I am officially back on the horse. I’m back at the gym, lifting to my heart’s content, and I’m gobbling protein like there’s no tomorrow. Huzzuh! So, we’re going to have a slight shift in the works for the next couple of weeks, beyond the rigmarole of whining about the bar, the lack of jobs, and the aesthetics of my current hovel. Given that I’ve decided to enter a powerlifting competition rapidly after a slightly debilitating surgery, I’m shifting gears ever so slightly to more of a health focus. There will be whey, people. There will be yogurt. There will be cookies that look like cookies and taste like a thousand children screaming of sugar deprivation.Bear with me, and I will reward you with photos of my rotund body in neon-hued singlets.Without further ado, I would like to kick off this brief, painful phase with the best whey protein I have ever had the pleasure of gorging upon. I asked MTS Nutrition to help me build up my gains and they gladly acquiesced, sending over massive tubs of red velvet cake and banana cream pie whey. I was pretty pumped to try them as they won Stak3d’s Protein War competition last year. What makes them unique is the inclusion of their namesakes in the ingredients. Red velvet cake has little pieces of cake, apple pie has graham cracker, and so on. It only bumps up the caloric content by three calories per serving and doesn’t mess with the macros or sugar. Protein purists may argue this deflects from the idea of “clean” protein, but I find it worth the caloric raise and certainly the overall benefit to the flavor and texture of each shake.My bar for everything, dessert, breakfast cereal, new Oreo, and fried chicken, still remains red velvet, a recent contender to the whey protein market. Fine, birthday cake, too. Sign me up for my basic bitch membership card and we’ll all go buy yoga pants. Regardless, these flavors span the satisfactory gamut from Trutein’s iteration, now with real cream cheese but little to no red velvet flavor and a sickly sweet aftertaste, to the amicable cocoa-heavy Cellucor. If Cellucor is a 10, MTS plays the role of Spinal Tap and turns it all the way up to 11, with a robust, balanced flavor, packed with chocolate and a milky, caramel-sweet aftertaste. It tilts more toward the frosting side of red velvet cake, with a frothy, dairy-heavy flavor that is heavily accentuated by the addition of milk. Its richness is contained in the very find powder, less so the milk- some powders thicken heavily with dairy, but this maintains its texture regardless of the liquid, thinning out only with a substantial amount of water in excess of 16oz.I tested this to its limits with the white whale of protein powder experimentation in my book: pancakes. They’re versatile, easy to stuff with powder, and inexplicably terrible every time I make them. With this? Barely even broke a metaphorical sweat. I put a hardcore Valentine’s Day twist on mine with date and toffee cake butter, a blood-orange cream cheese glaze, and red velvet pancakes, clocking in at 91 grams of protein, 20 grams of fat, and 57 grams of carbs for the whole platter, which could serve one hungry diner or be easily split for two. Tangy, acidic, and delicious, all wrapped up with the flavors of brown butter, blood orange (in a sneak preview of Noosa’s new flavor), and red velvet cake in breakfast form. Power moves? You’ve got ’em, baby.