On January 23, 2023, Team PricePlow was joined by Team Kaged to discuss the Kaged Mindset launch. This episode is special because PricePlow Nation gets to meet two new faces: Aaron Heidebreicht (Chief Commercial Officer) and Brian Rand (Co-Founder and Product Developer). We’re also joined by Darin Decker, who was in Episode #058 discussing the brand’s renaming to Kaged as well as Episode #047 about navigating the supplement industry.
But the big story here is that we finally got Brian Rand to come and show his talents, and show him he did. PricePlow followers may remember him from our 2017 interview titled An Interview with Brian Rand: Kaged Muscle’s “Executioner”. All this time, since 2014, Brian has been the formulation and flavoring brains behind the brand.
So when we got to dive into the creation of Mindset (filmed live on the PricePlow Discord), this episode became the “Brian Rand show”, and we’re glad it did, because he’s a phenomenal formulation talent who clearly goes above and beyond when testing supplements.
The conversation is below on video and in our audio feeds (subscribe to the PricePlow Podcast with your favorite podcast app), and also be sure to sign up for our Kaged news alerts before checking out:
0:00 – Introductions
We get to meet Brian Rand, Darin Decker, and Aaron Heidebreicht, but there’s no formal introduction until a little bit later. Brian gets right into formulation!
0:50 – Kaged doesn’t enter categories unless they can do something special
When gearing up for the Mindset launch, Kaged did its homework. They tested over 30 other nootropic supplements, and came away very unimpressed.
They looked at the science and research but tested on themselves as well.
1:30 – More isn’t better for nootropics
Brian isn’t into “more is better”, especially in terms of nootropics. When it comes to yoru brain, balance is more important.
For them, it was about picking the right ingredients at the right dosages, and giving some options to the users. Everyone has different levels of dopamine and serotonin, so it’s important to make it adjustable. (As you’ll see, Mindset has caffeinated and caffeine-free versions.)
2:45 – “Test, Don’t Guess”
When you look at Mindset, and you look at the premium ingredients, you have to “test, don’t guess”. Brian tests everything possible, from the ingredients to blood and urine and neuro tests as well.
The people who want nootropics are generally those who need some support for their neurotransmitters, which is why it was formulated with some supporting ingredients like phenylalanine. Mindset will help you get things done, whether you’re training, or a pilot, truck driver, or EMT.
5:00 – Caffeine and caffeine-free versions in Mindset
It was important for everyone to be able to use Mindset. The strongest dose will be two scoops of the caffeinated version, but there’s also a caffeine free version, and you don’t have to use two scoops.
Additionally, ZumXR is used as an extended-release caffeine form next to PurCaf caffeine, so that it extends the hit of energy from the caffeine.
6:15 – Darin Decker buying the competition
Darin tried many nootropics we suggsted he buy, and personally likes the caffeinated ones. We get into caffeine’s pervasiveness (a common theme on the podcast), but ultimately, Kaged needed something that’s better than just the “short term gains” that are received from certain drugs.
8:15 – Introducing Brian Rand
Mike stops things to get a better introduction from Brian Rand – he’s been in the industry for over 20 years, and started with Nature’s Bounty. He was doing a lot of sales, support, distribution, and slowly got into the anti-aging world. He began doing a lot of longevity testing.
In the early 2010s, Brian ran the Bodybuilding.com Private Label division (this is where the article Meet the Man Who REALLY Formulated Pre-JYM was conceived), and from there, he met Kris Gethin and helped co-found Kaged.
9:30 – Did the userbase help with Mindset’s formulation
The userbase was definitely talked, but a lot of this came from neurological research and deficiencies seen over the years. Much of this was built thanks to the incredible amounts of internal testing used throughout Mindset’s development.
With Mindset, Brian has a big focus on serotonin, much of which is driven by poor gut health.
12:30 – The shift from Kaged Muscle to Kaged
Aaron reminds everyone that this is a big part of the shift to Kaged. Mindset isn’t necessarily an athlete’s supplement – it’s a productivity supplement to help nearly everyone.
The community is very vocal, which helped with the Mindset formulation.
For the Mindset launch, Kaged activated all of their assets to push this. They’re even marketing it on LinkedIn, a separate topic we’ll be covering soon.
15:15 – Aaron Heidebeicht
Aaron comes to Kaged from GNC and NutraBolt, where he had great runs. He’s now tasked as the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) & Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), and is doing a ton to activate appropriate retail relationships as well as their very strong online community.
Kaged can mean a lot of things in a lot of categories — but you’re going to see them expand even more in the coming years.
18:15 – Mindset doesn’t use novel stimulants
Ben mentions that Kaged isn’t using any fancy stimulants, but is using some newer ingredients like CereBoost inside. We talk about the pathways used to help support what he’s going for – supporting dopamine and serotonin production.
Like anti-aging supplements, there are different buckets you can put the products into — in the case of nootropics, you look at brain performance and brain health. Kaged is going more for the performance side of things. They want you to notice this quick.
The Alpha-GPC dose is either 600 or 1200 milligrams, but note that it’s at a 50% concentration (not all companies label this correctly), which is still quite high. With the added B vitamins, you get a lot of harmony with these.
Brian notes that some ingredients like theacrine and Dynamine don’t seem to work with choline.
Kaged is also not going to put out a supplement with something brand new and “shiny” — they need a more proven track record with their supplements. You’re going to take something that’s strong, but safe and well-tested.
When looking at the crazy new ingredients, they ultimately didn’t help everyone feel best, which is what’s important. In discussing some of the novel stimulants, Brian says, “At the end of the day, not every ingredient performs as well as the study says.”
Darin takes a turn to ask Brian a question, asking how to decide on ingredients, and why so many don’t pass his “bullshit test”. Brian stays very deep in the research, but loves testing and using a lot of the stuff too. He’s not as interested in short-term pilot studies.
27:00 – Money back guarantee
Brian’s so confident that he adds a 100% money back guarantee with Mindset.
28:30 – Kaged using 10 grams of citrulline in Pre-Kaged Elite
He’s not as big of a fan of bound arginine, and will be explaining why in the future. Nobody’s arguing against 10 grams of citrulline to raise plasma arginine levels and then to subsequently raise nitric oxide — the research is pretty strong there.[1,2]
What most didn’t realize is that the original Pre-Kaged + Intra-Kaged has about the same amount of citrulline and the same amount of total caffeine as Pre-Kaged Elite!
34:15 – The novel ingredients in Mindset
Kaged Mindset was the first supplement we’ve used to utilize CereBoost and the Ioniplex Fulvic Ionic Mineral.
The company really wanted to use a quality ginseng extract for its adaptogenic properties, and CereBoost is from American Ginseng, which has a higher amount of ginsenosides inside.[3,4] On top of its great research,[3-9] it also tested very well in groups that they used internally. It’s tough to find when studies match so well with performance, and that’s where CereBoost did fantastically.
37:45 – How to Sell Mindset in Retail Stores
Darin discusses how to work with retail stores to sell these immaculately-formulated products, especially when they have a lot of turnover and the product is relatively complex. They’re a digital brand, and work very hard to repurpose it into their partnerships and keep driving it.
Darin also mentions that Kaged.com’s product pages have far more education on the page than practically every other brand.
Bringing Aaron in has also helped. Vitamin Shoppe got the product early, generated a ton of hype, and they’re very excited about it.
41:30 – Kaged Omega-3 Fish Oil is Back!
We’re happy to announce that Kaged Omega-3 is finally back, and what many are loving is how clear and non-yellow it is. It’s a well-tested, highly-refined triglyceride version of fish oil, as opposed to the ethyl ester forms out there.
Many products are also oxidized and disgusting-smelling, but not Kaged. It went out of stock for a while, but Kaged does not compromise on this one. It’s a large softgel, but users love them! Many can see their omega-3 indexes in blood tests moving after some use too.
47:00 – What’s Kaged’s Biggest Product Gap now? (Protein Bar!)
Mike asks what their biggest product gap is, and Brian Rand jumps right into the protein bar discussion. They’ve been working on them for two years, and are currently on version 176 of their bars!
It should be coming “soon”, but Brian is very clearly not messing around with these. He wants them to last six months on the shelves – when most other brands’ turn into bricks (or hockey pucks, as he puts it).
49:00 – Try a protein bar 9 months after its creation…
Ben gets Brian going on the problem of protein bars that aren’t fresh. Brian refuses to buy bars that are over six months old. Ben comments that bars are nearly always incredible when off the press, but that’s not realistic for most consumers.
Brian won’t even test their bars until it’s been sitting on his shelf for a month.
52:00 – Mike wants a Kaged Magnesium supplement
Mike’s been using Hydra-Charge to flavor his magnesium supplements, and likes to combine 3 grams of glycine with about ~100% DV of magnesium taurate before bed. This is the supplement he wants Kaged to put out – some kind of magnesium!
Magnesium taurate seems to have great uptake and doesn’t have gut issues.
Jokes are made about formulating a Kaged Laxative with cheaper magnesium oxide.
55:00 – Discord Giveaways
Congrats to the winners! Join the PricePlow Discord to get involved in our community, which is where our giveaways are.
56:30 – Brian Rand’s Doing it Right
Mike explains that listeners now know why Kaged isn’t putting out a new supplement or even a new flavor every 4 weeks — because Brian Rand is beyond meticulous. What you’re left with are long-living formulas.
57:50 – The Kaged Flavor Systems
Kaged always uses natural flavors, with stevia in front of zero or as little sucralose as possible. It’s not unusual for Kaged to test 60 different versions before getting into new flavors. Brian does the flavoring himself, which brings us to the next thing he just finalized:
1:00:15 – New Kaged Whey Protein Isolate Coming!
Brian just finalized the new flavors of Kaged Whey Protein Isolate! He tested 36 different chocolates and 25 different vanillas from 8 different flavor houses to get it right. Brian is very intense like that.
He later explains that it’ll still have the ProHydrolase ingredient. The thickness and mouthfeel is what they’ve really improved though. There will be three other flavors to test as well.
1:01:15 – The Kaged Pre-Workout Options
Brian explains the Kaged pre-workout options for different demographics. They want formulas that will last ten years or more – and Pre-Kaged has basically done that, with minimal changes!
1:07:30 – Thank you Kaged and Brian Rand!
Mike thanks Brian for coming out from behind the scenes – he is welcome onto the channel anytime he has goods to show off.
And as always, stay tuned to PricePlow.com/kaged to see all of our latest Kaged news, and sign up for our alerts so that you don’t miss these new flavor releases!