MANKATO — Minnesota State University Maverick strength and conditioning director Tom Inkrott was looking for two things in a whey protein mix that he couldn’t find available.
So he made his own.
“Number one, it tastes good. And number two, it has added leucine. Protein has leucine in it, but when you add more leucine to protein, you can spike muscle recovery and muscle building faster and better.”
After seeing athletes and others buy what he thought were overpriced or poor quality protein mixes, Inkrott in 2015 created his own and started the Body Art Protein brand.
“I ran it for about four years but then shut it down. I wasn’t losing money, but it wasn’t growing. And to grow it, I needed to put more time into it. And I just couldn’t do that,” Inkrott said.
But the business is back, thanks to Isaiah Pitchford, who was a two-sport athlete at MSU who had Inkrott as a conditioning coach. He didn’t know at the time that Inkrott had developed the protein supplement.
“I was volunteering at a high school track meet and someone was passing out samples of it. I really liked it,” Pitchford said.
He graduated in 2018 with a marketing degree and was bar manager at The 507 in downtown Mankato, where he was offered partial ownership in the pub. “My goal some day is to open my own restaurant.”
As Pitchford gained business experience and confidence, resurrecting Body Art Protein was in the back of his mind.
“I thought it was a good product that needed to be brought back. Then I thought, ‘Why don’t I do it?’ I picked up the phone and called Tom.”
Inkrott was excited for Pitchford to take over the business. (Inkrott still has the Body Art Athletics brand for his online coaching business, while Pitchford has the Body Art Protein business.)
Beyond what he believes is a superior supplement, Inkrott said whey protein supplements help curb hunger pains and aid weight loss.
The whey protein has 34 grams of protein, 5 grams of leucine and 120 calories per serving.
Pitchford has a manufacturer who makes the protein supplement, and he sells it online (Facebook: Body Art Protein) and out of Kato CrossFit at 1522 N. Riverfront Drive.
Now Pitchford is working on expanding the business and offerings.
“Tom was doing strictly chocolate. I started with the chocolate and chocolate peanut butter whey protein. I also want to start a vegan protein. I know there’s a big market for that.
“I’m also working on a pre-workout supplement and have plans for a full line,” Pitchford said.