Aug. 31, 2023

Hard Work Becomes Truth & Reality with Christopher Kell

Hard Work Becomes Truth & Reality with Christopher Kell

In this podcast episode, Dr. Fitness invited COO of Neotein, Christopher Kell, to the show to discuss a product that he and his wife invented after she gave birth to their two sons back to back and then began her training to be a triathlete. Listen in as Chris explains their journey of research and development, the realization of their hard work becoming a reality and about the amazing product they now offer that helps with inflammation, dehydration, joint health, flexibility and recovery by providing your body with protein, electrolytes and collagen for sustainment of physical well-being.

Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Chris Kell grew up in a single-parent household and spent his youth working, running track and cross country, and surfing. While attending the University of Florida, Chris was inspired to join the US Army. That adventure led to deployments all over the world and graduation from some of the hardest schools the US military has to offer. After spending time supporting the Conventional and Special Operations Missions of the Department of Defense Chris left the Army to devote his time to raising his sons and being with his family. Now he serves as the Chief of Operations for his family company, Neotein Nutrition, and works closely with his wife to provide an easy to digest, low-allergen, easy to drink, highly efficient collagen-based protein drink.

• [3:01] Chris shares about their product Neotein and explains where the ingredient collagen comes from.
• [9:09] Max and Chris discuss how and why Chris and his wife got into the industry and who their target audience is.
• [12:55] Max asks the question: “How do you know if you are getting enough protein?”
• [14:26] “Signs of protein deficiency and dehydration can a lot of times be similar… there's fatigue, there's foggy mindedness, there's a soreness associated with it.”

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Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  0:04  
Hello, and welcome to Your Health Moment podcast. I'm your host Max Sturdivant better known as Dr. Fitness. On this podcast, I want to give you the tools to start, continue and never give up on your journey towards health. Now, whether you struggle with your weight, eating the right food, hydration, exercise, or even time management, you're in the right place, and I'm here for you. Now let's dive right into this episode. 

And welcome back to Your Health Moment. I'm Dr. Fitness. And we have a very exciting show today. A friend of mine reached out and introduced me and connected me to Chris/Christopher Kell. He's born and raised right here in Jacksonville. He has a great story in an amazing product. And I'd love for you to hear about it straight from Chris. So Chris, if you can tell the listeners who you are, and then let them know about the product Neotein?

Christopher Kell  1:09  
Absolutely. I'll do a quick introduction for myself. Thank you so much. By the way, Max, I really appreciate being on your podcast and just having a chance to talk to you and learn from you for the next half hour or so. And hopefully more in the future. Yeah, I'm Chris Kellf. Nice to meet everybody. Nice to meet you, Max. And I am the Chief Operating Officer at Neotein Nutrition. But first of all, I am a guy that was born and raised here in Jacksonville, Florida. When all through public school and mom was a Duval County public school teacher for over 30 years, she taught at Crown Point Elementary School, I ended up graduating from Wolfson in 2004. And then proceeded to leave headed to the University of Florida graduated there with an East African history degree. And then commissioned into the army as an officer. There, I spent time in Germany, Africa, North Africa, East Africa, of the Middle East Afghanistan, things along those lines and Eastern Europe, kind of in a couple of different positions. But as for my last six years, as a active duty civil affairs operator or for special operations, fans, Africa, and then also helping with a couple of deployments in Eastern Europe as well. And that's where a lot of my experience comes from. Long story short, I, my wife got pregnant on my last deployment. And I left the army pretty much the next day, because I want to be an active and present father took me a few months to find my footing. But we got a job with a fortune five company that ended up taking us all over United States and then actually to Japan for a couple of years. And during that time, my wife who had two children via cesarean section, within 12 months of each other, started pursuing triathlon to try to kind of get a kind of a whole back to what she what she did before that incredibly kind of physically demanding year of having kids. And she's actually the inventor and the developer of the product. And you know, I give some feedback from my background. But it's actually in Japan. She's training almost 30 hours a week, she's on her bike, she's swimming, when I'm home, I'm taking care of the kids and she'd go for a long run down in Osaka, Japan at night. And we just couldn't find anything on the market that could meet the needs that we were looking for. So I took collagen in the morning, I took the supplemental whey protein, and I would of course drink water, you know, something called or if I was really dehydrated, like really hot in the summer in Japan, I would drink some cold sweat, which sounds really bad, but it tastes really good. It's like the Japanese version of like Bodhi consider a Gatorade. And you know, I had all these products in there. And she was doing the research. And she's like, why don't people just use collagen. And that started kind of like two years of research and development and to what ended up being vo t, which is our proprietary formulation, which is basically a fortified collagen protein that has electrolytes in it and pretty much nothing else. No, no sugar, it's not going to spike your insulin. There's no because we fortified the collagen protein, you get all the benefits of like a collagen supplement. But in most of the benefits of like a whey or an egg protein because it is technically a complete protein. It has the complete amino acid profile. But without a lot of the allergens associated with it. My time in the army, I was exposed to everything. So I'm allergic to a lot of stuff now. Like I learned about inflammation because I was inflamed all the time. No matter what I ate. It was actually moving to Japan and getting off of kind of my traditional Western diet and getting into like a Japanese diet that had me like Oh, my headaches are going away. Oh, this is making me feel better for these reasons. And that's what made me realize like I'm allergic to dairy. I'm looking at the way I have some allergens to some some Traditional, very popular Western thing. So we developed this product that's a single stick pack single syrup with 10 grams of protein tastes like lemon lime, that is easy to absorb, easy to digest, and is supposed to be really easy on the body while still providing a lot of benefits like hydration and protein. It's

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  5:17  
Very cool. Where's your collagen sourced? The collagen that you use

Speaker 2  5:24  
Is sourced from the United States. Okay, so it's 100% source the United States manufacturer put together in the United States, from a company out of New Jersey, oh, well, they're also out of out of Long Island as well. But it's come from the Northeast, the cows come from the West. We my time in, kind of like the senior levels of like, Logistics Agency kind of made me realize that being I think Kelvin Thomas a lot of things, but one thing that we've had as a supply chain resiliency was really important for us. And we want to make sure to keep costs down for ourselves or our customers by not in lead times down by ensuring that everything is from the United States that we do and what we make. So that's something that we're very proud of that we're able to kind of put money back into our economy whenever we do an order for our next flavor, or for a backup for lemon lime or things, all those ones.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  6:12  
That's crazy. So would the 10 year old Chris ever imagined that he would be COO of the team?

Christopher Kell  6:20  
Oh, gosh, no, no, I 10 year old Chris was just trying to figure out how to cheat. That's the end of elementary school, right? So I was doing soccer I was I was outside a lot. I was sweating my butt off all the time. And I think that I would never dream is to be a possibility. Like, my mom worked really hard. And that's something that I definitely took from her is that hard work. But coming from our family, I was taught that if you're a party, you're gonna be okay. And you're gonna make it and I don't think I believed it. Just to be honest. Because we, you know, we were on a limited budget most the time, and we didn't have a lot of disrepair, bestest preference, don't get me wrong, she worked two jobs works job in the morning. And then she'd work at the Avenues Mall until nine o'clock at night, to make sure we could like cover the bills and stuff. But I just didn't believe it. And then it's like one of those things, you know, if you keep at it, and you keep just doing it, if you might not believe it, eventually, hard work becomes truth and reality. And it's, it's kind of led us to here and I'm really proud of the stuff that she kind of taught me and she instilled in me. Well, my time growing up,

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  7:38  
it seems to have connections to sue to super women, your mother as well as your wife, I mean, to children running triathlons training all the time, I mean, coming up with the idea for the product. Wow. I mean, that's like serious. So she's really probably just as highly motivated and on top of things and organizes you,

Christopher Kell  8:01  
I would say she's probably more more than I am. So I think I've what I've discovered about myself is I'm really good at at taking something and like refining it and making it better and taking my experiences that I've had and like taking risks on in like, kind of like on a box, we're doing an open field that has like boundaries on it. My wife is really good at just getting off the field and going into the woods and then climbing the mountain and just going into the uncharted territory. So it's been really fun for me to take the be part of this business with her. And I think I've had a lot of people like Jacqueline work together and like gratulations well, that. So it's been really fun thing to kind of be part of that and help help her streamline some things while she gives this really awesome vision of what we can do. And and while it's going to be hard to get there like it's possible. So that's why I think we were very much a yin and yang a very much. We feed off each other's energy a lot. And that's been really helpful. It's been hard sometimes, but it's been very, very helpful the entire time.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  9:08  
Yeah, that's fantastic. Because not all family businesses work as seamlessly as yours seems to be working, that's for sure. But congratulations to you. Thank you so much. What What was the target target audience? I mean, when you guys were thinking about the product, who was your customer?

Christopher Kell  9:27  
So our customer was a busy human being that didn't have time to kind of go to two or three different sources for like one product. So we really tried to create a, almost a one stop shop for the needs of, of anyone that's really busy. And that's mostly people between 25 and 55 is where we initially started off at because we're a young company, we're self funded. We don't have any PCs. We're just kind of tried to do this on our own and And what we have discovered over our first year is that, oh, there's a whole bunch of use cases here that that we didn't foresee. So a couple of those is yes, the athlete athletic part, that's my wife's background, me in a different way, being a former special operator in the army, I also have like, I'm used to working at a very high level of physical performance while trying to maintain the cognitive sense of what's going on. And that was where we aimed initially. But as we were getting feedback from customers, as they're sharing it out, like my wife's father, which she credits 100%, with his drive with her drive to do well in her entrepreneurship, because he high school educated. Basically, don't let me tell the story. But I love bragging about David, David's one of my favorite people in the world. So David is a high school educated guy in Colorado Springs, and there's a hailstorm, and they're a bunch of roofs were damaged. And David said, I can fix that. So he went got certified data thing, that thing got just start fixing roofs for people. And then that started a contracting business, which was successful Colorado Springs, and he's been doing contracting and labor like that, ever since then he's been doing it well. And that all started with like, I see a problem. I'm gonna go fix that, Oh, nobody else wants to fix it. I'll do it. Let me be the person that goes and sits in the roof in the sun all day. And let me see if I can, I can build something. And he built a very successful contracting business in the springs. And now he does up in Minneapolis. But it was that dry that that got my wife into it. And I think it's one of those things that made me proud to kind of see that that growth breakdown, kind of like helps us feed into our own kids. And I'm sorry, I can ramble sometimes. So no,

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  11:41  
no, that's great. And so your father in law you saw is a really good customer for your product.

Christopher Kell  11:47  
Exactly. So he's in his 60s, now he's been physical his entire life, there's been a lot of research that's come out that suggests that taking collagen is really, really important to maintaining joint health and flexibility and skin, skin elasticity. And he started taking it and of course, anything that takes a little while to get going, but he takes one in the morning, and he takes one during the day as well. And it's found that he's easier to get his hydration in because he likes the flavor. It's it's easy to drink, it's very light, it's very refreshing. And he noticed over the course of the first week, like he wasn't quite as sore going up and downstairs, it wasn't when he was laying tile, or when he was you know, replacing cabinetry in a building or something. He's like, this actually works. He's like, you might be onto something. And I'm like, we think we're onto something, we think it's good, fantastic. So we have a lot of contractors that use it anywhere from Minneapolis to Denver, they use it for the crews, and they've actually seemed we don't have any hard data on this. But saying people aren't hurt as much, people seem to be working a little bit more efficiently. And people don't seem to have as many aches and pains now, the hard data on that. But we never would have thought in a million years. A third thing is, you know, my wife, and I would go out with her friends, and they would go enjoy their evening. And they'd come back. And she wouldn't be feeling great, because of course, they might have taken a few drinks and and next thing you know, she's like, give me give me a fan do team like okay, give her somebody a team, only first thing they got without a hangover the next day. And it makes sense. If you think about what helps your body process alcohol, the system, well, you need protein, you need electrolytes, you need sodium and potassium. And that's essentially what our product is. So it kind of helps with multiple forms of recovery or just sustainment of people's kind of physical.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  13:44  
What I do is I have a four pillar system that helps people really decide what they're doing with exercise nutrition, stress reduction, and hydration. And when I look at nicotine, it covers a lot of those areas. I mean, you know, there's a hydration component, there's there is, you know, your body can be stressed if you're not getting enough proteins or any particular nutrient it can put some stress on. Yeah. So with that being said, How do you know, Chris, if you're getting enough protein?

Christopher Kell  14:26  
So things that I was taught when I was at the Special Warfare Center in school going through training by our nutritionists. And was that signs of protein deficiency and dehydration can a lot of times be similar, right? So there's fatigue, there's foggy mindedness, there's a soreness associated with it. And these were all things that we were taught when we're becoming operators to look for when we're in the field as a sign like hey, you need to stop and you need to eat something or hey, you need to stop need to drink something or honestly, you probably need to do both and And neotame definitely addresses two of those things, right, we are not a meal replacement, we don't want to be a meal replacement, we think most human beings get the majority of their stuff through what they're eating every single day. So we are not trying to pop down 600 calories. So what Neogene specifically does his aims at these two little, these two things that people are oftentimes, like, deficient on, they're deficient like a high quality protein. They're deficient on like intake of collagen, which usually comes from like an animal, and they're deficient on their hydration. And we thought, let's just knock all three things out in one or two things down one and just help people get their hydration and their protein in in a very simple way just to help supplement what they're already doing throughout the day without being so calorically heavy, we're only 45 calories and stick back, we're not going to spike your insulin with sugar, we're going to be easy to digest. And it's it's one of those things that I think that that's simplicity for a customer who wants something that is they can grab out of their drawer or they just happen to have water sitting next year to pop in their store it it dissipates in about 25 to 35 seconds, and sip on it, drink it, do whatever you need to it's, it's a really easy way to do what you're doing. So,

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  16:17  
so you make it you know, more bioavailable than what like eaten a piece of meat.

Christopher Kell  16:23  
So yeah, hydrolyzed collagen proteins are very easily absorbed into the large and small intestine as as the as this goes, I've learned so much about protein in the last few years. It's been incredible. So it's, it's super easy to absorb very bioavailable, very easy on the body. And yeah, just it'll go a little bit quicker than probably eating, you know, a full flank steak on like, 2pm you're not gonna feel quite as heavy. You're not gonna want to take a nap afterward.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  16:50  
How can how can someone find your product? So you want to try the new team protein? What would I do? Where were they go?

Christopher Kell  16:58  
Sure. So we do a ton of pop ups here in Jacksonville, Florida. So we're at the 904 pop up last year last week at the beach. We do have we do stuff at first play sports here, which is a local Running Company, one of our best partners and what some people we're very proud to work with. And they've been very supportive of local small business here in Jacksonville as well. They're great organization, great organization, I bought my first pair of shoes for running from their store when I was 13 years old, I was running for walks in high school under a guy named Coach Paul Nikki, and is the same guy that I talked to, to this day, Doug, and he's been absolutely wonderful and very supportive. So it's fun to watch things keep going 20 years later. So first play sports is a great place to do it support two businesses at once, right, you can get it from our website, And we do offer code for people to try things out. So you just have to be my name, Chris, then five zero 50. And that's 50% off people's first order, whether it's a subscription or whatever, and that helps them you know, try something at at a reduced cost. For less risk, I would say or they can look at get his stuff off Amazon as well. In case people are just I like to one stop shop off Amazon where you have a product on Amazon as well. If you want to purchase it there.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  18:12  
Hey, and don't panic, if you missed any of that it's going to be in the show notes connected with this show. You'll need to do is click and all that information will be there. Because I know when I'm using listen to something I'm like, oh my god, I can't write that down so fast. But don't worry. Click on the show notes. And you'll get all the information on how to Reese reach Chris, and try out some new team. Awesome. Chris, is there anything else you'd like to add?

Christopher Kell  18:39  
No, I'm very, very honored to be on your show, Max. I really appreciate it. I look forward to continue to talk to you in the future and learn from me on your awesome podcast. And, ya know, thank you so much for having me on.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  18:52  
Hey, next time we want to meet your wife to Oh, wow. She's I know, the creative side of this great organization.

Christopher Kell  19:00  
Absolutely. And if you want to talk to her, she can chat for hours on just the process of running a business in the CPG market and and being a woman in a place where there aren't always a ton of women CEOs in that space so it's been she's had a really awesome challenge and she's overcome quite a bit and she's been very successful so far. So I'm very proud of her.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  19:22  
Hey, so you've listened to Chris Kell with the COO of Neotein I keep messing up the name Neotein Nutrition and they're my favorite protein experts. So I'm sure big things are going to be coming down the line and I'm always excited when Jacksonville companies do things like this, like you know, found being founded in Jacksonville I think is really pretty cool.

Christopher Kell  19:46  
So no, gotta start that we started in Atlanta, because I was I was living in Atlanta at the time.

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  19:51  
Oh, then I'm taking away your Jacksonville points.

Christopher Kell  19:54  
So we moved Jacksonville we're headquartered here now. I'm from Jacksonville. We're not going any Were but I, we started in Atlanta and moved here as soon as we could. So

Max Sturdivant/Dr. Fitness  20:07  
Hey, thank you very much. You've been listening to Your Health Moment with my guest, Chris Kell, and me, Dr. Fitness. Have a great day. Bye bye. 

Thanks. Thank you for listening to this episode of Your Health Moment podcast. If you enjoyed what you've heard, you can visit our website, for past episodes, show notes and all the resources that we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me on social media to send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes that you've been listening to. And don't be shy about requesting any other show topics that you might like to explore.

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