By Steve Winter at 2018 CES show in Las Vegas

From the weekend warrior to the elite athlete, active individuals are in constant pursuit of that ever-so-slight edge in performance.

Exercise, nutrition, proper sleep and science-driven strength and conditioning are all part of an athlete’s regular routine regardless of whether the individual is an Olympic triathlete or a beer league softball player.

Hydration, of course, is an enormous part of that equation, and after three years of research and development, one local company plans to release a product this summer designed to make the ingestion of water-based vitamins, minerals and supplements the “new normal” for anybody who strives to perform at his or her highest levels.

“Every great idea begins with a problem and ours began with a struggle to get what our bodies wanted,” said Jonathon Perrelli, CEO and co-founder of Reston-based LifeFuels. “In response, we developed a personal portable beverage maker designed to give our bodies what they need through great-tasting, personalized functional beverages, without compromising our lifestyles,”

Winner of 12 innovation and corporate awards since they first launched the concept two years ago – including an Innovation Award in the Sports, Fitness and Biotech category presented here at CES 2018 – LifeFuels bridges a critical gap between nutrition and wearable technology. While the product is essentially a sports bottle, virtually nothing associated with LifeFuels could be considered ordinary. The product consists of a removable plastic vessel which holds 16.9 ounces (500 ml) of liquid; a durable, anodized aluminum base and dispensing system; and a LifeFuels app that connects to the bottle via Bluetooth, allowing users to track their daily requirements along with the nutrients they are consuming throughout the day. It can even automatically order new fuel pods when the user runs out.

The usage range of the product is considerable as well, Perrelli said.

“The bottle holds up to three fuel pods, each of which can contain up to 15 servings so you are essentially walking around with up to 45 functional flavored beverages in your hand,” he said. “And our companion app works in conjunction with the Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin and other products that basically closes the loop on fitness; allowing you to track not only output but also input.”

The process is simple – fill the bottle with filtered water, insert the pods, press a few buttons, give a little shake and it’s good to go. And with LifeFuels now in its final stages of testing, delivery is most definitely on target for summer. “Right now we’re testing with Olympic, national and regional athletes, working through some of the best trainers in the world, and we’ll continue that testing in order to ensure that when consumers buy these products off the shelves or off our site they will have been thoroughly tested for months.”

How is he so confident about the nature of his product? “I’ve served as my company’s own personal test market all throughout the process,” he said. “In the morning when I wake up, I take a ‘daily wellness,’ so in that sense, it’s a vitamin product. After lunch, it’s energy. For pre- workout and post-workout, we have a daily greens that are absolutely delicious; so much so that my kids even drink that one.”

When it finally hits the market, LifeFuels will be priced at $149 which includes three welcome pack pods. Thereafter, the pods will cost between $5 and $10 each.

““We’re presently working with a premium retail partner through which our product will be marketed and it is a brand that will be instantly recognizable,” he said.  “We are also partnering with a beverage company, the name of which I can’t disclose, but it is a company that’s been making beverages for nearly 200 years, so we’re really excited about coming to market this year.”

Ultimately, Perelli expects LifeFuel to make its mark across three genres. “We’re actually a beverage company that’s disrupting the beverage industry, we’re a hardware company that’s disrupting the water bottle industry; and we’re also a software company that’s ironically the easiest part of this,” he said.

By Steve Winter, president of Brotman|Winter|Fried, a Sage Communications Company

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