Among the many perks that flying boasts, one stands out among the rest: potentially meeting your future spouse. This is exactly what happened to Fit Couple Jim and Alison Hammersla, who met while seated next to one another on a flight from Chicago to New York in 1993; a destination neither lived in at the time, but that both relocated to, to give their love a shot.

The twenty-eight-year and counting relationship has enjoyed its fair amount of travel and fitness adventures. The two share how they’ve kept in shape over the years, and how it has become their routine way of connecting with one another.

Alison began her fitness journey by delving into the arena of marathon-running; incidentally, in the same year, she met Jim, who was more interested in weight-lifting at the time. Now, the two like to stay motivated by signing up for races and other fitness events, which give them goals to work towards, plus a healthy bit of competition. They love motivating and supporting one another through the preparation phases, bonding through their mutual desire for improvement.

Teamwork makes the dream work! When their children were much younger, Jim and Alison would take turns holding down the fort so the other had time to squeeze in a workout, and would switch off pushing the stroller while running together. This memory elicits a chuckle from Alison.

Now veterans to the fitness game, the couple’s workouts focus primarily on injury prevention, an inevitable risk that comes with living a highly active lifestyle. Their cross-training approach includes swimming, biking, walking, weight-lifting, and HIIT sessions at Burn Boot Camp in Collierville.

Jim adds that strength training is vital for success in endurance sports and that having a strong core can help stave off injuries. Sleep and nutrition also carry equal clout.

When I asked the couple for relationship advice, the two laughed. “Headphones,” Jim says.

The two also enjoy social runs with various running groups and training circuits, such as Run the 901, a series of local runs that progresses from 5Ks to half marathons over the span of a few months. They also have used running coaches in the past. Alison has personally consulted with Kevin Leathers for her running needs.

Jim runs with Los Locos Racing Team in Memphis, whereas Alison will drop in for runs at her place of work, Grivet Outdoors, running apparel, and outdoor gear shop in Germantown. A group meets at the store every Thursday at 6:00 p.m. to run together.

The fit couple’s advice for people: “Just get started. A lot of people get hung up on the complexities, but it’s actually very simple. Start small and slow.”

By Shlomit Ovadia
Photo by Tindall Stephens