Outside of Christian faith, there’s one major element that Memphis couple Paul and Allyson Prather have built their relationship on a mutual dedication to health and wellness.
“Without it, I don’t know if either of us would be ourselves,” Allyson says. “Our marriage would be really weird without it.” Paul agrees. “Fitness is part of our thing.”
You won’t be surprised how the pair met. Allyson was attending a PINS Fit Camp in Destin, FL several years ago, when a fellow attendee mentioned a single friend to her. Started by Todd and Kristy Avery, PINS camps focus on the importance of fitness, healthy eating, and spirituality for Christian women.
After introductions, Paul and Allyson quickly connected. They now live near Davies Plantation, have a 20-month son, P.K, and co-host yearly PINS events, which attract up to 40 attendees.
“For me, I like having someone who has the same interests,” Paul, 39, says.
“For a while, you have to discipline yourself to work out regularly and everything, and then it becomes second nature in your life. It’s nice having someone who understands that and has the same focus.”
Even after a short conversation with Paul, you quickly pick up on a laser-like focus. His dedication to fitness began when his father first encouraged him to work out in their home gym in their garage.
Paul’s father put his skinny teenage son on a lifting regime. He’s been doing it ever since, and you can certainly say he’s bulked up. He now weighs around 215 pounds, and you’ll find Paul working out at The Yard in Arlington or LA Fitness during the week where 4 am starts are common.
The 39-year-old isn’t just all weights, though. A dedicated vegetable gardener, Paul grows much of the Prathers’ own food and has incorporated intermittent fasting into his lifestyle over the last 18 months.
“Wellness has come on a little bit later for me as I’ve gotten older,” he says. “It was just ‘I want to be buff’ but as you get older, you want to be healthy [and] you want to be able to move when you’re 70.”
As a criminal defense attorney, he knows the importance of keeping both the body and mind healthy for his profession.
“Law is one of the worst professions for stuff like depression, suicide, drug abuse, and alcoholism, so it’s good to have something like fitness to keep me grounded,” he says.
Allyson’s life-long commitment to fitness is just as impressive as her husband’s. The 29-year-old, who works at West Cancer Center and Research Institute in Germantown, has a degree in exercise science from Middle Tennessee State University and is a certified personal trainer.
A former wellness coordinator at The Village in Germantown, Allyson has taught water aerobics classes and designed her own balance class for the community’s retired population.
Being a mother has meant she has had to juggle her fitness schedule a little more, but Allyson says her husband does an incredible job of supporting her and finding her time to go to yoga, to the gym, or running.
“It’s been important for me to have a really good balance in the areas of family, fitness, and work,” she says.
Conversely, she ensures Paul is getting his fair share of cardio in, even if it’s an activity he’s not fond of. Allyson says that keeping each other accountable isn’t just important for the goals themselves; the benefits are wide-reaching.
“One of the key reasons to keep each other motivated and living our healthiest lifestyle is to make sure we are able to enjoy watching our son grow up and also as a preventative measure to keep diseases like cancer away,” she says.
By Ben Stanley
Photo by Tindall Stephens