Garry Pay – BODi
A former college football player, Garry Pay has been a lawyer for over 25 years. Much of his career has been spent in the nutrition, fitness and health sciences industry, so he knows the importance of taking care of the mind and body.
“I never knew my interests in athletics would lead to a fascinating career in nutrition and supplements, even though I’ve always loved the science behind health and performance,” he says. “After all, it was my life while playing college football.”
After 17 years in the legal field, Pay became the senior vice president of legal regulatory affairs for the fitness, nutrition and general health and wellness company BODi. He makes it a point to be involved with products from the beginning and is deeply immersed in the company’s research and development division.
He’s particularly enjoyed being part of the company’s flagship product, Shakeology, which is part of its sports and wellness line. It comes in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and cafe latte flavors—and is the company’s biggest seller. Recently, the company released plant-based vegan versions of the product.
Better understanding the research and development team’s work isn’t just a passion of his; it also helps him in his role. One of his main responsibilities is ensuring accurate advertising so that consumers know exactly what they’re purchasing and the science behind all the formulas.
“My job is to resolve any legal issues, and part of that is helping BODi put an emphasis on nutrition in the market,” Pay says. “We want to always have our customers’ trust and deliver on the promises our products make.”
Strengthening supply chain links
Formerly called Beachbody, BODi is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and offers at-home fitness classes, cooking videos, meal plans and a variety of nutrition supplements. Pay works on legal matters as the company continues to grow—BODi is consistently upgrading existing products while developing new ones.
In addition to ensuring U.S. Food and Drug Administration compliance, he handles issues related to the supply chain. He says BODi’s goal is to sell products with special, branded or rare ingredients. However, obtaining certain ingredients has always been challenging, even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and wreaked havoc on supply chains.
For instance, botanical ingredients are dependent on weather and soil quality. Pay explains that even wars like the current ongoing one raging across Ukraine can have a dramatic impact; that’s because 80 percent of the world’s supply of sunflower seeds are grown and processed in Ukraine before being shipped around the globe.
“It’s not like buying a plastic container from a manufacturer, for instance, where I can just go to one of a hundred others in the market,” he says. “It can be a major and constant struggle to have a steady and consistent supply of the ingredients we need.”
He’s working on this from a contracting standpoint, looking for a variety of vendors and suppliers who can provide high-quality ingredients. He helps with contract negotiations and advises the company leadership and business side about where to eliminate redundancies in the supply chain. He ensures the vendors are held to a high standard and, if they are providing a natural substance that is synthetically derived, for instance, that they are handling and processing it properly.
“I’m building in that flexibility as best I can so that our suppliers can go out and meet our needs while still providing these high quality, unique ingredients,” Pay says.
He’s also revised and added details to the force majeure clause, which states the liabilities of both parties in cases of unexpected events, like floods, tornados and now, pandemics. Before, the contracts were slightly more perfunctory. As such, the pandemic shut down production or vendors’ abilities to ship products to BODi, and the company had to continue paying or was unable to contract a different vendor.
“This change to the force majeure clause is my way of building proper safeguards for events like the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pay says.
A touchdown beyond the end zone
Going from being a collegiate athlete to working in the health and wellness industry seems like a natural, intentional career path. Pay calls it a happy accident.
After playing as an offensive lineman for the Cougars while attending Brigham Young University, he enrolled in the university’s law school. While there, a local law firm was looking to hire graduates. So, in 1998, the same month he received his degree, he became an associate attorney at Patton Boggs.
As part of the firm’s food and drug practice, Pay tackled legal matters ranging from dietary supplement regulation and legislation to, on occasion, trademark litigation. He advised companies on labeling supplements to remain compliant with the FDA’s rules and regulations.
“I wasn’t looking for a legal career in sports nutrition—I kind of fell into it—but it’s been a perfect fit for me,” he tells Vanguard.
He then worked at Metabolife, which Twinlab acquired; both companies focused on dietary supplements. However, when the opportunity at Beachbody came along in 2015, he couldn’t refuse because he’d have a chance to help create products from scratch.
Apart from his work at BODi, he’s also a member of the American Herbal Products Association and has served multiple terms on its board of trustees. When called upon, he has even testified in state and federal health department hearings to advocate for proper regulations on supplements.
“We have a lot on the horizon at the moment at BODi, in terms of our products, services and even a new name,” Pay says. “I enjoy what I do and even more so because I know that every day, we’re helping people achieve their wellness goals.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Summer II 2023 Edition here.
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