Facility Location: Bryan, TX
CEO: Doss Cunningham
In operation since: 2002
Prizes and Awards:
Best New Brand 2010; Super HD: Fat Burner of the Year 2012, 14; C4: Pre-workout of the Year 2013-14; COR Whey: Breakout Supp of the Year 2013
Top Products: C4 Extreme, Super HD, COR-Performance Whey, P6 Black
For many Bodybuilding.com readers, Cellucor is best known for a single letter and a number: C4. This pre-workout juggernaut has raced all the way to No. 1 on the list of our top 50 selling pre-workout products (No. 3 overall). As thousands of BodySpace users can attest, this has done a lot in recent years to reinforce the idea that a good pre-workout belongs in the supplement pantheon right alongside things like protein, multivitamins, and fish oil.
So what does Cellucor have to offer you beside energy? Cellucor's company spokesman gave us a glimpse into the inner workings of the finest export from Bryan, Texas!
Q Tell our readers how your company started
Cellucor started in 2002 as an exclusive, premium, and innovative supplement brand aimed at solving a classic retail problem: Big, legacy brands were dumbing down their formulas and being sold everywhere, at inconsistent prices. For a shop owner, it was hard to compete. It was difficult to feel like you had a special product or a complete line of products that was unique, and that would actually bring people to the store to check it out and purchase.
Cellucor grew—fast. We built a great team of market representatives to help educate people about our products, put samples in hands, and built relationships. We invested in people rather than print or other advertising. We let the products speak for themselves and got active on social media and the online forum communities to help spread the word.
Although Cellucor continues to grow and expand, we've stayed true to our roots. Premium, innovative products will always be our calling card; "Results Matter" will always be our mantra. We are active as ever online. Our products and our people are still our greatest strengths.
I was a professional pilot and charter captain before joining Cellucor full-time in 2010. I first found Cellucor in 2008 while shopping in a small independent supplement store in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was living in South Florida for the winter season, flying charter flights into the Bahamas, Turks, etc. I spent all of my free time at the gym and explored the shelves at the great mom-and-pop supplement shops you see in that part of the country, but that don't exist in Connecticut and New York City, where I'm from.
A sales associate sold me D4 Thermal Shock and protein from Cellucor, a brand I had never heard of—a brand that wasn't even available in CT/NYC at the time. I loved the products so much so that when I got back to the Northeast I called the 800 number on the side of the container to find out where I could buy more locally. The VP of Sales answered the phone that day, and we got into a great conversation about my background, including my affinity for and knowledge of supplements, and my willingness to help market Cellucor to a few local stores.
I started calling local stores and began getting Cellucor on the shelf in the Northeast, but not because I wanted a paycheck. Heck, I just wanted free supplements! I began to build a relationship with a few people at Cellucor by calling in local stores' orders. Occasionally we'd discuss my dissatisfaction with being a corporate pilot. The jet set lifestyle had cost me a few personal relationships and made me rethink what I wanted to spend my life doing.
Cellucor had been growing, fast, and the brand had just expanded into the Northeast. After a brief introduction and conversation with the CEO, Doss Cunningham, I began working full-time with Cellucor, leading our market entry in NYC. I get asked all the time if Cellucor products are good. They are good enough to change careers!
What are some of your top products right now?
It's impossible to talk top Cellucor products without talking about C4 Extreme, our flagship pre-workout. C4 delivers awesome energy and pumps, great focus and intensity, and hands down is the best-tasting pre-workout on the market. Thanks to our supportive fans, C4 won ‘Pre-workout of the Year’ the last two years in a row!
COR-Performance Whey, from our COR-Performance line, is another top seller on Bodybuilding.com which took home the Supplement Award in 2013 for "Breakout Supplement of the Year." COR-Performance Whey is, as the name suggests, a whey-isolate-based protein with added digestive enzymes and minimal carbs or fat. We know there are so many protein choices out there, so to set ourselves apart, we wanted to bring standout flavors to the market such as Peanut Butter Marshmallow, Molten Chocolate, and our cereal-inspired Cinnamon Swirl. We even introduced several Bodybuilding.com exclusive flavors including COR-Fetti Cake Batter, Red Velvet Cake Batter, Mint Chocolate Chip and S’mores.
Our recent launch of the Cellucor and Bodybuilding.com exclusive "Select Stack" is another highlight. The Select Stack is the perfect way for fans to try multiple flavors of their favorite Cellucor products. Fans can create their own 6 or 12 serving "Stack Pack" with C4 Extreme, Alpha Amino, or COR-Performance Whey. The packs are small, convenient for traveling, and let fans have a variety of flavors at their disposable.
Are you coming out with any new and exciting products in the near future?
We are constantly looking toward the future—which means there's always something fresh and exciting in the works. New projects, flavors, sizes and even newly updated versions of a few existing Cellucor products could pop up. Stay tuned!
Who are some of your sponsored athletes? How do they impact your company?
Cellucor's Athletes, Team Cellucor, are more than athletes to our organization. Craig Capurso, Jen Jewell, Karina Baymiller, and Calum von Moger have been great additions to our family. Team Cellucor's training and nutrition articles and video content have helped fans everywhere achieve a variety of fitness goals.
Our athletes are also active behind the scenes. Each team member has contributed some great ideas to our product development team—the idea for COR-Fetti Cake Batter came from Jen Jewell.
We also have Colton Leonard, a world-class strongman competitor. Colton heads our company's culture team and has played a huge role in customer service. His experience leading both departments has been invaluable. He reaches out and connects with Cellucor fans on a personal level.
Let's say a customer is just starting a fitness regimen, can only afford one product, and he/she comes to you. Which one supplement do you recommend?
It's tough to answer that without knowing the customer's specific goals, but everyone needs a good protein, and our COR-Performance Whey is a great one.
Protein is much more than just a supplement; protein is the foundation of any good nutrition and training plan. A protein deficiency will hinder your results no matter what else you take, so it's a great starting point.
What do you believe are the best and worst things about the supplement industry?
The supplement industry is generally a fun, passionate and supportive network of individuals and companies who aim to help customers achieve their goals. Unfortunately, many companies don't share the same commitment as Cellucor, to consistently deliver only the best products, with safety and customer service in mind. There are definitely some customers who have unfortunately had bad experiences. But Cellucor is here to change that.
How important are the tradeshows and expos to the growth of your company?
Tradeshows have been a great opportunity for us to get out there and meet our fans, give away a ton of samples, and have some fun. Nothing is better for our brand than to let our products speak for themselves. There is nothing more fun or rewarding than talking to our fans and hearing all the success stories and the passion they have for Cellucor.
In this fast-paced world, how important is quick and cost-efficient shipping to Cellucor's success?
It's essential! There is nothing worse than preparing for a workout only to realize you're out of C4 Extreme! Bodybuilding.com has been a great partner in this area, providing quick and inexpensive shipping, as well as free swag and samples.
What separates Cellucor from in the rest of your industry?
People. The Cellucor team is probably the greatest group of people you'll ever meet. We are fortunate to have such a driven, hardworking group with a shared commitment to going the extra mile. We "wow" our fans, partners, and each other every chance we get. We love what we do, and our team has absolutely been the biggest key to our success.
Ethics are important to supplements buyers. What does your company do to ensure ethical standards?
Although it's not something that's often advertised or boasted about, Cellucor is committed at every level to delivering compliant, quality products that deliver exactly what we say they deliver. We were the first major supplement brand to begin disclosing key ingredient doses in our flagship products—such as C4 Extreme—because we believe that delivering more information helps us deliver even greater results.
Our COR-Performance Series of products,for example, features an Informed Choice certification and fully disclosed formulas with the same goal in mind. We'd love to see an industry in which brands were forced to do the same; in the end, the customer wins.
Does Cellucor perform its own research? How will science guide your future?
Innovation, which is largely fueled by science, is one of our founding principles. Cellucor is the brand that consistently brings new, cutting-edge ingredients to the market and will continue to do so. To help further this goal, we made large investments in both internal and partner research assets, including a large emphasis on University research partnerships and public/private collaborations.
Before we wrap this up, is there anything else you would like to share? Is there anyone you would like to thank or give a shout out to? Where do you go in the future?
First and foremost, and on behalf of the entire Cellucor team, we would like to thank our loyal fans whose passion and enthusiasm have motivated us to always reach higher and higher. We'd like to thank the Bodybuilding.com team for the amazing opportunities to produce best-in-class articles, videos, and features. We would also like that thank all of our friends and families who have put up with the long hours, late nights, and impromptu brainstorming sessions we put in to make all this possible.
What's next for Cellucor? Don't expect us to slow down at all! We have so much in the works, including new flavors of our most popular items—including C4 Extreme and COR-Performance Whey—new products, updated versions of existing products, and even new line extensions. You'll have to wait and see, but I can absolutely promise that Cellucor Nation will never, ever be bored.
Sponsored Athlete Q&A Jen Jewell
How long have you been sponsored by Cellucor? What made you join the team?
I signed with Cellucor about 15 months ago, on my birthday in February 2012—talk about the best birthday present ever! Working with Cellucor this past year has helped my career and provided me with a greater reach to fitness people around the globe. I contribute workouts, fitness tips, healthy recipes, and more to the loyal Cellucor customers. This is all a result of working with Cellucor and being a part of the unique, premier brand. As part of the team, I witness the hard work, sacrifice and growth of the brand firsthand. I love the broad range of people we reach—and help—with Cellucor.
Why do you think it's important for athletes to earn sponsorships?
I don't think sponsorships should just be handed out. It's important for athletes to earn them. Many people in the fitness industry would love to be sponsored, but I also think the term "sponsorship" can be misconstrued. Some people believe that to be an athlete for a supplement company, one must simply show up to a photo shoot with a six-pack and a smile. That is not the case for me, nor would I want it to be.
Each brand is a bit different in how it chooses to feature or highlight its athletes. Some brands simply want athletes in their ads. Other brands, such as Cellucor, made it clear that they wanted to work with athletes who are ready and willing to contribute content as part of the sponsorship. I love to interact with Cellucor Nation, and I have the opportunity to contribute workouts, videos, health and fitness tips, articles and more. I represent one of the top-notch brands in sports nutrition, and I help others with tips and knowledge that will help them reach their fitness goals.
When training, what is your favorite Cellucor supplement? How do you use it?
COR-Performance Whey protein powders. I absolutely love all of the new flavors of the COR whey! I am a self-proclaimed dessert monster. Baking protein treats or my protein pancakes with COR whey has helped with my sweet tooth. My favorite flavors of the new COR whey are cookies and cream, strawberry milkshake (add some light almond milk in with the strawberry, shake it up and you'd think you were drinking a real ice cream milkshake!) and the peanut butter marshmallow—talk about delicious!
How has your performance in the gym improved using Cellucor's supplements?
For workout days when I take pre-workouts, I alternate between N-Zero Extreme and C4 Extreme—the new watermelon flavor tastes just like candy! I'll also add COR BCAAs as well, because the tropical punch is delicious. Utilizing a pre-workout before my weight training sessions made a huge overall difference in developing my physique for the stage and for other fitness-related work like photo shoots. It helps provide more energy, strength, focus, and pumps during all of my workouts.
How has being sponsored by Cellucor helped your career in the industry?
Everyone at Cellucor—not just the athletes—practice what they preach and are in the gym, working out and using the supplements. Through Cellucor, I have collaborated with Bodybuilding.com on a variety of content, including the Super HD ABS Super Feature which won the 2012 "Super Feature of the Year" award in the Bodybuilding.com site awards, and a number of other workouts and helpful content.
I helped with a number of workouts and features that helped Bodybuilding.com users add new techniques to their training. Recently I contributed some of my favorite workouts and content, such as my transformation, my go-to back blasting workouts as well as a super challenging lower body workout—and I love receiving feedback from everyone on BodySpace who tried it out!
Despite the fact the lower body blast was titled "Lovely Lady Legs" I received a number of messages from men who tried the workout. And to my surprise, I had clients from as far away as Australia sign up for my online training programs after putting these workouts to the test!
Is there anything else you care to share about Cellucor? Any good inside stories you'd like to tell?
No matter what, we always have fun and are like one big fitness family. The CEO congratulated me on a recent accomplishment. The head of customer service competed at the Arnold. The VP of marketing and other athletes have a great time at photo shoots. Every time we have a project or event for Cellucor, we support one another and have a blast. I love being a part of a team that cheers one another on, even in our endeavors outside of Cellucor.
Oh, and I'll admit it's pretty entertaining being able to tease Craig Capurso at our photo shoots about being more of a "diva" than me when it comes to his hair. Sorry, Craig!