Magnum Nutraceuticals founder Markus Kaulius is on a mission to bring positivity to the fitness world.
By Mike Carlson
PQ: “I am obsessed with making the best formulas because I need the best formulas. I take more supplements than any human on earth, and I only take Magnum supplements, so you better believe I have found the best ingredients to put in my body.”
PQ: “I love training abs. I love trying stuff. I love when I find something I can feel but I’m not good at. It tells me I have a weakness and I want to make it one of my strengths.”
PQ: “I am all-natural, so at six-foot-six, I am never going to have huge muscles. I’m okay with just looking athletic.”
PQ: “The world doesn’t owe you anything. Be happy. You are youthful and you’re hot. Enjoy that.”
Name: Markus Kaulius
Lives: South Surrey, British Columbia
Profession: I run the best supplement company on earth
Likes: Sincerity, honesty, smiling
Dislikes: I don’t focus much on dislikes
Favorite Clean Meal: Chicken, yams, and broccoli
Favorite Cheat Meal: Burger and fries
Listens To: EDM
Most Influential Book: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Favorite Movie: Zoolander
Sponsors: Magnum Nutraceuticals
When you talk to Markus Kaulius, you can’t ignore the irrepressible joy that oozes from his every expression. At first I chalked it up to his basic Canadian good-naturedness. Then I figured it must stem from the confidence someone feels when they are completely shredded to the bone, the way Kaulius is, or maybe from the self-esteem that comes with owning a company that has experienced year-over-year growth for 11 straight years. But none of those things—while all true—really explain the kind of positive energy that brims from the 37-year-old founder of Magnum Nutraceuticals. After an hour or so, the picture came into focus: Markus Kaulius expresses the happiness of a man doing the work he is meant to do.
Kaulius feels a calling to bring people onto the path of positivity through fitness and long-term heath. He views his company as a beacon of honesty and integrity that can help guide folks out of the slump of negativity. By producing products that can change a body, Kaulius reasons, he can change lives. He’s done it himself.
When Kaulius was 14 years old, he grew nine inches in six months. At almost six feet, five inches (he is now 6’6”), he weighed 120 pounds. A constant target of bullies, the self-described “total bone-rack” found the gym and never left. It set him on a journey that saw him open three brick-and-mortar supplement stores and eventually create Magnum Nutraceuticals.
“When I started lifting, my world changed. I began to love who I was, and a lot of confidence came with that. Self-deprecation became part of my humor, and I love that I can make fun of myself,” he says. “It was a life-changing journey for me. It is something we strive for at Magnum every day. Everyone here knows it is my goal at Magnum to help people get off a negative path.”
Mike Carlson: Where did you get the name Magnum for your company?
Markus Kaulius: A good part of it came from my love of the movie Zoolander. Magnum was his special look. I saw that movie and then when I started my company, I thought, “That’s the name.”
MC: You named your company after a punchline in a movie about a guy who’s obsessed with his looks?
MK: That’s who Magnum is. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. I love smiling in my photo shoots. I love goofing around. Everyone who works here are all goofs. I don’t think we have an athlete on our team who takes themselves too seriously. They won’t last. Someone once described us as “a bunch of healthy weirdos,” and I like that.
MC: Do you find taking yourself too seriously is a common phenomenon in fitness?
MK: Absolutely. A lot of people get into fitness for the wrong reasons, maybe something negative happened in their lives, or maybe they got bullied. I grew up being bullied, and fitness was my outlet as well. But it’s sad when people don’t get over that negativity hump. The world doesn’t owe you anything. Be happy. You are youthful and you’re hot. Enjoy that.
MC: How do you split up your training?
MK: I train about 10 times a week. I train five days a week. I do a double almost every day I train, and I take two full days off a week. I split it between cardio and weights. I love morning fasted cardio—it gets me set for the day, and I love what it does for my endorphins and the way it sets my brain right to work hard and be sharp all day.
I just switched gears in my lifting. I want to do something totally new and athletic. On chest day, we’ll do things like twisting presses on a cable machines. Or I’ll hold 10-pound weights and throw punches. I like getting freaky with this stuff. I still incorporate lifting weights and I like body part splits, but there’s not a lot of isolation for the bodyparts.
MC: What’s your diet like?
MK: I just eat clean. Clean protein and clean carbs, and I get a ton of green veggies. I don’t ever do low-carb days, but I do high-carb days. I don’t track my macros. When you’re eating clean you can get away with more stuff. I eat good portions, too. People at work laugh because when other people are dieting and eating tight little portions, here I am with a huge bowl of chicken, yams, and broccoli soaked in mustard and Frank’s RedHot sauce.
What supplements do you take on a daily basis?
MK: How much time you got [laughs]? I try to cycle on and off the different Magnum supplements, but when it’s go-time, like leading up to my photo shoot with Iron Man, I was literally on every single Magnum supplement. And I only take Magnum supplements. We have a Primer Performance Pack that is loaded with everything you need: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, brain support, joint support, digestive support—it’s all in there.
MC: AT six-foot-six, what secrets have you discovered about “tall guy training”?
MK: I don’t think I have discovered any yet! The sad fact is, I will never have a 600-pound squat. I don’t mean to put limitations on myself, but it is much easier for the shorter guys to get huge tree-trunk legs and arms. I have accepted the fact that I will always have a more athletic physique. I am all-natural, so at six-foot-six, I am never going to have huge muscles. I’m okay with just looking athletic.
MC: How many times have you used the “I have long arms” excuse for bench press and pull-ups?
MK: I have never used it for pull-ups. I enjoy pull-ups. I have happily used it as an excuse for the bench press, though. The bar takes an hour to get to my chest!
MC: What is the goal of your training? Is it purely aesthetics?
MK: I love doing weird stuff in my workouts. When I see people do something crazy I’m driven to try it. I love challenging my body in unique ways. Specifically, I am a freak when it comes to abs stuff. I love training abs. I am constantly trawling for different abs workout. I love when I find something I can feel but I’m not good at. It tells me I have a weakness and I want to make it one of my strengths.
MC: Give me an example.
MK: I just did one the other day. I call it a “V-up oblique.” You’re on the ground, kind of on your side, halfway between being on your hip bone and your butt. In that side-V position, bring your legs and your torso up. You think you’re coordinated? Try this. You look like someone learning to walk for the first time. It is so humbling.
MC: What is something about the supplement industry that grinds your gears?
MK: The lack of integrity drives me nuts. There are not a lot of owners who care about people’s health. You see people spiking products with illegal ingredients or actual drugs. That disgusts me. I know that’s why I have been put into the supplement industry, why I am here, to show people that here is a difference. I am supposed to be the light in this industry. That is who we are at Magnum. We are the ones setting the bar for integrity.
MC: Not all supplement CEOs look like you. Is it surprising when you meet someone in the industry who doesn’t walk the walk?
MK: To me, that goes hand in hand with integrity. I wish people would see who runs these companies. That should tell you what they think of the supplements they’re making. If they don’t take them, love them, and are obsessed with them, then what do you think they’re putting in them? I’m obsessed with making the best formulas because I need the best formulas. I take more supplements than any human on earth, and I only take Magnum supplements, so you better believe I have found the best ingredients to put in my body.
MC: Do you suffer financially by holding to such high standards?
MK: Absolutely. We could sell way more and have way more short-term gains and profit at our disposal if we cheapened our product and brought our price points down. But that is short-term thinking, and we are all long-term here. I am looking for a 50-year plan. I’m not worried about how much money I can put in my account this year.
MC: Have you always been entrepreneurial?
MK: Yes. I started my first business with my brother selling smoothies to coffee shops. We started that business when I was 17. We’ve always had entrepreneurial blood in our family. We find it tough to work with other people. In my next business after that, buddies were coming by my house and buying supplements. I was like a healthy drug dealer. That grew so well I opened my first store and that grew into three stores in the first two years. Magnum grew from there.
MC: Did that experience of owning supplement stores help you with launching your own label?
MK: No question. I think my partners really respect and understand that I know what it is like to talk to the end-user. I know what kind of complaints and concerns those end-users have. And every Magnum pitch and Magnum product is actually designed to overcome those kind of issues. When we are formulating, we think of how we can make Magnum different from what consumers are used to.
MC: Any predictions for the next big thing in the supplement world?
MK: That’s funny you ask. People now look to Magnum to set the new trends. I can’t tell you where the whole market will go. BCAAs made a huge comeback five years ago. Those kinds of things are hard to predict. But we just launched a new carnitine fat-burner called Carne Diem. No one has done anything new or interesting in the carnitine category, ever. Every single other company has put out a carnitine product—it’s dirt cheap and they are all going on old science. Carne Diem is backed by new science with added ingredients that make the difference for getting carnitine into your muscle mitochondria, truly burning fat and truly making a difference in our physique.
MC: You have a fat-burner with no caffeine or stimulants in it? That seems almost counterintuitive to where the industry is going.
MK: People are putting caffeine in everything lately. I am shocked when I hear how good caffeine and BCAAs together are selling. People are getting so many stimulants in their pre-workout, their fat-burner, and everywhere else. They don’t need them in their BCAAs. Are you kidding me?
We are really into people’s health and long-term results. Not just, “We want to make you feel something and try to get your money out of you today.” Loading people with caffeine is not a long-term solution. If people want stimulants, we have stimulant products that you can stack with Carne Diem. But if you want just a phenomenal carnitine burner that will give you results, you want Carne Diem.
MC: How quickly will Carne Diem get knocked off by the competition?
MK: It never will. That is the best thing we do at Magnum. We only use pharmaceutical-grade ingredients. We make these formulas so high-quality that other companies will price it out and think, “We can’t drive Ferrari’s if we make products like this!” So they lower the price, lower the quality, and try to tell customers that it is the same product. But people know!
MC: What does it take to be a Magnum athlete?
MK: First of all, every one of our athletes is a natural athlete. That is something I know no other company can say in this industry. I personally screen every single athlete who comes on the team. I tell them who Magnum is and who I am, and I explain how serious I am against steroids. I say to them that if they are very interested in dong steroids, Magnum is not the right company for them. On a positive note, our athletes are really genuine people. I don’t care if an athlete has ever won a competition. I don’t care if they have ever competed. If they are a good person who is focused on health and helping people live a better life through supplementation, eating, and exercise, those are the type of people I love on the team.
MC: You sound like you’re on a higher mission. Are you spiritual?
MK: I am 100 percent a Christian man. I take my faith very seriously. I met my wife at church, we raise our two little girls at church, Jesus saved my life when I was 22 years old. I devote my life 100 percent to Him. Magnum is 100 percent His company. I just work here. It’s awesome to watch Him be in charge here. And it makes it easy for me to make decisions because it can never go against what He is doing here.
MC: In your mind, do faith and fitness go hand in hand?
MK: Absolutely. I know without a doubt this is where God wants me to be. He wants me to be right here at Magnum. He wants Magnum to be in this dark industry. That is why I say, “We are the light.” For me, walking the walk and talking the talk, this is His plan for making sure people see that Magnum is a different kind of company run by a different kind of dude.
MC: It must be encouraging that a business plan of integrity is successful.
MK: I have to say, it wasn’t my plan. God put the plan together and put me where I am. I am following this cool plan, and He is blessing it. We are just having fun on this journey. IM