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Can text messages really motivate you to get off the couch and into the gym? The fitness buffs behind Poosh, a new motivational SMS startup launching today, think they can.

People who sign up for the free service will receive one to three fitness-oriented motivational text messages on their phone every day. The messages are customized based on which of the six fitness categories you choose. Categories include Women’s Weight Loss, Men’s General Health and In Your Face, for people who need more of a push than a nudge. The company says the mixture of fitness facts and encouraging words written by “elite athletes” will help keep subscribers on track with their workouts.

Poosh, which debuted today at the Demo Fall 2011 conference in Silicon Valley, is free for subscribers but the company will make money by sending one ad message to its user base each day. The text ads will be clearly marked and only sold to health- and wellness-related companies in order to keep the messages relevant to Poosh subscribers.

“I founded Poosh when I realized that motivation does not last and you need it every day to sustain progress toward a healthy lifestyle (or any other goal) for a long period of time,” Poosh’s founder Milos Citakovic told VentureBeat.

Citakovic, who started the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based company in May 2011,  shared a couple sample text messages:

The Average American gains weight from calorie-laden office lunches, don’t be average!

Used to yoga, try weight training, used to weight training, try Pilates, used to bootcamps, try one-on-one training…shock your body!

Poosh currently has four employees and Citakovic has invested $100,000 in the company. While there are no direct competitors, the company is similar to Voxia‘s smoking cessation program, which is also based on text messages.

Poosh is one of 80 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Fall 2011 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After our selection, the companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.

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