Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Age: 32 Height: 5’8″ Location: Carmel, CA Occupation: Athletic/personal trainer Fave clean meal: Salmon, asparagus and brown rice.
“Suck the gut, squeeze the butt!” It’s a phrase that Shannon Jay Dougherty’s personal training clients hear her yell often. But the roles were reversed after the birth of Shannon’s second child. Weighing in at 180 pounds, she found encouragement in her clients, who echoed her own words back at their coach. With her cheerleaders by her side, Shannon dropped 40 pounds.
It wasn’t just that Shannon wanted to be a fit personal trainer – or a fit mom, even. It was about finding a healthy balance. As a preteen, Shannon was, as she says, a “chunky kid,” and was teased about her weight. In college, she battled an eating disorder. But as a trainer, she aimed to teach a different kind of philosophy to her clients: “Be your best you.” At the core of her new attitude were clean eating, hearty sweat sessions, and a love for her own body. It was time to live by her own rules.
Out of the Box
For an extra boost of motivation, Shannon signed up for a Bikini contest with a friend. “The fat came off, the spray tan went on, and I hit that stage with renewed confidence,” she says. Long after hanging up her clear heels, Shannon is still repping in the gym and keeping it tight in the kitchen. Though she realizes that staying in “competition shape” year round isn’t realistic, she always does her best. Working in the fitness industry helps her keep her routine fresh with new ways to keep moving – like skateboarding with her kids and coaching her son’s soccer team.
When it comes to teaching her children healthy habits, Shannon focuses on active play, family dinners and this lesson, which is a lot like what you’ll hear her tell her clients: “Be creative and enjoy life.”
“My children are involved in daily exercise,” says Shannon. Together, the family will ride around on scooters and skateboards before school, ride bikes or swim after classes, and on the weekends, head out for family park days, trucking cones and speed ladders for homemade obstacle courses. The key is to keep it fun and interesting, says Shannon.
New to fitness? Follow Shannon’s advice for building the body of your dreams:
- Have a good attitude and stay realistic. “I have a splurge meal on the weekend, but that’s it.”
- Use the three P’s – Plan, Prepare and Package your food for the week ahead.
- Move. “Even if it’s just a 20-minute walk, it’s still better than doing nothing.”
- Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights.
- Adjust your goals as you build muscle and confidence.