I would say the founders play the role of wanting to know what products we’re creating. They love testing this stuff, and seeing how it works, and see what they think.
Obviously, with LeBron, it’s one of things, we got to make sure that we go through all the NSF testing before we can give him anything. That’s in the product timeline. Again, there can’t be any risk. We look at it in terms of what are we creating, why are we creating and who are we trying to help.
I think the goal of the business is we’re trying to fuel better performance, trying to stay true to that mission, and create products that a lot of different people can use and get a benefit out of. That’s where we get a lot of impact from LeBron and Arnold, and really understanding their vantage point of it.
There are two main hats that I wear, one is JoFin Nutrition, which is just putting together a great team. My job is — as a researcher — to read everything in the industry and understand where trends are going, but then not overreact.
The biggest feedback I get about Ladder products is “There’s nothing new in here.” I’m like, “Yeah, that’s by design, because with science being so fluid, I don’t want something new. I want something proven.”
My goal is to make sure that I’m not going to create a product and then a month later a study comes out that can essentially undercut the entire thesis of what we’re trying to create. I want this stuff that we know works, which takes a lot of time reading through a lot of research, talking to a lot of different people to making sure that not only we know this works, but at what dose is this going to be effective.
A great example is our Pre-Workout product, which is most popular because people can feel it. There’s a lot of questions about the different ingredients, because we had to find the amount that, one, work, two, had no contraindications. You look at caffeine, we have less caffeine in there, but that’s for several reasons.
The reason we put caffeine in there specifically was to blunt the perception of fatigue, and the perception of fatigue is blunted at about 100 milligrams, but we only did 100 milligrams, because we also know that you can burn out the receptor that allows you to respond to caffeine the more and more you take of it.
I don’t think people are just taking Pre-Workout is their only source of caffeine during the day. People are coffee drinkers. People are tea drinkers.
You start becoming aware that if you create a pre-workout product with 200-300 milligrams of caffeine, it might be great in that moment, but if you take another cup or two of coffee during the course of the day or a couple of cups of tea, you’re going to burn out your caffeine receptors. 200-300 milligrams of caffeine you’re suddenly are completely not have the same effect from the strength standpoint.
Not to mention, you’re going to have the crash. you’re going to the jitters, you’re going to have an upset stomach, you’re going to build intolerance. The best way to get more out of the caffeine is to actually use less. They added Beta-Alanine. Beta-Alanine buffers fatigue by removing carnosine from the muscle.
Some people get the tingles, and some people don’t, so you could have like seven grams in there. Why do you guys have 3.2? Because not everyone likes the tingles. 3.2 is the amount, literally that we see repeatedly in research that will still give you the benefits of it, but it’s less of a likelihood to create a side effect. It’s completely safe, but some people just don’t like.
That’s the type of stuff where you just try to boil down, so I do it from a nutrition standpoint of helping work with the teams to formulate products, read through research and make sure that we’re doing this the right way and testing and focus groups and making sure it tastes good. I’m chief of content and that’s where the education part comes in.
That’s where we talked about. I don’t have to be right, I got to get it right. Working with great people to educate people for free on fitness and nutrition topics. The type of stuff that I’ve really been doing for about 20 years now, which is what I love more than anything which is just helping people better understand fitness nutrition because it’s confusing.
It is really confusing, and the Internet is like the best thing in the world, but in the world of fitness, it’s the worst thing. You google a question and on page one alone, you’ve got six different articles now telling you six different things, and you’re like, “What the fuck do I believe?”
It’s frustrating and then you go on Instagram and you’re like, “Oh man, I really follow this one IG influencer and he tells me that I need to eat breakfast every day. But I follow this other IG influencer and he tells me that I got to intermittent fast. And then I follow this other person who tells me gluten is the devil, and this other one says that I can eat gluten every single day. This other person says I can’t eat after 7:00 PM. This other person says that if I eat at night, I’m actually going to lose more fat.”
People are just like, “What am I supposed to believe?” I know you’ve seen this. You’ve been witness to it in the same exact way that I have. The hard part for most people is that all of these answers in some way, shape, or form can be correct.
That’s hard for people. You try to position it in a way that you can educate so you understand different behaviors and different lifestyle factors that you can make decisions that kind of remove that stress.
They kind of dull out the noise, I would say. Let’s cut through the teeth of all this noise to let you know what you need to know and just try to bang that drum really loud so that people can be educated and be empowered. They can feel more in control of their health.