Not many eCommerce companies can say they compete with the living room couch. But Bodybuilding.com, a site that combines content, commerce and community for fitness enthusiasts, has made an enemy of the couch. Despite its name, the company’s mission isn’t just to produce bulked-up shoulders and biceps – it’s to get people up and moving, and then motivate them to stay that way.
“Our unique value proposition is that we bring the totality of the fitness journey,” said CEO Jas Krdzalic. “In our fitness journey, we touch on training, nutrition and motivation. So many people quit a fitness program because the motivation leaves or the support group is not available, and then they can’t find the right supplements. We provide them with content that gives them the motivation to stay on their fitness journey, and we wrap it up into a support group called a community, where people can draw energy from others and give energy to others. Because of that approach, we like to say the couch is the enemy.”
Based in Boise, Idaho, Bodybuilding.com is one of the world's largest sports nutrition sites. It carries more than 13,500 health and fitness supplements and accessories, shipping to customers in more than 155 countries. Beyond the eCommerce component, the company gives both serious athletes and casual fitness fans a wide variety of content via 35,000 pages of training and nutrition information and 10,000 videos, with new content added regularly. Bodybuilding.com also offers more than 60 training programs with corresponding instructional videos, as well as nutrition and supplementation plans via its BodyFit subscription.
Krdzalic takes his job and his passion for fitness seriously – but not so seriously to completely cancel out any fun, which is where the company’s new announcement of a licensing deal with Hostess Brands comes in. Yes, the Hostess that makes snack cakes. The latest products in the Bodybuilder Remix nutrition brand come from Hostess in the form of new protein powders in Twinkie and cupcake flavors.
The rationale for what could be seen as a protein drink built for the less fitness-conscious consumer stems from Krdzalic’s days as a contestant in “natural” bodybuilding, which means it involves no performance-enhancing drugs. During that time, around 2006, when he was a Bodybuilding.com customer and a computer engineer at Micron, Krdzalic would meet fellow competitors who wouldn’t eat anything other than chicken, broccoli and brown rice. He knew nutrition was important, but didn’t think it should be a punishment. And he hated the idea of “cheat days."
“We saw all of these iconic brands that we grew up with, and I thought that part of our customer base longed to have that experience again, that taste that reminds them of the good old days,” he recalled. “I thought how nice it would be to ease their emotional and mental state during their fitness journey by giving them a treat. Hostess has been very open and a great partner to work with. We said, ‘hey, Twinkies, why not?’”
Like Peloton, which Krdzalic has a great deal of respect for, Bodybuilding.com is trying to bring the gym home. And like Peloton, the company is quickly building a content library to try to duplicate the experience for as wide an audience as possible.
And it’s not limited to weight training. For example, the “Lean at Home” series of home workout videos uses resistance training and cardio – no machines and no weights. But the Ultimate Cable Workout lives up to its name, promising big shoulders and calling for big machines. The company is currently building out several different subscription plans to capture the pandemic-driven home exercise phenomenon.
“If I promise to deliver an at-home workout that builds muscle, I’ll take the time to make sure it does,” said Krdzalik. “Because at the end of the day, if you follow the program and not getting the promised results, you’ll go look somewhere else. To me, one of the most disheartening things during the pandemic has been what I think of as ‘cheating the consumer.’ Everybody has an at-home workout – but if mine is structured in a way that truly addresses your body mechanics and your physiology, it will deliver the result.”
In addition to the Hostess licensing deal and subscription plans (current plans start at $3.99 a month without supplements), Krdzalik is looking forward to more growth and more content for his audience. “I hope you call us back in a year,” he said. “I can’t wait to see where we’ll be.”