Up Close With... Human Performance Labs
October 15, 2009
Michael Phelps, Nastia Liukin, Angela Stanford, Ryan Powell and Bernard Berrian are just a few of the Olympic and professional athletes that train with PureSport Nutritional Performance Sports Drinks. Human Performance Labs LLC, Austin, Texas, developed PureSport from a formula that some of these athletes were using before the product even existed as a brand.
PureSport’s formula was created in 2006 by John Ivy, chairperson of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at The University of Texas at Austin with input from Olympic swimmers Michael Phelps, Aaron Peirsol and Brendan Hansen. In late 2007, Human Performance Labs formed to develop a brand from the formula. The company launched PureSport in August 2008.
“We want our brand associated with training,” says Michael Humphrey, Human Performance Labs’ chief executive officer.
Human Performance Labs offers two varieties of PureSport: Recovery and Workout. Both formulas provide protein from whey protein isolate, along with antioxidants, electrolytes and natural sugars. The formulas have the same carbohydrate-to-protein ratio of 2.67-to-1.
“We think that’s the optimum formula, and we believe our science and comparative data shows that,” Humphrey says. “If you look at our Workout product, we have a lot less sugar than other products on the marketplace, plus we have the added protein component, and we believe that formula is optimal. The Recovery product is the same ratio, but the carb and protein quantities are a lot higher.”
PureSport Workout is available in 24-gram packets that are mixed with 16 ounces of water. Workout contains 80 calories per serving, 15 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of protein. PureSport Recovery is packaged in 70-gram packets that are mixed with 12 ounces of water. Recovery offers 260 calories per serving, 47 grams of carbohydrates and 18 grams of protein.
PureSport Workout is a hydration drink for active people, Humphrey says. When used prior to and during vigorous exercise, PureSport Workout’s mix of carbohydrates and protein enhances exercise results by improving endurance and reducing muscle tissue damage, the company says.
PureSport Recovery is designed for people who are even more active, Humphrey says. Taken within 15 minutes after exercising, the protein and carbohydrate mix advances muscle recovery and increases fuel storage in the muscles, he says.
PureSport Workout and PureSport Recovery are available in four flavors: Lemon Lime, Grape, Fruit Punch and Banana Berry. In the spring of 2010, Human Performance Labs plans to launch PureSport in a ready-to-drink format.
PureSport is available nationwide in more than 2,100 retailers like Sports Authority, GNC and H-E-B. Internationally, PureSport is available in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Guatemala, and recently signed distribution for South Korea, Japan and China.
Human Performance Labs intention is not to compete with Gatorade and Powerade because it can’t when it comes to marketing dollars, Humphrey says. Instead, it decided to focus on sports like swimming, gymnastics, soccer and lacrosse that are growing in popularity. In turn, it contacted leaders in each one of those sports to represent the brand.
Human Performance Labs obtained its alliance with its athletes through their agents and through social networking. For example, when PureSport moved into a golf retailer and wanted an athlete to translate to that marketplace, the company contacted LPGA player Angela Stanford through social media.
This year, Brendan Hansen, captain of the 2008 U.S. Olympic swim team, also joined Human Performance Labs as director of training and performance. In this position, Hansen will be responsible for building the company’s relationships with athletes, trainers, coaches and sports clubs.
PureSport also partners and appears in numerous participatory events, such as triathlons, cycling and open water swims. And at some retailers, the company has brought in athletes to speak about how they use PureSport.
“It’s my opinion that the traditional playbook doesn’t work anymore given the environment that we’ve been in the last year,” Humphrey says. “But, I’m a big believer in making a retail presence.”