• Richard McDonough

Co-Movement Gym: A is A Health Podcast S1E28 - Mizar owner OPEX Montreal /Gymnast/CrossFit Athlete

Mizar is the owner of OPEX Montreal, a personal training gym that works with numerous clients of all backgrounds. As a former gymnast and gymnastics coach, Mizar found CrossFit in 2009, and decided to pursue it as both an athlete and a coach. During this time, he qualified for the CrossFit regionals multiple years in a row. He then went on to complete the OPEX Coaches Certification program, and began working with clients who wanted to pursue long-term health. As a coach, Mizar believes in starting with the basics. He encourages his clients to set goals, and to understand the “why” behind their goals.

How are things at OPEX Montreal at the moment?

Mizar says everything is going well. They just affiliated with OPEX after being allowed to re-open following the pandemic lockdown last year. Mizar feels this was a change for the better because they had previously offered several large group classes, but now he is focusing entirely on 1-on-1 individualized training.

Mizar recounts the journey and process behind opening his gym. He was originally introduced to the OPEX team in 2011, back when the company was called OPT. He originally opened his facility as a CrossFit gym, but decided post-Covid that this model no longer made sense for him. He feels that individualized training is best for most people, so this has become the new focus of OPEX Montreal.

What is the difference between a CrossFit gym and an OPEX gym?

Mizar says that a CrossFit gym prescribes one workout for everyone. There is a workout of the day, and that’s what everyone does that day. He says that modifications are allowed for athletes who can’t perform certain exercises, but generally everyone is doing the same thing. On the other hand, an OPEX gym prescribes individualized workouts based on their own specific goals, abilities, limitations, etc. Overall, CrossFit focuses purely on performance, while an OPEX gym focuses on long-term health.

Josh discusses the importance of assessments and proper programming. Mizar agrees, and says that the whole point is to create sustainable habits. He wants clients to feel better year after year, and not to burn out or get injured. Mizar says hard work is still required, but it should be smart work.

You said you were burnt out after CrossFit, what did you change to regain your health and energy?

Mizar says the biggest change was that he did less. He realized that pushing harder wasn’t the best path. He stopped drinking so much caffeine for energy, started sleeping better, improved his nutrition, and dialed back his training to the things that really mattered to him. He also changed his job. At the time, Mizar was working 60 hours per week as an engineer. He did not enjoy this job and felt tired all the time, so he quit in order to pursue coaching – a change that turned out to be one of the best decisions of his life.

Can you tell us more about helping people find their “why?”

Mizar says he encourages clients to dig deep in this area. For example, a client want to lose weight – Mizar asks “why”, the client says it’s to get a six-pack – Mizar asks “why do you want a six-pack”, the client says it’s to get a girl that their interested in – Mizar keeps digging and eventually the client learns that it’s really more a matter of self-confidence than anything, and really has nothing to do with losing weight. Mizar feels that uncovering these deeper motivations is the key to helping clients decide what they really want and need to work on.

You’re quoted saying, “the excuse of ‘I don’t have time’ no longer exists, it’s more like ‘it’s not a priority at the moment.’” How do you help clients determine what they really value?

Mizar says it starts with a discussion after assessment. He asks clients if they’re surprised at where they are compared to where they want to be. He wants them to project themselves into the future, and decide what they want to change, as well as what they’re willing to do in order to change. Mizar says it’s easy for him to come up with a list of things for them to change, but what really matters is what they are ready and willing to do.

Do you feel that your gymnastics background gave you tools for training clients that other gyms might not provide?

Mizar says that he has a mixed bag of tools thanks to the variety of activities he’s participated in, including gymnastics. One major lesson he learned is that there are foundational principals in any activity that need to be mastered before progressing to higher levels. He feels that many people neglect this aspect of training. Often people want to move straight to the advanced stuff, but Mizar encourages clients to spend more time mastering the basics.

Ricky and Mizar discuss the necessity of better physical education in grade school, especially in regard to the standards required to pass. Mizar adds that kids should also play more in their free time outside of school. We all agree and discuss the importance of play.

Do you find an area with your clients where people struggle the most?

Mizar says that he sees a lot of people with very grandiose ambitions, such as wanting to do a 2x bodyweight deadlift, or muscle-ups, etc., yet they aren’t currently capable of squatting properly, hanging from a pull-up bar, doing a push-up, etc. He feels that people need to focus more on achieving and mastering the basics before concerning themselves with bigger goals.

Mizar discussed the importance of being a role model for children. Kids love to move and play, but as they get older, they start to do less and less physical activity. Mizar says we need to keep ourselves active as parents and coaches in order to motivate and inspire kids to do the same. He discusses how important this is in the areas of nutrition and lifestyle as well.

The pandemic shook things up for a lot of industries, including fitness. What type of gyms do you see thriving going forward?

Mizar expects that individual design is going to be the dominant model going forward. He discusses the importance of understanding that everyone is coming from a different place and has different needs. Mizar feels that highly personalized coaching is more important than ever, and will be the most valuable service that gyms offer in the coming years.

What are the most common nutrition tips you give people?

Mizar says he has to do a lot of general educating around diet. He feels that most people really don’t understand even the most basic principles of nutrition, so the most common thing he has to do is educate them on the basics and the importance of nourishing your body properly.

What are 1-3 books that had an impact on you?

Freedom from the Known, by Krishnamurti.

If you could put up a road sign anywhere, what would it say and why?

One Step at a Time.

What is your favorite supplement?

Air. Mizar says there’s no perfect supplement. He feels that if you need supplements it means something is off and you should try to correct that.

Support Mizar/OPEX Montreal:





26 views0 comments