Miami, Fla., native Alessandra Soler joined Back Alley CrossFit in April 2013 after her early morning bootcamp classes were canceled. She had always been curious about CrossFit and finding that Back Alley offers daily early morning classes, this busy executive and mom took the plunge and signed up. In 2014, she took her fitness to the next level and championed the fall paleo challenge, like so many other members. The paleo and fitness mentality has bled into her family life.

“Joining Back Alley and doing the paleo challenge has helped me be a better role model for my kids ( 6-year-old twin girls  and a 10-year-old boy) when it comes to eating healthy and exercising,” says Alessandra.   “They ask me “is this a superfood?” and are a bit more willing these days to try new things like trying kale or running a mile at school.”

And it’s those moments of modeling that pay off for Alessandra. As the executive director of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona, she has little time to spare. Before the paleo challenge, she would often grab an English muffin for breakfast and would always end up starving 20 minutes later. Paleo obviously requires more planning, but the lessons she learned during the challenge convinced her to make a contentious switch to mostly paleo. She still loves her wine and cheese and oatmeal for breakfast fuels her after intense WODs.

“On the first Sunday of the challenge, I cheated with a piece of birthday cake at a kid’s birthday party and had to pull over while driving because I felt pretty awful,” Alessandra said.  “It was a wake-up call because I realized just how my body was reacting to the sugar. I love peanut butter so I tackled those cravings with a combo of almond/coconut butter and almond milk. Vanilla protein shakes after workouts also helped to satisfy my sweet tooth and for breakfast when I got sick of eggs.”

The payoffs are priceless in her performance in the box, too. She has a lot more energy during workouts and didn’t experience those 4 p.m. crashes/sugar cravings that were so common before. A banana before a workout goes a long way. And not that this athlete had much to lose on her slender frame, but she managed to shed four pounds and enough inches to make her pants fit looser.

Join Alessandra for a 5:30 a.m. WOD MWF. She always has a smile to share!

More on Alessandra:

Greatest CrossFit accomplishment: 10 kipping pull ups in a row and five double-unders in row

Personal records: deadlift 135# and finishing Jackie RX by completing 30 kipping pull ups.

Favorite Back Alley memory:  When Coach Kim took a photo my chipped tooth.  Enough said!

Favorite quote: “Movements that are silent and faceless never win.” LM

Three words that describe me: hard working (easily-distracted) mom

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: Sleeping.

Favorite girl WOD (with results):  They are all quite intimidating, and I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting them all, but Karen is pretty ruthless. Completed the men’s RX Jackie in 14:55. Just grabbed the 45 pound bar, when I should have been lifting the 35 pound one, Coach Melissa just let me go at it.

I CrossFit because…:  the high-intensity is highly addictive!

Tips for anyone thinking of trying paleo?  Meal plan on Sundays, sort out your Tupperware the night before, bring oil and vinegar to work for salads, fill up on nuts, veggies and fruit during the day and eat before those office happy hours or holiday parties.

Resources you used?  Paleo OMG and Primal Palate

Favorite recipe? Brazilian Curry Chicken from Paleo OMG. In the beginning, I tried out several new recipes, but found it hard to find time to experiment given my work-family schedule. My kids really like grilled meats and veggies so we stuck with those easy recipes on most days, and on Taco Tuesday or pasta nights, I would prepare grilled meats and veggies for me.  Kids liked the roasted butternut squash; almond flour pancakes not so much. ☺

Twitter handle (if applicable): @alessasoler