Each month we bring you a story about one of our awesome athletes at Salus. We feature this person because they have something special. They give their best in every class (and then some), they are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work. 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.
Our October 2022 Athlete of the Month is Dan Unkel.
“After the American flag outfit, how could we ever forget! Dan has always been a good listener, always has felt coachable, he always did his best and looking at the long term Dan has improved his lower body strength a ton of his skills with the barbell. Gymnastics movements have improved a great deal, too.” ~Coach Gino
“Dan is just a nice, humble hard worker and always gives words of encouragement.” ~Coach Scott
“I know Dan first as his former competition partner and as his coach second. Working side by side with him, you get a first hand experience as to how his calm, focused demeanor helps him crush workouts (and keep his partner calm, too). Dan sees the work in front of him, puts his head down, and gets it done regardless of how lofty the challenge. During class, he always makes an effort to support others around him while staying committed to improving his own performance.” ~Coach Erin
“Dan always shows up ready to work and with a smile!!! And he is One of Salus’ humble first responders!!! 🙌 did you know he delivered a baby at a gas station a few weeks ago when he was on duty!?! 😯” ~Coach Melissa
Dan Unkel Athlete of the Month October 2022
1. When and why did you start at Salus?
I joined Salus in January of 2018. I joined because I needed a change in my boring exercise routine, I would either lift weights or run, but never both at the same time or for any period of time.
CrossFit is the perfect combination of cardio and lifting for me…and because Erin Winters handed me a glass of Salus Kool Aid and told me to drink it.
2. How has your performance changed since you started at Salus?
I will be the first one to admit that I am nowhere near where I want to be as far as my fitness level goes, but Salus has helped me to get closer to it and realize what my weaknesses are. (ahem….cardio)
3. Are there exercises you can do now that you couldn’t do before?
Bar Muscle Ups. It feels so good when you fire yourself over that bar knowing I can do something that not many people in this world are capable of.
4. How has your body physically changed since you started?
I’m always sore…in the best way possible.
5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?
I’ve done two nutrition challenges and have learned a lot doing them. I have seen a noticeable difference each time. I understand what I need to put into my body and although my children, work, work schedule (steady midnights as a police officer) doesn’t help with nutrition, sleep and stress, the tools that Salus has provided me with has put me in a much better place then if I had never walked in those doors.
6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?
I have told anyone that will listen that Salus will be the best decision you could make as far as trying to reach your fitness goals.
The people, the atmosphere, the comradery…there is no gym that can duplicate the motivation you get walking into this building with these people.
I get more excited cheering others on and seeing them crush their goals then I do my own.
7. What keeps you motivated to continue? What’s your “why”?
My family and my job.
We are a very active family (Cameron-Gymnastics, Cali-Basketball, Mason-Football) and I want them to know that I wouldn’t ask them to do anything that I wouldn’t be willing to do. I work out and they know that, they ask me to workout with them and I’m glad they do. I want to be able to run, jump, and throw with them whenever they want. Also, it helps to stay in shape so I look good in uniform or a full American flag workout outfit.
8. Favorite lift or WOD?
The easy answer is Bench Press. I try and never miss bench day, but if I had to pick a favorite WOD, I would go with all the lifting, DT !
9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining Salus?
Be patient and don’t look around. Don’t worry about what everyone else is lifting or capable of right now. You’ll get there.
You’ll amaze yourself if you just give yourself the time.
10. What is your next goal to accomplish?
Get my nutrition back on track. When is the next challenge? I need to set time aside to meal prep and put the effort into getting back to where I want to be.
11. If you could design your own WOD, what would it look like?
How about a birthday WOD 5/7/80, I’ll be 43.
5 rounds of 7 bench press (Gino can pick the weights), 43 box jumps and 80 dubs.
12. Favorite thing to do for fun?
Vacation anywhere near the beach with the girliest drink I can find. Don’t judge me!!!
13. Favorite healthy dish….and favorite “splurge” meal?
Healthy-Egg white’s with turkey and salsa on a spinach wrap.
Splurge Meal-Taco’s or Buffalo Wings
14. If you could be a superhero, who would you be and why?
Based on my job, I’d have to say either Superman or Spiderman. To try and help people in any way I can before they are hurt or become a victim is why I go to work each and every day. After 18 years on the job, nothing has changed for me. It gets disheartening to hear negative views about police officers but I’m also comforted by the effort that my men, women and I put forth despite the negative narrative.
15. Favorite motivational/Inspirational quote?
“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph in the world is that good men do nothing.” -Edmund Burke or maybe JFK
16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.
I was a State Champion football player and Track athlete in high school and went on to play both in college. To me, CrossFit is me not letting my inner athlete go and why I refuse to scale most WOD’s even though it is probably the smart thing to do for me at 42 years old.