Brady & JT, Teen Athletes of the Month September 2021

athletes of the month middletown nj

Meet Brady & JT. They both started in our CrossFit Kids class back in 2018, and have now advanced to our CrossFit Teens class and are absolutely killing it!

These boys have become such well-rounded athletes and have experienced the benefits beyond the box. Brady shares, “It has made me more mentally focused.” And when asked about what keeps him motivated to continue, JT said, “Staying healthy and getting to workout with friends.”

We couldn’t agree more! Working out with friends is definitely much more motivating!

Congratulations to these strong teens: Brady & JT.


Please meet the September 2021 Athletes of the Month: Brady & JT

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

Brady– I started at Salus in June of 2018. I wanted a new workout experience.

JT– I started at Salus in 2018. I wasn’t interested in typical sports so my mom thought I should try CrossFit to get exercise.

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

Brady– When I started CrossFit I could barely lift 25 pounds. Now I can lift 25 pounds and even heavier weights.

JT– I have gotten much better at doing all of the exercises.

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

Brady– I could not do deadlifts when I started and now I can lift my body weight.

4. How have you changed since you started?

Brady– I have become a lot stronger and have more endurance.  And, it has made me more mentally focused.

JT– I have gotten stronger. It’s made me healthier by having exercise as a regular part of my week.

5. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

Brady– A place where you can put your strength to the test and you will be cheered on.

JT– It helps you to get better and stronger at certain exercises.

6. What keeps you motivated to continue?

Brady– The thing that keeps me motivated is I want to get stronger every day.

JT– Staying healthy and getting to workout with friends.

7. Favorite exercise or WOD?

Brady– Deadlifts

JT– Murphy

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

Brady– I would tell them to take it slow.

JT– It gets easier the more you do it.

9. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Brady– 15 minute AMRAP:  15 kettle bell swings; 10 deadlifts; 200 m row.

JT– Double unders

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

Brady– Healthy dish is fruit salad and splurge meal is tacos!

JT– Meatballs and pizza

11. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Brady– Play my Xbox with my friends.

JT– Video games

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

Brady– I would be Iron Man because he is not only strong but very smart.

JT– I would be a lion because they are strong.

13. Favorite motivational/Inspirational quote?

Brady– “Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you.”

14. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

BradyI love playing tennis.

JT– I have a big family with 20 cousins and I collect retro video games.

Richard Crocker Athlete of the Month August 2021

Like so many of us this past year (plus), finding a place we can go to escape the worries of the day, relieve some stress and connect with other like-minded people has been so important. Although Rich joined the Salus community this past April, he was getting involved at home with is wife. In his words, “It got my mind off of what was going on in the world even if it was just for an hour.”

Congratulations Rich, you are an inspiration and we love having as part of the community.


Please meet the August 2021 Athlete of the Month: Rich Crocker

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I started Salus in the beginning of April. During COVID, I was doing the WODs with Cherie (my wife) and I really enjoyed our workouts together.

It got my mind off of what was going on in the world even if it was just for an hour.

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

I have given myself the award of “Most Improved Athlete.”

My first couple weeks were really tough on me, but I could see the progression each week. In the beginning I was taking breaks in what seemed to be every minute but now my endurance is off the charts from where I started.

I find myself finishing off the workouts stronger everyday.

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

It took me a while but I’m finally able to do cleans, snatches and get on the wall for handstand push-ups.

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

I feel fitter overall. My arms are more defined and abs are starting to show.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

This has been the biggest benefit of Salus. It starts with falling asleep quicker and sleeping straight through the night.

My mood has been great in the morning, which sets the tone for the day.

I feel that I’m not overwhelmed and I’m taking care of one task at a time instead of overwhelming myself with all the things I have to do for the day.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

“The best hour of my day!”

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

The physical changes are always great, but it’s seeing Coach Gino and the group I get to workout with everyday.

It’s a mentality that we are all in this together while trying to push our body’s to the limit. I just love completing the WODs and seeing the improvement on my time or lifts each week.

8. Favorite WOD?

Any WOD that involves a run/rower into a lift.

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

Everyone started where you are today. And remember that everyone is here to motivate and help.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

I have two goals:

Handstand Push-ups and Kipping Pull-ups.

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

3 rounds for time
500 meter row
10 deadlifts
15 box jumps
20 push-ups

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Besides CrossFit? Movie nights with my wife and kids.

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

Lean steak and broccolini.

Splurge: Burger and fries.

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

Superman because he can do anything.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullsh*t story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” – Jordan Belfort

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I sold storage units for Manhattan Mini Storage, Cable TV for RCN NY and garments that prevent blood clots for CTC before I got into the Restaurant business.

Yuliya Lee Athlete of the Month July 2021

Like many of the moms who do CrossFit at Salus in Middletown, NJ, Yuliya was on a mission to get back in shape after having her second child. Drawn to the challenging environment, welcoming community, and mood-boosting endorphins, she decided to join. Within just four months of doing CrossFit and Nutrition Coaching, she has already lost over 30 pounds and is strong enough to carry 2 kids to and from the beach with ease.

Congratulations to this strong mamma. Yuliya, you are an inspiration and we love having as part of the community.


Please meet the July 2021 Athlete of the Month: Yuliya Lee

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

April 1st, 2021.

I’ve made a bet with my hubby who will get 6 pack abs first. 😝 Just kidding. We actually did make a bet in January 2020, but then 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant. So after the birth of my youngest, I really wanted to get back in shape. I started to Google “tough workout,” because I knew myself, Pilates and yoga are not my cup of tea (of course there is nothing wrong with those) I just needed to get results ASAP. So, I decided to try Martial arts and CrossFit at Salus.

After trying both, it was an easy choice.

CrossFit was exactly what I needed. And I never regret my decision.

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

Tremendously.

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

Well, you name it, LOL…
Handstand push-ups seemed surreal, I actually fell down when I tried my first handstand.

I couldn’t do toes to bar, double unders or even 1 regular push-up.

Now I can and I’m feeling proud.

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

I’ve lost 30+ pounds for 3.5 months.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

For me it started with one main goal – lose extra postpartum weight. However, now it is transforming more and more to a lifestyle of healthy choices.

  • I have more energy.
  • I’m stronger.
  • I can carry 2 kids (extra 42 lbs) at a time from the beach (15min walk) because one can’t walk yet and another one has scraped knee. And It doesn’t bother me.
  • I feel great.
  • I feel more confident.
  • I feel happier.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

This awesome ever challenging tough workout that never gets boring and after completion of which endorphins kick in and you feel exhausted, sweaty but yet happy.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

Because I have 3 kids under 5 years old. I want to be strong for them. I need to be strong for them.

I need to be healthy, because I want to enjoy life with them as long as possible.

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

Oh, man, I looooove tabata. It’s different.

In regard of lift, probably “Deadlift”. It is the one that is easier to master.

With cleans and jerks it’s too much technique to process. My brain registers everything that coaches say: knees here, hands there, back like this, tummy like that, chest up, head straight, use legs, forget about arms, just like a zipper, just like a scarecrow, just pull yourself under the bar, don’t lift with arms, shoulders there, hips here, just dip under the bar, head out, heels grounded, elbows up… AAAhhh😳, trust me I hear you! I understand you! It’s just my body doesn’t follow 🤭, (he-he-he). But it’s ok. I’ll get it!

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

Don’t give up trying.

Don’t be discouraged after completing the WOD, even if you come in last (at some point those people also were last).

Just keep on moving and keep on trying. One of the worst things you can do – is do nothing.

Just keep on trying.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Click that RX button more! 😝

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

  • 10 wall balls
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 barbell thrusters
  • 10 pistols
  • 10 handstand push-ups.
  • 3 min rest.

Repeat.

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

I don’t have one thing. I have a lot. 😛
Spend quality / adventurous time with family and friends: have a God centered fellowship, playing soccer, doing murder mystery, game nights, traveling, doing escape room, visit new places, create new traditions…

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

I love king crab legs and I do love some home fried potatoes with onion, garlic and dill.

My splurge? Chocolate mousse cake. Yum! Have you tried one from the Cheesecake Factory?

(on the side note: back when I watched “Friends” in Ukraine (where I’m originally from) there was an episode “The one with all the cheesecakes” and they ate it from the floor. I didn’t get it and it wasn’t funny, but rather disgusting… well, let’s just say I didn’t eat one from the floor, but it took me years to actually get the joke. Ha-ha.)

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

Hmm, not sure about a superhero, but if I had super powers I’d protect the little ones who cannot protect themselves. My heart is yearning for innocent children who are abused, kidnaped… and for innocent animals who are getting killed. I know those are 2 completely different categories, but I feel like I need to do something, I’m just not yet sure what exactly. I wish AAALLL the children would be happy, and loved, and cared, and nourished. I wish that people would leave animals alone. I guess I just need to pray more about it, to know if I can do anything in that regard to be helpful.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“Be water, my friend.” by Bruce Lee.

“Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless like water … now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup … you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle … put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot … water can flow … water can crash … be water, my friend.”

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I’m not actually sure when was the first time I met my husband. I’ve pinpointed it to a year.
(but hey, don’t ask me which year, it’s gonna take me a few minutes to think about it, lol 🤦‍♀️)

Liz and Jonathan, Athlete of the Month May & June 2021

We love featuring Salus power couples, like the Goldblatt’s. Married with children, this hardworking couple balances family, work, friends and WOD life on the daily. Even though they don’t always get the chance to workout together, they’re each other’s biggest supporters. It’s been amazing to witness them crush their personal goals and we look forward to watching them make new ones!

Congratulations Liz and Jon! You two are very amazing people and we love having as part of the community.


Please meet the May and June 2021 Athletes of the Month: Liz and Jonathan:

1. When and why did you start at Salus?

Liz: Jon had been trying to get me to join for a while but I had never lifted in my life. When he talked about the things he was doing at Salus, it was like he spoke another language. When the lockdown hit and Salus had to close temporarily, he finally talked me into trying the at-home workouts. He showed me how to modify things so I could make it through and by the time Salus opened up again, I was ready to commit and give this thing a real try! I started on-ramp in August 2020.

Jon: I started Salus in the fall of 2018. I’d always worked out but I was definitely in a place where things had become stagnant. My brother had been doing CrossFit for a couple years at that point and suggested I give it a try. I was approaching 40 and decided that it was a good time to make a move and try something different.

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

Liz: Since I became a mom (almost 10 years ago…Yikes!!) I struggled with carving time out for my workouts. I would start running or doing yoga but I just couldn’t stay focused or committed. I also wasn’t getting the results I used to get when I was in my 20s and my 30s. Furthermore, I was diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis and practiced denial and self-pity for way too long. I allowed fear of injury and fear of the unknown to take over and stop me from trying a new approach.

Since I joined Salus last August, I have more energy and stamina to get through each day.

My stiffness and aches are so much better now that I am building muscle to support my joints. I’m seeing muscles forming in places I didn’t know possible! I lost 2 inches in my waist and have officially been bitten by the CrossFit bug! I look so forward to every opportunity to grow, learn, and get stronger!

Jon: I see huge differences in my endurance. We’re big skiers in my family and try to get out West a couple times a year. I’ve been asthmatic my whole life so altitude tends to be all the more difficult for me the first couple days. Since starting CrossFit, I have zero issues getting on the mountain the first day and feel great the next day! No “first day out” soreness and no issue shredding the gnar on the first run :).

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

Liz: OMG let me count the ways… Push-ups, Pull-ups, planks, bird-dogs, squats, hand stands on the wall! Not to mention all of the weightlifting moves. EVERYTHING was a struggle for me before! But now, little by little, I keep plugging away and getting stronger.

The moves become easier and I’m literally fueled by my own progress. Inspired by the amazing and encouraging humans all around me. It’s almost magical…

Someday I will do a pull up without a band!

Jon: I don’t think I’d ever attempted a snatch before I started CrossFit. It was intimidating at first and I was definitely cherry picking (I know, not cool) to avoid them for a while. At this point, I’m totally comfortable even though my technique still needs work.

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

Liz: I am gaining definition all over. My thighs and arms are more defined. I’ve lost 2 inches in my waist and have swapped fat for muscle in several areas.

Jon: I definitely had a bunch of belts that needed a new hole! There were changes in my body composition across the board. I’ve never been overweight, per se, but I definitely dropped a few pounds and exchanged some fat for muscle.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

Liz: Since I began at Salus, I have definitely been sleeping better. I don’t toss & turn as much or wake up as often throughout the night. I do find I have improved stamina for stressful situations thanks to improved energy and regular exercise.

I also did 3 months of nutrition coaching with Angela. That experience really illuminated some needed adjustments to my diet and daily habits. I continue to hydrate regularly and look for additional ways to boost my protein intake for muscle maintenance and satiety.

Jon: I find that I am way more productive on days where I can get to Salus in the morning.

My energy level is higher and it’s a great mental boost knowing that I already did something good for my health before my day really gets going.

If I can’t make it in the morning, an evening workout also serves as a great outlet for a day’s worth of stress.

Liz Jon Athlete of the Month

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

Liz: I tell people what an amazing community you have created here. Everyone is super supportive and encouraging of each other! You have a middle-aged mom with arthritis working along side elite athletes and somehow we all belong. That’s something really special.

The competition is within and everyone encourages each other to reach new heights regardless of where they started from.

Jon: I remember talking to Liz about it before she joined to try to allay the typical concerns. In no particular order: I’ll be the worst person there, I don’t know how to do any of these lifts, isn’t it just a bunch of freak athletes. She beats me at most WODs at this point by the way.

My description of Salus is it’s an awesome group of people that are really just trying to be the best versions of themselves. Everyone is exhausted at the end whether you modified the hell out of a workout or Rx’d it.

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

Liz: At this point in my life, this is the exact type of exercise my body needs. I listen to my body and I want to support it for the long-term so I can keep up with my grand-kids when they show up someday! My “why” is to get strong so I can stay strong!

Jon: I want to be as active as I can for as long as I can. As I mentioned, skiing is my thing so I need to stay strong and fit so I can ski moguls when I’m 80!

8. Favorite lift or WOD?

Liz: The bear complex is my favorite!

Jon: I prefer any WOD that includes cleans. I also seem to enjoy overhead squats now which I absolutely hated when I first started.

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

Liz: I still consider myself a newbie but I would say to take it at your own pace …the timeline is your own so enjoy it and celebrate every step!

Jon: Nobody’s judging so just do what you need to do to get started and keep moving forward. We have everything from Olympians to middle-aged Excel jockeys (me) and everything in between so everyone can do this and get better.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Liz: I want to figure out what my actual max deadlift is. Now that I feel comfortable in the movement, I’m ready to find out and I know I can do more! My older brothers used to bench & overhead press me when I was little so I would like to get to the point where I could (in theory) deadlift one of THEM! 😉

Jon: I need to stop avoiding double-unders (ha!). My goal for the Summer is to give it a real push.

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

Liz: (my “pumps me up” playlist playing) 3 rounds for time: 400m run, 30 situps, 20 pull-ups, 10 front squats

Jon: 21, 15, 9 of Handstand Push-ups, Power Clean, and Pull-ups.

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Liz: Listen to live music- really missing it since COVID. And ski, of course!

Jon: Obviously ski, especially with the family now that we can all get out together. It’s also great when the kids are in ski school and we’re not!

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

Liz: My absolute favorite is the kimchi bowl at Seed to Sprout. My favorite splurge meal is a cheeseburger :/ every now & then I just need one!

Jon: Probably sushi. Tuna, Salmon, anything caught locally like Fluke in the summer. It’s very easy to make it not healthy as well but I try to stay strong. Splurge meal is definitely a massive steak with big fries, sautéed spinach, etc.

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

Liz: Batman. I mean- he’s the baddest bad-ass there is.

Jon: Yoda. It would be nice to know that all the advice I give to my family and friends is backed by 900 years of experience. Unfortunately, they have to settle for 42.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

Liz: “If you only do what you can do- you will never be better than what you are” – Master I

Jon: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” This is especially important to remember when helping your parents with technology issues.

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

Liz: I have four older brothers.

Jon: I’m a Star Wars nerd (see superhero) which I seem to have passed on to my kids.

Courtney Guerriero, Athlete of the Month April 2021

Courtney Guerriero, Athlete of the Month April 2021

Each month we highlight a new athlete at Salus. This individual exudes something above and beyond. They not only give their best in every class, but they’re are hungry to learn more and always ready to put in the work. This individual also supports their fellow classmates and encourages them to reach their goals, too. We believe that this is what the Salus Community should be all about.

This month, we get to feature Courtney Guerriero. Since joining this summer, Courtney has demonstrated some of the most dedication we’ve seen to improving her health and fitness. Whether that’s bringing her son with her to class or attending the 6am rain or shine, Courtney is an inspiration to many of us and couldn’t be more deserving of this feature.

Please meet the April Athlete of the Month: Courtney Guerriero:


1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I started at Salus last August and I wish it had been sooner. I moved to Jersey in July of 2019 determined to find my new CrossFit home. However, between moving pregnant, a few gyms that didn’t fit, becoming a new mom, and a pandemic… it surely took a while.

When I found Salus in August it was immediately clear it was my new home.

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

I’ve gotten so much stronger. I’ve gotten faster and increased my endurance too. I’m still slow as a turtle but I’m a faster turtle now.

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

Yes! I’ve gotten pull ups and a few double unders.

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

It’s changed a ton! I was so worried about getting my pre-baby body back but the body I have now is better.

I have some cuts in my arms, back, and quads. And on a really, really good day there is the faintest sign of some ab lines.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

My commitment to taking care of myself overall has greatly improved.

I put more emphasis on my nutrition and sleep so I feel good enough to train as often as possible. My focus and energy is much better on days I work out than days I don’t.

My day doesn’t feel right if I don’t start it at Salus.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

It’s a great place to get a killer workout with great people. The coaches genuinely care about each member and help them to improve. The members all support each other and have fun together. There are no egos at Salus.

Courtney Guerriero, Athlete of the Month April 2021

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

CrossFit changed my life.
Prior to starting CrossFit I had never worked out. I was constantly sick. I suffered from severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome due to a chronic illness. I never seemed to feel right no matter what I did; even with medical intervention. Within months of starting CrossFit I felt like a brand new person.

I feel great everyday now and haven’t had a flare up of CFS in years.

8. Favorite lift?

I could do Power Cleans all day long. ALL. DAY. LONG.

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

Just show up and move. Don’t worry about what you can or can’t do.

Every day we are all striving to do something we didn’t think we could do.

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

200lb+ Deadlift and toes to bar.

I am so close to both and want it so bad.

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

Hmmm I love a good chipper. I like the idea of finishing something and being done with it. I also love a good partner WOD so probably something like…
Partner WOD:
200 dumbbell lunges
100 clean and jerks
200 pull ups
100 snatches
200 toes 2 bar
100 deadlifts

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

I love going to outdoor food or drink festivals. I love trying new foods or new beers. Nothing is better than being out in the sunshine enjoying something delicious.

Courtney Guerriero, Athlete of the Month April 2021

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

  • Healthy meal: Lately it’s breakfast. 3 eggs over easy, whole wheat toast, and mini bell peppers.
  • Splurge meal: A huge steak burrito with guacamole, cheese, sour cream, the works. I mean HUGE. Like one that you are shocked and awed and a little grossed out to see me finish. And I will finish.

14. If you could be an animal what would you be and why?

Probably something in the ocean, maybe a dolphin. I love the ocean. Everything that lives in it is beautiful.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

“I didn’t come this far to only come this far”
I feel like this sums up CrossFit perfectly because there’s never an end game. You hit a goal or a PR and immediately start striving for the next step up.

There’s always further to go.

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I love to cook and bake. I like to try new and really complex recipes but almost never attempt the same thing twice. It’s more to just challenge myself in the kitchen. I know what I can do so I want to see if there are things I can’t do. I don’t even want to eat it, I just want to see if I can make it.

Athlete of the Month: Carrie Bendik

Each month we highlight a different athlete at Salus. This individual has something special. They give their best in every class (and then some), they are hungry to learn more and always ready to do the work without complaining. Not only that, but this individual also supports their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals, too. We believe that this is what the Salus Community should be all about.

This month, we get to feature Carrie Bendik.  Carrie has been with us almost two years now and has made some serious strides both physically and mentally. She has overcome obstacles, faced some fears and has come back stronger than ever. We couldn’t be more excited than to feature Carrie this month.

Please meet the March Athlete of the Month: Carrie Bendik:


1. When and why did you start at Salus?

I joined Salus in May 2019. I had always been dying to try CrossFit. I actually was going to a physical therapist in the same building as the old box. It took me awhile to work up the courage to try a class, but of course I’m so glad I did!

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

I’m so much stronger overall. I can lift heavier, my core has strengthened, and I’m more confident in myself.

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

I can do handstands and double unders! All of the lifts we do with the barbell were new to me also.

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

My arms and legs are more defined which is awesome.

I keep checking for my abs but no sign of them yet.

5. How has Salus changed you in other ways?

When I push myself to get through a really hard workout, that work ethic carries over into my everyday life. The discipline it takes to show up and work hard at Salus has given me more discipline in other areas of my life. I make better food choices, I make sure I get enough sleep, and it sounds silly but completing a hard workout gives me the motivation to do the daily life things I might not necessarily want to do.

I am also more mindful of my body positioning as I go about my day. For example, I pick my 3 year old up with a squat, instead of rounding at the back.

6. How do you describe Salus to your friends?

The best all around workout you can get, both physically and mentally, one you’ll never get bored with.

7. What keeps you motivated to continue?

I love to challenge myself physically and I try to do that daily.

You can learn a lot about yourself that way. Making progress in a lift or movement is also a big motivator. There is always something to work on or improve.

8. Favorite lift?

Squat clean- I love to squat and I love to clean.

 

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

Sometimes the hardest part can be getting started.

CrossFit can be intimidating to someone just beginning, it certainly was for me. The best thing you can do is to take that initial step.

Start with trying one class.

Remember that everyone has been a beginner at one point, the only thing you have to do is show up and try. When I first started I remember thinking:

“A year from now where do you want to be?”- and that gave me the extra push to begin.

 

10. What is your next goal to accomplish?

Body weight back squat, toes to bar, and the ever elusive pull-up.

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

I like long, gritty workouts-
5 rounds for time:
400 meter sandbag carry
10 squat cleans
10 wall balls
10 back squats
10 push press

12. Favorite thing to do for fun?

Spending time with my husband and girls, I love to cook and bake, and I love to run.

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

Healthy dish: A big rainbow salad with grilled vegetables, olives, lentils or beans, and a homemade dressing.
Splurge: Bananas and peanut butter. Not really a meal but with the amount of peanut butter I eat it becomes one lol. I LOVE peanut butter.

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

Batman. I have loved Batman since I was little, I actually have a Batman tattoo! He doesn’t have superpowers and always does the right thing.

15. Favorite motivational quote?

In the depths of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer-Albert Camus

16. Interesting fact not many people know about you.

I am really into food, nutrition, and health and have recently started my own food blog called Happily at Home. It isn’t live yet but will be soon!!

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?

I’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 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.