Sport

J'can innovators say cutting-edge Power Suit a hit with athletes

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 15, 2014    

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IN virtually any field one can think of around the globe, a Jamaican has put a hand or even a foot into some innovation, pioneering movement or conquest.

Kingston-based Orville Irons and Lebert Veira, who hails from Trelawny, are two such Jamaicans. They are joint owners of the Power Suit training system, designed for amateur and professional athletes.

The Power Suit is a body form-fitting outfit, consisting of a vest and a pair of shorts, that offers weight resistance for exercise purposes. It is available to both male and female consumers. Sizes are offered from small through to triple extra large.

To vary resistance, small increments of weights can be added or removed by the user via inner pockets. The weight bars are 4.8 ounces each. When fully suited, the weight resistance can rise to 30 lb.

After a few years of research and development, aided by testimonials from renowned professional athletes, trainers and doctors, the Power Suit innovators are ready to intensify their marketing drive.

Irons is in charge of operations in the Caribbean and sections of Latin America, while Veira runs the North America market.

Irons gave a rundown of how the suit works and explained the unique composition of the material used in the outfit.

"It comes in two parts; a vest and a shorts. The vest can consist of up to 20 lb of weights, while the shorts is comprised of up to 10 lb," he told the Jamaica Observer.

"It increases endurance, which increases performance. It's simple, you add weight to the human skeletal frame and do it in small increments until you reach your maximum and you remove the weight and the body will perform much quicker, much lighter and you'll have more endurance. Our marketing campaign will be ramping up this year in terms of sale."

Irons continued: "The fabric is a patent owned by our company and is called stomatex or second skin. What the fabric does is to take in oxygen and excrete sweat through the tiny pores on the fabric. It allows the athlete or the end user to utilise the suit in strength-training processes, whether it be a land sport, an ice sport or water sport. The suit can be used for every sport on the face of the planet. It's almost like a walking gym that fits you like a second skin."

He declared that track athletes have been heavy users of the Power Suit.

"The suit has gone over four or five years where we were doing some research and development with a variety of athletes worldwide.

"(Jamaican sprinters) Yohan Blake, Warren Weir and Dexter Lee are people who are utilising the product in their training regimen. So are (former heavyweight boxing champion) Lennox Lewis, (2014 Contender Series boxing winner) Sakima Mullings, Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team, the Montreal Canadians hockey team, UFC fighters, collegiate sports for football and basketball, just to name a few.

He said sports training is the obvious target, but argued that the exercising product can be used in areas of medical therapy.

"Even though sport is the lowest hanging fruit, the suit has numerous medical applications. From osteoporosis prevention to accident rehabilitation, to the reduction of heart seizures in autistic children," Irons said.

He said the concept came from outfits basketball players wore in North America decades ago. With tweaking of the design and improving the rigidity and durability of the material used, Irons and Veira found a sweet spot.

"The idea came from the canvas vest worn by basketballers in the late 80s and early 90s in Canada. Those canvas vests with lead weights in them would bounce all over the place."

Neoprene material was then used to better hold the weights, but Irons said it was realised that the fabric "would eventually stretch out of form" which led to the introduction of the durable stomatex, which was later trademarked.

Pointing to its flexibility and multi-purpose functionality, the Power Suit co-owner said it can be worn beneath regular clothing.

"For ones just wanting to lose weight they can wear it under their clothes, to work or wherever they go. People in North America wear it under their business suits. Even in warm climates it maintains optimum body temperature because of the fabric, so you don't overheat in it."

Irons said he wants to crack the cricket sport market, and singled out West Indies star batsman Christopher Gayle as someone fit to provide a testimonial on the Power Suit.

"I would want to see Chris Gayle in it. He is one of my favourite athletes. We haven't got to the cricket market as yet and who better to lead that than Chris Gayle?"

In a passionate call, Irons said local and overseas investors are welcome as he and his business partner look to broaden their reach. He said the objective is to utilise Jamaica's reputation of producing high-quality athletes.

"We are seeking local investors to come on board and strengthen this product as a Jamaican-owned product and it's one-of-a-kind in the world. We want to actually promote the product to take it to the next level. We want this product to conquer the Olympic Games.

"And people here should support brand Jamaica because we invented the power suit and we are creating opportunities for athletes to increase their performance. We want to have the entire country rally around what we are doing because whatever we are doing is going to benefit Jamaica, whether socially, politically or economically."

Irons said they are also "attempting to get a co-branding deal" with a popular sports apparel giant and hope to benefit from that brand's "distribution channels to get the product to a wider marketplace".

The entrepreneur said each piece of the Power Suits costs Canadian $169.99, which is a total of $339.98 if a user buys both vest and shorts. There is a size chart available on the website, www.thepowersuit.com.

Jamaican sprinter Dexter Lee sports the Power Suit training system.

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