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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

UW system graduates open Protein Lab near UWL campus

Image+submitted+by+Austin+Fritz.
Image submitted by Austin Fritz.

If someone asked you the nutrition facts of that snack you were about to grab in between classes, would you know? According to a study from Nutrients about college students and their eating habits, some common barriers to healthy eating are time constraints and easy access to junk food. The study states one enabler to healthy behavior was improved food knowledge and education. 

At Protein Lab, co-owners Austin Fritz and Alexis Brown help students at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse educate themselves on healthy eating by providing protein teas, shakes, and coffees. Located at 1241 Badger St., Protein Lab is right off campus near the Student Health Center.  

Roughly two weeks after the opening of their shop, The Racquet Press sat down with Fritz and Brown to hear more about their backgrounds and their new business. 

As a UWL alumnus, Fritz graduated in 2017 majoring in psychology with a minor in nutrition. Before opening his own business, he worked a 9-5 job. “It just didn’t feel in alignment with me”, said Fritz. He continued, “This business came about within Herbalife, but then I really jumped on once I had the opportunity to do business [in La Crosse].” 

An hour and 41 minutes north of UWL, Brown graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2016 majoring in kinesiology with a minor in business administration and an emphasis on nutrition. Brown said, “I always knew I wanted to do something where I was able to earn my own money instead of working for someone in a 9-5 job.” 

In addition to owning Protein Lab, Fritz and Brown have their own separate businesses. Fritz owns Ignite Nutrition Lax and Brown owns Elite Nutrition in Onalaska.  

Both Fritz and Brown said the inspiration for opening Protein Lab was because they want to give back to a college community. Fritz said, “It gives me a different perspective to look on the campus. When I was [attending UWL], I was an athlete. Once I [graduated] I got really into partying and the lifestyle of what La Crosse is all about, and I wish I had [a place], like what we’re offering when I was in college.” 

One goal that Brown has for Protein Lab is to provide an uplifting, positive space. She said, “Not only for college students but for the entire community, and we do that by serving shakes, teas, and protein coffees and just being a really safe space for people to come into.” 

Fritz said one goal for Protein Lab is to impact thousands of people’s lives by incorporating a variety of different things. “The biggest thing is we want to be able to have a safe place for everyone to come and learn about nutrition, but also have a place where it’s not so fast paced.” Fritz continued, “We don’t want another place where people just aimlessly come. We want to meet people and get to know people.”

Protein Lab offers energizing teas, protein shakes, protein coffees, protein balls, and protein donuts. Brown said, “[the teas] help boost metabolism, provide mental clarity, and include aloe which is great for your digestive system.” She continued, “all of our protein shakes are meal replacement shakes. They provide 24 grams of protein, roughly 200-250 calories, and 21 vitamins and minerals.”

Brown said, “We also offer protein coffees. So, those are meal replacement shakes, they have 81 milligrams of caffeine, less than 8 grams of sugar, so they are a really great alternative to bigger brand coffee shops.” 

Fritz feels that Protein Lab is different from other neighboring shops because of the wisdom they offer to students. “People are scared to graduate, so if we can give people a different mindset around the purpose of their life and what they’re doing, then I think that’s what we’re going to create and bring to fruition,” said Fritz. 

Brown said the atmosphere is what sets Protein Lab apart from its competitors. “There are places to sit down and study with friends, we have a fireplace, a separate office area for large groups to come and study.” 

Fritz feels UWL students and La Crosse community members should consider shopping at Protein Lab because of its intentionality behind the products. “When you go to Starbucks and you get a large white chocolate mocha, you’re not thinking about anything other than the fact that it tastes good, but there are so many other benefits [when ordering from Protein Lab],” he said. 

“We offer something for every-body,” said Brown. She continued, “[Protein Lab is] not just for people that are in shape or working out, it’s for people who love something quick and on the go that is a better alternative than going to a fast food restaurant.” 

“We’re super excited to welcome and meet all of the college students and the community into our business,” said Brown. She continued, “We are such a welcoming, uplifting place and we cannot wait to find something for you to enjoy.”

Protein Lab is open, Mon.-Fri. 7 am-4 pm,  Sat. 8 am-1 pm, Sun. Closed, however, anticipating to open. You can reach them at (608) 881-8444 and on Instagram at _proteinlab_.    

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About the Contributor
Jenasea Hameister, Managing Editor
Year at UWL: Senior PGPs: She/Her/Hers Hometown: Deforest, WI Major: Public Administration Minor: Legal Studies Other Campus Involvement: SUFAC Chair, La Crosse District Five Alderwoman, Honors Research Candidate, Political Science & Public Administration Association member Future Plans after Graduation: Pursuing advocacy journalism after graduation Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Yoga at Root Down and coffee afterward
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    Steven BergstenSep 4, 2023 at 9:28 pm

    I’ll Be Stopping In Your New Business This Week, Looking Very Forward To The Nutritional Product’s That You Have To Offer, As Well Meeting You Noth

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