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!!

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.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Salus (@salusnj)

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.”