There are many supplement companies today that can call themselves leaders in the industry, but very few can say that they have run among the head of the pack for over 40 years. That however is a statement that Twinlab can make without hesitation. Arguably one of the most recognized companies of all time, Twinlab has set the pace for others to follow.
From supplements like their classic fat burner Ripped Fuel to their newly released pre-workout formula Power Fuel, TwinLab consistently develops quality products for their customers. Due to their high standards and commitment to excellence, TwinLab has been chosen as July's Supplement Company of the Month.
Marc Stover, Director of Marketing for Twinlab, talked with us about their past, present, and their exciting future that lies ahead.
Bodybuilding.com: Can you please tell our readers how your company started?
We're very proud that Twinlab was among the first to pioneer the entire category of sports nutrition. We were founded in 1968 when founder David Blechman leveraged his 20 years of expertise in the pharmaceutical industry to develop and market a liquid protein - a supplement that evolved into what is now the legendary Amino Fuel Liquid.
Working out of his family's garage, David and his wife named their developing business Twinlab, after their two sets of twins. The company grew rapidly with its reputation for quality and not taking shortcuts. With that momentum, the business expanded into vitamins, minerals, herbs and teas.
Today, we're a global brand available in over 55 different countries.
Bodybuilding.com: Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your background in the industry?
My father actually worked for a company that was, in the 70's, one of the pioneers of vitamin supplements and was THE first company of significance to do bars. They called them "food bars" and they tasted terrible, but the concept was born.
Fast forward to the '90's and I had an internship with this same company...only they had grown into a $5 billion global monster! I had the great opportunity to be exposed to the category during this time and ended up working with them as an international marketer for about 10 years.
I've worked at Twinlab for eight years, initially in new product development (scanning the market for innovative new ingredients, delivery systems or fresh ideas and incorporating them into new products), and then as the Director of Marketing responsible for our sports nutrition arm, Twinlab Fuel, a brand I'm passionate about and proud to be associated with. There's something special about working with a brand with such a long history of excellence, and I work hard to carry that reputation forward.
On a personal level, I have a wife and two daughters that keep me busy and I'd go a little crazy if I couldn't exercise regularly - I bike (mainly road), run, and lift regularly. I'll play basketball and volleyball whenever I can...unfortunately not often enough!
Bodybuilding.com: What are some of your top products right now?
We started out in proteins and they're still among our top sellers --100% Whey Protein powder, Amino Fuel Liquid and Mass Fuel Xtreme - and of course our Ripped Fuel products always keep 'em coming back because they're loaded with ingredients that work, not the latest batch of hype.
But what's really got us excited right now is our new Power Fuel pre-workout powder created with football legend Ray Lewis. I mean, when you think of excellence and intensity, Ray's top of mind and we wanted to develop a formula that captured that feeling...something that gets you prepared mentally and nutritionally to absolutely crush your workout, whatever it may be.
The feedback has been amazing, which is extremely satisifying.
Bodybuilding.com: Are there any new and exciting products that you are coming out with soon?
All I can say without getting busted for releasing confidential information is that it's looking like we'll have an all-new launch in our Ripped Fuel category sometime this Fall. Wish I could say more, but I'll have to keep you waiting on this one!
Bodybuilding.com: Is there any other big news about your company that you would like to share with us?
We're extremely proud that we develop and manufacture most all of our products in our own plant. We know exactly what comes in and we know exactly what comes out. It's easy to talk about a commitment to quality, but when pressed you'll find many brands simply farm their products out to the lowest bidder.
Recently, our facility has successfully completed the requirements of NSF International's GMP for Sport Athletic Banned Substances Program. The program verifies that our state of the art facility in American Fork, UT has met NSF International's stringent independent certification process guidelines, which include facilities and manufacturing process inspections and reviews to assure compliance with NSF's rigorous banned substances standards.
NSF International's GMP for Sport program was developed to meet the growing demand of athletes, coaches and all those concerned about banned substances in sports. NSF inspects facilities for a range of substances identified by leading sports organizations, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) NSF International's GMP Sport Program enables manufacturers working within the sports supplement industry, such as Twinlab, to emphasize quality throughout their operations.
Bodybuilding.com: Have you sponsored anybody and if so how have they impacted your company and the industry?
In addition to Ray Lewis, we have over 35 top athletes on our Team Fuel roster ranging from Mr. California Malachi Walker and up-and-comer Todd Jewell in bodybuilding to four-time USAT triathlon champions Twinlab-Full Throttle Racing, championship 100 meter hurdler Lolo Jones (watch for her in London next summer!), pro-beach volleyball player Mike Morrison, pro cycling team Wonderful Pistachios, extreme skier Sean Hartel, and personal trainers/fitness experts Shaun Eckhardt and Tim Taylor.
You can check them out here.
As our sponsorships show, we don't pigeon hole ourselves into a single sport - we're about high performance regardless of sport. Our sponsorships are a two way street - we get feedback from them on our formulas and listen to their needs on nutrition. This information feeds into our research and development of new products.
It's a cycle that has to happen to stay at the forefront of the industry.
Bodybuilding.com: Let's say a customer comes to you that is just starting out and can only afford one product. Which one do you recommend and why?
This is a tough one as I would always want more information about the athlete, their nutrition, training, and aspirations before making a recommendation.
Bodybuilding.com: What do you believe is the best and worst things about the supplement industry?
Let me start with the worst. In my opinion, it's misrepresentation of product benefits by some brands. Hey, I'm in marketing too, and understand you've got to position your products as different or better, but reading advertisements with blatantly exaggerated claims hurts the credibility of the entire industry.
Let's be honest here...you're not magically growing a six pack when you take any pill or packing on 30 lbs of muscle in a week after taking XYZ powder. Sports nutrition is a tool that, if formulated properly, will help you perform better and reach your goals faster, but you've got to put in the work to reap the benefits.
I encourage educated readers to look past the hype and get smart about formulations to really see if a product will help you. If it sounds too good to be true...
As for the best things, there are too many to list! Probably what I like the best is the camaraderie and competitiveness of the people who commit to high performance, regardless of sport. The passion and drive that fuels the triathlete, the bodybuilder, or the football player is the common bond of all athletes and working around that level of intensity and positivity helps keep me pumped.