Meet the CrossFit Coaches


The District H CrossFit team consists of some of the most experienced and dedicated CrossFit athlete trainers in Houston. We’ve worked with everyone from elite level athletes to those who have never stepped foot inside a gym, and even those working to reverse chronic illness with proper exercise and nutrition. We are excited and motivated to provide a fitness program that creates functional, lean bodies, changes lives, and works for anyone. Meet your fitness team.
  • Jose Alicea

    Head Coach/Manager

    Jose is is an accomplished and passionate athlete and coach. He has always had an appreciation for fitness and teaching; he takes tremendous pride in being a part of his athletes’ journeys to reaching their maximum potential. Jose continues to dedicate himself to learning so that he can pass on the knowledge to the District H community and help them become their best selves.

    “I get a sense of accomplishment and get inspired by seeing people reach their goals. It is impossible to learn everything in one day, so what drives me to keep teaching is being able to do this little by little, knowing that my client has learned something every day.”


    • CrossFit Level 1
    • CrossFit Level 2
    • CrossFit Powerlifting
    • Business of Excellence at CFNE
    • CFNE Immerson Program w/ Ben Bergeron
    • NFPT
    • NESTA
    • NCSF
    • PTA Global Trainer
    • Certified Spinning Instructor
    • Plyometric and Boot Camp courses
    • Partner Assisted Stretching
    • CPR/AED
  • Joe Flanigan


    Joe started CrossFit in 2005 and spent 5 years using the methodology and studying up on the fitness program before he felt he was able to coach others. Before CrossFit, he was a collegiate and national level weightlifter, and CrossFit has become a part of of evolving fitness journey. As a coach, he specializes in weightlifting and goal-setting. He enjoys helping others achieve goals and feats they never would have believed possible of themselves. Joe is honored to be a part of their journeys.


    • CrossFit Level 1
    • CrossFit Level 2
    • USA Weightlifting Sports Performance
    • CPR/AED
  • Rachel Embrey


    When I discovered CrossFit in 2015, and eventually tried a workout after finally being convinced by friends, I was immediately hooked. The crossfit gym I started at in AL needed help coaching, I had already “drank the crossfit kool-aid” as they say and love a good mental and physical challenge so decided to get my Level 1 six months after starting crossfit. I have been coaching ever since and grow more and more passionate about it.  

    I was not much into playing sports growing up and do not have any specific type of athletic background; because of that I’m able to relate to many crossfit members who also do not have athletic backgrounds and might be apprehensive about jumping in and starting their crossfit journey. It presents an opportunity in showing them the diversity among crossfitters and that crossfit can be for everyone.

    Random interesting and maybe not so interesting facts about me: I’m originally from Mississippi, I’m one of those cat lady’s (haha), have a sweet tooth the size of the Grand Canyon, have my BA & MS in Criminal Justice, licensed Esthetician (previous career field), worked as a rape crisis advocate.


    • Crossfit Level 1
  • Kameron Carter


    I’m passionate about  serving people in any way I can. Whether that’s physically, mentally, or spiritually. Fitness just happens to be the platform. I love seeing members progress on a daily basis. I believe in slow organic growth, therefore seeing daily progression in the members makes me feel good.

    I’m currently a personal trainer but by using Crossfit I want to be able to make an impact on more people.

    “Nothing changes, If Nothing changes” – Unknown


    • Crossfit LVL1
    • American Council of Exercise Certified Personal Trainer.
    • ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist.
    • PTA Global Behavior Change.
  • Tommy Allen


    Tommy is a former collegiate baseball player who has experienced the positive impact of CrossFit first hand. He’s passionate about every individual at District H CrossFit, the community as a whole, and helping others grow and develop. Tommy has a degree in Philosophy and his favorite cheat meal is chips with salsa and queso.

    I love “…seeing the improvements in my own life through CrossFit and how the dedication of a coach can change someone’s life and put them on a completely different trajectory.”


    • CrossFit Level 1
    • Crossfit Football
    • CrossFit Weightlifting
    • CrossFit Gymnastics
    • Westside Barbell Personal Training & Athletic Coaching
    • Eat to Perform Nutrition
  • Joseph Lyons


    Joseph started Crossfit 5 years ago.  He decided after a couple of years of being in the crossfit community he wanted to become a bigger part of Crossfit  by becoming a coach because he  enjoyed the connections and friends he made during the times.  He loves the opportunity to help athletes set a goal and then coach them along the way to not only reach that goal but surpass it. I love the moment of excitement with the member(s) when everything clicks after weeks or even months of coaching.


    • CrossFit Level 1
  • Sam Mackinnon, RD

    Registered Dietitian

    Sam Mackinnon, RD, LD
    Registered & Licensed Dietitian/Nutrition Program Manager
    An Atlanta native, Sam graduated from Georgia State University with a B.S. in Nutrition & Dietetics. She moved to Houston to complete her Dietetic Internship through the University of Houston and shortly thereafter became accredited through the Commission on Dietetics Registration in 2011. Throughout her career, she was able to gain clinical, community, and counseling experience in many different areas of nutrition including naturopathic/holistic nutrition, disease prevention and management, as well as weight management and athletic performance. Sam found Crossfit in 2013 and has loved it ever since. She loves her Crossfit clients because of their commitment to their health and well-being. Sam manages our Nutrition Program providing one-on-one nutrition coaching, nutrition seminars, nutrition tips via social media, corporate wellness, and community outreach.


    • Registered Dietitian
    • Licensed Dietitian, State of Texas
    • Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition & Dietetics from Georgia State University
  • Hernan Vargas

    Owner / Coach

    Hernan is a prime example of success when it comes to finding fitness with CrossFit. Like many, he didn’t have any athletic or CrossFit experience when he started his journey in 2008. Seeing the personal changes and evolution of the sport motivated him to become a coach and be a part of the growing movement in the sport of fitness. He’s most passionate about the community, loves seeing the impact of making small changes whether in lifestyle or movement technique really makes a big difference for so many.

    “I believe the quality of coaching is far more important that the quantity of clients. Every client should get the coaching they need and deserve every time they come to the box.”


    • CrossFit Level 1
  • Elizabeth Martens


    Elizabeth started crossfit after moving to Milwaukee, WI. A college teammate pushed her to try CrossFit, and she immediately loved the workouts and the community the gyms created. After coming to District H Crossfit and seeing how awesome the staff and community is here, She knew this was the place she wanted to start her coaching career. “The coaches here are experienced and friendly, and they’ve been awesome mentors for me getting started.”

    Elizabeth played soccer and rowed crew in high school, then went on to play soccer for the University of Rochester. At UR she was Honorable Mention All-UAA, 1st Team Academic All-District, and a Provost’s Circle Scholar.

    “ I love to see members surpass their own expectations. I love it when people come into the gym and work on a new skill or hit a new PR that they never dreamed they’d get the chance at when they first joined. Being a small part of helping someone exceed their own expectations is an incredible joy and privilege.”

    “Effort = Outcome  My dad said this to us at least once a day growing up. If you want something, work for it. While I know not everything is in my control, thinking of my dad’s favorite saying reminds me that what I CAN control in life is the effort I put in, and controlling that directly impacts my results. It applies inside and outside of the gym. Be relentless. Put in the work.”

    “What gets measured gets managed” You want to improve something? Measure it. It’s applicable at work, at home, and at District H; Track your progress, celebrate the wins, analyze the losses, and learn from all of it.


    • CrossFit Level 1
  • Dustin Ma


    Dustin is a physical therapist, educator, coach, and self-proclaimed nit-picker by trade. He has been CrossFitting since 2006 and has competed as a martial artist and Olympic weightlifter. He’s a third degree black belt in Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blue belt, 7th place competitor at the 2013 USA Weightlifting American Open and 9th place at 2014 USA Weightlifting Senior Nationals at 62kg.

    Dustin loves most about coaching at District H that “…everyone listens with an open mind and is willing to better themselves.”


    • Doctorate of Physical Therapy
    • CrossFit Level 1
    • Catalyst Athletics Weightlifting Level 1
    • Whole 30 Nutrition


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