Allison Doty’s life has always been punctuated by athleticism. In school, she was a cheerleader and played softball, and at 43, continues to prioritize her health by living a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle. As a special education teacher in the Bartlett school system, she has a perfect opportunity to impact future generations. 

After giving birth to her two sons over 25 years ago, she put herself on the back burner. Once they got older, she developed a strong desire to get herself and her body back. Her goal was to be “fit and over 40.” She has drawn from her previous athletic experience and knowledge gained in her childhood to get herself back on track. 

Growing up on a farm, Allison learned the value of self-sufficiency from an early age. She and her family eat a clean, whole diet and plant a diverse organic garden of vegetables and fruit trees yearly. What they don’t eat fresh, they can and use year-round. Additionally, she doesn’t eat out or eat processed food to help manage her celiac disease. “We don’t eat anything that comes in a box or is highly processed.” 

After suffering a spinal injury a few years ago, Allison had to focus on healing her physical body, and that meant caution in the gym. Toward the end of recovery, her friends invited her to kickboxing class. Those classes and others offered at the same gym proved to be the resurrection she needed. She was addicted, and with each class, Allison became stronger. She began weight training with small groups at the gym and eventually was invited to start teaching some classes. She now teaches kickboxing at Memphis Fitness Kickboxing in Bartlett three days a week and small group circuit sessions. 

Not only is she a teacher of humans, but of canines, too. During her summers, she teaches behavioral training classes for dogs. Year-round, she partners with a local rescue to foster their dogs before adoption, and over the years, she has fostered over 100 dogs. 

“I want people to know that no matter what size you are, fit comes in all sizes.” She describes her teaching style in the gym as “fading the prompt,” removing any modification a little at a time while simultaneously pushing with an “I’m not here to powder your booty” mentality. “One day, there are no modifications in place, and they are able to do what they initially thought impossible.” 

As a natural-born teacher, Allison knows what her students need to be successful. She encourages anyone trying to reach a goal to just do it thirty times. “That’s how long it takes to stick into long-term memory.” She reminds us that it doesn’t matter how you work out, only that you are. 

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By Amanda Tompkins 

Photo by Tindall Stephens