A’Lisha McKinney is an AFAA certified personal trainer, an AFPA post rehabilitation exercise specialist, Master Nutrition Consultant, and the owner of Fanci Fitness in Wake Forest, NC. She competes in the NPC circuit as a Bikini Class A competitor. She also enjoys running and competing in local 5ks and obstacle courses. A’Lisha has recently taken up the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and enjoys any activity that gets her moving.
When she was 10 months old, A’Lisha found a dry cleaning bag near her crib and wrapped it around her head, which suffocated her. At first, doctors weren’t too optimistic about her chances of her survival, but A’Lisha was a fighter even at a young age. She survived the accident but developed epilepsy as a result.
As a child she dealt with many different medication changes and side effects such as fatigue, weight gain, rotting teeth, depression, medication toxicity, and anxiety. A’Lisha didn’t hold a driver’s license until she was 19 years old. Strobe lights greatly affect her, making driving difficult at certain times of the day. She has also suffered from discrimination at past jobs.
Only within the last few years has A’Lisha stepped out of her comfort zone and faced her seizure disorder. In 2011, she decided to stop living in fear and go after her dreams, no matter how long it may take her to accomplish them. She decided to take up running and completed many races and obstacle courses, placing in numerous local events.
A’Lisha loved the feeling of not only accomplishing her goals, but also surpassing them. She wanted to share that gift with others, so in 2012 she decided to become an AFAA certified personal trainer. After becoming a personal trainer, A’Lisha began researching ways that diet and fitness could be used to help control seizures in order to raise awareness for others living with epilepsy.
It was during her personal trainer certification course that A’Lisha met an individual who saw potential in her as an NPC bikini competitor. Following a strict diet and a relentless training regimen, she stepped on stage for her first show, the 2013 Kentucky Derby Bodybuilding Show, where she placed third in bikini. She has since participated and placed in six shows, however, has since hung up her heels, as they say in the body building world. She may one day find the itch to compete again.
A’Lisha is a part of Athletes vs. Epilepsy to help encourage those who have epilepsy not to live in the shadows of their disorder, but to rise above it and achieve their goals. Her view is that you may have epilepsy, but epilepsy doesn’t have you. She often says, “In order to be the hero of your story you must overcome your greatest obstacle … yourself.”