March Member Spotlight

Kevin T. McFadden, JR.

Kevin is one of the most dedicated & hardworking people I know. His current goal is to win the World Championships of the Spartan Race… in December of 2018. This has been his goal since I have known him. He’s worked hard to develop a training plan that lays out exactly what he will do for the next 2 years. That’s pretty incredible if you sit back and think about it. Massive goal, long timeline, meticulously planned.

This is how Kevin approaches most things, even what he is going to eat on the weekends. “There is a chance I’m going to attempt to break a cheeseburger eating contest tomorrow if you want to join.” Every time I travel to a new city he suggests some non-paleo thing he wants me to feast on. “In Columbus? You have to go to Jeni’s Ice Cream.”

He’s also one of the kindest and most loyal people I have ever met, and a real straight shooter. What he says, he does. What he commits to and believes in, he stands behind. It’s been a real pleasure having Kevin in our gym. We’ve certainly taught him some things, but he’s taught me a lot about what loyalty and commitment really mean.

Spend some time with him if you haven’t. He’s good for a laugh, some trash talking, and great stories about France, and food, and more.

Member since: May 2016

What do you do for a living? I am an Applied Market Research Analyst for Regions. Translation: I analyze real estate trends.

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first workout? I cannot recall my very first CrossFit workout, but it was in the spring of 2005. One of my high school soccer teammates forced me to join him in the high school weight room. I was not a fan and took a 4 year break after that. I was re-introduced to it in the fall of 2009.

How many days do you CrossFit? What classes do you normally attend? Over the past 8 years, the number of classes I have attended have varied greatly. Depending upon what my fitness goals are, I let that determine the number of classes I attend. You can normally find me at the 6pm class as I am the backup demonstrator when Hank blows it.

Favorite CrossFit movement/workout? My favorite movement is the Turkish Get Up. I would say my favorite workout is the 2k row for time. If done properly, it is an enlightening workout. My advice is simply; do not slow down.

Least favorite CrossFit movement/workout? I will never, ever inch worm all the way across the gym. I just do not do it. Another movement I really disliked was the overhead squat. BUT then decided I was going to do it often enough that I would like it. I plan to continue in that method of thinking for the rest of my life. (except for the inch worm)

What motivates you/keeps you coming back to CrossFit Mudtown? I am incredibly self-motived; however, I have thoroughly enjoyed the programming at Mudtown. Of all the gyms I have ever been a part of, it is by far the best. It is not even close. Such great programming allows me to focus simply on working hard. I know that if I do that, I will undoubtedly wake up fitter.

Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment? My most embarrassing gym moment involves a swiss ball and dumbbells. I attempted some dumbbell bench press on the swiss ball and rolled off the back tossing the dumbbells. In terms of Mudtown, showing up in stages of being more and more injured would be the most embarrassing. Zero fractured ankles, one fractured ankle, and then two fractured ankles all within a 3-week period.

Favorite thing about Birmingham? The food and the weather has been quite pleasant.

What accomplishment are you most proud of (outside and inside of the gym)? I have made tremendous strides in being more aware of what my brain/mind is up to. I now focus on what I can control and filter everything else out because it does not matter. This has helped professionally and personally as well.

What is your favorite meal? Doughnuts, which will always be my number one… However, recently I have wanted some form of Mexican no matter the time of day. Burritos, tacos, chips, queso… you know the rest. Churros.

What are some of your interests outside of CrossFit? Since moving to Birmingham I have gotten into indoor climbing. It has been a great experience providing me with a new challenge. In terms of things I enjoy doing that are not exercise related, I love to travel and cook. I also enjoy movies. I wish I could read more, but I fall asleep and re-read the same page about 10 times.

What is one goal that you are currently working on? I have made a few short-term goals, one of which is to win a mile road race which takes place on July 4th of this year. I have never finished better than 3rd, but this is my year.

Do you have a hidden talent? Everyone seems to be most surprised that prior to attending grad school I was training to be a sushi chef.

Tell us a fun/interesting fact not many people know about you. I drank my first cup of coffee in January.


Hopefully everyone has had an opportunity to review the CFM Goals program and think a bit about what things they may want to include in their goals for 2017. As we continue to discuss goal setting and improvement, we’ve had some great conversations around what it means to develop goals, the most efficient way to implement them, and how to make progress. This post, however, is to address a more basic and profound question. For many people, the key question is not how we achieve goals, but why do we need to set them in the first place?

Why do I need to get better, or stronger, or faster?

Why should I want to be able to back squat 315 pounds 15 times?

What possible direct benefit can I expect to see from a 500 pound deadlift?

In Crossfit, one of the benefits we tout is functional fitness, meaning that we want to be fitter in order to execute the tasks that our daily lives demand. But what is functional about being able to jerk a weight that is equivalent to a medium-sized adult male? While there may occasionally be the need to SDHP a cooler into the back of a truck, unless that cooler is filled with gold bullion, this is a moderate lift at best. I don’t think I’ve ever had a suitcase so heavy that I felt the need to full-snatch it into the overhead compartment on a plane. So, maybe I don’t really need massive strength or endurance at my disposal to execute the tasks that life brings me on a daily basis. If this is true, then it begs the question: why do we need to push our limits?

The answer to this question is not always obvious. In business, we can see how working harder directly yields results that make us more fruitful in that area of life. We work our tails off at the office and people notice. We typically accumulate more hours, more skill, and more promotions. Over time, our investment directly pays off in terms of measurable rewards for our actions. In home and social life, if we work on our relationships with others, we often see the direct results that our efforts have. The investment is returned with deeper trust, stronger emotional connections, and better understanding of each other. But what about in fitness? It’s easy to understand how those who are bed-ridden or otherwise restricted could clearly benefit from more strength or improved cardio-vascular conditioning, but it is not as clear to someone who enjoys an “average” level of fitness. If you are fit enough to participate in life’s normal activities, what is the return on investment in pursuing fitness improvement?

When you think about the areas of your life that are the most important to you, it may not even seem like fitness compares to the others on the list. Let’s face it, I’m not going to the CrossFit Games (gasp!). I know, right? Hard to believe, but the peak of my achievement in CrossFit may be more along the lines of finishing in the top 10 in the master’s division of a local competition. I’m not a professional athlete, and there is not really any athleticism required in my business or personal life, other than keeping up with small children (they are tiny and relatively easy to catch). So what are the things in life that are really important to me? I want to be an amazing husband. I want my wife to feel treasured and cared for and pursued. I want to be the best father on the planet. I want my children to know that they are loved and important. I want to teach them hard work, integrity, and how to care about other people. I want to change the world through my work. I want to help develop new and exciting technologies that will impact the planet for decades after I’m gone. Will a 195 pound strict press really make me better at any of that?

The answer is yes. It absolutely and unequivocally will. While improving my strict press may not directly make me a better husband or dad or engineer, it will make me better at fitness, which makes me better at everything. I have had the benefit in life of experiencing a high level of fitness as well as a lack thereof. I’ve been the athlete who had an injury, fell off the wagon, got fat, and got depressed. In fact, I was that guy for several years. I struggled to do my work because I lacked discipline. I struggled to be energetic for my family because I was always tired. I struggled to be enthusiastic about life because I constantly felt bad about myself. You might even say I felt sick. Coach Glassman has written in great detail about the relationship between sickness, wellness, and fitness. Without reiterating the entirety of this subject, the argument is that the opposite of being sick is not being well, but rather the opposite of sickness is fitness.


Coach states that fitness is not just a separate condition that you experience in addition to being well, but rather a continuation and advanced state of wellness.

(You can find the full CF Journal Article Here
(Coach giving a talk on this here

This is why I want that 195 pound strict press. Not because I need to strict press heavy things as a part of normal daily life, but because doing so makes me fitter. It addresses a weakness and elevates my capacity. It makes me better at everything. Fitness energizes and ignites us in a way few things can. I’m going to make a series of bold statements here:

· Being fitter will make you a better spouse
· Being fitter will make you a better parent
· Being fitter will make you a better employee
· Being fitter will make you a better friend
· Being fitter will improve the quality, longevity, and energy in your entire life

Bold, but as far as I’m concerned, the evidence is undeniable.

“…Regarding the gain to moral power which comes of bodily exercises and physical condition, it should be self-evident that the process which builds the muscle must also train and alert the mind. How could it be otherwise?
Every physical act must have as its origin a mental impulse, conscious or unconscious. Thus, in training a man to master his muscles, we also help him to master his brain.”

– Armed Forces Officer: Edition of 1950, U.S. Department of Defense

Pushing as far to the right in this continuum towards fitness is critical in making us better in every area. It’s also critical for those times in life that will inevitably come when our levels of fitness will slide backwards. Life is not always predictable and sustainable in every area. You may have a long vacation that stalls your fitness routine. Perhaps a difficult and busy period comes along at work that compromises your normal workout time. Maybe you have an injury or a car wreck or cancer and lifting weights takes a back seat to other things. The benefit of coming from a strong foundation during these times is that strong people are harder to kill. When our fitness level is at the far right end of the continuum, even if we slide backwards, we slide into wellness. We may have a setback, but the setback just puts us back to a normal healthy lifestyle. If you live your life with only a slightly-above-average level of fitness (as I did prior to the injury that I mentioned earlier) you have no safety margin. There are no guardrails to protect you from going completely off the track. Any setback in your fitness journey can result in some of the things that I experienced like depression and chronic fatigue.

Simply put, the answer to the question of why we need to be fitter is not one of vanity or the specific pursuit of a fitness accomplishment, but rather because it has the capability to improve and preserve the overall quality of our lives each and every day.

Get after it.