In her new show airing on Spike, Jillian Michaels will use her branding know-how and fitness expertise to find America’s next fitness trend

By Jessica Matthews

It's hard to remember a time before Jillian Michaels was the Queen Bee of the fitness world. We first met "America's Toughest Trainer" on The Biggest Loser, and in the 10-plus years since the premiere, she's became a household name-and she shows no signs of slowing down. (Have you tried the Fat-Melting Bodyweight Workout she swears by?)

Now, after building her own fitness empire-which includes television shows, books, countless DVDs, her signature Bodyshred program, fitness-based video games and so much more-Michaels is ready to pass on the torch and find America's next big fitness phenomenon. As a judge on the new show Sweat Inc., Michaels will be using her branding know-how and two decades worth of experience in fitness to help find what will ultimately be the next great exercise craze. The reality show, which will air on Spike, has been dubbed by some as Shark Tank meets American Idol with a fitness twist. The contestants on the show-referred to as entrepreneurs-will each be vying for $100,000 and the opportunity to develop their fitness brand and launch their innovative program at multiple Retro Fitness locations throughout the country.

To help decide who of the 27 aspiring fitness entrepreneurs has developed the most groundbreaking exercise offering, Michaels will have fitness gurus Randy Hetrick and Obi Obadike by her side. Hetrick, the founder of TRX, knows a thing or two when it comes to developing innovative fitness equipment and a strong business and brand to go along with it. Obadike, an internationally recognized celebrity trainer and fitness expert, is no stranger to building successful brands either, as evidenced by the over 2 million followers he has amassed on Twitter alone. (Meet The Faces Behind Your Favorite Fitness Classes.)

But what makes this show different from other reality TV programs is that the judges don't just critique from their comfy judges' chairs; they get down and dirty testing out the workout programs and equipment. "This show is unique because each entrepreneur has to prove they have a viable business and they also have to prove to us and to the test groups that their workout is effective," shares Obadike. "The judges actually get sweaty and have to try every new workout, as opposed to other shows where you never see the judges ever try to dance or sing themselves."

But it's not just the judges who will be breaking a sweat. As part of the competition, the entrepreneurs have to show both their business smarts and their physical capabilities. "In addition to the half-dozen different physical challenges that these entrepreneurs must complete, their programs are also scrutinized in detail to assess basic business viability and concept scalability," says Hetrick. "Ultimately, the competition is designed to assess five different criteria: popularity, effectiveness, innovation, business model viability, and business concept scalability."

Hetrick can very much relate to the entrepreneurs on the show-he was just like them not too long ago. "TRX began as a tool I developed as a Navy SEAL and then launched a few years later out of my garage," he explains. "At the time I started TRX, I was 36 years old, a father to a newborn baby, had just graduated business school at Stanford, had almost no money at all, and was carrying $150,000 in debt." Flash forward 10 years and Hetrick and his team have built TRX Training into one of the hottest brands in the fitness industry, generating more than $50 million dollars per year in sales and reaching over 25 million people worldwide. (Haven't tried TRX yet? We have a Military-Inspired TRX Workout created by Hetrick.)

Being able to help another passionate entrepreneur experience similar success is one of the main reasons Obadike jumped at the chance to be a part of the show. "I saw Sweat Inc. as a phenomenal opportunity to be able to mentor and helpful fulfill some young entrepreneur's dream. I love the concept of the show being a unique hybrid of fitness and business, because that's something that's never been done on TV before."

With so many passionate, energetic and determined entrepreneurs on the show, the competition is as real as it gets, and the show is sure to keep you guessing all season long. "Nothing was done for the sake of TV," notes Hetrick. "It is all the real deal, and I guarantee that it will surprise viewers over and over again." And with Jillian Michaels at the helm, we know there will be a whole lot of real talk and tough love-just what we want from our reality TV!

Set your DVR for Tuesday, October 20 at 10:00 p.m. ET to see Michaels back in action.


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