Winner of the Evolutio 2016 Annual Coaches Competition

On a typical vulnerable spring day in November 2013, we first came up with the idea of searching for Melbourne's best CrossFit coach. So we fluttered the concept past you, our readers and supporters to see if you would want to nominate someone for going above and beyond their call of duty.

Since then, we've had over 200 nominations and 70 coaches from Melbourne nominated.

Our marking category is varied, but we take into consideration knowledge, interaction, care, inspiration, professionalism and injury prevention. 

Afterall, we've been here as physiotherapists in Melbourne working with many CrossFit athletes for 4 years now, we've helped hundreds of athletes, return to training. So we want to select a coach who works like us, and who cares for people, above and beyond their expectations.

This year 22 senational coaches across Melbourne were nominated. To those who submitted. Thankyou for taking the time out to put forward your coach. They might never know it was you, but you've done a great service.

Aaron Zim - CrossFit Diamond Valley
Amelia Thomsett - CrossFit Victoria
Anthony Erbit - PerFit CrossFit
Ben Breen - CrossFit Soul Rebel
Ben Poon - CrossFit RiseUp
Ben Reynolds - CrossFit Yarraville
Caity Haniver - CrossFit Collingwood
Claire Campbell - CrossFit Brunswick East
David Vuong - CrossFit U
Greg Fraser - CrossFit Smash Phillip
Jana turban - CrossFit Woolgoolga
Jane Erbacher - Workshop 3101
Joshua Ward - CrossFit Brunswick East
Ken Babington - CrossFit South East
Lester Ho - South East Strength
Luke & Nic Anderson - CrossFit Calder
Matt Stockdale - CrossFit Repercussion
Mitch Craze - GW Performance
Murray Balladen - The Strong Room
Peter Nguyen - CrossFit 25
Shane Zunckel - CrossFit VIC
Tammy Hicks - CrossFit Westgate

Before we get to the winner, we'd like to highlight some of the great responses and submissions.

Coach Caity Haniver from CF Collingwood is an absolute jet of a coach, true badass in every sense of the word with her 106kg Clean & Jerk, she leads by example and never shys away from a challenge.
This is her coaching style too, pushing you past what you think are you limits, she’s there every step of the way encouraging you to rise up to your challenges & never pussy out.”
Michele Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds, Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, Al Pacino in every given Sunday.... every now and then you get a teacher, so legendary and awesome that a film gets made about them - One day someone will create a Movie about David Vuong. The man, the legend, the Vietnamese combover...
It’s not often that you will meet someone who is as knowledgeable and insightful yet incredibly humble and down-to-earth as Lester Ho. His dedication to his craft is evident in his mission to “bring weightlifting to all”: it doesn’t matter what level you are at, there is no goal that is too big or too small. In fact, he is so passionate about weightlifting that he is completing his PhD in the biomechanics of the snatch - you can’t get much better than that! He is always willing to share his wisdom as is clear from his informative posts on social media and the many podcasts that he has been featured on. As someone who always wants to understand the intricacies of my training and programming, I am constantly learning gems of knowledge from him which have helped me evolve into a better athlete and person. Instead of enforcing someone to fit the mould of a certain style of weightlifting, Lester instead creates a mould or unique style to suit the individual, allowing them to unlock their full potential. In the few months that I have been coached by Lester, I have improved more than over the past year and a half. Lester generates such a great atmosphere at his training facility South East Strength by creating camaraderie amongst members. With his easy-going attitude, he makes training fun and relaxed yet intense and serious when it needs to be. Lester, in my eyes you are honestly the best coach ever and totally deserve this award!

Special Mentions

Matt Stockdale - CrossFit Repercussion

I can’t doesn’t exist in his vocabulary. He will always find a way for you to join in. His keen eye is epic as well as his patience for your ability to learn and grow.
Matty’s wods are killers and will always support his athlete’s no matter what level they are and his voice stands out in a rowdy crowd at Obi-wan talking to Luke in a epic battle scene..calm and clear.
Matthew would have to be the most dedicated coach around.. He goes above and beyond to help each and everyone one of his athletes. From individualised programs to identifying weaknesses he is committed to working with his athletes to help attain their goal. Matthew is not just the best coach because he can teach an athlete how to move but he is amazing at helping with the mental side of training. Some days are tough, frustrating and that self doubt kicks in. Matthew knows how to communicate with each of his athletes to help them over come their fears and self doubt. I for one know that I wouldn’t have come this far with out his commitment, hard work and passion.

Luke and Nic Anderson - CrossFit Calder

Luke not only holds so much knowledge about the industry and crossfit he also knows how to create an amazing community at out box. In the 6 months I have been doing crossfit, Luke has shared so much insight and experience not only in class time but also taking time out of his day to help myself and people with their extra work. He knows how to get everyone excited and revved up for a workout even if it’s at 6am. His coaching and support doesn’t stop there though, he has never failed to be there for his affiliate and athletes, ever competition that someone from Calder has entered he has always tried his hardest to be there if not you’ll get a 3page message of his support. In my first competition I went straight into intermediate and came 7th overall out of 30+ and for weeks after I didn’t hear the end of how proud he was of me and how stunned and amazed he was of not only my efforts but everyone else’s from Calder who competed. Luke is not only a coach but a good friend and mentor, I always feel comfortable going to him for help and support, even when I have bad days about body image to having a bad day at gym, he puts time aside to talk to me about it Luke is the proud father of Calder, always there for his students. Luke knows how to run a crossfit box but also knows how to create a beautiful community. We are one big family “corny I know” at Calder who are always there to help and support each other but nothing could be done without our amazing coach Luke.
“These guys are the hardest working coaches in the Business. I’ve known them from the day they opened and literally have risen back from the ashes after a major fire tore through there whole facility only after a year of being open.
No one is more determined and driven than these two brothers and they deserve to have best.”

And Our Winner! - Ben Poon - CrossFit Riseup

Ben is the perfect coach because... well there is an endless list of reasons. He is dependable by always arriving at the box on time and not leaving until the last person is out, even if he needs to be somewhere else! He builds on my strengths and works on my weaknesses, concentrating on form and technique. Ben is regularly open for suggestions and often has many workshops available for us. He makes sure our box is eventful by collaborating with other venues, planning comps and making sure it all goes down smoothly. He also offers us different competitions for all fitness levels. Ben develops strong relationships with athletes based on focus and trust, he constantly puts others before himself and is always there for top-notch advice, whether it’s related to the gym or just life in general. He sets a good example for everyone and ensures the gym has positive vibes. Ben is like a compass that guides me, and everyone in the box to perform to our best abilities, making sure we are the best versions of ourselves. He believes in me when I am down, trusts me when I’ve had my own doubts and pushes me to emerge as a champion. Ben consistently reminds me of my strengths, allowing me to persevere through tough times and ensuring that I strive to reach my goals so that I can become a better athlete. It is clear that he understands each of our unique personalities inside out. We would all have to praise Ben for his endless hours of encouragement, guidance, and motivation. His love and passion for CrossFit and seeing each individual succeed is inspiring to all.
His approach to training will be applied to everything else you do in your life. He will make you want to do everything with finesse and intention.
He gives me the attention needed to make sure i learn the proper technique so i can improve with my fitness journey and not hurt myself in the process!

Congratulations Ben. Well deserved mate!

The Evolutio Team









This event and competition was brought to you by our team at Evolutio. Evolutio is based in Richmond, Melbourne and is the go to location for any Physiotherapy and Remedial Massage, especially given we have treated over 500 CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting athletes over the past couple of years. We live and breathe your training, with most of us having coached over the past few years as well.

We'd like to thank our sponsors again for this event. Nathan from Enfer Running (stay tuned as we release a running course with Nathan), Fairbairn boxing (Dylan is the best in the business), and Primal Health Products (Dan and Rosa have by far, the most superb protein product in the market)


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.