CrossFit Annex member of the month Kevin Coleman was a standout athlete at Delbarton, lettering in football, lacrosse and swimming. He was a member of the Duke University lacrosse team and played in the 2005 NCAA National Championship game. Kevin lives in Madison with his wife Morgan and their 5-month old daughter Cameron and rescue dog Bodhi.

Q: How did you first hear about or read about CrossFit? What were your initial feelings towards it before trying it?

A: I first heard about CrossFit after college.  I have always spent time in the gym, going through different phases and fitness regimens.  I would read and hear about CrossFit from time to time, but I never really considered trying it. From what I understood, or thought I understood, my existing routine of weight lifting, running, TRX, High Intensity Interval Training was similar enough to the movements and intensity of CrossFit, so I dismissed it.

Q: When did you start? What do you remember most about your early days?

A: I tried CrossFit for the first time at the Annex in 2014. I have spent my entire life in gyms and around athletics, yet I remember being a bit nervous in my first classes post on-ramp. I was self-conscious to not hold up the class with any additional coaching that I needed. That was before I really understood how eager the coaches and fellow cross-fitters are to help. I remember not wanting to start out with lighter weights, and wanted to go right into heavy lifting. I was very quickly reminded of the importance of technique and then I had no problem starting light.

Q: Favorite WOD? Least favorite WOD?

A: I would say my favorite Benchmark WOD is Grace, 30 Clean and Jerks. One movement, just bang ‘em out.

The Annex programs some very fun WODs, and they are constantly changing it up. After being cooped up inside all winter it’s nice to get outside as the weather gets nicer.  Coach Sinan has put together some really great WODs using the Assault Bikes, which are kind of like a frenemy, friend enemy combination.

My least favorite, the only one that I don’t “enjoy,” is Karen. As much as I hate her, there is some unexplainable attraction to her that makes me want to get better, and cut two minutes off of my time…just not right now. 

(Editor’s note: Karen is 150 Wallballs for time)

Q: What do you like most about doing CrossFIt at The ANNEX?

A: Coming to workout at the Annex has become part of my routine, and I really like the continuity. CrossFit is a great way to begin, or end your day. Class is intense, spirited and very positive, so it is a perfect way to clear your mind from everything else you have going on in life. You walk out of class feeling energized mentally with a clear mind. Physically you are exhausted. The more you do, the more you want to do it.   

The coaches are first-class at the Annex, and that is a big part of coming. They are incredibly encouraging, regardless of how advanced you are, and they understand the science/physiology behind your body and the workouts.

One of the most fun things to see in a workout is a fellow cross-fitter hitting a new milestone or PR. It could be seeing Timmy Clean 325 pounds, or watching someone get their first pull-up. The support and encouragement from everyone is awesome, and it works. There are not many situations in life where you can have a room full of people cheering for you, and that happens on a regular basis at the Annex.

Q: What CrossFit skills challenge you the most?

A: Muscle Ups. That is the final frontier for me in terms of getting all of the CrossFit movements down. I am going to put in some extra hours and hope Coach Sinan can help me check that one off.

Over time I have worked on my double unders, which I couldn’t do consecutively, my cleans and squat cleans, which I did not have proper technique.

Q: How has CFA improved your life?

A: From a physical perspective, I have never been more flexible, and I have never felt more well-rounded from a fitness perspective. 

When you are in a good routine at the CFA, you tend to live a healthier lifestyle, from better diet, to sleeping better. If I ever have a week where I have to miss a bunch of days, I am all out of sorts...but after one good WOD, you are right back in the routine.  The exception being a week on vacation, eating cheeseburgers and drinking wine, which may have taken three WODs to get back.

I also like the friends that I have made from the Annex. I have met people that I otherwise would have never crossed paths with, guys and  girls, older and younger. 

Q: What goals have you reached and what goals have you not reached yet?

A: I have become quite comfortable with my form on all of my movements, so now I can focus on lifting heavier and really pushing myself. One of my favorite things is to approach the bar with a weight that you know used to feel quite heavy, and all of a sudden it feels light. Gains! A few highlights are overhead squat 200 pounds and a WOD that required six legless rope climbs.

I did not have a chance to compete in the Open this year. I am really looking forward to competing in the 2017 open. I will have another year to improve between now and then. And muscle-ups, need to get those too.

Q: What are your hobbies or interests outside of work and CrossFit? Any little known facts about you?

A: My new favorite thing to do is hang out with my daughter Cameron. Beyond that I really enjoy playing golf (my only other competitive outlet other than CrossFit). I have fished my entire life, show me a body of water and I will catch something from it.

I am quite passionate about my work with the Navy SEAL Foundation, which provides financial resources and other support networks for Navy SEALs and their Families. Visit www.navysealfoundation.org to donate. It is very neat to see the overlap and connection between the CrossFit and Navy SEAL community.