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'Shark Tank' to Feature Sworkit, Morgan Park Native's Fitness App

By Howard Ludwig | February 17, 2016 6:18am
 Greg Coleman graduated from Morgan Park Academy in 1991. The former Air Force pilot will be on ABC's
Greg Coleman graduated from Morgan Park Academy in 1991. The former Air Force pilot will be on ABC's "Shark Tank" at 8 p.m. Friday to pitch his fitness app, Sworkit.
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

MORGAN PARK — Morgan Park-native Greg Coleman and his Sworkit fitness app will take a swim in ABC's "Shark Tank" at 8 p.m. Friday.

Coleman, a 1991 graduate of Morgan Park Academy, will make his pitch alongside his friend and Sworkit's chief executive officer Ben Young. Coleman is the chief operating officer for the company named after an abbreviation for Simply Work It.

"The show is seen by seven million people every week," said Coleman, who can't say much about the episode until after it airs.

Sworkit is a free app that provides video instruction for exercises that can be done just about anywhere and without weights or other devices. The app is designed with busy, health-conscious people in mind.

 Greg Coleman (r.) will present his Sworkit fitness app to investors on ABC's
Greg Coleman (r.) will present his Sworkit fitness app to investors on ABC's "Shark Tank" at 8 p.m. Friday. Coleman and CEO Ben Young (l.) will provide details about the company that boasts 2.5 million users.
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Users first are asked to select the type of workout they'd prefer with strength, cardio, yoga and stretching as options. From there, they can further customize their workout to focus on a problem area or take a whole-body approach.

Users choose the duration of their workout and begin with a push of a button. The workout starts with a video demonstration for a specific exercise, such as an overhead press or a Spider-Man push-up.

These exercises are all set to a timer with short breaks in between. If you don't like the particular exercise, simply skip ahead to the next one. This feature is what has many users comparing the fitness app to popular music streaming services like Spotify or Pandora.

About 65 percent of regular users are women, Coleman said. And some of the most enthusiastic supporters are frequent travelers who appreciate the app's collection of exercises that can be performed at home, in a hotel room or elsewhere relying solely on body weight and movement, he said.

In October, Coleman spoke with DNAinfo about the app that then boasted 1.5 million monthly active users. That number has since grown to 2.5 million, he said Tuesday afternoon.

But before Coleman ever became president and chief operating officer of Nexercise Inc., the parent company of Sworkit, he was a student at the small private school at 2153 W. 111th St. in Morgan Park.

The school "taught me to embrace diversity," said Coleman, who attended Morgan Park Academy from first grade until the end of high school.

Coleman's mother, Stephanie Coleman, lives just blocks away from the school. His parents split when Greg Coleman was 3 years old, but he maintained a solid — albeit long-distance — relationship with his father, A.B. Coleman.

"I grew up in a single-parent home with my mom," said Coleman, who also spent time with his grandparents in West Pullman while his mother worked as a flight attendant for United Airlines.

He met Young while studying finance at the University of Pennsylvania's renowned Wharton School. Young was a software engineer, and he and Coleman both noticed that their busy schedules had taken a toll on their bodies.

"The notion of exercise and staying physically fit fell by the wayside," Coleman said.

This was the impetus for Nexercise, which the newbie business partners based near their homes in Rockville, Md. They were successful in making money their own app, but opted to buy Sworkit to further pursue their efforts

The business partners relaunched a completely updated version of Sworkit in 2014, and the results have been impressive. A University of Florida fitness research study in July gave Sworkit the highest score when compared to other fitness apps on the market.

The app has also evolved. Sworkit now offers a premium version which is free of advertising. A kid-friendly version of the app is also available, and some physical education teachers have begun using it in their classes.

As for "Shark Tank," Coleman said he's been a fan of the show for years and being on the set was "kind of surreal." Still, he wasn't giving any clues as to what to expect from the sharks.

"Even my mom doesn't know the outcome," he said.

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