Founded during the Golden Age of Bodybuilding, from when the first Sandow was awarded and “Pumping Iron” featuring a young bodybuilder from Austria premiered in theaters, Universal has been vital part of the fabric of the sport and industry. Today, we proud of our place in the weightlifting community and our many products are available all around the world.
Our roots go back to 1977 and a small manufacturing factory in Linden, New Jersey. Started by a hard-working and passionate family in that year, Universal is still a privately held company today – still owned and operated by that same family. Our values have remained the same, values based on “old school” ideals where one’s word and a handshake meant something.
Today, our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and corporate headquarters are located in New Brunswick, NJ. Though we are bigger, we still try to think small – think about growing our business one customer at a time. For over forty years, we’ve been pushing sports nutrition forward because, as athletes ourselves, this is what’s important to us. We hope you share our passion.
During the Golden Age of Bodybuilding, Universal Supplements is founded in Linden, New Jersey, fifteen minutes away from John Carroll Grimek’s birthplace in Perth Amboy. Among the first sports nutrition products we launched included a milk and egg protein and desiccated liver.
Universal begins producing early drink products such as Zero Plus 32, No Carb Plus, and Gain On long before the advent of modern RTDs (ready-to-drink). These products were manufactured in cans. During this year, we invented the “pack” system for delivering key nutrition to elite athletes in Animal Pak, “The Ultimate Training Pack.” Copied many times over the decades, Animal Pak still remains the true original today.
Universal outgrows its space in Linden and moves to a much larger operation in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Around this time, products like Atomic Muscle Builder were among our most popular nutritional products. While the Universal logo has changed, the color yellow would eventually become a prominent one for our company and our brands.
The very first Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic is held in Columbus, Ohio. In New Brunswick, we create a new, more visually powerful logo underscoring our legacy as a bodybuilding and strength company. Our popular products at this time included Uni-Liver, Carbo Plus, 100% Egg Aminos, GH Max and Milk & Egg Protein, among others.
In 1993, Dorian Yates won the Mr. Olympia show, and Lou Ferrigno made his final appearance. At Universal, we updated our logo to the current style that would be known around the world for the next two decades. As seen in this ad, the new logo adorned some of our popular products at the time including Amino 1900, BCAA 2000, and Hard Fast.
A core mission for Universal has always been the sharing of knowledge and helping to build communities. In 1997, we launched Universal Matters, a magazine that included articles on training, diet and nutrition and mailed it to fans everywhere, free of charge. This cover from 1999 featured Monica Brant, a fitness competitor we sponsored at the time.
Continuing in our tradition of sharing knowledge and educating consumers, in 2010, we held our very first Universal Bodybuilding Camp (UBC). This free, day long camp was offered to anyone who wanted to train with and learned from established strength athletes, past and present.
Team Universal participates in our very first Plane Pull for the Special Olympics of New Jersey. Consisting of a mix of Universal employees, fans, and sponsored athletes, the team raised funds, then pulled a 93,000-pound Boeing 737 at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Universal employees and athletes embarked on the first ever Universal Road Trip (URT) from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (Olympia Expo) in a classic ’77 Volkswagen van. Like the Universal Bodybuilding Camps and Plane Pulls that came before, the URT was another opportunity for us to train and eat with our fans, give back to our community, and spread the positive word of Universal.
More than ever, direct consumer engagement is taking place in the digital space (and has been for years). At Universal, we have always taken great pride in interacting with consumers and now we are there talking to even more fans, answering more questions, and sharing our knowledge in an even bigger way on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook and twitter.
At Universal, we have always been committed to diversity. Throughout our history, we have sponsored women, as well as men, including well-known athletes like Monica Brant. In 2017, we have also began developing relationships outside of the fitness and bodybuilding worlds, sponsoring strength athletes in other sports like Olympic weightlifting.
Universal products are available in over 90 countries around the world. As an established brand, we know we can’t stand still. Beginning in late 2018 and continuing through 2019, we will be updating our look and formulating new products. What will our future hold? Let’s find out together.
At Universal, we firmly believe three things. First, that the pursuit of strength is not just exercise; it represents a way of life. Strength, and the desire for making progress, lies at the heart of every human endeavor. So the strength built in the gym represents the strength of mind and of character. Second, that a community is always stronger than an individual. Reaching a fitness goal may seem like a solitary thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Sharing support, knowledge and wisdom are important parts of achieving lasting success. Third, that unless you live this way of you life, you can’t really speak with experience or authenticity. At Universal, we are competitive athletes ourselves. We train hard, we watch what we eat and we use the products we sell.
Are you interested in becoming an authorized distributor for Universal products in the U.S. or around the world? Do you want to join a team where you feel like part of a large and growing family? If so, please get in touch with us. We look forward to hearing from you!