There’s the saying, “pain loves company.” In February, Shana O’Mara found herself crossing the Back Alley CrossFit threshold thanks to her employee, Sara Hillman, BACF member since August, 2012. Sara was coerced into CrossFit by family and friends … so she passed along the convincing to Shana.

“Sara kept telling how much she loved BACF,” Shana said. “Sara was doing all these fun things like Wine & Yoga, and invited me to come. I made the mistake of trying the WOD before yoga – Filthy Fifty! I got through maybe 30 of each exercise. It took me forever, and my body hurt immediately. I felt muscles I had never felt before.”

Growing up, you were more likely to find Shana in the theatre or singing with the choir. Since her time in BACF, she surprised herself with the little things, like doing summersaults across the gym. “The first time I could barely do one,” she said. “And then I realized it was all in my head and did them. I was so excited!”

While the changes in her body and outlook are invaluable benefits of CrossFit, her goal now is to stop focusing on being skinny, like she has her entire life, and to focus on being fitter and stronger. “I want to be a positive role model for my 5-year-old daughter.” And despite living in Chandler, the coaches and support system keep her coming back. “A trip to Back Alley (or 4 each week) is almost always out of the way. I love the people and the coaches so much that it is worth it!”

In addition to making major workout changes in her life, Shana also adopted the paleo lifestyle when she started CrossFitting. She believes it is a lifestyle and not just a diet because the benefits outweigh modern food conveniences. Since committing to paleo, Shana has lost 15 pounds and a number of inches, has had clearer skin, and feels better after every meal.

Shana has a number of paleo “secrets.” She loves Pinterest and Reddit for ideas and recipes. If she had to choose one website, she would pick paleOMG.com because of the creativity of the recipes. “My biggest WOD related tip is to eat sweet potatoes for lunch before WODs,” she said. “And some almond butter about one hour before the WOD. The extra carbs help keep my energy up.”

Hear more from Shana on Facebook.

More on Shana:

Favorite girl WOD: Grace

Favorite quote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Three words that describe me: Happy, Driven, Learner

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: Being a single-mommy to an awesome 5-year-old little girl, teaching college courses, or making delicious food with my awesome boyfriend.

Favorite paleo recipe: I think my absolute favorite is a breakfast creation my boyfriend and I make. We make a bacon weave (bake bacon in a weave pattern on a baking sheet – 25 minutes at 350), topped with spinach, poached eggs, a green apple fried in bacon fat, and topped homemade hollandaise made with pasture based butter (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/blender-hollandaise-sauce/).

Twitter handle: oshay0826

If you’d like to be featured, be sure to fill out the member profile.