This article was first seen on the Huffington Post. For this installment, we are joined by Shannon Petralito.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
My name is Shannon Petralito, 2x World Figure Champion, 2x Fitness Cover Model, Fitness Columnist & Fitness Expert focusing on sports nutrition and exercise for all fitness levels. I am also a wife and a mom and I would best describe myself as kind, ambitious, fun, spontaneous, energetic & positive!
I became involved in health & fitness in 2009 when I decided to break out of my comfort zone and enter my first figure competition. That decision turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life, as a result, I have built a successful career that I am passionate about !!
I believe you were already in your thirties, did you ever wonder whether it was too late to go on this path?
As I sit here at 40 years old I am amazed at all of the achievements I have made in my 30’s! Yes, in the beginning I wondered if I would be able to be successful as an athlete & model in my 30’s but the harder I worked and the more I believed the more successful I became!
Proving age is not a limiting factor in pursuing your goals and dreams!!
Were you ever afraid to get big and bulky? And what do you tell your clients today who wonder about that kind of thing?
YES! I was very concerned with this at one point – but I quickly learned that in order to reach the goals I wanted to reach as a competitive athlete I had to train a specific way. There is a time to build and a time to lean.
There are two very important factors at play as a female athlete! One, if you’re eating correctly you will not be “bulky” you may have healthy body fat over your hard earned muscle but if you’re any kind of physique athlete this is part of the sport!
Two, the female body does not naturally produce enough testosterone to build muscle like a male, hence women should not be afraid of weight training! In my opinion, to reap the most benefits in fitness you need to combine healthy eating, some type of weight training routine, yoga & cardio vascular exercise.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realizing the consequences of that kind of behavior.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
I believe that two of the biggest culprits are lack of education and knowledge when it comes to the importance of healthy and balanced nutrition! In a society that is social media driven young girls often see photoshopped ads advertising things like detox teas, fasting, several types of diets, no fat, low fat, no carbs ect…
Unfortunately there are too many people without the proper credentials advertising all of these things and selling an unhealthy images for girls to look up to!
I feel very fortunate to have been given a voice in this industry that can be heard through the books I have been in, the articles I write and the interviews I have been asked to participate in, a voice to educate and inspire young women and girls to look up to.
A voice and an image that portrays a strong, educated, healthy & fit woman, a mother and a wife who lives a balanced life personally and globally in health, wellness & success! I hope that what I portray teaches young girls and women that self respect and self love are invaluable and are so vital to your personal growth!
What drives you to continuously be at your best?
I am a goal oriented person, I love goal setting and the journey to achieving them. I always learn so much about myself through the process. The best part is that once one goal is achieved I am driven to see what else I am able to accomplish! What drives me to be my best is the feeling of being a constant work in progress! Setting new goals, achieving them and setting more!
Has goal setting been an important part of your career success? How do you set goals for yourself?
Yes! Of course!! Goal setting is so important and I always recommend it to my clients as well!!! If you have ever read the book “The Secret” then you know how important visualizing your goals is! I cannot stress enough how important it is to write things down!! Make them specific!
I, myself have created vision boards! I put my goal list or board somewhere where I can see it and look at it daily! I visualize reaching those goals! I take small daily steps each day that correlate to my goals on my list! I was recently looking through old photos and found my very first vision board from 2010 and I was absolutely amazed at all of the things that transpired since then!! I highly encourage you to give this a try!! Honestly, believe it and you WILL achieve it!!
When things get really tough, like when you’re on a strict diet for a show or when you have a major setback, how do you pick yourself back up? Perhaps you can give an example?
The simple answer to this is I pray. When I don’t have strength or I don’t have answers, I pray for guidance and I have faith that things will unfold as God has planned!
For example, last summer we lost our home of 12 years. We tried our best to work with the bank and one day an agent came to our door with a letter stating we had 90 days to vacate. We had to find an apartment, one that accepted animals and one that we felt had a good community to raise our son in. We had no idea how we were going to do all of this in 90 days. So we prayed, a lot! We just kept telling ourselves to have faith that things would work out and they did!
We were accepted to a beautiful community right away and we love it here! We have become so much closer as a family through the experience and we are so much happier! There is so much more to this story but the main point is through one of the hardest times we had the most faith and I truly believe that is what carried us through! There is something bigger than all of us, we just have to be open and perceptive to that, especially during those times we feel defeated or alone!
If you could go back in time, what would you have done differently?
To be honest – every moment, every experience, every decision, good or bad has made me the woman I am today. I really don’t think I would do anything differently because my life today would not be the same.
How would you define success in your own life?
Success to me is using the gifts that I have been blessed with in helping others. In all that I have learned and accomplished thus far in health & fitness and in life in general I pride myself on giving back and sharing my knowledge and experiences with others so that they can improve their own lives just as I did! For me, this is in being a mom, a wife and as a fitness mentor.
What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
Being a mom. There is no greater gift and no greater challenge! To have the ability to create life and raise a child to carry on a legacy and make the world a better place is an absolute blessing.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?