VitalFit: Plant Based Supplement Optimizing your Performance
We are always on the lookout for the latest products in health and wellness. However, we want results, not just buzzwords and trendy packaging. We sat down with Cameron Fischer, Co-founder of VitalFit Nutrition a viable, plant protein based supplement company, headquartered in Boston, MA. VitalFit Nutrition creates nutritional supplements with plant-based whole foods, such as pumpkin and tart cherry, that helps individuals resist external stressors, (mental and physical), recover efficiently and help to achieve optimal performance.
Our interview will certainly peak your interest in learning how to add nutritional enhancements to improve your health and lifestyle.
OR: How did you come up with the idea for VitalFit Nutrition?
CF: We started VitalFit as a part of our grad school thesis project at Babson College. What was a gripe with commissioned sales clerks, flashy marketing and lack of industry accountability, turned into our full-time venture. However, it was a back injury from playing basketball that actually led us to our first product. Sick of taking ibuprofen and having no luck finding a natural alternative, we felt like something was missing. Eventually, we came across Tart Cherry juice, which was surprisingly effective and we began working on the way to best deliver its effects and apply it to the health and wellness space. At the same time, we noticed a gap between performance and lifestyle products. There is an extensive amount of products for athletes and general wellness and few that are meeting in the middle for a fitness-conscious, working professional. All of these events contributed to us moving forward with creating VitalFit Nutrition.
OR: What is different about your company from other supplement companies?
CF: We have created a line of all-natural recovery products rooted in preventative, homeopathic and naturopathic optimization—a way to get your mind and body back on track with the right fix, not the quick one. At VitalFit, we want to change the way supplements are fundamentally designed—and we’re not just talking about improving transparency, using quality ingredients and staying gluten-free, which we do. We mean flipping the product development process on its head by inviting the wellness community into our design process to create products we not only need, but are comfortable using ourselves every day.
OR: With the fast-paced lifestyle and busy schedules that most of us keep, it can be hard to manage optimal nutrition. What do you recommend?
CF: With all that goes on in one day, I think the most important thing to remember is that optimal nutrition is more than an individual action or nutrient, it’s a collection of decisions and ingredients working together. Meaning, a salad here, a grain bowl there and workout in-between are a good start, but it’s everything that determines overall nutrition and wellness. Try taking a few minutes to reflect at the end of each day or week and see which individual decisions helped the whole self the best and try incorporating more of them next week.
OR: Which one of your VitalFit products is your best seller so far and why?
CF: VitalFit Tart Cherry is not only the first product we launched, it’s still our best-selling product. I think there are two main reasons why it sells so well; (1) growing awareness around the negative effects of anti-inflammation medicine and (2) Tart Cherry is a fast-acting, all-natural anti-inflammatory that works a lot like an ibuprofen (or any other over-the-counter Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory, NSAID), but without the side effects.
While there’s no shortage of buzzwords in today’s health and wellness industry, inflammation isn’t one of them. Acute inflammation is something we all need to deal with when injured. However, chronic inflammation is not. Side effects include fatigue, digestive issues, joint pain, brain fog and anxiety to name a few. Both physical and mental stress (from workouts to workdays) can raise inflammatory markers. I think because people are more aware of inflammation causes and symptoms, they’re looking for remedies beyond ibuprofen and aspirin because they have enough side effects on their own.
Tart Cherry is a great, natural alternative to existing inflammation remedies and proven to have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any whole food, works relatively quickly (usually 1-3 hours after taking them) and virtually no side effects. They’re as easy on the stomach as they are to digest. Whether or not you’re sore from a workout, recovering from an injury or wake up with a stiff neck, Tart Cherry can truly help.
OR: Where are your products being sold?
CF: Aside from our website, we sell our products in a combination of health food/natural supplement stores and boutique fitness studios. We pick our partners carefully. We spend a lot of time getting to know our retailers who vet their products as thoroughly as we vet our ingredients. Our goal is to work with retailers where we think our customers should shop regardless of whether or not they’re buying our products.
The same goes for the fitness studios we work with. Fitness studios are not traditional sellers of nutrition products. We work with many studio instructors to help us develop and test products, essentially bringing the studio into our design process and turning them into a great point of sale channel.
OR: Who is your target audience?
CF: Our customers are the modern recreational athlete. They’re conscious wellness users who care about their fitness but aren’t training for anything in particular. With that said, we do have customers training for endurance-based events like marathons or long-distance cycling. Most of our customers are everyday people who have integrated health, wellness and fitness into their lifestyle and are looking for natural products to help improve rather than transform. Products that give a little extra boost during a workout or fitness class—natural remedies to help their bodies recover from the daily grind.
OR: How do you stay fit and healthy?
CF: There’s not a lot of constants when it comes to starting your own company, every day is a little different. Because of that, I try to make staying fit and healthy my constant. No matter how the day is going, I make sure to squeeze in my workouts and take a step back from everything that’s going on. I usually get to it around 7:00pm or 8:00pm. I find an empty spot in my house and workout for about 50 minutes. I injured my back a little over a year ago, which actually led us in finding Tart Cherry, so no heavy lifting for me. All of my workouts incorporate intervals and bodyweight training. Functional fitness is definitely another buzzword nowadays but I’m a big believer in it.
OR: We love your packaging! Please tell us about the design. Is its recyclable?
CF: Thank you. I think packaging says a lot about who you are and what you represent. There’s plenty of flashy labels and too many white plastic bottles. We’re proud of the products we make and we want our customers to be proud of what they get so we designed our jars to look better on the counter than hidden in a cabinet. Plus, the glass container is reusable and planet friendly.
OR: Who is on your advisory board?
CF: We’ve assembled a really knowledgeable advisory board. While we’re health and wellness enthusiasts I wouldn’t exactly say we’re experts, which is why it was really important for us to surround ourselves with a board of specialists to help formulate our products. Our board includes an integrative medicine specialist, a naturopathic physician, natural product experts and a group of fitness instructors. We essentially go into the field, identify problems our customers are facing and then work with our advisors to create safe, thoughtfully assembled products that solve them. The entire process is very collaborative.
OR: What inspires you?
CF: One of our first retailers, Cambridge Naturals, is a real inspiration for me. They’re an incredible natural food and supplements store that’s been in business for over 40 years. Between the rise of big box retailers and e-commerce, they’ve managed to separate themselves with a truly genuine approach to doing business in the health and wellness space. It’s not about quick sales and sky-high profits. It’s about building relationships and helping people cut through the noise, values that we’ve made an integral part of our business.
OR: If you weren’t an entrepreneur making plant-based supplements, what do you think you would be doing?
CF: Definitely helping other entrepreneurs turn their ideas into something great. I still have plenty to learn but the idea of helping someone fine tune their vision and bring it to market, excites me.
OR: What would you tell your 8-year-old self?
CF: Don’t forget to reflect on your accomplishments. One of the hardest parts of starting your own company is the lack of structure. Just because there isn’t always someone there to pat you on the back, doesn’t mean you’re not making progress or doing a good job. It’s easy to go a few weeks and not realize how much you’ve accomplished. Those accomplishments give you the drive to keep pushing. Of course, equally important is reflecting, not dwelling on your mistakes. There’s a learning opportunity in each of them and the quicker you reflect, identify and adapt, the stronger you will be.
OR: Thank you Cameron for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. I wish you continued success and I look forward to receiving my products.
CF: My pleasure Olivia and look out for the shipment. I look forward to our next interview.
To learn more about VitalFit Nutrition and order the supplements, please visit: https://vitalfitnutrition.com
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