June Athletes of the Month: Jess & Stephen on Staying Motivated Home During COVID

In this interview, Jess & Stephen share how they have been staying motivated at home by dialing in their nutrition and at-home workouts with Salus Nutrition Coach Angela over the past three months.

They felt “stuck in a rut” and not getting the results they wanted. Their goal was to push out of that plateau and shred for an upcoming vacation…but then it became so much more than that.

It became “Life Changing!”

Mind and Body Transformation

Even though they were already a fit couple to begin with, they have still experienced a transformation in body composition, gained strength, and reduced pain levels…all while at home.

Switching up the exercise routines dialing in their nutrition at home resulted in tremendous results. Seeing those results is keeping them motivated for more!

Ready for the Smart Cut?

If you’re finally done looking for the “short cut” and ready for the “smart cut,” these two will definitely inspire you to get started on your journey.

Meet Jess and Stephen, our June athletes of the month:

Hardie Kressler, Athlete of the Month April 2020

Just over a year ago, Hardie came to CrossFit Salus with the motivation to try this new “sport of fitness.” What he didn’t expect is how much it would impact his perseverance and mental fortitude – preparing him not only for the unknown but for the unknowable as well.

Hardie Kressler Athlete of the Month

This strengthened perseverance has become very clear. This past March, Hardie competed in the CrossFit Games Age Group Online Qualifier among the top teen athletes in the World.

…and then he was faced with a life changing accident.

Just weeks after the competition (March 24, 2020), he was in a paralyzing bicycle accident. The accident fractured his neck with compression damage of his spinal cord. Hardie is currently in in residential rehabilitation center in northern NJ and has now completed his second week of rehab, making incredible progress, but he still has a long road to recovery.

However, one thing is clear…

…when Hardie wants something, no one and nothing can stop him from reaching it.

Hardie is such a great inspiration to so many people out there. More than he’ll ever know… Just like him, as long as you give it your best shot, you can go far in your journey.

Make sure to follow his incredible recovery on Instagram: @gohardforhardie

Meet Hardie:


1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I started shortly after I watched a YouTube video of Rich Froning. He was dominating in one of the events in the CrossFit Games and I thought, “I want to do that!” It looked like so much fun!

So I did… It was one year this past March.

hardie kressler

2. How did your performance change once you started CrossFit?

For me, it was my mental side that improved the most.

I feel like I gained a lot of confidence in what I was capable of doing. That helped a lot in every CrossFit movement individually.

3. What were some of your most exciting moments/PRs?

Definitely the Clean and Jerk during the Age Group Online Qualifiers!

Also when I hit the 195 pound snatch at a local fundraiser. Funny story – I thought it was 185 but I did the math wrong. It was 195 and I did it! I got under it!

4. Favorite lift or WOD?

Diane for sure.
Favorite lift is the Clean. Love heavy cleans!

5. How did CrossFit impact your life?

I was always a lot happier after doing CrossFit.

hardie kressler

Before, I used to feel grumpy at least once a week. But once I started doing CrossFit, it became a big stress reliever for me. Something I looked forward to knowing I was coming to class every day!

6. How would you describe CrossFit to your friends?

It’s everything you love and everything you love to hate.

It’s strength, endurance, gymnastics and a lot of cardio.

7. What message do you have for individuals who are just starting out with CrossFit or are maybe too afraid to try?

Just give it everything you’ve got. It will give you so much more in return.

hardie kressler

Life Changing Accident

8. Hardie, what happened to you last month is heart wrenching… we are all praying for you and can’t wait to visit you as soon as COVID-19 passes. In the meantime, what message do you have for your Salus Squad? How can we help?

Everyone is helping so much. I’ve gotten letters and snacks from everyone. I’m hanging in there just trying to stay positive. In fact, I’m scaring some of the nurses because I’m cracking so many jokes.

But you just have to go through with a smile.

9. What keeps you motivated to keep fighting, pushing yourself in therapy?

Just the hope that I’ll be able to walk again!

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

It would include cleans, pullups and double unders!

 

See the #GoHardForHardie WOD here >>

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

I’d want to be superman. He’s the total package. He’s strong, he can fly. He looks great. And…I don’t know any other guy who can pull off such tight clothes like he can.

12. Favorite quote?

‘Forget plan B. To test yourself and grow, you have to operate without a safety net.’
Arnold Schwarzenegger

13. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I went to the Galápagos Islands when I was younger for a family reunion.

 

Athlete of the Month: Cherie Crocker on Being a Strong Mom for Her Family

If you ask anyone at CrossFit Salus how they would describe our community, many of them would call this a family. We’re a pretty tight knot group of people, not only sharing physical struggles (hello burpees) and triumphs (how about that first pullup feeling?!), but supporting each other through emotional experiences, too. As coaches, we get to see the beauty of this community in an even bigger way – in the way our members impact their kids and their families outside the four walls of our box. And, as a strong mom, Cherie Crocker does just that.

Cherie has not only displayed that she is a strong mom with muscles, but that her strength extends beyond her newly shaped biceps (that helped her get her first pull up this year). Her influence radiates through to her family and has inspired them to make healthy changes, too. She even motivated her sister and daughter to participate in the recent Foundation Nutrition challenge!

This is why we’re excited to announce strong mom, Cherie as our January 2020 Athlete of the Month.


1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I was bored with my gym and workouts and mentioned to my husband I was intrigued by CrossFit…well he surprised me with a gift certificate for Christmas…

I’ve been hooked ever since!

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

Well I’m not physically shaking and petrified of the workouts as I pull into the parking lot anymore! Overall I’m not scared to try new things as I was initially but more excited to see what I can do.

Cherie Strong Mom Athlete of the Month

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

Yes!! I can do pull-ups, toes to bar, and double-unders!

Although I don’t lift the heaviest, I lift heavier for many exercises than I ever could imagine.

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

I’m definitely leaner, my arms are more defined, and my stomach is flatter.

5. OK, strong mom, how has CrossFit changed you in other ways?

I look forward to the workouts everyday since it’s the best way to escape and reduce stress.

Cherie Strong Mom Athlete of the MonthAfter tackling some of the WODs, during the rest of the day I feel like I can handle anything (well, some days!)

6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

Haha I always start out saying “I don’t mean to sound corny but,” and then describe it as

…the most positive group of people who genuinely enjoy seeing each other get better and stronger mentally and physically.

I also describe the workouts as a combo of weight lifting and gymnastics.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

For the most part, my children are my why. I want to be a strong mamma physically and mentally.

I especially want my daughter to see how fierce woman are?I also know at this point in my life that if I don’t take care of myself, I’m not going to be a good mom or wife. My husband certainly doesn’t complain either lol

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

I don’t know them by name but I love any combination of gymnastics type stuff, like handstand push-ups, pull-ups, and a (short) run in an AMRAP

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

Ooh it’s still hard but don’t compare yourself to others!

Try to focus on yourself, never doubt that you can accomplish something and don’t be scared to try something new (such real life lessons wow)!

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

Something like:
AMRAP in 15 minutes-200 m run, 5 pull-ups, 10 toes to bar, 20 box jumps

11. Favorite thing to do for fun?

CrossFit isn’t it obvious?! Haha…

I also love the beach, going on vacation with my family, shopping, going to the park and getting pedicures

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

I love mixing veggies with some kind of protein and brown rice or quinoa. Pizza or a turkey sub on really good Italian bread are splurges

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

Wonder Woman…obvious physical reasons- she’s super sexy, strong, and can get anyone to do practically anything!

14. Favorite quote?

Not really a quote but I believe in karma, especially good karma (I try to instill this in my children).

I also believe you should never burn bridges because everyone is connected in some way and you never know when your paths will cross.

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

Not sure if these are interesting but I’m super stubborn, have a weird obsession with my teeth and my favorite thing in the world is getting a pedicure.


Every month we spotlight a different athlete at Salus who stands out and shows just how awesome they are.

What is it that makes up the 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. And they extend their motivation beyond the box.

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.

Athlete of the Month: Benny Gonzalez “Consistency is Key”

Back in June 2017, Benny walked through our doors feeling intimated and unsure if CrossFit was the right fit. But she got hooked…and FIT along the way! Eventually her fear turned into excitement and when she started coming consistently, her results shined!

Last year, she participated in her first CrossFit Open as a master’s athlete and finished 2050th place in her age group. This year she crushed every WOD as RX and bumped her final score to 738th place! She’s proof that consistency is key!

Benny always has a smile on her face and is there to cheer other’s on with a WOOT WOOT!

Please meet Miss December: Benny Gonzalez!


1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I started 2 1/2 years ago. I read an article written on CrossFit and was very curious about it. I wanted to challenge my body more.

I was mid 50’s at the time and saw that my body was changing, my routine exercises were not helping anymore.

CrossFit is not just one routine over and over, it is cardio, lifting, gymnastics, stretching and more which piqued my interest.

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

I had never held a barbell before in my life, never done a hand stand, could hardly jump rope, or anything else that is usually done in a class.

My growing strength is now visible in the other activities that I do, so CrossFit truly spills into other areas of my life which is great.

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

Just about all of them, kipping pull ups, all lifting, double unders (12 is my max and I’m thrilled), rowing, assault bike, handstands, toes to bar shall I go on? I have more, but I’ll stop here. If I can just master the snatch lift…

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

I have always had love (hate) handles, I still have them but they are much less noticeable. I can wear my shirts tucked in now.

For the first time ever, I have something to flex with.

I thought that the changes in my body would only go down hill from 50 on but I can honestly say that while my body is not swim wear condition yet – I have never felt better about it.

5. How has CrossFit changed you in other ways?

I like anything that helps with my memory and focus. There are so many little things one must remember for the proper technique but no matter how many times our wonderful CrossFit coaches explain it to me, I forget.

Also, I have always had bad posture, I find that I am sitting a little more erect.

6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

I tell them that CrossFit is hard, but you start with training wheels.

One is never thrown into a WOD without guidance. I started with an empty 15 lb barbell (heavy for me at the time).

Every step you take is one step closer to your goal however big or small those goals are.

It is like the hardest work out you will ever enjoy.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

I am a mother of 2 boys, a wife, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, friend and a lover of life. I try to stay healthy for them. I know without a doubt that if it weren’t for this particular group of coaches and fellow CrossFit Salus peeps, I would have quit.

My “why” is them and the results that occur when you do continue.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

I like dead lifts the best but I am hoping to make all of them my favorite (do you hear that snatches and thrusters? – I’m coming for you!).

I’ve also become very fond of the endurance classes. The breath is an important component to the whole workout routine and I just feel this class helps me with that.

The weight lifting class is also a great tool for me to hone those lifting techniques.

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

So easy to answer because I remember vividly walking into my first class and thinking, “what am I doing here?” It was intimidating for sure but if you stick with it, it does get easier.

Learn at your pace and eventually, your fear turns into excitement.

Only compare yourself to yesterday’s you, you will feel amazing.

The best advice given to me was to be consistent. If you can be consistent, positive changes will take place in your body and mind.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

One of my wonderful coaches always has me think of a goal which is great because it is so satisfying when one is reached.

I am not sure of my next goal but my previous goal was to just to finish at least one place ahead in the CrossFit Open standings and I did do better. I would not have been able to do it without my coaches, Angela, Gino and Steven who prepared me well, my fellow CrossFitters who cheered me and each other on no matter what place we are on the white board, and some of my family members who took time out of their day to root for little old me.

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

Benny Athlete of the Month CrossFit MastersI’m not sure of the amount but I know it would include all the things that I struggle with like pull ups, snatches, hand stand push ups, and the ASSAULT BIKE (ugh).

Oh and the deadlift, the tire and the big block that we had to jump over ( that was so much fun, but also difficult)

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

I come from a huge crazy family and my family is everything to me so going away for a weekend and enjoying my family without a time clock is the best thing ever.

Wilson and I have never really had a common activity but with CrossFit, we can discuss the WODs, our progress, our failures, etc. What a treat to be able to do that with him, so much fun.

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

I am not a very healthy eater to be honest (gasp), I was raised on fried everything but I am learning and my new favorite food is brussel sprouts (thanks Coach Angela). My splurge meal is everything else I eat.

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

I think we are all our own superhero. If we put our minds to it, we could do just about anything as long as we do not give up.

Having said that, I am all about woman power so it would be great to be DC’s superhero, Katana for about a week, I am so certain that she would be able muscle ups without a problem.

15. Favorite motivational/Inspirational quote?

This is a quote I must remind myself often for I do have quitting tendencies but I am trying to change that even in my old(er) age:

“It’s a slow process but quitting doesn’t speed it up.”

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

My favorite sound is the sound of laughter. So I do love to look at anything that makes me laugh especially news bloopers.

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?

18.4/20.3

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?

Personally:

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.

Athlete of the Month Ryan Bouton: This Strong Mom Will Inspire You

There’s a lot to be said for a strong mom. And we’re not just talking about the ability to lift weight. What we’re talking about is making the commitment to something that challenges you for the better. That is real strength.

Ryan strong mom
Audrey Bouton
Born 10/01/2019
8lbs 6oz

This month’s athlete is a strong mom who has inspired us since the day she walked through our doors. Balancing motherhood, pregnancy, work (the list is endless) she has also committed to improving her health (and the health of her unborn babe).

Ryan has always had that “won’t-give-up” attitude.

We’re excited to share that Ryan gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Tessa Audrey Bouton on October 1st, 2019.

October 2019 Athlete of the Month: Ryan Bouton is a Strong Mom!


1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I started in October 2018.
I wasn’t seeing any results from my normal workout routine (Pilates) and I was determined to get back to my pre pregnancy body or at least close.

2. As a strong mom, how has your performance changed since you started CrossFit?

Drastically!

I don’t give up as easily now and I really push myself even when it’s a true struggle for me.

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

Yes, all!

I wasn’t able to do much. CrossFit and lifting weights was so foreign to me.

The fact that I can do an overhead squat with weights now is pretty cool; being I had to use a PVC for a while for this lift.

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

This is hard to say since I’m super pregnant right now. But I do know that I’m smaller this pregnancy than my last two.

5. How has CrossFit changed you in other ways?

I sleep great now and it definitely decreases everyday stresses.

Being pregnant, my hormones rage some days and I find that on days that I do CrossFit I’m a lot calmer and not as emotional.

My obgyn also said my weight and overall health is better this pregnancy and said to keep it up until I go into labor!

6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

An intense but fun workout. It really gets you excited and a bit scared…but, after your WOD you have never felt better in your life.

Ryan Strong Mom

7. What’s your “why”?

My why is to stay healthy and get physically fit so my children can see how important it is for your overall well being.

I am motivated everyday when I show up to Salus and see all the other moms there. Some with kids the same age and some older, and they are all truly inspirational. I’m always picking their brains about how I can look that way after having kids (and the toll it took on my body) and seeing them I know it’s possible if I keep working at it.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

Hmm. I guess I my favorite lift is a back squat.
I like all the WODs except the ones that involve wall balls those really kill me!

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

Don’t be intimidated!

For me when I started I got a little nervous seeing how strong everyone was and thought I will never be able to do any of the stuff they were doing. Now, I might now be able to lift as much weight as them but at least I’m getting the form right.

It takes time and repetition and the first time you’re able to do the lifts correctly, you’re going to be so excited and happy. It will make it all worth it!

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

To get back to my pre-pregnancy body after I have the baby.

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

Something with back squats, pull ups, ring rows and the bike. I’m really favoring those lately.

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

To bring my kids somewhere that they can really have fun. I love seeing them enjoying themselves.

Ryan Strong Mom

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

I actually love vegetables and salads so it’s hard to pick a favorite healthy meal.
My favorite splurge meal would be Pasta nothing like Italian food!! Yum

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

Flash, so I can get everything done everyday and never feel overwhelmed.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.

Oscar Wilde

16. Interesting fact that not many people know about you.

I was on a reality show a few years ago.


Celebrating YOUR Success

Every month we feature a new “Athlete of the Month” like Ryan, at CrossFit Salus. This is a member who has stuck out to us one way or another because of their amazing progress, grit, positive attitude and community.

We love featuring these athletes – they inspire and motivate us every day. Do you have a strong mom or another Salus athlete in mind? Let us know!

Read their stories to help you stay focused and motivated, too.

Athlete of the Month: Stella Regina Gets Stronger for School Sports!

As school kicks off this month, we thought it was an appropriate time to feature one of our amazing CrossFit Salus Teens athletes. Stella has been WOWing us for almost three years now! She started with the motivation to get stronger for school sports, but she also has the goal to crush the CrossFit Teens Open workouts next month. She’s one of our most consistent athletes, and the results show!

We are beyond excited to feature Stella this month! Her drive and determination is inspiring. Keep up the good work, Stella!Stella Athlete Month Stronger for School Sports

September 2019 Athlete of the Month: Stella Regina is Stronger for School Sports


1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I started in 2017, but I was on and off because of school sports.

In January of 2019 I started up again and have been doing it straight through since then!

I started because my mom did it and it looked cool and fun!

I also wanted to become stronger for school sports.

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

I am stronger and I am able to use more weight and perform the movements better.

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

I can now do pull ups!! and I couldn’t even do one when I started.

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

I am stronger and have definitely gained muscle but I’ve also had a huge growth spurt and grew three inches since 2017.

5. How has CrossFit changed you in other ways?

I am able to perform better and feel stronger in school sports and on runs.

When I am frustrated or stressed, WODs are the best way to clear my head!

6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends at school?

A fun and challenging way to workout and become stronger.

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

The fact the I am seeing improvements on my lifts makes me motivated to continue.

I want to keep getting better.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

My favorite lift is a power clean!

Stella Athlete Month Stronger for School SportsMy favorite WOD was a recent one I did that was the Labor Day wod. It was the longest i’ve ever done at 60 minutes and I could do it alongside my mom 🙂

It was challenging but such a great feeling to finish it.

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

Just push through even though it’s really hard.

Eventually you will start getting used to things. Although it will still be hard, it will also be a lot of fun.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

I want to be able to RX a WOD in the open!

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

If I made my own WOD there would be multiple types of movements like pull ups and cleans and running!

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

I like to hang out with my friends and my family.

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

I love broccoli with rice.

I also eat pasta and pizza and ice cream all the time so it’s not really a splurge 🙂

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

I would be supergirl so I can fly and be extra strong.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“It’s going to be hard but hard doesn’t mean impossible”

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I can tie cherry strings in a knot with my tongue!


Celebrating YOUR Success

Every month we feature a new “Athlete of the Month” like Stella, at CrossFit Salus. This is a member who has stuck out to us one way or another because of their amazing progress, grit, gains and community.

We love featuring these athletes – they inspire and motivate us every day. Do you have someone in mind? Let us know!

Read their stories to help you stay focused and motivated, too.

Athlete of the Month: Chris Walsh on Health and Longevity

Chris Walsh, August 2019 Athlete of the Month Talks About Health and Longevity

There are so many reasons why we agreed that Chris deserves to be the CrossFit Salus August 2019 Athlete of the Month. Walsh has been a Salus athlete since the very beginning. And after some time off, he’s been back and attacking the workouts with Coach Steve to improve his health and longevity.

One of Chris’ best attributes is his insatiable drive to succeed. He’s positive, hard-working and always eager to kick some serious butt at the box. He shows up for each of his sessions with the right attitude…to be better than HE was the day before, not comparing himself to others.

These qualities have been the foundation of his ample success in and out of the gym.

Meet Chris Walsh…

When and why did you start CrossFit?

I began CrossFit in October 2013, after my good friends Pat Chanod and Chris Mulvaney joined CrossFit Salus and encouraged me to do the same. They explained that CrossFit was different than any other kind of gym setting they had ever experienced.

I wanted something different at the time and I wanted to get into the best physical shape.

How has your performance changed since you started CrossFit?

I have definitely improved in countless areas since originally starting. When I first started, I couldn’t do much correct. But, after being able to accomplish unbroken dubs, muscle ups, handstand pushups, etc. it is unbelievably rewarding. This is one of the things that makes CrossFit unique.

There are always new things to learn, new limits to push and new goals to chase. I am always looking for new ways to improve and accomplish more.

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

Pretty much everything in CrossFit is a progression. All of the lifts and exercises are not learned over night. And even when you think you have them all down, you want to improve your technique. So along the way, I have picked up tons of things I couldn’t do when I started.

Tell me the impact that CrossFit has had in your life?

CrossFit has definitely improved my lifestyle in many ways.

I have more energy these days that before CrossFit and I am much stronger and sharper.

CrossFit keeps me accountable.

I want to eat better, sleep better and keep myself healthier so that when I show up to class, I perform better.

How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

Best and most intense workout of your life, each and every day. Great sense of community and camaraderie.

It can really change your life for the better.

What keeps you motivated to continue?

I want to stay fit, healthy and strong for many reasons.

Having a healthy life and enjoying longevity are important for my business and my family.

Favorite lift or WOD?

Fran and Annie are probably my most enjoyable. Nonstop and always trying to shave off even a few seconds each time.

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

Don’t be intimidated to try CrossFit and don’t be afraid to fail at something.

The hardest part sometimes is simply showing up. And if you can do that, you are way ahead of 99% of the population.

What is your next goal to accomplish?

I took a year off from CrossFit and have been back in the gym consistently week after week for the past 4 months.

My next goal is to get my muscle-up game back to where it was.

Each week I am getting closer.

It has been a fun journey back.

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

21 (50 dubs) 15 (50 dubs) 9 (50 dubs)
Handstand pushups, pull ups, pistols
Dubs in between

Favorite thing to do for fun?

Hang out and laugh with my two crazy little girls.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

These little ladies.. #mywhy

A post shared by Christopher Walsh (@chriswalshrealtor) on

Favorite motivational quote?

“Whatever you can do or think you can do, Begin it! Action has Magic, Grace and Power in it.”

Athlete of the Month: JF

We are excited to feature long-time member, JF, as our June Athlete of the Month! Read his story below and get inspired!

1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I started CrossFit in December 2013. My exercise at the time was running three loops around my neighborhood three times a week, shortly after getting home from work. I wanted to do something more dynamic, but was stymied by a heavy schedule at work, and a long commute. We’d driven by Salus dozens of times over the course of 2013.

I checked out the website sometime in the early fall, was intrigued by Gino and Angie’s passion for health and fitness, and by the enthusiasm of the athlete’s testimonials.

So I procrastinated for a few months, and finally committed just before Christmas.

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

My performance has changed in every way. For those first few months, when checking out the WOD before class, there were many times I thought: “Not sure I’ll make it through this one” or “How am I gonna to do that?” or “I hope I don’t throw up today.”

After those first few tentative months and through today, it is more “This will be fun” or “This will be a challenge” or “This is going to really suck, but I know I’ll feel great afterwards.”

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

So many. Kipping pull-ups were a real challenge when I first started, now I enjoy them. Wall climbs. I love Turkish Get-Ups, even though it took me months to perform the proper sequencing.

And, of course, the dreaded double under.

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

I am very lucky. While it’s very easy for me to fall out of shape, it is hard for me to really put on a lot of weight. That said, at the end of last summer, after a 15 month CrossFit hiatus on account of a very busy time at work, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. Since that time, and with a real commitment to 3-4x times a week at the box and a better diet, I once again easily fit into all my pre-hiatus clothes.

I am much leaner around the waist and can button my dress shirts without inducing lightheadedness.

I am generally more toned; definitely not a marble statue, but better proportioned than the skinny-but-puffy marshmallow of last summer.

5. How has CrossFit changed you in other ways?

CrossFit has had an unequivocally positive effect on my diet and my energy throughout the day.

Pre-CrossFit, my diet was heavily skewed towards carbs and sugar. I was eating a lot of cereal and pasta, but very little protein. One large light and sweet Dunkin’ Donut coffee would start my day, and I couldn’t turn out the lights without something Entenmann’s. As a result, there were significant lulls during the day, and weight gain.

Today, breakfast is eggs and vegetables. Then salmon, chicken or lean beef for lunch, and usually something similar complimented by veggies for dinner. I substitute a piece of dark chocolate for Entenmann’s (most days).

I feel so much better on a day-to-day basis.

6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

I usually say CrossFit is similar to the most fun times of playing team sports in high school and college.

It promotes comparable feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction that accompanies physical exertion in the pursuit of personal improvement and well-being.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

Motivated: The camaraderie and collegiality of Salus; the coaches and the athletes, the friendships.

Salus has a strong culture of support and teamwork; people care about each other, and encourage the best of each other (even, and especially, when bustin’ on each other). More broadly: I love that CrossFit is an active supporter of the military, first-responders and law enforcement.

Personally: Feeling consistently better at (almost) 50 than I did from 30 thru 45 is strong incentive.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

I have no particularly favorite individual WOD. I just enjoy the constant rotation between strength and movement, core stability and aerobic conditioning.

Team WODs are always a blast, no matter with whom you are paired.

But I especially like 7:30am on Saturdays with my Team Saturday pals, Ron Duce and Bill Gettings. As long as the weights are heavy (for Bill) and there are no Burpees (for Ron), we’ll be good.

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

Make a promise to yourself that you will give CrossFit three months.

It is different than any fitness program you’ve ever tried, and it will demand more of you than anything you’ve done for “exercise” as an adult. You’ll be sore across the full landscape of your body.

However, the community is so supportive, and the encouragement from coaches and peers to succeed at developing skills, strength and stamina to your own abilities with no judgments is exceptionally rewarding.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

A long term goal is have the flexibility, strength and balance to do pistols.

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

The basics: Something I’ll call “The 77”:

  • 11 Rounds:
  • 7 pull ups
  • 7 sit ups
  • 7 push ups
  • 7 24 in. box jump overs

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

The most fun is a full-day summer hang on the beach with my wife and kids and a good book, followed by a casual sunset dinner with a few glasses of good red wine.

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

Healthy: Salmon, brown rice and broccoli.

Splurge: The Margherita pizza from Bistro in Red Bank; a juicy piece of Peter Luger’s Canadian bacon; the aforementioned Entenmann’s.

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

The fourth Beastie Boy. “Licensed to Ill” was released when I was a senior in high school. I just finished “The Beastie Boys Book”, their autobiography. Those guys had fun.

15. Favorite motivational/Inspirational quote?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.”

Theodore Roosevelt

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

If all the practice swings with a PVC during warm ups hasn’t given it away…I love golf!

Athlete of the Month: Sal Mannarino

Congratulations to Sal Mannarino, our May 2019 Athlete of the Month.  Sal has made great strides over the years at CrossFit Salus.  He never misses an opportunity to get better and puts in the time to work on what were once his weaknesses, such as mobility, Olympic lifts, and advanced bodyweight exercises like muscle ups. He is very motivated and has the drive and determination to set goals and accomplish them. You’ll find Sal at the box early morning and in Olympic Lifting as he’s “working on becoming the best version” of himself daily.

Meet the May 2019 Athlete of the Month… Sal Mannarino!Athlete of the Month: Sal Mannarino

May 2019 Athlete of the Month: Sal Mannarino


1. When and why did you start CrossFit?

I first heard of CrossFit in 2010 in business school when a couple presented a business case/plan in our Entrepreneurship class. They did a terrible job articulating what CrossFit was and I didn’t understand it; I hope they have been more successful since graduation. I then saw the 2013 CrossFit Games on ESPN. They were doing the workout Elizabeth (21-15-9 reps of 135# cleans and ring dips) and I turned to my wife and said “This, is what I’ve been looking for.”

I met Angela and Gino in 2014 at Middletown Day and quickly fell in love with burpee tire flips (and Ang and Gino). Unfortunately, later that week I was shipped off to Columbus, OH and, regrettably, did not join Salus then. Two years later in September 2016, I joined and it’s been an awesome experience.

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

Much improved metabolic conditioning.

I’ll give you an example. When I was younger I was an all-star wrestler. Every Summer I would lift weights at the gym (had a 405 lb squat and 285 lb bench-press when I was 22, and I weighed about 150#) and would run 3-5 miles 3x/week. I would also help my Dad with yard work or with his landscaping business. He would say pick up and move those three bags of cement and three bags of sand over to the job site, then mix them with water using a shovel. I was huffing and puffing while performing this and had to rest, often (a lot!). How could this be if I was “in shape?” It was because I kept my weightlifting and endurance training isolated from each other.

If you only work your weightlifting at low reps for power you won’t develop the endurance to sustain long efforts. If you only work high reps or just run/cycle, you won’t build the power that you may need in life. Work on becoming a more powerful weightlifter, better gymnast/body-weight athlete, and faster runner, swimmer, cyclist or rower…..all at once and at the same time.

CrossFit has helped me and countless others do this.

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

Overhead squat.

I remember seeing it for the first time when I was 16. I had no idea how they performed it. I was really apprehensive of it and had balance issues when I first started CF (I blame the running shoes). I remember thinking how will I ever be able to do the Nancy workout (5 rounds of 400 meter run, 15 OHS @ 95#)? Basically, it’s a distant memory now.

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

Got down to my fighting weight.

5. How has CrossFit changed you in other ways?

Athlete of the Month: Sal MannarinoI am not from Middletown and I am not as extroverted as I used to be.

For me, CrossFit has given me friends that share values with me (fitness, health and other) and a supportive community that supports my habit (I mean hobby) and that is always there for me and my family.

We have an amazing 6 AM crew (run by our Mayor Shawn) and we support and compete against each other in a good way.

CrossFit has given me all this and also gave me my confidence back.

6. How do you describe CrossFit to your friends?

Imagine developing endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy and a damn good looking hard body. Now stop imagining and join CrossFit.

CrossFit blurs the line between cardio, strength and mobility training. Real life has no regard for these distinctions.

I have run six marathons and have 26.2 tattooed. I can tell you from this experience that unless if your name is Phidippides, you may never need to run 26 miles. However, you most likely will have to sprint a short distance holding groceries, then quickly pick up a child overhead. The anaerobic activity in CrossFit can be used to develop a very high level of aerobic fitness, without the muscle wasting seen in long distance running. Don’t believe me? Try the workout named DT. The flexibility from the Olympic lifts (snatch and clean & jerk) may develop your mobility better than yoga and Pilates. Don’t believe me? Look up Sonny Webster on Instagram.

CrossFit is also a form of high intensity interval training. Dr. Izumi Tabata published research that showed that high intensity interval training increases both anaerobic and aerobic capacity; basically 4 minutes of 20 second sprint, 10 sec rest burned more calories than 60 minutes of normal endurance (and the burning continued post-workout). With the high intensity functional training in CrossFit , we get all of the cardiovascular benefits for endurance/stamina and the additional benefits of strength, speed, and power, all while developing coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. These last items will become really important as you age.

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

I love our community and the class program structure.

We typically warm-up together and then work on either a strength exercise (e.g., low rep lifting or work on gymnastics) or short-from metabolic conditioning (e.g., every minute on the minute perform a number of reps of a lift + burpees) and finally finish with a five to twenty-five minute long-form metabolic conditioning workout. Sometimes there’s time at the end for some accessory work…I always try and make that time, regardless.

I travel a good bit for work as well. I love dropping in other CrossFit gyms (we call them boxes) and it feels right at home with the same culture as Salus.

Overall, I have never experienced any sort of burnout with CrossFit that may accompany other fitness programs.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

The muscle-up.

It is the ultimate pull-up and upper body exercise. The muscle-up is a combination of a pull-up into a dip, moving from a hanging position below the rings or pull-up bar, to an arms locked-out position above the rings or pull-up bar. As the founder of CrossFit Gregg Glassman says, “the muscle-up is extremely functional and would allow for you to surmount any object on which you can get a finger hold – if you can touch it you can get up on it.” I like to think survival mode when you are rock climbing or if you have to escape to a higher point (e.g., fleeing from wolves or zombies).

You can question someone’s squat depth, pull up height or burpee form. But there is no ambiguity, you either can or cannot do a muscle-up. The key to developing the muscle-up is strict pull-ups and strict dips. Both Glassman and Jeff Cavalier (a non-CrossFit physical therapist and trainer to professional athletes) say that you need ten to fifteen strict pull-ups and strict dips, each, before starting to work regularly on the muscle-up.

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

What has worked for me and may work for you:

1. Slow and steady wins the race: crawl, walk, run and then sprint. Not abiding by this unwritten rule, along with overuse, is how injuries can happen and then your training will be set back.
2. Nutrition plays a critical role in your fitness. Proper nutrition can amplify or diminish the effect of your training efforts. Quit drinking alcohol the night before and the night following exercise. You will save a ton of money, feel better and when you do drink, it won’t take many ; )
3. Have fun! Make new friends. Enjoy the never-ending process and progress. CrossFit is the Fountain of Youth!
4. For the runners/cyclists….Weightlifting such as the deadlift, clean, squat, bench-press and overhead-press are essential to athletic development and developing power and strength, which will make you a better runner/cyclist. From then move on to the two Olympic lifts, the clean & jerk and the snatch. Olympic weightlifting develops strength, speed and power like no other exercise, and requires/develops a tremendous amount of flexibility. Olympic weightlifting also develops coordination, agility, accuracy, and balance, as well. No theory about some color will get you to your goals as an endurance athlete like CrossFit can.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

The White shirt. Stop complaining about my size and just do it.

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

“Sal”
Five rounds of:

1,000 meter run, and
5 muscle-ups (bar, rings, or mix it up!)
right into….
1 rep max squat clean & jerk.

Your score is your max squat clean & jerk less the minutes (rounded up) to complete the run/muscle-ups.
Time cap: 15 minutes from when you finish your last set of muscle-ups.

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Murph or Cindy workout while listening to the soft sounds of Pantera, Metallica, Offspring or Rise Against, hanging with my family, swimming in my pool and reading the Economist by a fire.

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

Healthy: Oats, raw nuts, brown rice, olive oil, green beans and grilled chicken.
Cheats: Peanut butter, oatmeal cookies, mayonnaise, Mom’s pasta, Belgian beer and 64 ounce Porterhouse steak (#don’tcareimsmallgetinmybelly!).

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

Athlete of the Month: Sal MannarinoMy daughters love unicorns. So I would be a unicorn with wings and fly them around the world. I would take my son and wife too : )

15. Favorite motivational/Inspirational quote?

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I was entrusted to take the game winning shot, and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I play guitar.