Athlete of the Month: CJ on Embracing a Healthy Mindset

CJ, November 2019 Athlete of the Month Talks About Embracing a Healthy Mindset

Put any challenge in front of CJ and he will try it without hesitation. Since starting CrossFit Salus, he has displayed a strong work ethic and endless progress. He pushes himself to be better every day is always there to cheer on those who are working alongside him. He has not only improved physically over the past two years, but has embraced a healthy mindset along the way.

CJ Athlete of the Month Healthy MindsetNow, with a baby on the way, CJ is focused on perfecting his #dadbod… oh, and beating Hardie in every WOD he possibly can.

We’re so happy to have CJ as our November Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of the Salus Community. PS, stop hiding those dance, moves CJ!

Meet CJ…

1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I finally drank the Kool-Aid in June 2017. I had been intrigued by CrossFit for years before joining, but was apprehensive. Looking back, I was more intimidated than anything else. I pictured CrossFit gyms being overrun with juiceheads sweating all over each other in a constant battle to be the alpha. My apprehension was somewhat justified when I showed up to my first class as Greg and Pat were finishing up their workout. They were both shirtless and dripping with sweat.

I was about to bail when I saw Greg and Pat dap each other up…

and then focus on motivating other members to finish.

It was my first indication that there may be more to this CrossFit thing than meets the eye.

CJ Athlete of the Month Healthy Mindset2. How has your performance changed since you started CrossFit?

I am a much more well rounded athlete.

CrossFit forced me to face my inadequacies and improve them in order to hit the RX button, which I have to do, all the time, no matter what.

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

My ego will not allow me to list all the exercises I could not do before coming to Salus. Most of the exercises I now perform on a daily basis I never even attempted.

Also, I have improved movements I thought I was doing right, like squats and deadlifts.

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

This sounds counter-intuitive, but I look worse now than I did before joining Salus. Before this gets misconstrued as a knock against CrossFit, let me explain…

CJ Athlete of the Month Healthy MindsetBefore CrossFit I was only focused on aesthetics. The ultimate goal was to look good naked. This caused me to spend two hours in the gym where I would barely break a sweat. I also developed unhealthy eating habits. I ate twice my bodyweight in protein and probably half my bodyweight in carbs. I looked damn good, but I felt fatigued and all my lifts had plateaued.

Through CrossFit, I’ve developed healthy eating habits and a healthy mindset pertaining to exercise.

I perform better at 12-15% bodyfat, compared to the 8-10% I tried to maintain in the past.

Plus, I am married now with a kid on the way so I need to develop the perfect dad-bod.

5. How has CrossFit Impacted a Healthy Mindset?

My definition of happy hour has changed drastically after joining Salus.

I very rarely drink during the week and have tempered my drinking significantly on the weekends. Also, CrossFit is the second best stress reliever around, Giggity.

6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

CrossFit is, without question, the most efficient workout I have done. It might be hard, but you will feel great after. It is nice to share your agony with a group of people who are all pushing for you to succeed.

CJ Athlete of the Month Healthy Mindset7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

I want to be a DILF/silverfox. I need to keep my wife happy with the goods.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?


18.4 is my worst performance in an open workout. I was no-repped on HSPU, justifiably, more times than my total score. I never wanted to see this workout again…

Fast forward to 20.3. I had more success, but I struggled with my HSPU technique and I hurt my back on the 315# deadlift because I broke form.

This is now my favorite WOD because it shows my inadequacies and forces me to improve them.

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

Sign up and buy in, you will be happy you did.

Also, realize that you are joining an inclusive community that encourages its members to reach and exceed their goals. You do not need to be everyone’s best friend, but check your ego and attitude at the door.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?


Dedicate more quality time to my wife and help alleviate the burden of household chores. Also, prepare to be a kick-ass father.

In the gym:

Focus on strength/form. Improve all my lifts by 10%

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

I really like/hate Van Damme:
For Time
30 Snatches (135/95 lb)
10 Muscle-Ups
30 Clean-and-Jerks (135/95 lb)
10 Muscle-Ups
30 Thrusters (135/95 lb)
10 Muscle-Ups

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Before getting married I had a motorcycle (Kawasaki ZX10r), I was an avid skier, and would always be up for a night out.

Now, I enjoy doing what my wife likes to do.

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

Superman so I could beat Hardie in all the WODs without almost killing myself.

14. Favorite motivational quote?

I am not motivated by quotes.

I was not the easiest person to deal with throughout my teens and early twenties. I cost my father a small fortune in lawyer fees and probably took a few years off my mothers life with all the worrying I put her through. I can never repay the monetary or emotional debt I have accumulated with my parents, but I try to conduct myself in a manner that makes them proud today.

That is my motivation, along with a need to provide for my growing family.

15. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I quit varsity football my senior year to join the dance team! My excuse was that I had already committed to a University for lacrosse and did not want to get hurt.

The truth was that I just wanted to dance…

Every 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 rings the PR bell every time they walk in the box. 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, displays grit, and then gives a little more by supporting others in their journey to reach their goals, too.

They are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work. This athlete embodies what we believe the CrossFit Salus Community should be about.