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Danny Lehr: The Story Behind Caffeine and Kilos (Podcast)

Today I’m talking to Caffeine & Kilos Co-Founder and CEO Danny Lehr. Danny is also an accomplished weightlifter and won gold at the 2019 Masters World Cup for Weightlifting. Danny joins the podcast to talk about the unlikely origins of Caffeine & Kilos — including the accidental revelations that led them on the path to selling both athletic lifestyle apparel and high-end coffee blends. We talk about training in weightlifting while balancing a full time job and family, how to grow a business that gives back to the lifting community, and, of course, what makes a great coffee blend.

Watch the interview below:

On this episode of The BarBend Podcast, host David Tao talks to Danny Lehr about:

  • Winning gold at the Masters World Cup for Weightlifting (2:30)
  • Making clutch clean & jerks (6:28)
  • The challenges of training with a business and family life (8:10)
  • The beginnings of Caffeine and Kilos (12:13)
  • Accidentally getting into the coffee game (16:59)
  • Creating products and designs people love (20:20)
  • Caffeine and Kilos today (24:40)
  • Making weightlifting a lifestyle (31:00)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

 …2013 Caffeine and Kilos Invitational, we actually had coffee there. How that came about, as we’re talking about the event, and we’re talking about the apparel and everything and the Caffeine Kilos. We’re like, “You know what?” Like, “We all drink coffee,” that’s how Caffeine and Kilos came up. Like, “Man, everyone we know that likes to lift weights drinks [laughs] coffee.”

 

It all works together. Caffeine, obviously, is the number one tested and proven ergogenic aid and all that. Everyone is just hammering caffeine down in the weightlifting community. [laughs] We said, “Well, what if we make our own blended coffee?”

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches, and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao. This podcast is presented by barbend.com.

 

Today, I’m talking to Caffeine and Kilos co-founder and CEO, Danny Lehr. Danny is also an accomplished weightlifter, and won gold at the 2019 Masters World Cup for weightlifting.

 

Danny joins the podcast, to talk about the unlikely origins of Caffeine and Kilos, including the accidental revelations that led them on the path, to selling both athletic lifestyle apparel and high-end coffee blends.

 

We talk about training and weightlifting while balancing a full-time job and family, how to grow a business that gives back to the lifting community, and of course, what makes a great coffee blend.

 

Also, I want to take a second to say, we’re incredibly thankful that you listen to this podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the BarBend Podcast in your app of choice.

 

I’d also recommend subscribing to the BarBend Newsletter, to stay up to date on all things strength. Just go to barbend.com/newsletter to start becoming the smartest person in your gym today. Now, let’s get to it.

 

Danny, thanks so much for joining us. The distinction that I get to add to your name now is a relatively new one. That is World Champion in Masters Weightlifting. I got to say, does it feel any different to be a world champ these days?

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

Let me tell you what’s going on with that, is it’s the title that my seven-year-old daughter is very impressed with, but my wife still doesn’t give a shit about. I guess that’s most accomplishments in your life once you have kids.

David TaoDavid Tao

It is worth saying, it’s not for nothing, right?

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

Yeah, of course. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

A lot of people like to pooh-pooh on Masters, strength sports. I’m a big fan of them, obviously, but let’s talk a little bit about that. We have plenty to go into in this podcast. How did you become a Masters World Champion in weightlifting?

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

I competed in weightlifting from 2010 until around 2015, mostly for California Strength, which is a great weightlifting team, top of the nation. That was a lot of fun when I was lifting for that team, because they treat you like a pro athlete.

 

Once you start qualifying for national meets, then you’re set, you’re good. They buy your flights out there. They pay for your food while you’re there. They pay for your hotel room. You just got to show up at the airport on time. If you need, they’ll give you a ride there too, and then just show up and lift that weekend.

 

It was a really cool experience with doing that and with the team. Individually, the best I ever got was fifth at a national-level meet. I got seventh at national championships. I got fifth at the American Open when there was just the one American Open, the American Open Finals. I never medaled.

 

That was the last goal I had in weightlifting that hadn’t accomplished. When I first started, my coach laid it out for me. He said, “Hey, I think you have a lot of potential, so this is what we’re going to do. You’re going to qualify for the American Open, and you’re just going to go and have fun.

 

“Then next, you’re going to qualify for nationals and go lift and have fun. Then, you’re going to go back to the American Open and place top 10. Then, you’re going to go back to nationals, place top 10. Then, we’re going to start medaling.”

 

I did everything he said to except the last thing, I never medaled. That was the one thing, and so close that the fifth and the seventh. I just had a little bit of a monkey on my back.

 

In 2013, Caffeine and Kilos started. That’s also the year that I had my first child, good timing there. Things got pretty busy as you get older and other things are going on. I have a gym, Caffeine and Kilos is taking off. I was teaching, but I quit teaching.

 

Weightlifting is just something I had definitely took the back burner, to say the least. I never planned on competing as a Master. Then, as Masters World Cup was going to be in San Diego, a good friend of mine, James F. Thomas, who, he does the Masters circuit. He goes and just wins every Masters World Cup that’s ever around. [laughs] He’s been trying to get me to do it.

 

He’s like, “Hey man, Masters World Cup is in San Diego. If you turn 35, so you’re going to be qualified to lift as a Master. It’s never going to be this close. Last year it was in fucking Germany or whatever, right? Just go down there and lift. Do this one meet. It’s an opportunity, it’s so close.” All right, again, I had that monkey on my back. I’m not ever getting that medal at a national meet.

 

I thought, this isn’t a national meet, but I guess this can count for that medal. I just started training again a little bit, and it was 20 weeks away. The way the schedule worked out was perfect. I just trained for eight weeks, and then I’d still been working out.

 

I wasn’t lifting heavy, but I was in decent shape, whatever. Doing CrossFit a couple days a week, and I threw around the whips a little bit. I just trained eight weeks to the local meet, got a total. Then I had exactly 12 more weeks of training. 8-week cycle, local meet for a total, 12-week cycle, and down to San Diego for the World Cup.

 

It ended up working out pretty good. I lifted all right. I lifted really well in the clean and jerk anyway. Did enough to win, and that was the goal.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s all that matters. That’s why it’s the king of the list. You can have a terrible snatch day, but you need to make your clean and jerks. At the end of the day, you can hit a snatch PR, snatch for a record. If you don’t total, it doesn’t matter, Danny.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

It really doesn’t matter. In the Olympics, they don’t even medal, it’s only total. They don’t medal for snatch, and clean and jerk. It really is the only thing that matters is making it clean and jerk.

David TaoDavid Tao

Two follow up questions. You’re a world champion now. Does anyone else besides your daughter treat you differently because of that?

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

I don’t think so. Maybe, I hope not. [laughs] I don’t know, I’ll tell you what. The best part for me was two little things. One is that, it really gave me a sense of purpose training again. I felt I wasn’t totally ready to be done, but maybe. I was in this thing, I’m over it, I got a lot of other things going on.

 

I still move pretty well, I’m in decent shape. I feel I got something to prove a little bit still. I can go on, I could do this meet. Then after that I’ll know, I definitely want to keep pursuing this, or I’ll do this meet and then I feel I can hang it up. That’s what I really enjoyed, was the training going up to it, when I’m training for meet things get serious. [laughs]

 

I do not miss a session. I do not skip a single rep of my training. I show up, I put the work in. Just rekindling that dedication to training, for those that half a year, those 20 weeks, whatever, it was fun that lead up to it. Also fun is an interesting way to put it, I was also fucking miserable for those 20 weeks. [laughs]

 

I had so many other things going on and it was hard to get it done. I remember thinking a bunch of times, man, this meet better be fun because I do not want to be doing this shit right now, while I was in training.

David TaoDavid Tao

Are we going to see it, a Danny return to national competition in America? Competition is just remote now. We’re on the schedule, but is that something that you’re like, “Maybe, I’ll try and get that Nationals medal again.”

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

No, definitely not in the open category. When I was training for this Masters Meet, I actually had that thought a few times. What if I do this for another 20 weeks or so, I could definitely compete again against whoever, not as a master athlete.

 

Then I also had the realization, I’m not really enjoying this so much now. Now it’s very much a means to the end on how I’m pursuing this thing. Anyway, whereas the difference is, I have a great time working out right now. I go to the gym. I do the CrossFit class, two days a week. Then on one or two other days, I get in there and work out, and it’s fun.

 

My body feels good. When you’re training for something like this, you don’t feel good, you feel awful. Your body feels awful, but it’s all worth it. It’s all about trying to maximize performance. That’s where it’s at.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s almost a bit of a misnomer, Masters athletes. As soon as you’re 35 years old, you’re thrust into this category of like, “Oh, you’re over the hill, so you have to go compete in this special division for old people.” It’s not to say that you can’t be pretty darn good at weightlifting.

 

Chad Vaughn, he was like half-step away from winning another national championship at 39. I saw that. It was over a year ago. You can still hang. It’s not like you’re past any physical capability. I don’t know. I was at 35, like it makes sense because at a certain point in your 30s, your recovery just isn’t what it used to be.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

I think it’s outside the gym stuff, mainly. In order to compete at the high level or that level, the volume of training and the recovery from that, it takes certain things to do that.

 

A lot of times, once you’re 35, most people, you have other things going on and more of a career type of job. If you’re married and if you have kids, it’s all those outside-the-gym factors that are really inhibiting you from doing more on the platform.

 

Then there’s fun stories also like Jason Starks, who’s at, it’s Cal Strength. I remember, in the Nationals and Masters World Cup, we’re actually at the same venue, back-to-back. He actually competed at the Masters, maybe it was the Masters Nationals, might have been the World championships.

 

Anyway, competed in the Masters meet, broke the American record in the snatch. Won the thing, but didn’t really max out. That was like his last heavy day, on the Thursday. Then on Sunday, he lifted at Nationals, and I think he got placed second at National championships, three days after winning the Masters Worlds.

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, he’s a pretty special athlete. I don’t know if everyone’s going to be doing that in their late 30s. I should just clarify that.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

Yeah, that’s for sure.

David TaoDavid Tao

Let’s rewind a little bit. You talk about your busy schedule, and I know you as a very busy guy. You’re a gym owner, you’re an entrepreneur, you’re now once again a competitive lifter.

 

Let’s go back to that, you referenced 2013, when you started Caffeine and Kilos. I think that while most people in the space, especially in the weightlifting community but also in the CrossFit community, powerlifting, even Strongman, they’re familiar with the brand.

 

I don’t think people are as familiar with the reason you started the brand and some of the goals, from back in 2013, that still guide the company today. If you wouldn’t mind diving into those a little bit, I’d love to hear more about your perspective there.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

Our main goal at that time, the company was almost an accident. [laughs] We originally wanted to host a big weightlifting meet that supported the sport.

 

At the time, we’re just like, “OK. How can we get the best weightlifters in the country together?” At that time, not that there’s a ton of money in the sport now, but back then there was almost nobody getting paid with sponsorships. It was totally different kind of outlook there.

 

We said, “OK, if we get them out here, if we give a cash prize to these weightlifters and put them in front of an audience.”

 

At this time, you go to national championships that’s like, other lifters or maybe your parents, but they probably don’t understand what you’re doing anyway. That’s kind of it.

 

We said, “OK. If we can give them a crowd that understands what they’re doing. Like people are going to cheer for them and pay cash prizes, this will be a lot of fun. It will really help support USA weightlifting and support the athletes that are chasing that Olympic dream.”

 

Along with that, we can hold a CrossFit-style competition, which could be a great community event. We can get these do a team competition, get all these people from the community out here. We can have them compete, have fun doing all that. We can get vendors. Almost make it like a festival type thing.

 

At the end of the day, have this one invite session where they can watch the best lifters in the country compete. That was the main goal, and along with that. Simultaneously, they ended up being the same idea, we didn’t know it at first though, is that at that time parallel within the fitness industry, was a lot of things were really kind of corny.

 

Like you get a shirt. You might wear that shirt to the gym but you probably won’t wear it to your niece’s birthday party. Where kitschy sayings on them, stuff like that that doesn’t make sense anywhere outside the gym.

 

Like, “Man, we only make the shirts for this event. We should make sure that they look good. They’re good looking shirts and stuff you kind of wear in and out of the gym. One of my co-founders, Dean, he had a little street brand on the side. He’s cool. He’s cooler than we are, David.

 

He knows what looks good, and that type of thing. He started, he designed the shirt, designed the logo and started putting that stuff together. Then it’s like, “Man, this is something that people really resonated with.” People saw the brand. They saw the apparel, they saw how it was clean. It’s essentially street wear style that we sell, that’s in the fitness industry.

 

As we say, most stuff made off the gym doesn’t make sense anywhere else, but Caffeine and Kilos products are all designed to make you feel good, look good, and feel amazing in and out of the gym. Those kind of all things together we realized were the same idea. It wasn’t just an event. It wasn’t just this apparel and coffee brand, it was actually one thing that we can promote healthy, active lifestyle, and a community of fitness.

 

Now, go to the Caffeine and Kilos invitational, there’s a powerlifting meet. It’s a pull-only, it’s deadlift meet. We do it that way on purpose, we could get more people to compete, who may be would be uncomfortable with the monolift and that type of stuff.

 

There’s a powerlifting component, there’s a weightlifting component. Now it goes all day long. It’s a local meet. We get over a hundred local lifters competing in that. There’s still the fitness CrossFit-style competition. It’s come full circle. It’s bringing the community together and creating products that people appreciate. It’s helping support that healthy, active lifestyle.

David TaoDavid Tao

When did coffee become a part of this? It makes sense, “Caffeine and Kilos” I always thought, “That was kind of a cool name.” I don’t think it was until the 2015-2016 CrossFit Games that I was like, “Wait, they actually sell coffee too?” I was like, “Wait a minute, what’s going on here?”

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

 

Well, it is a cool name, so I don’t blame you for that.

David TaoDavid Tao

You’re biased, but it’s a cool name.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

Yeah, of course. [laughs] That’s a question we get a lot. They’re like, “So what are you guys, a coffee company then made the apparel? What kind of happened?” The truth is, they happened the same time. The 2013 Caffeine and Kilos Invitational, we actually had coffee there.

 

How that came about is we’re talking about the event, and we’re talking about the apparel and everything. The Caffeine and Kilos and we’re like, “You know what? We all drink coffee,” that’s how Caffeine and Kilos came up.

 

Everyone we know that likes to lift weights drinks coffee and it all works together. Caffeine, obviously, is the number one, tested and proven ergogenic aid and all that. Everyone just hammering caffeine down in the weightlifting community. We said, “Well, what if we make our own blend of coffee? What does that look like? How do we do that?”

 

How you do that, if you’re not in the coffee industry, is you start googling people who — local roasters [laughs] . We just started calling local roasters and talking to them and telling them what our vision is and what we’re all about.

 

We had one guy in particular who was all on board. He was all pumped up, and so we started working with him. He’s actually — still roasts for us today, because he’s right here in Sacramento, close by. He does all of our roasting for us still.

 

At that first Caffeine and Kilos Invitational, I think we had one tank top, a hat, and coffee.

David TaoDavid Tao

This is the most fortuitous business story I’ve ever heard, because you always hear about “IBM started like this, and then they launched this division later on, and then they built this,” or “Apple started with computers, and then they did the iPhone and the iPad and the iPod, and watches came later.”

 

This is just like your full suite of offerings. You nailed it from the get-go, there’s just been iterations on that.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

Yeah, that’s really funny you say that. That’s absolutely it. It went from the one blend of coffee, now we have four blends that we always have in stock. Right now, our best thing we offer, honestly is, we have a coffee-of-the-month. The coffee-of-the-month is awesome, because every month it’s a different blend. They all have a little bit higher caffeine content, nothing’s added.

 

It’s just the types of beans, and the way they’re blended and roasted. It’s fun because you try coffees from all over the world. It’s fun for us because we go in and we taste these 10 different coffees. Pick our top six for the next six months.

 

The month ahead-of-time, we taste them, and name them, and put together all that type of stuff. That’s right now, our most popular product is that coffee-of-the-month. Anyway, it’s a lot of fun.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

Was there a moment along the way? Obviously, that 2013 event was transformational, and you all realized you’re onto something good. I want to give a little backstory, here’s my impression of Caffeine and Kilos. You and I connected in 2015, 2016. When BarBend was getting off the ground, I was at a lot of events. It’s just a dude with curly hair getting involved.

 

From the other side, I’ll do a lot of consulting for businesses. I was a gym owner, I was just around. I remember the 2016 Games, I tried to say hi to you. I couldn’t because the Caffeine and Kilos booth — 2016 CrossFit Games, Carson, California — was getting overrun. Just completely overrun with people.

 

You had a line out of the booth, and it was interfering with other booths. I could see them eyeballing you all, because people weren’t able to check out their products. They were all trying to get the latest Caffeine and Kilos drop. I saw that in 2016 three years later. What was the moment you were like, “People are really, really latching on to this.”

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

There’s been a few things. I don’t tend to think of exact moments. It’s hard because honestly, it was a whirlwind. People talk about the hockey stick curve, but that doesn’t really apply to us too much because you have to have a flat part at the beginning. Really, we just shot off, it was straight out the gate with the event and everything.

 

We had the best weightlifters in the country all coming out to do this meet and they’re all talking about it. They’re going to come out win a cash prize and then it’s just instant marketing. This also is 2013, Instagram was just starting at the time, influencer marketing wasn’t a term back then I don’t think. It was you’re giving stuff to people or sending stuff out, it wasn’t an official term anyway.

 

Also we’re pretty connected in the CrossFit community as well. People started wearing our stuff and we started selling stuff online before the Caffeine and Kilos Invitational actually happened. It was supposed to be this one event people started buying stuff online ahead of time. Anyway, it took off.

 

I remember we were operating out of the attic of a gym at the time, which if anyone wants to start a physical product e-commerce business I would not recommend the upstairs attics of a gym.

David TaoDavid Tao

The hottest part of an already hot building.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

Yeah, with not to code stairs going up. You got to take boxes down somehow and taking product up them is a total, total mess. I remember these orders keep coming in and I remember all of a sudden there’s a bunch of international orders too. It’s not just from around and they’re all over the country and it’s every day these orders are coming in.

 

I remember that was like the thing we’re like, “Oh, this is a real thing, people are really catching on.” Then like you said, at the CrossFit Games actually 2014 was our first year there and we didn’t know what to expect. We had some friends in the industry that had been to the Games a few times, we got some advice on how a good booth setups.

 

I’d been to the Games as a spectator or a coach. I actually coached people there at different times since from when they were in Aromas. I knew what was going on, the layout of the land and everything. I remember that year we showed up and it was a madhouse, the way things were selling.

 

Another one that stands out was with the Arnold and at this time, we still weren’t necessarily shipping pallets of product out. This probably 2014 or maybe 2015 but we’re going out there didn’t really know what to expect you know the Arnold.

 

There’s a weightlifting meet sure, there’s a powerlifting and all that but it’s a little bit outside of what we think is our kind of niche but we don’t know how many bodybuilders or people have even heard of us in that industry. So we go out there and just basically take a bunch of suitcases full of product and we sold out Saturday at noon.

 

There’s like a full day and a half of this event and we had nothing to sell and so we would run to Kinko’s and get which cards printed up with the code to go to our website and that type of thing just sat through with the talk to people and hand out the codes but as those experiences of like, “Oh, we completely sold everything we have two days before the event’s over.”

 

Those type of things were pretty eye-opening. People come up to us who have never tried CrossFit a day in their life but they still are aware of the brand, those type of things, that really kind of — yeah at the time you’re just like, oh man who knew. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

Let’s fast-forward to today, Caffeine and Kilos today, because I know your team has changed a little bit, its grown obviously you’re not operating out of the dingy attic of a gym anymore but what does the operation look like today, how many people do you have, what are your facilities like, what’s that level of sophistication?

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

We’re still a pretty small team, that’s the beauty of e-commerce we do it the right way and the way things work now with being able to freelance certain things as far as like little graphics and stuff.

 

We’ve had people in and out, but overall now there’s eight of us. Eight of us on the team total, that’s everybody. That’s including as far as marketing, general admins, a couple guys working the warehouse out there and all that. Yeah there’s about seven or eight of us.

 

Eight of us on the team right now. Myself and Dean my business partner, we’re still very involved in the day-to-day operations making sure everything goes, keeps train on the track, all that type of stuff.

 

Yeah, we’re here in Elk Grove, we have a warehouse, we do have a little store front here now that’s all setup although no one can visit it right now. [laughs] But it’s there, so that was the latest iteration office, it’s not just — not only the shipping online and occasional warehouse sale. We do have a store front where people could pop in and pick some stuff up.

David TaoDavid Tao

In brighter days when things calm down a bit hopefully there’ll be a line out the front door.

 

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

It looks really nice checking out through the window there.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’d look better with a lot of people in there.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

It’d look better with some people yeah sure.

David TaoDavid Tao

The other thing I want to dive in on the Caffeine and Kilos front is — and this is something that happens behind the scenes. I’m biased, we’ve known each other for a while and so I’m not going to come at this from a standpoint of perfect objectivity but I think there’s a lot that Caffeine and Kilos does behind the scenes or that people in the strength community might not be aware of that supports weightlifting, that supports healthy lifestyles, that supports the athletes.

 

I ask that some of this I’m privy too because you’re a sponsor of USA weightlifting, BarBend’s a partner of USA weightlifting. Like an email threads, we see this, those are some of the things that you all do to support the governing bodies, the organization and the athletes.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

 I mean yeah, so we’re the official coffee of USA weightlifting that’s actually great. We’ve actually supported USA weightlifting all along and it’s funny how our relationship started with them.

 

I think it was 2015, might have been 2014 and it was funny, they sent out an email to the athletes actually and they said, hey we need new platforms for a warmup room. So they were selling plaques, just like little six-inch plaques whatever they were going to go on the platforms.

 

They said, hey for whatever was $500 you can get — you put whatever you want on this plaque. Basically just like pay for the platform. The idea was that someone would do it for a coach that they had, that they really admired or something like that. I just replied to the email. I got it because I was a member of USA weightlifting, they didn’t send out to the sponsors.

David TaoDavid Tao

I think I got the same email back then, yeah.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

I said, “Hey, how many of these do you have left? How many have you sold? How many have you left?” They said, “Oh, how many do we have left? All of them. No takers.” [laughs] This was a day or two later. There would’ve been plenty of time for somebody. I was like, “OK, well, we’ll take them all.” That’s what we did. Caffeine and Kilos bought all 10 of them.

 

We didn’t make it this big thing. On the plaque, all it said is, “Proud Supporter of USA Weightlifting. Caffeine and Kilos.” That was it. That was the first thing we did that was relatively substantial, monetary gift for USA Weightlifting donation. It’s something that we know we can do. We know will help. They obviously were in need of that.

 

The other part was, what I really liked about it is it was something that directly affected the athletes. That’s something we’ve been a big part of what we do with USA Weightlifting all along. The organization is important and I want to support that, but I like things that actually affect the athletes when they are there.

 

A part of that’s probably from…Because I looked at it, whatever 26 weightlifting meets that I’ve done. [laughs] I know what it’s like to be there. The following year, they didn’t need new platforms again, but we talked to them and they said, “OK, well, you know what’s actually a really big expense which is kind of silly, are lanyards, right?

 

“Every athlete in a national meet gets a lanyard. We have Junior Nationals, and University Nationals, and great Senior Nationals, and the American Open, and all this. We’ve spent [indecipherable 29:16] $1,000 a year on fucking lanyards.” Then I’m like, “All right,” so the next year Caffeine and Kilos bought the lanyards for them. It’s things like that we’ve done with USA Weightlifting.

 

Then on a athlete level, we have…I don’t even know the exact number off the top of my head. It’s pretty small. It’s not dozens, but it’s about a dozen athletes within CrossFit, powerlifting, weightlifting that we have on our team here that we really appreciate, and we support them different ways. We’ve done that the entire time.

 

We’ve had different athletes who we sponsor to help them along their way towards their goals. Whether that’s the Olympics, or the CrossFit Games, or that type of stuff. It’s been fun. One example is in CrossFit is Noah Olsen. When we started with him, he hadn’t ever gone to the Games. He was just…Competed at the regionals and that was it.

 

He was a friend of ours and we got to know him pretty good. Started working together with him, then you fast forward seven years and he got second place at the CrossFit Games last year. That was cool. Morghan King, also was a 2016 Olympian, but back in 2013 we met. I remember her first national meet in the skating rink national, but…

 

…It’s a whole other story. It’s the same thing. We were with her, helped her, and supported her up her Olympic run. We’ve done that with lots of other athletes as well. One more thing that I’m actually excited about right now that we have going on, is helping out with some local level programs. Down in down LA, there’s a weightlifting program that’s run by the Kings of Weightlifting.

 

It’s an after-school inner city program. Kids go there. They help them with their homework, they communicate with all of their teachers, make sure they are all squared away. After their homework’s done for that day, then they train them in weightlifting, and CrossFit, or whatever they want to do, that type of thing. It’s somewhere for these kids to go after school.

 

They make sure they get their schoolwork done, all that type of stuff. We have a relationship with them as well where we accept donations on our website, then funnel those over to them, and then help out through that as well. Just a few things that we do that we…Some ongoing efforts and things that I’m proud of.

David TaoDavid Tao

That’s awesome. Those programs, there’s actually one in Boston I’m aware of that we’ve covered on BarBend recently called InnerCity Weightlifting. It’s actually founded by an old training partner of mine, which dates me and makes me feel a little bit old in this whole thing. It’s so cool to me…

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

Derrick Johnson runs the other one down LA.

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, Jon Feinman runs the one in Boston. I’m sure they’ve communicated on that. The cool thing to me is not just that this is happening — obviously it’s a good thing. Kids are getting tutoring and they are getting support outside the classroom — but that kids are excited enough about weightlifting. For that to be the carrot at the end of the stick. For them to be excited about that.

 

Part of it is that weightlifting has increased in popularity. I have to say some of that probably goes back to companies like yours that have tried to take it from just what’s in the gym to more of a lifestyle as well. Like, “Oh, you’re a weightlifter? Well the other 22 hours of the day, how are you representing that? Are you wearing that on the street?”

 

Some of that has to go back to not just Caffeine and Kilos. I can’t give you 100 percent credit.

 

If people aren’t repping what they are doing in the gym, and if that’s not something they identify with, or that’s cool, then kids aren’t going to want to do it. You know what I mean?

 

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

Yeah, I think that’s important and that’s something I think about all the time, I really do. That is the goal as a company, is to help promote that healthy, active lifestyle. It’s a real thing. Let’s take apparel, for example. If the apparel you make is something people would wear to the gym, but they would never wear out of the gym.

 

Then if they’re not going to the gym, they’re not wearing it. It’s out of sight, out of mind a little bit. If it’s something that you feel good and it looks good in and out of the gym, well then you just go to put that shirt on. You’re seeing it in your closet, you’re wearing it. If you wear our shirt, are you more or less likely to work out that day or go to the gym?

 

Or does it at least make you think about fitness? I’d say it definitely does. Same thing with the coffee. If you make our coffee that morning, you know that we’re a fitness brand, right? You make that coffee, you know that you are casting a vote for being a person that works out. That’s a James Clear line, or whatever.

 

“Every action you take, you’re casting a vote for the type of person you want to be.” That’s that. When you get up, you’re making Caffeine and Kilos coffee. You’re basically casting a vote to yourself saying, “Hey, look, I’m somebody who believes in fitness and a healthy lifestyle.” I really think that does make a difference, and helps out, and keeps fitness top of mind for people.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Well, Danny, where’s the best place for people to not only follow along with what you all are doing at Caffeine and Kilos, but with you personally? I know you’re active in speaking to groups and fitness is something you’re very passionate about, even outside of the apparel business. Apparel and coffee business, not to [indecipherable 34:38] you too bad.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

You’re OK. So caffeineandkilos.com is the best place to find out everything about Caffeine and Kilos, so caffeineandkilos.com. Me personally, on Instagram is probably the easiest way. That’s just danny_lehr, which is L-E-H-R. If you do find me on Instagram, if you have any questions, shoot me a DM. I do read my DMs. I respond to them. Love to help out.

David TaoDavid Tao

Feel free to slide into the DMs. That’s what he’s saying. [laughs]

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

Oh, yeah. Come on over.

David TaoDavid Tao

Danny Lehr, thanks so much for joining us today. Really appreciate it, man.

Danny LehrDanny Lehr

All right, David, thanks. Have a nice day.

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