Randy Hetrick; Marin County, CA
The inspiration: As a Navy SEAL for 14 years, Hetrick missed the elite training facilities back home while deployed overseas. To stay in shape, he first came up with the suspension trainer as "an accidental invention of necessity," he recalls. "I happened to have an old jiu-jitsu belt, so I tied a knot, threw it over a door, and started doing one-arm rows." He quickly realized the simple contraption had endless possibilities for exercises, from rotations to flies to pull-ups. After leaving the service, Hetrick enrolled in business school at Stanford, where he refined the basic Y-shaped prototype. Working out at the university's athlete training center, he saw how well the straps worked for anyone from a 300-pound lineman to a female tennis player. "That's when I decided to get serious about the idea as a business," he says.
The name: When Hetrick debuted the equipment (then called Travelfit) at the IDEA Fitness Convention in 2004, he sold out of all his stock. He also realized the system was better geared for group fitness, so he veered away from the travel concept and re-named the tool TRX. The acronym is derived from the explanation he'd normally give to describe it: a "total-body resistance exercise system." Plus he liked the anthropomorphic letter X, which became part of the brand's logo. [Click to tweet this fun fact!]
The workout: The TRX suspension trainer relies on your body weight for a highly effective workout. "You can perform more than 300 exercises on the straps and easily transition between moves, so you get a quick, total-body workout, no matter where you are," Hetrick says.
The future: The company grew rapidly in the past five years, and TRX has become a staple in the training rooms of NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB teams, as well as the U.S. military, law enforcement agencies, and gyms all over the country. "Now we're starting to serve the home fitness market with the TRX home kit," Hetrick says. "In the coming years we hope to bring TRX to everyone at any fitness level, from the pros to the Joes."