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Celebrity Spotlight: Shannan Ponton
Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 3, No. 2 - March/April 2011

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Why is it important to participate in physical activity?

My parents were very active. When I was a kid we always went for bike rides together and I remember my dad running. When I was 8-9 years old, I wasn't allowed to run with dad because I was too slow, but when I was 10 years I could keep up and by 13 I could beat him!

Parents set the standards for children so it's up to them to be a good role model.

What is your opinion with regards to the balance between physical exercise, nutrition and learning?

Being physically fit leads to better learning as well as a happier and healthier lifestyle. Everybody has different needs and it's about finding a window to be more active, being healthier and finding something that works for them whatever physical activity or movement this may be.

What was your first job?

I had a job as a labourer when I was 14 years old. My first full time job was as an apprentice carpenter. During that time, I was still working part time in a local gym 3 nights a week.

What motivated you to become a personal trainer?

I really wanted to be a professional rugby league football player with the North Sydney Bears. When I was younger I hurt my shoulder pretty badly when playing rugby.

All my mates played and it was a huge disappointment. But I soon discovered I could still stay involved but in a different way.

I didn't have to prove myself to them and the football club paid for my fitness courses. I found a love for training and a bigger love for personal fitness. So I trained hard to scratch the itch to be fitter and stronger. By being fit, I found I could still keep up with my mates when they were training.

How would you describe your daily routine?

Whether the Biggest Loser is on or off, I train 6 days a week - so I begin about 5:30 am. On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday I do boxing and then weights. Monday and Wednesday I do spin classes. Friday I also do a body impact class. I do weights 5 times a week. I also train a local footy team Tuesday and Thursday nights. It's hard to have a set daily routine when the show's filming. Some days we film 6:45 am till 10 pm so we may only get 20 mins for lunch so the crew and I will go for a run. The hardest part of my job is fitting everything in.

What are your career highlights?

Getting the job on Biggest Loser involved a massive and consistent 3 month audition process. I was so lucky to get in!

Michelle Bridges and I have been friends and work colleagues for over 10 years.
We devote time, energy, passion and commitment on and off camera and are determined to monitor the contestants' progress and help them to achieve their goals.

What do you love about your job?

The Biggest Loser has provided me with the ultimate rush I see broken down families that are so dysfunctional at the start of a season, and I help them rebuild their life from the inside out.

Most of all I love living the dream. I'm being paid to do something I love. So, I reap the financial rewards and gain all the benefits of sustaining my soul. I'm blessed with some amazing experiences and wonderful friendships.

I get more of a buzz working with my clients rather than my own fitness. I'd rather slow down to a jog then do my own 10 km run.

Please tell us about your family

I'm an only child. My dad is a Vietnam Veteran and very tough and my mother is a kind and compassionate person.

I can be hard and tough when needed and that comes from my father but kind and compassionate at other times, which comes from my mother.

Since last April, I have been married to my beautiful wife, Kylie.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

My wife and I live on the Northern Beaches Sydney. We love going for bike rides, walks with the dogs, surfing or just chilling at home watching DVDs.

What is your favourite holiday destination and why?

I love going over to Bali and spending time at my villa. It's a wonderful relaxed lifestyle-the food and surf are just amazing. It has become a second home to me. I know that once I get off the plane and check in everything's going to be OK. It seems to just wash away a year of work.

What are your top tips for a healthier lifestyle?

  1. Get yourself moving - it doesn't matter what you do or why. Just get up and move. You don't have to go out and do a hard slog. It could be something as easy as a walk or a game of table tennis
  2. Eat less processed foods - the more raw and fresh the food you eat is the better it is for your body.
  3. Get a mate - set goals together you'll find it easier to get into a routine and have someone to motivate you on those 'down' days.


Shannan has 18 years of experience in the fitness industry and expertise in exercise, fitness and nutrition.

He is super motivated in designing and implementing innovative personal training programmes.

Shannan's methods are implemented in the Biggest Loser and by individuals, companies and teams both Australia-wide and globally.

He has an extensive repertoire of physical fitness tools including boxing, kickboxing, spin, swimming, martial arts, circuit and weight training, all aimed at getting the best outcomes for participants.

Shannan lives by what he teaches and has returned to the 2011 The Biggest Loser. He also has a book in the pipeline - "Harden Up"- is planned for publication at the end of February.

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Get Ahead Kids® Mar/Apr 2011

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