When Times Seem Tough, Resilience Keeps You in the Game

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Resilience is a word that’s been on my mind lately.

By definition, it’s the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty, the ability to spring back into shape. It’s a word that is especially relevant these days for the sports nutrition industry.

We’ve seen how the vitamin segment is thriving during this time, as consumers seek to stock up on immunity-supportive supplements. On the other hand, other parts of the supplement business aren’t faring as well right now.

As many gyms and traditional retailers of sports nutrition products struggle with public health restrictions, their customers creatively strove to at least maintain their fitness. Meanwhile, some sports nutrition companies, reliant on exercisers and brick and mortar outlets, are experiencing what we trust is a momentary setback in the progressive growth of the industry.

During this time, we, in the sports nutrition industry, need to remind ourselves that our fitness-supporting products help make a better, fitter life for consumers. Meanwhile, we can also take advantage of this time, to communicate and collaborate industry best practices to ensure quality continuity across brands. It’s time to be nimble and forward-thinking, to use this time as an opportunity to plan for the future, when the pandemic subsides, and we can move back into a more comforting and familiar new normal.

For companies involved in the sports nutrition business—or anyone reading this looking for some motivation, some collaboration, some resilience—I’m sharing what I’ve been working on as chair of the AHPA Sports Nutrition Committee: a one-day, virtual event, the AHPA Sports Nutrition Congress, taking place on October 21.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the AHPA Sports Nutrition Committee, and to celebrate, we started talking over a year ago about creating an industry-wide event that would bring together the sports nutrition segment of the industry, and those in the industry who were just sports-nutrition-curious. We envisioned a get-together with a substantive agenda, collaborative discussions, drinks in the bar.

So, we started planning. We never imagined the planning would come to fruition in the middle of a pandemic.

Resilience. We quickly turned to a virtual platform that will allow for some interaction; granted not the touch-y feel-y kind, but still a chance to “see” each other, feel the sense of community, and a reminder that we’re all in this together.

Fortunately, as it turns out, the agenda is pandemic-proof and the speaker list draws on the expertise of some of the best in the industry.

The conference is not COVID-19 focused, although it’s hard to imagine speakers won’t reference the virus as it infects our daily existence. Instead it’s a conference with a vibrant agenda that’s designed to help companies with short- and long-term strategies for successfully building a better business through industry-wide best practices, regulatory compliance, and innovation.

The day is divided into six panel sessions, three or four speakers per panel. It starts with an overview that sets the stage for where the industry is in terms of trends, key brands, hot ingredients, and what’s radar-worthy, both in the U.S. and global markets.

The session on building the business is all about innovation and creating your strategic pipeline, understanding how consumer insights, regulatory and legal compliance, science-backed products, and high-quality production interplay to successfully support your business plan.

The next three sessions highlight areas that benefit not only your business but also build consumer trust, the latter being the key to long-term success. Speakers will share tools for:

  • ingredient product testing against label accuracy and label claims and honest marketing
  • limiting ingredient, product and brand risk and liability through best practice formulations, truthful substantiated claims, and monitoring consumer communications;
  • appreciating the value of banned substance testing and quality marks as critical components of customer trust.

The final educational session shares a practical strategy for creating a meaningful scientific platform that stretches your research dollars while maintaining efficacy.

And then there is the keynote address. Talk about resilience. Just spend 45 minutes with David Vobora of the Adaptive Training Foundation (ATF) and you’ll be filled up with resilience.

David Vobora’s four-year career as a pro linebacker with the NFL was cut short at age 25, when he experienced a shoulder injury followed by an addition to painkillers as he faced an identity crisis about what to do with the rest of his life. After kicking his addiction, he turned his life around and opened a gym. Then, he met US Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, a quadruple amputee, and he found an even greater purpose. Together, they built a customized, adaptive workout plan to address the unique challenges posed by Mills’ injuries, and Vobora’s passion for helping other veterans with similar challenges was born in the form of ATF.

While the AHPA Sports Nutrition Congress is designed specifically for those with a finger, a foot, or the whole body and soul in the category, we encourage anyone with an interest in any of the sessions to register. This segment of the dietary supplement industry is extremely collaborative, with an energy that recognizes the customer and the consumer come first. We’d love to “meet” you on October 21.

For more information about the AHPA Sports Nutrition Congress, visit ahpa.org or contact Amber Bennett (abennett@ahpa.org) to see if you qualify for a promotional discount.

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