‘Shark Tank’ Contestant Sarah Apgar Spills Details on Her Experience: ‘You Have To Roll With the Punches’

Aspiring entrepreneurs on Shark Tank are usually bombarded with a myriad of questions by panelists Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary. When FitFighter founder Sarah Apgar appeared on Nov. 13 to pitch her Steelhose® fitness product, the former Army platoon leader had to navigate some choppy waters in order to get an investment.

Guest shark Daniel Lubetzky ended up biting, investing $250,000 in exchange for 25% equity of FitFighter. Apgar recently spoke to Showbiz Cheat Sheet about her life-changing experience and what potential contestants should know.

Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Daniel Lubetzky, Lori Greiner, and Kevin O'Leary of 'Shark Tank'
Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Daniel Lubetzky, Lori Greiner, and Kevin O’Leary of ‘Shark Tank’ | Eric McCandless via Getty Images

Former volunteer firefighter pitches her product on ‘Shark Tank’

After her military service, Apgar joined the Volunteer Fire Service to reclaim some of the camaraderie she experienced in the Army. During her time as a volunteer firefighter, she came up with the inspiration for FitFighter.

“I realized there’s a chasm between the fitness training we were doing and what really happens out there in the fire ground,” Apgar told Showbiz Cheat Sheet, describing how she created the Steelhose. “So I developed this prototype of this tool. And two years ago, that turned into a really big fitness training tool that could apply across just thousands of strength and conditioning and fitness training applications.”

Made from real firehose and recycled steel, the Steelhose can be used as both a semi-flexible free weight and a resistance training tool. Apgar’s product has already received attention from a wide spectrum within the fitness industry, from service trainers to the general public.

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“This is really what I consider to be a true category creation here,” she said. “I think we actually are introducing an entirely new category into the weight training and strength training universe.”

‘It’s a bludgeoning’

While few get their chance to be heard by the impressive Shark Tank panel, Apgar was ready for the challenge and prepared to think on the fly.

“I knew that those first few minutes right pitch at the beginning were what I was going to control,” the Fitfighter founder recalled. “And I knew that the rest was going to be sort of to four winds. What I’m sharing with the world and everything else was exactly as one might anticipate from watching the show. I mean, it’s a bludgeoning. You have to roll with the punches.”

Apgar was grateful for the positive energy she received from the Sharks, recalling certain aspects of each investor.

“Robert gave me a standing ovation,” she remarked. “Kevin was really focused on my business metrics. … that was very challenging for me. Mark and Robert were really focused on the kind of, entrepreneurial finding your way around… I think the quote was ‘you’re drowning in opportunity.’ Lori was very, very focused on, I think, supporting me as a woman.”

KIND founder Daniel Lubetzky is now a Fitfighter partner

Apgar’s pitch hooked KIND founder Lubetzky, who was immediately won over by the entrepreneur and her product.

“Sarah had enough energy to fill the room on the set of Shark Tank,” Lubetzky told Showbiz Cheat Sheet in an email. “On top of being immediately impressed with Sarah, I was blown away by the Steelhose.”

The admiration is clearly mutual. “[Lubetzky] is a remarkable human being,” Apgar said of the guest Shark. “I’m a very of reach for the stars, always looking at the horizon person … And I feel like he is the same way.”

Apgar admitted her emotions, coupled with the stress of the required quarantine due to coronavirus (COVID-19), caught up with her when she left the Tank.

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“I walked out the doors… I just burst into tears,” Apgar revealed. “It was the most physically and mentally exhausting experience.”

For those considering a swim with the Sharks, Apgar offered some words of wisdom to Shark Tank hopefuls.

“No amount of preparation is overkill,” she told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “I probably I practiced that pitch a thousand times, and it paid off. Being diligent with attention to detail in preparation is everything… I did the very best I could… You need to walk away feeling like that, because it’s such a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”