If you want to succeed in business, at times you must take huge risks. Entrepreneurs know that without risk, growth is out of the question. Jorge Betancourt took a risk a decade ago that put his future on the table. He was betting that his potential in the supplement manufacturing industry was brighter than his career running the gym he built in Florida.
He knew the rewards outweighed the risk, so he sold the gym and started producing supplements. Clearly, his work has paid dividends. We congratulate Betancourt Nutrition, the August 2012 Bodybuilding.com Supplement Company of the Month!
Inside Betancourt Nutrition - Parts 1 & 2
Betancourt Nutrition was established in 2002 out of the back of my gym. Prior to starting the company, I had established a name for myself as the country's best teenage competitor for three consecutive years by winning the Teen USA, Teen Nationals and the men's open Southern States competition (which I entered at the age of 19; the average competitor was 24 years old). I won the entire show, not just the teen division.
After deciding to expand my passion for fitness into the realm of sports nutrition, I created my first product: Ripped Juice, which quickly became the hottest fat burner in image-driven South Florida. The early success of Ripped Juice and the Glutamine & Creatine Chews led to Betancourt Nutrition to be one of the largest and most reputable supplement companies in the industry.
Q: How long have you been sponsored by Betancourt? What made you join the team?
I've been with Betancourt Nutrition since March of 2011. What made me join was the loyalty that I saw. The employees were like family and not like other companies that are like a revolving door. I was also impressed with their aggressiveness to put out new quality supplements. I knew that the company was growing and I had to be a part of that growth.
When training, what is your favorite Betancourt supplement? How do you use it?
Right now I use a pre-workout mix of D-Stunner and Phosflex, our creatine. I take it 20 minutes before training on an empty stomach. I never go past one serving. Our supplements never require you to increase the dosage.
Do you feel Betancourt treats its customers well? If you weren't a sponsored athlete, would you still buy its products?
The customers come first for this company. Part of my contract is to do several demos for that very reason. They expect me, the athlete, to reach out to the customer base in the stores and the gyms and show my knowledge of the product and answer any questions they may have personally. I generally do up to six appearances per month.
The supplement industry is rife with ineffective products. How do you know Betancourt's products work?
I know Betancourt products work because after every gym demo that I do, the people who sample it run to me and rave about how awesome it is. Right now Bullnox is a top selling pre-workout at "The Mecca," Gold's Gym in Venice. Trust me, these people know their supps!
Branden, what do you see for the future of the 212-pound bodybuilding weight class?
This will likely be my last year in the 212 division because I am still young and continuing to make improvements to my physique. As I make these improvements I am growing so this year will be tight, but I have no plans to limit myself in the off-season so that I can make the weight class again.
Has your performance in the gym improved using Betancourt's supplements?
Absolutely. There is no crash or sudden energy drop in the gym, so I finish as strong as I started.
For example, D-Stunner is one of the few pre-workouts that is designed for enhancing the central nervous system. This is great for me of leg days because I usually finish a grueling leg workout with five sets of front squats. This is after leg extensions, vertical leg press, reverse hack squats, and single leg presses. When it comes to training at high volumes, muscle and nervous system fatigue are almost guaranteed. Finishing with a power compound exercise like squats means that I need the same energy and mental focus that I started with. D-Stunner is my tool.
How has being sponsored by Betancourt helped your career in the industry? Where do you go from here?
Being sponsored by Betancourt is a dream for any athlete because the company is aggressive when it comes to marketing new products and their athletes. My ads are seen in many different publications and they make sure to sponsor the big expos and always have me there to interact with our supporters.
Is there anything else you care to share about Betancourt? Any good inside stories you'd like to tell?
It's hard to share a room with me on trips to shows because of my loud snoring!
For me this was not only tough but risky. It would grow to define my business career. The gym I had been running for eight years was successful and profitable at a time when fitness was big among the upper class in Miami. The gym was sold and the revenue was put into starting this sports nutrition company, knowing it would take time-years, even-to see return on this investment in the way of substantial profit. Becoming the face of a brand is something I envisioned since I was a teenager. I just never knew how to go about it and never had the funds to start. I can truly tell you that I'm living my life's dream.
I was fortunate to have the support of a wide network of friends and professionals in the bodybuilding and nutritional industries. As I developed this company, however, I found that my strongest ally for emotional and daily business administration support was my wife.
I set the standard for Teen Bodybuilding when I was the youngest to ever win the Southern States NPC competition at just 17 years old. I gained notoriety for all my wins as a teen (including the NPC Teen National Championship) and for my overall shape, which allowed me to beat some of the largest competitors while competing at less than 180 pounds.
My physique was aesthetic during a time when bodybuilding was beginning to undergo a race for "size and striations." I grabbed magazine covers, sponsorships, and appearances on ESPN (back when they had segments for bodybuilding) which lead to me to gain national attention as a mere NPC competitor.
I came in contact with and worked with multiple large and up-and-coming supplement companies during and after my bodybuilding career, before I even started Betancourt Nutrition. I met some of the top owners and brand managers in the industry before they made it big. These collective experiences and knowledge helped me make my mark in the industry.
Our manufacturing facilities have grown from 80,000 square feet to more than 225,000 square feet in the last three years since our merger with our manufacturer. We now have five buildings in Miami, Florida. One of our buildings is a brand new Softgel Plant, which opened in June of this year and resulted in us receiving the "Keys to the City" in a formal ceremony with the governor of Florida.
Our facilities feature state-of-the-art technology for blending, manufacturing, packaging, testing, and quality control. We are cGMP-certified to the new FDA guidelines for manufacturing supplements. We have a full in-house analytical lab to ensure the quality of our products, and an extensive product development program to make it possible for us to complete as many trials as it takes to make the best possible product every time. We have more than 400 professionals dedicated to developing, manufacturing, and guaranteeing the quality of our products.
The Bullnox pre-workout is our flagship product, and remarkably since its inception three years ago, we have not had to reformulate it once. Many pre-workouts undergo relaunches and tweaks to the formula as the years go by. Bullnox has stood the test of time, and it is unique because it features an herbal testosterone boosting blend.
We also have several other new formulations in development that will continue to lead the way in their respective categories. Our team is focused on continuous improvement and committed to innovation. We want to be sure that when our customers use our products, they benefit from the most advanced forms of supplementation available.
These products have taken off because they accomplish major tasks that no other supplement can: They provide the motivation, energy, and endurance to push yourself as hard as possible during your workouts. They provide results you can actually feel in just 30 minutes or so. No other supplement can do this for its user.
The first thing that was necessary to make them successful came down to taste. The product had to taste amazing if customers were going to keep coming back, and our flavoring team was the first to successfully launch a chewable that tasted like candy.
Another unique aspect for the chewables and our pre-workout chewable is the convenience it provides. Consider that you don't have to mix it with any water and you can take it anywhere at any time! As a result, it has become the supplement of choice for athletes and weightlifters, from beginners looking to work their way into advanced supplementation or advanced athletes who are looking for tastier and different ways to consume their pre-workout, glutamine, creatine or BCAAs.
exciting products in the near future?
The D Stunner was the number one selling item we've ever had, and was driven almost entirely by word-of-mouth and pure consumer demand. If it hasn't been launched on the site already, it will be launching soon.
It is a pre-workout that is concentrated to elevate focus, energy and stimulate the central nervous system
to promote an acute boost in strength.
Our other top-selling item that will be
relaunching soon is Ripped Juice EX2.
It has a low serving size that is still effective
for promoting energy, elevating mood, and
promoting appetite control.
Ultimately we stay true to
our core principle of
products that deliver results. You can expect at least that much from Betancourt Nutrition.
athletes? If so, how do they
impact your company?
Yes, we are currently sponsoring Branden Ray!
For us, he is a representative of the more classic, aesthetic physique, which is why we saw fit to have him represent our company. Branden has become the face of the company, and as a result of his great interaction with fans at expos and shows, he has helped support our positive company image.
He has been a great representative of the industry for fans at shows who are new to bodybuilding or have a misconception as to how a bodybuilder behaves. He has helped break some of the stereotypes associated with bodybuilders, which has made him a great representative for us and the rest of the industry.
We also continue to have strong partnerships with legends like Shawn Ray. Shawn continues to be a tremendous asset to our industry today when it comes to coverage of events. We are proud that he has associated himself and his high standard with our brand and our products.
Yes, Bodybuilding.com has been without a doubt a critical piece to the success of the brand and its growth over the years. We have also experienced tremendous growth through our distribution channels as well as through national specialty chains, experiencing triple-digit growth.
Other partners both at the retail and wholesale levels have been instrumental not only in increasing sales and growth; but also in helping to spread the word of Betancourt Nutrition's quality. We are not a brand that will pool all of our efforts on marketing and ad campaigns. Our efforts are in developing the world's best products and letting our customers help us grow.
Big Blend protein. First and foremost, a good protein powder should accompany a beginner who's starting a fitness regimen. Typically beginners may not track their protein intake or plan for post-workout meals. In general, if they are beginners to a fitness regimen, then their diet may need help as well.
Some of the great things about the supplement industry are the innovation and creativity that drive the industry. The level of competition has pushed companies to come up with the advanced and creative products possible to meet the needs and demands of the consumer.
The downside, if any, is that lack of regulatory compliance by smaller brands, which in turn affects everyone in the industry. Being a manufacturer with cGMP certification allows Betancourt Nutrition to stay ahead in regulatory compliance, often exceeding customer's expectations. Little by little those smaller brands and sometimes large brands which choose to avoid compliance will be pushed out of our industry, which ultimately will be to everyone's benefit.
Betancourt Nutrition's product development process is extensive, thorough, and comprehensive. We perform our own research to validate research proposed to us by a vast network of independent research professionals, raw material suppliers, institutions, and medical/nutritional industry professionals.
From there we do our own in-house testing of the actual ingredients being considered and perform what you can consider to be a "background check" on the ingredients and their safety. We've had to pass on numerous hot supplements due to lack of efficacy, potency, sourcing, and any reports of adverse reactions.
Science absolutely will guide our future; it should guide the future of all brands in our industry. Responsible nutrition delivers results. Only through science can we continue to be innovative and unique.
The primary standard that Betancourt Nutrition has set for itself is based on product quality. We have provided video tours of our state-of-the-art cGMP manufacturing facilities to showcase the level of quality and efficacy that we can provide consumers that may separate us from other brands.
Secondary to that, we provide innovation through simple, but different and effective twists to our products: pre-workouts with test boosters, creatine formulas with joint support, chewable amino acids, and testosterone boosters with no proprietary blends.
Again, it all comes back to our quality standards. We test raw materials when bringing them in and then we test the finished product before releasing it. We are not only testing for safety, but we are also testing for the correct dosing as well.
The cGMP manufacturing facility we've merged with has been trusted by many vendors for its reputation to refuse to run anything if the label is not up to standards and if the product does not match what is on the label. This focus on ethics has resulted in a long-term, trust-based relationship with every wholesaler we work with.
Our focus has always been on long-term relationships based on trust and ethics as opposed to making as much money as possible day-to-day. We believe we're going to be here for the long haul.
First, we would like to thank our loyal customers and supporters of the brand along with the Bodybuilding.com team that has supported us for years. As our industry changes and more brands are scrutinized, the companies at the forefront of innovation, quality, and service will stand above the rest.
We strongly believe that Betancourt Nutrition is becoming one of these brands. We would like to thank all the current and future fans of Betancourt Nutrition and Bodybuilding.com for all your help and support through the years.