In the summer of 2018, Allie Herrera moved to Memphis to work as an on-air reporter on WMC-5. She has since fallen in love with the city. “This is my first time living in the Mid-South,” she says. “I’ve found the people to be so welcoming and kind. I like living where the pace allows me to slow down a bit, and be more present.”
It’s hard to imagine Allie slowing down though. She’s a certified Level 1 CrossFit Coach at CrossFit Blue Blood in Olive Branch and spends most of her time helping others reach fitness goals or going after her own.
Born in Lima, Peru, Allie moved to the U.S. with her parents at age six. She grew up in Westchester County, New York where she competed in a variety of sports including track and field, soccer, and basketball. She didn’t discover CrossFit until her Freshman year at Rhode Island University in 2012.
“I had always tried to be athletic,” she says. “But CrossFit was a totally new form of athleticism that I had never experienced.” She adds: “I had to get past my own tendency to compare myself with other women. I think we often feel we’re either too big, too small, not enough of this, or too much of that. CrossFit has allowed me to mold and shape myself into own vision of the athlete I want to be. I didn’t want to focus on one ability over others. I wanted to become well-rounded. That’s what made me feel like an athlete,” she says.
At 5-foot-4-inches and 144 pounds, Allie recently brought her body fat down to a lean 16%. “I used to want to look skinny,” she says. “But CrossFit threw that image out the window. Now I like to feel and look strong.”
However, her passion for the sport is just as mental and emotional as it is physical. “If I had to describe CrossFit in one word, it’s empowering. When a sport is physically challenging, there is a mental toughness that follows.”
Allie wants to help convince women there is nothing they can’t do. “I have met some the most powerful women in gyms, and it’s incredible to see these women become more of who they are. It’s not about becoming someone else. It’s about becoming more of who you are meant to be.”
Despite her busy broadcast schedule, Allie trains six times per week. “If I’m really struggling on that sixth day, I do more of an active recovery workout,” she says.
She does CrossFit three times a week and more of a bodybuilding style workout during her other sessions. That’s in addition to coaching two to three times a week. And on a good day, her workouts last an hour or two.
Balancing a television career, training, coaching, and a personal life leaves Allie very little time for competitions. Her two most recent ones were local team competitions, The Express Challenge in March and The M-Town Showdown in September.
Eating on Track
“One of my most empowering changes and something I’ll probably work on for the rest of my life is thinking of food as fuel,” she says.
Allie tries to not think of foods as “good” or “bad” or “I’m allowed or “I’m not allowed.” “I’m shying away from those conversations with myself. I can enjoy a meal out without letting it worry me.”
That doesn’t mean she’s without discipline. She tracks macros and calories and measures out her food to know exactly what is going in her body. A creature of habit, she cycles through the same carbs, proteins, and fats on a regular basis.
Staying on Course
When Allie started CrossFit, she couldn’t even hold a plank for 30 seconds. She believes one of her assets as a coach is that she can empathize with her students. “Coaches who know what they’re doing work with you and modify your program to make it suitable for your level.”
What keeps Allie going though is simply passion. “When a person finds something they are passionate about, everything about them transforms!”
By Caroline Sposto
Photo by Tindall Stephens