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By Jeanne Lesinski

First there was P90X, and then came Insanity. These home fitness workout DVDs are all the rage. P90X alone has generated over $420 million in only five years. Even in a bad economy, the fitness industry, and the home fitness industry in particular, has shown no signs of slowing down.

Matt Jarecki, owner of local gym Survival Fitness (2060 Weineke, Saginaw), has a plan to put his own exercise system on the map. Jarecki intends to release a 12 DVD home fitness program that comes complete with a workout calendar, Survival Blueprint (nutritional guide), exercise logs, and free email support. The program will be released via nationwide infomercial in early May 2011. The production of the 12 exercise DVDs and the 28:30 infomercial is set to begin shooting at Survival Fitness on February 7th.

Jarecki will use presentation and marketing strategies similar to those used by the makers of Insanity and P90X, but that's where the similarities end. He points out that while Insanity provides a cardiovascular workout, P90X is rather the opposite, with a high weight training component. Unlike the others, Jarecki's Survival Fitness program, developed over 5 years at Survival Fitness, is performance based. "While other gyms are aesthetic based, we're interested in what can our body do. Everything is about performing better." He provides a high-intensity, functional training program of full-body workouts. Other programs, like the P90X, break down the training sessions and focus on various parts of the body (as in bodybuilder training), whereas Jarecki offers full-body circuit training that combines weight training with cardiovascular fitness. "The side effect of training for performance is that your body is going to look better from an aesthetic point of view."

As always, the human factor is important. At Survival Fitness people look forward to the group camaraderie and support each other's efforts. "I have to encourage the user to believe in the program. When I do that in the gym setting, I create a group of people who are very passionate about the program," says Jarecki, "and I'll continue that in the videos." How exactly will the motivation of having a personal trainer in the same room translate onto film? "In a video it's hard to have the same level of individual encouragement that takes place in the gym. But I'll try to drive home the principles of what we're doing—hard work pays off—throughout the program." As an afterthought, he adds, "A few things in the video won't be the same as in the the gym (like using giant tires, sledgehammers and sandbags), but there are many ways to use pull-up bars, dumbells, hand weights in your living room."

One aspect of the program is the nutritional guide based on the paleo diet. "It's the diet that was used by our hunter-gatherer ancestors," Jarecki explains. "It focuses on eating lean meats and fish, fruits, nuts, and non-starchy vegetables." A quick look at the before and after photos from Survival Fitness members demonstrate how this performance-based training has transformed participants' bodies—and that's only what's visible on the surface. Watching that same person wield a sledgehammer or work with a partner to flip a tractor tire is eye-opening.  

Perhaps the most unique angle to this story is how Jarecki and his team plan to fund the project. "We plan to use an increasingly popular method called crowd sourcing," says Jarecki. The idea behind crowd sourcing is to have many people contribute by buying really low-priced shares of stock. According to Jarecki, "We plan to sell 15,000 shares of stock for only $10 per share; buyers can purchase as little as one share and as many as there are available."

Jarecki says that owners of each share will receive quarterly dividends relative to the profits of the company. The entire 15,000 shares will be worth 30% of the whole company. "We have big plans that go way beyond just the DVD; we plan to take full advantage of the name recognition and branding that will result from all of the national exposure."

In fact, Jarecki says that they have already started working on getting accreditation to offer a Survival Fit training certification that can be sold to other trainers, along with selling affiliations, supplements, apparel, exercise equipment, and much more. "This idea goes way beyond what others have done in the past; I truly think the potential of this enterprise, especially given our industry, can generate several hundred million dollars."

Beyond the potential of personal gain for investors, Jarecki sees a much larger and greater impact resulting from the success of this project. "It’s all about Saginaw. This area has been hit as hard as any by recent economic conditions. I can guarantee you that every job this project creates will be held by a resident of Saginaw." Not only will the jobs created by the project be held by Saginaw residents, but if Jarecki is right, and the project is successful, much of money that will come in to the area will likely be spent in all areas of the local economy.

Jarecki closes with this message to potential investors, "I think it’s important to realize that we have to help ourselves and support one another in order to get back on our collective feet; I have no doubt about the soundness of our plan, and the professionals on our team. The only thing we need to make this dream a reality is a little bit of starting capital. I know the economy is bad, but for $10 you can have a piece of this dream, and help make it a reality."

To pre-order the Survival Fitness Home Fitness package, visit www.facebook.com/SurvivalFitness; those who pre-order will receive the entire system for only $69.99. The retail price is $119.99. Interested investors can visit the Survival Fitness fan page on facebook go to www.facebook.com/SurvivalFitness. From there, they can click on the "Shop Now" tab and purchase as many shares for $10 as they like. Additionally, you may call Matt directly at 989-284-6117 to schedule a meeting with him to discuss investing on a larger scale or to hear more details on the plan.

[Editor's note: As with any investment opportunity, it's important to consider all the risks involved.]

© Jeanne Lesinski, 2011