Perry Lieber Professional Fitness and Health Entrepreneur with more than sixteen years of experience in all business development processes for health and wellness businesses. Located in Santa Barbara, California, Perry is extremely organized and efficient with experience in management, operations, and team development. He is passionate about giving his consistent, maximum effort. Perry is detail oriented, hardworking, and a fast learner. “Sweat every day” is Perry Lieber’s motto. Perry’s love of sports and fitness and his refusal to quit make him a perfect fit for his career in personal training and wrote a book called Workout and Grow Rich.
Perry is the President of “Foundwellness: The Workplace Workout” and a member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine. In 2012, he opened an elite training facility called “The Workplace”. Perry received his Bachelor’s in English and a Minor in Sports Science and Nutrition from the University of California, Santa Barbara during which time he completed his first Ironman competition. He continues to compete in everything from paddle boarding, running, and cycling events. Today, corporate clients join in these events as Perry helps set goals and establish milestones so that participation is fun, competitive, and healthy. Perry believes that charity events and walks are a great way to bring people together for a great cause.
Perry Lieber and Foundwellness bring more than 10 years of personal training expertise with some of America’s top 1%. He’s worked with celebrity clients, professional athletes, and powerful executives. Each of these clients have their own story of what it takes to be successful. It is through these relationships that Perry’s vision for Foundwellness took shape: taking the commonalities that we all face and creating programs that promote a sustainable lifestyle that allows us to reach our dreams and success.
Perry believes that being excellent at your job and putting in long hours, regardless of what you do, should not have to be a sacrifice of your health and wellbeing. Through engaging programs employees are motivated to prioritize healthy choices. It’s good for business. Everyone can win.
Where did the idea for Foundwellness come from?
I had a client that was doing one-on-one training with me who loved the benefits of what we were doing so much that he asked me to come to his company and provide training for all of his people. It was a super small company then, only 30 people at the time. That was the start I needed to create Foundwellness. That client’s company grew to over 1,200 people, and it’s a fully publicly traded company now. As that company grew, we continued to provide training to their employees, and so my company Foundwellness grew as well. It was a real time of growth for us and development of our wellness protocols that we now recommend. We learned how to help people with back pain and the neck pain they get around their shoulders from sitting at their desk all day. Subsequently, I created a whole certification process for that protocol to train other trainers so they can train remotely or in other states as well.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m a big fan of routine. Whether I want to or not, I try to always wake up at 4:30 to 5:00 in the morning. That’s just a goal. It doesn’t always happen, but that’s what I try to do. The first thing I do is drink a big glass of water, have some coffee, and then I’ll either meditate or read for the first 10 to 15 minutes of the morning. It helps me set my intentions and realize how grateful I am for the life that I am living. If I can, depending on the needs of my kids, I want to do something active before the day gets out of hand, because it’ll get lost in the day if I can’t. Then I do kid drop-offs. With COVID and with my working, we have to work together to get the kids to school. Sometimes we are also doing Zoom school too, which is brutal.
For my training with clients, I work with individuals throughout the day, either through Zoom or at their house. The gyms are all closed right now so it’s not feasible to use them. My clients don’t just sign up to do personal training. I like for my services to be all inclusive. I don’t sell things or talk people into different packages. I always tell people, “You’re either going to drink the Perry Kool-Aid or you’re not.” That being said, nutrition is a huge part. Whether it’s keto or low-carb or intermittent fasting, which is big again, the key is to try to eat as much whole foods as possible, real food, not processed. We can work with whatever we’re dealing with. We make something that works for whoever we’re dealing with and their schedule.
We try to have a family dinner each night and we always talk about what we are thankful for that day. Then we read to the kids before bed.
How do you bring ideas to life?
As an entrepreneur, I’m always an ideas guy. The only thing that stops somebody from doing something is their own brain. If you want to do something, whether it’s a silly idea or a big idea like starting a business, or maybe you want to make a sports team, whatever that idea is you have to start by putting one foot forward. The worst thing that can happen is you fail. But when you fail, you’re learning. The more you fail, the more you learn. That’s when you become an expert. I think people have to just put themselves out there a little bit more. If they have an idea, just go for it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Anything trends that are related to youth really have me interested. I have two kids that are 6 and 4 right now, and I think a lot about how they’re coping with everything going on around them. I think the next big thing will be something that relates to teaching young people how to cope with things. There’s a lot of built-up anxiety in everything that’s going on, from kids having to wear masks, to worrying about a pandemic, to how to make kindergarten work on Zoom. It creates this anxiety that nobody is sure how it will be dealt with as they get older. It isn’t really being talked about. How will they cope with that? Is it through exercise or meditation or reading? I’m intrigued to see what happens with the next generation. I don’t know what the answer is, but my wife and I are super-supportive parents and active with our kids, and it’s going to be interesting.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I always try to read one book every week to 10 days. I ask people that I respect what books they’re reading, and I pick from amongst those. They give recommendations for Kindle or audiobooks, mostly self-help or entrepreneurial books. It’s a good habit to read and to widen your base of knowledge. From that, it helps you learn to ask good questions and to listen to people. Those have become habitual traits for me. Whether you’re interacting socially or in business, you need to be able to read people and know to ask the right questions of people. When you have a broader range of things to talk about that are relevant to people, you are more engaging with them and can learn more from them.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t try to find the easy way. There’s no such thing. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. I’ve been recently burned on some things are pretty gnarly. It takes a long time to build your integrity, character, and credibility, but it’s very quick to be tarnished. Sometimes if you do something the easy way, it can really bite you in the butt later. Stick to your guns and don’t pretend there’s an easier way out. If it’s hard, it means it’s probably the right way. If everything were easy, we would all be millionaires and look like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and be the beautiful people, but the world is just not like that. That may sound vain, but the broader thing is to always do what you think the right thing is. Steer clear from trying to find the easy way out.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You can’t outwork a bad diet. People don’t want to believe that. They want to eat what they want to eat. People think that if they had a really hard workout, something totally anaerobic that really put them on their butt, that they have the right to eat bad food or drink an extra glass of wine. Workouts don’t work that way.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I think I’m going to beat the dead horse with this one, but you have to ask questions of people. There are two types of people you can work with. I call them drains and pumps. Drains are those who bring you down. Ideally, you want to stay away from those types of people. But there are the pumps, the ones who pump you up. Like when you work out with them, you should be paying them because their energy is so great. As you get more successful and older and more knowledgeable, you seem to attract and only work with those who are more “pumped.” That’s the goal. I think a big part of that is asking questions and always trying to find people to surround yourself with who are smarter than you. I always want to be the dumbest guy in the room. That’s not to say I’m dumb; it just means I’m hanging out with an elite level of people, learning financial wealth, spiritual wealth, emotional wealth, physical wealth, whatever it may be.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I’m a big believer in old school marketing, which is just word of mouth. I remember when I was first starting out. I would make all these gift certificates for free training sessions. I made t-shirts with my logo on it, and I got these bags and water bottles, and I went to these local running events and hand them out. I’d also go to schools for pickups and just start handing these things to moms and dads, just to get them in for a free training session and a free t-shirt and water bottle. Through this kind of strategy, you meet people, and in meeting those people you’re trying to expose them your personal brand of “Kool-Aid,” and if they vibe with that, you create a relationship. Replicating that with other people, you’re creating a network from all those relationships. Then if you can ask questions that relate to them, you can create a relationship that goes past just the physical training part. There are hundreds of people that I’ve met that I might have only trained just once or twice, but they can become friends and in some cases resources for my business. You have to create a good network of people. A lot of people get so caught up in the social media and the paying for clicks and all that, but the core thing is meeting people. You have to network.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I went out on my own and got my first physical location for my business, I spent a lot of money. I got a lease and bought all this equipment with borrowed money and savings. It was a lot of money. I had overhead for the first time, versus paying the rent at somebody else’s facility. I had coordinated with a group of fellow trainers at my old gym to come work at my gym and participate in a profit-sharing business model that would make us all a lot more money than we were making at the previous business. We were paying way too much money in gym rent at the place where we were working. It was a great business plan. There was nothing wrong with the business plan. But the failure came when literally two days before I opened, all four of them backed out. That’s because they got peer pressure from where we were all working to not leave. They were incentivized to stay, and I’d already made my bed and left. I was now all alone.
Thankfully, it didn’t really set me back. I still did everything I was planning to do. But it made me realize that nothing is set in stone. People are people and stuff just happens. It really affected my whole business plan and model because I was expecting their contributions to help with my overhead and costs, but that all of a sudden wasn’t going to happen. I knew no matter what, I was going to be able to afford the bottom line by myself, but it definitely was a step back. It hurt emotionally. They were my friends, and it put a tarnish on our relationships as well. Failure is a tough word but that was a type of failure.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’m in the process of working with mechanical engineer to create a product to crowdfund on a Kickstarter type of website. My idea that I think is a really great one is grounded in the recognition that we’ve had a world pandemic going and many things are going to be changing permanently. There are going to be opportunities trying to guess what’s going to happen when it ends, and things return to some bit of normalcy. But it won’t be normal as we know it because now, we have a lot of big companies saying they’re not going to go back to the office. That means their employees are going to work from home. So, anticipating this, a really good idea might be to incorporate a sexy piece of workout equipment for an at-home desk. How do you create something that’s multi-functional for a piece of office equipment but can also be used for fitness?
I know a lot of people in San Francisco, for example, who don’t live in these huge houses. They live in tiny apartments because the housing market is so expensive, but they’re in the city because it’s the best place for them to work and make the most money. They were never at their home. They were always at their office, which supplied workouts and free food and all this schwag. But now that kind of things seems to be ending and now those same people are stuck in their apartments. How they can have that same vibe and feel at home that they’re used to having at work is an interesting question for entrepreneurs.
I’m working on a product like that right now. It’s a multi-functional piece of equipment that can be used in tight spaces in a place like an at-home office but can also be used as an all-in-one piece of fitness equipment. I’m really excited about this idea, but there are many more out there that might fit the same concept.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
My daughter recently learned how to read. She’s in first grade and we just bought her a Kindle that was about $100. There’s no iTunes or games or movies on it. It’s just a reading tool, so it’s exactly the kind of electronic device we’re happy for her to use.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
For me, the biggest piece of technology I use to interact is my phone. My needs in my line of work are very simple. I don’t need some complicated piece of equipment or software to get things done. But we forget how amazing our smart phones are, and it makes keeping in touch with people so easy through texting, emailing or even just calling. Plus, from a training standpoint, keeping track of heart rate is crucial, and my phone has a heart rate monitor. They’re really amazing devices.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I just finished Matthew McConaughey’s memoir Greenlights. I bought both the hardcover and the audio book. I highly recommend the audio book because he’s the narrator of it, and he makes it so entertaining to listen to. I think everyone will be able to relate to the trials and tribulations he had to go through in his life. I have worked with him a few times in training and he’s just a really cool guy, a college educated guy who came from nothing. His success in Hollywood was all about his pure will and determination to do it. He didn’t have anything handed to him.
What is your favorite quote?
“Expect the best but prepare for the worst.”
• You have to be willing to put yourself in uncomfortable situations for growth to happen.
• Ask questions.
• You only become an expert through failure.
• Take a moment and breathe. Think about things before you react and make decisions.
• Health is wealth. Mental, emotional, spiritual, physical health must be a priority and part of your daily routine.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.