Ryan Szpak

Member of the Month: Ryan Szpak


Ryan Szpak 




Huntley, Illinois.

Member Since:

January 14th, 2019.


What was your athletic background, if any?

No athletic background.

What led you to Crossfit and CFA specifically? 

Back in January Ashley Hresko reached out to me and several other friends of ours to see if we had any interest in participating in a research study Kate was conducting. If we were interested, we were asked to participate in 3 CrossFit classes a week for 6 weeks while also providing lab samples to track any changes within our body throughout the 6 weeks.

So... basically, if it wasn’t for Ashley reaching out to me or for Kate’s research study I probably would’ve never tried CrossFit or be apart of the CFA community :) 

What do you do when you're not at CFA?

When I’m not a CFA, I’m usually doing something with my friends or watching TV. I really enjoy the outdoors and the lakes.

When did you realize that CrossFit is right for you?

I’d say probably when I was halfway through Kate’s 6-week research study, that’s when I realized CrossFit and CFA was right for me.

Do you remember your first WOD?

I do not, but I’m sure it involved burpees… Actually, I think it involved overhead squats too.

What movement do you despise over everything and why? 

Burpees 100% … they’re just so boring!

What has been your all-time favorite moment at CFA?  

I’ve really enjoyed the in-house competitions! My favorite in-house competition so far was the hot wings one. Also just being given the opportunity to meet new people and diversify my friend group at CFA is something I’m very grateful for as well.

What motivates you during a tough workout?

I think the big thing that motivates me during a tough workout is knowing I’m not alone during it. Everyone else is struggling through it just in their own different ways.

What are your goals going forward and what do you think will help you achieve them? 

Learning how to properly do a kipping pull-up, bar muscle-up, and continuing to get stronger and build muscle.


What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health, and fitness or just day to day life since starting CrossFit (before/after?) 

I’ve lost about 40 pounds since I started CrossFit back in January. I’ve also experienced the importance of eating healthy and how it benefits you not only during your workouts but during your entire day as well. When I started CrossFit I was barely able to squat my own bodyweight too, wow has that changed. 

What would you recommend to someone who is just starting out with CrossFit or is too afraid to try it? 

If you’re hesitant to try CrossFit I would say take a step out of your comfort zone and try it! If you end up not liking it that’s fine, but you’ll never know unless you try it! Don’t let anyone’s preconceived notion of CrossFit stop you from trying it. 

For those that are just starting out, I think it’s important to know that you’ll have good days and you’ll have bad days. CrossFit is very humbling and what you may think is the easiest workout could very well end up being the hardest workout. It’s important to fight through these times and to keep your mind on your overall end goal. 


If you could have one skill or characteristic of another member at CFA what and from whom would it be? Or which other CFA member are you the most motivated by?

For one, I wish I could do a bar muscle-up… I know that will come in time. When that time does come I hope they’re as good as Dylan’s or Josh S.… it literally looks like they’re floating when they do them. I hope my kipping comes along and is as good as Kaitlin’s as well!

As for someone that motivates me? In theory, everyone at CFA motivates me in different ways. However, if I had to pick someone… aside from Josh and Kate, I would have to say Ted along with the Tuesday morning 5 am class.

Quick Questions

Favorite Cheat Meal: Tacos, Reeses, Miller Lite

Favorite workout song: Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail by A Day To Remember 

Favorite place you have traveled: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Favorite Tv Show: Rick and Morty    

Favorite CrossFit Athlete (if any): None at the moment.

Coach's comment:

The amount of improvement, in both health and fitness, that Ryan has seen this past year is tremendous. From where he started with us in January 2019, we have seen a huge increase in his self confidence. He has gotten stronger, leaner, and a lot more flexible. His consistency in the gym is what we love to see from our members and it has really paid off. Keep up the hard work, Ryan!
- Coach Kate

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