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High-Performance Partner: Meet the Man Behind Mark Wahlberg's Supplement Company

Tom Dowd, a 25-year GNC veteran who co-founded Performance Inspired, reflects on his friendship with Wahlberg, thermogenic protein bars, and how his movie-star partner is helping regular people get (and stay) ultra-ripped.
Courtesy of Tom Dowd
Mark Wahlberg with his Performance Inspired partner, Tom Dowd.

With Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day, and Transformers on the horizon (not to mention a booming business in Wahlburgers), you could forgive Mark Wahlberg for sticking to what he already does really, really well. But the father of four has staked his 25-year career on reinvention, and he's about to do it again—this time as a relentless entrepreneur.

Together with Tom Dowd, Wahlberg—the star of our May 2016 issue—started Performance Inspired, a line of supplements aimed at everyday athletes aiming to improve their strength, speed, and recovery with products that taste great. Men's Fitness caught up with Dowd, a 25-year veteran of supplements giant GNC, to understand how he and his co-star are taking on this industry. First, check out the video below featuring Dowd and Wahlberg. Then, read our interview with Dowd that follows. 


Men's Fitness: So how did your partnership with Wahlberg come about?

Tom Dowd: We met when he was filming The Other Guys in New York and bonded instantly. We became fast friends, and solidified it the following week when he gave me a call to just chitchat about golf. He’d won a long-drive contest—he hit it over 300 yards. He really pounds the hell out of it.

What’s the thinking behind Performance Inspired?

Being with GNC for 25 years, I’m always amazed how many people ask me, “Is this product safe?” So an all-natural line of products has always been on my mind. Our products aren’t junked up with things you can’t pronounce.

How should the regular guy work supplements into his routine?

People are more active today, and looking for products for energy, quality protein, recovery, and getting ripped or dropping a few pounds; so we started with a strong base of core products. We’re excited to get our protein bars and RTDs (“ready-to-drinks”) launched this year. Our introductory lineup of products starts with a thermogenic 25g protein bar, which is great as a midday booster, for satiety and dieting, and to help push through the day. Our Performance 25g Whey has 5g of fiber, and we added digestive enzymes. And our pre-workout [product] is really loaded up with the meaningful ingredients.

This isn’t Wahlberg's only health-minded business venture. Is he just seeing growth opportunities or is he actually passionate about this stuff?

He won’t do anything that’s not organic to who he is. He won’t do a cologne if he doesn’t use cologne. He’s famous for his ferocious workout regimen—if I stay in his guesthouse, we work out at 4 a.m., and he kicks my ass. We were up filming in Boston, and we were doing two-a-days! That’s authentic.


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