Amazon Optimum Nutrition and BSN Sample Box Review- April 2017
The Optimum Nutrition and BSN Sample Box is a new box from Amazon featuring various products from these two brands. Optimum Nutrition (ON) and BSN are two of my favorite sports nutrition brands so I knew I had to order this as soon as I heard about it.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this sample box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Cost: $7.99 (and get a $7.99 credit to use on select full size ON and BSN products when the box ships, so it’s technically free!)
The Products: Sample sports nutrition products from Optimum Nutrition and BSN
Ships to: US (free; for Amazon Prime members only)
Check out more fitness subscriptions in the Fitness Subscription Box Directory and make sure to add The Optimum Nutrition and BSN Sample Box to your subscription list or wishlist!
The box came with this information sheet highlighting the ON products on one side and the BSN products on the other side. There was also a little insert advertising the page where you can check out more sample boxes.
Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy in Iced Café Vanilla Flavor (2 servings) – Value $1.27 (get a 30-serving package for $18.99)
Normally I give anything with even the remotest hint of coffee to my husband, but I decided to try this myself and I was pleasantly surprised (probably because the coffee flavoring was minimal). I am not sure I got a huge energy boost but I, um, spilled about 2/3 of the powder on the kitchen floor, so I didn’t even get a full serving. This does have a fair amount of caffeine as well as some amino acids for energy and to support muscle recovery. This is affordable for a powder-type sports nutrition supplement and I am considering buying a full-size package of it.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout in Pineapple Flavor (2 servings) – Value $1.93 (get a 30-serving package for $28.99)
This was rather high in caffeine (175 mg per serving, which is nearly twice that in a cup of coffee). It also has creatine, which does help build muscle mass but also causes water weight gain. I was a little worried about a blood pressure spike during a cardio workout and not being able to sleep at night (I work out in the evening) so I took just a taste of this instead of drinking it all. It is sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame K, but I am used to artificial sweeteners so that didn’t bother me. It did a decent job of mimicking the flavor of pineapple and it seemed to blend well. (I strongly suggest mixing powders like this at half strength or less to start with, as I find them very intense at full strength.)
BSN Syntha-6 Protein Crisp in Chocolate Crunch Flavor (1 oz) – Value $2
You can buy just this sample for $2 from Amazon and get a $2 credit to use on a full size box. But anyway, this was one of the first things to go when I opened the box. (I was hungry.) These are vegetarian and they are *kind of* like Rice Krispie treats in terms of texture. Of course I loved the chocolate. If you don’t like the texture of other protein bars, this is a little different from other products and it may be worth a try.
BSN N.O.-Xplode XE Edge Xtreme Energy Pre-Workout in Blue Raspberry (1 serving) – Value $0.80 (get a 30-serving package for $23.97)
This was 325 mg of caffeine per serving, which is like 3.5 cups of coffee. Since I do mostly cardio lately (in the evening, no less) I was a little afraid to drink the whole thing before a workout. I did mix it up and have a taste. This is sweetened with sucralose and it contains a blue food dye. There is something about the blue raspberry flavor I have never been able to get behind, probably because it looks like Windex to me. To me, this was pretty standard blue raspberry flavoring. This product is available in four other flavors, too, though.
BSN AminoX in Strawberry Orange (1 serving, sample size) – Value $2 (get a 28-serving package for $18.99)
This one has only 125 mg of caffeine per serving so I felt OK trying it. It also has 10 grams of amino acids. I tend to eat a relatively low protein diet (I’m a vegetarian) but I know it is important to get amino acids for rebuilding muscle after workouts (or just maintaining muscle if you are in a slight calorie deficit). Unfortunately I was in the midst of an awful sinus infection that took away my sense of taste when I tried this so it mostly tasted like citric acid to me. But I would definitely consider trying this again if I was looking for a caffeine-containing product to use during workouts.
Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro Whey in Red Velvet Cake Flavor (1 serving) – Value $1.41 (get a 40-serving package for $56.39)
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, but red velvet cake is pretty much regular cake with a few tablespoons of cocoa powder (not really enough to even count as chocolate cake) and a boatload of red food coloring. Anyway, I make smoothies every morning and I added this to one of those. It blended really well (whey always blends better than plant-based protein powders) and I liked getting a non-standard but not-too-crazy sort of flavor.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Gainer in Vanilla Ice Cream (1.79 oz) – Value $1.14 (get a 5 pound container for $50.86)
This has 760 calories per serving! That is so much, like over 1/3 of what I eat in a typical day. But, if you are trying to gain weight, you need 250 extra calories every day to gain a half pound a week, and 500 extra calories every day to gain a pound a week (and not all of that is going to be muscle, even if you are a guy lifting heavy weights…). This packet isn’t a full serving, though, and you basically have to consume a large quantity of this to get all 760 calories. It is slightly more calorie dense than other protein powders but there is only so much calorie density you can pack into a powdered product. As a whey protein, this blends well into smoothies, and it also contains healthy plant fats from chia and flax seeds and just flat out carbs from oat, pea, and potato. This one could actually make a meal replacement if you were in a hurry. I split it up into a couple of days’ worth of smoothies so I didn’t go over my calorie goals. It worked well in my recipe; the vanilla flavor was pretty neutral.
Optimum Nutrition Opti-Bar in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (0.71 oz) – Value $0.74 (get 12- 2.1 oz. full size bars for $25.99)
This is about 1/3 the size of a standard Opti-Bar (yeah, I have the calories memorized…). I ate it early on, along with the BSN crisp. I am a fan of Opti-Bars already; while they have a few more calories (and fewer flavor choices) than Quest Bars, they have a wonderful, easy-to-eat texture that won’t damage your dental work and they are super low in sugar, which is something I’m looking for. This flavor was new to me and I did enjoy it. This is probably the product I’ll use my credit on.
BSN Syntha-6 Edge in Chocolate Milkshake Flavor (1 serving, sample size) – Value $2 (get a 48-serving package for $42.75)
Back when I started consuming protein powder and getting into subscription boxes, this is one of the earliest protein powders I tried, and it is pretty much the gold standard to which I compare everything else. It just blends so well, better than other whey, even (this also has casein, another dairy-based protein). And it is low in sugar. I also think it tastes good enough that I’d drink a shake with this (not even needing the other smoothie ingredients I usually use).
Optimum Nutrition Opti-Fit Lean Protein Shake in Chocolate (1.83 oz) – Value $1.65 (get a 1.83-pound container for $26.35)
This is funny to get in the same package as the gainer, which has the exact opposite goal. This can be used as a meal replacement and includes proteins that are digested at different rates, as well as fiber, to keep you full for longer. I don’t do meal replacements but was happy to mix this into a smoothie. This has whey but it also has chickpeas and oats for complex carbohydrates. I found that it absorbed more liquid than plain old whey/casein. This is also supplemented with a lot of vitamins and minerals. I’d suggest using an immersion blender instead of a shaker bottle, and mixing with dairy or non-dairy milk instead of water for best results.
Verdict: I calculated a value of about $14.94 for the Amazon Optimum Nutrition and BSN Sample Box. It is almost double the cost of the sample box, and don’t forget about the credit! I was already planning on ordering some more Opti-Bars (I’m a big fan of the texture after discovering them in another subscription box) so it’s kind of like getting the rest of the stuff for free. I received some old favorites (Opti-Bars and Syntha-6 protein powder) and learned about some new items I’d like to try, and this was pretty low risk for me since I already buy from these brands anyway.
P.S. Amazon, if you ever want to do a joint Quest/BPI sample box, I would be all over that one, as well.
What did you think of the Amazon Optimum Nutrition and BSN Sample Box? Do you subscribe to any fitness, weight loss, or workout subscriptions?