Breaking the Barriers - One workout at a time by Shanae Heard

Posted on October 18, 2013 by Will Reynolds Young | 1 comment
Breaking the Barriers - One workout at a time by Guest Contributor Shanae Heard

Note from the Team at SKINourishment. I (Will) met Shanae through Twitter. I was doing my normal weekly duty of looking through people who mention cross training on Twitter and happened to reply to Shane.

It was a simple reply that started a long discussion. I read this article about what Shanae was overcoming I was completely blown away. I even tweeted personally "The next time you think you can't do something because it's too hard remember this guy" with a link to Shanae's article. Besides the fact that Shanae is a woman which I mistakenly said guy in the tweet. Shanae's determination and strength is something we all could use!



"My main goal as a coach is to make fitness accessible to anyone who wants it. When Shanae called me to see if I would be interested in working with her, I knew that I had to find a way to make this work. By focusing on the functional movements that Shanae needs in her daily life, we have been able to come up with workouts that not only physically test her but also make her stronger and better for the things she faces everyday. It has been amazing to see the progress she has made in such a short time."

- Shelby Levy, All In CrossFit Owner and Coach


“You can’t do it!" “Cross training is for athletes.” “I bet your work outs are easy.” These are the three phrases I have heard countless times in the last month. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and since day one my life has been a lot of turning “I can’t’’ into “I will”. On September 6, 2013 I stepped into the unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

I remember going in scared, worried and excited. The cross training gym isn’t the gym I’d seen on TV or passed by in a car. It is literally a warehouse with rings hanging, ropes and medicine balls that scare me. After all, I was the one who had called the owner and coach Shelby Levy of All In CrossFit and explained my love for fitness and curiosity of cross training. I had seen so many news articles and stories about people with disabilities trying cross training that it seemed like something that I could at least try.


I started doing cross training simultaneously with Physical and Occupational Therapy. I would go to cross training once a week, Therapy twice a week and school/study in between. After about a week of cross training, my therapists started noticing extreme strength change. I gained range of motion in my right arm which is the weakest side of my body. Due to having Cerebral Palsy, fine motor skills are not that great. But both therapists told me that they have seen drastic improvement in the ability to grasp things. On my second cross training workout, tried to lift a 15 pound training bar in a bicep curl motion and couldn’t. On October 14, I did. I was able to curl a 17-lb training bar. I haven’t stood up since I was probably 6 or 7. I am now proud to say i am standing with a walker for about 10 seconds for warm up.


Cross training has become my escape, my second family and my source of new experiences. YES, I have Cerebral Palsy, but once a week, I am a cross trainer who pushes beyond it and exceeds my own expectation. The biggest motivation has been my coach and her willingness to learn this with me. She consistently says she’s proud of me and I feel it. I know that she just wants me to be the best me. So the next time you think you can’t, just know that somewhere I am doing what I never thought I could do and loving it.


Shanae rowing CrossFitShanae Heard is a 24 year old Psychology student from Auburn AL. She is a disability advocate.


Follow Shanae on Twitter

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  • Jaz

    Shanae, I am so proud of you for looking your fears in the face and choosing to push through for something you love. I thank God for the heart that you have, Shelby to want to help Shanae strengthen her abilities. Peace be with you and may God continue to bless you both! (In the name a Jesus) ;-P


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