Despite playing varsity basketball all four years in high school, in college Mel Alexander became, she says, “the polar opposite of athletic.” Coming from a family with a history of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease however, alarm bells really went off when she realized she’d reached 300 lbs. Something had to change.
The first shifts were mental. “I took a good look at some of my self-destructive behaviors and made a conscious decision about who I wanted to be and how I wanted to feel.” She also stopped making excuses. It wasn’t that she lacked the time to exercise, she saw, “I didn’t make the time.”.
But how does a full-time student with a full-time job and an eleven-year-old son even start doing that? Pretty much anywhere. “Even if it’s just walking for a certain time every day, we all can start somewhere. If you can’t block off an hour, you can take 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there.” She also plans family activities that get everyone’s hearts pumping, like evening walks or turning off the TV for a spontaneous dance party.
Eventually, Mel says, “I began to treat working out the same way I treated work: something that had a schedule I needed to stick with.” That meant waking up at 5am most days for about an hour of cardio. She sneaks in a midday CrossFit workout three times a week (“I’m completely obsessed with CrossFit.”). After work, there’s dinner with the family, homework with her son until 9pm, and her own schoolwork until midnight.
While that sort of schedule can be “painful at times,” Mel says that “being healthy gives me a sense of accomplishment that almost nothing can parallel.” And, after all those badass CrossFit workouts, “I have grown a mental tenacity that translates into my everyday life. I can now look in the mirror and appreciate the person I was, the person I have become, and the person I will be.”
Speaking of appreciation, did I mention that that full-time job Mel heads to after her morning workout is at Title Nine? Hope you’re as impressed by her as we are!
Home: San Pablo, CA
Occupation: Email Marketer
Children: 11 yr old boy
Sports, past and present: Basketball
Athletic accomplishments: 4 year Varsity Basketball (HS), Honorable mention All State (Jr/Sr years), 1st Team All League (Soph/Jr/Sr), MVP (Jr year)
Little known fact: I’m incredibly shy
Guilty pleasure: Pizza and Baked Goods
Most embarrassing moment: Running sprints with my co-workers for an outdoor workout (after it had rained) and falling at least 3 times flat on my butt!
Greatest triumph: Being able to run (and finish) a 10k Trail Race.
Favorite thing to do when not working or working out: Read, Write and listen to music.
Moment of Inspiration: Waking up and rolling out of bed at over 300 lbs.
Favorite Quote: Believing that anything is impossible is simply a misguided state of mind.
M-S 45-60 minutes of cardio
3 times/wk CrossFit (strength and conditioning),
Sat – 45 minutes strength training