Looking for a unique pre-workout or protein supplement? An ISU student-founded company offers unique products that may enhance the benefits of exercise.
A year ago, Devin Wilmott, senior in kinesiology and health, and Greg Arciniegas, senior in kinesiology exercise science, along with two other business partners, started their own nutritional supplement company, I Conquer Everything "I.C.E." Labs Nutritional Supplements.
The team of personal trainers—Wilmott at Train with Dev, her own online training business, and at AFP Training Studio, and Arciniegas at Premier Athlete Training—had worked with supplements in the past and knew that many people could benefit from them collaborating.
After initially deciding to start the business in March 2016, the team began rigorous planning to create and sell three different products — a protein formula in two flavors and a pre-workout formula.
With the help of a pharmacist, the team created its own unique formula that offers various benefits beyond what a typical protein supplement offers, Arciniegas said.
"All four of us sat down and looked at the best products on the market that we have taken or that we've recommended to clients, and took pieces of ingredients from products that we all liked, and made a [combined] formula," Wilmott said.
The product offers more than just protein, with the addition of extra ingredients such as a higher dose of digestive enzymes than most other protein supplements, Arciniegas said.
By going above and beyond a typical protein supplement, they knew they could potentially lose money compared to other companies that offered separate products for each marketable benefit. However, they decided that offering a unique all-in-one formula made more sense for their customers, Wilmott said.
“Our supplements are safe for anyone to take. You could do nothing and take protein — protein is obviously a part of [everyday] nutrition," Arciniegas said. "But if you’re working out and breaking down muscle, the [extra] protein is going to benefit you more because it’s going to help you build that muscle back bigger and stronger.”
The formula for their protein supplement is a metabolic-enhancing formula that helps individuals recover after a workout, whether the goal is to gain muscle or lose fat.
"Basically what [metabolic-enhancing formulas] do is help you lean out — the ingredients in the formula make you use your body fat energy," Arciniegas said.
When starting their pre-workout product, Wilmott recommends beginners use a half scoop before a workout and work up to the full recommended dosage.
"Pre-workouts are tricky because they affect everybody different," she said.
For example, the beta alanine in the product may make some people feel a tingling sensation, while others may not feel it at all, Arciniegas said.
Both of the CEOs highly recommend that individuals do their own research before buying and starting supplements to know which ones are right for them.
They also recommend researching to avoid taking supplements that contain ingredients that are banned or that are simply fillers in the product.
In order to ensure quality within its own products, the I.C.E. team is currently in the process of getting its products third-party tested to prove label accuracy, and made sure to visit its manufacturing plant personally to make sure it was up to its standards.
The manufacturing plant that the team chose is both NSF certified, which is a third-party health and safety certification that ensures quality in food-related products, and GMP, Good Manufacturing Practices, certified, which ensures that a product is produced following quality standards.
"If you're going to make an investment, you have to be smart about it," she said. The CEOs researched, analyzed trials and studies that have been done on the ingredients and visited the manufacturing plant to make sure everything was top quality before releasing their products.
Focusing on ensuring high-quality products, offering unique formulas and going above and beyond to create a strong brand has allowed I.C.E. to differentiate themselves from other supplement companies in the market.
"We want to build trust with our customers, and trust with our clients, and also accountability. We're not going to tell you that this product is going to change your life; we're not going to tell you that this product is going to make you lose weight or gain muscle, we're going to tell you that it's going to help," Wilmott said. "Supplements are to supplement what you're already doing. If you put in the work, our supplements can and will help you. If you don't put in the work, and you take our supplements, it will not help you,"
The company sells its products in two, soon-to-be three, retail locations, including AI Supplements in Ames, and online with international shipping as well as domestic.