Interview: Marc Lebert of Lebert Fitness
Lebert Fitness is world leader in innovative high performance work out tools, starting with the signature bright yellow (and now Pink and Lime Green) EQUALIZER™ we continue to develop and launch tools that are versatile and effective and loved by trainers, clubs, schools, military and homes exercises the world over. In more than 30 countries, industry recognized education and new programming, Lebert Fitness continues to expand and have fun doing it!
How I met Marc:
I met Marc in August 2011 through a mutual friend in the fitness industry and have to say that he is such an inspirational person. He is not only a genuine and incredible man, but is a role model in following your passions and making your dreams come true. Marc has created a variety of functional and mobile fitness equipment that I just can’t live without, I wanted to find out a little more about the man behind Lebert Fitness and how it all came to be.
Questions for Marc:
What is your athletic background?
I grew up like most Canadian boys playing hockey which I still enjoy today (although took an 18 year hiatus!) and soccer. I remember dribbling the soccer ball around the trees on our farm from right after dinner until the sun went down. At 16 I made the 18 and over rep team and played many years there winning two Championships. My passion for weight training began at college where I first stepped foot in the weight room and have been working out religiously ever since! I also became very enthused about Taekwondo a few years later, earning my Black Belt, fighting competitively on a National Level and instructing. I was also the Strength and Conditioning coach for Billy “The Kid” Irwin, and began learning the “sweet science”. Boxing is something I love to do, want to pursue further and I love teaching high energy, dynamic classes every week. This was fun to write- so many great memories!
What motivated you to design your own fitness equipment?
During classes and my PT sessions I realized the need for a body weight pull-up tool. One of my clients wanted to do pull-ups but was not strong enough. She did not want the expense or space for a lat pull-down machine so I got my thinking cap on. I built a prototype with a friend (brought him some beers!) and started to play with that. It was heavy and unattractive to say the least but after many months were spent practicing exercises on the bars and building different configurations we came to the signature two bright yellow steel “EQ “ bars you see today. My client can now do 35 perfect form vertical rows and I spot her for 15 more (with a goal for 50) and although it is a different line of pull it is the same muscle groups and she can now do 3-5 pull-ups safely and I spot her for a few more.
The BUDDY SYSTEM™ was not born out of a need so much but out of some workouts I have been doing since University. My workout partner and I would always finish our back days (rows, pull-ups, etc) with towel pulls. We would do 100 reps each side resisting for our partner and getting it right back. This constant tension (concentric and eccentric) made for a great pump and also hit the forearms really good. And of course we are working to help and compete against each other. Brings up the intensity! I started doing these types of workouts in my classes but towels get dirty and I wanted a tool with handles and of course our very unique sawing motion! People may think for a minute this is a suspension trainer until they get a workout pulling against a friend or sawing (uni-lateral rowing) or resisted running- they soon find out this tool is all new and offers wicked sets of muscle endurance!
The STRETCH STRAP was born out of a need. As I watched my class participants try to reach for their toes with bent backs and externally rotated hips (especially the ex jocks) I realized I needed a simple tool to help facilitate that, that is also functional (figure eight design) and easy to use (comfortable handle so you can relax and focus on the stretch).
Can you explain a little about the functionality and benefits of the Equalizer Bars and Buddy Systems?
Its funny because I sometimes hear; “That is so simple I should have thought of that”. Even fitness publication like Club Business International write; “It’s simplicity belies it’s sophistication.” It’s not that I wanted to create a new fitness tool to be an inventor or make $, like all inventions they are born out of a need. I needed a tool for my client and also found it suited a need for the group X and bootcamps I was teaching. From there the benefits and functionality really grew! I saw that it was perfect for pull-ups or vertical rows but also made great dip bars, incline pushups and more. But because we made the bars separate you can lay them down for agility drills, single bar pushups and pull-ups, tricep extensions and stretching. The number of exercises, the smooth transition between them, and programming ideas are endless! The benefits of the EQ for me is the fact that I can bring the tried and true basic compound strength moves into any session or class. All of us trainers know the benefits of being stronger and how it relates to metabolism, etc. so it is key to get our clients, classes and camps doing and getting good at the basics. The EQ allows for many progressions and regressions on these exercises and makes people feel successful and get stronger. I remember looking around the aerobics room on many occasions trying to find something to work the back effectively. Even rank beginners found the 5lb dumbbells too easy. Now we can just grab the EQs!
I have eluded to the functionality of the BUDDY SYSTEM™ a little bit above with the many ways to incorporate it; uni-lateral rowing, pressing, cross bow and more, many bi-lateral rowing and rotation exercises that are extremely effective and of course resisted running and stretching. The benefits are no set-up time, no anchors, exercises geared towards thoracic mobility, quick learning curve and two people working together! At trade show sessions we have so many trainers within minutes of being on the BUDDY SYST EM™ ask how much?! They can instantly see the benefits this tool will have for their clients and business.
What do you love most about fitness?
Omg where do I start? How it makes me feel after a tough set. How it has shaped my life. The experiences I have had (good and bad and how I have learned from them) and the great friends I have made along the way. Now I love teaching and presenting the most- showing people our awesome tools around the world and in my classes at Fitness NATION, showing people how awesome they are, working with them through the tough times and sessions and celebrating their successes!
What keeps you motivated?
Same as above but also my family, my business partners, our team and my dream. I knew many years ago that the EQ bars would be in every gym around the world – I believe they are that useful. I stuck to that belief through many tough times and now we are starting to see it happen. I am motivated to see that through and of course our other products and new ones the market hasn’t seen yet!
What are some of your best training tips for beginners?
Wow I have so many! Been around the block so lots of things I could say but lets keep it simple. Stick to the basic moves and get strong with them- with perfect form (form trumps ego). For example- when beginning to learn squats- if you can’t do 10 reps with the weight you have on your back- it is too heavy! Do your anaerobic conditioning- it will save you hours on the cardio machines (ugh) and get you better conditioned. And for beginners this is a tough quote to hear but “Infinite patience brings immediate results”. in other words it`s great to visualize and see the results you want (and they will happen) but its also important to enjoy the process. Early on I was so focused on getting somewhere that I forgot to take in and savour the feeling of each workout.
If someone wants to get more information about Lebert Fitness where can they find you?
- Website: LebertFitness.com
- Twitter: twitter.com/LebertFitness
- Facebook: facebook.com/lebertfitness
- Youtube: youtube.com/user/mlebert