Like the two local boys that suited up in this year’s World Series, Stuart Kam’s dream was baseball in front of the big crowds and bright lights. He trained hard, excelled at Kamehameha High School, played at the University of San Diego and Oregon State University, then tried out for the majors. However, his major league dreams were derailed by a shoulder injury. His hopes of professional baseball were over, but when against the ropes, fighters swing back. He focused on his passions of mixed martial arts, surfing, and creating ATH Sports Nutrition.
ATH is an organic supplement company that focuses on the adventure sports lifestyle. ATH supporters include local professional athletes like surfers Ezekiel Lau and Keanu Asing, and MMA fighters Brad Tavares and Max Holloway. To Kam’s surprise, even BJ Penn’s old nemesis, Jens Pulver, gave his approval.
“I didn’t even know [Pulver] ordered product,” Kam recalls. “It wasn’t shipped to his name, and then Max [Holloway] actually met him at one of the UFC’s and they were telling Max about it. So, that was kind of cool.”While most supplements focus on gaining Schwarzenegger-like mass with artificial flavoring and fillers, there was nothing with organic ingredients that helped muscle recovery from high intensity workouts. Instead of settling for what was being sold on the shelves, Kam researched and then experimented in making recovery supplements to fuel his training.
“It was definitely born out of necessity,” says Kam. “I started mixing my own stuff in the garage and then I just started giving out product to other guys that I trained with and kind of went from there.”
“I saw this company as a way to help recovery and to help other guys train full-time,” said Kam.
As he continues to use ATH to support athletes, the supporters of ATH have been extremely loyal, as well.
“What motivates me is just to be able to train and help other guys with their recovery and just spread the brand and that warrior culture,” says Kam. “Just having something that a tribe of guys can get around and see that it’s authentic stuff for combat athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. That’s what keeps me going, is that you have a lot of followers and you don’t really want to let those guys down. And you want to keep producing good stuff for the guys that believe in you.”
Kam makes sure ATH products are of the highest quality for his supporters. He is always trying to make current products better. He also isn’t afraid to innovate new products, like the organic coconut flavored Hemp Gold protein.“Its a never ending process, you’re always improving it... I don’t think you ever stop improvising and improving your product,” Kam says. “I want to be able to do stuff that is different, and not just relabeling a product that someone already has.”
Recently recovering from surgery on his torn labrum, Kam continues to train, surf, and improve ATH Sports Nutrition. Never letting setbacks defeat him, Kam is always fighting back to achieve his dream of helping other athletes achieve theirs.
“You know it’s the person who fuckin tries and tries again and comes up short again, and if the company doesn’t work then I still consider it a success because I at least tried,” Kam says. “That’s all you can ask for. Just to fuckin try to do something.“
WORDS/PHOTO: Jake Ho