On December 7, 2021, Ben sat down with Darin Decker and Michael McClane of Kaged Muscle, who had a lot to say about the future of the brand.
You may remember Darin from Episode #047, where we learned of the great things coming for the end of 2021. This episode takes things a lot further.
Right off the bat, for those who watch the YouTube video, we get to see the new Elite Series that comes with all new branding.
Kaged Muscle Becomes Kaged
The major announcement is that the team is shifting the branding from Kaged Muscle to simply Kaged. While exercise is still the epicenter of health and wellness, helping customers live their best lives is more than just building muscle. Simply put, Kaged is more than muscle.
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The Kaged Background
Before getting into the rebrand, Michael takes us back through the inception of Kaged Muscle, where it was a “no-brainer” opportunity: they’d seen what brands were succeeding on Bodybuilding.com, some of which Kaged formulator Brian Rand had actually created (flashback to our 2016 article titled Meet the Man Who REALLY Formulated Pre-JYM). By partnering with Kris Gethin, there was perfect alignment in terms of their goals.
They decided to develop better supplements, accept lower profit margins, and use forward-thinking marketing strategies to make it come to life. The push worked, and over time, they were still able to sell in major stores, changing the retail landscape away from a period where only ultra cheaply made formulas could maintain profitability.
“We’re never going to launch a me-too product”
Michael explains that Kaged is never going to launch a product that doesn’t innovate. Innovation isn’t just in supplements, either – Kaged also has some of the best training programs in the industry.
Ben lists some of the recent supplements that, despite being in a “legacy” category, have been very innovative:
- Clean Meal (meal replacement protein)
- Kaged Omega-3 (extraordinarily high purity fish oil)
- Kaged Multivitamin (multi with whole foods sources)
So what about their legendary pre-workout supplement, Pre-Kaged?
Meet Pre-Kaged ELITE
Two years in the making, Darin introduces Pre-Kaged Elite to PricePlow Nation. “More pumps, more energy, more focus”. Put simply, this label is bombastic. It is the epitome of it all.
For example, it has 10 grams of fermented citrulline, an insane dosage – especially given the recent supply chain crisis! There’s creatine, there’s nitrates, and far more with nine patented, properly-dosed ingredients inside. The scoop weight (in grams) is in the high-30s! Altogether, it has 388 milligrams of total caffeine, which is the highest Kaged will ever go.
When the original Pre-Kaged launched 7 years prior, it had similar responses given its never-before-seen dosing. As time has evolved, so has the dosing pattern – and Kaged has once again stepped up to surprise the world.
Not replacing Pre-Kaged
Pre-Kaged Elite is not replacing Pre-Kaged — it instead augments the line, just like the Pre-Kaged Sport, which is the entry-level product for sports-level athletes. Unlike Pre-Kaged, the Elite version won’t have BCAAs – there are different consumer angles for each pre-workout option.
“You’re not going to take a Kaged product and feel ‘cracked out'”. Even though the caffeine is high, Pre-Kaged Elite’s usage of natural caffeine (covered more below) and blood pressure lowering nitrates lead to a smoother overall experience.
Available in stores by end of January 2022
The new pre will be available first on Kaged’s website (sign up for alerts to get notified on PricePlow’s Pre-Kaged Elite page), and will then be in retailers by the end of January of 2022.
The first of the new re-brand
Pre-Kaged Elite will be the first product in the new branding, with the new style of labels. As time progresses throughout 2021, the rest of the supplements will transition to the new Kaged look and feel.
Who we are: clean, minimal, ultra-high quality
Michael explains that Kaged Muscle was originally a Bodybuilding.com exclusive, but now they’re partnering with many other stores, including Vitamin Shoppe, where this podcast was filmed. We’ve all seen the advancement of flashy labels, bright colors, and “modern” branding, but those types of looks are not who Kaged is. Kaged is clean, minimal, and ultra-premium – and these new labels reflect that set of ethics.
“There was a hole between the performance and health”
Kaged has always pushed for more natural solutions, such as how they use PurCaf naturally-sourced caffeine. Michael explains that you could pick a product up from a cutting-edge sports nutrition brand, and it’d work, but you won’t be so sure about the health aspects. Meanwhile, you can go to Whole Foods and get a plant protein, which may be “clean” to some, but it likely won’t work as well (15 grams of protein, not absorbed well, etc).
Kaged finds ways to do both: maintain cutting-edge supplements that are also as clean and pure as possible. On top of top-notch formulas, it’s still 3rd-party tested, free of banned substances, uses natural ingredients, and is banned-substance free. A decade ago, there were zero brands that had these claims that also had well-formulated products.
What’s coming in 2022: Never Stop Evolving.
With the rebrand and re-labeling of all supplements, Kaged has an opportunity to go through their other SKUs and take a fresh look at the science, in line with their new tagline of “Never stop evolving”.
Kaged is also going to expand its community offerings, which excites Darin and the team. Exercise has countless downstream benefits, but the Kaged community can help with more: focusing on the discipline, focusing on the mindset, focusing on the emotional health. Sleeping well, too, which is obviously critically important. Kaged isn’t afraid to talk about meditation either.
Don’t forget the Kaged app
Darin’s sure to remind everyone that Kaged gives training away for free – see the Kaged Trainers app!
Kaged began as a content and information company, and in the past couple of years, really had to focus on developing what they believe are the world’s best products. Now they can get back to their content, much of it surrounding the app.
A small update on Kris Gethin
EVeryone of course knows Kaged’s primary spokesman, Kris Gethin (also interviewed in Episode #012). During this podcast, Darin and Mike explain that Kris was currently at a silent retreat, where there’s no speaking, no sound, no phone, no computer – and it lasts ten days. These types of retreats provide incredible inner thoughtfulness and strength, and as Kris has himself evolved, we’ve come to expect him to perform these types of feats.
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