Meet Coach Dustin!
“When I was young, I had a dream to open up my own gym but I didn’t know how I’d do it” Dustin Bouzaid.
From a young age, Dustin had an attraction to the body’s ability to be masculine. He admired his dad, “my father would come home from work and to me, he had the biggest biceps in the world... he was my hero”.
Down the road from where Dustin lived was a guy who had a home gym, “you could see all the guys working out together and I used to think how cool it would be to go there or have something like that”.
Dustin grew up with his grandparents in his teenage years. His grandfather was pretty ‘old school’. Dustin would tell his grandfather “I want to be a personal trainer” and his grandfather would reply with “oh, you know every man and their dog is doing that, why don’t you get a trade?”. To hear that as a teenager was disheartening. Dustin would find Army flyers gracefully placed on his bed.
Around the age of 16-17 Dustin’s grandfather asked if he could get him a painting apprenticeship. Despite his grandfather's wishes, Dustin turned down the opportunity, “it didn’t feel right and I’m glad that I made the right choice and didn’t follow through with that”.
Dustin finished school and decided to travel over to Australia where he dabbled into some construction work and then design study. He was trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his future and the ‘gym dream’ was an idea that quickly evaporated.
Eventually, Dustin moved back to Wellington, NZ where he ran into an old childhood friend who invited him to come and train. At the time, Dustin was recovering from a motorbike accident so the idea of weight training was perfect. They spent a lot of time training together, going down the bodybuilding path. One day his friend said to him, “I want to do a personal training course” and he (the friend) actually brought the application to Dustin’s house (where he later forgot it).
Time had passed and Dustin was keen to commit to the personal training course. One day Dustin filled out that ‘forgotten about’ application that his friend had left and he turned it in. At that very moment, when Dustin signed those papers, the stars were aligned. He remembers thinking, “man, I am REALLY doing what I am SUPPOSED to be doing and if I am going to be succeeding at anything, it is going to be what I love”.
And just like that, he never looked back. Dustin completed the Diploma in Exercise Science during which he received an offer to work whilst still completing his studies.
Working as a contractor, Dustin built his personal training business up to 30 clients per week. He was working at one of the best commercial gyms in the city and he trained people from all walks of life: corporates and homemakers to rep athletes. “That gym had a really cool vibe, and included the highest qualified trainers, latest equipment and up-skilling of leaders in the industry; everyone was there because it was their passion - it was the perfect environment for me”.
Client achievement was the purpose in which Dustin thrived. “Having clients write me letters on how their lives have changed or helping several people reach ‘national representative level sport’, all aligned with my purpose”, says Dustin. However, his biggest achievement (prior to Maia CrossFit) was actually the friends he had made as a professional coach. “Some of my clients and coworkers became my greatest friends… At my wedding, a co-worker was my groomsman and a client gave a speech”.
When Dustin first met his wife, Erana, they would frequently workout together at the gym. One day Erana was burning rubber on the treadmill and Dustin wanted to give it a go too, “I remember after five minutes I couldn’t hold the speed that she was at and that was a massive light bulb for me”.
At the time, Dustin trained for an hour and a half a day but began to wonder if what he was doing was actually achieving fitness. Dustin says, “I could lift heavy stuff but I just wasn’t that fit, so that was a real good learner for me”. He began to focus his attention towards having a more ‘well rounded fitness’, which led him to start circuit training, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and CrossFit.
Around Dustin’s late 20’s he became obsessed with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, sometimes training twice a day. He eventually qualified for the “Abu Dhabi World Pro” (one of the biggest competitions) and wanted to continue his fitness training on the side. Dustin received a sponsorship from a local CrossFit gym and instantly noticed results that paid off on the mats. He came back to Wellington, NZ and wanted to continue practicing CrossFit.
The Heart of Maia CrossFit
His brother, Joel (who lived in Christchurch at the time), came to visit Wellington for a weekend. They caught up and chatted about CrossFit. After a few WODS, many meetings and mountain treks, Maia CrossFit officially opened its doors in 2012.
Maia, is named after Dustin’s first daughter which means bravery & courage. From the inception, Dustin and Joel wanted a people-driven business. “We wanted to create a space where everyday people would feel comfortable to train. Interestingly, at the time, there was a massive push for the ‘competitive side’ of CrossFit. It was a trend to train at gyms that were specifically using CrossFit as a sport”.
When it comes to the type of gym and vibe they wanted, Dustin says, “we knew the kind of people we wanted to help and it was people who were seeking fitness”. Although some of Maia’s members want to compete - it doesn’t make up the majority of the gym.
Dustin really enjoys coaching competitive athletes but the biggest reward is getting to coach everyday people toward their fitness goals. The people who have a harder obstacle to overcome generally are the ones who have a more rewarding result. “People that don’t have all the opportunity or genetic potential to be the ‘best in the world’, but they are really committed ... those are the types of people (and attitudes) that Maia CrossFit likes to support”, says Dustin.
Maia CrossFit is known for its culture and supportive community. “We have a really cool bunch of people down at Maia which is always inspiring to me. You get to know the 'working professional' that has a family. These are the real heros”, says Dustin.
Dustin understands that life has challenges but believes everyone has potential. “It’s so easy to use life situations as an excuse to not seek your ‘best self’ but the people at Maia, as I like to say, they walk the red road (the path less travelled)”.