Good morning and happy Monday! I'm so excited today and not because tomorrow is Christmas! Rather, because I get to share this CrossFit engagement session with a Christmas twist! Meet Alesha and Shane, the cutest Christmas WODing couple you'll ever see!
When I received Alesha & Shane's engagement photos from Marie Still Photography, my mouth literally dropped. If there are three things I love most in this world it's CrossFit, Blogging, and Weddings, and sessions like this bring all those things together beautifully! And then to meet women like Alesha and talk with them about how CrossFit strengthens their relationship, builds a community around them, and drastically changes the way they view their own body - it's such an honor!
As you read Alesha's story, you'll undoubtedly be inspired to pick up a barbell and bring your hubby along. And I have to tell you: you will be rewarded for doing so! Just read their story, you'll see!
Oh, and did I mention Alesha plans to do a CrossFit WOD in her wedding dress? It's going to be epic!! (I have to tell you guys, this is my FAVORITE interview to date.) Read on!
When did you start doing CrossFit?
I started CrossFit February of 2012.
What CrossFit Box do you call your home?
CrossFit Fenrir in Lakeland, FL (We are known as the “WolfPack”).
Did your fiancé participate too?
Yes, he has been Crossfitting for 2 years now.
Did you two meet at a box, or meet before you started CrossFit?
We met before CrossFit in 2009 on Indian Rocks beach.
What prompted your interest?
Shane (my fiancé) brought me to his box for a Saturday Partner Hero WOD "Zeus," not only did I enjoy the intensity of the workout but I also noticed the camaraderie between the athletes and the coaches, the first day I immediately felt I was a part of the CrossFit Fenrir family.
Do you have an athletic background? What sport did you play?
Yes, I would say so. I did Competitive Cheerleading for 5 years and I did Classical Ballet for 23 years.
When you first started Crossfit, what was your initial reaction?
My initial reaction was “where’s my inhaler??!!” Lol! But after a while it got easier to breathe during the WOD’s. And yes it was Love at first WOD.
How often do you go?
Due to wedding planning I currently go about 4 times a week but I normally go 5-6 times a week.
What was your aim in doing CrossFit? To get stronger? Lose weight? For pure enjoyment?
Well initially it was to just be healthy and get fit. Now it is for all of the reasons you have mentioned plus for the social aspect, we have made so many great friends here. Sometimes we will stay behind to watch the classes after ours just to cheer them on and encourage them. I know myself that it is more motivating when you hear your name screamed across the room by a fellow athlete that just wants see you finish whether you are first or last.
How has CrossFit changed your body?
I am stronger, healthier, and fitter than I have ever been. I see more muscle definition than I have ever had.
Are you happy with those changes?
So happy with them! I have always been a bit insecure about my body but a couple months ago I came to realize how much I love my body now, I have always been up and down with my weight, and I would always focus on the numbers on the scale like most women and try to get to my "lowest weight," but it was never satisfying. Now I am just happy with how I feel in my own skin and my strength, (big difference!). No I don't look like the girls in the magazines I look like the healthy version of me and that makes me happier than skinny ever will. This is me and I love it! I posted this on Facebook in October:
Over the last year and a half my image of beauty has drastically changed and I know now what my body wants and what it should look like. I love my body more than ever and I've come to realize I love the fit me! CrossFit has made me love me for me and not someone I thought I should look like but never would. Being strong is so beautiful and fulfilling!
Is Crossfit a big part of your relationship? In what ways?
Absolutely!! The first most important is our relationship in Christ. But secondly CrossFit is something that we do together almost everyday, it is our common interest and we are a stronger couple not only physically but our relationship is stronger because of it too.
Do you relate any elements of Crossfit to marriage?
For sure! The best part of CrossFit is encouragement and I feel like it really translates into our relationship. For example, on
CrossFit also requires dedication and hard work, and from what I have heard, marriage requires both.
What's your favorite workout to do together?
We both enjoy anything that doesn’t involve running #wedontrunforfun!
Do you both like lifts or, does one prefer lifting and the other cardio?
I enjoy lifting more and he would rather be WODing.
I love the photos that have the banner in the background that reads "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" What does that quote mean to you?
Funny story, when one of the owners/coaches of our box asked our other coach to marry him that is the quote he read on a brick on the ground right before he got down on one knee. We thought it would be fitting to have it in our engagement photos. Not many athletes at our box know that story and I think it means something different to everyone but for me, I look at it when I am discouraged and it helps me pick up the bar one more time or do one more burpee.
Isn’t that the epitome of CrossFit, knowing that you can’t fail? Knowing that just showing up for a WOD is the hardest part but once you are there you are going to have torturous fun? Knowing that you can only get better at what you are doing, be more fit than you have ever been, the opportunity to be better than you were the day before.
What's wedding planning been like?
I could probably take up about 4 pages writing about the ups and downs of wedding planning and I still have 3 months left (eye roll). No, but really for the most part it has been fun planning what I have been dreaming about since I was 5 (yes, I am one of those girls). I think that it has taught me how to handle people, listen to opinions, and how to compromise with Shane.
Were your friends and family surprised to see you two crossfitting for your engagement session?
Nope! They know how much we love it and they are so supportive of us and probably expected it.
Do you plan to add any touches of Crossfit to your wedding day?
Heck Yeah! We actually have our coach designing a WOD that I can do in a wedding dress!! Shane's groom's cake is going to be a CrossFit cake, some of our guests will be athletes from our box, and interestingly enough (and not planned) the great majority of our vendors are crossfitters including Marie Still, our Photographer.
Do you have any advice for newbie CrossFitters
Always have a goal. You will have good days and you will have bad days, it might seem as though you will never be able to add another 20 lbs to your oly lift or be able to do a pull-up unassisted but trust me, you will! And when you do get it, it feels so good to accomplish that goal. It took me a year to get double unders and I just got a full rope climb about a month ago, it was an awesome feeling to know that I didn’t give up and it paid off!
Do you have advice for other women interested in doing CrossFit prior to their big day? Would you suggest they do it?
Yes, Go for it but the week of the wedding don’t attempt Double Unders - Lol! You'll have some horrific whip marks. Owie!
If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you about your diet, too. Paleo seems to be the diet of most CrossFitters? Do you eat paleo?
Yes, I have been more strict with Paleo in the past couple months because of the wedding. Gotta fit into that dress!
Was that way of eating something you learned about through box?
What were the results of eating paleo? Did you lose weight? feel better? get
We have been eating Paleo-ish (80/20) since I started CrossFit, but in the last couple months we have been stricter with our diet. We have both slimmed down and feel better and we both agree that pull-ups, dips, or any body weight movements are way easier. I can run faster and further without needing a rest but I still don’t like it! Lol.
Care to share your time on a favorite benchmark WOD? (So we can be jealous!)
My Fran time is 11:37 Rx (definitely not my favorite WOD but it is a staple WOD in CrossFit and I'm just stoked to be able to complete it Rx!)
What's your favorite CrossFit move/
Favorite Movement: Double Unders
Favorite WOD: Diane
Favorite Lift: Squat Cleans
What's your favorite paleo snack?
Red apples soaked in a little lemon juice and cinnamon and dipped in almond butter. Yum!
Alesha - thank you so much for sharing your unique, sweet engagement session with us, and for taking the time to answer my questions! I relate to so much of what you've said here about sharing the bond of CrossFit with your mate and it's a big reason I love featuring CrossFit couples on Fit for a Bride!
Congratulations to you both on your engagement! I cannot wait to see the wedding photos! Merry Christmas and happy WODing!
Special thanks to Marie Still as well for submitting these images via Two Bright Lights. Marie shared with me that she started CrossFit to deal wit the physical demands of being a wedding photographer! Be on the lookout for my interview with her in the new year!
Are you a CrossFit couple?
Are you bringing any CrossFit elements to your wedding day?