Athletes of the Month: The G-Unit

Each month we highlight a different athlete or athletes at Salus. These individuals have 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 these individuals support 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’re excited to feature the Gonzalez men. Wilson, Tomas and Eduardo all started after Benny (Miss December), who joined in 2017. As you’ll read below, the men didn’t really have a choice in the matter (Benny is very convincing), but now they’re all “hooked.” And we’re so glad she did. Now, they’re fitter, stronger and full of energy.

Please meet the February Athletes of the Month: The “G-Unit”


1. When and why did you start at Salus?

  • Wilson I officially started Oct 2017, my wife (Benny) got me an intro class as a birthday gift and basically told me I had to join. I had no choice.
  • Tomas About 2-3 seasons ago. Because my mom made me.
  • Eduardo I joined Salus around 2 years. Why did I join? My mom told me to.

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

  • Wilson As someone who has exercised most of my life, I didn’t think my performance could improve. Boy was I wrong. The constant doses of high intensity workouts have increased my aerobic capacity. The fact that I can get my heart rate up above 170 (high for my age) consistently is proof.
  • Tomas It’s still a little too early for me to give an accurate answer to this. However I’ve definitely noticed some improvements in the sport so far.
  • Eduardo My technique for a lot of lifts has gotten better as well as I can lift more weight for them.

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

  • Wilson Prior to rotator cuff surgery, the overhead squat was impossible for me. Thanks to great coaching and increased mobility I am now able to perform them. The next step is to increase the strength with that exercise.
  • Tomas Most of the exercises in this sport are new to me which I’ve never done before so yeah. (Kipping, oly weight lifts, double unders, etc.)
  • Eduardo I never really been used to doing handstand pushups and I can do them pretty easily now.

4. How have you changed since you started?

  • Wilson Sleep and stress: two of the most important things to manage in life. CrossFit at Salus has allowed me to maintain healthy sleep habits as well as be a stress reliever. This allows me to deal with other life issues in a positive light.
  • Tomas  I’m pretty sure I have started to look a little bigger (in a good way). I’ve started the paleolithic diet recently, so now I’m trying to take in better foods, more nutrients, and improve my overall healthy eating habits.
  • Eduardo My body has changed. I have lost 30 pounds since I started and I’m still losing weight, so that’s good. Also, I am so tired after every workout that I pass out and go to sleep right away instead of staying up until 3a.m. like I used to.

5. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

  • Wilson Literally, the best thing I can do for my body and soul.
  • Tomas An intense functional sport that focuses on performing a certain exercise/lift as fast as you can in a certain time.
  • Eduardo Salus is a good group of people that want to see each other work hard and get better.

 

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

  • Wilson My why: At my age it’s all about staying healthy to enjoy life.
  • Tomas I just want to get good at the sport! It’s fun. I also like to keep in shape and want to try and get a little more muscular and lift heavier while still keeping my endurance/stamina and still being able to perform well on body weight workouts.
  • Eduardo I like the weight that I am now (I haven’t been this light in a while) but I want to keep on losing and get to the weight I feel is right for me. That’s what keeps me motivated.

7. Favorite lift or WOD?

  • Wilson Surprisingly after doing it, the Murph was really gratifying. Secondly, anything involving squats (front or back) is always a welcome.
  • Tomas Any WOD that doesn’t involve weights. And involves mostly body weight stuff/running.
  • Eduardo My favorite lift is probably the deadlift.

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

  • Wilson Stay within your limits and stick with the program. The results will speak for themselves.
  • Tomas Having a good and trustworthy coach who instructs the exercises well is very important (which thank god we have). I’d say listen very carefully to the coaches and try your best to complete the lift as intended. Also, start off light and make sure you have the mechanics down.
  • Eduardo Focus on yourself and don’t get discouraged if you can’t do what someone else does. If you keep at your own pace, you’ll get in time. So, don’t give up if you can’t get it on your first try.

9. What is your next goal to accomplish?

  • Wilson I would love to get a muscle up!
  • Tomas Being able to RX more of the weightlifting WODs without looking like a clown.
  • Eduardo My next goal to accomplish is to get back to lifting heavy again.

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

  • Wilson 800m run followed by 3 rounds of: 10 back squats of 225, 10 ctb, and 15 push ups. And then another 800m run to finish it off
  • Tomas No weights LOL. All body weight exercises and a lot of running. Just imagine a bunch of ab work on the bar with 400-800 m runs in between. And maybe pull ups/push ups as well
  • Eduardo If I was able to design my own WOD it wouldn’t have any running in it because i cant run for my life.

 

11. Favorite thing to do for fun?

  • Wilson I don’t do it enough, but I really love scuba. Also love binge watching a good series.
  • Tomas Video games and watching tv.
  • Eduardo What I like to do for fun is just what anybody my age does for fun right now and just play games all day or go to a soccer field and just hangout.

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

  • Wilson Grilled mahi with asparagus vs medium rare rib eye with creamy mash potatoes.
  • Tomas Wings from air fryer vs wings fried in oil.
  • Eduardo Healthy stuff. Yeah I eat healthy stuff….. does Jersey Mikes count?

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

  • Wilson Definitely a hawk, the awesomeness of soaring through the skies and observing life from above.
  • Tomas As much as I have always loved all these fantasy characters and stuff I’ve always just kind of wanted to be my own hero and genuinely help or have a positive impact on other people’s lives. It just feels good knowing I’ve made a positive impact or was a good influence for somebody else.
  • Eduardo If I could be any hero it would be superman. I loved superman ever since I was little and still do. Why? Because he does whatever he can to help people like me.

14. Favorite motivational quote?

  • Wilson ”You don’t stop lifting when you get old, you get old when you stop lifting.” anonymous.
  • Tomas “Don’t give up.”
  • Eduardo “A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.” That’s a quote I go back to a lot because I have lots of trust in people.

15. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

  • Wilson For my 30th birthday my wife gifted me a parachuting gift. (I didn’t have a choice back then either HA!)
  • Tomas I’ve always valued genuineness and integrity very highly.
  • Eduardo An interesting fact no one knows about me is that I like to help people a lot. I usually drop what I’m doing if someone really needs me. That’s why I got a job as a physical therapy aid because I like seeing people getting better.

 

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Athlete of the Month: Cosmo DeGennaro

From the time he started over three years ago, Cosmo has taught us all a new level of learning how to overcome challenges. He has matured and become quite the athlete through consistency and strong determination. Coach Gino said it best, “It’s inspiring to watch Cosmo work so hard and try new things – even when these new things seem overwhelming at first. His accomplishments make us very proud – it’s why we do what we do.”

Cosmo has been so consistent and improving dramatically, especially over the last year, which is why we decided to feature him this month.

“Working out at Salus has helped me in so many ways. It has built me up as a person. Back when I first started, I never thought I would have accomplished so much.” ~Cosmo DeGennaro

Meet Cosmo, January Athlete of the Month

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I started at Salus in the fall of 7th grade (2017). My OT teacher Ms. Ali recommended it to me and my parents because I had grown out of the gym at Abilities in Action, but still needed to work on my strength and body awareness because of sensory processing disorder, which made some coordination and movement difficult for me.

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

One thing that stands out is jumping rope, seems like a simple thing but as a kid I had such a hard time with it, it took years and lots of practice. Also, I have just become so much stronger, able to do pull ups, go across the monkey bars. I have built my upper body strength.

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

Like I said, jumping rope, now I can even do a double unders and a ring muscle up.

Coach has taught me a lot of barbell movements like the snatch, the hang clean, etc..

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

I have a lot more muscles and definition especially in my arms and legs.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

By getting stronger, I have a lot more confidence in sports than I did back when I was younger. For example, I NEVER wanted to play volleyball because I wasn’t good at it, but now I have a pretty decent serve and love to play. I even joined the track team and throw shot put.

I have more discipline when it comes to working out and try to never miss a class.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

It’s fun, a really nice workout. You gain muscle, confidence. The people are all so nice and Coach Gino is always happy to help. I have had a few friends try it over the years.

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

I know that I will continue to get stronger and more confident in myself as a person and an athlete.

Salus has been such a big deal for change in my life.

8. Favorite lift?

My favorite lift is the snatch. It really gets my legs and arms working.

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

Start off with less weight and listen to the coaches, eventually you will become stronger both physically and mentally.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

I really want to get the bar muscle up and complete ten reps.

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

Hmmmm…I would definitely start with 20 pull ups.

Then 9 hang snatches.

21 front squats.

And then finish it off with a 400 meter run.

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

My favorite thing to do is hang out with my friends, go to the movies (once we can do that again), play xbox, go hiking, go swimming and go to the beach.

Might try surfing again this summer.

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

I love a good fruit smoothie!

My favorite splurge is a bacon cheeseburger from Vagabond in Atlantic City.

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

If I could be an animal I would be a wolf, they are my favorite animals. Super cool, apex predator. I like how they always travel in packs and there is an alpha.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“It’s probably going to be a long journey, but hey, it’s worth it.” ~from the song The Search by NF

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I grew up dealing with dyslexia and I still do have it. But, I have overcome a lot of obstacles and learned how to speak up about it.

Athlete of the Month: Jack James

Jack James Athlete of the Month Middletown NJ

Congratulations to Jack James for being our December 2020 Athlete of the Month! A regular to the early morning classes, he has made some serious strides since he started his CrossFit journey just 2 years ago. With a background in running and triathlons, Jack is now tossing around the barbell and working on mastering his gymnastics skills to push him to the next level. He works extremely hard, but you’d never know how much effort he’s putting in, because he never complains.

We’re so happy to have Jack as our December Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Congratulations Jack!


Jack James Athlete of the Month Middletown NJMeet Jack James, December 2020 Athlete of the Month:

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I had just recently moved to NJ and wanted to find a workout group. I tried out a few gyms in the area, but…

I stuck with Salus because of the programming and the sense of community.

Unlike other gyms, everyone knows everyone else by name.

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

I’m stronger and am more comfortable on the technical lifts.

My background is in running and triathlon, so I’m relatively new to lifting heavy weights. One interesting note on performance- my current run times are about the same as they were when I was just running. I think that is a testament to CrossFit’s all-around conditioning.

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

Absolutely! Handstand push ups, double unders, muscle ups, and kipping pull ups come to mind. I still need to work on kipping HSPUs and kipping ring dips.

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

I’ve lost fat and put on muscle. A few months before I started at Salus, I dislocated my elbow and couldn’t lift weights for several months.

Once I started Salus, I quickly started seeing fitness improvement.

Jack James Athlete of the Month Middletown NJ5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

I’m more productive at work on the mornings that I attend CrossFit. And, thanks to Coach Angela, I’ve made some nutrition changes which have helped with recovery.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

The Salus coaches emphasize continuous improvement. They push everyone to not merely maintain their fitness level, but to improve it. They take a personal stake in helping everyone accomplish their fitness goals.

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

2 reasons: Living a healthy lifestyle is a priority and I enjoy the Salus community.

Over the years, I’ve tried working out on my own with mixed success. I’ve realized that I need to have others around me to hold me accountable. I also benefit from a structured program.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

Here are my two favorites:

5 rounds
5 Bench Press
5 Weighted Pull ups
Start each round on a 2:00 interval (0, 2:00, 4:00, etc)

5x
First minute: 10 back squats
Second minute: 5 front squats
Do the same weight for both the front squats and back squats. Ends up being a 10:00 workout.

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

Focus on learning the lifts, compete against yourself, and just show up.

It’s like anything else, the harder you work, the faster you’ll improve.

Jack James Athlete of the Month Middletown NJ10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Before I leave the Navy, I’d like to run the bomb suit mile. Simply put, it’s a mile in the 80lbs bomb suit.

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

4x
400m run
15 pull ups (strict, obviously)
15 thrusters 95#/65#
15 walking lunges with 45#/35# plate overhead

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Depends on the season, but I like to be outside. I enjoy skiing in the winter, ocean swims in the summer, and trail running and hiking throughout the year.

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

Healthy dish- lemon roasted salmon with sweet potatoes

Splurge- Chick fil A spicy chicken sandwich with waffle fries and a chocolate milkshake.

14. Favorite motivational quote?

Man in the Arena by Teddy Roosevelt and the Band of Brothers speech from Henry V.

15. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I started playing violin during quarantine and have kept at it. I’m currently working on some Christmas songs.

 

Each month we spotlight a different Salus athlete who stands out and shows just how awesome they are. What is it that makes up an Athlete of the Month? It may not be the person that finishes the fastest, Rx’s every workout, or gets a PR every week. Although we love and celebrate when those things happen, the Athlete of the Month is made up of much more than physical ability. This person shows up to class, gives their best, and then gives a little more. They are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work without complaining. They support their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals. This athlete embodies what we believe the Salus community should be all about.

Meet Chelsey & Sam, Athletes of the Month November 2020

We’re excited to feature this CrossFit couple, Chelsey and Sam Dokus, as Athletes of the Month for November 2020.

In just one year, Chelsey has improved dramatically. Her consistency, positive outlook and energy is contagious. And in her own humble way, she is pretty fearless. She has been attacking exercises – like handstands, squatting, deadlifts – gaining strength and confidence every day.

Sam started with Salus during the shut down, taking classes via Zoom. When restrictions lifted, he came to Salus as an experienced athlete, yet very coachable and open-minded. Sam is often the hardest worker in the room and always willing to try new things.

Meet Chelsey and Sam, November 2020 Athletes of the Month

Chelsey Sam Athlete of month

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

Chelsey: I started September 2019. I wanted a fresh start to the school year for myself and to have more energy since my schedule was pretty crazy. I found it hard to stay motivated at commercial gyms and needed some structure.

Sam: I started in April via Zoom after all gyms were shut down. I couldn’t go to jiu jitsu anymore and I liked what I saw from the programming that Chelsey was doing!

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

Chelsey: I feel like I have more endurance and stamina for harder workouts. Definitely my strength as well.

Sam: I feel I have a more solid base of strength, and good all around cardio.

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

Chelsey: Pushups! And really anything with the barbell I had never done before. Still working on that strict pullup and handstand pushup!

Sam: More consistent handstand push-ups and snatch.

Chelsey Sam Athlete of month

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

Chelsey: Less fluffy, haha! I have something to flex now 😉

Sam: I’ve lost some weight and I’ve seen more muscle definition.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways

Sam: I feel like I have more energy and am less lethargic throughout the day. Also it has been something to look forward to when we’re stuck at home.

Chelsey: Also a way to burn some stress and get outside and breathe some fresh air.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

Chelsey: Yes, it is difficult, but it is rewarding to see what you can accomplish after the workout is done. Also the people are really welcoming and kind. The coaches are awesome and make the plan, just follow it.

Sam: Yeah yeah I know I go to CrossFit. But they basically just program all the lifting I like.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

Chelsey: It is important for overall health to be strong and healthy. Especially in times like these where COVID can compromise your immune system.

I do not take my health or mobility for granted and is something that deserves to have time made for it.

Sam: I like to see my training and performance translated into jiu jitsu. I also like to see my lifting numbers and totals go up!

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

Chelsey: Anything with the barbell (except overhead squatting, work in progress haha). Also rowing (I get my height to my advantage!).

Sam: Deadlift and squat.

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

Chelsey: Be patient with yourself, do not compare yourself to others and keep showing up!

Sam: Don’t worry about your numbers and listen to Gino!

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Chelsey: A handstand pushup, and toes-to-bar.

Sam: A respectable CrossFit total.

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

Chelsey: Something with rowing and cleans. The swimming and the tire flips were really fun this summer too!

Sam: I agree swimming was an awesome change. Also I’d say anything with deadlifts for reps and also kettlebells!

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Chelsey and Sam: We like going to the beach, and taking a nice walk with the dogs. Seeing a concert in the olden times.

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

Chelsey: Salmon with brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. Splurge meal- pizza and wings

Sam: Roasted chicken with rice and some veggies. Splurge – biggest steak there is. Also wings.

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

Chelsey: I’d like to trade places with our dogs for just a day. Just snooze and eat treats. On the flip side I would love to have the talent for a day to be a concert cellist and play a concerto with a top notch orchestra abroad.

Sam: Hmm, being a bird (a cool bird like an hawk or eagle) for a day. Flying seems pretty awesome.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

Chelsey: Practice makes permanent not perfect.

Sam: Character is what you do when no one is watching.

Chelsey Sam Athlete of month

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

Chelsey: I play and manage a string quartet. I play the cello!

Sam: I used to play drums in a rock/punk band that played a lot around NJ and also went across the country a few times.

17. What’s one thing you say to the other to motivate them to do a workout on a day they might not feel like it.

Chelsey: “Sam, you may see Scott and he will miss you!”

Sam: “You’ll feel better afterwards so get up and go.”

Athlete of the Month: Alyssa Anderson “It’s been life-changing.”

In just over one year, this Athlete of the Month has made some serious strides. Although she claims not to be a morning person, she has been consistently crushing the early morning classes. She is stronger, more confident and now even motivating her boys to join in on the fun with CrossFit Teens and CrossFit Kids classes!

Meet Alyssa Anderson, October 2020 Athlete of the Month:

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I started in August of 2019. My buddy Alicia Zink, who I worked with, would always tell me that I should come to Salus. After thinking about it for a year, I decided to take the leap. I’ve been a life-long runner, but had really lost the desire to physically push myself in my workouts, and I was starting to put on some pounds. It felt like my body just wanted me to slow down.

I knew I needed something completely different. Lucky for me I found it!

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

The biggest change for me has been improved flexibility and strength.

I’ve been running in a straight line (sometimes an oval) since 1989. Not so great for the hips. Right before joining Salus, I had so much chronic pain in my hip and low back that I thought I’d have to give up running forever. But Coach Gino took one look at my squat and said, “You need to push that right knee out more and activate the muscle. The more you work on that, the stronger it will get.”

After a few months of building up that strength, my pain has disappeared and I’m back to running 10-milers. It’s been life-changing.

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

Overhead squats! They were so scary to me because I thought that I could never get into that deep squat. But now that I have greater flexibility and strength, I have the confidence to go a little heavier each time.

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

I’ve lost weight (thank you, metcons), which is great. But just as important, as a physically-active woman in her mid-40’s, I can trust my body more. I can lift things, jump, twist, and balance without the fear that I’m going to hurt myself.

It’s an overall functional change in my body.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

I’ve never been a morning person, but I know now that if I’m in bed early enough, I can actually wake up for the 6:30 class.

It’s such a great way to start your day–my brain is happy all day long.

It’s also a great group of people, so the laughter therapy is an added benefit.

I also focus more on recovery than I ever did in all my years of running. I stretch, I ice, I roll out. I invest the time in these things to be ready for the next workout.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

Salus is like being back in college, working out with your team–but even better because everyone is super supportive and your goals are your own.

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

I have 3 boys and we’re a very active family. I want to be in the best shape possible to keep up with them–whether it’s surfing, skiing, or hitting some tennis balls. I don’t ever want to get to a point when I say “I can’t” to them.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

I love clean and jerks. That lift is not too technical, but you just feel like such a beast doing them.

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

Just keep showing up. The more time you devote to it, the more you will improve. When you first show up, you look around and think “Oh I’ll never be able to do that.” But if you just keep chipping away at it, all of a sudden you’ll surprise yourself.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

I’m working on kipping pull ups. Honestly, I’m a little uncoordinated–so it would be a huge accomplishment!

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

Metcon:

Buy in: 20 box jumps
600m run-60 sit ups-6 clean & jerks
400m run-40 sit ups-4 clean & jerks
200m run-20 sit ups–2 clean & jerks
100m run-10 sit ups-1 clean & jerk
Cash out: 20 box jumps

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Skiing. It’s beautiful. It’s dangerous. It’s cold. I love it.

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

Favorite healthy dish is grilled fish over quinoa.

Favorite splurge is definitely a Barnacle Bill’s cheeseburger, french fries, and a pint of Carton beer. So bad…but so good.

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

I’d be Lady Gaga. She’s totally outrageous & so opposite of the nerd that I am.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“The only way out is through.”

This is a quote from a Robert Frost poem, but it speaks to WODs and every other challenge in life.

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I honeymooned in Cambodia.

June Athletes of the Month: Jess & Stephen on Staying Motivated Home During COVID

In this interview, Jess & Stephen share how they have been staying motivated at home by dialing in their nutrition and at-home workouts with Salus Nutrition Coach Angela over the past three months.

They felt “stuck in a rut” and not getting the results they wanted. Their goal was to push out of that plateau and shred for an upcoming vacation…but then it became so much more than that.

It became “Life Changing!”

Mind and Body Transformation

Even though they were already a fit couple to begin with, they have still experienced a transformation in body composition, gained strength, and reduced pain levels…all while at home.

Switching up the exercise routines dialing in their nutrition at home resulted in tremendous results. Seeing those results is keeping them motivated for more!

Ready for the Smart Cut?

If you’re finally done looking for the “short cut” and ready for the “smart cut,” these two will definitely inspire you to get started on your journey.

Meet Jess and Stephen, our June athletes of the month:

Athlete of the MonthJune

Jess & Stephen

Jess & Stephen share how they have been staying motivated at home by dialing in their nutrition and at-home workouts with Salus Nutrition Coach Angela.

In this interview, Jess & Stephen share how they have been staying motivated at home by dialing in their nutrition and at-home workouts with Salus Nutrition Coach Angela.

Even though they were already a fit couple to begin with, they have still experienced a transformation in body composition, gained strength, and reduced pain levels…all while at home.

If you’re finally done looking for the “short cut” and ready for the “smart cut,” these two will definitely inspire you to get started on your journey.

Athlete of the MonthApril

Hardie Kressler

Career: Student

Years at Salus: 1

What he didn't expect is how much it would impact his perseverance and mental fortitude - preparing him not only for the unknown but for the unknowable as well.

Just over a year ago, Hardie came to CrossFit Salus with the motivation to try this new “sport of fitness.” What he didn’t expect is how much it would impact his perseverance and mental fortitude – preparing him not only for the unknown but for the unknowable as well.

This strengthened perseverance has become very clear. This past March, Hardie competed in the CrossFit Games Age Group Online Qualifier among the top teen athletes in the World.

…and then he was faced with a life changing accident.

Just weeks after the competition (March 24, 2020), he was in a paralyzing bicycle accident. The accident fractured his neck with compression damage of his spinal cord. Hardie is currently in in residential rehabilitation center in northern NJ and has now completed his second week of rehab, making incredible progress, but he still has a long road to recovery.

However, one thing is clear…

…when Hardie wants something, no one and nothing can stop him from reaching it.

Hardie is such a great inspiration to so many people out there. More than he’ll ever know… Just like him, as long as you give it your best shot, you can go far in your journey.

Make sure to follow his incredible recovery on Instagram: @gohardforhardie

Meet Hardie:

How Did You Get Started?
I started shortly after I watched a YouTube video of Rich Froning. He was dominating in one of the events in the CrossFit Games and I thought, “I want to do that!” It looked like so much fun! So I did... It was one year this past March.
How did your performance change once you started CrossFit?
For me, it was my mental side that improved the most. I feel like I gained a lot of confidence in what I was capable of doing. That helped a lot in every CrossFit movement individually.
What were some of your most exciting moments/PRs?
Definitely the Clean and Jerk during the Age Group Online Qualifiers! Also when I hit the 195 pound snatch at a local fundraiser. Funny story - I thought it was 185 but I did the math wrong. It was 195 and I did it! I got under it!
Favorite lift or WOD?
Diane for sure. Favorite lift is the Clean. Love heavy cleans!
How did CrossFit impact your life?
I was always a lot happier after doing CrossFit. Before, I used to feel grumpy at least once a week. But once I started doing CrossFit, it became a big stress reliever for me. Something I looked forward to knowing I was coming to class every day!
How would you describe CrossFit to your friends?
It’s everything you love and everything you love to hate. It’s strength, endurance, gymnastics and a lot of cardio.
What message do you have for individuals who are just starting out with CrossFit or are maybe too afraid to try?
Just give it everything you've got. It will give you so much more in return.
Hardie, what happened to you last month is heart wrenching… we are all praying for you and can’t wait to visit you as soon as COVID-19 passes. In the meantime, what message do you have for your Salus Squad? How can we help?
Everyone is helping so much. I’ve gotten letters and snacks from everyone. I’m hanging in there just trying to stay positive. In fact, I’m scaring some of the nurses because I’m cracking so many jokes. But you just have to go through with a smile.
What keeps you motivated to keep fighting, pushing yourself in therapy?
Just the hope that I’ll be able to walk again!
If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?
It would include cleans, pullups and double unders!
If you could be a superhero who would you be and why?
I’d want to be superman. He’s the total package. He’s strong, he can fly. He looks great. And...I don’t know any other guy who can pull off such tight clothes like he can.
Favorite quote?
'Forget plan B. To test yourself and grow, you have to operate without a safety net.' Arnold Schwarzenegger

Hardie Kressler, Athlete of the Month April 2020

Just over a year ago, Hardie came to CrossFit Salus with the motivation to try this new “sport of fitness.” What he didn’t expect is how much it would impact his perseverance and mental fortitude – preparing him not only for the unknown but for the unknowable as well.

Hardie Kressler Athlete of the Month

This strengthened perseverance has become very clear. This past March, Hardie competed in the CrossFit Games Age Group Online Qualifier among the top teen athletes in the World.

…and then he was faced with a life changing accident.

Just weeks after the competition (March 24, 2020), he was in a paralyzing bicycle accident. The accident fractured his neck with compression damage of his spinal cord. Hardie is currently in in residential rehabilitation center in northern NJ and has now completed his second week of rehab, making incredible progress, but he still has a long road to recovery.

However, one thing is clear…

…when Hardie wants something, no one and nothing can stop him from reaching it.

Hardie is such a great inspiration to so many people out there. More than he’ll ever know… Just like him, as long as you give it your best shot, you can go far in your journey.

Make sure to follow his incredible recovery on Instagram: @gohardforhardie

Meet Hardie:


1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I started shortly after I watched a YouTube video of Rich Froning. He was dominating in one of the events in the CrossFit Games and I thought, “I want to do that!” It looked like so much fun!

So I did… It was one year this past March.

hardie kressler

2. How did your performance change once you started CrossFit?

For me, it was my mental side that improved the most.

I feel like I gained a lot of confidence in what I was capable of doing. That helped a lot in every CrossFit movement individually.

3. What were some of your most exciting moments/PRs?

Definitely the Clean and Jerk during the Age Group Online Qualifiers!

Also when I hit the 195 pound snatch at a local fundraiser. Funny story – I thought it was 185 but I did the math wrong. It was 195 and I did it! I got under it!

4. Favorite lift or WOD?

Diane for sure.
Favorite lift is the Clean. Love heavy cleans!

5. How did CrossFit impact your life?

I was always a lot happier after doing CrossFit.

hardie kressler

Before, I used to feel grumpy at least once a week. But once I started doing CrossFit, it became a big stress reliever for me. Something I looked forward to knowing I was coming to class every day!

6. How would you describe CrossFit to your friends?

It’s everything you love and everything you love to hate.

It’s strength, endurance, gymnastics and a lot of cardio.

7. What message do you have for individuals who are just starting out with CrossFit or are maybe too afraid to try?

Just give it everything you’ve got. It will give you so much more in return.

hardie kressler

Life Changing Accident

8. Hardie, what happened to you last month is heart wrenching… we are all praying for you and can’t wait to visit you as soon as COVID-19 passes. In the meantime, what message do you have for your Salus Squad? How can we help?

Everyone is helping so much. I’ve gotten letters and snacks from everyone. I’m hanging in there just trying to stay positive. In fact, I’m scaring some of the nurses because I’m cracking so many jokes.

But you just have to go through with a smile.

9. What keeps you motivated to keep fighting, pushing yourself in therapy?

Just the hope that I’ll be able to walk again!

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

It would include cleans, pullups and double unders!

 

See the #GoHardForHardie WOD here >>

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

I’d want to be superman. He’s the total package. He’s strong, he can fly. He looks great. And…I don’t know any other guy who can pull off such tight clothes like he can.

12. Favorite quote?

‘Forget plan B. To test yourself and grow, you have to operate without a safety net.’
Arnold Schwarzenegger

13. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I went to the Galápagos Islands when I was younger for a family reunion.

 

Eric Burke, Athlete of the Month March 2020

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

Eric Burke athlete of the monthOur March 2020 Athlete of the Month is Eric Burke. Eric came to CrossFit Salus in 2017 looking for a change of pace for his workouts. Now, you’ll find Eric crushing the early morning WODs bringing his positive energy and sense of humor with him to class. In fact, he’s also training to compete at The Asbury Park Summer Games with his team: “Dad Bod” along with TQ and CJ.

We’re honored to have Eric be a part of the community! Enjoy his entertaining interview.


1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I started in March 2017. I heard a lot about CrossFit and was looking for a change from my normal routine at the gym. In one of my first 6am classes I remember mentioning that I might scale the WOD. Jeff McGoey uttered the words “no you’re not.” The rest was history.

2. How has your performance changed since you started CrossFit?

Cardio and legs weren’t part of my vocabulary prior to joining CrossFit. I quickly realized that was a major disadvantage. I still have a way to go, but I’ve seen significant improvement in those areas.

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

Way too many to count. Muscle ups, snatches, handstand pushups, double unders, etc.

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

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Eric Burke athlete of the month5. How has CrossFit changed you in other ways?

I’ve always been a glass half full kind of guy. My mindset will always be positive, but it doesn’t mean life is stress/worry free.

David Goggins (Former Navy Seal) talks a lot about “callusing the mind.” He explains that if you view every difficult situation as an opportunity to “callus your mind”, you will be prepared for difficult moments in life, rather than letting them drain you. CrossFit helps me do just that. I feel 10x better mentally/physically walking out of the box.

I have the actual calluses to prove it.

6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

CrossFit is the perfect mixture of competition and community.

I like being able to compete with others who push me past where I thought I could go before. Ang and Gino have built a great community at Salus and I’m happy to be a part of it.

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

My wife – She’s my “why” for everything.
I need to be prepared for when my daughter brings her first male “friend” over.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

19.5. The day I felt like I was circling the drain. I’ve never been more exhausted in my life. I hated everything about that workout. That’s what I love about CrossFit – it’s humbling.

Eric Burke athlete of the month9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit Salus?

Take it one day at a time, learn proper technique, and listen to the coaches. Oh and buy a foam roller.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Becoming a great father.

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

Coach lead warm-up:
————————-
With a running clock
00:00-10:00 – 1 full rum bucket at Donovan’s
————————-

“Dad Bod”

For Time:
15-12-9
Muscle ups
Hang Cleans (155/105)

50 DU’s between each round

Eric Burke athlete of the month12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Spending time with family/friends, going to the beach, and CrossFit.

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

Healthy – Grilled chicken and grilled zucchini
Splurge – The “Jersey Shore” panini and Fried Ravioli from Taliercios

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

“Superman so I could beat Hardie [and CJ] in all the WODs without almost killing myself”

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up” – Jim Valvano

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

M&M’s are made in my hometown (Hackettstown, NJ). You’re welcome.