Fitness Gets the Reality TV Treatment with Sweat, Inc.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.29.28 AM

Last night, Jillian Michaels’ new show Sweat, Inc. premiered on Spike TV, and of course I had to check it out.

Structured like a cross between Top Chef and Shark Tank, Sweat, Inc. is a reality competition series centered around 27 aspiring fitness entrepreneurs. Over the course of the series, these “fitrepreneurs” compete in various challenges designed to weed out the duds and eventually award the creator of the most “groundbreaking and effective exercise program out there” with $100,000, a feature in Women’s Health Magazine, and an opportunity to launch their concept with Retro Fitness.

The first episode focused on three of the 27 entrepreneurs, each of whom offered concepts in the “low impact fitness” category. Following demos of their concepts and questioning by the hosts, one entrepreneur was eliminated, while the other two were invited to remain in the competition.

The Good

  • Whether you love or hate (or love to hate) reality TV, a show like this is great for raising the profile of fitness entrepreneurs and the industry as a whole.
  • The show includes an element of real consumer controlled testing, with the aim of measuring the actual effectiveness of each workout. In an industry full of overblown claims and silly gadgets, I’m glad to see that Sweat Inc. is attempting to separate the legit from the questionable.
  • It’s fun to discover smart, under the radar fitness programs and products. Example: check out Omniball.

Jillian Michaels demoing Omniballs, one of the judges’ favorite products from last night’s premiere.

The Not-So-Good

  • Typical of reality shows, Sweat, Inc. is produced for a mass audience and as a result, is light on the business specifics of each entrepreneurs’ concept. The hosts attempt to spend a little time grilling the entrepreneurs on their financials and marketing plans, but the conversations barely scratch the surface (e.g. “How are you marketing your product? I’m targeting the online consumer.” Yeaaaaah.) More Shark Tank-style questioning would lend some substance while still keeping the content accessible.
  • I hate to say this, because I really respect Jillian Michaels as a fitness expert and influencer, but she grates a little here. The over the top, drill-sergeant persona that worked so well with “The Biggest Loser” doesn’t translate as well to Sweat, Inc. She’d be more effective in this format if she toned down the yelling and instead showcased her credentials as a businesswoman in the fitness industry.

The Verdict

I found the premiere a little underwhelming, but I’ll keep it in my DVR queue for now. Sweat, Inc. slowly reveals the 27 entrepreneurs over the course of the series, which is a pretty clever way to keep viewers coming back for more! I’m curious to see what the other 24 have to offer.

Chrissy Trampedach on twitterChrissy Trampedach on pinterestChrissy Trampedach on linkedinChrissy Trampedach on instagramChrissy Trampedach on facebook
Chrissy Trampedach
Chrissy Trampedach is a PR & communications pro by day and fitness buff, skiing fanatic, dedicated yogi and wannabe tennis champ by night (and weekend). As a former competitive figure skater, she’s lived a life of training and sports from a young age. Today, she fuels her competitive spirit and drive to challenge her body and mind with USTA tennis, skiing adventures around the world, the SF yoga community and tracking the latest fitness trends. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Tim and their “75-lb lap dog” Enzo.

Share your thoughts