Turns out the best sports nutrition
is not one-size-fits-all.
Here’s a quick example of how the sexes differ in our nutritional needs: women tend to oxidize—aka burn—more fat and rely less on carbohydrates than men when engaged in endurance sports. This means that given the same amount of complex carbs, men surf a wave of energy while many women spike then crash.
Add in different nutrient needs throughout our monthly cycle, during pregnancy and when entering menopause, and it quickly becomes apparent why food formulated for men just isn’t cutting it for women.
Quick definition. When we say “sports nutrition” think: bars, gels, waffles, protein powders, recovery drinks, electrolyte drinks, tabs. These are all things intended to help you endure through or recover from athletic activities.
Less than 2.5% of sports nutrition
is targeted to women.
It’s not clear if all of those products are actually made for women or just repackaged and marketed to them. This is a result of a larger problem though. Only 3% of sports performance studies and 33% of sports medicine studies to date include female participants.
Why have women been left out of the research?
The short answer: Early researchers thought men and women were the same. And, women of childbearing age were banned from medical trials from 1977-1993. Wait… what?! Yeah. For the long answer, check out our Q&As
What’s important is that we now know that women are unique on a cellular level. But, because of the lack of data on women, the majority of sports nutrition has been formulated for men. That would be fine if men were the only consumers of sports nutrition products, but when we look at the numbers that’s not what we see.
Women makeup 43% of marathon runners in the United States. We also make up 37% of swimmers and 26% of cyclists, and those numbers continue to grow as girls who grew up in the era of Title Nine increasingly run, bike and swim into adulthood.
We are designing sports nutrition products with women’s physiology in mind from the start.
No sugar added
Ingredients you can pronounce
From women who’ve been there
Our products are not only formulated for women but made with whole food ingredients. Our interviews with almost 100 female athletes made it clear that many female athletes like to eat real whole foods. So why would we compromise that when on a run?
Our first product is a natural plant-based endurance jelle that uses low glycemic index carbohydrates to steadily fuel long runs. This formula allows for more effective absorption of carbohydrates within the gastrointestinal tract, eliminating the central cause of GI distress in female endurance athletes. The jelle is designed to be taken before and during long runs.
The market for sports nutrition is booming
Turns out our timing couldn’t be better. The global sports nutrition market was valued at $16.45B in 2020. It is anticipated to more than double in the next five years, reaching over $35.35B by 2026. Keep in mind that women continue to participate in sports more and more.
We need your help
With this first round of funding we will launch Levelle's first product—a berry flavored energy jelle to power you through a long run. Your funds will go towards all of the necessary ingredients, research, packaging, manufacturing and commercial kitchen costs along with initial outreach to connect with female endurance athletes.
Our amazing team specializes in medicine, nutrition, product development, brand strategy and marketing communications. We are female led and as we grow we are developing partnerships with women- and minority-owned businesses that are equally mission-driven.
Linda Alvarez MD, MBA, co-founder and CEO, worked in the wellness space even before she became a doctor. She has over 10 years of experience in holistic wellness with a focus on nutrition and was recorded as one of the first students in the country to take a sabbatical during medical school to study complementary medicine, yoga and nutrition. Her medical training in family medicine only further prepared her to understand female athletes’ needs.
Stephanie Schrauth, MBA, co-founder COO, has been preparing to build a business that will improve the lives of women for most of her life. In a past life, she graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a dual BA in Women's Studies and English. In her most recent role, she was responsible for leading a Siemens micro mobility company successfully through product development and innovation.
Ashley Christensen, CMO, identified as an “athlete” from an early age. A future-focused brand builder, she has over a decade of marketing experience across both the agency (DentsuMB) and business (Google) sides. By blending brand strategy, communications, copywriting, graphic design, and digital marketing she builds and scales brands.
Run with us.