Since 2013, Jim Stoppani, Ph.D., has been a familiar presence on Bodybuilding.com. His supplement line, JYM Supplement Science, quickly became one of the best-selling lines on the site, and remains so to this day. Likewise, his articles, videos, and programs have been among the site's more popular, particularly the "Shortcut" series. These programs are pillars of BodyFit Elite.
Six years may seem like a meteoric rise in the supplement industry, but Stoppani paid his dues. With a strong background in academia, he had already spent more than a decade honing his craft as the science editor for bodybuilding magazines such as Muscle & Fitness and FLEX. He understands supplement science from the lab bench to the gym bench. Bodybuilding.com sat down with Stoppani to discuss the past, present, and future of JYM Supplement Science.
What was the genesis of JYM Supplement Science?
The impetus for JYM Supplement Science started while I was the senior science editor for Muscle & Fitness. I realized that the supplement recommendations I was making were impossible to meet with the products that were on the market. This was almost a decade ago, and at that time, the supplement industry was saturated with proprietary-blend formulas that didn't inform the user how much of each ingredient was in the product. You basically had to trust that the supplement company was dosing the product properly. Personally, I'd rather not blindly trust that some company has my best interests—and results—in mind. I'd prefer to have the exact amounts of every ingredient in the product clearly listed on the label. I don't think that's too much to ask.
So, I created DIY formulas for pre-workout, post-workout, fat-burning, and other goals. But it was difficult for my followers to get all the ingredients and combine them; you'd have to go buy creatine on its own, BCAAs on their own, beta-alanine, betaine, taurine, caffeine, etc. It was a huge hassle for people. Plus, the DIY formulas weren't flavored, so they tasted horrible. I decided to manufacture my own pre-workout formula that I named Pre JYM. I launched that on July 19, 2013, at Bodybuilding.com, and the rest is history!
Is there one product that put you on the map?
Yes, my flagship product is definitely Pre JYM. Prior to its launch, the pre-workout category was saturated with supposed "concentrated" formulas that were little more than underdosed and undersized proprietary blends with serving sizes as small as 3 grams! Before Pre JYM, most top-selling pre-workout formulas were loaded with various stimulants. From the beginning, Pre JYM has only contained one stimulant: caffeine. Pre JYM exemplified what a fully dosed, non-proprietary pre-workout should look like. Now it's the standard in the pre-workout category.
Can you describe the typical JYM customer?
There is no typical JYM customer. They are everyone: moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas, military and service men and women, college students, athletes—anyone who's serious about taking their health, fitness, and performance to the next level.
How important is social media for creating a sense of community among fans of JYM and users of JYM products?
Social media not only plays a major role in providing an actual community that JYM supplement users can engage in, but it also played a major role in building the brand. Long before I had formulated the JYM supplement line, I used social media to answer people's questions on supplements, training, nutrition, and anything else fitness related. Over time, people realized that my advice worked well. This built a trust between me and my followers. It propelled the JYM brand to essentially be an "overnight success," if you will. People knew the JYM formulas would work before they even tried them because they were essentially the same ones I was advising them to build on their own.
I continue to be accessible to my followers through social media so that they can get the best results using my products, my programs, and my advice. In turn, many of my followers, known intimately as the JYM Army, help me answer other followers' questions. I encourage them to #payitforward—to take something you've learned that helped you and teach someone else in hopes that it will help them, too. This inspired me to create the JYM Army Facebook group page, where the members can #payitforward every day and feel a sense of strong community.
What are some of your top products right now?
Pre JYM is still the number-one selling pre-workout at Bodybuilding.com after all these years. But while Pre JYM gets all the buzz, you can't properly recover and grow without the right nutrients immediately after your workouts, which is what Post JYM is designed to do. In addition to including the five main nutrients in Pre JYM—BCAAs, creatine, beta-alanine, betaine, and taurine—Post JYM also includes glutamine and L-carnitine to help optimize recovery after workouts.
What tells you that you need to introduce a new product?
The JYM Army! I listen to what they need. If it seems like enough people are asking about a certain product, a joint recovery product, for example, then I'll start working on some formulations.
Let's say a customer is just starting a fitness regimen and can only afford one product. Which one supplement do you recommend? Why?
Pre JYM. Now, you might think Pre JYM is an advanced supplement for hardcore trainers, but it's designed to enhance anyone's workout. One of the hardest things to get used to when starting a new fitness regimen is how hard it can feel both during workouts and recovering from them. Pre JYM can help you boost endurance, strength, and focus, which makes the workout easier. It can also help promote recovery after the workout is over, meaning you'll feel less fatigue and soreness. Easier workouts and better recovery can help someone stick to a new regimen longer.
How do you appeal to new customers without excluding your customer base? Can you stay loyal to both new ideas and staples of the industry?
The type of innovation I provide is about using tried-and-true ingredients that are known to be safe and effective in combinations with other ingredients, at the proper doses, to create a synergy that optimizes each ingredient's benefits. Each JYM product is a stalwart in its class that customers return to again and again. Therefore, I focus on keeping the core customer happy with products that consistently deliver results. Those customers are the ones who bring in new customers via word of mouth.
Are you coming out with any new and exciting products in the near future?
Yes, I have many different new products at various stages of development. But nothing gets released until I'm confident it's perfect. I'm also constantly working on new flavors for Pre JYM, Pro JYM, and Post JYM.
Does JYM perform its own research? How will science guide your future?
Yes, we're always doing research to test new formulas and improve the current ones, if possible. That's how science guides our future: To create formulas even more effective than the current ones. Currently, we're using metabolic testing at certain universities to enhance the effectiveness of fat-burning ingredients. I created my own optimized fat blend to include in my mass gainer, Mass JYM. Research findings on fat intake helped us design that blend. The research showing the benefits of a blend of fast-digesting protein, like whey, and slower digesting proteins, like casein, helped shape the formula now known as Pro JYM.
Gaze into your crystal ball... Where is JYM Supplement Science in 2023?
Four years from now, JYM will still be helping athletes reach their goals with the best performing products: Pre JYM, Post JYM, Pro JYM, Mass JYM, Vita JYM, ZMA JYM, Omega JYM, Alpha JYM, and Shred JYM…and with a few new formulas, as well.
Supplementation is only one part—albeit a very important part—of transforming your body. Check out the complete programs of Jim Stoppani, PhD, in Bodybuilding.com All Access!