7 Reasons Why GNC Sucks!

7 Reasons Why GNC Sucks!

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I have been working in the health and fitness industry for over ten years and one of the common questions I get is where is the best place to buy supplements. There are a ton of great options these days to purchase supplements online (ahem… Suppz.com) – but there is 1 place that I recommend you stay far away from, and that is GNC.

GNC used to be the premium stop for bodybuilding supplements but now that purchasing supplements online has become so powerful, they have had to employ shady strategies to stay in business and increase the mark up.

This article is nothing personal about GNC. I have shopped there in the past but I will never shop at a GNC again for a number of reasons.

1. Overprice and Ineffective Supplements

One of my biggest complains against GNC is that they push ineffective and overpriced supplements such as Force Factor and Test X180.

These two supplements are marketed as powerful muscle building and testosterone boosting supplements and cost well over 50 dollars for a less than 30 day serving.

While there are a few decent ingredients in each – they are both “proprietary blend” supplements meaning that you don’t even know how much of each active ingredient you are getting.

This is done by supplement companies to increase the markup and use a lot of cheap filler ingredients such as corn starch and L-Lysine.

This is a trick used by many of the shady supplement companies so they can increase their marketing budget and persuade more helpless.

Take Test X180 for example. They claim that Fenugreek extract, Tribulus, and Cordyceps are the magic ingredients in their powerful test booster. If this is the case you would be far better buying each active ingredient in its whole natural form on Amazon where you could save a ton of money and get in a much higher dose per serving.

Don’t fall prey to the overhyped and overpriced Proprietary blends they push.

2. Same Products as Suppz, Higher Prices

I was out of town in Wisconsin and out of protein powder and pre workout and needed it THAT DAY so I was forced to step foot in a GNC about 6 months ago. I was looking for some creatine and beef protein isolate.

I was mortified by the prices I saw in the store. The Beef Protein isolate that I normally buy which costs me about $28 online was selling for $42.

An example of overpricing at GNC

A popular pre workout that I take (GAT Nitraflex) was selling for nearly 50 dollars. It sells at Suppz.com for $31.99!

I couldn’t even find pure Micronized Creatine because they were trying to sell me some fancy overpriced creatine HCL.

Overall it was a horrible experience and I did not see one single item for sale in the store that would come close to online prices.

For a comparison of gnc protein prices vs the rest of the market, read our blog post!

3. They Don’t Sell Quality Brands

The best supplements in the world are going to tell you exactly what is included and in what quantity. When you are purchasing a protein, pre workout, test booster, fat burner, etc you should know exactly how much of each active ingredient is included.

The reason you won’t find many of these supplements in GNC is because they cost more to manufacture and produce. When you manufacture a proprietary blend supplement it costs far less because you have skimped out on the quality ingredients that actually give the user results.

The supplement companies that have the best chance of selling products in GNC are the ones that are manufactured for the cheapest because they can have the highest markup.

One popular supplement company recently tried pushing their high quality line of bodybuilding supplements into GNC, but failed miserably because GNC lowballed them so hard on the price.

This makes it really hard for the guys that actually produce legitimate and high quality products to be featured in GNC.

ALL GNC cares about is their profit margin because they know the only way they can stay in business with the growing online market is to maximize the profit on each product sold. This should be a major red flag as a consumer to stay away from GNC!

4. Gold Card Scam

GNC Gold Card
GNC members get a fancy discount called a “Gold Card.” This gives them 20 percent off of items that are marked up by well over 20 percent.

You are paying 10 dollars a month to purchase low quality supplements that are marked up by well over the 20 percent discount.

Compare the price you pay online to the “Gold Card Discount” and it is still no comparison. You are just donating 120 dollars of profit per year to the GNC Corporation so they can continue to spend more money marketing and persuading the average consumer to buy their shitty and overpriced supplements.

5. The Employees

I went to a GNC somewhere in Florida (Don’t want to name the city or call out the employee) – but this guy was literally 100 lbs overweight. What can someone 100 lbs overweight tell me about building muscle and losing weight?

To make matters worse, the guy criticized me on my purchase of “no filler added” beef protein and tried to sell me a crappy whey concentrate because it “tasted better” and was “more popular.”

Out of all the GNC stores I have ever been to, most of the employees fall into one of 2 categories. They are clearly on steroids and hate their life because they don’t have the talent to be a paid bodybuilder or endorsed athlete and are sitting behind the counter making 12 dollars an hour, or they are completely out of shape and full of opinions on what supplements will give you great results.

6. Can’t Buy the Simple Stuff that actually Works

Another huge issue with GNC is they don’t sell the simple stuff that actually works because they can’t make as much profit on it. I am a fitness model and study exercise science and supplement science a great deal.

Sometimes I make my own special recovery and pre workout blends and just buy the active individual ingredients by themselves. If you are looking to purchase pure Creatine, Dextrose, BCAA, Glutamine, L-Citrulline, Etc you will not find it at GNC. They do once in a while sell GNC Brand creatine but once again you can find it way cheaper online.

They would much rather sell you a 35 dollar tub of flavored BCAA’s in a proprietary blend than sell you pure BCAA’s for far less. Once again – GNC doesn’t care about your health and fitness. They care about your profit margin and how cheap they can acquire a new customer for. To there defense – this is obviously the goal of most businesses, but do you want to put your health and fitness in the hands of a company clearly on the decline trying to employ shady tactics to stay in business in the internet era? I didn’t think so.

7. Commissions

GNC Commissions
Have you ever been curious why GNC employees seem to push certain supplements over others? GNC employees work on a shady commission structure that rewards them by selling the supplement line with the highest profit margin.

GNC clearly has exclusive deals with certain supplement lines.

This means that they are trying to sell you the products that give them the best commission – not the best results.

GNC employees can smell blood in the water when a person comes in with little knowledge of supplements and fitness. They will reverse engineer their sales pitch to sell you the product they will make the most money on – plain and simple.


I have nothing personal against GNC. I understand they are a company trying to make money and survive just like any other. This article is solely written to educate the average consumer before they are persuaded to buy overpriced and ineffective products.
The health and supplement industry clearly takes advantage of the average consumers lack of knowledge and it is my responsibility as an expert in this field to relay good information as much as possible!

What’s your biggest turn-off about GNC?


  1. Mine is #5… And this is similar to the Circuit City model (where are they now?) of paying your employees nothing to know nothing and charge ridiculous prices for products that don’t move… I guess you gotta break even for what doesn’t leave the store.

    HOWEVER, that’s why I DO shop at GNC… Because the product DOESN’T move. Eventually it expires. A few months out from expiration, it’s half off or better. They give away gold cards at trade shows and offer discount renewals for dirt cheap. So ultimately I come out on top because I never buy something that isn’t clearance.

  2. I totally agree 150% with ALL of this! I purchased some Pump-hd from suppz.com a while back for 19.99, and then just for kicks I took a stroll into GNC and saw the same exact tub of Pump-hd for almost $60!!!! I almost lost it. When I go to a brick an mortar store fpr my supplements, I prefer the small, independently owned places. They care and take the time to get you what you actually need. Also very knowledgable. When I buy online, suppz is a great website and will continue doing business with them.

  3. Working there has made me sick to my stomach some days. There upper management is so fixated on selling these vitamin packs that are extremely over priced, do little to nothing for the customer, and are all fillers and shit product. They practically force you to sell chews that don’t do shit, force you to sell product that is marked up 10 fold. You can get most of this stuff only at a fraction of the cost. Buy one get one half off sounds like a.good deal right? Well when they raise the price on the first one to compensate for the half off on the 2nd, you’re paying the same fucking price as a regular deal. I hate that company more than I can express. They treat their staff like shit and hire people that have no business telling someone what to use to be healthy. Fuck gnc

  4. I used to be completely against GNC for reasons you have stated, however within the past year I now have to completely disagree with you and heres why. Yes, the price and markup its a little outrageous, but with being a member(which is only $15 a year, and always has been) you get a booklet in the mail each month that has 2-3 coupons in it totaling upwards 30-60 bucks. So that would easily drop your price down on many things that you get from the internet. As far as Force Factor, not once have I pushed that product unless someone is dying to buy it. GNC also price matches, so to say you can’t get the same prices is crazy, and that not even to mention you have to pay shipping. All this really comes down to is the people inside the store. I know the store that I am in we don’t care about commission and we are generally trying to help people out. To say they don’t sell quality products is absurd. They sell some of the best lines available, and if not they will order it and ship it to your house for free. As far as buying the products individually that you like to mix, Im not sure what one you went to but it must have been a small one because our store sells all that stuff and again if we don’t we will order it. All in all I could go on and on, but I personally think its the stores you go into. My management is great, we do legit things and we have a good amount of people that come back time and time again because we go out of our way to service them not just sell them products!

      • Their price match is a scam just like everything else. They find a way out of it with stipulations. I used to go to GNC before a friend recommended Suppz. And I don’t know what you consider to be a premium brand, but I see very little quality stuff in GNC. I learned that once I learned more about formulas and what constitutes a good product. I hit the clearance once in awhile like another poster said. Never trust a company whose private brands use outdated technology, formulas, and ideas.

  5. They prove match gnc.com only. You will find some GNC employees that will price match other online shops however most will only match gnc.com they do not care about the customer there vitamin packs are extremely overpriced $74 for a crap fat burner CLA a water pill and a vitamin the only reason why GNC is still in business is because people are impatient and want product the same day if people would learn to have a little patience and wait 2 to 3 business days GNC wouldn’t never rise above the water they would go out of business and they would never see the light of day again

  6. I would like to know what you think of the Vitamin Shoppe GNC I always knew about and I always said it the prices were too high if you could get back to me on this I would really appreciate it thank you

  7. steve sound like jerkoff don’t listen to him.

    One of my last and worst experiences at GNC was when the sales rep tried to rip off a tourist here in Boston. The Tourist told him he did not give him the correct change back after he handed him a $100 dollar bill. He went in his pocket to give him back some his correct change. The tourist said no that is still not enough so the Rep went back into his pocket to give him more. It was the shadiest thing I ever saw. I later called GNC Customer service to report the matter but they didn’t seem to care.

    So for me, number 5 hits home. I also shop at vitamin shoppe they have far better prices and better employees.

  8. Here in India they sell only their own brand supplements, at double the cost of brands like ON, Dymatize and Muscletech. They give fancy name like Amplified Whey which just contains the normal whey blend, that too only 20g per 34g serving.

  9. I don’t know how but here in Malaysia we got GNC in every shopping mall. The store usually empty and I don’t know how they survive. The price is ridiculous for low brand product. I mean their vitamin supplement can cost 2-3 times higher than normal prices. Don’t make me start on the bodybuilding supplement. The price skyrocket to the roof.

  10. Well i agree on GNC is way more expensive than other shop.
    Scam 1. Bought stuff on GNC for $200 and was entitle for super discount for VIP customer. When i pick an item and purchases but the checkout price was the normal price not the vip price, so i contact support and its already been a month with no reply.

    Scam 2. Overpriced. Was planning to bought 2 supplement which normally cost $110 and got 1 free. So when i was about to buy it but on my way i stopped at other shop and suprised same product was sold at $45 each. Get 2 and i can saved $20..

    So lesson learn..stay far away from GNC

  11. I go to gmc for everything and I placed in my physique competition each time lol I make 10.50 an hour in Las Vegas you guys aren’t putting in the work I can afford it and it works

  12. suppose to get free samples shipped this month cause I paid $30 for a membership… Month is almost over and still didnt get a dam thing. Found out they did this last year.. Bout to go get my 30$ back… And yea, I foun dout the hard way, the stuff they sell is way over priced. There is no savings.. At all! Not even with a membership…

  13. GNC, Walmart, Target, Walgreen’s and others were found to be selling fake vitamins over the years. Many did not have any amount stated on bottle or package. GNC had to pay a fine. You can not trust anyone when money is involved. Make sure the product has been tested properly and never sold in China or such places.

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