Originally posted May 2, 2012

I’ve been around to see some pretty good times in the fitness industry.

Regretfully, I think that’s slowly going to change.

The Past

Years ago, supplements were only items like vitamin C and the like. There were only a few token supplement companies to speak of.

Enter MuscleTech.

Johhny Jackson Photo by Paul Buceta

They began selling supplements aimed to help body builders see the results they were after – Namely bigger, faster, stronger. And holy shit, did they ever sell a lot of product!

Their success allowed them to broaden their products to a more mainstream market.

Sarah Scotford Photo by Paul Buceta

The company grew at an astronomical pace. Tens of millions of dollars were being made in very little time.

This influx of capital was great news for the fitness industry. Why, because like many new, larger than life corporations, turning over more profit than they knew what to do with, they spent like gangbusters.

Where did they spend???

Just name it…

  • MuscleTech would buy advertising in all the fitness magazines.  Millions of dollars worth. This trickled down to many new magazines starting up, (There was no Oxygen Magazine before MuscleTech) as well as bigger names being able to explore new territories with the extra revenues. The credibility these magazines would create for the fitness industry is to date, unmeasurable. Models who would never consider fitness modelling started taking note. This resulted in fitness competitions seeing a meteoric rise in participants. The trickle down of revenues from all of this is too long to list here.
  • Muscletech would grant lucrative sponsorships to many (almost all) of the top professional body builders.
  • Muscletech would donate huge amounts of award money for the winners of fitness competitions everywhere.
  • Muscletech would have huge booths at fitness expos.

All this cost money. A lot of money.

The tens of millions of dollars Muscletech put back into the fitness industry really helped make it happen. It’s my opinion MuscleTech is directly responsible for the growth we have all come to enjoy and the credibility the market has managed to achieve.

I feel a personal obligation to thank MuscleTech for the path they’ve paved for us.

Here and Now.

So here comes the bad times.

When you have a company that is hugely successful, competition is soon to follow. Where MuscleTech once had a HUGE hold of the market, the arrival of new, fresh start ups, nipping at their heels have certainly cost them a large piece of the pie. Unfortunately for the industry, this competition is not advertising as much, not spending as much, and the result is felt by all of us.

A reformulation of one of MuscleTech’s biggest selling products dramatically hit them in the pocket books.

An economy that is anything but promising certainly hasn’t helped.

The slumping US dollar (MuscleTech is a Canadian company) must certainly have played a huge part.

So Why Should We Care?

A couple of reasons I can think of off the top of my head;

  • Less advertising = less magazines. Less magazines, = less places for advertising. Less places for advertising = less product being sold which in turn, means even MORE ‘ less advertising’. It’s a vicious circle.
  • Magazines have added a huge amount of credibility to the industry. How many competitions were being held 5 years ago? Not that many is the answer. Now, there’s a show all the time. New organizations are formed everywhere. But guess what will happen with the demise of magazines??? Yup, the credibility will go with it. Without magazines to champion us, we all suffer. Since writing this post both Oxygen and MUSCLEMAG have gone bankrupt.
  • Sponsorships for athletes are already a thing of the past. Now sponsorships are becoming just titles with little or no pay. I elaborate on this here.
  • Getting into fitness modelling will be something to do just for fun. There will be no more work.
  • Models will end up being paid in supplements. I know it sounds ridiculous but I see it coming – Just wait.
The Future
The golden days of the MuscleTech empire may be behind us, while they may return to the lofty profits they once enjoyed, it’s not likely they will spend like they once had. The market is gun-shy now. Noone wants to experience the tough times we are going through now unprepared. It’s regretful those days are past us. Hopefully, a new market will evolve that will help finance the industry we have all come to love. Until then, I feel the fitness industry will be seeing the end of magazines one at a time until there are very few staple magazines left. Those who will survive this meltdown will be those that can adapt quickly, change where change is necessary, and be able to explore new revenue streams.
I’m crossing my fingers the rise of the fitness industry has created enough momentum to keep itself going. I love this industry and those in it. I hope it doest go back to the days before MuscleTech.
Article by Paul Buceta

This is merely an observation. I’m sure I’ve missed quite a bit. I would love to hear your thoughts. Let’s start a forum on this.

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