MusclePharm makes a range of supplements that are geared towards athletes in particular, and have gained popularity for their protein bars, pre-workouts (assault) as well as their protein shakes.
Today, I'm bringing you our full MusclePharm Combat Protein Powder review, to give you the lowdown on this rather unique supplement, and see if it lives up to its claims.
Combat Protein Powder Nutrition Facts
Unlike a lot of other protein supplements, Musclepharm's ingredient label has a lot going on. This is mainly due to the 5 types of protein which are whey (concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate), egg albumin, and micellar casein.
Making up the rest of the calories are a few grams of carbs (5g) and a smidge of fat (1.5g), as well as sweeteners (sucralose and acesulfame potassium) which are typical in supplements of this category.
Rounding off the nutritional label is around 12% of the RDI for calcium and 2% of the RDI for iron. There's also Sodium (150 mg) and potassium (270 mg), which are both minerals that we lose through sweat.
Combat Protein Powder Ingredients And How They Work
The most striking feature of MP Combat Powder is its blend of fast and slow proteins. Let's start with egg and casein since I'm sure you've heard enough about whey protein to last you a lifetime.
The great thing about Casein is that it prolongs muscle protein synthesis, which is the primary driver of muscle growth. It's why bodybuilders and athletes like to drink it or eat food containing it, before bed.
Since casein takes so long to digest, overall, you spend less time in a state of protein breakdown (bad) and more time in an anabolic state, which is essential whether you want to get huge, or merely get fitter.
Egg albumin is the complicated way of saying "egg white protein powder." It's one of the most highly bioavailable sources of protein on the planet, having fueled muscle growth for decades until whey protein arrived on the scene.
Finally, the protein source that all the bodybuilders have been waiting for, whey protein. It's by far the most popular protein source, and for a good reason, it digests faster than any other, especially isolate and hydrolysate, which means that protein synthesis is switched on sooner and you spend less time in a state of protein breakdown.
What I love most about this protein blend though, has to be the combination of whey and casein. When the effects of whey protein begin to wear off, you go into a state of protein breakdown, unless, of course, you have another shake.
But with casein, you don't need to drink another shake, and it's best effects only begin to kick in when the whey has finished digesting. This increases the length of time you spend in an anabolic state and makes Combat Powder very useful close to bedtime,
Who Can Benefit From Taking MP Combat Powder?
MP Combat powder is most popular with athletes who want to avoid banned substances, as it carries an Informed Choice certification. That said, it's my best guess that the average gym goer doesn't want to stuff their body with banned substances either.
And with that mind, anyone who is looking to grow more muscle, achieve peak performance, or merely live in better health, can benefit from taking Combat Protein Powder.
However, I think there are two kinds of people who can benefit from taking it more than anyone else. Let me explain.
When you're just starting out on your fitness journey, buying a separate whey and casein protein can be a hassle, not to mention expensive. However, for best results, you want both in your diet, so what's a beginner to do?
Take a supplement that has both.
The most compelling reason for a novice or intermediate trainee to take Combat Powder is the 5-protein blend. I'll be honest, 5 protein sources sounds a little gimmicky, like it's a competition as to who can jam the most types of protein into their formula. But with MusclePharm, it's not like that.
The formula is engineered with the purpose of keeping muscles growing for as long as possible, to reduce the time spent in a catabolic state so your training can be put to good use.
Making best use of every protein serving is critical for physical performance in the gym, and out of it, as you're about to find out in just a moment.
Whether or not you're looking to get bigger for your sport, your muscles still need to repair if you want to be anywhere near your best. Can you imagine setting a sprint PR with sore glutes and hamstrings?
Nope, me neither.
Muscle damage limits performance by reducing force output, which is why people commonly complain of "not being able to walk" after training legs. For the athlete, muscle damage is more severe than for a bodybuilder, who typically has a whole week off before training that body part again.
This means that every protein feeding counts. You can prolong the time spent in a state of recovery by taking Combat Powder strategically around your workout. Because it digests slower than regular whey, you won't need to keep slamming a shake every couple of hours, which makes combining your sport and lifestyle much more comfortable.
Taking it before bedtime is another good strategy to gain a competitive edge. After all, sleep is for recovery, so it makes sense to have a stable supply of amino acids during those crucial hours.
How To Properly Use
Generally speaking, you should mix 1 scoop with around 8-12 oz of cold water. I say generally speaking because depending on your preference for sweetness, you might want to use more or less water.
Go with closer to 12 oz if you like the sweetness to be more on the mild side, and stick with water. For the creamiest shake possible, use milk, which also adds nicely to the protein total.
What Are The Best Times To Take It?
Combat Powder can be used anytime to meet your daily protein requirements. However, the two best times to use it are after a workout, and before bed. Why?
Let me explain. After you train, amino acids become like diamonds, there's a short supply, and your whole body wants them, which means to recover, you need an excess of protein.
Unless you're ok with your body using its own protein (muscle) to fuel repair, it's a good idea to have a sizeable protein feeding post-workout. And seen as Combat Powder has 3 kinds of whey, including the fastest-digesting type, amino acids are shuttled to the muscles without hesitation.
We're always told how important sleep is for recovery, and rightfully so, it's way more crucial than people give it credit for, but what about protein during these long, restful hours?
If you really want to maximize your recovery and muscle growth, take a slow digesting protein in the hours before bed, to prevent your body slipping into a state of catabolism.
Being part casein, you may well benefit from drinking Combat Powder before hitting the sack or taking it with your final meal of the day.
Sizes, Servings, and Scoop
MP Combat Powder comes in a 4 lb container with around 52 servings. The scoop size is a tad under 35 g which we found to be a little above average for a protein powder, but not enough to make mixability a problem.
As for the mixability, we've had better, but considering the 5 protein sources included, we expected some uncooperativeness from the powder. After shaking vigorously though — as you should with any supplement powder — no clumps were floating around our mixture.
The Available Flavors
While only available in one size, MusclePharm does give us a decent range of flavors to choose from:
- Banana Cream
- Chocolate Milk
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Cookies N' Cream
- Triple Berry
I went with Vanilla for a change and as a chocolate fan, was pleasantly surprised by the authenticity of the flavor. I wouldn't say it was award-winning, but out the Vanilla flavors I've gulped down over the years, it definitely ranks highly.
Personally, I found it to taste significantly better with milk. Compared to with just water, it was much creamier, but not ice cream creamy. This does come with extra calorie baggage through, so if you're not trying to gain weight, go with a low-calorie option like almond milk.
How Does It Compare To Other Protein Powders?
If you want to compare Combat Powder to other top protein supplements, you can check out our chart below, or click the link for our full supplement guide.
So, is Combat Powder worth it?
I sure think so. At least for beginners and athletes.
Consisting of 5 protein sources, it tackles recovery from all angles, to make you stronger and less fatigued, while removing the complexity of buying different types of protein shakes.
Being certified by Informed Choice, we stand by the effectiveness of this product for athletes. If you don't want to risk taking suspicious ingredients, then give Combat Powder a try, so you can train hard in the confidence that your efforts won't be wasted by contaminated supplements.
Of course, there are brands without the Informed Choice testing that are still legit, but having the certification adds another layer of trust, that we really appreciate.
As for the taste, it was good, but I wasn't raving about it. However, considering the ingredients of this supplement, and the fact that it's relatively inexpensive, its a top choice for many.
We ranked it as the #2 best protein powder this year, in front of some big names.
I hope you enjoyed our MusclePharm Combat Protein Powder review, and hopefully, it helped you decide on it, one way or the other.