A trip to the Vitamin Shoppe (or even the fitness aisle of a retail store) is supposed to be exciting. Dozens of options, flavors galore, and almost guaranteed gains on the horizon.
But then … you flip those 4-pound tubs around and scan the labels.
80mg of cholesterol?
190 calories per serving?
Choosing a new whey protein powder winds up being a “lesser of two evils” scenario. If you want the mass, you have to make nutritional sacrifices elsewhere (right?).
From the “Official Sponsor of Hard Work” comes Ascent Native Fuel Whey Protein Powder. Now, does this rare “clean” supplement deliver on its expectations?
We’re about to find out!
About the Manufacturer – Ascent Protein
Ascent Protein doesn’t travel the path of least resistance, like many overrated nutritional giants. That means no white-labeled protein, cost-cutting filler ingredients, or unkept promises.
For the last three decades, this Denver-based fitness company has set strict guidelines:
- Grade A milk purchased from trusted farmers
- No artificial ingredients whatsoever (flavors, additives, flavors)
- Gluten-free products for smoother digestion
- Informed-Sport Certification with a banned-free substance promise
Today, Ascent is one of the most well-respected performance nutrition distributors in America.
Its high-profile partner line-up includes Spartan Race, USA Weightlifting, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, and CrossFit’s two-time champion Katrin Davidsdottir.
What is Ascent Native Fuel Whey Protein Powder?
Ascent Native Fuel Whey Protein Powder isn’t your run-of-the-mill post-workout nutrition. And make no mistake about it — that’s by design!
This American-made whey powder is minimally-processed, boasts no artificial ingredients, and provides “fast-digesting” post-workout recovery.
In other words, this “clean” and “native” supplement can supposedly help with:
- Quick, smooth, and cramp-free digestion (a common complaint of whey)
- Muscle recovery and repair after grueling workouts (a BCAA side effect)
- Amplified muscle protein synthesis (thanks to the leucine content)
- Discovering a tasty whey protein alternative worth chugging
Why settle for the stomach rumbling and slowed post-workout repair when Ascent Native Fuel exists? Not so fast … let’s make sure this top-of-the-line powder is more than just hype.
Native Fuel Details
Whey protein is a bodybuilding and weightlifting staple with a permanent “home” in your pantry and shaker bottle. But how much do you really know about your favorite post-workout splurge?
Let’s review the basics of whey and then discuss how Ascent Native Fuel compares!
A Quick Whey Protein Run-Down
Whey is one of the two milk proteins (the other being casein) that’s scraped away during the traditional cheese-making process.
This watery milk byproduct contains all nine essential amino acids — including branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) like leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Mixing a heaping scoop with 4-8 ounces of water, almond milk, or cow’s milk can:
- Immediately fuel damaged and torn muscles with protein
- Boost hormones that bolster muscle growth
- Enhance muscle protein synthesis for complete and quick repair
- Reduce hunger and fend off those post-workout munchies
- Shred fat while also sculpting muscle mass
The glaring issue with whey protein is the remaining lactose (milk sugar) in each scoop. If you have lactose intolerance or a milk allergy, your post-workout nutrition could be a GI nightmare.
Now, back to Ascent!
How to Use Ascent Native Fuel Whey Protein Powder
Ascent’s whey protein mixture is no five-course meal or kitchen-destroying recipe. Here’s a brief how-to guide to preparing your Ascent protein shake:
- Dump a rounded scoop into a shaker bottle (or blender, if you’re feeling fancy).
- Pour 4-8 ounces of water, almond milk, or cow’s milk into the bottle (more if you like that watered-down consistency).
- Shake, shake, shake!
- Drink within 30 minutes of finishing a brutal, high-intensity workout.
If you’re on the unflavored protein train, feel free to add some pizzazz. Instant coffee, fresh fruit, all-natural sweeteners, or even orange zest can make even the dullest shakes tastier!
The Flavor Options
It’s no coincidence that whey protein powders are flavored eerily similar to our favorite desserts. Without that delectable flair, your protein shakes could taste powdery, milky, or even cheesy!
Ascent takes the standard vanilla and chocolate concoctions and widens the palette to include:
- Chocolate peanut butter
- Lemon sorbet
- Vanilla bean
- Unflavored (if you prefer to DIY your shakes or cook protein-infused pancakes!)
Even if you’re a self-proclaimed chocolate aficionado (like 17% of folks), having seven flavor options keeps post-workout nutrition interesting!
Try one, try ‘em all, or surprise your taste buds with a weekend lemon sorbet mix!
Whey protein tubs are notoriously misleading in the serving size department.
How many of those table-sized containers have just 15 servings hidden inside? Or require two large scoops to get the full mass-boosting effect, cutting the servings in half?
There’s no mystery behind Ascent’s whey protein baggies. Your three options include:
- 2 lbs: 27-29 servings
- 4 lbs: 54-58 servings
- Individual serving packets: 15 servings (for on-the-go refuels)
Never worry about hitting the bottom of that container sooner than expected again! Replenish your protein supply monthly or bi-monthly instead of weekly with Ascent.
The average gym rat will look at the 25g of protein per serving, say “good enough,” and whisk the container over to the register for check-out.
But how many hard-to-pronounce ingredients does each tub house?
If we’re talking about Ascent Native Fuel Whey Protein Powder, the answer is: NONE! Here’s a look at the ingredients you’ll find in every scoop:
- Whey protein isolate: Essentially “pure” whey protein freed of 99% of its lactose content (hello, sensitive digestive systems) and boasting 90% protein.
- Whey protein concentrate: Loaded with BCAAs for optimal muscle growth, leaving behind a silky-smooth shake that goes down easy!
- Natural flavors: That delicious vanilla bean, lemon sorbet, or chocolate flavoring shouldn’t be a chemical experiment.
- Sunflower lecithin: The often overlooked ingredient that prevents those gag-worthy chunky or chalky protein shakes.
- Monk fruit extract: Often more than 100x sweeter than regular table sugar … without the blood sugar spike or empty calories.
The exact mixture depends on your flavor choice. For example, the cappuccino variety infuses 100% Colombian coffee for a natural tang, and a few sneak in stevia extract or sea salt.
Not to worry — any extra flavorings are 100% natural and void of filler ingredients.
The Nutritional Aspects
It’s not a complete supplement review without analyzing the nutrition label under a microscope. Here’s what you’re siphoning into your body with every Ascent protein scoop:
(NOTE: Each flavor recipe offers slightly different nutritional values)
- 120-130 calories
- 25g of protein
- 5.7g of BCAAs
- 2.7g of leucine
- 1-1.5g of fat
- 10-20mg of cholesterol
- 40-05mg of sodium
- 2-5g of total carbs
- 6-15% of vitamin D RDI
- 10% of calcium RDI
- 0-6% of iron RDI
- 4-6% of potassium RDI
If this list was too science-y, here’s a jargon-free explanation for the nutrients that matter most:
This native whey blend is as free of artificial ingredients and fillers as they come. With 120-130 calories/serving, you can nourish fatigued muscles without letting a single calorie go to waste.
BCAAs and Leucine
BCAAs and leucine are fitness buzzwords that every gains-chaser should understand! When you lift weights, you’re triggering microscopic tearing deep inside your muscles.
Whey protein lays the groundwork for repair; extra BCAAs and leucine put in some overtime.
Branched-chain amino acids (like leucine) can stimulate muscle repair by up to 22%, lessen the severity of post-exercise muscle soreness, and keep you energized after brutal workouts.
Ascent whey protein is a recipe for sweet, sweet gains and more time in the gym.
Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat
Ascent’s concoction is entirely on-par with other reputable whey protein powders. This mix won’t flood an already well-balanced diet with excess fat or carbs or set gains back in the slightest.
The 25g of protein per scoop is well-within the recommended 20-40g range post-workout.
Micronutrients (Minerals & Vitamins)
As expected, Ascent’s version doesn’t send up any nutritional red flags, in regards to the mineral and vitamin combinations.
3 Solid Benefits of Native Fuel Whey Protein Powder
1. It tastes pretty darn good.
Many protein manufacturers do an excellent job at naming mouth-watering flavors (a la cookies and cream or vanilla ice cream). But upon that first sip, you realize you’ve been led astray!
Ascent doesn’t just talk a big game; its recipes put other powders to shame!
Dozens of satisfied lifters describe it as the “best-tasting” shake they’ve ever chugged, providing a true vanilla or chocolate flavoring (with noticeably absent “fake” or “chemical” flavor accents).
Some even compare the cappuccino flavor to a Starbucks drink, the peanut butter chocolate combo to Reese’s candy, and vanilla bean to classic vanilla milkshakes!
2. No clumps, grain, or chalk.
No matter how vigorously you shake or how long you press “blend,” many protein shakes leave behind powdery clumps or sandy textures.
Don’t even get us started on the unbearable grit, chalky aftertaste, or hauntingly chewy bubbles.
You should enjoy your daily “dessert” without plugging your nose and chugging.
Ascent’s protein powder mixes remarkably well, whether you prefer water, milk, almond milk, pudding, ice cream, or even homemade pancake batter!
A well-dissolved protein shake is just 15-30 seconds away. And better yet, the powder won’t settle at the bottom of the cup if you like to nurse your protein shakes on your drive home.
3. It’s a prime example of “clean protein.”
“Clean eating” is the latest fad in the lifting community. And yet, fully adopting this lifestyle can feel impossible when supplement manufacturers stuff artificial ingredients into their recipes.
This Ascent whey protein powder is 100% natural.
In other words, you wind up with a shake that tastes natural (without chemical undertones), doesn’t trigger GI upset, and contains nothing more than you need.
If you’re a stickler for what you put into your body, Ascent should be your go-to powder.
2 Negatives of This Protein
1. Literally nothing.
There’s no such thing as a “perfect” athletic performance supplement, and there’s always a “but” following every compliment.
Normally, yes. But Ascent Native Fuel is one of the rare supplements evading a negative spotlight with little trouble.
Sure, you’ll find an occasional rant about minor things like:
- Not liking the taste (especially the lemon flavor)
- Not receiving the right order having it arrive damaged
- Not seeing mass gains (try a new routine?)
- Not enjoying the consistency
However, the general consensus is vastly different. It’s possible that those left disappointed by Ascent either have oddly specific expectations or prefer artificial additives to natural flavors.
2. Okay, maybe one thing: It can be too sweet.
After a bit of research, we did come across one complaint again and again, albeit a minor one that likely won’t bother most folks.
“It’s too sweet!”
Some lifters find the sweetness to be overpowering, overwhelming, or a turn-off. Or even claim that it leaves behind a borderline chemical aftertaste well after the fact (though many disagree).
This could be a deal-breaker if you’re not a fan of “sweet,” though a little tang is normal with vanilla or chocolate powders.
The unflavored version could give you an empty slate to create your own recipe. Just be aware that it doesn’t have any monk fruit extract, so it’ll be as bland as physically possible!
You’ll find yourself sprinkling in natural sweeteners yourself!
Wrapping Up This Ascent Whey Protein Review
Ascent Native Fuel Whey Protein Powder rightfully earns its glowing reviews, expanding athletic partnerships, and 30 years of unwavering support.
This powder is among the rare great-tasting proteins, doesn’t leave you with chunky or chewable shakes, and is as “clean” as performance supplements come.
And if you’re thinking, “Okay, this is too good to be true,” you might be right … to an extent. Now and then, people complain that this powder’s too sweet for their liking (personal preference).
But the complaints are far and few between. And otherwise, Ascent Native Fuel is our favorite whey protein to date.
If a junk-free, tasty supplement is on your bucket list, look no further than Ascent!