CrossFit Coaches Competition

On a typical Melbourne day approximately five weeks ago, here at Evolutio, we came up with the idea of searching for the Best CrossFit Coach in Australia. A somewhat tough job some may say. Especially considering the sheer number of CrossFit Coaches now found in Australia.

Over the past 5 weeks, we've been blown away with the number and the quality of the entries to this competition. It seems there are many individuals throughout Australia searching for a way to say thanks to their Coach for all their time, effort and passion.

We would like to thank everyone for the time they put aside for their Coaches and the thought that went into these entries. 

The Finalists for the 2013  Australian CrossFit Coach of the Year were


Alex Cheong - CrossFit U - West Melbourne (VIC)

Ren Reynolds - CrossFit - West Melbourne (VIC)

Shane Richards - CrossFit HF - Cranebrook (NSW)

Chloe Sadler - CrossFit HF - Cranebrook (NSW)

Susan :Liscombe - CrossFit CBD - Melbourne (VIC)

Karl Nevin - CrossFit CBD - Melbourne (VIC)

Steve Leishman - CrossFit North Carlton (VIC)

Terri Charles - CrossFit Soul Rebel North (VIC)

Ian Creighton - CrossFit Shwartz - (VIC)

Luke Bryan - CrossFit 3000 - South Melbourne (VIC)

Dan McGavern - Callaghan College - Waratah (NSW)


Ben Reynolds and Alex Cheong


"We are lucky at CFU and happen to have 2 Coaches who own the club and dedicate so much time and energy into making it the best environment and technical skills we can have I don't even know where to begin. Let's try starting when I first started Crossfit. Paranoid about the association of "bad technique" that went with it, my mind was quickly put at ease when Alex Cheong and Ben Reynolds carefully instructed movements, patterns and technique with control and safety. What's even more important is the way they have allowed me to get strong quickly through efficient movements and continuous mobilising"

" Box owners at CFU, Crossfit-U West Melbourne.  They have taken me under their wing as one of the few interns there. Having one leg, Alex and Ben have always been very welcoming and encouraging no matter what, including me in everything and giving me a fair go, being up for the challenge of altering exercises and simply being open to the challenge of having me. They continually teach me everything I need to know about crossfit and more. They make sure I understand what I need to know, very approachable people and beyond passionate about crossfit! They are both extremely knowledgeable, having traveled around and using what they have learned from overseas to build their own community. Everyone knows each others names and are very friendly with one another. They hold regular events that help increase and strengthen the CFU bond!"

" I was born without pectoral major and minor in my chest (left side), and had always avoided gym work because I didn’t know how to manage the imbalance.  I also dislike the traditional gym environment.  When I first met Alex, he was setting up the gym and was incredibly welcoming.  He immediately alleviated an concerns I had about gyms, and gave the simple advice to turn up 3 times a week and they’d look after everything else.  I soon realised that he had done considerable research into my unique deficiency, and ensured that he kept an eye on my progress.  10 months later, I have been 3 times a week, lost 20kg and not only love the gym but have made some of my best friends through both the work-outs and the social environment Alex works so hard to establish.  While my own personal journey has been significant, it isn’t unique in the CFU box.  Alex works incredibly hard on his own professional development, constantly striving to improve himself to ensure the level of coaching is first class."

" I work as a sports rehab physio and i must admit that when CrossFit first came onto the scene I was quick to jump to conclusions based on what was being broadcasted on YouTube and hearsay from fellow physios about how 'dangerous' CrossFit is.

I started doing CrossFit at CFU just to support the boys initially but was pleasantly surprised and very quickly became a fan!

My experience as a punter aside, i'd like to offer why i think the boys are great coaches from a professional point of view.

Obviously we get a fair few referrals from the box (based on the location of our clinics) for anyone who needs treatment but it is impressive and exceptional that with that comes a detailed handover and constant communication/correspondence between coach and physio so that the injured CrossFitter can keep WOD'ing with the appropriate scaling whilst rehabilitating from their injury.  The daily WOD/blog is kept updated with loads of injury prevention tips and links to useful articles. I also feel that the boys take on a very holistic approach to CrossFit and that its not just about lifting heavy, but about community, recovery, nutrition, mobility and fun!

Here's a link to a video of humble beginnings where they spent many late nights getting the box ready for opening- safety testing!! :) " 


Shane Richards and Chloe Sadler


"So the coaches at my box (holistic foundations/crossfit HF in cranebrook) are AMAZING! 

From the moment you walk in, Shane Richards and Chloe Sadler make you welcome as a part of their community. Every WOD is broken down and each component shown at levels or varying difficulty - something for everyone! Care is always taken ensuring movements, particularly technical lifts, are executed correctly with PVC pipes or unloaded bars before load is added.

There are no egos as they believe that the members emulate the attitudes of coaches, therefore they lead by example. As an example, they live everything they teach! Consistent clean eating and training their hardest each time, never comparing yourself and your abilities to the next member but always trying your best. They always have time for questions after a workout and you never feel like a hassle for them.

Just all in all super passionate trainers who genuinely want their clients to feel and achieve their very best and are determined to help them get there. "

Shane Richards and Chloe Sadler from crossfit HF are with out a doubt the two best coaches I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.Fully embracing the lifestyle and practicing what the preach and promoting a holistic approach to fitness. They both always have time to help even if it's at open gym and there in the middle of there own training it's never a hassle.

No matter what level your at or what your goals are they still treat you the same and are just as happy to see you get a pb as you are. Even if it's just moving from a PVC pipe onto a bar for the first time it's celebrated as much as any other pb They amount of work they put in to the HF FAMILY! is amazing and inspiring. "


Steve Leishman


As soon as I saw this competition with regard to nominating the best Crossfit Coach, there was absolutely no hesitation in submitting Steve Leishman, the Head Coach at Crossfit North Carlton, as a nominee.
Steve has only been operating the Box for less than 6 months, a small boutique style Box with absolute class and character. Within this short amount of time he has demonstrated the highest level of standards and quality in his training and coaching practices. He is a master in his creativity in programming, which caters for the beginner to the elite crossfitter in each and every WOD.  He also has an extensive knowledge with regard to strength, gymnastics, mobility, nutrition, coaching, injury prevention and goes out of his way to help people that actually do have injuries. His advice is of the highest standard, which is based on many years of experience & study.
From the beginner to the elite, Steve pays attention to detail with regard to technique and is always there to assist and direct to make the experience complete. Everyone can see his passion in helping people achieve their goals, whether it be to be an elite crossfitter to loosing a few kilos.

Also within this short period of time Steve has created a fantastic sense of community and family within the box, everyone is made to feel welcome and there is a sense of pride to be part of the CFNC community.

Above and beyond this, Steve is an elite athlete himself, training for the Nationals in sprint track cycling, so the ultimate example of pure discipline and focus .... what is achievable if you want something bad enough .... he is an inspiration to all members as you can see the determination in everything he sets his mind to, being either his sport or his determination to help the members of the Box.
Thank you for the opportunity to present Steve as one of the best Crossfit coaches in Australia


Terri Charles

After 2 years of attending CF classes at Soul Rebel I have nothing but admiration for Terri. While I love all the coaches at the gym, Terri has a special place for me and for this I put forward the following reasons:

  • I attend the 6.00 am morning classes and never once have I known her to be late or not turn up. On more than one occasion during winter, she has had the flu and is obviously sick as a dog, but still manages the class and provides instruction with her usual upbeat manner and high standard of skill and professionalism.
  • Terri also shows a lot of care and concern for members of the gym and the wonderful community environment that it creates. A couple of times I have had to miss morning classes due to work requirements and neglected to tell her. Terri has either phoned or texted me just to make sure I am OK (as it is unusual for me to miss a class).
  • On the specific coaching side, Terri is very focused on safety and correct technique. People sometimes say to me that CF is very dangerous, I reply, 'Not at my gym!' Once after a number of months from when I first joined, I took it upon myself to do extra for the over head squat and loaded up the bar beyond by capability. My poor technique resulted in me being returned to the dowel. I was somewhat embarrassed, but my hurt feelings came a swift second place to safety. Plus, no mercy is granted for not using the correct grip on the bar either. Due to the fact that I am sick of doing burpees, I have magically adopted the correct grip.
  • Lastly, while Terri is an excellent coach and is extremely fit, she also has her own demons to deal with and, like all CF athletes has weakness that she struggles with. It is her approach to these I also find incredibly inspiring. 


I have been doing CrossFit for about 3 years now and I have trained under some good coaches! Terri stacks up in the best of them for the care she takes to explain movements and safety points, also as I'll explain has a great ability to get best out of someone!

"There isn't a love like your first CrossFit gym, you hold your first coach so highly for the magnificent things they make you achieve, this is hard to beat by any coach as they usually have the platform with the most potential to work with. After having some time off training and moving to Melbourne I was reluctant to get back into CrossFit and was happy doing my own thing, mostly because my head was no longer in it! It is fair to say Terri has helped to light that fire again and all I want to do now is better myself daily! Get back into competitions and just maybe start coaching! I'll be bummed when I have to leave in may for sure!"

"Terri is an extremely dedicated and committed CrossFit coach who takes her time to ensure that every member understands the importance of strict technique. She is patient, firm and unshakeable in her resolve to give each person the very best of herself. Terri lives what she preaches and is often pushing herself to achive her next CrossFit goal. She is a truly inspirational CrossFit athlete. I can honestly say that I have never been coached by Terri without coming away feeling incredibly positive. She is upbeat, dedicated and super engaging!

Terri has been instrumental in helping me understand movements that at many different times seemed impossible for me to master. Her dedication to my personal fitness is second to none. She is able to explain the same movement in 100 different ways until I finally get it! She inspires me each step of the way and never gives up on me.... even when I have totally given up on myself.

Soul Rebel Athletics is an inspiring gym and is made extra special because of Terri's fantastic attitude, her commitment to the job and her genuine passion for other athletes' achievements.

As an individual Terri demonstrates compassion, understanding and sincere interest in people's lives both inside and outside the gym. "

Ian Creighton


Ian is originally from Glasgow in Scotland, and came to Australia with a passion for Crossfit and a dream to one day coach at Schwartz's. He began by training there and volunteering for any task that came up, no matter how big or small. His passion and enthusiasm didn't go unnoticed, and he soon began voluntarily helping out in the 6am classes. Now, Ian works full time at the gym and is effectively the head coach of Group 2 (Schwartz's is split into 2 groups depending on levels of ability.) He does all the programming and coaches every class, 6 days a week. 

On a competency level, Ian's programming is flawless. So much time and thought goes into his programming, that the Group 2 athletes are basically guaranteed improvements and adequate practice of movements if they were to follow his program alone. No matter what mobility issue, injury or special need you may be carrying, Ian will always make sure you have a great, safe and effective workout suited to your individual needs. He is an encyclopaedia of knowledge when it comes to movements - or basically anything related to health and fitness, if I ever have a question I know that Ian will always have an incredibly knowledgable answer. Moreover, Ian is a stickler for correct technique, always making sure his athletes are doing this properly so as to avoid injury. But expertise (which Ian has in bucketloads) does not always guarantee a great coach; what makes Ian an exceptional coach is his incredible passion, and the care and investment he puts into his athletes. Despite coaching over one hundred people, Ian knows my Fran time better than I do, he knows what movements I struggle with and what movements I can do with ease, he knows exactly how much I should be lifting for each wod, he knows what cues to use in order to get the best from me; and he knows all these things for the other fifteen people in my class any given day. 

Moreover, Ian leads by example. I don't think there is a single Crossfit movement he can't do (despite coming from an un-athletic background not so long ago), and he is always working on his weaknesses, striving for improvement. 

I could honestly bang on about Ian's coaching ability all day. I come from a sporting background and have been coached all my life - and Ian is without a doubt, the best coach I have ever come across. I am incredibly lucky and honoured to be coached by him, and he makes me proud to be a member of Schwartz's. Schwartz's Crossfit has always prided itself on the calibre of it's coaches, and Ian in the epitome of this pride. I cannot recommend him enough for the title of 'best coach in Australia' - although he doesn't really need the title, we all know he is already ;-)

Luke Bryan

 Luke is an exceptional example of CrossFit coaching, in that he strikes the perfect balance of being able to joke around whilst still managing to take his coaching seriously. The result is that when Luke is coaching, I know that I’m going to have fun, but I’m also going to receive coaching from him that pushes me to give my best, and has seen me achieve results I never thought I could.
Luke’s friendly and upbeat attitude seems rub off on all those around him and puts everyone in a great mood (even if the WOD is Fran, or something equally awful). He creates an supportive, encouraging environment for all skill levels with a strong focus on technique. His studies in Osteopathy also mean he is a valuable source of knowledge and complement his coaching on technique, mobility, recovery, and injury prevention. 
Luke is extremely approachable and always has time to offer advice, answer questions, or share a joke with.  There’s no question that Luke loves what he does, and his natural ability to engage with others, to instil confidence in them, and take genuine pride in their achievements makes him a very worthy candidate for the best coach in Australia. 

Dan McGavern


"This competition has gave me the opportunity to promote my great cross fit coach Mr. Mcgavern. 

Mcgavern is the proud coach of the first Australian School to incorporate CrossFit into its Sport Calendar. He has worked so hard to get the community, students and teachers on board of this life changing sport. 

He teachers the class to 3 year groups at Callaghan College Waratah Technology Campus. Every cross fit session we have, our super coach gives a full explanation of everything we do in detail from the stretching, skills session and workout.

He goes though appropriate stretching for what we will be doing throughout the session and explains what stretches relate to the muscles we will be using. Every session we have had so far our coach has taught us a new skill (inch worms, thrusters, butterfly crunches, crab walks etc…) In most sessions we always have a class competition to see our own personal best in (box jumps, planks, pushups in a minute etc…). 

Our Coach records all of our results from everything we have done in the years. In term 4 we chose our favourite WOD’s to repeat. We wrote up our previous times at the start. With the help of our great coach each and every time the whole class has beat their old times. 

Most importantly our coach has taught as to respect each other, support each other and try our best to have healthy and fit lifestyle. 

Alex Drew is the director of Evolutio. A business in Australia which aims to bridge the gap between CrossFitters and Health Professionals. He is a Physiotherapist, CrossFit Level 1 and Powerlifting Trainer

Alex Drew

Raised as a sandgroper over in W.A, Alex was handed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and asked to leave the university lecturers in peace for good.  As a matter of filling his time, he also graduated from the Royal Military College as an Infantry Officer in 2008 after finally pointing his rifle in the right direction and making his bed to an elite level.

Moving to Melbourne in 2010 in an episode similar to that movie Coyote ugly, Alex has since worked in a few sports physio clinics across Melbourne, coached CrossFit, done power-lifting training courses, walked a 45km mt buller trail run and worked at North Melbourne football club.

Alex founded Evolutio in 2013 to provide a hub for the next generation of great physio minds to work together on high level athletes. 

He writes on business, leadership and mens health.