DARIEN, Conn. -- After serving in the Polish military for 15 years, Jacek "Jack" Stryjewski decided to trade in his camouflage jacket and boots for shorts and running shoes. In 2005, Stryjewski joined the Darien YMCA as a personal trainer, looking to help Fairfield County achieve their fitness goals.
In 2001, Stryjewski moved to the United States in search of a career that allowed him to stay active after his military service ended. "When I first came to the Darien YMCA, I wanted to do what I really liked, so I became a lifeguard," said Stryjewski, who grew up near a lake and always loved the water. "Once I learned of all the other great fitness programs the YMCA offered, I wanted to get involved with them as well."
After he joining the Y staff as a lifeguard and swim instructor, Stryjewski eventually earned certifications to become a massage therapist and cancer exercise specialist. The accreditations allowed him to help cancer patients lead an active and healthy lifestyle. Stryjewski is an integral part of the "Revive Team" at the Darien YMCA, which is a three-month health and fitness program designed to help cancer patients physically transition from treatment to day-to-day living.
"Three years ago, I was offered the opportunity to become an instructor for people going through cancer treatment," said Stryjewski " It is a great opportunity for me to help those going through a difficult time, and we're able to help them return to an active life."
In his personal training, Stryjewski's workout regime hasn't skipped a beat. Since coming to America, he's remained an active triathlete and participated in the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship in Lake Placid, N.Y. This firsthand experience is pushing his body to the limits has helped Stryjewski become the Y's go-to trainer for triathletes.
"I like to train IRONMAN athletes and triathletes because I know how painful preparation can be," said Stryjewski. "The Darien YMCA has been great in helping me earn the necessary certifications that have allowed me to work with these amazing athletes."
For more information on the Darien YMCA's trainers, programs or membership opportunity, visit their website.