ROCHESTER, MI (WXYZ) — A Rochester man is taking his mobile gym idea to ABC's Shark Tank!
Nezar Akeel will be featured on the reality show's 13th season, pitching his innovative fitness product MAXPRO.
The former automotive engineer worked on the device for five years developing a unique dial that gives users of the portable cable fitness machine up to 300-pounds of resistance.
"We have now over 12-thousand customers worldwide," Akeel said.
According to Akeel, MAXPRO has been sold in 56 countries, and the company has made over $12 million in sales in just the first year.
In January 2020, his fitness machine won the Computer Electronic Show’s "Best of Innovation" award in the Health and Fitness category.
“With the pandemic, gyms shut down. People really were trying to get their hands on anything linked to fitness at home," he said. "It did boost our business definitely for the year that we launched.”
Just last week, MAXPRO's new app rolled out with a host of training classes and real-time performance data tracking.
And his latest product coming out next year? An incline-decline bench that also turns into a rowing machine.
“When did you decide, 'Hey, let’s go for Shark tank," WXYZ Morning Anchor and Reporter Alicia Smith asked.
"Well, the funny thing is I actually applied a few months prior before they contacted me and never heard anything," Akeel said. "All of a sudden they called me. I said, ‘Oh, you contacted me because of my application?' They said, 'No, we found you online.' And I’m like, ‘Oh, even better!'"
It was a six-month process and Akeel said he never knew if he would actually be on the show—even days before—with rigorous COVID protocols.
“They tested you at least four times within three days," he said.
And then he got the green light.
When he walked through the double doors, he was nervous.
"Oh, first of all, your heart is racing a thousand beats a minute. And there was just like, I had to do breathing exercises to calm down a bit," he said.
He memorized his message, prepped for the Q&A, knowing this is his shot before the sharks.
“I was trying to go through in my mind, ‘Don’t forget your pitch. You’re going to get this.’ And then of course you have to have energy. You have to be enthusiastic. So all of those things have to come together for a good pitch,” Akeel said.
Akeel's episode of Shark Tank will air Friday night December 17, 2021 at 8 p.m. right here on ABC.
He says he's having a watch party with his family and friends, because—of course—they don’t even know what’s going to happen.