2014-08-08 / People

Passion for fitness leads to new business

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer


Chris Gilman lifts tires above his head at a Strongman competition in Vermont last year. Gilman qualified last weekend at the Granite State Strongman Competition in New Hampshire for the national competition next month in Kentucky. Gilman recently moved to Arundel with his wife, Heather. 
(Courtesy photo) Chris Gilman lifts tires above his head at a Strongman competition in Vermont last year. Gilman qualified last weekend at the Granite State Strongman Competition in New Hampshire for the national competition next month in Kentucky. Gilman recently moved to Arundel with his wife, Heather. (Courtesy photo) ARUNDEL — Most people would likely choose to combine their career with a favorite hobby. Chris Gilman, qualifier for the North American Strongman competition, is doing just that.

Gilman and his wife, Heather, moved to Arundel from Boston in February and both have careers in structural engineering. However, Heather is also a certified yoga instructor, and Gilman is a former national and collegiate rugby player and avid strongman competitor. Both are working to get their local chapter of Forge Fitness off the ground and running.

“I’ve always been interested in what the mind can do,” Gilman said. “The mind creates the body, so if you can push yourself beyond certain known limits in your mind, then you can actually create that for your body.”


Heather and Chris Gilman pose at a Strongman competition in New Hampshire. Chris Gilman has been competing in Strongman for three years. The two moved to Arundel earlier this year and plan to open a local chapter of Forge Fitness, which will provide nutrition guidance to clients, as well as yoga and meditation classes and exercise regiments. 
(Courtesy photo) Heather and Chris Gilman pose at a Strongman competition in New Hampshire. Chris Gilman has been competing in Strongman for three years. The two moved to Arundel earlier this year and plan to open a local chapter of Forge Fitness, which will provide nutrition guidance to clients, as well as yoga and meditation classes and exercise regiments. (Courtesy photo) Forge Fitness is a multi-faceted entity, Gilman said. He and his wife plan to cover all the bases to a healthy lifestyle: exercise (personal training), mediation, motivational speaking and, most importantly, nutrition.

“You can be old, young, sick – it doesn’t matter who you are, you have to eat, but exercise comes and goes depending on where you’re at,” Gilman said.

Regardless if someone is competing in a strength event, running or just concerned with being healthy, nutrition is the most important factor, Gilman said. “You can lift all day, but if you eat poorly it’s not doing you any good.”

Gilman, 30, stands at 6 feet, 1 inch and weighs 240 pounds. When he initially became active and underwent a body transformation, he shed 100 pounds of fat and gained 60 pounds of muscle. He played college rugby as an undergrad at the University of Vermont, as well as after college on a national team.

A few years out of college, however, Gilman realized that rugby might not be the best form of exercise.

“There are only so many times you can go into work in a suit with two black eyes,” he said.

Preferring team sports and being in competition, Gilman began searching for the next thing.

“I wanted to be in something that was a close kinship with rugby, with a competitive edge.”

Power lifting wasn’t dynamic enough, Gilman said, so he began setting his own body-building goals. In the journey to reach his own goal, Gilman subscribed to the tenets he hopes to pass on to future clients: training is about adhering to a good diet and mentally preparing for it.

“I hit my body-building goal, and the next most challenging thing I could think of was a strength competition,” Gilman, said, who began competing in Strongman competitions three years ago. “When I got into Strongman, it was different because they’re more formal events,” Gilman said.

The competitions also come with a certain level of camaraderie among those competing, due to small weight classes.

Gilman competes in the under 231 pounds men’s lightweight class. At last Saturday’s Granite State Strongman competition in Hampton, New Hampshire, Gilman competed alongside 11 others in his weight class.

A Strongman competition consists of five events that include car lifting, flipping 400-pound atlas stones, and tossing 250-pound kegs over a bar. Gilman, who placed second in his weight class, qualified for the national competition, which takes place in early September in Kentucky. Gilman has qualified several times, but has yet to compete because of scheduling conflicts.

To prepare for a Strongman, it’s best to actually get the competition equipment, Gilman said.

“I have a very extensive home gym,” he said. “I have kegs, atlas stones and things like that that I can lift.”

Because he’s new to the area, his home gym is still being built. For example, he just met someone in town who has agreed to give him a 700-pound tire for training.

Gilman is uncertain whether he will compete at nationals this year. One thing is certain, though: he will pass on the standards he holds himself to in competition to his future clients at Forge Fitness.

“Any sort of extreme sport requires mental fortitude,” Gilman said. “Part of our (businesses’) big message is start with the mind, get yourself ready, and then move in to take the actions you need to take.”

He said the motto of Forge Fitness sums it up: Stronger mind, stronger body.

For more information about Forge Fitness, contact Gilman at forge.fitness.llc@gmail.com, call 205-5151, or visit www.strongermindstrongerbody.com.

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