As a gym owner, your priority is to ensure your members health and also their progression towards their athletic goals.
If you nurture your members correctly they’ll inevitably hit that point where their diet is dialled, their training and programming is on point, and they could benefit from proper dietary supplementation.
Offering supplements at your gym𑁋to the right people at the right time𑁋is a great way for you to ensure your members are making good supplement decisions. It also has the added benefit of providing another revenue stream.
But the sports nutrition industry is largely unregulated, allowing lots of products onto the market that are untested, shown not to work, contain banned substances or worse, are unsafe to take.
So in a sea overwhelmed with different brands and products, how do you choose the RIGHT brand of supplements for your gym that will:
- Truly help your members achieve their athletic goals
- Provide you with a solid revenue stream
Here are 7 key things to keep in mind as you decide what brand of supplements to carry at your gym:
1. Unfounded Claims
The idea of “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” rings very true when it comes to sports supplements. Many products will hinge their sales on exaggerated claims, promising to deliver quick results to anyone who takes them. We call this hype marketing.
A quick way to check for hype marketing is to do your own research. The government run scientific database PubMed is a great place to start. Use it to search for research backing up claims made by companies. It will tell you what you need to know about a supplements' efficacy and the dose required to achieve that effect. Which brings up the next point…
A common practice in sports nutrition is underdosing. This is when a company provides a small, often ineffective dose of an ingredient but make the same claims as a properly dosed product.
Delivering less than the researched dose of a supplement is a sneaky cost-cutting measure - A supplement company spends less on the active (usually more expensive) ingredient so can undercut its competitors on cost. It’s something we’ve seen and written about with HMB products.
Underdosing is a common deceitful tactic to watch out for in cheaper supplements. A way to protect against this is to check the research on what is a tested, effective dose.
3. Misleading Packaging
This one is so common that it has become the norm with protein supplements. Adding a reduced amount of powder or pills to packaging that is oversized to appear similar to products containing more.
How many times have you opened a tub of protein powder to see that a good half of the content was air? Always check the dose AND the number of doses in the products you select.
If you don’t like the idea of being visually deceived into thinking you are getting a better value, or that your product contains air, how will you feel when you find out your product contains...
A product can contain additives for a host of reasons, and knowing why they’re there is key.
Whey and plant proteins are notorious for needing strong flavoring agents like artificial sweeteners in order to mask the taste of the raw product, and other supplements use the same tactic to market taste over performance.
Other additives aren’t quite as innocuous. Titanium dioxide gets added to supplements to give them a clean, white appearance, but has been associated with inflammatory health issues. Powdered silicon dioxide (essentially plastic) is sometimes added instead of silica packets to help regulate moisture in a product, but this additive has been banned in the EU as we still don’t know whether it can cross the blood-brain barrier and cause damage.
Checking the ingredients of a supplement is something that most of us do, but it’s made a lot harder when companies hide behind…
5. Proprietary Blends
Contrary to what some supplement companies may have you believe, advances in supplement research are incremental, and it’s likely all companies know about it. So the idea that a company hides the breakdown of their formulation because they have come across a game-changing recipe is likely untrue.
In fact, this practice has recently come under fire as companies have been found guilty of “amino acid spiking” which is when cheaper non-muscle building amino acids are increased in a supplement in order to bolster its overall protein content.
By now, you’re probably more familiar with the different tactics some companies use to decrease their own cost, and even if that translates into a lower cost to you, you should always…
6. Be Price Aware
When an unregulated industry is coupled with online stores who are always jockeying to have the lowest prices, there will only be so much margin that companies are willing to give up before they start to cut their own cost. The result is a race to the bottom where the customer is the one that ends up losing out on quality. You don’t suggest your members buy low cost low quality food, so have the same approach to supplementation.
Pricing also comes into play when you’re considering wholesaling...
7. The true margins you’re getting as a wholesaler
Be wary of the margins supplement brands are offering you. There is a difference between the margins you are offered and the “true” margin. Here’s an example...
If a company sells to you at a 50% discount, but you can easily find a 25% discount online, then your true margin is reduced. This common tactic reduces your effective margin considerably, as it drives your members to buy online, leaving you to only be competitive if you lower your price point to match. Your true margin is only 25%. Always ask what a brand does to protect your margins and search to see what you can purchase the product for online.
With that all being said, there are still companies out there that are doing things the right way, providing gyms with quality supplements, giving competitive margins, and offering their wholesale partners support to not only grow their sales, but to make sure that ultimately, the right products get into the right hands of the right people.
Above all, the most important piece in choosing the right supplements is to listen to your membership and see what they actually want. Download our free Membership Survey to connect with your gym members.
Already accessed the Membership Survey? Find out how else Blonyx can serve your members and add value for your gym through our Wholesale Program.