Cory Gregory and Brad Pyatt started MusclePharm before they had ever met in person. Even across great distances, they were able to craft a singular vision of a unique supplement line that seamlessly blended science, design, and high-profile sponsors. It would be a company run by athletes, for athletes.
After working day and night for months, they launched their products, encased in a signature green and black scheme that changed the way supplement companies market. They flooded social media and are still riding the crest of that great tide. Learn how the company got its start, and how it maintains its foothold in a contentious industry. Co-founder and Bodybuilding.com content contributor Cory Gregory gave us an inside look at how "The Athletes Company" rose to prominence and continues to raise the bar!
Facility Locations: HQ Denver Colorado; offices in Boise, Idaho, and Ontario, Canada
Founder/CEO: Brad Pyatt; Co-Founder, Executive VP Cory Gregory
In Operation Since: 2008
Prizes / Awards:
- 2012 Brand of the Year
- 2012 Pre-Workout of the Year
- 2012 Packaging
- 2012 GNC Rising Star award
- 2011 Breakout Brand of the Year
- 2011 New Supplement of the Year Assault
- 2011 Packaging
- 2009 New Brand of the Year
Hybrid Series: Assault - Pre Workout, Battle Fuel XT - Test Booster, Amino1 - Athletes cocktail hydration & recovery, Bullet Proof - Nighttime recovery, Combat - Time-released protein blend, Hybrid NO - Nitric Oxide, Musclegel - Protein gel, Recon - Post-Workout, Shred Matrix - Fat loss, Armor V - Multi-vitamin
Core Series: CLA - Fat loss, Creatine - Performance, Glutamine - Recovery, Z-Core PM - Anabolic Mineral support, Fish Oil - EPA/DHA, Casein - Micellar protein, Liquid Carnitine - Fat loss, 3:1:2 BCAA Caps - Amino Acids
List of Sponsored Athletes: San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, Denver Broncos WR Eric Decker, Fitmiss Chady Dunmorem, UFC Lightweight World Champion Ben Henderson, UFC Featherweight Contender Clay Guida, Rugby Star Quade Cooper
Brad Pyatt (now CEO) and myself started the company in early 2008. Brad and I knew each other from previous work in the industry, and we had a lot of the same issues with what was going on in the industry at that current time. Once we realized that, we meshed our contacts, knowledge, cash, and our all-in attitudes, and MusclePharm was born. Honestly, we became business partners before we even met in person, which may be hard to believe. But it just felt right, and my intuition told me something great was going to happen.
From day one, we made the joke that MusclePharm never sleeps. Brad is a night owl who works constantly, and I'm up at 3:45 a.m. every day to get a jump on the world. Between the two of us, one is almost always awake—and that has been the case since the day the company started. We set out to make quality and safe products that are backed up by real research, and that's what we've done. We've added a branding component that we believe has been revolutionary to the industry and we continue to reach new heights.
Everyone who trains is an athlete in our mind. Whether they're a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, it doesn't matter and we treat them all like athletes. We believe that all athletes deserve safe and effective products, and that's the underlying motive of what drives us at MusclePharm. Of course, both Brad and I are competitive athletes as well. Brad is a former NFL player, and I have been competing in powerlifting and bodybuilding for years. We live the lifestyle, too, and that adds a lot of credibility to MusclePharm.
Dr. Eric Serrano, who is our chief formulator and an extremely smart man, has been my friend for more than 10 years has been huge in the development of MusclePharm. "Doc" helped us in the early days of MusclePharm and still makes sure everything is up to speed, safe and effectively dosed when it comes to our products. He is always up-to-date on all the new stuff going on in the world of performance nutrition, and is an innovator in a lot of ways.
Dr. Roscoe Moore has also been huge to have onboard. He is former Assistant Surgeon General of the United States. He brings a political piece to the puzzle that not a lot of companies, if any, have. Roscoe has been on board for a few years now and that's been instrumental in our growth. Of course, every early employee at MusclePharm went through the up and downs of a new company and we certainly appreciate all they did for us to help this company constantly and consistently move forward. It's that combined effort from everyone that helps us continue to grow at a remarkable rate.
Jeremy DeLuca, who now works at MusclePharm as our EVP and chief marketing officer, took a chance on Brad and I with a huge order for a campaign with Bodybuilding.com in 2010. Our business was never the same after that day and we never looked back. We appreciate what Jeremy did for us in the early days, and now he is huge asset to the MusclePharm team and a proven industry professional.
I have a pretty unique story. I'm a former underground coal miner who diligently saved money to start my first small gym. I opened it when I turned 20 and, in the last 14 years, I have seen every aspect of the fitness industry. I received my Exercise Specialist certificate from Columbus State, and I am also a NESTA-certified nutrition coach, Westside Barbell-certified and a CrossFit level 1 trainer.
My competitive achievements are a powerlifting total of 1,755 pounds, weighing just 208, putting together a career-best 700-pound squat. Most recently, I have been featured on the cover of Fitness Physique, Inside Fitness and next month's Fitness RX magazine.
I eat and breathe fitness every day, helping people reach their goals through social media. That aspect has taken off, especially my personal Twitter account, which has more than 300,000 followers, MusclePharm's Twitter, which has 200,000 followers, and MusclePharm's Facebook page, which has more than 160,000 fans. I love the fact that I now have the platform to lead people toward the results they want to achieve.
We are always working on new products to change the industry. Currently, we are diligently working on a new weight-gainer, which is going to be an awesome product and unlike any gainer that's ever been on the market.
We didn't just want to be a supplement company; we wanted to truly own a color scheme and be a brand people wanted to represent by living the MusclePharm lifestyle. The lime green and black is clean; it caught on quick, and it's recognizable.
We're serious about protecting our brand and being a complete company so athletes of all natures will want to latch onto that MusclePharm lifestyle. We didn't just build MusclePharm around one product; we built a full brand, and I think that added a lot of credibility to our company and what we represent.
Depending on their goals, we would direct them to either Assault, which is our award-winning pre-workout product, or, and especially in the case of a younger athlete who needs recovery and hydration, I would go with Amino 1.
The best thing is an easy answer, and that's helping people get the results they want. I see it every day on social media and at the different events I travel to, and that part never gets old. It's always exciting to see someone make radical changes, and it's motivating at the same time. The worst thing is the lack of research being done by a lot of companies in our industry. That's why we do what we do and make products that are proven to be safe and effective.
They are very important. You have to see the people who support you and make your presence known in those settings. I love going to the trade shows and expos and meeting with fans and consumers. We're just glad and honored to be a part of them.
MusclePharm is known across all sports and across the entire world because we have been so aggressive in that regard. Since day one, we've wanted to be what we called "loud" and really make our presence known in every aspect imaginable. It worked for us because we are very confident in what we do. The louder we are, the better it is, as long as it the message is positive, and that's how we keep it.
The UFC is a worldwide sports league that has put our brand in front of tens of millions of people for the last three-plus years. That connection has no boundaries and neither does MusclePharm, and that's why you see the MusclePharm name all over the world.
I don't ever talk smack or talk down on anyone else in the industry. I just know what we do well, which is put out effective products with research and protocols that are more like a pharmaceutical company. I don't know what everyone else does, to be honest. I'm just focused on what we're doing and how we can continue to get better.
Our in-house protocol with all of our research and doctors is second to none, and we don't cut any corners in that regard. Plus, the fact that we have our products tested by Informed-Choice is a big deal for our company. We take this aspect of the business very seriously at MusclePharm.
We have made this an extremely important part of our operation. What most people do not know about MusclePharm is that we have an entire research team and full institutional review board. That means we are legal to hold clinical trials at MusclePharm. We also have long-term relationships with multiple universities to validate studies, and that's important. We have no qualms showing the world what we do and then proving it again in the university setting.
We are focused at MusclePharm on doing things this industry has never seen. We've had plenty of trials and tribulations along the way, but no matter how much adversity we have been through, our team has worked through it. We've kept our eyes on the goal of being a true industry leader and a mainstream brand that brings sports nutrition to a new level, and nothing will stop us from reaching that goal.
Sponsored Athlete Q&A /// Clay Guida UFC
I started working with MusclePharm in 2009, and they really have been awesome to me! I joined them because I met Brad and Cory during the early stages of MusclePharm and believed in their passion to make this what it is today.
I am a professional MMA fighter in the UFC and, like any other sport, every dollar counts, whether it's toward your supplements to help you perform at a high level or just helping you sustain your living as a professional athlete. Without a doubt, sponsorships are huge.
I love taking Armor V. I take two servings per day when I'm training hard and getting ready for a fight. It keeps my immune system up while I'm in training camp. I'm also a big fan of Re-Con. It's an awesome product for recovery.
MusclePharm is truly for the athlete because Brad and Cory are athletes themselves. That's a big deal when it comes to something like supplements. They get it and the proof is in their product.
The research put into each product and lab tests I have seen at MusclePharm are unreal. They have always talked about putting these things in place, and they've been dedicated to proving their products are not only effective, but also safe.
My overall recovery has improved 100 percent and in the MMA game, that's the most important part. I take supplementation much more seriously these days, and it's really paid off.
I came onto the MusclePharm team when there weren't too many MMA guys associated with supplement companies. It put me into a new demographic and getting featured on places like Bodybuilding.com has been really cool and opened some new doors.
I know the guys who run MusclePharm—Brad, Cory, and Jeremy— very well. All of them are down-to-earth and just love to help people. Honestly, I couldn't be any happier to be associated with them.