Doug Miller is serious about bringing transparency, efficacy, and integrity to the supplement industry.
By Mike Carlson
“Necessity is the mother of invention” is a good way to describe Doug Miller’s entry into the supplement world 12 years ago. Working long hours in management at an economic litigation consulting company, the natural bodybuilding champion relied heavily on meal-replacement products to get him through long work days and tough workouts. But he’d often look at the label and think “Why?”
“At the time I was using Met-RX and Myoplex packets,” Miller says. “They had 40 grams of protein and vitamins and minerals, but the carbs were coming from maltodextrin. Why would I want a meal replacement that has post-workout carbs that will give me an insulin spike? Why would I want that for breakfast or between meals? That didn’t make sense to me.”
Miller decided to do something about it, and with degrees in biochemistry, molecular biology, and economics, it wasn’t long before he created Core MRP, a high-protein, high-fiber meal replacement that utilizes slow-digesting oat and barley fiber as its main source of carbs. Necessity, meet invention.
Over a decade later, Miller has broken free of the golden handcuffs of corporate America and Core is now an international brand with a full range of products, from sleep aids, test boosters, fat burners, and pre-workouts to four of five different types of protein. What has not changed about Core is the refusal to use proprietary blends in their formulas. All Core supplements use clinical doses of active ingredients, with each dose clearly labeled with its gram amounts. It is at the vanguard of a sea change in the supplement industry, and it is a phenomenon that helps Miller sleep very soundly at night.
MC: You were a successful corporate guy. What got you into the supplement business?
DM: The reason I started the company in 2004 was because I wasn’t happy with all the crap on the market. I wasn’t happy with fillers, proprietary blends, and cheap ingredients. I started this company with a 100 percent selfish perspective, creating products I wanted to use. To this day, we follow the same principles. We were the first people to make non-proprietary blends a standard. That type of 100 percent transparency was very important to me.
Mike Carlson: Has that resonated with supplement buyers?
Doug Miller: Absolutely. They love it. We find that our consumer base is a very educated consumer base, in terms of people understanding ingredients and why they are dosed as opposed to people who are driven by marketing hype. I think there is a transition right now in the industry that the consumer is demanding. So much so that the bigger marking giants are even switching to non-proprietary blends and marketing it as such.
MC: Are you trying to find the next creatine or simply doing the basics right?
DM: Doing them right. We are looking at products that are proven to work, dosing them correctly, and throwing them in a blend with 12 other clinically dosed ingredients. So it is the synergistic nature of efficacious dose of all those ingredients that makes the products so good.
MC: Clinical dosages make for expensive products. Do you have to defend the cost of Core products to consumers?
DM: I tell people that our products are not cheap in both senses: They are not cheap to make and not cheap to sell. However, they are a phenomenal value. For example, Core ABC is 54 dollars. People are like, “Fifty-four dollars for a BCAA? That is expensive!” But most BCAAS are 300-, 400-, or maybe 500-gram tubs, and they sell for well over half the price for ours. We have 1,000 grams in our BCAA product. When you break it down to per servings, our product is a phenomenal value. If you look at our pre-workout, you’re getting 29 servings of a product that has a 16-gram scoop. What other pre-workout gives you five grams of creatine monohydrate? And that’s just one ingredient. If you tried to make that product up yourself by buying commodity products and making your own Core Fury, you are going to spend 90 dollars.
MC: You sponsor a lot of natural bodybuilders. Why is that?
DM: I’m a natural bodybuilder. I have won the World Championships a couple times, and that is my passion. I don’t have anything against people using PEDS as long as they’re not trying to compete in the natural organizations. For me, it is really important to have natural athletes on the team. If a supplement company puts a ’roided-out guy on an ad, that’s just false advertising for the 16-year-old who’s getting into bodybuilding. Also, if we are beta-testing products, I don’t want someone who’s on cycle trying my products and giving me feedback, because who knows if it’s effective when you have so much other stuff going on.
MC: What are Core’s flagship products?
DM: I would say our two flagships are Core ABC and Core Fury Extreme. Core ABC is our intra-workout BCAA product. We can’t keep it in stock and we can’t make it fast enough. It’s probably 25 percent of our sales. The other one is out pre-workout, Core Fury Extreme. It’s fully loaded with clinical doses. A scooper in this looks like a protein scooper. You would never take more than one scoop of this product. This past year, these products won Intra-Workout Of The Year and Pre-Workout Of The Year in Australia.
MC: What is a typical day like for you?
DM: It’s all over the place—I wear many hats. I have a chain of retail stores on the East Coast called The Nutrition Corners. We are about to open up our sixth and seventh stores. I’m in the books every day because I think it’s important for leaders and CEOs to understand where you’re making money and where you’re losing money. But most of my time is spent on the Core side of things, from talking about marketing initiatives to formulating new products. Literally, I do everything.
MC: How do you find time to train?
DM: Not training is never an option for me. I train every day. That is what I do. People relate me and Core together, so it’s important that I train. And I love it. I started this company to make my training better. Sometimes I tell people I’m in a meeting. Well, that meeting might be me in the gym. It’s that important to me. IM