Meet the fitness rebels: Gerren Liles

The PROJECT trainer on empowering others through fitness.

Whether it’s a side hustle or some other creative pursuit, every high performer needs a passion—and a project. That’s the idea behind the new PROJECT by Equinox. It’s a “creative space for fitness rebels” in downtown Manhattan where breakthrough fitness talent creates innovative workouts ranging from The Sculpt Society (a total-body cardio workout that incorporates light weights and sliders) to The Ultimate Runner’s Workout (drills and unilateral exercises to improve speed, agility, and balance). Over the next six weeks, Furthermore is introducing you to six of PROJECT’s top trainers that are challenging you to move differently. This week we’re featuring Gerren Liles.

After a career in public education (and a pre-diabetes scare), Gerren Liles shifted from shaping minds to shaping bodies. In 2009, he entered the fitness industry and quickly rose through the ranks. Now, he’s an Equinox master instructor, ReebokONE Elite Ambassador, and teaches the Strength & Conditioning class at PROJECT by Equinox. The circuit-style class focuses on total-body exercises, but it's far from basic. “I'm generally known for thinking outside the box with my programming, and PROJECT gives me a chance to push my creative limits even more,” says Liles. And his creativity has paid off: the trainer and fitness guru is well on his way to becoming an Instagram star (with more than 16K followers).

What’s your signature exercise?

“Plyo Push-up & Rope Slam.”

What was the inspiration behind your class?

“I wanted to create a program that would not only help you achieve your health, aesthetic, or sports-specific goals, but help you perform better in your other fitness classes or training. Many people focus on either a specific format (athletic conditioning, yoga) or do hybrids where you're bouncing around from one type of exercise to another so frequently that you don't push to your full limits or master a particular skill. In my class, you'll concentrate for an extended time on exercises that build strength, endurance, conditioning, and stability with enough intensity to get you sweaty and sore, and intelligent recovery so you can recoup and exert maximum effort the whole time.”

Name three things in your gym bag you couldn’t live without.

Superbands. “I love using bands to add extra resistance for strength and power moves."Pre-workout supplement. “C4 or JP Fuel drink mixes power me through my workouts.”Chargers. “Gotta keep the power on my iPhone and iPad for my music in my workouts and class. I have a Mophie but I also keep my iPhone charger with me at all times.”

How would you describe your philosophy when it comes to fitness?

“I want it bad for you, but I can't want it more than you do. Know what you want, what it takes to make it happen, be realistic about the process and consistent in your effort.”

What’s your favorite gym prop?

“I'm falling in love with the CrossCore. It's a suspension trainer similar to the TRX, except it's a pulley system so greater core engagement is necessary to keep you stabilized when you're doing various movements.”