Issue No. 286: Stacked

This issue is presented by

The digital hub for local fitness.

Protein is having a moment.

Buying in Bulk

Scooping muscle support, consumers are pushing protein and creatine to new heights.

  • 67% of Americans tried to consume more protein in ’23.
  • 20% more consumers purchased protein powder last year than in ’22.
  • Creatine sales jumped 120% in ’22, and 114% in ’23, per SPINS.

Most importantly, it’s not just bodybuilders buying in.

Protein Persuasion

Nutrition education is lacking — 62% of US adults don’t know which foods are healthy and why. But the consensus of what’s unhealthy may be more telling.

Influenced by Big Sugar’s campaign against fat and the weight loss industry vilifying carbs, consumers are counting on one macro.

Eating for insurance, American men overconsume recommended protein levels by 31% and women by 12%, yet some experts think the threshold is too low — and the public tends to agree.

Life Fortified

High-protein eating is consistently America’s most popular diet.

Benefiting from strength training’s rise, consumers also cite weight loss, physical appearance, and energy as top reasons for partaking in ’23.

Transcending gym-goers, brands are packaging protein and creatine as building blocks of life.

Food first. The gold-standard, nutritionists recommend whole foods over supplements.

Urged toward excess by Joe Rogan and the “Liver King,” some eaters have gone Carnivore, feasting entirely on animal products for muscle, weight loss, and mental acuity.

Despite limited research and potential risk, consumers’ primal instincts remain steadfast.

Answering the call, ButcherBox, Force of Nature, and White Oak Pastures deliver responsibly raised meat. Leaning in, Sweetgreen is adding grass-fed steak plates.

Everyday gains. Finding new fans, the US markets for protein and creatine supplements hit $10B and $60M, respectively.

Personalizing powders, Gainful, Elo, and Momentous are adding functional stacksbloodwork, and expert-endorsed bundles to stand out.

Playing defense. The emergence of GLP-1s has made protein medicinal, sparking the reformulation of foods to prevent muscle loss.

Taking advantage, GNC is curating complementary supps, Atkins’ parent co acquired plant-based bev OWYN, and Abbott launched PROTALITY for people on meds.

Forever strong. Creatine’s ability to slow age-related decline when paired with training is catching on.

Broadening its appeal, Alani and Create make it approachable for women, FITAID reformulated around it, and NIVEA pushes it in anti-aging topicals.

However, protein’s impact on longevity remains a debate, with Peter Attia maximizing intake while David Sinclair takes meat off the table.

Body Over Mind

Filling up, Americans eat over 325lbs of meat per year, and 20% regularly add protein bars — sparking concern for cholesterol and cancers.

As trends like dry scooping take off, experts are raising alarms, but shifting perception is a challenge.

Duped by marketers, consumers are more likely to believe high-protein-labeled UPFs are healthy vs. non-fortified versions of the same products.

Takeaway: Encouraged as essential, sufficient and surplus are a fine line. Training for sport or everyday life, the strength of supplementation must be measured against its minimum effective dose.

🎙 On the Podcast

Brad Olson, CEO of Sollis Health

Sollis Health CEO Brad Olson discusses the company’s private urgent care centers.

A members-only medical concierge, Sollis Health merges the best of hospitality and medicine. Open 24/7, it delivers high-quality healthcare without wait times.

We also cover: expansion plans, partnering with Prenuvo for preventative scans, and designing a better patient experience.

Listen to today’s episode here.

💸 Superpower lands $4M to personalize healthcare

Emerging from stealth, the longevity care startup raised a $4M pre-seed round and opened its waitlist.

New era. Reimagining medicine, Superpower combines expert clinicians, comprehensive diagnostics, and AI to provide personalized health plans via its 24/7 digital clinic.

Analyzing disease risk, body composition, hormones, sleep, brain, aging, metabolism, gut, toxins, and more, it’s packaging preventative care for the masses.

New approach. An alternative to sick care, healthspan-focused startups are stepping in.

  • Rethinking aging, Lifeforce added $12M and Tally Health secured $10M last year.
  • Humanaut Health recently raised $8.7M as brick-and-mortar longevity clinics scale up.
  • Optimizing performance, Function Health and InsideTracker integrated with Equinox and FITNESS SF, respectively.

A caveat, these options cost consumers out-of-pocket. But, frustrated by a fractured system and insurance denials, many will pay for quality and convenience.

Looking ahead: Proactive healthcare shouldn’t be a privilege of the 1%, but mainstream institutions won’t change anytime soon. Building from scratch, longevity platforms pose an answer, but they’ll have to prove they’re more than a shiny UX.

Presented by SWEATBASE

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And unlike YouTube, creators set prices — keeping 80–100% of subscriber revenue.

SWEATBASE provides the software. You build the workouts. Members generate results.

Get started now to tap your digital potential.

🫀 Cardio exercise linked to longer life

A new study suggests higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness cut all-cause mortality risk by up to 17% and CVD risk by 18%.

Go for it. Dose responsive, the authors say increasing “huff and puff” exercise could help prevent heart failure, depression, diabetes, dementia, and even cancer.

Run it back. Zone 2 cardio as a longevity hack is catching on, with exercisers keeping workouts in the “mellow” second heart rate zone to boost metabolism, mitochondrial function, and more.

Heart in the game. Prioritizing heart health, aerobic training is in.

  • Oura launched cardiovascular age and capacity features.
  • Run groups are proliferating, and race sign-ups increased 9.8% YoY last year.
  • Benefitting from the boom, rucking outfitter GORUCK saw sales leap 40% in ’23.

But… Zone 2 may be much less effective for women than men, stressing the need for more sex-specific studies.

Punchline: With nearly half of Americans failing to achieve recommended aerobic levels, cardio needs a major comeback. Connecting it to longer life, free exercise like running, walking, and calisthenics becomes an easy sell.

📰 News & Notes

  • Startups confront the senior care crisis.
  • HYROX taps F45 as official training partner.
  • Uber Health enables caregiver access, healthcare benefits.
  • Parsley Health, Daily Harvest prescribe meals for longevity.
  • WHOOP, ASSOS of Switzerland design smart cycling shorts.
  • MSK platform Kaia Health adds balance training for seniors.
  • Twin Health expands digital twin platform for GLP-1 off-ramping.
  • lululemon revamps brand, product teams to accelerate innovation.
  • Fuelin appoints triathlete Jan Frodeno as chief performance officer.
  • Startup Q&A: Odyssey CEO Scott Frohman on the energy drink boom.
  • FDA set to approve Guardant’s colorectal cancer blood test. [Re-read: Early Detection]
  • Discover hundreds of health & fitness roles at Fitt Jobs // Get help hiring high-performers with Fitt Talent Partners.

💰 Money Moves

  • Longevity-focused healthcare startup Superpower raised $4M in a pre-seed round led by Susa Ventures.
  • CGM biosensor developer Allez Health (fka Zense-Life Inc.) secured $60M in a Series A+ round led by Osang Healthcare Co.
  • Value-based palliative care startup Tuesday Health emerged from stealth with $60M in new funding.
  • Nanopath, a company developing point-of-care pelvic health diagnostics, secured $4M in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF).
  • AI-driven mental health assessment platform Videra Health closed a $5.6M Seed II round led by Peterson Ventures.
  • Boulder Care, provider of telehealth addiction treatment, raised $35M in a Series C round led by Advance Venture Partners.
  • Software-as-medicine company Click Therapeutics acquired the assets of Better Therapeutics, maker of FDA-authorized digital therapeutics for diabetes.
  • Gather Health, provider of primary care for older adults, added $16M in a new funding round.
  • Privately held fitness operator Genesis Health Clubs acquired Saw Mill Club, operator of two NY-based gyms.
  • Cancer survivor care company OncoveryCare (fka VivorCare) closed an oversubscribed $4.5M seed round led by .406 Ventures.
  • HoneyNaps added $11.6M in a Series B round for its AI-powered sleep disorder analysis tech.
  • School-focused mental health platform TadHealth raised $1.6M in an oversubscribed funding round led by Halcyon Venture Partners.
  • Hamilton Health Box, operator of hybrid microclinics for rural and underserved populations, raised $10M in a Series A round led by 1588 Ventures.

Today’s newsletter was brought to you by Anthony Vennare, Joe Vennare, Ryan Deer, and Jasmina Breen. 

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