Backed by LeBron James, Ladder is a supplement company that claims to provide health benefits. We tested and reviewed the supplements. Learn what we thought.
Ladder Nutrition: Our Honest Review and Experience
Ladder is a lifestyle and fitness company backed by LeBron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger that provides a monthly supplement subscription as well as emails and videos focusing on health and wellness.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of the company is how novel it is. They aren’t just a supplement company, nor are they just an online resource for advice on healthy living. The company’s motto is “No Magic Pill,” referring to the fact that good health doesn’t come about through quick solutions.
The idea for Ladder came about slowly, starting in 2014 when LeBron James had severe cramping during the 2014 NBA Finals, the company’s website says.
He and his personal trainer, Mike Macias, searched for “nutrition products” with high standards and legitimate effectiveness that could combat the cramping but couldn’t find any.
Their search led them to create their own brand, one that Schwarzenegger, Vonn, and Crawford joined as a way to provide consumers with reliable nutrition and wellness information and products.
“Instead of magic pills and one-size-fits-all fads, Ladder is built on three pillars: scientifically-backed information, community interaction with world-class experts, and customized nutrition products that meet the highest standards for safety and purity,” the site’s About Us page says.
In this review, we’ll talk about how the Ladder supplement program works, as well as provide an analysis of their newsletter and video content. After that, we’ll discuss their supplement subscription pricing and compare Ladder to similar companies.
Along the way, we’ll include our own experience testing a couple of Ladder’s nutrition products.
Ladder’s company revolves around a monthly subscription service in which they send you a box that includes a series of nutrition supplements and a free Ladder tumbler with your first order.
They have four powdered nutrition packets they offer—Whey Protein, Plant Protein, Energy and Greens. The main ingredients of each are listed below along with flavor options in parenthesis:
- Whey Protein (chocolate or vanilla): Milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, probiotic blend
- Plant Protein (chocolate or vanilla): Pea protein, organic pumpkin protein, enzyme blend, probiotic blend
- Energy (strawberry lemonade): Creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, citicoline sodium salt, L-theanine, green tea leaf extract
- Greens: Organic spirulina, matcha tea leaf, organic barley grass, spinach leaf, rhodiola root extract, beetroot extract, broccoli seed extract, menaquinone-7
What we noticed about each of these ingredient lists is that, in addition to the items we listed, Ladder tells you the levels of vitamins and minerals included in each packet, too.
For example, their Greens packet has 375 percent of your daily allotment of Vitamin D, 433 percent of your daily Vitamin K and 125 percent of your daily Vitamin B12.
In order to find out which supplements work best for you, Ladder will make you take a short quiz to get a sense of what your fitness goals. Once you take this quiz, they’ll recommend a supplement regiment that fits your goals.
When we did the quiz, we said we were looking for a solution that would help us lose weight. Ladder recommends a combination of their Plant Protein and Greens formulas.
Their reasoning behind the recommendation was that a high protein diet has been proven to help people lose weight and that the greens provide a boost of nutrients to help counter the stress your body will feel as you shed pounds.
You have the ability to pick the recommendations that Ladder gives you or make your own choice. Either way, once you sign up for a subscription, Ladder will send you a new box every month with the nutrition packets you requested along with a piece of Ladder merchandise. You also have the option of buying one-off orders of their packets.
Our Ladder box arrived in excellent shape. The packing was professional and sleek. We tried both the Plant Protein and Greens packets. The packets contain a powder that you can mix with water, milk, food or a smoothie. We mixed our powder with 8 oz. Of water and then shook our tumbler for a few seconds.
An image we took of Ladder's packaging upon arrival.
More Ladder Packaging
Our first impression of these packets was negative. There’s a distinct taste of Stevia, the natural sweetener they use in their packets. However, each additional taste got better to the point that they were drinkable.
As a reminder, if you don’t like the taste of a particular powder when mixed with water, try to mix it with other liquids or foods.
Ladder recommended that we take each supplement packet at least three times a week while using 8–12 ounces of liquid to mix your packets.
Each of Ladder’s four nutritional packets meets National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards for sports supplements. According to Ladder, less than 1 percent of all supplements on the market meet these standards.
This designation is important because the NSF applies stringent standards to the products they certify.
“The NSF mark is your assurance that the product has been tested by one of the most respected independent certification organizations in existence today,” the NSF website says. “It is valued by consumers, manufacturers, retailers and regulatory agencies worldwide.”
They go on to say that the NSF designation means the product’s “labeling and claims have been objectively reviewed by a trusted third party” and that it is “evidence of your organization’s company-wide commitment to quality, compliance and safety.”
Not only that, but the sports specialization of the certification means that the packets are in complaisance with various sports-league anti-doping regulations.
We certainly see these principles at work in the supplement packets Ladder sends. Their whey protein, for example, contains very little sugar (3g per serving), more than half the protein the average person needs for a day (26g) and a combination of vitamins, minerals and probiotics.
We’ve done research on hundreds of supplements and can say, based on that research, that Ladder is different. They don’t overhype certain ingredients nor do they make sensational claims about ingredients that have little to no scientific evidence of their effectiveness.
As we mentioned earlier, you have two choices when it comes to Ladder’s nutrition packets. You can choose to get a monthly subscription of the packets they choose for you or that you choose for yourself. Also, you can go to their website and buy a one-time order of their packets.
At the time of publishing, the pricing for all packets was the same and included free shipping:
- $36 for 12 packets
- $38.08 for 16 packets
- $45 for 20 packets
- $52.08 for 24 packets
- $60 for 30 packets
- $72 for 36 packets
You’ll need to have a minimum monthly order of $50 to get a subscription. You’ll be charged the first day you make your order and then on the shipping day for every future delivery.
Ladder will notify you each month in advance of your new shipment so that, if you need to change your plan or cancel your subscription, you have enough time to do it. You can make changes or cancel through your online account or contact Ladder customer service at support@weareladder or (855)558-0577.
As we mentioned earlier, you don’t have to sign up for a subscription to buy Ladder products. Each of their four offerings is $25 for eight packets and shipping is free.
The site says that they have a satisfaction guarantee through which you can get a refund if you aren’t happy with their products. To request this refund, you can contact them through the email address and/or phone number listed above.
Ladder’s supplement powder is packed with minerals and vitamins we think exceed what you’d find from cheaper supplements. Furthermore, they list all the nutritional data about their various packets, whereas most supplements list one or two ingredients.
In other words, Ladder seems to live up to their mission to be transparent about what they’re selling. When you ingest a Ladder packet, you know exactly what’s going into your body.
For athletes who undergo drug testing, this is a big deal. But even for the average person who is looking for a way to incorporate added nutrients into their diet as they try to lose weight or build muscle, this is a great benefit.
Ladder Nutrition takes a sensible approach to health and wellness based on research and scientific expertise. When a particular diet doesn’t have the science to back it up, they’ll tell you.
The downside is that Ladder is an expensive option for someone who wants to use their packets daily. Combining one of their protein options with greens or energy will cost you $144 for a 30-day supply.
Ladder offers seven informational videos which we thought were excellent.
While there is a nice core of information videos, we think that this aspect of their holistic, no-nonsense approach to fitness and nutrition is lacking.
Also, our first impressions of the taste of the packets was a bad one. The Stevia flavor hits you pretty good when you take your first few drinks.
In general, we believe that you’ll enjoy their subscription service if you’re looking for a supplement whose ingredients undergo rigorous certification and are packed with nutrients.
If you want a program that combines supplements with advice and workouts, Ladder could be the option for you in the future but may not provide enough content right now to appease you.