Member Spotlight: Meet Derek Oryniak
Meet Derek. Derek has been a member of Starke since January 2018. He started in a “New Year New You” challenge we put on. The challenge stopped and Derek did not.
Watching Derek grow as an athlete over the past year has been amazing. He pushes himself in class, he works on weaknesses, and he works to the best of his ability every chance he gets.
To see Derek challenging himself and being as consistent as he is with his rigorous schedule in Dental College, we thought this young man was a perfect Member Spotlight…
Starke: I heard you used to give Caden a hard time about CrossFit. Is this true and why is that?
Derek: I don’t remember if I even directly gave Caden a hard time but I don’t doubt it could be true. I wouldn’t say I ever had a negative view of Crossfit but when I first started to learn about it I definitely did not have a full understanding of what it was. Like many people, I had heard some common misconceptions about Crossfit, mainly that it puts you at high risk of injury (something I have learned it completely false when you have proper coaches like those at our gym). I would say I might have doubted the intensity of Crossfit, and had not had enough exposure to know what types of people it attracted. However, as I learned more (mainly through Netflix documentaries) I began to see what the sport was really about. Then when I saw the results Caden had achieved over the years I knew I had to give it a try. To me, CrossFit isn’t really about getting ripped to look good at the beach but that definitely isn’t a bad side effect.
Starke: What have you learned about yourself by doing CrossFit?
Derek: I have always been a super competitive person and Crossfit has given me the perfect outlet to express that. As I aged out of many competitive junior sports I was looking for something to keep me engaged in a competitive way. To me, going to a CrossFit class is like having a sports game every night of the week. I get a chance to push myself every time I come in. At first, I would try to compete against others in the class but since have learned how to push and challenge myself on an internal level. I think one of the more positive aspects of my life that have developed since starting Crossfit is that I am actually less competitive in everyday situations. Having the gym as an outlet allows me to be more relaxed and easy going in other aspects of my life.
Starke: Recently you competed in your first CrossFit competition. What would you suggest to someone doing their first “competition” and putting themselves out there?
Derek: My first competition was a great experience. Having an awesome partner like Colten made it especially enjoyable. While I expected to be physically exhausted by the end I was not prepared for the mental toll the event would have on me. I don’t think I have ever been so drained emotionally from a sporting event. My advice to anyone thinking about doing a competition would just be to sign up for one as soon as possible. You’re never going to be “ready” for a Crossfit competition. When Colton and I signed up for the comp there were still required movements for our level that we couldn’t do. The extra motivation helped make going to the gym even that much more enjoyable. From my experience, the Crossfit community is extremely supportive and inclusive. Going to competition and being with other people passionate about fitness will only elevate someones motivation and self-esteem.
Starke: You’re a crazy busy guy going through Dental college and we still see you in the gym almost every day. How do you keep it all together?
Derek: School is extremely important to me and I have invested a lot to be where I am. In my program we do have a pretty insane workload and with that comes some pretty high-stress levels. I have found the gym to be the perfect outlet for me to help reduce that stress. I decided pretty early on in my program that I needing to stay active but wasn’t able to motivate myself in a normal gym setting. When I started doing Crossfit not only was able to maintain my physical well-being but my mental health improved dramatically. A challenging work out makes me forget everything going on outside of the gym and my brain gets a chance to just shut down and focus on nothing but the movements (it’s pretty hard to think about your upcoming exams when you can hardly remember how to breathe halfway through a class). By realizing the benefits Crossfit was providing my physical and mental health I was able to make it a priority in my life. Just like I need to plan to spend a certain number of hours a week studying now I plan to spend a certain number of hours at the gym. By thinking about it like this, working out isn’t a chore, its a key part of my life that I need to make time for.
Starke: What words of wisdom would you give someone starting CrossFit?
Derek: The only words of wisdom I have for something thinking of wanting to try Crossfit would be don’t be afraid. Crossfit is an incredibly welcoming environment and something anyone is capable of being part of. If you aren’t sure, come watch and class and talk to some people after. The level of camaraderie and the diversity of individuals at the gym make it a pretty special place.