On the Blueprint Pulse: Ralph Vuono
Blueprint for Athletes is making changes. The same way athletes are always working to improve, so are we. Our team has been busy working with athletes across the U.S. to make Blueprint better and help athletes get the results they want.
We are gearing up for our big consumer launch to unveil our newly-designed Blueprint Stacks created by athletes for athletes. We sat down with Ralph Vuono, who oversees Blueprint’s direct-to-consumer marketing strategy, to hear from him what the team’s been working on and what he’s learned from our athletes.
What have you learned from athletes using Blueprint and how has their feedback helped Blueprint evolve?
Through our involvement with IRONMAN and the Leadville Race Series, professional football and soccer teams, and in the CrossFit community, we have been fortunate to get feedback from athletes competing at all fitness levels.
We learned from the thousands of athletes we worked with that there were three primary topics they wanted to understand regarding how their training and diet affects their performance. Many athletes were worried about over-training. This concern was paramount with the Crossfit community, endurance athletes, and weight-lifters. They wanted to know if they were giving their bodies enough recovery time or pushing themselves too hard. Another universal hot-button was cortisol. Every athlete wanted to know if they had healthy levels and wanted to have a better understanding of this hormone. Cortisol is an important hormone for anyone who lives an active lifestyle, so this feedback was not surprising. Lastly, the athlete community was very interested in using Blueprint to understand if they had any allergies to foods that were staples in their diet. They wanted to make sure their diets were working for them and not against them.
A surprise finding for us was that almost all of the athletes found it difficult to schedule a blooddraw at their local patient service center (PSC). Despite the number of PSCs we have within a few miles of most households, folks simply had too much going on in their daily lives. They found it difficult to carve out time to visit one of our centers and have their blood drawn.
We took this feedback to heart. Our goal is to make the ordering and draw process as seamless and convenient as possible. That’s why we created the on-demand Concierge Draw Service. Athletes can now get tested at home or at a location of their choice (office, gym, etc.), and at the time of their choosing. A trained phlebotomist comes to you and completes the entire draw process in less than ten minutes. We are excited to offer this service at no additional charge to all of our athletes.
Based on that feedback, what changes can we expect?
We completely reconfigured our product offering and created a new product line called Blueprint “Stacks”. Each Stack is a solution for specific problems we identified within the health and fitness community — balanced hormone levels, weight management, over-training, nutritional deficiencies, and food allergies. We’ve also changed the way we talk about and explain biomarker testing to make it easier to understand. There’s a lot of value that athletes can get from Blueprint and we wanted to ensure that everyone, regardless of their fitness level, can understand how biomarker testing can benefit them. We’re sensitive to the fact that this type of product can feel very complicated, but we believe we found a way to simplify the science and make it easy to digest and understand.
What changes to Blueprint for Athletes excite you the most?
There are two things: the reconfigured Stacks are now very targeted and specific to the goals of athletes at all levels of fitness. Whether it’s losing weight, overall health, or assessing cardiovascular capacity, our Stacks address the aspects of training and fitness that all athletes encounter and have to manage. With Blueprint test results, they can maximize the effort they’re putting into their workouts.
Also, I’m especially excited about the Metabolic Performance Stack. I see it as a multi-benefit Stack. It’s more than just a tool for weight management; it also helps you determine if your body is in primed to build and retain muscle while reducing body fat levels. It’s a one-plus-one-equals-three solution.
I will add that I’m proud of our new website, which is our store front. It’s slick, welcoming, and provides anyone who’s interested in biomarker testing with easy to understand resources to determine which Stacks will help them reach their goals. I also need to point out that I’m excited about the Athlete Ambassador program. With the new website, there will be ways for other athletes to interact with a community. Our Athlete Ambassadors are a diverse group of people across the U.S. and they have really interesting stories to share.
If you were the owner of a gym or CrossFit team, what new products would be the most interesting?
Honestly, all of them! If my gym has 200 members, all of my members will be at different fitness levels and have different goals and motivations. The way the new Blueprint Stacks are configured, I can now offer my members a menu of products that are unique to them and their individual goals that doesn’t require buying a $300 GPS device that simply tracks footsteps. Blueprint for Athletes is the only fitness product on the market that accurately tells you how your body is responding to your diet and exercise programs.