Six companies in Nashville are enhancing the way we eat, exercise, and connect through unbridled innovation. The Business of Fitness


Defiance Fuel

We all know water is essential to life and that the common “recommendation” is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses a day to stay hydrated. But have you ever wondered why or if the water you’re drinking is even hydrating you the way it should be?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hydration is one of the most important indicators of and contributors to overall cell health. When we are young, our skin and organs contain an abundant supply of water. Not only is the water content high, it is also highly mobile and active.

As we grow older however, the mobility of the water in our cells dramatically slows down, thus the need to stay hydrated becomes more and more valuable.

Well-known throughout the fitness industry in Nashville, you’d be hard-pressed to find a gym, studio, or health spa that doesn’t include a refrigerator full of Defiance Fuel: an ultra-purified, performance driven water.

Defiance Fuel President, Brian Burgdorf, has been living in Nashville for almost fourteen years now, and he’s been humbled with the support they’ve received in the local market. “Our ambassadors are incredible. They really love our product and go above and beyond to support and share it’s advantages. Being hydrated gives them more energy and efficiency in the gym, and our athletes love it because it doesn’t fill them up like other waters or sports beverages.”

“And why wouldn’t they?” Burgdorf continues, speaking more on the approval of his product in the local scene. “Defiance Fuel is the culmination of over 30 years of water research and has undergone double blind studies and placebo controlled tests. It increases your metabolic rate, cellular mobility and overall cellular health.”

Now we know what you might be thinking. ‘Water is water is water, and if I drink the recommended amount, no matter where it comes from, I’m sure I’ll stay hydrated.’

The difference in Defiance Fuel and other products in the market though is that Defiance fuel has been scientifically proven to increase cellular hydration. They have a number of award winning scientists working closely with them every step of the way too including Dr. Ajay Goel, a Director at the Center for Epigenetics at Baylor Research Institute in Dallas, TX.

In the fitness industry, staying fit and healthy is priority number one. We’re always looking for and aware of the quality ingredients that are going into our bodies, specifically when we eat. Why shouldn’t our hydration be the same? We can be beer or wine snobs when we want to be. Why not water too?

Dan O’Hearn, who is now a part owner in Defiance Fuel, also thought “all water was the same” before he met Burgdorf. “After trying Defiance Fuel at a local gym,” O’Hearn elaborates, “I realized that Defiance Fuel water was different.

My first thought was how clean it tasted and that I didn’t feel bloated like other waters. A few cases later, and I started to feel better during my workouts and my recovery was faster too. Shortly thereafter, I contacted Brian and we had a chance to speak more in depth about the science, research and patented technology of the water. At that point I knew that I wanted to be part of the company.

“Being former athletes, we both knew how this product could have helped us in our former careers and how it could now benefit so many others playing and competing in today’s sports,” Burgdorf says.”

After spending a few days with both O’Hearn and Burgdorf, we found out both of them had lost family members to cancer at an early age. We asked them how this had impacted their lives and view on wellness and living a healthy lifestyle. O’Hearn says, “My mother’s passing made me even more cognizant of the choices I was making and how I can help impact the choices of others.”

“When I lost my dad at an early age to cancer,” Burgdorf explains, “it motivated me to stay healthy, grind hard every day with a positive attitude and treat people with kindness and love. Being a former athlete, it’s also important that I teach my three daughters about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and being the best leader they can possibly be for their community.”

“Being surrounded by such a great group of people is incredible and we are so thankful for the opportunity to share this product with others,” Burgdorf continues.

Defiance Fuel is more than just a water company though. In 2016, Defiance Fuel partnered with New York Giants Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks to donate over 30,000 bottles of Defiance Fuel to Flint, Michigan when residents were hit with a drinking water crisis.

In 2017, Rapper and investor Jeezy donated 50,000 bottles of Defiance Fuel water to Houston when Hurricane Harvey caused an estimated $180 billion in damage to the area.

Recently, Jordan Matthews, a former Vanderbilt standout and current New England Patriot, partnered with Defiance Fuel to send 17,000 bottles to Puerto Rico as well.

On a local level, Defiance Fuel supports a number of events and initiatives around town. “We ask our employees to workout at a different facility in their respective city every day to help them gather a pulse and interest in other brands around town,” Burgdorf says. “We’ve sponsored events for our athletes like Beyond the Game and all of the money raised [through donations and auctions] goes to supporting charities, like the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.

Right now, we’re working on a healthy water initiative in Africa, and we hope to take a group of our ambassadors down there in the next couple of years.”

Even though Defiance Fuel water is the flagship product of the performance brand’s output, they have also recently entered into the pre-workout industry with ingredients that have a long history of safety and performance. “Our pre-workout has done well for us, but what I’m really excited to bring to market is our patented box water technology that we will be rolling out in January.It will be big for the retail space.“

“We have so many more cutting edge products coming soon too,” Burgdorf shares. “Defiance Labs continues to partner with the top scientists around the world and we’re launching a line of supplements to our partners soon!”

Next page