Ray Kybartas Interview
("Fitness Trainer To The Stars")

Ray Kybartas is one of Hollywood’s most respected and sought after personal trainers.

His clients have included Madonna, Maria Shriver, Tatum O’Neal and Sean Penn.

The Washington Post calls Kybartas “One of America’s hottest fitness gurus”; Vogue Magazine says he’s “One of the most wanted trainers in the country”; and W magazine picked Ray Kybartas as one of the Top Six Trainers in the world.

Ray authored the book: “Fitness Is Religion: Keep The Faith” (Simon And Schuster).

Ray Kybartas talked to us about his background and what you need to do to keep fit.

Q – You managed the original Gold’s Gym. How did that come about?
A – Well, I was just asked by one of the owners. There were 3 owners then. It was a very small gym at that point. Basically body builders. Nothing like it is now. I was into fitness and I knew one of the owners and one thing led to another.

Q – Were you into lifting at that point?
A – I was kind of just in fitness and going overboard toward the body-building route. To be honest, I wanted to be a firefighter. I was going to school, taking fire-science classes but taking exercise physiology and nutrition just for myself. It was a hobby that I wanted to know more and learn more just for myself and of course you can see it turned into…..

Q – Something else.
A – Yeah. (Laughs). When you learn things you want to learn, you kind of fall into the job you’re in.

Q – You were born in Chicago, but raised in Santa Monica. What brought your parents to Santa Monica?
A – The weather. (Laughs). I’m first generation Lithuanian and a lot of Lithuanians we’re moving over to Santa Monica. Saving their money and buying apartment buildings. So, that’s kind of why they came out here.

Q – You would almost have to live in a warm climate like California or Florida to enjoy the success you’ve had.
A – There’s different levels and different exercises with fitness. I fell more into the outdoor type of stuff because I guess-----the weather. That’s one thing that sets me apart from other trainers. Most trainers here train their clients indoors in gyms. I do that, but, what I try to do is get people outside, in the ocean, soft sand running, mountain biking, hiking. You know anything and everything. It’s almost like I’m teaching wealthy adults how to be kids again.

Q – How did you come up with these training techniques?
A – Just dealing with people and personalities and seeing what worked. Everybody that I know that is fit and staying fit for, 10, 20 years. People that are over 50 have the same attitude which I try to instill in people which is, you focus more on the process than the results. You enjoy what you’re doing. You do it everyday. It’s a lifestyle. Whether it’s going out for a run or going into the gym or do something everyday, something which is a habit that you don’t even think of not doing. It’s getting your mind set. I think that’s the most important thing-----getting a person motivated. You got to look at your personality and rather than look at fitness as something negative and grueling where you have to be on a treadmill looking at a wall; to get any results you have to let go and start thinking, how can I be active and have some fun. There are swimming programs. There are master programs. There’s indoor stuff when it’s cold. People come to me and say you’re a well-known trainer, you must have a secret. And-----I don’t. It’s really simple. You need to zero in on your own personality and find out what works and what motivates you.

Q – Why does someone need a personal trainer?
A – Well, I mean I turn out just to be a support group. People that can afford me, use me for that, I call a poor man’s personal trainer a work-out partner. See, people think it’s all technical, like you need this person with an exercise physiology background to get you to work out. And, I’m trying to tell people it’s not so. Motivation is the key. If you’re gonna quit smoking you don’t surround yourself with smokers. You surround yourself with people that have the same interests, needs, and wants as yourself and then you move forward. I don’t care if you’ve read every fitness book and know everything-----it means nothing, if you’re not motivated to do it. A little bit is better than nothing. I’d rather see someone taking a walk everyday after dinner for half an hour than a person that runs a marathon once a year and doesn’t do anything else, doesn’t live the lifestyle. That’s’ what I’m trying to instill in people. That’s the important thing, the consistency, to do a little bit all the time.

Q – How expensive is it to have a guy like you as a personal trainer?
A – Well, you gotta understand, I kind of built up a reputation. You can find trainers in this area anywhere from $50 and up, per hour.

Q – Can you name any of the people you train?
A – I don’t like naming names. (Laughs). I do a lot of work for Warner Bros. I’ve been with Sean Penn for a lot of his movies. I train a lot of celebrities. I train a lot of CEO’s of cos. I do a lot of phone stuff, you know, put together workouts for people that aren’t in the area. I also do seminars. I do corporate stuff; try to motivate people to get off their butts.

Q – Do you have your own gym or do you use someone else’s facilities?
A – I set up gyms in peoples’ homes and I also have my own gym in Pacific Palisades which is a beach community outside of Los Angeles, overlooking the ocean. I try to offer everything; a place where people can come to me, we can go to the beach and do some ocean type workouts. I work with lifeguards that do a lot of swimming stuff and rowing. I also go see people in their homes. I don’t believe in being in one place all the time. I believe in variety.

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