A few years ago, Gerry Matyschsyk, an engineer with UTC Power in South Windsor, was looking for the satisfaction he derived from moonlighting as a CrossFit coach in Glastonbury and West Hartford.
“I was happy going to work [at UTC] every day and teaching a couple of classes at night,” Matyschsyk said in a telephone interview Monday. “But if I had a bad day at work or I had no energy, it didn’t matter. I’d still have a smile on my face when I taught classes at night. I wanted to feel that way all day, every day.”
So, after scouting locations around Central Connecticut, Matyschsyk realized his dream by opening CrossFit BrickYard at 1161 John Fitch Blvd. in South Windsor.
Matyschsyk opened the 6,000-square-foot workout center (the workout space is 3,600 square feet) just three weeks ago, but his mission has already been accomplished on one level.
“Most days, I have a 5 a.m. class and I’m riding my bike to work at 4:30 in the morning with a big smile on my face,” said Matyschsyk, 30. “I’m here until 8 at night, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
CrossFit, for the uninitiated, is a strength and conditioning program marked by short, intense workouts. CrossFit, Inc. licenses the CrossFit name to gyms for an annual fee and certifies trainers. Matyschsyk is listed on BrickYard’s website as CrossFit Level 1 Coaching Certified and CrossFit Endurance Coaching Certified.
Workouts at CrossFit BrickYard include movement gymnastics with bodyweight, such as pushups, pullups and situps, as well as Olympic lifts, cleans, snatches and jerks.
Matyschsyk said that at CrossFit Brickyard, classes run about an hour; the advantages, he said, is that members don’t have to worry about what they are doing that day. The Workout of the Day (WoD) is posted online at 12 a.m., so all they have to do is show up.
An even bigger plus, according to Matyschsyk, is that the class setting brings out the competitiveness in members.
“You bring intensity that is greater than you thought you would have,” he said.
So far, CrossFit BrickYard has about 25 members, according to Matyschsyk, from all walks of life.
“We have police officers, stay-at-home moms, engineers and nurses,” he said.
Member Carl Harding, a quality manager at UTC Power, swears by CrossFit BrickYard.
“It’s great; ot’s more focused on training,” said Harding, a former college football player at RPI. “Working in a group setting forces you to push yourself hard and push others to reach your limits. You don’t want to go slower …
“When you go to a gym, you go hard if you feel like it, and sometimes you aren’t motivated.”
Harding credits Matyschsyk for running a successful enterprise.
“He’s a phenomenal coach,” Harding said. “I get better instruction from him than I got in [from college coaches]. … He gives great individual, detailed instruction. He’s great at giving feedback and following up. He works on form and technique in every class.”
In addition to the large, open workout area, CrossFit Brickyard sits on a 1.7-acre parcel of land on which Matyschsyk has marked off a 200-meter track.
“All the running in our workouts we do on site,” he said. “At other places, for the running, members are told, go run down the road to the telephone pole and back. I’m very happy with the site. It took me a while before I found the perfect spot. But it’s everything that I wanted.”
Inside, there is a children’s area equipped with an Internet television with Netflix streaming on it.
While it may seem like a bit of an odd career change, Matyschsyk said that his background as an engineer has paid dividends when he set up his gym.
Indeed, he said that he has received compliments on the "flow" of the space.
Classes at CrossFit BrickYard are $200 a month for unlimited workouts and $160 for three workouts a week for a month, with discounts and deals if couples sign up together or payment is made up front for six months to a year.
New members, who maybe aren’t in the best of shape, also need not worry about throwing money away by being worked hard in their first classes only to never return again, Matyschsyk said.
“Everyone new starts with a foundations class three days a week for two weeks,” Matyschsyk said. “That gets everyone acclimated to how the classes are run, how the equipment works and prepares your core for the full workouts.
“We don’t beat you up so you can’t move the next day.”
For more information on CrossFit BrickYard, visit its website here.