Eric Burke, Athlete of the Month March 2020

Every month we highlight a different Salus athlete. This person has something special. They give their best in every class (and then some), they are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work without complaining. 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.

Eric Burke athlete of the monthOur March 2020 Athlete of the Month is Eric Burke. Eric came to CrossFit Salus in 2017 looking for a change of pace for his workouts. Now, you’ll find Eric crushing the early morning WODs bringing his positive energy and sense of humor with him to class. In fact, he’s also training to compete at The Asbury Park Summer Games with his team: “Dad Bod” along with TQ and CJ.

We’re honored to have Eric be a part of the community! Enjoy his entertaining interview.

1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I started in March 2017. I heard a lot about CrossFit and was looking for a change from my normal routine at the gym. In one of my first 6am classes I remember mentioning that I might scale the WOD. Jeff McGoey uttered the words “no you’re not.” The rest was history.

2. How has your performance changed since you started CrossFit?

Cardio and legs weren’t part of my vocabulary prior to joining CrossFit. I quickly realized that was a major disadvantage. I still have a way to go, but I’ve seen significant improvement in those areas.

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

Way too many to count. Muscle ups, snatches, handstand pushups, double unders, etc.

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

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Eric Burke athlete of the month5. How has CrossFit changed you in other ways?

I’ve always been a glass half full kind of guy. My mindset will always be positive, but it doesn’t mean life is stress/worry free.

David Goggins (Former Navy Seal) talks a lot about “callusing the mind.” He explains that if you view every difficult situation as an opportunity to “callus your mind”, you will be prepared for difficult moments in life, rather than letting them drain you. CrossFit helps me do just that. I feel 10x better mentally/physically walking out of the box.

I have the actual calluses to prove it.

6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

CrossFit is the perfect mixture of competition and community.

I like being able to compete with others who push me past where I thought I could go before. Ang and Gino have built a great community at Salus and I’m happy to be a part of it.

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

My wife – She’s my “why” for everything.
I need to be prepared for when my daughter brings her first male “friend” over.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

19.5. The day I felt like I was circling the drain. I’ve never been more exhausted in my life. I hated everything about that workout. That’s what I love about CrossFit – it’s humbling.

Eric Burke athlete of the month9. What advice would you give to a newbie just joining CrossFit Salus?

Take it one day at a time, learn proper technique, and listen to the coaches. Oh and buy a foam roller.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Becoming a great father.

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

Coach lead warm-up:
With a running clock
00:00-10:00 – 1 full rum bucket at Donovan’s

“Dad Bod”

For Time:
Muscle ups
Hang Cleans (155/105)

50 DU’s between each round

Eric Burke athlete of the month12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Spending time with family/friends, going to the beach, and CrossFit.

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

Healthy – Grilled chicken and grilled zucchini
Splurge – The “Jersey Shore” panini and Fried Ravioli from Taliercios

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

“Superman so I could beat Hardie [and CJ] in all the WODs without almost killing myself”

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up” – Jim Valvano

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

M&M’s are made in my hometown (Hackettstown, NJ). You’re welcome.

Athlete of the Month: Greg Douglas

It is with much excitement to announce Greg Douglas as Athlete of the Month for July. His dedication to the sport is clear especially when looking at how far he’s come in just over a year’s time. He, along with many athletes at the box, didn’t walk into box at the level you see them with today. It is through hard work (and blood, sweat and tears) that makes them the athlete they are today. Give him a chalky high five next time you see him at the box and check out his story below.

Through this monthly recognition, we are showcasing those dedicated members for their hard work and accomplishments and show the community that anyone can be a CrossFitter. All you have to do is make the choice to give it a try, set goals, work hard and challenge yourself. You may be surprised at what you will accomplish! It’s not always that this person is able to RX every workout or lift the most weight.  What makes an Athlete of the Month is that every time they come to the box, they try their hardest, give the workout their all, and then some.  They go above and beyond by spending extra time to work on specific skills, are welcoming of others and encourage other athletes to do their best, too.  They really embody what CrossFit is all about and work to make CrossFit Salus the community and family that it is.  Each month we will choose a different Athlete and post some fun facts about them to help you get to know them better.


When and why did you start CrossFit?

My first CrossFit WOD experience was in the Secret Service Academy in 2010 when my instructors introduced us to a workout called Murph. It was 5am on the 4th of July, 2010 and the instructors explained why we were doing this workout and who Lt. Michael Murphy was. That was my first taste of CrossFit. But at that time I was too into bodybuilding and working on my beach muscles that I didn’t know how a consistently varied workout system was going to make me a better athlete, human being and police officer. In 2012 my personal trainer suggested that I try CrossFit. Although hesitant, I finally met him for a class a couple weeks later. After that first class I wasn’t hooked but decided to come back the next week and try it again. The first 6 months I think I only went once or twice a week. It wasn’t until CrossFit Salus opened up that I really saw what CrossFit was all about.

CrossFit is much more than a workout; it’s a community and through that people get ridiculously fit.

How does CrossFit impact your performance?

Being a police officer my job is hard enough, but being fit makes it easier. Since CrossFit workouts are constantly varied and I’m learning new skills every week; I have the peace of mind that whatever my jobs throw at me I can overcome and adapt, just like a WOD.

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

When I first started CrossFit, I couldn’t do very many skills including double unders, muscle ups, handstand push-ups, kipping pull-ups, pistols…. you name it, I couldn’t do it. Now, since CrossFit Salus pushes us to learn new skills, I can do all of them! I remember Gino spending an hour in my driveway trying to teach me double unders before they opened; it took time a lot of patience and a ton of rope whips to finally get them.

How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

Describing CrossFit can be difficult, especially trying to explain it to somebody who hasn’t experienced it before. I once heard someone describe CrossFit as this. You have a large bag, and in that bag you have Olympic lifting, powerlifting, anything gymnastics, running, calisthenics, kettlebells movements, rowing, pullups, and any other bodyweight movement you can think of. Now, shake up the bag and dump a few things out of it each day.

It’s training for the unknowable and the unthinkable so you can be ready for whatever life throws at you.

What keeps you motivated to continue?

I think CrossFit Salus has a great community and a great atmosphere. More than my own goals and motivation it’s the people who go keep me coming in for more of the pain and punishment. I think the people hold each other accountable and if you don’t show up one day it’s like you’re not only letting yourself down, but in a way, you’re letting other people down, too.

I am also motivated to keep getting better and coming back day after day because I know as a police officer one day I will have to come face to face with a life or death situation and I want to know in my heart that I prepared as much as I could to overcome whatever that day may bring.

CrossFit doesn’t just train the body, I think CrossFitters and very mentally strong. You have to be to know that every day when you walk in that gym you’re going to get kicked in the proverbially nuts.

But yet, you walk in there every day no matter what the WOD is with a smile because today you are getting better than you were yesterday.

Favorite WOD, skill, and/or lift?

My Favorite WOD would have to be Karen, 150 Wall Balls for time. I do not know why but I just like doing it. My favorite skill is the Muscle Up because it took me so long to get them and I can still remember the feeling when I got my first one. My favorite lift now is a tough one to choose from, Overhead Squats have to be up there along with deadlifts.

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

I would say to new people trying out CrossFit for the first time or even Salus for the first time is CrossFit is fun and it will get you in better shape no question about that. You will also feel empowered because you will be able to do things that you didn’t think you could. For me, CrossFit has definitely gottn me in better shape. I also thought just because I could bench press a lot or bicep curl a lot that I was fit. I didn’t know what “fit” meant until I started CrossFit. It has changed my outlook on what being fit means.

I can honestly say that I am in better shape now than I was when I was going through the Secret Service Academy at 21 years old.

What is your next goal to accomplish…or goat to kill?

My next Goal is to master handstand walks and qualify for regionals either with a Team or as an Individual. I know that I have a lot of work to do but with the help of the amazing Coaches at Salus and community I know the sky is the limit for me!


Athlete of the Month: Patrick Chanod

This month we are excited to feature one of our members who has been with us since we opened our doors just one year ago. Patrick Chanod has made some tremendous improvements in strength, mobility, performance, position and more over the past year…and that is because of his dedication and commitment to training and his hard work ethic toward his goals. We have witnessed him become a stronger athlete the past 12 months and are honored he is a part of the Salus box.

Check out his ‘interview’ below:


When and why did you start CrossFit?

I bought ten sessions at some other local boxes over the past few years. They were great places and positive experiences but it didn’t click for me. The timing wasn’t right or maybe the distance but I always knew CrossFit was for me. When I spotted Salus on Facebook in January of 2013 I knew this would be my place! I actually signed up Day 1 in April of 2013, I initially started because I was tired of old school, Chest, Tri’s. Back and Bi’s “Globo Gym” workouts. In between days I was running all around Middletown. I had hit a wall, and now I can’t ever go back!

How has your performance changed since you started CrossFit?

My capacity has changed dramatically. I can’t believe how much work you can actually do once you think you are “done”. I look at WOD’s so differently now. For me they start at a fast pace and I quickly get that feeling we all get. Oh no, “the monster” I am tired! Now I know that is when the real work begins, that is where all the gains are and I don’t slow down. I welcome the monster!

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

There was a list of moves I wasn’t proficient in. Now I just love the feeling of banging out Muscle Up’s in the middle (or at the end) of a killer WOD. It is such a rush and feeling of accomplishment at the top the rings when you are gassed!

How has your body physically changed since you started CrossFit?

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be strong! The strongest I have ever been and I am at my lightest weight. I believe one of the best aspects of our training is the strength programming. To Rx a WOD you have to be strong, and to get strong you have to get comfortable with heavy weights. I was apprehensive and had a list of reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t and none of them were valid. “I have a bad back”, “I had major knee surgery, “I am not a kid anymore” I had to quiet those voices and work hard to lift heavy weight with proper form. It all started from there, the Olympic Lifting Class and following the strength cycle outlined to a tee, have me lifting weights I would have never dreamed of just a year ago. I came in with an athletic background but I am shocked at the weights I put up. More than in my HS and College football playing days 20 years ago! (Now to be honest and in the interest of full disclosure it is kind of cool taking my shirt off at the beach and showing off the results.)

How has CrossFit changed you in other ways?

I am going to use a phrase that has been around for a bit but I first heard from Coach Gino in class. CrossFit helps me be the best version of myself! When I first overheard that term it all clicked for me. I am not addicted to CrossFit. I am addicted to becoming the best version of myself. In all aspects of my life. I work towards that same challenge as husband, father, business owner, and member of the community. CrossFit helps me be the best version of myself. It is really that simple.

How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

I am training to become an Olympic Weightlifting, sprinter, gymnast.

What keeps you motivated to continue?

The moment I saw the news about the CrossFit Open (and Games) new age group 40-44 I said to myself there is the long term goal. I know I need more work but I am going to compete at a high level, regionals or better in the future in that age group. With great coaching and a lot of time and effort my scores actually hold their own in local competitions and in the 18-39 age group. Secretly, I am going to give it (Regionals 18-39) two major shots in 2015 and 2106 before I turn 40. What do I have to lose? I thrive on the competition. I am motivated by the competitive aspect of CrossFit, sometimes against myself and sometimes against others. I have always been competitive and enjoy filling that void. I could never get that a traditional gym.

Favorite WOD, skill, and/or lift? (What was your first- or most memorable- WOD ever?)

I love LONG brutal WOD’s, 30 – 40 Min Plus. Early on the Memorial Day Murph was one of my favorites. It is a 1 Mile run, 100 Pull-ups, 200 Pushups, and 300 Air Squats and finishing with a 1 Mile run with a 20 Pound Weighted Vest! It is an amazing WOD in honor of great man. I remember reading about it and just wondering how the heck I was going to finish. I gutted it out with several other members. It was a great morning and it really let me know what CrossFit was all about. I can’t wait for this year’s Murph.

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

Have fun! This should be the best hour of your day. Where else can you work out next to Olympic Athletes, your wife, your best clients, regional hopefuls, top notch local HS and College athletes, old friends, and local Mom’s and Dad’s just looking to get back in shape. The classes are so diverse. Enjoy the community and the people, have fun, work hard and don’t get frustrated. It is a process and if you put in the work you will get better every day.

What is your next goat to kill (goal to accomplish)?

Pistols and butterfly pullups!


Side Note:

I knew CrossFit was for me but one of the most amazing aspects of all this has been the impact on my family. They started as a cheering section at local competitions but boy did it grow from there! My wife Michelle is a CrossFit athlete now too and is quick to remind me of the moves she is more proficient in. I love watching her work hard to kill her goats. She is so determined to string together those double-unders! My daughters Ella (5) “The Burpee Queen” and Olivia (10) are avid CrossFit Kids on Saturday Mornings and little Lia (2) can be seen on Facebook or in the kid’s area working on her thrusters. KB swings, or Shoulder to Overhead with Joshy and Max. I am so glad they are having fun too and are a big part of all this.