Posted 23 December 2012 by Interview:

Shannon Petralito


How/when did you get started in training
and living a fit lifestyle?

I got started when I was in my mid twenties - I began to show a little interest in the gym when I was about 19. At that age I was mostly into cardio and knew nothing about weights - I was afraid of getting "big" and like so many girls that age wanted to look "skinny".

Shannon_Petralito_q1.pngIt wasn't until after having my son that I became very interested in getting into the best shape of my life and doing something out of my comfort zone so with just 9 short weeks to prepare under the guidance of two amazing people I decided to compete in my first figure competition. After that I was hooked! One thing led to another and I feel both fortunate and grateful for where this journey has led me! I love what I do and I love sharing my passion for the industry with others!

How do you stay motivated?

My son Anthony is the number one motivator for me - he is 8 years old and he is at an age now where he fully understands the value behind working hard for something and being disciplined and doing what it takes to get there, even if that means sacrifice. Anthony has taken a very big interest in health and fitness this past year - he is very aware of the importance of exercise and eating the right types of foods and how each food has either a positive or negative effect on your body. How can this not continue to motivate me? Our children are our legacy, we should all set the best example we can as parents!

My husband Chris, my family, friends and supporters motivate me every day to keep moving forward towards my biggest goals and never give up, I want to make them proud! There are those that have been given a special gift to help inspire and motivate others, not everyone has the capability. I believe that those who rise to the top of their respective industries were meant to do just that, how can this not motivate you to want to be a better person? To leave the world a better place and to know you have helped others = success!

What types of cardio have worked best for you?

Well, just this past season I changed my entire way of thinking on this subject - I finally got it through my thick skull that for my body type and the look I was trying to achieve for me last show - steady state cardio on the recumbent bike was my best friend - especially during the last few weeks of my prep when I was doing split cardio sessions one of them being fasted state cardio - ughh!

I stuck with mostly lower impact during the final 6 weeks of my prep - I believe it kept me better conditioned as far as my legs were concerned. Less pounding on the joints I believe was better for my body in general.

Before this season I was heavily into sprinting and plyo-metric training. Don't get me wrong, these are great and they have there time and place dependent upon your current goals. For example, now that show time is over I have incorporated some Tabata's back into my routine as well as some Plyo's and Stepmill Intervals.

Do you have a favorite healthy recipe?

I am a huge fan of breakfast and either Pancakes or French toast have always been a favorite of mine!
One of my favorite breakfast recipes right now would have to be Greek Yogurt Pancakes!


  • 5oz Non-fat Plain or Vanilla Greek Yogurt - I like Chobani
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1Packet Stevia
  • 6TBS of Liquid Egg Whites - I use Egg Whites International - you can purchase them directly through my website under the sponsors & affiliates tab.
  • 1/3 Cup Bluberries
  • Mix into a smooth batter - pour into pan sprayed with EVO cooking spray.
  • Top with Walden Farms cooking spray! YUM!

What does your diet consist of?

Right now since I just competed I have added more variety to my food choices. I still continue to eat clean and balanced, which means a variety of lean protein choices such as chicken, fish, egg whites, ground turkey, lean bison and whey/casein protein. Carbohydrates consist of sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, Ezekiel bread oatmeal and sometimes whole-wheat pasta. Right now I eat a variety of veggies, my fruit consists of mostly berries and kiwi. For healthy fats I still choose to keep them fairly low but I do use small amounts of healthy oils, raw almonds and I also count the fats in my meat sources. I continue to stay hydrated and drink about a gallon of water a day. If I do have a cheat - it will be once a week for now and ONE meal not an entire day, lol!

When show prep comes back around a lot of these foods will take a mini vacation and my diet gets pretty strict in order to achieve the look that I want. I still eat 5-6 times a day and I actually increase my water intake when I prep - so for those that think we starve ourselves and dehydrate, this girl right here doesn't.

How do you deal with cravings for junk foods,
sweets and salty food?

I allow myself one meal a week right now to have something "off plan" For the rest of the week I try and find healthier versions of the sweet and salty calorie loaded foods so many of us love, I just try and make healthier choices. There are so many great recipes out there that give you alternatives.

However when I prep - you just have to deal with the cravings. I try and think of the outcome and how it will all be worth it when I achieve my goal.

What are your top 3 favorite exercises?


Do you listen to music whilst you train?

I LOVE MUSIC - right now on my playlist are Dada Life, Electric Area, David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, Afro Jack and a mix of my favorite songs including Neyo, Pittbull, Enrique and Usher. However sometimes those heavy workouts call for a little Disturbed!

What is your training routine like?

Typically my "regular" cardio routine consists of 4/5 days - 2 Days I will do HIIT such as Tabata's or a Functional Type of Training for about 20-30 Minutes - the other 3 days I will do more of Steady State cardio for 40-50 minutes such as the bike. During show prep my cardio will increase a bit and I will do split cardio the closer I get to the show. I focus more on steady state cardio for show prep - I found this worked better for my conditioning this time around.

As far as weight training - I lift 5 days a week. I continue to lift as heavy as I can all the way through to the weeks leading to a show. Obviously my strength decreases the closer I get but I continue to give it my all!

A typical week may look something like this:

Each season I learn more about my body and how it responds to each season is different as far as types of exercise, reps and sets -

Chest and Tri's - 4 Sets - 10-12 Reps

Shoulders and Core - 4/5 Sets - 12-15 Reps

Back and Bi's - 4/5 Sets for Back 12-15 Reps and 3 Sets for Bi's - 10-12 Reps

Functional Training, Tabata's or Circuit Train Depending on Show Prep
During show prep I may do a heavy shoulder day and light shoulder day in place of the circuit.

Legs and Calves - 4/5 Sets - 15

I try to have two full day rest during the week - the only time this may not happen is with increased cardio the final couple of weeks before the show - but ALWAYS at least 1 day of rest!!!!!!

Do you set short and long term goals?

YES! I certainly do and I always tell me clients they should do the same! It's how we hold ourselves accountable & how we become successful!

I myself am ALWAYS looking for the next big challenge, I am competitive by nature so I love the thrill! The biggest challenges for me this past year have been starting my own business "Shannon Petralito Fitness" which is an online training and nutrition program for both figure and bikini competitors as well as women looking to learn how to live a healthier lifestyle and feel great about who they are! I also have local clients that I work with on a regular basis at The Fitness Company For Women in Mashpee, MA I do one on one personal training, group training and posing sessions for competitors. It's been less than a year and the business is steadily growing and I have an amazing team of girls that I work with whom I am so proud of!
Another major goal for me this season was to step on the WBFF stage as a figure competitor after being with another federation for 3 years. I had been watching the WBFF for about 2 years and was impressed and inspired by the level of athleticism in the competitors and the professionalism of the organization as a whole. I decided that this would be my new home and my goal was to become a WBFF Professional Figure Athlete - on November 3rd at the New England Fitness Weekend - GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!
As for long-term goals, I plan on continuing to grow my business to a very successful level and hope to have my own studio one day. I also will continue to further my career as a fitness model and hope to continue to successfully climb the ladder in the fitness industry.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of being successful at the most important job I have been given here on this earth - raising a happy, healthy, smart and respectful child that is strong, opinionated and knows how to speak what he feels and has values.
I am also proud of the loving and happy home my husband Chris and I have created for our child to grow up in. I feel blessed that our son has always known love and seen love in our home.

Have you had any obstacles or setbacks towards achieving your goal physique?

Well, just recently the week of show I wound up catching a pretty bad cold from my son - he actually had the flu and the week prior I was up all night with him and training during the day - recipe for disaster I know. I had to take the final week of workouts off which was tough on me mentally. I also had to come to terms with the fact that I was stepping on stage at about 90% of my potential - my body held water due to being sick which in turn affected my physique, but I had to mentally go out there and act as if I was at 100%! It all worked out for me and I am very thankful, I just can't wait to train for the Pro Stage and compete at 110%!

How do you measure your progress?

The only time I use a scale is the 6 weeks leading up to a show and it's secondary to how I look and how I feel! When I am not competing I rarely use the scale! I can just tell by how I look, feel and how my energy levels are at the gym!
So many of the women I work with get too caught up in the numbers on the scale - down to the ounce!!! I can't stress enough, it’s so important to feel great and look great, who cares about #'s on a scale, and half of them are not accurate anyway! I'm not saying eat what ever the hell you want but you know when your clothes fit better and you feel good!

Who are your favorite, athletes or fitness models?

Over the years that I have been asked this question I have had a few different answers dependent upon my knowledge and experiences in the industry at that given point in time.

I would have to say favorite female fitness model/athlete would be Lindsay Messina, she has been a constant choice for me, I have known Lindsay for about 5 years now and I have watched her successfully grow her business and grow with the industry and I have always been impressed by her beauty, class and drive to achieve anything she puts her mind to! No goal is too big or too small and I think of her often on those days when I feel like I'm getting nowhere… I keep going!

As for favorite male athlete I would have to say my coach and mentor Mick Souza Mr. Universe 1992. Nothing happens by chance and I believe that we crossed paths for a reason - I am grateful to have met Mick and his wife Carla. Mick has taught me so many lessons of life and a great deal about exercise and the industry. Mick is like my fitness Dad! Lol, no but seriously what an amazing coach, mentor and athlete! Teaching me to focus on my goals, never to be boastful, always be respected and to train hard and go for broke! I am grateful to have him in my corner!

What supplements would you use/recommend if any?

Betancourt Nutrition has an amazing product line for both male I female athletes! I am honored to be part of their team of athletes, I have been a fan of Betancourt products for the past couple of years so I am very familiar with the products and think they are quality and produce great gains when combined with proper nutrition and exercise.
I currently use their White Chocolate Big Blend for my protein - it tastes amazing and it's great because you can cook with it too, it's not too clumpy! It's great because it's a blended protein having fast, medium and slow digesting proteins.
For a pre-workout - D-Stunner Rocks! Pretty simply stated, no crash, no jitters, and great focus!
I just recently started using BullKnox too, I couldn't use it close to my show just because of the carbs but WOW, this stuff is great, awesome energy and focus, I can feel a difference in my lifts too!
We are coming out with an amino drink soon so be on the look out for that! Amino Pure, check us out at

What 3 tips would you give to any woman wanting to get a feminine, CutandJacked physique like yours?

1. Set your goals, start small and think big! Work every day towards achieving them! Even if some days you do one thing and others you do 5 - keep moving forward, you will get there! It's not easy, it takes persistence and patience but with passion and drive you will get there! You have to want it bad enough! No one can do it for you - you have to do it yourself!

2. Learn how to live the lifestyle you want! If you want to get healthy, lose weight, compete ect... whatever it is - start doing your research, find out all you can, make notes. If you are lost - reach out to others in the industry and ask their advice, hire a coach or a trainer - to me part of being a professional athlete is sharing your passion and knowledge with those around you that may not know where to start!

3. Don't be hard on yourself, stay positive! Be happy! Have fun! Be thankful for your health and ability to make choices, pursue your goals! It's never to late!!!!



Shannon Petralito

Year of birth: 1976, Height: 5'5", Weight:135

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Twitter: @ShanPetralito
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