Cellucor is known for a number of bodybuilding and performance supplements, perhaps most notably their C4 Extreme preworkout intensifier. But while the majority of their products hold appeal for a very specialized demographic, whey protein is something that the general population can take advantage of, so it was somewhat of a surprise that in 2012—10 years after Cellucor opened its doors—the Cor-Performance line was announced.
The Cor-Performance line includes BCAAs and creatine, but we’ll be focusing on the whey protein line here.
Cor-Performance is a whey protein blend, which is composed of whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. The difference between the two is that isolate is a further processed form of whey that can virtually remove all of the lactose, carbohydrates, and fat normally found in milk. Whey concentrate, on the other hand, is less processed, and the proteins tend to retain their 3-dimensional structure better as a result. This potentially improves the bioavailability of whey concentrate, though both forms have similarly potential muscle-building qualities once absorbed into the body.
The big controversy these days with protein supplements is that manufacturers are sometimes cutting corners in order to protect their bottom line. While this is something you might expect from budget brands, even big names—Muscletech, for example—have been implicated in what is referred to as “amino spiking”, whereby manufacturers add cheap amino acids such as glycine and taurine in order to increase the protein content of their product. Since there are 20 amino acids in total, having an artificially high level of glycine and taurine in a powder conveys no benefit to the end user, ultimately meaning you’d be getting less bang for your buck.
Fortunately, Cellucor doesn’t do any of this.
Cor-Performance was independently tested by LabDoor and received high marks for purity and nutritional value. Heavy metal contamination can be a concern with some powders, so it’s good to see this protein pass with a concentration <1 ppm.
Cellucor does use sucralose in their protein powders as a sweetener. There are some natural brands out there that eschew sweeteners altogether, but their products also taste blander as a result. In the grand scheme of things, if you’re having one shake per day, the sucralose in this powder should be fine. But if it’s something you’re trying to avoid entirely, it is certainly worth being aware of.
Overall, Cor-Performance is a high-quality protein that avoids the pitfalls that other companies encounter when trying to increase their margins. With a blend of both whey concentrate and isolate, this protein powder should be a good supplement for any time of day.
Build Your Cellucor Stack!
Cellucor Cor-Performance Whey Protein
Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Supplement
Cellucor Cor-Performance BCAA
Protein powder has come a long way since the gritty, awful-tasting stuff of the past. Mixability, thickness, and flavor are all aspects of taste that manufacturers have steadily worked to improve. While some budget brands still produce barely drinkable protein powders, most of the big brands produce some great tasting flavors. Cellucor has a couple winners as well.
My personal favorite is the Cinnamon Swirl flavor, hands down. Although relatively mild on the cinnamon, it also has a sugary sweetness to it that is a tad reminiscent of a cinnamon bun. The powder mixes equally well in both water and milk (I personally use water), producing a thick, creamy shake that is surprisingly satisfying for a 100% whey protein.
Cor-Performance whey comes in several other flavors as well: Cookies ‘n Cream, Peanut Butter Marshmellow, Strawberry Milkshake, Whipped Vanilla, Molten Chocolate, Cor-Fetti, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, S’mores, Red Velvet, Mint Chocolate Chip, and the aforementioned Cinnamon Swirl. Many of these flavors come with little flavor bits to add some texture to the shake. For example the Cor-Fetti includes sprinkles, while the S’mores flavor has tiny “marshmallows”.
Judging by user reviews over on Bodybuilding.com, Cinnamon Swirl and Mint Chocolate Chip take top honors for taste. Strawberry Milkshake comes in at the other end of the spectrum, and I’d have to agree. Having tried a sample of the flavor myself, it tasted nothing like strawberries nor any type of dessert I’d ever ask for.
If I were judging flavor just by my favorites: Cinnamon Swirl and Molten Chocolate, I’d probably give Cor-Performance a solid 9.0 for taste. But entries such as Strawberry Milkshake and Red Velvet are bad enough to bring down the overall average. Furthermore, the “bits” are a neat feature in theory, but very hit-or-miss. I enjoyed them in the Mint Chocolate Chip and Cor-Fetti, but they were more an annoyance in the S’mores flavor, for example. Once you settle on a flavor you like, however, I suspect you’ll be quite pleased with it overall.
The MSRP for a 4-lb tub is $69.99 (you can likely find it cheaper at a variety of online retailers). That works out to 54 servings at 35 g/serving. Each serving has 25 g of protein, so for $70 you’re getting 1350 g (2.97 lbs) of protein. This is pretty much on par with many of the top brands, though Optimum Nutrition certainly sets the standard for value with its 100% Gold Standard Whey.
One area that sets Cellucor apart, however, is that its protein is particularly well-suited for baking. If you’re looking for a protein powder to incorporate into healthier versions of your favorite baked goods, the Cor-Performance line might be just what you’re looking for. In fact, Cellucor has some sponsored recipes up on YouTube. While these take the idea to an extreme (going heavy on the protein and probably sacrificing taste and texture), it’s entirely possible to tone things down and just sneak some extra protein into your daily diet. The ability to use your protein in a variety of ways gives Cellucor a little value boost.
Cellucor has a definite winner in its Cor-Performance series of whey protein. It offers high quality protein in a blend of isolates and concentrates that promote muscle recovery and growth. While expensive, the price is comparable to other competitors with a similar level of quality, and the flexibility in terms of being used for more than just protein shakes makes it a great value proposition. Especially when you factor in some of the great tasting flavors available in this lineup, it’s no surprise that Cor-Performance Whey Protein gets our full recommendation.