Meet the Match

A Palestinian Coaches Women and Families to Health

Amani Manassra is a coach at Pal-fit CrossFit Ramallah. She is the first female coach at the only CrossFit affiliate in the Palestinian Territories, and seeks to create health and physical fitness programs for Palestinian women and their families.

Born in Jordan, Amani had lived in Iraq, Tunisia, and Egypt before her family settled in Ramallah when she was a teenager. She had grown up swimming, but the constant movement left her physically inactive and, in her words, lazy by the time she entered university. In 2009, she began aerobics and kickboxing. She started seeing changes in her body and her health. However, a lack of proper training led to an ACL injury. During rehabilitation, her physical therapist, Basel Qatamesh, the owner and head coach at Pal-fit, invited her to try CrossFit as a way of improving her movement.

Since she first joined the gym in 2013, Amani has acquired several certifications, including specializations in gymnastics, weightlifting, strongman, and kid’s training. She and her team coach upwards of 120 men, women, and kids, and organize city-wide fitness competitions as a way of promoting healthy lifestyles in Ramallah and other Palestinian communities. In addition to traditional CrossFit classes, Amani coaches a twice-weekly CrossFit Kids class, which she began in 2017.

With the cultural value placed on family, Amani believes it is important to reach women, who can impact the nutrition and health decisions of their households. In the Palestinian Territories limited opportunities exist for women to participate in physical activity, and many are obese—a major public health problem. Amani is developing a program for women where they can come and work out together, as well as mingle and learn about healthy lifestyle choices. By participating in the GSMP, Amani has learned the vital leadership, business, and management skills she needs in order to develop her program and make it successful and expansive, with both in-person and online components.

Outside of CrossFit, Amani enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband, Fuad, and their cat, Shlooki.

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