Inspirational Transformation: Joanne Schiffres – Salus Athlete of the Month, October 2023

Joanne, Athlete of the Month CrossFit Salus Middletown NJ

Meet Joanne Schiffres, our Athlete of the Month for October 2023, a true inspiration in our community. Joanne’s journey at Salus began in June 2023, following five years at another gym in Hazlet. Since joining Salus, she’s showcased an inspirational transformation physically and mentally, embracing challenging workouts and conquering exercises, like handstands. Beyond the physical challenges and transformative changes, Salus has taught her the importance of nutrition and serves as a stress reliever.

Joanne’s motivation thrives on setting and surpassing goals, making her feel strong and gratified. Her favorite part of Salus? The camaraderie in Saturday morning classes. As an inventor and artist, she’s also on the cusp of launching an innovative fashion accessory, leaving a remarkable legacy. Joanne’s motto? “I don’t know how, but I will!

Here’s what our coaches have to say:

As Joanne’s nutrition coach, I’ve been truly impressed by her dedication to implementing gradual, manageable changes in her eating habits. It’s clear that she’s not just focused on short-term goals but is building a foundation for lasting wellness that will support her through life’s inevitable ups and downs.” ~Coach Angela

From day one, Joanne has been eager to learn and has brought a positive energy to every class. She’s not afraid to try something new or scale back when necessary. I’ve noticed a huge increase in her endurance since she began.” ~Coach Scott

“‘I’m seeing changes.’ This is what Joanne says to me when she comes to class now and rightfully so. Those positive changes have been earned with consistency and enthusiasm. You can always find Joanne right up front, attentive and willing to try new things (while sneaking in a joke or two). She’s embraced all things Salus, be it team wods on Saturdays or paddle boarding for an outdoor WOD.” ~Coach Erin

Meet Joanne, Athlete of the Month for October 2023

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I started at CrossFit Salus in June 2023, I was a member of RPSC in Hazlet for 5 years prior to joining Salus in Middletown.

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

The challenging workouts have definitely made me stronger in ways I never thought possible. My physical stamina is much greater and I have developed my mental stamina to push through these WODs.

Joanne, Athlete of the Month CrossFit Salus Middletown NJ

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


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

I now see definition in shoulders and arms, abdomen and hips!

5. How has Salus transformed you in other ways?

I have learned a lot about the importance of nutrition, especially at certain times of the day and how to fuel before and after workouts.

Joanne, Athlete of the Month CrossFit Salus Middletown NJ

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

An amazing example of CrossFit workout, introducing gymnastics and other challenging exercises that I have never personally attempted before.

With Strength, Perseverance, and Innovation:

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

I am truly motivated by the need to be challenged daily to push myself by setting short-term goals and surpassing them while continually to strive for other goals.

This makes me feel not only strong physically but mentally and I find it as a huge stress reliever. Although some mornings I have to drag myself to the gym, I always feel significantly gratified on my way out!

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

I enjoy all of the WODs because they’re challenging in their own way.

As most people know, I do not read the workouts beforehand because I don’t want to talk myself out of showing up. I just do whatever they tell me to do and I deal with it!

I don’t think I’ve done a WOD more than once yet, but my favorite lifts would be back squats because I have now been taught how to do them properly and go below parallel to get the full benefit and overhead presses. These make me feel the strongest.

Joanne, Athlete of the Month CrossFit Salus Middletown NJ

Joanne’s Inspirational Transformation:

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

Just show up, do the best you can and take one day at a time-you will get there!

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Toes to bar… when I first came here I could barely hang on the bar let alone lift my legs. Now at least I can get my knees up to my abdomen and although it’s going to take me a while, I think eventually I’ll get those toes to the bar. Knowing how to do a kip swing properly definitely helps!

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

It would have rowing, squats, renegade rows and burpees. I truly love core work.

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Honestly it’s go to the gym, I especially love Saturday morning classes because of the teamwork…

To me–This truly is fun!

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

My favorite healthy dish is any kind of flake fish with sauteed, zucchini, onions and other vegetables in a garlic sauce.

My favorite splurge dish would have to be anything Italian, especially pasta.

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

This is a tough question, I had to think about this one for a while. I am neither a superhero or a superstar because that would mean I make the assumption that I think I’m super. I am not. I see myself as a survivor.

So if I had to select one of these three I would say animal, and that would be a cheetah mom, one that fails more than she succeeds but is persistent in her pursuit of survival for herself and her family. That pursuit requires persistence and I am nothing if not persistent! In all aspects of my life, relationships, physicality, and of my ultimate dream of being an entrepreneur and seeing my invention to fruition.

And I do all of this to leave a legacy for my family!

15. Favorite inspirational quote?

“I don’t know how, but I will!”

This quote has inspired me over the last few years to learn things about an industry that I knew nothing about, I took one little step at a time to teach myself so that I can get to where I want to be. It’s taking more than 3 years but I am on the threshold of seeing this dream come true!

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I am an artist and inventor that has a patent and pursuing a second patent and am on the verge of launching my innovative new fashion accessory!


In Joanne, we find not only an exceptional athlete but also a testament to the power of determination and innovation, inspiring us all to pursue our dreams with unwavering commitment.

Thank you!