“CrossFit is my stress relief.” ~Donnie Coates

Each month we feature an interview from one of our inspiring Salus athletes. This individual gets a highlight because they not only give their best in every class, they are hungry to learn and always ready to put in the work to attack their goals.  They also encourage their community to reach their goals, too.

Our December 2022 Athlete of the Month is Donnie Coates. We believe he strongly embodies what we believe the Salus Community should be all about.

What I realized when Coaching Donnie is that he comes in projecting a positive and supportive attitude every time. He defines what we call camaraderie in CrossFit.” ~Coach Gino

Donnie is one of the most supportive and encouraging people I know. Not only is he a beast of an athlete (love when I have the chance to WOD next to him) with grit and tenacity, it’s clear he’s passionate about helping others succeed as well. This is where the real satisfaction lies.” ~Coach Angela

There are athletes that can literally infuse positivity into a room. Donnie does that effortlessly through encouragement and his work ethic. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a CrossFit workout alongside him, lifting on a platform, or working during Open Gym. Donnie never misses a moment to cheer someone on and when he calls YOUR name, you don’t want to let him down! He models a “don’t quit” attitude every workout and is always receptive to how he can improve as an athlete.” ~Coach Erin

I don’t get to coach Donnie much but speaking as a community member he has been an awesome addition to Salus! Always positive and always cheering on every athlete!! His energy and excitement for CrossFit and our community is contagious 💪🏼” ~Coach Melissa

I love coaching Donnie. He’s always working hard & pushing everyone else around him! Awesome energy in class when we have him.” ~Coach Camilla

The first thing that comes to mind about Donnie is his positive and encouraging attitude. He’s always there to cheer someone on especially during a WOD. He also goes into the workout with a plan a sticks with it. As good as an athlete he is, he’s not concerned with the PR button or leaderboard. Donnie is a great example of being consistent with proper form and technique. Oh and let’s not forget how much he loves his PVC pipe 🤪” ~Coach Scott

Donnie Coates, Athlete of the Month December 2022

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

My first drop in was July 29, 2021 (actual video proof below 🙂 ). I had been away from CrossFit for a while and wanted to get back into it. I started CrossFitting full time in September because I loved it, loved the environment and well “My Captain,” Alicia was all-in on me coming to Salus to be on her team again. 

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

I’ve only gotten better. I’ve learned to manage workouts better. 

“Let me control the workouts.” NOT “Let the workouts control me.”

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

 If I had to say one, and as stupid as this sounds: Wall Walks. I never liked being upside down at all. I used to go about half way, they say, “maybe next time.” I had no control and let fear dictate my ability. The 2022 CrossFit Open I was scared to death doing all those wall walks. 

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

I’m a True Meathead at heart. So, I know that I’ve put on more showable muscle. Broad shoulders make your midsection look smaller.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

I’ve been so much better with nutrition and consistency. Now, my blood work is better than before I started at Salus. 

CrossFit is my stress relief. I get to disappear for an hour or more and lose myself in those minutes. 

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

Welcoming, engaging, energetic, a friendly, no pressure environment. 

No Egos.

No Glamour. 

Just hard work, by a fantastic group of friends, coaches and athletes. 

Salus offers you a road map to great fitness and proper nutrition. It’s just up to you to take the first step

Murph WOD at Salus

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

The other athletes and their progressions keep me motivated. I never leave upset because everyday someone else impresses me with their abilities. 

I’m having fun. When I stop having fun, I’ll lose motivation. I’ll never stop having fun.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?


They HURT, they BURN, they make you feel like you can’t go anymore. That’s when you push even harder for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our Freedoms. 

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

Just show up!  You won’t know unless you try. You won’t regret it. 

The hardest part is walking through the door. If you’re lucky enough like I was, Coach Melissa will be there to welcome you in the first six seconds and make you feel like family.

READ: What to Expect During Your First CrossFit Class

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Get back on the rings for ring muscle ups. 

Finally clean over 225#.

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

It would be a HERO WOD. 

60 Minute Death by Squat Cleans (add 1), Double Unders (add 20), Bench Press (add 2), Bar Muscle Ups (add 1) 

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Yankees Baseball, CrossFit, Jiu Jitsu and Concerts. Those are my escapes and what I love to do most.   #ItsBritneyBitch 

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

Healthy Dish is chicken and sweet potatoes. Sweet Potatoes are where the gains are made. 

Splurge is Bacon Cheeseburgers for sure. 100% No Doubt!!!!

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

I’d be my Grandfather Irving, my fathers father. He was a large man, He Stood Tall and built like a rock! (Most people are tall to me). He was a Fireman in the Navy. He served in WWII. Then he worked the railroad for many years. He was an amazing self taught carpenter and provided for his family like no other. He was a kind but strict man. He had an amazing heart. He was a Superhero and a Superstar. 

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.”

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

Two important facts that not many people know:

I had taken Prescribed Human Growth Hormone for approximately 8 years as a child just to get to average height. Too bad my mother didn’t mix it with the really good stuff. 

Lastly, I’ve had a CrossFit Level -1 Coaching/ Training certificate since 2017.