CEO: Tom Tolworthy
In Operation Since: 1968
Facility Location: American Fork, UT
Prizes/Awards: Fat Burner of the Year Nominee (Bodybuilding.com for ProSeries Ripped Fuel), Nexty Award 2013 (CleanSeries), Better Nutrition (CleanSeries), Vity Award (Amino Fuel)
The history of health and performance supplements couldn't be written without a big chapter devoted to Twinlab. The company was born in 1968, at the dawn of bodybuilding's golden age, and it has been setting the benchmark of quality and consistency ever since.
Everyone you know, from your grandma on down the line, has probably taken a Twinlab vitamin or supplement at some point. Check their medicine cabinet, and that telltale amber bottle with the white duotone label will be there.
But now, nearly 50 years into the story, the brand is getting redefined through fresh efforts by Chris Thompson, the company's VP of Sports Nutrition, and the founder of the company's powerhouse ProSeries line.
You may know Thompson already if you've met him in the Bodybuilding.com forums or watched his Fit 360 profile.
This company has seen it all, and now it wants to see a new generation of athletes and bodybuilders shatter their ideas of what is possible.
Thompson himself, one of the three heads of the popular Twinlab Muscle Militia, gave us the lowdown.
Twinlab is a company with a long, storied history. Can you give our readers some insight into your origins?
It's true, Twinlab was there at the very beginning, and we've helped shape what became a multibillion-dollar industry. The company was started by the Blechman family in 1968, and named after the fact that they had two sets of twins.
Initially, Twinlab marketed a liquid protein supplement called LPP. After the formula was adopted by bodybuilders as the protein supplement of choice, the company expanded quickly into a large variety of sports nutrition and wellness supplements, and has become one of the largest global players in the industry.
We've never strayed from our values of producing top-quality, no-shortcut formulas that deliver results. It's why we're still thriving today when many others have burned out and left the market.
This company produces so many different products! How do you keep coming up with new ideas?
The ideas are easy! It's what makes being part of this industry so interesting. There are always new ingredients, new ideas out there, and ways to improve.
Frankly, the much harder part comes when we have to pick and choose what to launch, but that process helps hone only the best ideas.
Do you have a favorite Twinlab product?
My personal favorite is MVP Fuel. It is without a doubt the best pre-workout available. When other brands were launching "concentrates," we flipped it and went for full-dosing with ingredients that work, instead of delivering less product to put more money in our wallets.
It's a source of great pride for me that we didn't take the bait and shortchange our customers. And sure enough, the market is starting to recognize that you really need full dosing to get the performance you need.
For many of our readers, you are synonymous with the Muscle Militia and Twinlab's Pro-Series line. What does Pro-Series mean?
We have this saying where, if we're evaluating something or someone and call it Pro-Series, that's the ultimate compliment. It means it's deeply authentic, true, and pure—no show, all go. That's how we view ourselves, and that's the standard we hold ourselves to every day.
TWINLAB MUSCLE MILITIA Introducing The Captains
Watch The Video - 03:12
As for the Militia and our other brand reps, there's nothing casual about it. Not only do we believe in what we do, it also drives how we eat, how we think, and how we live. It's a passion and a lifestyle. Many of our sports-dedicated Twinlab reps run their own bodybuilding shows.
They compete themselves, and have clientele they train. I personally respond to thousands of inquiries on the forums and through social media, helping people around the world reach their goals.
Why do so many of your products include the term "fuel?"
We focus on "fuel" for a couple of reasons. First, that's how we view our products: They are simply tools used to fuel better performance. While many other brands have tried to co-opt the name by using "fuel" in advertising or even their product names, there's still only one original.
Secondly, it is pure branding. It binds our products together and signals to our customers that they are getting a true Twinlab quality-tested formula.
What new products of yours have been getting the biggest response?
The pipeline is jammed full, so I'll keep it to two items—even though it kills me to limit myself!
First, Twinlab Pro-Series Vita Fuel. This is an incredible advance in multivitamin and multimineral technology. It's a bilayer tablet, so the vitamins and minerals are released at different rates. Since water-soluble vitamins simply pass through the body if they're not needed, to us it only seemed logical that you'd want to release the vitamins over time.
We've grown into a real expert in making dual tabs in our own facility. Most others can't or don't do it because the equipment is expensive, and it is as much an art as a science.
My second choice would be our all-new MCT Fuel. I just love this product because it's one of those "secret ingredients" out there that deserves so much more attention than it gets. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are healthy fats, primarily from coconut oil. They have the inherent energy of a fat, but burn more like a carb, and if the body doesn't need the energy, it passes through versus being stored.
I love it because it's old-school and so basic, yet incredibly effective for energy and stamina. Sales of MCT Fuel haves grown steadily for years, and I think our new packaging will help people start to see the importance of adding this into their routine.
Where do you think this company will be in 10 years?
Twinlab's Top Products
Ahead of the curve, as always. In the past three years we have created new, authentic brands targeting growing niches in the sports nutrition space. Sports nutrition is getting big, and expanding to new audiences.
We want to make sure we don't abandon our customers for supposedly greener pastures. For example, we launched Pro-Series just this year as a rededication to the elite bodybuilding athlete.
On the other side of the spectrum, we launched CleanSeries for customers who do not want to sacrifice performance for peace of mind. The CleanSeries line has more third-party performance and safety certifications than any other supplement on the market, in any category. We will lead, not follow.
People are becoming less intimidated and more aware of what the products do, and if they stick to reputable brands like Twinlab, they don't have to be concerned about contamination or adulteration, which are two major obstacles for our industry continuing to expand.
The Internet makes your products available at the push of a button! But, how else do you reach customers? Are there any old-school methods that still work?
Simply put, you need to be where your customers are. That means online, but also in stores, doing demos, at gyms and events, doing interviews and road shows, and certainly making your brand available through social media.
There's nothing more invigorating to me that talking directly to our consumers. They keep my eye directly on why we're doing what we're doing.
Ethics are important to supplements buyers. What does your company do to ensure ethical and quality standards?
This is so simple to answer. It's doing the right thing. But that doesn't mean it's easy.
First, it means that we invest in our own manufacturing plant so we can be the control freaks we want to be. It means we test inbound materials and outbound finished goods to high standards, and unquestioningly reject items that don't meet those standards, even though we know other companies don't.
You know, sometimes there's a reason why some products are priced as low as they are! That's not good for our customers. That's not good for Twinlab. That's not long-term thinking.
What we do only works because we have the best team in the business. That makes the seemingly impossible not only possible, but consistently achieved.