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IAM2063 – CEO and Fitness Innovator Elevates the Future of Fitness Industry

Podcast Interview with Sebastien Lagree

In this episode, we have Sebastien Lagree, the inventor, CEO, and founder of Lagree Fitness, to share his transition from aspiring actor to fitness innovator.

Sebastien recounts his early days in Los Angeles, struggling as an actor, which inadvertently led him to personal training and eventually conceptualizing a unique fitness method.

Despite initial setbacks, including being kicked out of a studio, Sebastien persevered, opening his own space and inventing proprietary equipment that catalyzed the global expansion of his fitness brand.

Today, with over 173 patents, Lagree Fitness has impacted the industry significantly, emphasizing a high-intensity, low-impact workout methodology.

Sebastien's story highlights the importance of innovation, perseverance, and the transformative power of believing in oneself.


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Sebastien Lagree Teaser 00:00

Today I want to take fitness to help people, to strengthen the faith in themselves, because I see there's so many people out there who don't believe they can do it.

I'm more interested today than anything else really in the mental benefits of the workout, because I'm applying those qualities to my life, and this is why now I'm to do amazing things for the business because I'm developing this mental skillset. That's what it takes, to the business.

Intro 00:24

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I Am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:52

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Sebastien Lagree. Sebastien, excited to have show.

Sebastien Lagree 01:01

Hi, Gresh. How are you? Thank you for having the show, man. I appreciate that.

Gresham Harkless 01:04

Yeah, absolutely. One of the exciting things about having a show is you get to have an awesome people like Sebastien on the show. So I wanted to read a little bit more about Sebastien. So you can hear about some of the awesome things he's doing before we jump into the conversation.

And as the inventor, CEO and founder of the Lagree Fitness, Sebastian Gray continues to push the limits of the fitness industry. His ceaseless efforts to elevate the fitness world have been proven to be effective with 100 patents, the creator of a method name the number one workout on class pass.

And with a brand that is recognizable worldwide, it is no secret that Sebastien is spearheading the industry's evolution. And I love doing a little bit of homework on Sebastian and read a little bit more. He has a very cool story about how he got started, which started out with him as an actor, which led him to this awesome things that he's been able to do now.

And yeah. One of the things that really stuck out to me is I was reading that part of this process of evolution is experiment, try and then execute, which I think is very important for all of us, innovators and entrepreneurs. And I think I read that the methodology that he's been able to build is in over 500 studios worldwide.

And I'm sure in county. So Sebastian excited to have you on the show. Are you ready to speak to the I Am CEO community?

Sebastien Lagree 02:13

Absolutely. Go ahead. Let's do it.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:16

Let's get it started then. So to keep the conversation off a little bit, let's rewind the clock a little bit here a little bit more on how you got started when I call your CEO story.

Sebastien Lagree 02:25

Well, Gresh, yes. So that's, when I came to L. A. I came to L. A. To be an actor. I had no idea to do anything, something in fitness. I've always been to fitness since I'm 13. I've been lifting weight and bodybuilding. And so when I came to L. A. I had done my studies and I think, okay, I'm gonna, I'm gonna try my luck the acting.

So I came to Los Angeles. Try to become an actor and the first 30 days, I go to all the auditions. Essentially I didn't get anything, but I got a lot of inquiries to work out with me because at the time I was 25 years old, I was really buff. I was, really big, really jacked.

And if people want to work out with me, so after 30 days of not booking any auditions, and I decided, you know what? I need to make money. So I'll do personal training since, people want to work out with me. And that is how everything started, man. Started to take my clients, I had, start to, gather clients.

I had to train them in LA couldn't because, every gym in LA had their own, requirements for trainers. And I wasn't certified and I was just, looking buff. That's it. So, I found a place on Melrose Avenue and the owner was like, the agreement that I struck with the owner was the following.

It's okay, I'm going to take my clients for the weight training, but he also had a Pilates studios that he wanted me to also teach his clients Pilates. So I'm like, listen, if that is the deal, I'll go ahead and then I'll teach your people Pilates. I had never heard of this word Pilates in my entire life.

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I was bodybuilding, I was reading every single magazine, every single studies you can think of at the time, this was back in the mid nineties, trying to learn more about fitness and bodybuilding and weightlifting and everything I could about nutrition.

Never once in my life I had heard anything about Pilates. So I'm like, what is this? Okay. So he showed me what it is. Bench of people working out on wooden machine. I'm like, we didn't machine get the fuck out of here, man. I'm just like, I like the way that I could drop the weight. I like to drop the hundreds on the ground.

That's my, that's the way I lift weights, I don't work out on a piece of a bamboo machine. Part of the deal. So I was open-minded. So I learned the method and very quickly give me clients like the next day, by the way, a lot of people don't understand that when you get certified in Pilates.

Many certification won't let you touch a client for two years. I trained my first Pilates clients literally within 24 hours of me meeting the owner. So this was very fast. You told me, okay, Seb, come back tomorrow. We're going to meet at two o'clock. We'll do a routine together. And at five o'clock you have your first client.

So I started to work with his clientele. I said, teach Pilates. And I just saw that, Pilates was actually, there was it was on the up and up, this was really at the beginning of, Pilates really taking off, it was like in the nineties. And so I decided, there was something that kind of was interesting about Pilates.

It was the low-impact aspect of the workout. Because at the exact same time, I was working with a lot of men in the 40s and 50s and 60s. And these men had a lot of issues with their bodies, with their joints, especially the spine, the connective tissues. And these men all look great. They all like, all beautiful, all that stuff.

And I didn't understand why they were having so much pain. So I started to work with them, work with the chiropractors. And then I learned that it's basically all this pain that these men were experiences was from working out. And I was so surprised because I'm 25 years old. I'm buffed. I'm just like, I love working out.

So how can working out hurts you? And then I became more aware, more conscious about the impact on the body, right? The impact of weightlifting on the body, if you don't lift properly, you can seriously hurt yourself permanently and you can actually, it can work against you over the long run.

So, right there. And then I decided to develop a workout that would give the satisfaction of the exhilaration of a high intensity workout, but still have a low impact. For me, that was the future of fitness, something that is going to change your body, but not at the detriments or not at the expense of your body of your joints, your spine and your connective tissues.

So I started to develop my basically my degree fitness program. And I've had basically, a series of bad luck., I got kicked out of the studio because the studio basically changed ownership. The new owner didn't like what I was doing.

So inevitably in 2001, September 11, 2001 was my opening date, so I don't celebrate that date. But that's when I actually opened my first studio.

And what I decided to do was basically this high intensity, low impact workout. At the beginning, I called it Pilates class because I was using Pilates equipment. But he had really nothing to do with the method of, my, all the training techniques that I've always used in the method have always been bodybuilding training techniques, right?

I didn't have money to open my own commercial space. So I operated the first year and a half I was in my living room, and I basically grew my clientele.

So open the first commercial space was 2002, 2003 on Melrose. And then from there decided to just grow the grow the studio I said to, just give up on the acting at that point.

So I built my own machine and then things start to take off, people everywhere. So they call me and say, Hey, I love this machine. Where can I buy it? So then, when I made the machine, it was for me, it was only for, because it's my understanding, it's my method, that's what I wanted to do.

But then I saw the potential that, Oh, wait a minute. Other people want to buy the machines for home. They want to open studios. There's a whole business opportunity here that I should probably take advantage of. And then I started to offer the license.

So I'm like, I'm going to do this on my own. And the best way to do it is just to license the method, so it's just basically you buy the name and the method. And it was very, very little obligation on my end.

And now today we have about 173 patents. We are operating over we are putting over 50 countries. We have over 600 studios. I think that this year is going to be the year where we pass a thousand studios. Because last year we've sold a phenomenal amount of license everywhere in the world.

We selling license, we're selling more and more license every year because I've been able to look at what people wanted. And so I operate different type of licenses, different type of equipment.

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Gresham Harkless 08:08

Yeah. No, I appreciate you sharing that. I almost wonder if that's part of the DNA, the secret sauce, as I like to call it, thing you feel such a part of makes you need.

Is it understanding that baked within that innovation is by doing the exploring experiment? Do you think that's part of what was such a part of makes unique?

Sebastien Lagree 08:23

Absolutely. I was talking to an expert on motivation and he told me that motivation comes by doing. You cannot motivate yourself. Motivation will come by doing. And for me creating comes by doing as well.

That's doing and keep practicing the R and D. I think that's a very important thing. And now today it's amazing because we have a lot of copycats and then it's amazing. Now, the those copycats always trying to just copy what we're doing, but, it's becoming more and more difficult because of all the new innovations and new features we're creating so much distance between us and then now.

And, we stopped coming, it's not as a big of a deal that it was before, but that's because I'm constantly added, constantly creating it just part of it, and this is a good thing for the DNA, but it's a good thing for the method.

Because, you want to stay ahead and you want to come with exciting products. These are people how, basically just remember you or they recognize you as you, you go out there and you try new things, and now I got a big pair of balls that say, we're in a sense that I have so much confidence that I'm releasing product.

I'm doing it because I'm really fascinated how far I can push the method with the integration of all the technology, it's amazing.

The few electronics that are valid to the machine right now. I've completely transformed the workout, and I can't even imagine how the new set of electronics and the new set of digital software, the digital features will even make the method even better.

Gresham Harkless 09:49

Yeah, that makes so much sense.

Sebastien Lagree 09:51

And today I want to take fitness to help people, to strengthen the faith in themselves, because I see there's so many people out there who don't believe they can do it. So they don't do anything and they settle for less and you can have an incredible life. All of you can have an incredible life. You need to have that faith in yourself.

I can build a better. Business, I can build a better situation for myself, right? Because it's the same mental quality, right? Discipline, commitment, all of that stuff, right? Willpower, not giving up. And that to me, I'm more interested today than anything else really in the mental benefits of the workout, because I'm applying those qualities to my life, and this is why now I'm to do amazing things for the business because I'm developing this mental skillset.

That's what it takes, to the business.

Gresham Harkless 10:36

Yeah, that almost sounds like the, what I would call the CEO hack, which is like the app book habit that can make you more effective and efficient.

Sebastien Lagree 10:42

Absolutely. You're gonna take, you can't segregate yourself. Okay. My personal life. This is working out. This is my family life. This is business life.

It's all in your brain. Your brain. It's all the same, right? And so this is why it's great. Because if you're right, if you've been successful in some aspect of your life, take that qualities that made you successful in that aspect and then transfer it to this and to that is the same thing, Perseverance and endurance and it's all the same, whether it's for business or relationship, or your family or whatever you want to do.

That is the, that's the only, and the best advice I can give to, to, to everyone, but it's tough, if you don't have that habit, it is topics you're going to have to create those tools, and once those tools are developed, they create it.

You're going to strengthen your mind. You're going to strengthen your spirits. And then after that, the world is yours.

Gresham Harkless 11:32

Yeah, it sounds phenomenal. And I guess, so that probably speaks to I call it a CEO nugget. If you were to hop into a time machine, what might you tell your younger business self?

Sebastien Lagree 11:40

Yeah, someone was telling me that there's a definition of luck. Luck is like hard work plus something else or whatever.

Gresham Harkless 11:47

I always say hard work beats talent when talent works hard or something like that, but I can't remember.

Sebastien Lagree 11:51

Yeah, you absolutely right. So you feel, Oh, this happened, but actually you manifested that with your work ethics, absolutely.

Gresham Harkless 11:57

Nice. I absolutely love that. So I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO and our goals to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show.

Sebastian, what does being CEO mean to you?

Sebastien Lagree 12:08

For me being a CEO really means that I have to stir the company in the right direction. So for me, the CEO probably has to do with the grand vision because I realized that not everybody's able to really think about, Oh, where am I going to take this in a year, two years, five years, 10 years.

What is the angle? What's the end objective? And for me, I've always been like this. I've always been a big thinker. I was the big ideas. And I realized that this is what really that's the value that I bring to agree.

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But that's the, it's the vision that I bring. I have a work of amazing people and they all do what I hate to do. It's all the detail bullshit and add the detail. You cannot, even if you're like Elon Musk and you had this idea or whatever, and then like giant ideas, you still need some people to execute.

The small step to get you there, because it's one thing to say, Oh, this, we're going to be in five years, 10 years, but if there's no follow-up, no follow through, and people are not paying attention to, okay, how are we going to get there? Nothing's going to happen, right?

So I work with an amazing team and they're, and they do, they take care of all the details. That is the covenant that we have. I'm going to think about the big ideas. I'm going to, I'm going to pull us in this one direction. But you guys handle all the details because I cannot do this. It bores me to death.

But the details are just as important as the big as the big picture. So I think a good CEO will recognize that, you need an engine, right?

So when you look at an engine, everything is important. What's most important, the electrical system, the pistons, the shaft or whatever, it's all important. For instance, right? Something in the body, right? What's the most important thing in the body? What if you take your heart?

You fuck, you take the lungs, you fuck, so I think a CEO has to read suits. I think to recognize that it's going to be a team effort. But everyone in the team has to work really well. That's why for me right now we have a small team at the top because we work so efficiently that sometimes I don't want to bring a couple more people and throw the vibes off because right now a lot of things are happening and it's amazing, it's a very tight team.

But things are just like working so right now, everything is moving so well. But that's what I would say, I think, for me, for being CEO is really the vision. That's important to, if you can't just grow and not know and not have an idea of where do I want to, where do I want to be five years, 10 years?

What do I want to do with the business? How is this business going to change people's life? But what's the contribution to society that I'm doing with this? I'm only doing this, what you make money. So I'm going to sell it to investors before they do an IPO or whatever, or what is it? For me, Gresh, 50 years from now, I still be developing product because to me, this is my calling.

This is what I want to do. I'm not doing this to build this business to sell it to whatever, I'm doing this to change people's life because I really believe that what I'm doing here really helps people in a very, very positive way.

I want to have a positive influence on everyone's life. I really want to help people to, like we talked about before to restore the faith in themselves. Because if everybody had more faith, the world would be different. People will go out there and really want to do. And it would be an incredible world to live in.

Gresham Harkless 15:06

Yeah, absolutely. Sebastian truly appreciate that definition. And of course, I appreciate your time even more. So, what I want to do now is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best people get a whole view.

Find out about the program and all the awesome things that you're doing and where they can potentially try out a class and try out all the equipment and things. Can you tell us all that information?

Sebastien Lagree 15:28

You can go on the website We and then over there you have basically all the information about the workout is also a studio locator is about 600 locations right now. You can find us on Instagram. I have two Instagram accounts. We have at Lagree fitness. I also have at Sebastien.Lagree and we have also we also have a virtual platform called Lagree OD Short for degree on demand You can also do the workout at home.

You can buy the machine. So today you don't have, you can go to a studio. I like going to a studio because you get that you get the corrections and the hands on, adjustment.

But for those who don't have access to a studio or can't go to a studio, you have the virtual platform. We have over 1500 workouts on this on there.

Gresham Harkless 16:08


Sebastien Lagree 16:08

And Gresh we got to get you on the machine, man.

Gresham Harkless 16:10

Hey, I'm all for it. I was just going to ask you that. So, we'll have the information again in the show notes, but definitely appreciate you for all the awesome things you're doing, Sebastien. And, of course, the time you took today. And I hope you have a nice day.

Sebastien Lagree 16:21

It's all about the faith brother.

Outro 16:23

Thank you for listening to the I Am CEO podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I Am CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community.

Check out the latest and greatest apps, books, and habits to level up your business as This has been the I Am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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