Jacob Heppner Buys Functional Eating, Enters Next Phase of Career as Entrepreneur

April 25, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Bryan Paglione (@bryan_paglione)
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Five-time CrossFit Games competitor Jacob Heppner could foresee from an early stage being an athlete long-term wasn’t viable and he needed to think ahead. 

Fast forward to today and the Games veteran has found success as an entrepreneur, while keeping fitness and CrossFit at the forefront especially in his newest venture into nutrition training. 

  • Heppner, who resides in rural Kansas alongside his wife Kelli and corgi Winston, competed in CrossFit until 2020 and knew he never wanted to leave the sport entirely.
  • The former college football player found CrossFit during his final season and didn’t look back. He went on to compete at the Games five times from 2014 to 2020 with his best finish being in 2019 where he took 6th place. 

In 2020 while Heppner was still competing he worked with a nutrition company called Functional Eating (see special offer below). Not long after he retired from CrossFit Heppner teamed up with Josh Bridges to try his hand at the Tactical Games, which is a combination of fitness and shooting. 

During that time Heppner kept working with Functional Eating and found it to be such a good product he recently bought the whole company. 

  • “They wanted to create a nutrition program that was changeable and malleable to you,” said Heppner. It isn’t just about providing someone’s macronutrients, it’s about finding something that fits that person’s lifestyle. 
  • “I think when people are in the CrossFit space they look at the people in the field of play; the Frasers, the Tias and the Wells, and they think ‘man, I wonder what nutrition program they are doing, and what kind of secret thing they’re doing.’”
  • But, “what people don’t realize is because I’ve been on the other side is that it’s really not different than what you can find and so my concept was- let me take this company and actually show people that.” 

It was during 2017— the year he had to take off due to a knee injury— that gave him some perspective on what would happen if he weren’t a competitor any longer.

  • “It was a good thing for me because it really kind of refocused me and I said ‘hey, Jacob, you could hypothetically be one injury, one bad accident, one, you name it away from not being able to do CrossFit anymore at a high level’ and you’ve made your brand so much around competing, which isn’t a bad thing,” said Heppner.  
  • “What will happen if this continues, or what will happen if something else goes awry or goes wrong and now you’re unable to compete. How do you set yourself up for success later?” 
  • Heppner adds, he told himself “I could make a name in this sport. But what happens if I’m done competing in the sport of fitness? Where do I go from there, and so I never really wanted to leave the sport right? It doesn’t make sense to walk away from it and just disappear off the planet.”
  • “It makes sense to be involved in it. So how do you stay involved in it? You try to give back or create companies, or do things in the space that allow you to stay connected, networked and integrated.” 

Heppner launched his first company in 2018: an online programming company called Grit. The company still exists today and is well-known for Heppner’s “Morning Mono” workouts that are usually long and nasty sweat sessions.

Around the same time Grit launched, he became involved with an app company that was a platform for online programming. Heppner saw the potential of the app and bought into the company to build it up. It became so successful it was acquired and bought by Push Press—a major gym management software company. Heppner says he still works part-time for them and still owns a small bit of the company. 

He always had an entrepreneurial spirit growing up including having a lemonade stand as a kid. Even during his most competitive years of CrossFit Heppner enjoyed working for various companies on his rest days. 

  • “I fell in love with the business side of things. I fell in love with trying to run something, trying to grow something, and I was only getting one day a week of doing that,” said Heppner. 
  • “And so I decided, ‘Man, I’ve really been enjoying this,’ I wonder what would happen if I gave more time to this than just one day a week and so fast forward, and here we are.” 

Functional Eating is offering a special deal for readers of the Morning Chalk Up. Sign up for a free initial consultation with Functional Eating’s head coach and tell them you came from the MCU.

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