Ex-military trainer who’ll push you to your limit
After taking a few minutes to catch our breath, we caught up with Marcus Weber, founder of Athletik Training Berlin, to find out a little more about his background as a PT and how he came to be such a ruthless motivating trainer…
USC: How did Athletik Training Berlin begin?
For the last few years I’ve worked in various gyms as a personal trainer. I met lots of people who wanted to continue personal training classes but they found it too expensive. So I decided to create an outdoor training class. I’m not a fan of machines because they make your body move in unnatural ways and only train your muscles, not your endurance, so my classes are based on bodyweight and functional training – exercises that suit your bodies´ natural way of moving.
Many young people who train with me are totally unaware of the movements of their body. I think the new health epidemic is going to be back pain. So doing classes with functional movements really helps with this.
USC: How has the concept developed since you first started?
It began with just me as a trainer, and now I employ four more personal trainers who work with small groups in outdoor spaces across Berlin. We make sure that each class has a limited amount of people so that we can make corrections when needed.
Ultimately we want to create a community because this is what really motivates people to train. When people know each other they’re more likely to turn up to training at 07:30 in the morning even if its raining. When you work out in a gym you just turn up, do your training and leave. With us you come along, see friendly faces and feel part of a community.
I also tell people to write down the amount of reps they make and I publish it on Facebook after the workout. I repeat the same workout every few months so you can compare your results and feel motivated when you see the improvement. And we’ll organise team-events like escape rooms to make this bond even stronger.
USC: How would you define your personal training style?
I know some people who don’t like the way I coach – they say it’s too militant. That’s probably because I was in the military for 4 years. Everyone has their own taste in trainers – if people don’t like the way I motivate to train then they have the opportunity to go to the classes with my other trainers who are different and probably a bit nicer. That’s understandable.
USC: What are your plans for the future?
I want Athletik Training Berlin to grow with more classes, make the concept more well-known and continue to offer top quality in training. My priority will always be the outdoor training, but I also have some thoughts on indoor classes in mind. So stay tuned…
USC: What’s your background with training? How did you first get into sports and how did you train?
I joined the military in my early 20s and trained there for 4 years. When I came out I thought “Okay – what’s next?” And decided to start working in the security field. It was at this point that I got really into training and became interested in learning how the body works. First, I got a mini-job in a gym and then decided to get a licence to become a PT. That’s how it started. Now I have many licences, for example for training courses with food, back, pregnancies, children and I have a licence to train people for the Spartan Race, a well known obstacle race, which has races all over the world.
Now I’ve worked as a personal training for 9 years. I’ve met and trained some very interesting people so far, including the German rapper Marteria. He introduced me to contacts in the music industry which has been great for my business. But ultimately you can only learn through experience.
USC: So your business is outdoor training – what do you do during winter?
I don´t understand the question? We workout! Even if it’s -10 degrees outside. If it’s dark in the morning we take torches with us. There are no excuses. I use the time training in summer to build athletes for the winter – this is why it’s so important to have a community. In winter we do much more cardio training so people don’t freeze to death.
USC: What if it’s raining?
So what? The only exception we don’t train is if there are weather warnings. But other than that we go out whatever the weather. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes!” It’s actually really good for your immune system. If you stay inside during winter then you’re more likely to get ill. I train outdoors every week throughout the year and I’ve only been ill once in 3 years.
USC: What’s your own weekly training regime?
I train myself with weights and always have a target. I try to workout at least 4 times a week. I always create challenges for myself and my clients. For example, something that you experienced is the plank challenge. I want to motivate people to be able to do a plank for 5 minutes. We start with a 20 second plank and then add 20 seconds every day until we reach 5 minutes. I post videos of the trainer on our Facebook page so people can follow him.
I also do an annual 100 burpee challenge. So day 1 is 1 burpee, day 2 is 2 burpees and so on until we’ve done 100 in one day. But the real point of it is by the end of the challenge we’ve actually done 5,050 burpees. We make a game out of it to keep you motivated. It’s a lot of fun and by the end you feel proud of yourself.
I periodically show people when I fail to keep them motivated- maybe if I’ve missed a rep or if I get exhausted. That way, people understand that I am human too – I make mistakes and I also need to improve myself.
If you could give USC members one piece of fitness advice, what would it be?
Too many people say “I’ll start tomorrow.” Conquer your weaker self! Find something that motivates you! Set reachable goals! You need to understand why you want to train! Then when you reach your goals you’ll know you’ve earned it.
For all their latest news, events and classes, check out Athletik Training Berlin’s website.