West Coast Update With Eric Broser - George Thibault
By Eric Broser I am so happy and excited to bring to GASP my latest “WEST COAST UPDATE” with my good friend, and IFBB Master’s Classic Physique pro, George Thibault. He and I met at Gold’s Gym, Venice and struck an immediate friendship, as he is just one of those people that is always smiling and offering kind words to everyone. I watched him compete in many shows, and always in amazing shape - but at age 53 he put it all together and earned pro status at the 2019 NPC Team Universe. ERIC: Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you starting lifting weights and what got you into the activity? GEORGE: I first started lifting weights when I was only about 10 years old. My mother signed me up for boxing classes at the YMCA and while there I noticed they had a weight room. When I saw what the guys looked like who were lifting, I knew that is something I wanted to do. ERIC: Did you want to want to compete from the outset, or did that goal come later on GEORGE: Yes, I wanted to compete right away! I think I was only about 15 years old when I did my first contest. ERIC: What was your first show, how did it go? Did anyone help you prepare? GEORGE: My first show was the teenage Los Angeles and I had no clue what I was doing! I was pretty much on my own with no mentor or coach. I had no idea how to diet and did not know I was supposed to do cardio to lose fat. As I remember there were only 5 of us up there and I got dead last. ERIC: How many shows have you done in your career approximately? Does any particular show or shows, and/or victories stand out? GEORGE: Honestly, I have no idea how many shows I have done – although I have certainly done a lot. I have actually taken many breaks from competition during the years, but always got the bug to come back. Obviously the show where I achieved pro status (the 2019 NPC Team Universe) stands out the most. One of these days I plan to dig out all of my trophies and take a photo of them all. ERIC: How did it feel to finally achieve that IFBB pro card? GEORGE: When I heard my name called and knew I was finally a pro it was an incredible relief. I literally felt the weight lifted from my shoulders. ERIC: Was it just a crazy experience to step onstage as a pro? GEORGE: My first pro show was a great experience because I did it with both of my training partners, so we had a blast. I entered knowing I’d be much older than everybody else, but had the goal of looking my personal best and beating some of the younger guys – and I did! ERIC: You are a personal trainer and will also sometimes coach other athletes. What are the main things you try to teach your students about training and the sport? GEORGE: Yes I make my living as a personal trainer/coach and I love every minute of it. The main thing I try to teach my students is to always have fun and to always consider their health first. I tell them that if they are not enjoying it and loving it, they should not be doing it. ERIC: Which bodybuilders have always inspired you? Who do you think was the best Mr. Olympia of all time? GEORGE: This is a tough one for me as there are so many greats in the sport. However, if I had to choose, I would say Lee Labrada because he physique was incredible from every angle and at the same time looks “attainable.” When it comes to the best Mr. Olympia that would be either Ronnie Coleman or Lee Haney. ERIC: You and I met at “The Mecca of Bodybuilding,” Gold’s Gym, Venice. You trained there long before I did. Who are some of the big names you have gotten to train with over the years? GEORGE: Yes, we did meet at “The Mecca,” which was filled with so many awesome people and bodybuilders. Actually, I never really trained with many of the really big-name pros, although I was friendly with all of them. Some gave me tips as I moved along in the sport, and sometimes we had lunch at the Firehouse – which was always fun. I did once do a little arm training with Dexter Jackson and of course I trained along with you and Silvio Samuel a couple of times. Even though I never did a workout with them, it was amazing to watch guys like Flex Wheeler and Chris Cormier train with Charles and get ready for their biggest shows. ERIC: You have been in this sport for a long time, both training and competing, and in your 50’s you keep improving. What do you owe your longevity to? GEORGE: Just as I stress “health first” with my clients, I also apply that to myself, which has kept me in the sport for all this time. Although I treat bodybuilding extremely seriously I do not take any stupid risks or push any aspect of the prep for shows too far. I also never train with crazy weights or use sloppy form so as to keep injuries at bay and my joints intact. ERIC: What are your goals moving forward? Will you continue competing, or are you winding your career down? GEORGE: Yes I am slowly winding my career down. I’m tired brother! I am most likely going to do one or two more shows in 2021 and then hang up the posing trunks. Of course I will always be a bodybuilder and always stay in top shape – that never stops! ERIC: George, you truly are one of my favorite people. You are my brother in iron. You always have kind words for everyone and act as a cheerleader for all other bodybuilders. And for that, I thank you. Anyone you wish to thank for contributing to your success? GEORGE: Thanks Eric. Yeah, you are right in that I try to always encourage everyone, and I am willing to help in any way I can. I think it is important we support each other in this sport, and recognize the hard work, discipline and sacrifice of everyone in the gym. Just by telling someone how good they look can give them a huge boost, and everyone needs that now and again. As for who to thank, that would have to be my mother. She brought me to the YMCA to keep me out of trouble, which is where my fire for the sport was lit. Of course I must also thank my wife, Connie, who has always supported me through everything. ERIC: Wow, that was awesome my friend. You are one of a kind and a true gentleman. And in fact, you may have inspired me to go after my pro card as well!