If you’ve ever gone to buy a nutrition supplement, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with the array of different brands, black tubs with lightning bolts and flavours with over-complicated ingredients and words on the product. Neat Nutrition was bought about with the aim of eradicating all the confusion and going back to basics. We chat to founders Charlie and Lee about what it’s like to run a business with your best friend, their most popular products and what the future holds for Neat Nutrition.
How was Neat Nutrition born?
Charlie: We’ve known each other for about 14 years and were both professional swimmers. After our swimming careers ended, we went off and started different careers. We’ve always been into healthy living and fitness, but couldn’t find a clean, accessible nutrition supplement around and were bombarded with so many chemically infused ones. And that’s where our idea came about! We wanted to make a cleaner product and strip it back to something more natural. We wanted to make it accessible to everyone and simple to understand. And everything Neat Nutrition stands for is built from this.
Lee: The education piece was key for us. We do talks on what protein and supplements are, why they are good for you, where they comes from and why people should be look for a natural, nutritious product. But we’re not here to sell anyone any product. If it’s not the right product for you, we’ll help you find the right one.
Have you always been into health and fitness?
C: Yes! We were both professional sports people for a really long time. I started swimming at 18 and swam competitively from 2007-2011. Many years later and out of the pool we still love to find new ways to stay active. Last month, we were in New York City and were invited to do an athletic workout class. We walked in and Jurassic Park music was playing and we soon realised it was ex-NFL football players taking the workout! This hour-long session had us doing plyometrics, crawling across the floor and by the end we were broken! But we’re both glutton for punishment and we wanted to test ourselves!
L: I was an elite level junior for basketball and only got into swimming when I broke my hand at the age of 16.
How is it running a business with your best friend?
L: Without sounding cheesy, it’s the easiest and the hardest thing at the same time. It’s the best thing for sure! But it’s hard because we currently share a house together, work together and have similar friendship groups, so we’re ALWAYS together. The great thing is that we’re both quite thick-skinned and the reason it works is because we both have the same goal. We haven’t just ended up with a ‘yes’ business and that’s why we’ve been successful. We love that we spend most of our time working with people. A lot of people say don’t mix business and pleasure, but it depends on how strong of a mind you have to separate the two. It’s difficult and it’s not for everybody, but hand on heart I can say it’s the best work experience in my life.
C: You can spend 40/60/70 hours a working with people you don’t even know. If you can work with your best mate who you trust implicitly, why not? We’ve been rude to each other and have disagreements, but we just put it on the table and figure it out. The hardest part is making sure we stay friends and don’t just talk about work all the time.
There’s so much information in the world of nutrition of what to take – what would you say to someone who is new to the industry and starting to learn about all this?
C: The first thing we ask the individual is what their goal is so then we can make an educated recommendation. Questions that come up are mostly around, ‘what is protein?’ and ‘what’s in it?’.
L: You need to break it down completely. Protein has traditionally been associated with black tubs with lightning bolts all over them. It’s all marketed for bulking up. At Neat Nutrition we’ve got a small product list and all our products are the same price. We want people to pick the product based on their goals and not on a financial metric.
What are some of your most popular products?
C: Protein powders are our halo products. And the Vegan protein is our best seller. We have always positioned Neat Nutrition as something for people who want to eat in a healthier way, for example if people are on a plant-based diet, our product is a good supplement to an existing diet.
L: Our Supergreens are very popular also and we know that both men and women are increasingly using these in smoothies and shakes to bolster their daily dose of vitamins. Something like Supergreens are so easy to use, and a great starting point for adopting a healthier lifestyle – hence their popularity.
We love that Neat Nutrition products are natural. What are some of the ingredients you use instead of artificial flavourings and sweeteners?
We don’t replace any of those things, we just make sure we use the highest quality natural ingredients. For example, we use Stevia instead of Sucralose for a natural sweetener.
We all love healthy living, but you must have a naughty treat that you can’t live without?
L: Chocolate! I could eat chocolate all day sometimes! I definitely believe in everything in moderation and do let myself have my favourite chocolate treat, a Five Guys or glass of wine from time to time. I try to follow the 80/20 rule and not feel guilty about it.
C: I absolutely love cookies. I mean those big cookies from Sainsbury’s and have been known to eat a bag in one sitting! But you’ve got to be bad to be good sometimes.
What’s next for Neat Nutrition?
L: World domination! Within the next 6-9 months we’re hoping to launch in the US, so watch this space for more news! As for in five years, we’d love to see the brand across all continents with a presence in Asia, the Middle East, Australasia and maybe even South America. We made a rule from day one that we will never hold ourselves a financial target. We want to grow our brand with great people working for us who recognise the quality and love their work. I mean, on our last board meeting we told everyone to pack their bags and bring their passports, we went to Barcelona!
C: We want to create a work environment that others enjoy too. That goes along with the ethos of avoiding the ‘Sunday dread’. We don’t want our employees to feel like that! We want to create a fun place that people love going to.
What’s your motto in life?
L: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take
C: No regrets!
LET’S HAVE A QUICKIE
What did you have for breakfast?
L: Eggs, avocado and tomato
C: Eggs, avocado and tomato and a crumpet – we live together!
What’s your favourite way to workout?
L: HIIT training and mixing body weights with cardio
C: Exactly the same as Lee!
What’s the song that’s currently on your workout playlist?
L: I never listen to music when I workout!
C: I pick a cool playlists on Spotify @thisishowwedo is my current playlist
My Netflix fave is…
L: Making a Murderer
Blend Charlie and Lee’s Neat Smoothie with almond milk, banana, almond butter and Neat Nutrition powder – sip and go!
Have you ever had a Snickerdoodle? They’re buttery sugar cookies covered in cinnamon. Yup, there was so much naughtiness in that one sentence: butter, sugar, cookie (in case you missed it). Neat Nutrition have made a healthy alternative and we wanted to share it with you!
Cinnamon is actually a pretty special ingredient. You may sprinkle it on your latte or smell it wafting through a shopping centre, but there’s so much to the humble spice. It comes from the branches of trees grown in the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia and is now considered to be the most popular spice in Europe and North America after black pepper.
It’s a powerhouse when it comes to benefits to your body too. It helps regulate your blood sugar levels, and can reduce tissue damage and inflammation. There are also tests that show it can improve cognitive function and increase focus and concentration! So what better base ingredient for some protein balls that will not only keep the hunger at bay but might just help you pay attention at work!
As with all our protein ball recipes, it’s nice and simple. Chuck everything in the blender and whizz for a minute or until the mixture comes together. Form into walnut sized balls and then roll each ball in cinnamon. Job done!