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I, probably like you, made a predictable pledge at the start of quarantine: to focus on my fitness -- and it worked, for a time. Building a fitness routine for myself in mid-spring Memphis was exciting. Maintaining that enthusiasm for months, and into hotter-than-Hades temperatures, has been daunting. The South in August is downright rude, and this year has been particularly relentless -- both my body and mind seem to melt as soon as I step outdoors.
Thankfully, just as the humidity arrived, a package from Ladder did, too. While no product can cure the Memphis heat, I’ve found that Ladder’s supplements have made a huge impact on how I feel in it. By incorporating Ladder’s Plant Protein and Superfood Greens supplements into my diet, I’ve found a renewed energy to train smarter and harder -- even when it’s hotter.
Next Level Training
Ladder was founded by LeBron James and his longtime trainer Mike Mancias after James experienced cramping during the 2014 NBA Finals. Unimpressed with the quality of nutritional supplements on the market, the pair decided to create their own -- and assembled a team of experts including 7x Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dr. Abbie Smith-Ryan from the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Since their 2018 launch, Ladder has released several clean and effective supplement powders: Pre-Workout, Whey Protein, Plant Protein, Superfood Greens, and Hydration. Every batch is third-party verified NSF Certified for Sport®, which ensures no toxins, heavy metals, or banned substances as well as 100% label accuracy.
Before Ladder, I had tried several plant-based protein powders, unaware that most don’t actually help the body as expected. Many shoppers choose plant proteins because they cater to a dairy-free lifestyle (whey protein contains lactose) without realizing that they lack all nine amino acids -- deeming them incomplete and unable to fully absorb into the body. Conscious of this issue, Ladder has added digestive enzymes and specific probiotic strains into their plant-based protein to complete it and give it the highest protein digestibility score.
More specifically, both flavors of Ladder’s plant protein contain:
- 21g high-quality pea and pumpkin protein, which burns fat, builds muscle, and boosts recovery.
- 4.5g BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) to support lean muscle growth and decrease soreness.
- 9g EAAs (Essential Amino Acids) for speedier recovery.
- 2bil CFU of Probiotics (healthy bacteria) that maintains balance in the body, improves digestion and gut health, and supports immune system health.
Ladder sent me 15 On-The-Go Packets of both their Chocolate and Vanilla Plant Protein to taste. The Ladder site offers these pre-portioned packs in quantities of 15, 30, and 45 for $28, $56, or $84, respectively with a one-time purchase -- or the ability to subscribe and save 20% on each. While the packets use more packaging than Ladder’s “Bag with Scoop” option, I appreciate that they’re pre-portioned and mess-free.
I tried both flavors of Plant Protein mixed only with water first: after shaking the water and powder combo in my Ladder Shaker Bottle, I created a smooth, sweet drink that tasted clean and left no aftertaste. While I enjoyed the plain shake, I’ve become an even bigger fan of the smoothie recipe options on Ladder’s site and Instagram page. Both powder flavors blend seamlessly into smoothies -- I’ve tried several varieties (like a Blueberry “Power” Shake and Banana Berry smoothie) that taste just as good, if not better, than smoothies I’ve ordered from fancy LA juice spots.
To be frank, I sampled Ladder’s Plant Protein first and with excitement but felt pretty hesitant to try their On-The-Go Superfood Greens packets -- greens have never been on the top of my to-drink list (I’d much rather just eat them). I was elated and admittedly surprised to discover that they taste like a refreshing matcha latte when combined with water. Superfood Greens have become my new Ladder favorite, and I’m thrilled given what’s in them:
- 2000mg Spirulina (blue-green algae packed with nutrients) that supports vitality and immune system health.
- Rhodiola (a powerful root used for centuries and supported by science) that both strengthens the body’s reaction to stress and fights fatigue.
- 1000mg Matcha, which contains one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world (EGCG).
- 400mg Magnesium (mineral involved in 600+ interactions in the body) that supports and maintains bone health, improves mood and brain function, and helps with energy formation, protein creation, muscle contractions, and recovery.
- 3000IU Vitamin D (one of the 24 nutrients critical to survival) to improve and maintain bone health and provide essential support for immune system function.
Purchasing options are the same for Superfood Greens as Plant Protein -- hundreds of customers have tried them and left glowing reviews on Ladder’s site.
Feels and Performance
For the past few weeks, I’ve tried to incorporate a Ladder smoothie into my morning mix, plus a Superfood Greens pick-me-up in the afternoon. I’ve noticed subtle yet consistent results mentally and dramatic results physically. After drinking a morning smoothie, I’ve been able to enjoy a full, focused, and productive morning. When lunchtime rolls around, I feel hungry but not hangry or depleted. Then, my Superfood Greens help kick my afternoon into high-gear -- while drinking them, I’ve avoided any afternoon slump.
I’ve also noticed a huge, sustained impact on my athletic performance while fueling my body more mindfully. Even in high temperatures and humidity, my body feels more suited to perform -- and my recovery time has shortened. Lately, I’ve felt energized enough to workout everyday, whereas I used to feel sluggish, sore, and in need of a day off after an outdoor run. Last weekend, I spent 45 minutes on a Peloton run and felt stronger than I have in weeks. I’m excited to continue hitting the pavement and tracking my success with Ladder as the summer wears on and turns to fall.
The Finish Line
If you’ve fallen off the fitness bandwagon, I encourage you to hop back on board with the help of Ladder’s range of supplements. While Ladder’s supplements won’t make you fit, they’re a trusty companion for jump-starting a regimen and sustaining it over time. No matter which rung you’re starting from, I recommend Ladder as a tool to help you reach new heights.
5 More Reasons To Love Ladder:
- Each of their products is NSF Certified for Sport, meaning they’re approved by all major sports governing bodies.
- A team of nutritionists, coaches, and athletes serve as advisors to the brand.
- In addition to selling high-quality products, Ladder also offers content around fitness, nutrition, and cooking.
- Ladder products cater to professional athletes as well as everyday athletes -- they were designed with the public in mind.
- They offer Gratitude and Student Discounts for teachers, first-responders, healthcare workers, members of the military, and students.