February 20, 2013
Within Reach: Sarabeth Phillips
By Dawn South

"Just a few minor things have kept me from going to the Games the past two years, and I can't let that ever be the case again."


Sarabeth Phillips has made a name for herself in the South East. She finished sixth at Regionals in 2012, and fifth in 2011.

The 5-foot-1, 126-pound powerhouse is a fixture on the local competition scene, and has also started competing in Olympic lifting events, recently placing fifth in her weight class at the USAW American Open. With two Regionals under her belt, the 25-year-old is gearing up for another chance to make it to the CrossFit Games.

A recent graduate from the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing School, Phillips says balancing competitions, school and training has been a challenge. But her love for CrossFit and school make it worth it.

“I love learning and I have always enjoyed school. This is actually my second degree behind biochemistry from the University of Alabama,” Phillips says. “I will probably go back to school very soon. I think you make time for whatever is important in your life and God, family, school, work and CrossFit are all a huge part of my life. I just had to prioritize and be excellent at time management.”

Growing up, Phillips was a competitive gymnast who trained in Moscow at age 12 and competed across the United States. She says her experience as a gymnast prepared her for competing in CrossFit.

“Competing in CrossFit is so fun and exhilarating to me,” she says. “I love to train and see improvements and test myself. It reminds me of gymnastics. We competed a whole lot, and it got me comfortable and confident wherever I was, with whatever equipment I had, and with whatever challenge I was faced with. I think so much of that carries over to my CrossFit career, thus far.”

This season, Phillips says she focused on tackling her weaknesses.

“Just a few minor things have kept me from going to the Games the past two years, and I can't let that be the case ever again,” she explains. “I am always following an Olympic lifting cycle, and then I just try to follow what CrossFit says and do CrossFit, period. That is the focus. I know that I have what it takes to make it to the Games and do really well, so I'm trying to make that happen no matter what.”

Her Olympic lifting numbers are impressive — a 210-lb. clean and jerk and a 170-lb. snatch. 

Phillips recently started work as an ICU nurse and says adding a new job into the equation will bring a new challenge to keeping up with her training schedule. But she’s motivated.

“I think (mental toughness) comes from years of competitive experience growing up. I have narrowly missed making it to the Games twice and that is always a driving force,” Phillips says. “Those days that I am exhausted and laid out on the floor prove so much more to me than doing one of my favorite workouts. I always ask myself, ‘How bad do you want it?’ It's never easy or everyone would do it and be just as fast or just as good. I try to keep that in perspective and just be confident in my abilities to fight through that horrible feeling.”

Her goal this year is clear.

“I want to make it to the CrossFit Games and do really well. I have what it takes, without a doubt, and I'm excited for the upcoming season,” she says. “I'm so thankful for CrossFit and all it has done in my life and can't wait to see where it takes me in the future. The possibilities are endless.”