Coaches 2017-08-15T20:25:07+00:00

Ben Palmer
Head Coach & Director of Training


Ben has been involved with CrossFit for over 5 years; initially as a burned out endurance athlete looking for a new athletic outlet and later as a professional coach. In 2013, he left his town of Austin, Texas to coach in Kuwait and has since held tenures in Kazakhstan, Indonesia, and now Cambodia. Along with holding a BA in communication from St. Edward’s University he is a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer and has completed multiple CrossFit specialty courses: Strongman, Endurance, Rowing, Mobility, Goal Setting, Defense, and Running.

Training, for Ben, is an important part of being a fully realized human animal and he feels very fortunate to be able to help others along on this journey of getting ever so slightly better every day.

Minna Ajo
Coach & Barbell Specialist


Minna got involved in Crossfit in early 2013 after she had been training like a bodybuilder for years. Crossfit made her healthier and stronger. She moved to Phnom Penh in September 2016 to join Amatak. As an original Finn, Minna is an avid coffee drinker and a weightlifter. This Masters athlete finds her joy from coaching the elegance of Olympic lifting. Although it is challenging, she says it gives her happiness to see athletes put the pieces of each lift together. She believes health should be defined by how our bodies feel. Minna likes to nerd out by studying the anatomy of lifting and movement.

“Train for the movement and heavy lifting will come over time.”

Rachael “the boss” Allen
Manager & Coach


Rachael, originally from the United States, moved to Cambodia in 2012. She started Crossfit in February 2015 after realizing she needed a life change. She spent all of her free time during the next year working her ass off (literally). Rachael fell in love with Amatak’s amazing community, so much so that she changed her plans of leaving the country to work at Crossfit Amatak. She is passionate about helping others reach their fitness potential and sharing her own personal story in hopes that it will affect someone’s life in a positive way. Oh, and she has an amazing dog, Dottie pup.

“Be nice.”

Corbett Hix
Founder & Managing Director


Corbett founded CrossFit Amatak in 2014 after a surprising number of friends continued to join him in parking lot workouts at a Phnom Penh gym. With a work life that is usually 60+ hour a week, his biggest love of CrossFit is the efficiency and the community. He splits his time supporting Amatak as a coach, helping with graphic design and helping out in back office funness. When he’s not working out at Amatak, he’s busy with one of several other endeavours in Cambodia.
Corbett has B.A. in American Studies from the University of Texas and an M.A. in International Development from American University (Washington, DC).

“I’m not a role model.”

Annemiek Havinga
Assistant Coach


Annemiek moved from the Netherlands to Cambodia in March 2014. She started her Crossfit journey later that year at Crossfit Amatak as she missed a place to workout while living in Phnom Penh. She realized Crossfit had everything she was looking for: metabolic conditioning and strength work in a great community. Annemiek got her Level 1 in 2015 and she completed the Crossfit Kids course in July 2016. She has found the love of training others through coaching at Amatak as it is a great opportunity to help other athletes in becoming faster, stronger and fitter.

“Let go of the thoughts that do not make you strong.”

Laurent Notin
Assistant Coach


Laurent is from France and has spent half of his life living in South East Asia. Crossfit was recommended to him by one of his friends so when Amatak first opened, he was one of the first to join. For this masters athlete, Crossfit has become an important part of his life. Laurent feels he is in the best shape of his life and says he’ll never stop doing Crossfit. The confidence Crossfit brings to him is fueling the fire to help others. He has always liked mentoring and teaching, so becoming a Crossfit coach was written in the stars for him. Seeing a difference in the athletes gives him joy, and this inspires Laurent to continue his education as a coach and an athlete.

“We only live once, so go for it.”

Kristof Smits
Assistant Coach


Kristof left his native Belgium in 2007 first to Switzerland and then Guatemala where he worked in different capacities for diplomatic missions, NGOs and the United Nations. The latter is what brought him to Cambodia in 2015 and he has been working for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ever since. Kristof started doing Crossfit back in 2012 in Guatemala after realizing that the Central American cuisine had made him gain some unwanted kilos. In Cambodia, inspired by the Crossfit community at Amatak, he decided to take his passion for Crossfit to the next level and obtain his CF-L1 certificate. Since then he has been a support coach helping with Bootcamp and Crossfit classes, determined to help athletes achieve their fitness goals.

“Every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero and that’s just fine because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”

Gabriel Philp
Assistant Coach


Gabriel is a Canadian who grew up in the US. He graduated in December 2016 from the University of Maryland and was on a plane to Cambodia 9 days later to be closer to his Peace Corps Cutie. Gabriel decided to get his L1 in Washington DC after realizing that he spent most of his time at the gym anyway, so why not coach? You can find Gabriel at Amatak or perched upon his balcony, watching over the TTP neighborhood.

Kobe Udom Khy
Assistant “Cat Trainer” Coach


Kobe grew up in a small village 55 km from Phnom Penh. He moved to Phnom Penh for university. Kobe found Amatak through his friend when the operation was still at a parking lot. He survived his first Bootcamp WOD and was hooked. Later when Amatak got its first facility, Kobe moved on to Crossfit. He decided to become a coach in January 2017 to spread the word of fitness amongst other Cambodians.

“I taught my cat to use the toilet bowl; I can help you achieve your fitness goals.”