Our latest Training Guide cover athlete makes balancing a full-time job and a fit lifestyle look easy. A high school counselor in New York City, her love of fitness and competing makes her an incredible role model for students. But there’s so much more to Shannon Prasarn than a kind heart and killer body.
A former road warrior, Shannon first discovered the weight room after she suffered an injury in a marathon and was looking for a new way to stay fit. In a New York-minute, she was hooked on weight lifting and soon, it became her training-style of choice.
Fast forward to 2008 when tragedy brought her training to a halt. Her husband had been in a serious accident and his injuries required around-the-clock care, turning their entire world upside down. “I did not step foot into a gym for an entire year after his accident,” she says. “With his health and life on the line, I was in survival mode. We lived on take out and I put myself last.”
Over the course of the year, Shannon’s hard-earned muscle gradually deflated and her weight crept up by 25lbs; she barely recognized herself. In what she describes as a moment of clarity, she made the final decision to get back to the weights and make her own health a priority. “I couldn’t take care of someone else when I wasn’t even healthy,” she says. “I can remember the moment when I told myself that because I had the ability to be fit, I had to be.”
Today Shannon is rocking her fitness life. She’s modeling and competing and has taken a whole new approach to her health and training. “My gym time helps to keep my life balanced. I’m a better wife, daughter and friend because of my commitment to my wellness.”
SFM: If you could do any job for a day, what would it be?
SP: I’m such a foodie. I would have to say I’d take over for Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, but only for one day though; anymore than that and my body wouldn’t like me.
SFM: What’s your day job?
SP: I’m a school counselor at an arts high school in NYC. I help students find their way emotionally, socially and academically.
SFM: What does fitness mean in your life?
SP: Fitness for me is a privilege. I don’t train because I have to. I do it because I can. I try to never take my abilities for granted; having this mindset helps me to really appreciate my time in the gym.
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SFM: What’s your favorite workout day…Legs? Arms? Back? Functional?
SP: Back day, but I’m trying hard to convince myself that it’s leg day.
SFM: What advice would you give someone starting out in the gym?
SP: I would tell them not to be intimated; we were all beginners at one point. Be patient with the process and try to find a mentor.
SFM: What’s something quirky most people don’t know about you?
SP: I’m seriously very afraid of the dark.
WE ASKED SHANNON, “What’s your favorite…”
Flick: The Outsiders. “I’m a huge Ponyboy fan.”
Exercise: Wide grip Pull-ups
Treat: Chocolate chip cookies
Jeans: Hudson, in Collin Skinny style
Fitness accessory: Versa Grips
Protein Powder: Sun Warrior
Sports team: NY Yankees
Workout song: “I love EDM. If I had to choose just one current song, ‘Invincible’ by Borgeous.”
Beauty product: Loreal Voluminous mascara. “I’ve tried so many high-end brands and keep going back to my drug store fave.”