Thursday, July 12, 2012
Shannon Petralito Interview
Photos 1 and 4: LHGFX
Sometimes I find people to interview and sometimes someone helps me find someone. In the case of Shannon Petralito, someone suggested her to me and I am glad it happened. Shannon became someone I was quickly interested in talking to. She won Figure Universe overall in 2011 and to hear her talk, it seems she is just getting started. She has all the necessary ingredients to continue to succeed on stage as well as in the world of fitness modeling.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I have been working out since I was eighteen. I had a boyfriend whose mother owned a gym. I was more or less a cardio girl at that point. Years went by and I had a baby. I wanted to set another goal so I decided to compete. I entered my first figure competition in 2009. I was looking at Oxygen Magazine and say Tosca Rena in there and figured even in my thirties I could do this. A lot of good has come from that decision.
Q: Where you nervous the first time?
A: Very nervous actually. I made sure I told everyone in my family and friends so I couldn't chicken out. They all knew the date and were all coming. I was scared to death. I had a trainer but she couldn't make it. I was on stage not knowing what I was doing that day.
Q: A lot of people say after the first show it becomes an addiction, was that the case for you?
A: It was. I was hungry for more. I knew going in, it was the NPC Atlantic States, that the top five competitors would get a trophy, and that was my goal. I placed sixth so I just missed that top five. So I was hungry for more. I found out all I could about competing and 2010 was a very good season.
Q: In 2011 you won overall at Figure Universe, can you describe that feeling?
A: That was the most amazing feeling ever. I did not expect that to happen. I went in hoping to win my class, I did not expect to win overall. I cant put it into words. The pictures describe how I was feeling more than I can say.
Q: Was their a point where you realized it was possible?
A: When I was chosen the winner of the classic division and was in the overall line-up, I was like "what if I take this whole thing"?. What would it bring me and what would happen?
Q: For someone not familiar, how are those shows different from an NPC show?
A: Fitness America is a federation that is more or less like a beauty pageant. It is still a competition, the figure girls are muscular, but the presentation is different from NPC. The best way to describe it is like a pageant, with the lights and ambiance, it is more of an entertainment factor. It is different that way I would say.
Q: Is Fitness America better for you then to compete with them?
A: At this time I am trying to make some decisions on whether to stay with Fitness America or move to WBFF. I feel I have gone the highest I can go in Fitness America and am considering a different challenge. No decision is set in stone.
Q: Any idea when you would compete next?
A: My next show will be this season, August, September, October, November area. There is Vegas in November, there is also a show local in Rhode Island, the Fitness New England Championships.
Q: How far out do you like to start prep?
A: Normally throughout the year I stay within five to eight pounds of competition weight so when the time comes I am not struggling to take weight off. Most preps are about twelve weeks, this time I may try it different and do sixteen weeks out. I have different goals with my physique, you always wanna bring something different.
Q: From last show, what improvements physique wise do you want?
A: I am pretty much size wise where I am gonna stay, I don't wanna get too much bigger. One of my goals is to bring more depth and separation to the muscles in my legs. I am working with Mick Souza for the last three months and in three months I am seeing changing. By the time I diet down their will be some improvement there.
Q: What are you doing different to make those changes?
A: I was doing a lot of high intensity plyo type training. Working with Nick, he has me doing old school training, squatting, leg extensions, lying ham curls, deadlifts, supper setting and as weeks go he changes the super sets. Old school weight lifting based.
Q: In the gym, do you get a lot of attention or stares?
A: Where I work out at now it is not too bad. People are supportive, there are a lot of competitors there which is good. I am a trainer there and have gotten a good reputation there with a lot of women who see my physique and final results and know lifting heavy wont build an unattractive body.
Q: What do you enjoy about training others?
A: I love seeing a woman come to me and she's searching for that weight loss or to change some things. Coming for advice and watching her blossom and see changes in her body and then her attitude changes. I have a girl now who is down thirty pounds in a year. She was coming to the gym in baggy clothes and now you see her come in tighter pants and a t-shirt. That is one of my favorite things.
Q: What is the biggest mistake you see new people making in the gym?
A: A lot of people don't know correct form. The biggest exercises I see people do wrong are squats, deadlifts and shoulder presses with dumbbells. Form is key in producing results and not injuring yourself.
Q: You have done some fitness modeling, is that something you enjoy?
A: In the beginning it was very difficult, I was uncomfortable in front of the camera. One of my goals is to further my career as a fitness model so I needed to become comfortable in front of the camera. I don't like to admit this but I spent hours in the mirror practicing looks and moving my hair. A recent shoot in Miami was probably one of my best on account of that practice. We got great images which will be published soon which I am excited about.
Q: Do you look at picture of other models to take stuff from them?
A: Absolutely, that is one of the things I was told from people in the beginning. They said look at magazines and she what girls look like and are wearing. Lindsay Massina, Lori Harder, Erin Stern, Larissa Reis, Nicole Wilkins, all those girls.
Q: If you could spend a day training with anyone, who would you pick?
A: Probably Larissa Reis. She has the physique I admire most. I would love to know how she trains legs. She has feminine muscularity, she is beautiful, great symmetry and muscularity.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My husband Chris and son Anthony. They have been on this journey from the beginning and are my biggest fans. My trainer Mick Souza and Nutritionist Dave Lyford and of course my family.