This topic could have been covered in Part 1: Why am I not sponsored? But I thought it was important enough to separate into a second article in this sponsorship series. Part of sponsorship is choosing the right company to sponsor you. Typically sponsors fall into categories such as supplements, clothing, shoes or a race company. For this article, the focus supplements.
Choosing the Right Supplement Company
The first step in choosing the right supplement company is one that sells products you do or will use. Having a sponsor who supplies you with supplements that will just sit in your closet or do not support your sport is a waste of time. Most companies are not going to come in giving you cash for your performance. Instead, they will most likely give you free product. So if McDonalds is offering free Big Macs as a sponsorship, you may want to pass unless you plan on making Supersize Me 2: The Effects of an All McDonalds Diet on OCR Performance (Spoiler Alert: It ends with you overweight and losing races).
Secondly, the company should abide by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standards. Companies change their formulas sometimes each year, so if your company does not overtly state “banned substance free” or abides by WADA standards, you may need to do some research. For example, companies like USPLabs (the makers of Jack3d) used to put DMAA or Geranium Root in their products, a banned stimulate. While the big name companies are often safe, not all of their products are safe. For years, Cellucor, the 2015 sponsor for Tough Mudder, had 7-Keto-DHEA in their fat burner CLK. 7-Keto is a banned anabolic substance according to WADA. So how can you tell if a product is banned substance free?
The first step is to familiarize yourself with the WADA banned substance list and then cross check your supplement contents with the list.
The big ones to check are anything labeled as a fat burner, testosterone booster or pre-workout supplement since those are more likely to contain banned substances. However, not all fat burners, testosterone booster or pre-workout supplements have banned substances. If you do not want to go through that effort or if your supplement ingredient list is long, you can go through Aegis Shield. For a small yearly fee, they do the work for you. They check supplements and will report them as clean, banned or list it as a warning due to similarities with other banned substances. They are also very responsive and will add a supplement to their list within 24 hours after request.
A quick run using Aegis Shield on 1st Phorm’s Pre workout Megawatt lists it as banned due to methylpentanamine and hordenine. While methylpentanamine is on the banned substance list, hordenine is not but still is questionable because it falls under WADAs “substances with similar chemical structure or similar biological effect”. Of note, they base their analysis solely on labels so a company’s products are contaminated or they are putting something in their product not listed, Aegis Shield will not catch that.
Right Company, Right Sport
Third is choosing a company that aligns with your sport or goals. If you are trying to get a supplement company to sponsor you, that primarily sponsors bodybuilders, and you are a male 120 lbs. obstacle course racer you may need to rethink your strategy. Supplement companies typically want people who look larger than life, just look through the latest company of Flex, Muscular Development or even Muscle & Fitness. The only problem is to get to that level; those sponsored athletes are taking loads of banned substances. So while they do take <insert sponsor's product> they are also taking steroids, HGH, and post-cycle drugs to counteract the negative physical effects (gynocomastia, testicular atrophy, etc.) of performance enhancers. If you keep applying to a company like MuscleTech, citing mediocre race performance and a physique that does not impress, you need to change your target company.
However, choosing a company that does not align with your sport can work in your benefit. If you are offering the company something new or a new market, maybe they will use you to enter that market. So consider that when applying. For OCR, you probably want a supplement company that is more middle of the road or endurance focused. Head into REI or your local running store and see what is being sold in their nutrition section. That is a good place to start figuring out where you should be looking for sponsors.
Editor's Note: Look for Part 3 of 5 on this series about sponsorship next Wednesday.
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