How Being an Athlete Prepared me for TRUEnergy and Entrepreneurship

TRUEnergy Ryan Soccer Huddle

My experience as an athlete has always been a passionate one. My parents instilled moral values in me and encouraged me to surround myself with people who would help me become the best version of myself. As an athlete this was even more important for my development to have the best coaching, structure and environment to reach my full potential. My mentality as an athlete shaped my ability to be a successful entrepreneur through failure and discipline.

Receiving an invitation to the IMG Academy Soccer program in Bradenton, Florida was one of the most exciting moments in my career as an aspiring footballer. I want to share a quote from 2009 upon my arrival to IMG as my experience there as an athlete directly prepared me for my entrepreneurial lifestyle. “Thinking about my future motivated me to find the best ways to achieve my goals which lead me to my current enrollment at IMG and the Pendleton school. I feel they are the best places to prepare me for success.”… This is exactly the mindset and vision I have with TRUEnergy as I sit here surrounded by such a solid team. IMG’s importance in my life has been all encompassing, not just as an athlete, but also as a human. The goal-driven, ambitious and positive environment has had a powerful effect on my growth mentally, physically and academically. Taking this drive and applying it to being an entrepreneur is vital as time management, discipline and constant adaptability become necessary for any start-up.

TRUEnergy Ryan Soccer

During my time at IMG one of our main sponsors was Gatorade, nearly all of the supplement products available to us (the athletes and my teammates) were from Gatorade. However, my teammates and I were always searching for something better, something to get an edge or an extra boost to enhance our performance without breaking any regulations of course. Everyone had their pre-match routine, for some it was Red Bull, others it was 5 Hour Energy or some other synthetic caffeine. Regardless of the source, nothing we ever used seemed to work long term. It was frustrating. Sure, you might get a little energy for the first half (45min); but, by the second half I needed something else and if I took a second dose of whatever energy drink I had with me that day I would get the jitters or cramp up. Nothing was consistent or safe.

TRUEnergy Ryan Soccer Drill

One of my most vivid and painful experiences was getting a gnarly calf muscle cramp late into the second half of a game and collapsing to the ground in shock. Immediately the trainer and nutritionist rushed from the sideline to help me. The nutritionist pulled out a Gatorade packet of pure electrolytes and said here, “Take this and wash it down” tossing me a water bottle. I don’t know how many people have attempted to swallow the powder form of straight electrolytes, but it was worse than taking the cinnamon challenge. In a concentrated powder form, electrolytes taste and smell awful. I dumped the packet into my mouth, and as the water hit my tongue I immediately projectile vomited. Tearing up from the acidity, I snapped at the nutritionist saying something along the lines of “There has to be a better way”.  

I have an endless amount of examples where as an athlete I felt a need for an energy source that I could trust. Everything out there had been a quick fix and wasn’t able to provide the endurance or re-hydration my body was craving. Beyond that need as an athlete, I felt that need as a student. I was constantly waking up early or staying up late to complete assignments and drinking energy drinks or coffee would often leave me twitching in my seat. The drinks available only provided a quick caffeine boost before crashing on me. The struggle was real. I have always been taught to be mindful of what I put into my body, “What you put in is what you get out”, people said. I was taking in crap and expecting to perform at my best, so you can imagine my frustration when I wasn’t getting the results I needed on and off the pitch.

At IMG, I had the opportunity to participate in a few community service programs and I developed strong relationships with the faculty and staff members advising them. My favorite experience was through my involvement in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. On weekends, the children came to IMG where we would play sports, board games while also taking time to tutor and guide them in their schoolwork. We set goals with them to improve their least favorite subject in school and we’d come up with ideas on how to make it more fun. It is really good for kids in general to have someone to look up to, and I like would like to think that they learned a lot from us. We were able to share with them IMG’s mission, which is to, “Better yourself and help others.”  TRUEnergy is similar, as we’re bettering ourselves through the process of creating something to help everyone, “Feel good and perform better.” Being reminded of this and considering my impact on those around me, I have always felt that there is constantly room for improvement. However, at IMG, I didn’t know what that was yet or how I could make an impact.

Having a consistent workout regimen has not only kept me fit, but also diligent in my work ethic. Early morning workouts and late night practices prepared me for the long hours of an entrepreneurial lifestyle. Exercise and sports are a breeding ground for mental toughness. Once a week as a team we had a mental conditioning coach walk us through team building exercises. Similar to IMG, transparent communication has been a big factor in TRUEnergy’s swift success. This idea of a team creates a family atmosphere, which has been my experience with TRUEnergy. #TeamTRU

TRUEnergy Ryan Soccer Team

I met Jack (CEO) and Robert (Co-founder) this summer and the timing was brilliant. I had just left a beverage startup in Manhattan, which had been a great learning experience and I was prepared to jump into something new. We connected and instantly I became passionate about TRUEnergy just as quickly as I had become passionate about soccer in my youth. I had recently come back from the World Fair in Milan where the topic was sustainability and the majority of countries focused on the food and beverage space. We have seen a large trend towards healthier products in the past few years and we felt TRUEnergy had a great opportunity in the current, and future, markets.

Our first major milestone was joining Food-X, a premier international food & beverage accelerator in NYC that’s backed by SOSV. I felt like I had been accepted into IMG all over again. The other teams in the program were strong; we were excited to be surrounded by intelligent and creative minds. Much like IMG provided coaching and growth opportunities Food-X supplies us with endless resources. Now as the program is coming to an end, we have made substantial progress and will continue to use their network and advisors as an important support system for our company.  Our most recent milestone has been creating a Kickstarter campaign and passing our Kickstarter goal.

TRUEnergy is ready to make an impact! Thank you for reading.