributor to the overall movement rather than shoulder fatigue (which is what we are looking for if training for hypertrophy).

Application to Strength and Power Sports

Seeing that strongman and weightlifting require a lifter to be standing and press/move heavy objects overhead, it’s safe to say that the standing version would have the most application to the specific sport movement, core stability, and overhead mechanics needed to succeed. The sitting press however, can and should be used to increase upper body strength and muscle mass, both of which can then be transitioned into more sport specific muscle fibers with training.


Increase Upper Body Strength and Mass NOW!

Increasing upper body strength, mass, and overhead performance shouldn’t be a mystery. Below are two articles you need to read if you are at all concerned about getting strong and healthy.

Featured Image: @barbellphotography and @ironhouseco on Instagram

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