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Herbalife Is Changing the Way the Sports Universe Views Nutrition

Herbalife sports sponsorships are built on trust.

All great relationships are built on trust. It’s on a foundation of trust, which Herbalife has built an epic roster of authentic partnerships with more than 190 world-class athletes, teams and events around the globe.

Related Article: Herbalife-Sponsored Heather Jackson Combines Nutrition and Training to Win Triathlons

“Partnership is the keyword when it comes to our relationships with sports teams and athletes,” says Brian McKinley, Vice President of Sports Marketing and Products at Herbalife. “That means we both have a collective interest in what we want to accomplish.”

That collective interest starts with nutrition products but goes far beyond that. What makes Herbalife such a success in the sponsorship arena is that its offerings are customizable in nature. The company doesn’t push athletes to take a particular product, but rather works with them to meet their exact needs. That said, an athlete’s attitude about nutrition is critical to their success and getting them to change their habits can be difficult. Herbalife often starts with the small things they can do that can make a significant difference. “Attaining good nutrition is hard, it takes effort and its results aren’t always immediately evident,” says McKinley. “It takes time to make shakes, as opposed to grabbing a premade product. However, once we can show measurable results, we start to build trust.”

Herbalife is well aware that the nutrition industry can be quite difficult to navigate. Players are often taking products with ingredients that can lead to doping issues. At Herbalife, the company engages in research and development in the ongoing effort to develop market-leading products. Every batch of Herbalife24® products is analyzed for substances that are banned by organizations, such as the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Football League (NFL), and many other professional and amateur sports associations. Furthermore, the company goes to great lengths to analyze the overall health of its athletes, including highly specific deficiencies they may have. For example, the company did blood work for its sponsored athlete, international soccer champion Cristiano Ronaldo. As a result of the analysis, he was placed on a supplement program by Herbalife. “Taking supplements isn’t going to make the ball go in the net, but with our resources we have the ability to do more with them,” says McKinley. “We are an important piece of the puzzle in helping athletes perform at their best.”

Perhaps most important in the process of helping players is educating them, which involves much more than just taking the product. Talking to them about sports nutrition and how they can improve their performance is key. It’s important to know about their prior experience with Herbalife® products, as well as other supplements. It’s also important to know what their typical daily meals consist of, where they eat their meals, what their favorite foods and flavors are and, in which areas of nutrition and fitness they want to improve. “I get to know each player on a one-to-one basis,” says Dr. Dana Ryan, Manager of Sports Performance and Education at Herbalife. “Once I have a strong understanding of who they are as athletes, I can work with them to create an appropriate plan that is adaptable to meet their specific goals.”

Dr. Ryan has performed a comprehensive nutrition and performance analysis for athletes on Mexico’s Pumas, Brazil’s Flamengo and Ecuador’s Barcelona FC soccer teams, all sponsored by Herbalife. She is also slated to work with the Costa Rica Olympic Committee in the near future. Most recently, Dr. Ryan is working with the Herbalife-sponsored soccer team Liga Deportivo Universitaria de Quito of Ecuador. The team has expressed their interest in improving in a number of key areas, including endurance, strength, training at high altitude and living an overall healthy lifestyle. The team is in good hands with Herbalife. “Herbalife has specialists all over the world who are experts in a variety of areas, including things like high altitude training,” says Dr. Ryan. “We want to pass that expertise onto our sponsored teams and athletes.” Richard Cabezas, Team Nutritionist for Liga Deportivo Universitaria de Quito, adds that “having Herbalife as a nutrition partner is going to be invaluable.”

With each new partnership it forges, Herbalife makes great strides in changing the way the sports universe looks at nutrition, as well as sponsorships. Herbalife wants only the best for all athletes.