Interview: Shannon Clark – Personal trainer & Fitness writer
Shannon Clark is an experienced and recognised health and fitness expert who has spent the better part of her adult years researching and studying the top methods to build lean muscle as well as achieve maximum states of leanness.
She has included the best of what she has discovered in her new book, A Healthy Body… And How to Get It! We caught up with Shannon to find out what’s inside it along with some of her key tips on how to get healthy and fit.
Tell us a bit about your book, what’s in it?
My book is for any one who’s hoping to learn the foundation of getting fit and starting a workout routine. It walks you through everything you need to know to understand the theory behind proper exercise and eating, while putting together a structured plan for yourself (and a full plan is provided in the book as well if readers wish to use it).
Who will benefit from reading your book?
While the book is primarily intended for the beginner audience – those who have not done formal strength training before – it will serve to benefit anyone who wants to learn more about proper exercise and nutrition, taking their overall progress up a step.
Why did you decide to write it?
I wanted to help clear up some of the myths that are circulating around in the industry with regards to strength training. Many people have very incorrect beliefs and I feel like this really holds them back. By setting the record straight, they can learn the truth and progress forward far better, avoiding setbacks along the way.
What do you do to keep fit?
While I used to be a heavy duty runner, now I like relaxing with a brisk morning walk to get my day started. I find it’s great for clearing my mind before I dive into work. Then 3-4 days a week, I like to hit the weights with a weight training program. There is no other exercise I enjoy more than strength training.
What’s your philosophy on nutrition and diets?
I believe in flexibility. Far too many people go to all these extreme approaches, fail to see results, and then get all discouraged. It’s really about learning your own body, your preferences and what works for you.
Over the years of doing various diets myself, I’ve come to find the best ones are ones where I enjoy what I eat (within reason of course – you do still want it to be healthy), I can easily follow the plan as it’s flexible enough to fit my lifestyle, and all macronutrients are covered. I’ve done both very low carb and very low fat and neither produce ideal results in my opinion.
What does keeping healthy mean to you?
Back when I was younger, being healthy was more about trying to look my best, but now my focus has shifted quite a bit more to promoting long term well-being and really making the most of my life. If you aren’t healthy, every element of your life will suffer immensely, so taking action to become physically healthier will have rewards in just about everything you do from your career to your relationships to your finances.
Leading a healthy lifestyle also teaches you about maintaining a certain drive and mindset that I believe will help you attain goals you set for yourself in any element of your life.
What motivates you to stay on track with your own nutrition and training?
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t in part to look my best, but in addition to that, feeling healthy and energised for all that life brings is a big motivation. I’ve been very guilty of overdoing it in the past – too much exercise, too harsh of a diet, and so on and even at times when I may have physically looked my best, I felt my worst and was most unhappy. There needs to be balance, so keeping that balance helps keep me motivated to stay on track to the proper training and nutrition strategies.
What’s your best health or fitness tip?
Find something that you enjoy. Really, if you hate every second of it – whether it’s a diet or a workout, you can’t ever expect to stick with it. There is never a time I come out of the gym feeling like I hated what I just did. I love it and look forward to it. There’s days where I may be tired and don’t feel like going, but once I get started, I’m happy I went. Finding something you feel this way about – whether it’s running, cycling, a team sport, yoga or otherwise is important for making it a long-term lifestyle.
Any favourite inspirational quotes?
As overused as it is, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.’ I also really like ‘Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.’
Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialised in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now. For more about Shannon, you can find her at ShannonClarkfitnesswriter.com and 20MinuteBodyMakeOver.com.
Image / Supplied – Nineteen Elements Photography