Fitness Marketing – Marc Lebert Interview Part 1

Posted on 25. Jan, 2010 by in Marketing Fitness


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Kaiser Serajuddin: Hey, what’s up? This is Kaiser. You’re listening to me on Super-Trainer and today I’ve got a pretty crazy guest. He’s one of the most prolific people in the whole fitness industry and he’s probably best-known for the Lebert Equalizer so this is the man behind the machine. It’s Marc Lebert. What’s up, Marc?

Marc Lebert: Hey, Kaiser. How are you doing?

Kaiser Serajuddin: Good, man. A lot of people talk about info products and staying busy and producing in the fitness industry but you’re one of the guys that’s really about it and …

Marc Lebert: Thanks, man. Yeah.

Kaiser Serajuddin: I mean it’s obvious with the Equalizer and you have a new thing out, the Buddy System. So how do you manage to stay so busy?

Marc Lebert: Well, it’s a bit of a balancing act because a few years ago, I made a conscious decision to stop doing a few things and giving up a few good things for some great things and not an easy decision because I gave up competing in Taekwondo and I gave up training a lot of clients that I really enjoyed hanging out with and training and having an income from it but it takes a bit of – I will tell you straight up, it takes a bit of – can I say balls?

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you can say balls.

Marc Lebert: It takes some balls to stop having an income and taking pretty much everything you own and putting it on the line and just go ahead and do it. Fortunately for me, I’ve always been built that way so it’s not that big a deal but I talked with a trainer the other day. He’s a schoolteacher and he stopped training or stopped teaching just to get in the training business and he goes, “You know, Marc, I haven’t been able to have an income for six months.” And I was like, “Well, it took seven years for me but that’s OK,” and we just set out a plan for him for six months down the road. How many clients he’s going to have, what his income is going to be, just set some goals and aim towards them and it takes a bit of faith but – sorry. I’m rambling on there, Kaiser.

Kaiser Serajuddin: No, no, no. You’re absolutely right. I mean that’s basically the whole focus of my blog that at a certain point, you just have to make that decision that I’m going to break what I was doing before to move on to maybe something better that works for me and yeah, it happens at any point in your career not only for beginners but for a more advanced guy like you too, right?

Marc Lebert: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. The personal training side I’ve been through a long time but the whole launching a new product was kind of new for me and quite a learning curve and I’ve picked up a lot of – I have a business partner who has a background in business and so I’ve learned a lot from him and I wouldn’t have – looking back, I would not have not done it. I just love it. I’m learning everyday so much, meeting great people like yourself. I mean what could be better?

Kaiser Serajuddin: Thanks a lot. Yeah. So we’re going to talk about the Buddy System but the first thing, like I said, the thing you’re probably best known for is the Equalizer and just right off, just looking at it, it seems just like a very intuitive piece of equipment, very basic and simple. I’ve told you before I wish I invented it. So how did the whole thing come about? And yeah, it has just blown up to an amazing level. So can you just talk about kind of the origin, the history of the device and …

Marc Lebert: Yeah, sure. It’s really quite simple. I had a home client and she wanted to be able to do chin-ups and her body weight to strength ratio, a chin-up behind the door just wasn’t going to cut it. For most people, it’s kind of a nice tool to have but probably not a good starting point.

So I thought, instead of purchasing a big lat pull down machine for her – she had limited space. What can I do? So I just hooked up with a buddy on the weekend who can weld and he got some steel and he started bending and welding and of course I bought him a few beers after and came up with some funky, unique designs. I had all kinds of different stuff. So I brought that and started testing it out with her and once we started being able to do some – like the [0:04:22] [Indiscernible] pulls-ups or like a vertical rope, I thought, “Geez, this would be great for this and this would be good for this and that and the other thing,” and it’s kind of [Indiscernible] or something anyway.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yeah. And I think this has blown up. It’s like that whole tipping point kind of thing that anytime I turn the TV on, I see it. I saw Nate Robinson using it in a Knicks commercial.

Marc Lebert: Oh, cool. I saw that too.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yeah. You saw that? Yeah.

Marc Lebert: Yeah.

Kaiser Serajuddin: And obviously the Kim Kardashian show. They showed it for about 10 seconds in her still shot there. Did you have to pay for that?

Marc Lebert: No. Kim Kardashian’s trainer Cathy Taylor loved the product and she has promoted it on her website and stuff and she actually let me know that it was going to be on. So it was kind of cool.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yeah. Did you think this thing was going to blow up like this? I mean it has almost become like a ubiquitous – like a must-have in any gym or training situation. I mean a lot of the trainers I talk to or in-home trainers, everyone has one. I mean is this what you had planned?

Marc Lebert: You know what? I always thought it would and the only reason I kind of thought that it would is being a trainer with a strength training background, I like all the basic compound moves. I’ve always liked dips and pushups and pull-ups and I think most trainers understand the benefit of that and they want to be able to have their clients do that and so all we did was just make it a bit more portable so it kind of works.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. Now the new thing you have again is also – I guess this is kind of a trend with you is another really intuitive piece of equipment, highly useful but it’s something you’ve added your own little twist to it. It’s the Buddy System. Now can you talk about that a little bit?

Marc Lebert: Yeah. The Buddy System again, yeah, it just came from the idea of working with gravity, working with a partner, a simple [0:06:23] [Indiscernible] in university. I was telling you earlier I just kind of – after chin-ups, me and my partner would get a towel and we just pull against each other so the muscle is working to the full range of motion. I got to stabilize and use my core. My cardio goes up and the one thing I really notice we used to do with towel work was there’s no break concentrically and eccentrically. The muscles are always working. I’m pulling against him and then I have to resist for him. So it was one of the hardest things we used to do and I thought, “Well, I want to start doing more towel work but I want to make it something that is going to last, that is going to have more than just those functions.”

So that’s when we came up with like a metal ring that it kind of just smoothly glides through the ring. It’s a real simple design and now we can do unilateral motions. So the idea is instead of pulling with [0:07:18] [Indiscernible] at a time so I’m kind of adjusting the tension myself. I’m working against myself kind of.

Yeah. So we started playing around with that design and then instantly found out that there’s a million ways to use this and so yeah, we just kept the prototype going until we came up with something that’s bulletproof and strong and something that’s going to last and at the same time, give us a ton of different exercise options.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yeah. It looks really good not only from, I guess, a trainee’s perspective. I mean not only from a perspective of someone looking to work out themselves but from the trainer’s perspective, it looks like a really highly valuable piece of equipment.

Marc Lebert: Yeah, yeah, yeah. When we were chatting earlier, I think you hit the nail right on the head. It gives the trainer a real connection with their client because you’re engaged in the workout. I’m not standing there counting reps. I’m actually holding on to the product while they’re working and then the other part of it, the communication starts to come up and a lot of group training sessions are going on now. So now I can have two clients paired up together working with each other and coach with his athletes, those types of things.

So I think really what we’re trying to do here is change the way people are looking at fitness. This is something that we could get involved with together, partners and tandem training. I really think that’s where we’re going with this product.

Kaiser Serajuddin: Yeah. And just kind of on a side note, I totally agree with you on that, that this whole idea of getting fit on your own or hanging out in your house with a Bowflex and thinking you’re going to get in tiptop shape, I don’t know if any of you just – research has been done on that but that just doesn’t happen. You need to have some sort of social or – I mean some accountability.

Marc Lebert: Yeah.

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