Los Angeles, CA Howard Panes: an extremely successful entrepreneur, with a focus in Health and Fitness. Today, you can see him displaying his healthy lifestyle of working out consistently and modeling a healthy diet; homemade health shots included! But this healthy lifestyle is nothing new to Panes. Panes found his love for health and fitness during his pre-teen years. Looking up to bodybuilding icons such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, he desired to strengthen his mind, body and soul. At the age of twelve, his father bought him his first York barbell set, so he could start working out at home. He worked out consistently for about half a year at home but envisioned more for himself, leading him to ask his mother to take him to a gym. She agreed, and from there, Panes’ bodybuilding really took off. He began power lifting at a gym called Demberg’s, in New Jersey, that was about a five-mile drive from his home. Panes can still clearly remember the first time he stepped foot inside. He recalls being a young teenager, walking into a gym filled with experienced bodybuilders heavy lifting, yelling, sweating profusely, covering their hands in chalk and sniffing smelling salts. This is what made up a hardcore bodybuilding gym. He was intimated, but intimidation never made Panes back down. In fact, he ended up training at Demberg’s for YEARS, leading to his first body building show in 1986. He was a lightweight coming in at 123 pounds and placed third. Fitness became ingrained as a part of Panes’ everyday life.
As Panes finished his senior year of high school, working out was on his mind 24/7. He says, “it was like brushing your teeth in the morning. It was something I had to do. It made me feel great, gave me confidence, and helped clear my mind and set me up for a successful day. Working out is just part of my routine. You need a routine and exercise just really gets those endorphins going. It changes your mind for the whole day, in a positive way”. With that being said, one of his biggest concerns about going to college was how he was going to find the time to work out two to three hours a day.
When he was looking at potential Universities, he was also concerned about the proximity of the gyms near the Universities because they would not allow students to use the same gym as the student athletes, forcing other students to look for gyms off campus. He ended up choosing Syracuse University, an astounding University that would also allow him to continue his work outs. His number one goal then became to get a car. A car would provide him a quick and efficient way to get to the gym, more specifically Hercules Gym, in Syracuse, New York. Hercules Gym was an Olympic Training Gym, which Panes describes as “dirty, sweaty, and gritty”, just the way he liked it. While most would be timid and recoil, Panes lived for that feeling of discomfort, because it motivated him to push further.
After he graduated college, he continued his passion for health and fitness, as well as his passion for entrepreneurship and innovation. He found ways to combine all of those and experiment with different projects, discovering what could be successful in the consumer market.
He started his own personal training company, HowFit, which became a part of many people’s lives, helping them lose weight, keep motivated and find confidence. His goal with his clients was to improve their overall quality of life. His clients would dedicate six months to a year to do Panes’ “lifestyle enhancement program” and change their lives. He says his clients would, “get stronger, more flexible, lose weight, see improvements in their blood work and blood pressure, perform better at work, have more energy, and sleep better. I basically gave them the fountain of youth with my training programs!”.
While his personal training company was widely successful, competitors such as Lifetime Fitness and Equinox began to pop up within the proximity of his company, making him lose a large percentage of business. With Panes always being a few steps ahead and having the goal of making money while he sleeps, he began creating other various business ventures. One of the many being XFuel, an energy shot that was specifically targeted towards gamers. He obtained and designed a Guitar Hero gamer trailer, stocked it up with XFuel shots and traveled around the US, attracting gamers to come play, while he simultaneously advertised his XFuel shots.
Over the past three years, Panes has been building a new fitness brand called “Stealth.” Stealth combines fitness and gaming in a proprietary software platform, which turns boring exercise into a fun, motivating experience. The first Stealth product, called “Stealth Core Trainer,” was launched via a very successful Kickstarter in late 2016. The product began shipping in mid-2017 and has become a huge sensation. Stealth Core Trainer turns the boring plank exercise into a fun gamified experience. You focus so much on playing the game that you “forget” you’re working out. That’s why it’s called Stealth – sneaking fitness into your day without even thinking about it. The innovative design of Stealth Core Trainer moves in 360 degrees and is connected to your phone, so you plank while you play games. Stealth has exploded in popularity in 2020 because people are looking for at-home fitness solutions due to the coronavirus pandemic closing down gyms. There are now over 200,000 Stealth users, with a growing online community called “StealthNation.” Panes is, once again, in the process of building another Billion Dollar Brand!
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