February Athletes of the Month


Meet Carmen Reyes, and Paula and Sy Phillips -- three generations of strong women who train at Hampton Cove CrossFit! Carmen, the matriarch of the family, was born in Chile and moved to Greece at 23. Paula was born in Chile, but grew up in Greece. She was relocated to Huntsville after working in the Florida Keys. Carmen moved to the United States after Sy’s birth so that she would not have to be a “Skype granny.” Between the three of them, seven different languages are spoken including French, Spanish, Greek, Italian, and English. While members of the same family working out side by side is certainly not an uncommon sight at HCCF, we love that these three keep each other motivated and encourage us all to make healthy choices a family affair!


Why did you join Crossfit?

Paula: I was looking to find a form of exercise that would be functional, diverse and that would keep me interested. I have never been a gym rat, preferring to do activities that would keep me fit. Having spent most of my life on sailboats made this easy but after moving to the mainland my lifestyle underwent a drastic change. Then came children and a not so good time in my life. Suddenly I was a single mother, at a point in my life where I needed to find what made me tick because I wanted to be a woman that my girls could look up to: strong, resilient, independent, a complete and total badass that stands up for herself.

Carmen: Cross Fit was unknown to me until Paula, Sy and Layla joined Hampton Cove CrossFit.  It was a completely new concept for me and I never imagined that I could do it.  My first thought was "no, no for me" but some nice people in Hampton Cove convinced me to give it a try and I did... I'm so pleased that I joined.  


How has it changed you mentally and physically?

Paula: I was looking to find a form of exercise that would be functional, diverse and that would keep me interested. I have never been a gym rat, preferring to do activities that would keep me fit. Having spent most of my life on sailboats made this easy but after moving to the mainland my lifestyle underwent a drastic change. Then came children and a not so good time in my life. Suddenly I was a single mother, at a point in my life where I needed to find what made me tick because I wanted to be a woman that my girls could look up to: strong, resilient, independent, a complete and total badass that stands up for herself.

Carmen: My balance has improved, I'm stronger and it's very gratifying to see and feel the progress I made.


Does CrossFit have any positive effects in your day to day life outside the gym?

Paula: Absolutely – I actually pay attention at how I pick up heavy things these days, I am more playful with my kids, I feel more engaged and appreciative of things. My mind seems sharper and more focused, and oddly enough, as I make a point to carve out my exercise time I find myself organizing and prioritizing myself better.  

Carmen: I have more energy and I sleep better.


How have you changed your diet to meet your fitness goals?

Paula: I went about it the opposite way: about 2 years ago I decided we needed, as a family, to make some lifestyle changes. It is my belief you have to start by what you put in your body first. After some research, I decided to switch us to a Paleo diet and went through several Whole 30’s. Eating healthier foods brought about a sense of well-being and energy and a desire to take my fitness to the next level.


And now some questions for Sy…

What do you like best about CrossFit Kids?

I like that I get to challenge myself and it’s fun - so it’s a 2-in-1 package.


What do you like best about Hampton Cove CrossFit?

That there are kind people that are always respectful and encouraging each other.


What is it like CrossFitting together as a family?

I feel supported and glad to be able to do an activity together.

August Athlete of the Month

 Meet Molli Kirby!! 


Why did I join CrossFit?

Because I’m crazy? Because I have 60 spare minutes every other day and I wasn’t sure what to do with them? Because I love working out?ç That is definitely not the answer! Because I was 30 when I had my first child, and 39 when I had my second child, and I get all kinds of nervous when I start doing the math for my age at all theirupcoming milestones? ç That is probably the most honest answer.

I have NEVER liked working out. I have loved tennis with friends, boot camp training with friends, running with friends, Pilates with friends, yoga with friends, healthy eating with friends, meal planning with friends…I’m pretty sure thekey component is obvious. It was to me - I have to exercise, by appointment, with friends, who will hold me accountable. Or least be glad to see me when I show up. That could be done with all the other scenarios I mentioned above, so why CrossFit? I happen to have a husband in the medical field, whose patients tend to be older and overweight. I know there are directcorrelationsbetween weight and health. I also know that weight-bearing exercises are the best ways to keep your bones dense and your body healthy. Muscles = Strength = Health. Thin = looks great in clothes, but that’s not really my goal. (It’s probably going to be a side effect, and I won’t complain at all.)I need health. I need to be strong and rocking life when my children graduate from college, find their passions, get married, and have their own children. CrossFittraining is based on functional movement. Life is based on functional movement. You do the math.

I had been considering trying CrossFit for a while, knowing I needed to start lifting weights again. (I had done the math.) I had a couple of friends who were CrossFitting and loved it. I asked them a zillion questions, then figured, why not? I got brave one day, made my appointment for the familiarization class and have never looked back.  I have been CrossFitting since early May, so about3 months.

Can I do the movements at RX? Nope. Can I do any of the movements at RX? Again, nope. But there are scales for everything, and scales for those scales (I’m looking at you, Rope Climb. The scale includes pull-ups of some kind, which can be scaled again to banded pull-ups, which can be scaled a third time to double-banded pull-ups. Ask me how I know.)And, here’s the best part – does anyone care? Not a single bit. Because I can almost guarantee they started the same way.

How has it changed me? And how has it helped me in my daily grind/athletics?

CrossFit has changed several different parts of me. It’s changed the outside “me” by toning the muscles I had, and by starting to build the muscles I want. It’s changed the daily “me” by altering my schedule. Instead of trying to fit a workout in when I found time – which was never – I work everything else around the morning classes at the box. They get written on my calendar FIRST and something has to be extremely important to bump one of my WOD days. It’s changed the conversational “me” by building my vocabulary. Box, WOD, EMOM, AMRAP, clean, jerk, kipping, RX, whiteboard, cash out – before, these things either meant NOTHING to me or something entirely different. Now, I speak the language.It’s changed the inside, integral, core “me” by making me proud of myself.I’ve finished every WOD, even if it’s after the cut-off. It’s changed the mom “me” by making sure my children understand that being healthy is what’s important. The bonus, for every one in my family, is that exercise raisesendorphin levels. So a healthy me is a happy me. (It’s also possible that I’m too exhausted after a WOD to get bent out of shape over a messy house.)

Like most moms, my daily grind is grinding. Even though I’m still in the early days of my CrossFitting, I can tell you that I recently had to carry my not-quite-40-lb sleeping daughter almost a ½ mile, and I had no problem with it. I looked at it as doing a fireman’s carry, and went. I didn’t stop, I didn’t slow down, I didn’t complain, I just carried. The bigger she gets, the stronger I’ll be. It’s the perfect solution.  My life is athletics enough. CrossFit is going to help me live it.

How have I changed my diet and incorporated that into my daily routine/Crossfit?

Like I mentioned earlier, my husband is a physician. He’s my external, healthy conscience. Yes, it’s irritating, but he’s almost always correct. (Which is what makes it irritating.) Through his research, years ago, for his own patients, I was introduced to the Paleo lifestyle. It resonated with me and I was very strict about it for many years. Lately, our family’s schedule has found us in the car more often than at home, which makes meal planning and home-cooked meals very difficult to manage. We’ve fallen off our Paleo wagon more than we’d like, but that’s ok. CrossFit has reminded me that nutrition is key to my health, just like gaining strength is. Will I ever be strict Paleo, or gluten-free, or even try a Whole30 again?Maybe.Maybe not. But I eat lots of protein and whole foods and call it good if a birthday cake happens to cross my path. A happy life is about balance. I’m balancing.

What do I think about Hampton Cove CrossFit?

HCCF is amazing. I don’t use that word lightly.  Any place or group of people who make me want to put a WOD on my schedule, actually show up, work out, post my way-less-than-RX results in PUBLIC, go all day without finding the time to shower but not carebecause I feel accomplished, and brag to my husband about what I did that morning has to be pretty amazing. HCCF is full of fun, supportive people and coaches…who make me laugh…who make me WANT to do a strict pull up and lift heavier weights…who are building a community in a box…and who are part of my rocking-life-until-I’m-104 plan. In short, I’m glad I’m there.

July Athlete of the Month

Meet Joe Lang one of Hampton Cove CrossFit’s newer members.  Joe has an outstanding CrossFit story that is really worth hearing.

October 2016 - Present

October 2016 - Present

My journey to CrossFit can best be described as a chance encounter.  I had heard about it.  It sounded intimidating, and I even made fun of it like every other person who really doesn’t know the whole story.  But none of that stopped me from bidding on an Intro course donated by Hampton Cove CrossFit at a silent auction for Huntsville Hospital’s Neonatal intensive care unit.

I told myself going in that I would give this thing two weeks. I thought, ‘you know give it a try.  See what the CrossFit thing is all about, and then that will probably be it.  At the time, I really just wanted to look good at the pool, and I was only interested in seeing the numbers on the scale move or my shirt size change.

But CrossFit is a game changer when it comes to how you measure physical fitness.  I’ve been CrossFitting for nearly 5 months now, and I’m motivated more now by how much can I lift. How fast can I run? Could I achieve muscle ups? Hand stand pushups? What can my body do today that it couldn’t do yesterday or last week or last month.   

I have also discovered the true benefits of proper nutrition which I have never taken seriously in the past.  My wife Traci and I recently completed a full round of Whole30, and now we are incorporating clean foods into our every day routine.  To date, I have dropped 25 pounds and somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 inches.  I have achieved a level of fitness and pushed my body beyond what I thought was possible.  I had no idea what I was capable of until I tried CrossFit.

Another benefit unknown to me when I started is the support you receive from the CrossFit community.  I get it everyday when I walk in the gym. I’m friends with so many of my fellow athletes.  Community is the difference between a normal ‘globogym’ and our CrossFit box.  In any other gym, most of the time, it is just you, your headphones, and the workout in front of you.  If you cannot push yourself you will fail or quit.  That is not the case with the community I have found here.

What has CrossFit done for me?  It has changed my attitude, my confidence, the way I set goals, and the way I achieve them, and finally, how I look.  The most surprising thing to me is in the order I list what CrossFit has done for me.  As it turns out the numbers on the scale and the size of my pants is the least important.

October 2016 - Present

October 2016 - Present

June Athlete of the Month

Name: Ethan Hensley

Age: 17, Rising Senior at Huntsville High School

Member Since: May 2016



  1. Why did you join CrossFit? And how long have you been CrossFitting?

I joined CrossFit for a few reasons.

    1) My parents do it and my uncle does it. Both my Dad and Uncle have gained so much muscle and weight doing it and they both look good. I figured I'm in the peak of adolescence and puberty and might as well start working out so I don't go to college as skinny as a bean pole. Plus, I've always been fascinated with muscles. They look good, make you feel cool and are fun to stare at in the mirror.

    2) I've been teetering on dropping the high school sports I've been doing for some time and needed another way to stay in shape. CrossFit provides that for me. I have a ball doing it and the community at HCC has really helped me stick with it. I love lifting weights and all the unique movements CrossFit provides. 

  1. How has it changed you? And how has it helped you in your daily grind, athletics?
  2. CrossFit has changed me in many ways. To name a few it has helped my confidence, my body's figure, and overall athleticism. I wasn't the strongest kid in the weight room the summer before my sophomore year of high school but I knew I loved lifting weights the moment I stepped in the weight room at Huntsville High. CrossFit gave me an extra advantage in the weight room and quickly I was noticing I was stronger and more in overall shape than most of the kids on the basketball team, of course my track and cross country seasons helped get me in stamina shape. Over the past winter break, my track team was tasked with running over the course of the break. Simple enough but I hate running when I'm told to and naturally I took 2 weeks off from running. I lifted, or did Crossfit, however, 4 or 5 days a week over the course of 2 weeks. My mile (1600 meters) time before I went on break was 5:08, my mile time after break was 5:07. I didn't run at all. Call it what you want, teenage adrenaline or pubescent testosterone rage but I know that if I hadn't done crossfit I would've lost my time and fitness. Fast forward 2-3 months and my mile time has decreased again to 4:50.  Crossfit works and it has improved every aspect of my athletic routine, basketball, running, strength, confidence and mental toughness. 

    It has helped my daily grind a tremendous amount. My mental toughness has increased to astronomical numbers and CrossFit is the benefactor. Before I would quit or slack off in several physical activities but once I started CrossFit, the coaches and other classmates really pushed me to step up my game. I also have a very competitive personality, my Dad can tell you first hand. I hate losing or falling behind in something, seeing someone I think or even know I am better than make a lift that's heavier than me makes me strive to do better and push myself. This self-pushing doesn't just happen in CrossFit but in track and every other sport I play too. CrossFit has helped me test my limits and really see what kind of athlete I can be. 

  3. How did you change your diet and incorporate that into your daily routine/crossfit? If you haven't that's fine just skip this one!                                                                                  I haven't really changed much of my diet except that I started to cut down on the quantity of portions I would from a fast food chain. Instead of ordering 2 chick fil a sandwhich meals I'll get 1 now. I choose to drink more water and stay hydrated. I choose to order more healthy selections at restaurants like steak and salmon and I have increased my range of green vegetables a ton.                                                               
  4. What do you think of Hampton Cove CrossFit?

Hampton Cove CrossFit is a wonderful place. I love being there. Every time I open the doors I am greeted by everyone there. You are always welcomed with open arms and the coaches are great. They really know how to coach to your needs and make suggestions I would never think about. They're programming is solid, it covers a full range of the constantly varied movements that CrossFit is founded on. HCC is a wonderful community with a great family vibe to it.