Greetings Relentless Family! This quarter for our Coach Spotlight, we’re featuring Coach Gary Boivin! In addition to serving as an East Hartford Police Officer, Gary coaches our Thursday 5am class and frequently trains earlier in the morning. As in, 330am (we know, he’s crazy). Keep reading to learn more about Gary, especially if you have yet to have the pleasure of attending one of his classes!
1. What was your athletic background prior to CrossFit?
Prior to CrossFit I did the traditional bodybuilding style workouts where I focused on one or two body parts a day . I never had any desire to do a bodybuilding competition so I never did one but I did enjoy getting “swol” and moving heavy weight! I also played around with heavy stones and tires for awhile. In high school I played football, soccer, and tennis.
2. How were you introduced to CrossFit, and how long have you been doing it?
Several years after high school I started missing the competitive aspect of sports. I never got bored of lifting weights but I wanted to try something different. I started looking into crossfit and came across cfr. Merle let me drop in for a class and after that I was hooked. I not only signed up as a member but I then signed up for the opens one week later. The first open workout was 7 min of burpees to a target. I figured if i fought through that I’d never quit! And here I am.
3. What made you want to be a coach?
Prior to college I obtained my ISSA certification for personal training. I worked for a commercial gym and a personal training studio for several years and always loved helping my clients achieve their personal goals. Whether it was the client that was 80 years old that wanted to stay active but needed a companion or someone to walk with, or the 22 year old guy trying for his pro bodybuilding card, or the 15 year old that was trying to get into a D1 college to play football, it was a great feeling knowing that I helped them get to where they wanted. Therefore it was only natural when I found crossfit to continue helping others through coaching
4. What are your favorite/least favorite movements?
The best part about this question is that it changes often. Had you asked me two or three years ago it would have been snatches and double unders. I do my best now to try and make my least favorite, my favorite so the answer is very different now. I’d say my most favorite movements are deadlifts, pull-ups, squats, and thrusters. Oh yeah how could I forget .. bench press.. especially in the summer. My least favorite are pistols and hspu.
5. What are your hobbies outside of CrossFit?
Just hanging out with friends or my wife and dog. Between training and working there is not a whole lot of time left in the day so I enjoy just relaxing in a low key setting. If I get an entire day, it’s golf or the beach (or just an extra training session.)
6. What is something that very few people know about you?
Let’s see… id say the majority of the members are unaware that I get to the gym for 3:30 am!!!! (That’s a 3am alarm clock) it’s early and my wife thinks i need help (at a minimum a psych evaluation) but I usually train 2 plus hours and need to be a work before 7. I hate rushing and due to the fact that I’m only getting older my warm up time is much longer. Some people say “why don’t you just go after work?” My answer is that with my job there is no stable end time. I can get stuck on a case for hours and for me not having a consistent training schedule is not an option. I don’t like stressing about whether I can make it or not. Plus it’s nice when I do get out on time to go home and relax.
7. What is the greatest advice you can give members?
This is a difficult question but I would say “think big picture.” We all experience times in our lives when things get tough or don’t go as we planned but remember that’s normal and only temporary. Maybe you don’t hit a PR on the day of a 1 rep max, or your Fran time gets worse by :10 from a few months prior…. ITS ok! It doesn’t mean you got worse. It could have been because you didn’t get enough sleep because your kid was up all night, or you missed three meals the day prior because you got caught up at work.. this is life. Think about about how much better you feel/look or that your old 1 rep max snatch is now your warm up. Stay positive and keep moving forward.
8. What do you see as the “next step” in the CrossFit world?
I think that CrossFit will just keep continuing to grow especially within the law enforcement/fire community. I went to the police academy 4 plus years ago and our morning workouts were all CrossFit oriented. Last year, my friend told me what he did and it was ALL CrossFit. He asked me where he could get “chalk” because he was required to bring it and he then asked me what “fight gone bad” was. It doesn’t surprise me because CrossFit is functional fitness (And it makes me very good at jumping fences while
Tracking down criminals. If you don’t believe me try getting over an 8-10′ fence in one fluent motion quickly…. that’s a bar muscle up).
9. What inspires you, as a coach and/or athlete?
As a coach, I’m inspired by the members. I coach the 5am class and know that for most that’s not an ideal time to workout. However I’m fortunate that several people do come to my class because they trust that I’m going to help them reach whatever their goals are all while having a good time. That inspires me to expand my knowledge base and further my education so I can keep helping them. As an athlete, it’s hard not to be inspired by the games/regional athletes. Over the last 5 years, the sport has blown up in such a way that great times/lifts then are subpar/mediocre now. You have to practically be a full time athlete to make it to the games. However the people that really motivate me are the wounded vets/people that truly don’t make excuses. When I look at videos and see people in wheelchairs doing pull-ups or people with prosthetic legs doing lunges, I realize that whatever excuse I have for not doing something or pushing as hard as I can is insignificant . I don’t have an excuse.
10. What is your proudest coaching moment?
My proudest coaching moment involved the famous Mike sands. For those of you that don’t recognize the name, he was a former member of CFR. (One of the nicest guys I’ve ever come across). Mike had been trying to hit 315# back squat for several months but could never stand it up. So one day I invited Mike in for a squat session. I let him warm up and then I took big black plastic bags and covered the weights with them so he couldn’t see what was on the bar. I had him exit the room then return and squat it. We did this a few times until he had one of those :30 fights to stand the weight up..once he got the rep I pulled the bags off and revealed all 325# (or 335#cant remember). It was a 20+ lb PR. I knew he had it in him but that he just needed to break that mental barrier. The plastic bag trick works!