Mathews graduate Cerbus takes fitness on the road

Mathews graduate

in fitness business

By Greg Gulas


For someone who never left the Ohio-Pennsylvania area until after his college graduation, former Mathews Mustangs all-state football player Mike Cerbus is certainly making up for lost time.

His passport is arguably the most important paperwork he keeps with him every day he heads to work.

An international weightlifting competitor who currently serves as an educational director and strength coach for New York-based Power Monkey Fitness, Cerbus estimates that he is on the road 30-35 weeks out of the year. He has visited no less than 24 countries to help set up gyms and fitness centers in various locales.

“Weightlifting was an extension of football for me,” said Cerbus, who spoke to the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly meeting at Avion Banquet Center. “While playing football I began training with Lou DeMarco and as a senior in high school, qualified for the U.S. Nationals, but didn’t go. It intrigued me, so much so that I realized back then this is what I would like to do in life.”

Cerbus was the East Suburban Conference offensive player of the year as a senior, rushing for over 1,300 yards that season and nearly 3,000 yards during a stellar four-year varsity career. He earned his BS in education degree from Youngstown State in 2008 and was in his second year of graduate studies in counseling and leadership, also at YSU, when his professional life took a detour.

It’s a detour on which he has never looked back or regretted.

“Our primary owner is Dave Durante, who was a gymnast for the United States in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing,” Cerbus said. “He was a multi-national champion as an athlete and coach at Stanford University and he has assembled a group of former Olympic sport athletes turned educators for Power Monkey Fitness.

“Dave and I travel and teach combined methods of weightlifting and gymnastics to the general population, also teaching elite individual athletes. Because of Dave I was able to fuse my two education disciplines, can teach the sport and travel and develop educational opportunities for youths and adult practitioners.”

From 2005-15 Cerbus was an international weightlifting competitor, winning his first medal in 2009 when he earned silver at the American Weightlifting National Championships in Chattanooga.

He medaled at all American competitions from 2009-13, earning his first gold in 2011 when he was open division champion.

“That gold medal led to an invitation to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and from 2012-14, I was a training specialist,” he said.

A member of the 2012 U.S. National team, Cerbus finished seventh at the Pan American Championships in Guatemala and that same year, placed fourth at an Olympic qualification event, also in Guatemala.

He didn’t make the U.S. Olympic team yet continued to train until 2015 before retiring from the sport.

“Guatemala was the first time that I had ever left the country. Since that time though, I’ve had the opportunity to teach and direct programs abroad and it has been a wonderful experience,” he said. “I currently direct strength and weightlifting programs and the two places I frequent most are in Madrid, Spain and Hod HaSharon, Israel. I’ll accumulate about a month in Israel and two or three months in Spain alone.

Cerbus will teach over 1,500 individuals, ranging in age from 14-18 years of age interested in cross-fit training in Israel to those 18-70 years of age in Spain.

“For me, it’s faith, family and fitness and that’s how I continue to grow and develop,” he said. “I’m fortunate in that all three aspects have turned into a global perspective that I could never have imagined when I first started.

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