Meet enduraLAB Founder, Coach Lee

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Hometown. I’m originally from a little farming town called Johnsonville, Illinois.

Degree. I have a bachelor’s from the University of Illinois in aeronautical engineering, a master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington, and an MBA from Indiana University.

Athletic background. Going to a small school growing up, I played every sport available from a very young age. I was probably the best at running and golf.

How did you come to launch the LAB? I had gotten into endurance sports and had completed my first marathon in 2006. Being a researcher with running experience, I was not satisfied with the local run groups and online training available to me at the time. I decided to do my own research by following and speaking to experts in the field, and started playing around with my own type of endurance training. I tested my programming out on myself and Isis and then launched a lululemon run group, which grew in popularity and led to my first paid coaching gig: 10 weeks to a 10k training program. As the run program developed, I started to think more about strength training and working with other gyms in the area. I just never found anything that was mutually beneficial, so I set out to create my own space that would blend strength and endurance training with a foundation backed by science.  

When I opened enduraLAB in 2011, I worked two jobs. I was at Lockheed Martin during the day and trained morning and night. As the popularity of the gym grew, we needed to expand the space and it was time for me to make a decision about my future. My mother always thought I should be a teacher and I like working with people, plus enduraLAB gave me a creative outlet. I sat down with Isis and the family and we made the decision together to fully commit to the LAB.  

Looking back, it was one of the most nerve-wracking decisions I’ve ever made but I love the members and I love this job. I also enjoy the problem solving that goes with enduraLAB. People come to me post-surgery, injured or wanting to enhance their performance in some way and together we can evaluate the problem and program the right solution.  

What fitness routine did you follow before the LAB? As a runner, I blended my own style with the methods of Dr. Phil Maffetone, Percy Cerutty and Arthur Lydiard. I also utilized interval training from my younger years, and incorporated strength training from Gym Jones.

How does the LAB compare to other gyms in the city? I don’t think there is anyone like us. I think we are the best of the best, and if I didn’t think so I would make a change. I don’t think you are ever going to find a facility in Fort Worth that houses as many different disciplines as we bring to the table whether you are looking for intelligent group training, personal training, small group, nutrition coaching, physical therapy, massage therapy, endurance training or specialty programs. Add to that our awesome community and staff, and we are the best gym in Fort Worth.

Favorite workouts. Least favorite. I enjoy the mentally challenging workouts. The ones that you have to grind out. The ones that others shy away from. These are the types of workouts that originally drew me to endurance sports. I don’t really have a least favorite workout. I don’t typically enjoy workouts where I don’t understand the why behind the movements. I used to get frustrated if the music or the temperament of the other athletes was bad, but over the years I’ve learned to tune that out.  

How do you keep clients motivated? For clients it’s about showing them results and making sure they remember where they started. A good coach knows when to challenge and when to back off. I also believe in continually checking to make sure we are always working towards a mutual goal.  

Tell me about your November challenge. I had heard about a million-pound November challenge for weight loss. I thought it would be fun to lift a million pounds as my own personal challenge. At first the numbers seemed significant, but after some planning I figured out a way to do it consistently for 30 days. My secondary challenge was to maintain my health in order to be able to lift that kind of weight every day, but I was able to succeed thanks to the awesome support system at the LAB. In the end the challenge became a bit monotonous, but I’m glad that I was able to accomplish my goal. This month I’m working on a body composition challenge with a local chef to help take off the extra weight I gained in November. It’s been a great experience so far, and I look forward to sharing the results in January.  

Favorite charity. Anything that helps kids. In fact, enduraLAB is working with a local school to support their run program. It’s the first year they’ve had a program of this kind, and it’s already having a positive impact. I feel that some kids don’t have options or the ability to change their circumstances, so anything we can do to make their situation better is worthwhile.

Netflix binge. Just finished the Bodyguard. No, not the love story … come on guys!

Best restaurant in Fort Worth. Depends on the time of day, but my family and I have blazed several trails along Magnolia starting with Cane Rosso and ending with MELT Ice Creams.

Favorite workout song. The workout typically dictates the music. If I run, I’ll listen to something chill. If I do a workout for time, I need something fun. Time to max out? I need a good beat!

What is something on your bucket list. I have always wanted to visit Tahiti.