Strong as a Mother. Lauren Bradshaw Athlete of the Month

Each month we bring you the stories of some amazing athletes in the Middletown, NJ area. Many of these athletes are moms! And this month we are featuring one of those strong moms.

Moms – on their own – are superhuman in their own right. CrossFit moms take it to a whole ‘nother level – they are willing to push past barriers, insecurities, and weaknesses, they bear it all out on the floor to show the rest of us that CrossFit moms are certainly STRONG AS A MOTHER.

Meet Lauren, new mother of Baby Bill. Lauren and her husband, Bill have been a part of the Salus family for many years as a drop-in but have been coming full time since 2020. Whether attacking Murph in the Sports Complex Parking lot, grinding through the cold winter days in the barn, or helping us move locations (preggers), she always arrives with a radiant smile, contagious laugh and inspirational grit. Lauren absolutely deserves to be featured.

Congratulations Lauren! Meet our January 2022 Athlete of the Month!


1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I started Salus originally as a drop in back in 2017 for holiday weekends (when I was still living in NYC) and then joined full time in 2020. I chose Salus because I loved the coaches’ focus on technique and individual attention that was able to be given in class. Also- the coaches and members always made me feel right at home, even though I was only there a few times a year.

2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

My performance clearly had to be altered when I became pregnant last January however, it had enabled me to focus more on technique and safe movements, rather than hitting PR’s.

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

Before CrossFit, I don’t think I could even do 1 pull up. Now pull-ups are one of my best movements!

4. How has your body physically changed since you started?

When I started at Salus, I was in my best shape and then my body went through major changes becoming pregnant last January!

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

Being a part of Salus has helped me mentally get through my pregnancy and post-baby journey. It was very hard to go from being at your strongest, to training while pregnant and then building back even basic movements after my C-section.

I can’t say enough how much the support of the members and coaches at Salus have helped me in my journey.

From cheering me on with my huge belly to encouraging me to take it one step at a time post baby, the community has kept me motivated and mentally stronger.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

Salus is a community that makes you feel welcome, encouraged, motivated and included, all while receiving top of the line coaching from the staff.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

My motivation comes from achieving goals. Even though the goals have shifted throughout the years, the motivation from achieving those goals makes me keep coming back. Nothing like the feeling of hitting a PR!!

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

My favorite lift is definitely the clean and jerk and my favorite WOD is the hero WOD “Bradshaw!”

9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

CrossFit can feel intimidating at first but give it at least a month of classes to see how you feel about joining. Once you start seeing the results and having fun in class, you won’t want to stop!

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

My next goal is to hit my pre-pregnancy lifts!

11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

It would be something like;
20 min AMRAP:
250m row
9 Pull-ups
3 heavy clean and jerks

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Honestly, my favorite thing is CrossFit/working out with my husband. CrossFit is where we met so it is something that we always enjoy doing together!

13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

My favorite healthy dish is grilled chicken and roasted broccoli…yummm!! There are so many splurge meals to choose from but I would have to say that pizza is my favorite!

14. If you could be a animal what would you be and why?

I would be a dog! Sounds cheesy, but I do enjoy putting a smile on people’s faces so I feel like as a dog I would be able to always do that! You can’t not smile at a happy dog wagging their tail at you!

15. Favorite motivational quote?

Years ago, one of my old bosses had said “Don’t think about how you can’t do something. Think about how you CAN do something” I always think of that saying because it changes my mindset going into tough situations or WOD’s.

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I am ambidextrous! I write with my left hand but I can do a lot with my right hand!

Margaret Casagrande: Athlete of the Month December 2021

We’re excited to introduce our December Athlete of the month: Margaret. Margaret started just over a year ago – in the middle of lockdowns. Immediately we were inspired by her quiet determination and dedication. Whether that was consistently showing up in the middle of winter or grinding through a tough workout, Margaret has the grit we all aspire to have.

Congratulations Margaret! Meet our December 2021 Athlete of the Month!


1. When and why did you start at Salus?

October 2020. Salus saved me from boring home workouts in the lockdown. And, I had little experience with weight lifting and was interested to try it.

2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

My back and legs are stronger and that helps with carrying a backpack while hiking.

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

I’ve gotten better at overhead squats and maybe pull-ups might be possible.
And, I like running more.

4. How has your body physically changed since you started?

No aches or stiffness. Maybe working muscles hard is the cure.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

I have more energy.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

Intense, but a workout where you can get strength, cardio, and stretching all in one. And inspiring, helpful coaches and fellow athletes make it exciting.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue? What’s your “why”?

I was so impressed with the everyone’s abilities in the outdoor 9:30 class when I started. Especially the women who can lift so much weight gracefully.

Good form is so important and I’m hoping to achieve that and lift heavier weight.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

I like the long WODs like Murph and the 12 days of Christmas.

9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

While it’s a group class, you always get personal attention from the coaches. They are always watching and making sure you have good form.

And, there are different levels of the WODs, so you can build up to harder workouts.

It’s a fun, friendly environment and you’ll feel great after!

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Pull ups-at least a few at a time.

11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

Something with squats, push ups, running.

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Hike!

13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

Anything vegetable.

Pizza with lots of toppings.

14. If you could be an animal what would you be and why?

Mountain goat. It would be fun to run up mountains with little effort.

15. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I have hiked 7 of the 8 Northeast hardest day hikes. 25-51 miles, 6,000-9,000 elevation gain.

Hoping to complete #8 this summer!

Gina Brownfeld: Athlete of the Month November 2021

Over the years, we’ve witnessed Gina gain strength to not only handle more weight in the workouts, but also in her confidence. Whether that’s strength to get upside down in a handstand or strength to be an active grandma, her determination to make some serious changes has paid off! In addition, she’s won multiple nutrition challenges and has lost 30 pounds in the process (scroll down to see her transformation!)

Congratulations to Gina, our November 2021 Athlete of the Month! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful journey with us. You have worked so hard to get where you are today and should be proud. We are sure proud of you!!


1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I joined in July 2017 because I wanted to make changes in my body.

But, it was also because of listening to Scott and Meg talking about the WODs every night at dinner!

2.  How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

I have gotten stronger and fine-tuned some movements, but I have a long way to go.

Getting stronger from CrossFit has helped my yoga practice. I can get deeper into postures and hold them longer.

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

I can finally do a few dubs. It took forever but I can sometimes string 4-5 together.

My biggest accomplishment is getting handstand push ups, with a riser but still big for me. When I started I was afraid to even go upside down.

Next are pull ups!!!

4. How has your body physically changed since you started?

I have lost 30 pounds and gained muscle.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

I have always been an all or nothing kind of person, which was challenging when it came to nutrition. Doing the WODs and working with Angela on nutrition has brought so much balance into my life.

I have a healthy relationship with food as fuel now, and I sleep better.

When I am doing CrossFit I can’t think of anything else which helps tremendously with my stress level.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

I explain it as an hour a day to work really hard surrounded by friends who are cheering so hard for you.

 And as a side note you get into really good shape.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue? What’s your “why”?

It’s my sanity! Spending time with great friends that feel like family and staying strong as I age.

I am a grandma and I’m stronger than I ever have been in my life thanks to Salus!

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

I love overhead squats. I also love the ski erg, and bear crawls since I beat Scott doing them last time! I don’t get to be faster than anyone very often.

9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

Give it a chance, be patient.

Modify when you need to.

You have a room full of people pulling for you!

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Pull ups!!!

11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

21, 15, 9
Calories on ski erg
OHS
Strict sit ups

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Spend time with all our kids and grandson!

13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

Favorite healthy dish would be salmon with everything seasoning, steamed sweet potato and roasted broccoli.
Splurge would be Brooklyn focaccia pizza!

14. If you could be an animal what would you be and why?

I would say a hummingbird, the way they flutter their wings so quickly back and forth keeps them in one place in the present moment, an area I’m working on in my life!

via GIPHY

15. Favorite motivational quote?

May your day be full of magic and may you not be too busy to see it.

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I am a 500 hour yoga teacher and a Reiki Master Teacher🙏🏼

Gina Transformation

❝I began working with Angela because I wanted to lose weight and get toned. ɪ ɢᴏᴛ ꜱᴏ ᴍᴜᴄʜ ᴍᴏʀᴇ. I have learned that food is fuel to nourish my body. I’ve learned how to bring balance into my body by balancing macros, which then brought balance into so many other areas of my life. ❞
❝One of the biggest lessons I learned is that I cannot be perfect all the time, when I decide to splurge a bit it doesn’t have to mean a downward spiral. I can decide not to feel guilt and just get back on track with my next meal. Angela has always been available to help me navigate my nutrition and my workouts and so much more. 𝘐𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘨𝘪𝘧𝘵 𝘐 𝘨𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘺𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧.❞

Kaitlyn Mare Athlete of the Month October 2021

Kaitlyn Mare Athlete of the Month

In just under a year Kaitlyn has made some serious strides on the platform and in the kitchen. Through CrossFit, Barbell club and Nutrition Coaching, Kaitlyn has not only gotten stronger, but has transformed her mind and body along the way.

Congratulations to Kaitlyn, our October 2021 Athlete of the Month!


1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I started in January 2021. I had always had an interest in CrossFit, but in December 2020 I started a new job and moved to the area. I thought CrossFit would be the perfect opportunity to meet new people as well as exercise and challenge myself.

2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

I am able to do exercises that I wasn’t able to in the beginning. I also run half marathons and I have seen a significant change in my pace.

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

When I first started I couldn’t even hold on to the bar for more than a few seconds, now I can do assisted pull-ups and my goal is one day to do an unassisted pull-up.

4. How has your body physically changed since you started?

I have seen a significant drop in body fat and I’m starting to see some baby biceps show.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

I have a different and more positive mindset. CrossFit has taught me that there are no limits.

I am also able to focus better at work and I’m able to sleep better at night.

I have much more confidence overall.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

The best hour of my day – it’s my time to think about nothing but challenging myself, but also getting to spend time with inspirational people (and laugh at the crazy things Gino says at 6am).

7. What keeps you motivated to continue? What’s your “why”?

I continue to be motivated by seeing the changes in my body as well as the shift in my mindset.

The cheers from fellow CrossFitters and coaches are also a great motivation.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

Squat cleans

9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

Just try! You never know how strong you are and how much you can do until you try.

Kaitlyn Mare Weightlifting NJ

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

An unassisted pull-up is my long term goal, but I would like to RX as many WODs as I can.

11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

600m run
21 cleans
21 sit ups
21 pull ups
400m run
15 cleans
15 sit ups
15 pull ups
200m run
9 cleans
9 sit ups
9 pull ups

Running, cleans, and situps are my favorite exercises, but I have to include pull ups since they are difficult for me.

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Other than CrossFit or exercising, my favorite thing to do is take my dog for walks on the beach or read.

13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

My favorite healthy dish is anything that involves salmon or some sort of seafood.

My favorite splurge meal would be pizza from my favorite pizza shop.

14. If you could be an animal what would you be and why?

I would be an octopus; I think they are fascinating. They are extremely intelligent and highly adaptive.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“Only you can stop you.”

It’s more than just exercising or CrossFit, it’s the mindset that nothing is impossible.

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I love all things steampunk!

Brady & JT, Teen Athletes of the Month September 2021

athletes of the month middletown nj

Meet Brady & JT. They both started in our CrossFit Kids class back in 2018, and have now advanced to our CrossFit Teens class and are absolutely killing it!

These boys have become such well-rounded athletes and have experienced the benefits beyond the box. Brady shares, “It has made me more mentally focused.” And when asked about what keeps him motivated to continue, JT said, “Staying healthy and getting to workout with friends.”

We couldn’t agree more! Working out with friends is definitely much more motivating!

Congratulations to these strong teens: Brady & JT.


Please meet the September 2021 Athletes of the Month: Brady & JT

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

Brady– I started at Salus in June of 2018. I wanted a new workout experience.

JT– I started at Salus in 2018. I wasn’t interested in typical sports so my mom thought I should try CrossFit to get exercise.

2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

Brady– When I started CrossFit I could barely lift 25 pounds. Now I can lift 25 pounds and even heavier weights.

JT– I have gotten much better at doing all of the exercises.

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

Brady– I could not do deadlifts when I started and now I can lift my body weight.

4. How have you changed since you started?

Brady– I have become a lot stronger and have more endurance.  And, it has made me more mentally focused.

JT– I have gotten stronger. It’s made me healthier by having exercise as a regular part of my week.

5. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

Brady– A place where you can put your strength to the test and you will be cheered on.

JT– It helps you to get better and stronger at certain exercises.

6. What keeps you motivated to continue?

Brady– The thing that keeps me motivated is I want to get stronger every day.

JT– Staying healthy and getting to workout with friends.

7. Favorite exercise or WOD?

Brady– Deadlifts

JT– Murphy

8. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

Brady– I would tell them to take it slow.

JT– It gets easier the more you do it.

9. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Brady– 15 minute AMRAP:  15 kettle bell swings; 10 deadlifts; 200 m row.

JT– Double unders

10. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

Brady– Healthy dish is fruit salad and splurge meal is tacos!

JT– Meatballs and pizza

11. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Brady– Play my Xbox with my friends.

JT– Video games

12. If you could be a superhero/animal who/what would you be and why?

Brady– I would be Iron Man because he is not only strong but very smart.

JT– I would be a lion because they are strong.

13. Favorite motivational/Inspirational quote?

Brady– “Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you.”

14. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

BradyI love playing tennis.

JT– I have a big family with 20 cousins and I collect retro video games.

Richard Crocker Athlete of the Month August 2021

Like so many of us this past year (plus), finding a place we can go to escape the worries of the day, relieve some stress and connect with other like-minded people has been so important. Although Rich joined the Salus community this past April, he was getting involved at home with is wife. In his words, “It got my mind off of what was going on in the world even if it was just for an hour.”

Congratulations Rich, you are an inspiration and we love having as part of the community.


Please meet the August 2021 Athlete of the Month: Rich Crocker

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I started Salus in the beginning of April. During COVID, I was doing the WODs with Cherie (my wife) and I really enjoyed our workouts together.

It got my mind off of what was going on in the world even if it was just for an hour.

2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

I have given myself the award of “Most Improved Athlete.”

My first couple weeks were really tough on me, but I could see the progression each week. In the beginning I was taking breaks in what seemed to be every minute but now my endurance is off the charts from where I started.

I find myself finishing off the workouts stronger everyday.

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

It took me a while but I’m finally able to do cleans, snatches and get on the wall for handstand push-ups.

4. How has your body physically changed since you started?

I feel fitter overall. My arms are more defined and abs are starting to show.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

This has been the biggest benefit of Salus. It starts with falling asleep quicker and sleeping straight through the night.

My mood has been great in the morning, which sets the tone for the day.

I feel that I’m not overwhelmed and I’m taking care of one task at a time instead of overwhelming myself with all the things I have to do for the day.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

“The best hour of my day!”

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

The physical changes are always great, but it’s seeing Coach Gino and the group I get to workout with everyday.

It’s a mentality that we are all in this together while trying to push our body’s to the limit. I just love completing the WODs and seeing the improvement on my time or lifts each week.

8. Favorite WOD?

Any WOD that involves a run/rower into a lift.

9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

Everyone started where you are today. And remember that everyone is here to motivate and help.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

I have two goals:

Handstand Push-ups and Kipping Pull-ups.

11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

3 rounds for time
500 meter row
10 deadlifts
15 box jumps
20 push-ups

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Besides CrossFit? Movie nights with my wife and kids.

13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

Lean steak and broccolini.

Splurge: Burger and fries.

14. If you could be a superhero, who would you be and why?

Superman because he can do anything.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullsh*t story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” – Jordan Belfort

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I sold storage units for Manhattan Mini Storage, Cable TV for RCN NY and garments that prevent blood clots for CTC before I got into the Restaurant business.

Yuliya Lee Athlete of the Month July 2021

Like many of the moms who do CrossFit at Salus in Middletown, NJ, Yuliya was on a mission to get back in shape after having her second child. Drawn to the challenging environment, welcoming community, and mood-boosting endorphins, she decided to join. Within just four months of doing CrossFit and Nutrition Coaching, she has already lost over 30 pounds and is strong enough to carry 2 kids to and from the beach with ease.

Congratulations to this strong mamma. Yuliya, you are an inspiration and we love having as part of the community.


Please meet the July 2021 Athlete of the Month: Yuliya Lee

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

April 1st, 2021.

I’ve made a bet with my hubby who will get 6 pack abs first. 😝 Just kidding. We actually did make a bet in January 2020, but then 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant. So after the birth of my youngest, I really wanted to get back in shape. I started to Google “tough workout,” because I knew myself, Pilates and yoga are not my cup of tea (of course there is nothing wrong with those) I just needed to get results ASAP. So, I decided to try Martial arts and CrossFit at Salus.

After trying both, it was an easy choice.

CrossFit was exactly what I needed. And I never regret my decision.

2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

Tremendously.

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

Well, you name it, LOL…
Handstand push-ups seemed surreal, I actually fell down when I tried my first handstand.

I couldn’t do toes to bar, double unders or even 1 regular push-up.

Now I can and I’m feeling proud.

4. How has your body physically changed since you started?

I’ve lost 30+ pounds for 3.5 months.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

For me it started with one main goal – lose extra postpartum weight. However, now it is transforming more and more to a lifestyle of healthy choices.

  • I have more energy.
  • I’m stronger.
  • I can carry 2 kids (extra 42 lbs) at a time from the beach (15min walk) because one can’t walk yet and another one has scraped knee. And It doesn’t bother me.
  • I feel great.
  • I feel more confident.
  • I feel happier.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

This awesome ever challenging tough workout that never gets boring and after completion of which endorphins kick in and you feel exhausted, sweaty but yet happy.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

Because I have 3 kids under 5 years old. I want to be strong for them. I need to be strong for them.

I need to be healthy, because I want to enjoy life with them as long as possible.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

Oh, man, I looooove tabata. It’s different.

In regard of lift, probably “Deadlift”. It is the one that is easier to master.

With cleans and jerks it’s too much technique to process. My brain registers everything that coaches say: knees here, hands there, back like this, tummy like that, chest up, head straight, use legs, forget about arms, just like a zipper, just like a scarecrow, just pull yourself under the bar, don’t lift with arms, shoulders there, hips here, just dip under the bar, head out, heels grounded, elbows up… AAAhhh😳, trust me I hear you! I understand you! It’s just my body doesn’t follow 🤭, (he-he-he). But it’s ok. I’ll get it!

9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

Don’t give up trying.

Don’t be discouraged after completing the WOD, even if you come in last (at some point those people also were last).

Just keep on moving and keep on trying. One of the worst things you can do – is do nothing.

Just keep on trying.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Click that RX button more! 😝

11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

  • 10 wall balls
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 barbell thrusters
  • 10 pistols
  • 10 handstand push-ups.
  • 3 min rest.

Repeat.

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

I don’t have one thing. I have a lot. 😛
Spend quality / adventurous time with family and friends: have a God centered fellowship, playing soccer, doing murder mystery, game nights, traveling, doing escape room, visit new places, create new traditions…

13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

I love king crab legs and I do love some home fried potatoes with onion, garlic and dill.

My splurge? Chocolate mousse cake. Yum! Have you tried one from the Cheesecake Factory?

(on the side note: back when I watched “Friends” in Ukraine (where I’m originally from) there was an episode “The one with all the cheesecakes” and they ate it from the floor. I didn’t get it and it wasn’t funny, but rather disgusting… well, let’s just say I didn’t eat one from the floor, but it took me years to actually get the joke. Ha-ha.)

14. If you could be a superhero who would you be and why?

Hmm, not sure about a superhero, but if I had super powers I’d protect the little ones who cannot protect themselves. My heart is yearning for innocent children who are abused, kidnaped… and for innocent animals who are getting killed. I know those are 2 completely different categories, but I feel like I need to do something, I’m just not yet sure what exactly. I wish AAALLL the children would be happy, and loved, and cared, and nourished. I wish that people would leave animals alone. I guess I just need to pray more about it, to know if I can do anything in that regard to be helpful.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“Be water, my friend.” by Bruce Lee.

“Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless like water … now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup … you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle … put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot … water can flow … water can crash … be water, my friend.”

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I’m not actually sure when was the first time I met my husband. I’ve pinpointed it to a year.
(but hey, don’t ask me which year, it’s gonna take me a few minutes to think about it, lol 🤦‍♀️)

Liz and Jonathan, Athlete of the Month May & June 2021

We love featuring Salus power couples, like the Goldblatt’s. Married with children, this hardworking couple balances family, work, friends and WOD life on the daily. Even though they don’t always get the chance to workout together, they’re each other’s biggest supporters. It’s been amazing to witness them crush their personal goals and we look forward to watching them make new ones!

Congratulations Liz and Jon! You two are very amazing people and we love having as part of the community.


Please meet the May and June 2021 Athletes of the Month: Liz and Jonathan:

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

Liz: Jon had been trying to get me to join for a while but I had never lifted in my life. When he talked about the things he was doing at Salus, it was like he spoke another language. When the lockdown hit and Salus had to close temporarily, he finally talked me into trying the at-home workouts. He showed me how to modify things so I could make it through and by the time Salus opened up again, I was ready to commit and give this thing a real try! I started on-ramp in August 2020.

Jon: I started Salus in the fall of 2018. I’d always worked out but I was definitely in a place where things had become stagnant. My brother had been doing CrossFit for a couple years at that point and suggested I give it a try. I was approaching 40 and decided that it was a good time to make a move and try something different.

2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

Liz: Since I became a mom (almost 10 years ago…Yikes!!) I struggled with carving time out for my workouts. I would start running or doing yoga but I just couldn’t stay focused or committed. I also wasn’t getting the results I used to get when I was in my 20s and my 30s. Furthermore, I was diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis and practiced denial and self-pity for way too long. I allowed fear of injury and fear of the unknown to take over and stop me from trying a new approach.

Since I joined Salus last August, I have more energy and stamina to get through each day.

My stiffness and aches are so much better now that I am building muscle to support my joints. I’m seeing muscles forming in places I didn’t know possible! I lost 2 inches in my waist and have officially been bitten by the CrossFit bug! I look so forward to every opportunity to grow, learn, and get stronger!

Jon: I see huge differences in my endurance. We’re big skiers in my family and try to get out West a couple times a year. I’ve been asthmatic my whole life so altitude tends to be all the more difficult for me the first couple days. Since starting CrossFit, I have zero issues getting on the mountain the first day and feel great the next day! No “first day out” soreness and no issue shredding the gnar on the first run :).

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

Liz: OMG let me count the ways… Push-ups, Pull-ups, planks, bird-dogs, squats, hand stands on the wall! Not to mention all of the weightlifting moves. EVERYTHING was a struggle for me before! But now, little by little, I keep plugging away and getting stronger.

The moves become easier and I’m literally fueled by my own progress. Inspired by the amazing and encouraging humans all around me. It’s almost magical…

Someday I will do a pull up without a band!

Jon: I don’t think I’d ever attempted a snatch before I started CrossFit. It was intimidating at first and I was definitely cherry picking (I know, not cool) to avoid them for a while. At this point, I’m totally comfortable even though my technique still needs work.

4. How has your body physically changed since you started?

Liz: I am gaining definition all over. My thighs and arms are more defined. I’ve lost 2 inches in my waist and have swapped fat for muscle in several areas.

Jon: I definitely had a bunch of belts that needed a new hole! There were changes in my body composition across the board. I’ve never been overweight, per se, but I definitely dropped a few pounds and exchanged some fat for muscle.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

Liz: Since I began at Salus, I have definitely been sleeping better. I don’t toss & turn as much or wake up as often throughout the night. I do find I have improved stamina for stressful situations thanks to improved energy and regular exercise.

I also did 3 months of nutrition coaching with Angela. That experience really illuminated some needed adjustments to my diet and daily habits. I continue to hydrate regularly and look for additional ways to boost my protein intake for muscle maintenance and satiety.

Jon: I find that I am way more productive on days where I can get to Salus in the morning.

My energy level is higher and it’s a great mental boost knowing that I already did something good for my health before my day really gets going.

If I can’t make it in the morning, an evening workout also serves as a great outlet for a day’s worth of stress.

Liz Jon Athlete of the Month

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

Liz: I tell people what an amazing community you have created here. Everyone is super supportive and encouraging of each other! You have a middle-aged mom with arthritis working along side elite athletes and somehow we all belong. That’s something really special.

The competition is within and everyone encourages each other to reach new heights regardless of where they started from.

Jon: I remember talking to Liz about it before she joined to try to allay the typical concerns. In no particular order: I’ll be the worst person there, I don’t know how to do any of these lifts, isn’t it just a bunch of freak athletes. She beats me at most WODs at this point by the way.

My description of Salus is it’s an awesome group of people that are really just trying to be the best versions of themselves. Everyone is exhausted at the end whether you modified the hell out of a workout or Rx’d it.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue? What’s your “why”?

Liz: At this point in my life, this is the exact type of exercise my body needs. I listen to my body and I want to support it for the long-term so I can keep up with my grand-kids when they show up someday! My “why” is to get strong so I can stay strong!

Jon: I want to be as active as I can for as long as I can. As I mentioned, skiing is my thing so I need to stay strong and fit so I can ski moguls when I’m 80!

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

Liz: The bear complex is my favorite!

Jon: I prefer any WOD that includes cleans. I also seem to enjoy overhead squats now which I absolutely hated when I first started.

9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

Liz: I still consider myself a newbie but I would say to take it at your own pace …the timeline is your own so enjoy it and celebrate every step!

Jon: Nobody’s judging so just do what you need to do to get started and keep moving forward. We have everything from Olympians to middle-aged Excel jockeys (me) and everything in between so everyone can do this and get better.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Liz: I want to figure out what my actual max deadlift is. Now that I feel comfortable in the movement, I’m ready to find out and I know I can do more! My older brothers used to bench & overhead press me when I was little so I would like to get to the point where I could (in theory) deadlift one of THEM! 😉

Jon: I need to stop avoiding double-unders (ha!). My goal for the Summer is to give it a real push.

11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

Liz: (my “pumps me up” playlist playing) 3 rounds for time: 400m run, 30 situps, 20 pull-ups, 10 front squats

Jon: 21, 15, 9 of Handstand Push-ups, Power Clean, and Pull-ups.

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Liz: Listen to live music- really missing it since COVID. And ski, of course!

Jon: Obviously ski, especially with the family now that we can all get out together. It’s also great when the kids are in ski school and we’re not!

13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

Liz: My absolute favorite is the kimchi bowl at Seed to Sprout. My favorite splurge meal is a cheeseburger :/ every now & then I just need one!

Jon: Probably sushi. Tuna, Salmon, anything caught locally like Fluke in the summer. It’s very easy to make it not healthy as well but I try to stay strong. Splurge meal is definitely a massive steak with big fries, sautéed spinach, etc.

14. If you could be a superhero who would you be and why?

Liz: Batman. I mean- he’s the baddest bad-ass there is.

Jon: Yoda. It would be nice to know that all the advice I give to my family and friends is backed by 900 years of experience. Unfortunately, they have to settle for 42.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

Liz: “If you only do what you can do- you will never be better than what you are” – Master I

Jon: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” This is especially important to remember when helping your parents with technology issues.

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

Liz: I have four older brothers.

Jon: I’m a Star Wars nerd (see superhero) which I seem to have passed on to my kids.

Courtney Guerriero, Athlete of the Month April 2021

Courtney Guerriero, Athlete of the Month April 2021

Each month we highlight a new athlete at Salus. This individual exudes something above and beyond. They not only give their best in every class, but they’re are hungry to learn more and always ready to put in the work. This individual also supports their fellow classmates and encourages them to reach their goals, too. We believe that this is what the Salus Community should be all about.

This month, we get to feature Courtney Guerriero. Since joining this summer, Courtney has demonstrated some of the most dedication we’ve seen to improving her health and fitness. Whether that’s bringing her son with her to class or attending the 6am rain or shine, Courtney is an inspiration to many of us and couldn’t be more deserving of this feature.

Please meet the April Athlete of the Month: Courtney Guerriero:


1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I started at Salus last August and I wish it had been sooner. I moved to Jersey in July of 2019 determined to find my new CrossFit home. However, between moving pregnant, a few gyms that didn’t fit, becoming a new mom, and a pandemic… it surely took a while.

When I found Salus in August it was immediately clear it was my new home.

2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

I’ve gotten so much stronger. I’ve gotten faster and increased my endurance too. I’m still slow as a turtle but I’m a faster turtle now.

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

Yes! I’ve gotten pull ups and a few double unders.

4. How has your body physically changed since you started?

It’s changed a ton! I was so worried about getting my pre-baby body back but the body I have now is better.

I have some cuts in my arms, back, and quads. And on a really, really good day there is the faintest sign of some ab lines.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

My commitment to taking care of myself overall has greatly improved.

I put more emphasis on my nutrition and sleep so I feel good enough to train as often as possible. My focus and energy is much better on days I work out than days I don’t.

My day doesn’t feel right if I don’t start it at Salus.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

It’s a great place to get a killer workout with great people. The coaches genuinely care about each member and help them to improve. The members all support each other and have fun together. There are no egos at Salus.

Courtney Guerriero, Athlete of the Month April 2021

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

CrossFit changed my life.
Prior to starting CrossFit I had never worked out. I was constantly sick. I suffered from severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome due to a chronic illness. I never seemed to feel right no matter what I did; even with medical intervention. Within months of starting CrossFit I felt like a brand new person.

I feel great everyday now and haven’t had a flare up of CFS in years.

8. Favorite lift?

I could do Power Cleans all day long. ALL. DAY. LONG.

9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

Just show up and move. Don’t worry about what you can or can’t do.

Every day we are all striving to do something we didn’t think we could do.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

200lb+ Deadlift and toes to bar.

I am so close to both and want it so bad.

11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

Hmmm I love a good chipper. I like the idea of finishing something and being done with it. I also love a good partner WOD so probably something like…
Partner WOD:
200 dumbbell lunges
100 clean and jerks
200 pull ups
100 snatches
200 toes 2 bar
100 deadlifts

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

I love going to outdoor food or drink festivals. I love trying new foods or new beers. Nothing is better than being out in the sunshine enjoying something delicious.

Courtney Guerriero, Athlete of the Month April 2021

13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

  • Healthy meal: Lately it’s breakfast. 3 eggs over easy, whole wheat toast, and mini bell peppers.
  • Splurge meal: A huge steak burrito with guacamole, cheese, sour cream, the works. I mean HUGE. Like one that you are shocked and awed and a little grossed out to see me finish. And I will finish.

14. If you could be an animal what would you be and why?

Probably something in the ocean, maybe a dolphin. I love the ocean. Everything that lives in it is beautiful.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“I didn’t come this far to only come this far”
I feel like this sums up CrossFit perfectly because there’s never an end game. You hit a goal or a PR and immediately start striving for the next step up.

There’s always further to go.

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I love to cook and bake. I like to try new and really complex recipes but almost never attempt the same thing twice. It’s more to just challenge myself in the kitchen. I know what I can do so I want to see if there are things I can’t do. I don’t even want to eat it, I just want to see if I can make it.

Athlete of the Month: Carrie Bendik

Each month we highlight a different athlete at Salus. This individual has something special. They give their best in every class (and then some), they are hungry to learn more and always ready to do the work without complaining. Not only that, but this individual also supports their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals, too. We believe that this is what the Salus Community should be all about.

This month, we get to feature Carrie Bendik.  Carrie has been with us almost two years now and has made some serious strides both physically and mentally. She has overcome obstacles, faced some fears and has come back stronger than ever. We couldn’t be more excited than to feature Carrie this month.

Please meet the March Athlete of the Month: Carrie Bendik:


1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I joined Salus in May 2019. I had always been dying to try CrossFit. I actually was going to a physical therapist in the same building as the old box. It took me awhile to work up the courage to try a class, but of course I’m so glad I did!

2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?

I’m so much stronger overall. I can lift heavier, my core has strengthened, and I’m more confident in myself.

3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?

I can do handstands and double unders! All of the lifts we do with the barbell were new to me also.

4. How has your body physically changed since you started?

My arms and legs are more defined which is awesome.

I keep checking for my abs but no sign of them yet.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

When I push myself to get through a really hard workout, that work ethic carries over into my everyday life. The discipline it takes to show up and work hard at Salus has given me more discipline in other areas of my life. I make better food choices, I make sure I get enough sleep, and it sounds silly but completing a hard workout gives me the motivation to do the daily life things I might not necessarily want to do.

I am also more mindful of my body positioning as I go about my day. For example, I pick my 3 year old up with a squat, instead of rounding at the back.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

The best all around workout you can get, both physically and mentally, one you’ll never get bored with.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

I love to challenge myself physically and I try to do that daily.

You can learn a lot about yourself that way. Making progress in a lift or movement is also a big motivator. There is always something to work on or improve.

8. Favorite lift?

Squat clean- I love to squat and I love to clean.

 

9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?

Sometimes the hardest part can be getting started.

CrossFit can be intimidating to someone just beginning, it certainly was for me. The best thing you can do is to take that initial step.

Start with trying one class.

Remember that everyone has been a beginner at one point, the only thing you have to do is show up and try. When I first started I remember thinking:

“A year from now where do you want to be?”- and that gave me the extra push to begin.

 

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Body weight back squat, toes to bar, and the ever elusive pull-up.

11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?

I like long, gritty workouts-
5 rounds for time:
400 meter sandbag carry
10 squat cleans
10 wall balls
10 back squats
10 push press

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Spending time with my husband and girls, I love to cook and bake, and I love to run.

13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?

Healthy dish: A big rainbow salad with grilled vegetables, olives, lentils or beans, and a homemade dressing.
Splurge: Bananas and peanut butter. Not really a meal but with the amount of peanut butter I eat it becomes one lol. I LOVE peanut butter.

14. If you could be a superhero who would you be and why?

Batman. I have loved Batman since I was little, I actually have a Batman tattoo! He doesn’t have superpowers and always does the right thing.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

In the depths of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer-Albert Camus

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I am really into food, nutrition, and health and have recently started my own food blog called Happily at Home. It isn’t live yet but will be soon!!