Connor Pogue is a graduate of Texas A&M University and a fervent believer in giving back to his community. Connor mentors students and constantly engages with people to help them reach their fitness and personal goals. In his free time, he enjoys running, cycling, scuba diving, fishing, and spending time with family. "One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He said, 'Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'what are you doing for others."' The Exosphere Gym is our way to bring fitness to people, so they can live healthier lives no matter their hectic schedule or other commitments. This isn't a gym you put in your home. This is a gym made for your home."
Dr. Pogue is a husband, father of two boys, and has a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Texas Medical Branch. Dr. Pogue has worked with people of all fitness levels from elite athletics to skilled nursing facilities. He enjoys all types of fitness, educating people about healthy habits, fishing, spending time with family, and helping people find their new limit. "Exosphere Fitness is about helping people. We bring the benefits of the gym into people's homes, so they can live their life on their schedule. We help people find their new limit."
The Exosphere Story
One evening in the dim hours of the night with a crying infant in hand, the brothers sat on the sofa talking about what they could do to find direction in their lives. What could they do to change the world? Then, an infomercial for a fitness device came on the television. In unison, the brothers looked at each other and said, “We can make something better than that!” Thus, a structured brainstorming session ensued around creating a fitness device to change the way people think about home gym equipment. The brothers wanted to create something to help people reach their fitness goals no matter their free time or other commitments. Within a couple hours or thinking, researching, and sketching, the original design for The Exosphere Gym had been created.
Soon, with the help of a family member, the first prototype was created. It was ugly, heavy, and made of steel and wood. However, it sparked a drive within the Pogue brothers. Not long after, a second prototype was constructed. While it took 2 more years to finalize The Exosphere Gym, the result was something that was going to change the fitness industry. Three years, a few prototypes, a lot of bumps and bruises, and 1000's of conversations later, Exosphere Fitness was ready to launch to the world.
Figure 1. Original concept drawings of The Exosphere Gym.
Figure 2. The first prototype.
Figure 3. The Second Prototype
Figure 4. The Final Prototype
Why is it called Exosphere Fitness?
The "Exosphere" part of the name comes from our original mission. We wanted to help people push their limits and reach their personal fitness goals. The exosphere is the outermost layer of the atmosphere--the true limit of the atmosphere. Thus, Exosphere Fitness is about helping people find their true limit in fitness.
What infomercial did you two see that evening when you came up with the idea?
People ask this question a lot. Sorry, but we are not ready to tell. Maybe one day we will have a "tell all" and explain. We will say this though, the device that we saw on TV that evening is something that has been very successful in terms of sales. When we thought we could make something better, we mean that we could create a device that was more effective for training in confined spaces such as homes, apartments, and places of work.
What was the most difficult part of your journey?
In short...all of it. However, the most difficult lesson we have learned is the need for patience. The waiting game is painful, especially when you are waiting for someone else. For instance, waiting for samples from a manufacturer in another country can sometimes take weeks, and if it is wrong, it will take another couple weeks to get in the correct part. Then, boom, you just wasted a month waiting for something. This happened to us at several stages. The sometimes painful truth is that patience is a very important part of entrepreneurship.
Where do you want Exosphere to go next?
Everywhere. The simplicity of the design, ease of use, and adjustability provides so many people with the ability to do resistance training where it was previously impossible. We want to help everyone workout when and where they want to.
What was the most fun part of launching Exosphere Fitness?
The most fun we had was each time we touched the next prototype for the first time. The first prototype was ugly, but it actually worked to our surprise. The second prototype told us that we were onto something big. It just felt right. By the time we completed the design and were ready to manufacture, our excitement was overflowing. We were back to being two little boys getting a new toy. Our excitement was something close to that Christmas as kids when our parents got us a Super Nintendo--the one that came with Donkey Kong Country. We were so excited and just about broke our controllers because we played that game so much. The same was true with The Exosphere Gym. It is a wonder that neither of us ever used an Exosphere Gym as a bed because we were so excited. It is cute when a kid gets a toy and falls asleep with it. It is way less cute to think about grown men so excited to have a new piece of exercise equipment doing the same thing. Nonetheless, that paints a pretty good picture of our excitement for you.
Do you use The Exosphere Gym?
Yes! Of course we use our creation. It makes our lives easier because we can effectively workout from home. This company was in part created out of a one bedroom apartment. Just like our users, space and time are huge factors in are fitness regimens. And, Brian has two kids, so the safety of The Exosphere Gym when stored compared to traditional home gyms is a huge factor as well.