What are the benefits of joining a community-based fitness gym?

First and foremost, CrossFit Hillcrest offers the best value for your money, compared to any other type of gym. The primary reason is that we are locally owned and operated, and the goal of the members of our community-based gym is to provide help, support, and encouragement for each other. You’ll find the environment more welcoming and less intimidating.

Further, you’re getting your workouts programmed and lead by a certified coach and expert on a daily basis. Rather than walking into this gym without a plan, we’ve already written one for you and will lead you through it with the group each day!

At the end of each workout, you’ll receive a unique report card that tracks your progress. We also take snapshots of your workout every day and store them in our system. This is nice because it allows you to compare your progression from week to week so that you know when you’re making gains, and when your body may require some recovery.

A community-based group fitness gym is also better for your health than being at home physically inactive. There are many studies that have shown that individuals who exercise with others and share their thoughts are less lonely and suffer from depression less which has a direct link to physical health.

When it comes to making your lifestyle shift, you’re going to be in a group of people that are on the exact same page as you. You’ll get accountability from other members are also San Diego locals (who also want and need to make progress!). It’s a fun, social atmosphere where everyone is striving for the same goals!

Finally, another benefit of joining a local community-based group fitness gym is that it will help you stay in shape for anything since you’re getting a variety of new workouts regularly and constantly bettering yourself!

Through our experience of working with thousands of San Diego locals at CrossFit Hillcrest over many years now, there are some other benefits too! You’ll find yourself going to the gym more often, you’ll feel better about yourself and your confidence will grow. This all typically leads to weight loss or a healthier lifestyle overall!

Feel free to contact us anytime with questions on how we can help you make a lifestyle shift! I hope this article was helpful in encouraging you to get involved with our group fitness classes.

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Ruben “Dez” Resendez


Ruben (Dez) is Active Duty Navy with 11 years in and counting. 8 years ago while stationed overseas he took an interest in CrossFit and fell in love. With multiple years as a Command Fitness Leader and supervising more than 50 sailors on a day-to-day basis, helping people achieve personal goals is nothing new to him. In 2019, he was diagnosed with a rare heart disease that required replacement of his aortic heart valve via open heart surgery. 3 months post-surgery he was back in the gym. He accredits his quick recovery to the disciplines / mental toughness instilled in him as a leader in the US Navy and CrossFit.


CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
Navy Enlisted Classification, Command Fitness Leader: 95PT
Adult and Child CPR/AED/First Aid

Kaila Marshall


Growing up playing soccer my whole life, I was the kind of person who was driven by the push and challenge from the peers around me to drive me to be better. When living in Hawaii I was introduced to CrossFit in 2016, my whole perspective and outlook on what I thought fitness was became so much more than just wanting to be the best person on a team or just being better than everyone around you, it became an environment where I wanted to help others find their inspiration and reach their goals with whatever that may be, which led me to fall in love with coaching. I just recently moved to San Diego and have known that coaching is something that I wanted to continue. I love meeting new people, getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of my peers, and helping them achieve what they have set their minds to which helps me grow alongside them and teach me so much more about myself and fitness that I didn’t know existed.


CrossFit Level 1
ISSA – Certified Sports Nutrition

Vanessa Laniawe


Vanessa discovered a passion for health and fitness in college after beginning a kickboxing program. That passion further flourished into healthier eating, studying other forms of fitness, and becoming a certified personal trainer. Expanding on her love for working with kids and educating others, she enjoys leading group classes of all ages and backgrounds. She has recently received her M.S. in Kinesiology, Integrative Wellness, through PLNU, and has a well-rounded, holistic approach to health. She is very excited to grow with the Hillcrest Athletic Club community!


CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
CrossFit Kids Trainer
A.C.E. — Certified Personal Trainer
A.C.E. — Fitness Nutrition Specialist
A.C.E. — Sports Conditioning Specialist
A.C.E. — Youth Fitness Specialist
A.C.E./YMCA — Foundations of Group Exercise
E.T.C. — Senior Conditioning Specialist
TRX Suspension Trainer
American Red Cross Adult/Child/Infant CPR/First Aid/AED Instructor
San Diego State University — BA in JMS, Minor in PoliSci



Started CrossFit sometime around 2015 during Coach Crystal’s class at CrossFit Hillcrest. Her energy and most of all her compassion to help people grow as athletes kept up the continuous motivation to keep coming in. Along with the support from the other amazing coaches built a new and unique community that one never experienced before. To no surprise I discovered an unknown passion for everything CrossFit. Then a few years later inspired to become a coach to possibly one day help someone else find the same kind of passion for CrossFit.

Favorite quote: “Life is a test of how well we can flirt with the edge of our capacities,” Katrin Davidsdotter.


CrossFit L1

Jake Greenberg


At age four, I started my athletic journey in gymnastics, but switched over to diving at age eight. Throughout my junior career I qualified for over 10 national championships, and received an athletic scholarship to become a student-athlete at the University of Virginia. Go Wahoos! There, I earned my degree in psychology and minored in women, gender, and sexuality studies. In fall of 2021, I will be attending Alliant International University to pursue a psychology doctorate (Psy.D.) in clinical psychology with an emphasis in family and children.

Now I am training to compete in CrossFit for the first time. I couldn’t be more excited. My goal as a coach is of course keeping everyone safe and having fun, but also bringing an infectious energy to every training session and class. I hope to be that consistent, smiling face that people feel comfortable coming to me with something as deep as battles within their personal lives to wanting to talk about Megan Thee Stallion’s most recent single.


CrossFit L1

Jake Gibbs


I recently moved to San Diego to finish my degree in Human Biology at UCSD, and have plans to continue my education in physical therapy and athletic training. My love for fitness started with running and competing in triathlons. I completed my first half Ironman at 14, qualified for Olympic distance World Championships at 16, and have raced dozens of more races since then. After an injury in 2019 prevented me from running I started CrossFit to stay in shape, but the community and changing daily workouts had me hooked. Since then I’ve completely fallen in love with the process of getting stronger, practicing new movements, and the people! Helping others work towards their own goals is inspiring and rewarding and why I wanted to get into the coaching side of CrossFit.


Crossfit Level 1
Nutrition – ISSA
EMT Certified

Carlos “Chacho”


The Hillcrest Athletic Club, is a place without judgments, where we have the support and the incentive to do our best and try to find our best version!

I was born in Argentina and lived most of my life in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Having lived my whole life practicing diverse sports like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, surfing, skating etc., I found in Crossfit the perfect combination to be as fit as possible for any activity.

I learned how sport can change lives, and since then my passion for training and helping others grow only increases.

After opening two gymnasiums in Argentina and working with the most diverse levels of athletes, I humbly hope to contribute to this community by helping it continue to grow and together be as great as we can be.”


SDUIS- Sport Coach
Power monkey gymnastics
Klokov Weightlifting

Pierce Cooley


Pierce has been CrossFitting since 2006 and coaching since 2020. After playing collegiate and semi-professional rugby, CrossFit was the perfect activity to satisfy the physical and competitive hole left after retiring from playing. He loves the sport, and is passionate about helping his athletes reach their goals.


CrossFit L1 Trainer

Erica Brandelius


From a small town in Washington I’ve always loved to learn about new cultures. I’ve seen more countries than states.

I worked throughout Latin America, Australia and Asia. Most recently moved back from Hong Kong where I was an operations manager at a training facility.

I’m passionate about movement, aim to be transparent in communication and enjoy creating a place where people feel at home.

I love a good hug, coffee and little moments like eye contact and a smile with strangers. I’m excited to be part of this community.



David Barron


Growing up in a household where strength sports were a big part of daily life it was no wonder David found himself seeking the intensity of CrossFit.  After a year of participating in group classes at a local box, the gym owner offered David a job as a coach.  From then on he has been honing his skills as a coach and as an athlete.  He enjoys the mental challenge of coaching and looks forward to helping others every time he’s on the roster.



CrossFit Level 1 Certification

Mike Stoll


Mike is a retired US Navy Helicopter Pilot who discovered CrossFit while hanging out with some Navy SEALS in November of 2010 during a one-year deployment to Bahrain in the Middle East. He quickly fell in love with the constantly varied methodology, the rapid gains in strength, endurance, power and agility, and the significant improvement in his rugby game. He participated in the 2013 CrossFit Games Open and finished 161st in his age category for Southern California. He is currently a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer and a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Coach.



CrossFit Level 1 Certification

Shaye Patel

Head Coach

Shaye has been an athlete his whole life from playing waterpolo at the national and international levels to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Along his athletic journey he discovered the amazing sport of fitness – Crossfit – in 2015. Since then, Shaye has competed at an elite level in the masters age group (40-44, 45-49) and began his coaching career a few years ago. Now as a CF-Level 3 Trainer, he is primed and ready to continue to help others purse their fitness goals and help everyone along their health and wellness journey.



CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

Crystal Necochea

General Manager

Crystal has been CrossFitting since 2010 and coaching since 2013. She loves the sport and is obsessed with helping others excel beyond what they thought was possible. She has competed at the elite level, on a team at regionals and also was a testing athlete for the 2018 Crossfit Games under Dave Castro.

Her main passion is providing a safe place for EVERYONE to get fit, build relationships and have a good time.

“We want to make Hillcrest Athletic Club a leader in the industry so that we can inspire other gyms and sports to be more inclusive and affirming. I 100% believe that all the love and positivity we provide to our members will transfer over into the world. Together, we are creating something special that I’m proud to be a part of.”




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