Category Archives: Fitness Motivation

Fit and Fab for Life presents Beautiful You Bootcamp


One day- two completely different sessions! Come check out both if you’re up for it!! At 2300 arena I’m south Philadelphia on June 14th. Message me with any questions! I look forward to seeing everyone out for a great day full of fun, fitness and sweat!!!


Which Comes First? Resistance Before Aerobic Exercise or Vice Versa?

aerobic v resistance

It is recommended that a comprehensive training routine combines both aerobic exercise and resistance exercise because improvements in both cardiorespiratory function and musculoskeletal function allow individuals not only to reduce health risks and symptoms associated with physical inactivity but also to perform activities of daily living comfortably and safely.  The challenge we face is to balance concurrent aerobic training and resistance training properly to maximize the performance benefits of both modalities.  So, which should come first? Resistance or Aerobic Exercise.  I think the answer put simply is, it all depends on what you’re looking to achieve.

It seems that concurrent training of either resistance training before aerobic training or aerobic training before resistance training can elicit both aerobic and anaerobic adaptations simultaneously provided that the training program is carefully designed.  Performing aerobic exercise first may be a preferred choice for developing maximal aerobic power.  This exercise sequence also has been shown to enhance postexercise energy expenditure.  The preceding aerobic session of high intensity or long duration may compromise the quality of subsequent resistance exercise.  This can be avoided, however, by allowing more time for recovery and/or by training different muscle groups between two exercise sessions.  On the other hand, resistance exercise first seems more favorable for developing strength power, and muscle hypertrophy.  This modality sequence also seems more effective in enhancing maximal aerobic power in the elderly whos VO2max is limited in part by the aging-related loss of muscle mass and strength.  Resistance exercise first also can yield some metabolic benefits and the high-intensity nature of resistance exercise can potentiate energy expenditure and create a metabolic environment that favors fat utilization during a subsequent aerobic session.

So how do you plan out your workouts? Do you separate your cardio and resistance by days, mix it all in together, or perform both on the same day one after the other?  Do you find the way you structure your workouts defines the type of results you achieve?

Bootcamps: The Good, The Bad, and My Own Personal Philosophy


So you’re thinking about joining a bootcamp? The word itself “bootcamp” brings to mind a drill sergeant yelling in your face while you struggle to do pushups in cold, sludgy mud.  Although, indeed, these are the roots of a traditional bootcamp, which incorporates high intensity interval training with bodyweight strength training in order to build camaraderie and physical fitness among new recruits in the armed forces, most “bootcamps” offered to the public are much less about pain and suffering and more about having fun, getting results, and making new friends.

I have been to my fair share of bootcamps, and, honestly, no two are exactly alike.  Some bootcamps will use training aids such as TRX, Kettlebells, boxes and agility ladders to put you through your paces, while others rely solely on body weight, partner exercises, and team games.  You will also see “travelling” bootcamps, and “stationary” bootcamps.  The latter you will be in one place, and remain there for the entirety of the session, switching between HIIT and resistance exercises comprised of your own body weight and/or partner drills.  During a travelling bootcamp you are typically moving along a pre planned path (such as a wooded path in a park) and stopping periodically to complete certain tasks like pushups, burpees, tricep dips, and the like.  Both bootcamp types have their advantages and disadvantages, but the bottom line is both types will get you the results you desire, (as long as you’re willing to put the work in!).

If there is one thing I put on my list of priorities for what I want to see my clients achieve from a bootcamp (right at the top of the list, directly underneath RESULTS) it would have to be the forming of camaraderie amongst my bootcampers.  In my opinion, a bootcamp should be FUN! As adults, we sometimes forget that exercise can be enjoyable, it can be fun, it can help you make new friends.  I hear people say “ugh, i’d so much rather sleep an extra hour than get up and go to the gym”.  The way I structure my bootcamps usually has people waking up BEFORE their alarms and actually looking forward to coming in, seeing familiar (and new) faces, and really getting a chance to let loose and enjoy themselves, leaving them energized, and excited to step out the door and begin their days! Let’s not forget we were all children at one point in our lives, lets remember what it feels like to PLAY, to get out and perform exercise while fully and completely losing yourself in the joy it brings you and the fantastic way it makes your body feel!

Have any of you had bootcamp experiences, either negative or positive that you would like to share with the community?  I’d love to hear from you all, as input from others is the best way for me to be able to tweak and retune my own programs to make them super enjoyable while also keeping them challenging and rewarding! I hope any of you in the Philadelphia, PA area will come out to see me at our Fit and Fab for Life Bootcamp being held Saturday June 14th, 2014- one session 9am and one at 10:30am.  Two completely different styles for you to try, find out what makes you tick, find something you truely enjoy, you never know, you may get hooked!!

Start the Spring off right with a Fit and Fab for Life Bootcamp!!!!


Hello to all my fellow bloggers, fitfam, and all of you out there who are looking for something new and exciting to kick your fitness regimen into high gear!! I am so excited about this that I had to share it with you all! Saturday June 14th, 2014 I will be holding the first of many Fit and Fab for Life Bootcamps at the old ECW Arena (now 2300 Arena) in Philadelphia!!!! We will be holding TWO sessions the first day, one at 9am, the second at 10:30am, each will run for approximately an hour.  I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to really reach out to the masses and have the chance to not only help those who may be new to the fitness field, but also to crank up the intensity for old pro’s who want to enjoy something a bit more challenging!! All we ask is that you bring a water bottle, a towel, and a yoga mat to the session of your choice (or stay for both to experience two different bootcamp styles!).  I will be putting up a blog post shortly about the ins, outs, and my personal philosophy on bootcamps, so those of you that are interested in coming can understand exactly what we will be working to achieve!! I really hope to see all of you out there, your support means the world to me!! If you are interested in coming, please message me or contact me through facebook (Shannon Benedetto PT). Looking forward to seeing you all there!!!

Much Love,


How I Was (semi) Productive During My Snow Day


It’s a snow day! I mean, I suppose I could be out in this muck, but why bother when I have everything I need (including my puppies) right here with me? This morning I did a quick kettlebell circuit, nothing fancy, just some swings, goblet squats, highpulls, and windmills, I ended it out with a 60 second plank.  I think it took me about 20 minutes to complete.  This afternoon i’m going to be preparing some salads and some premade protein oatmeal packets (recipe to come) to get me through the rest of the week and the weekend, so that way when i’m hungry I don’t need to think about or take the time to prepare myself something.  I’ve really been feeling tight lately, so I can’t wait for this snow to clear so I can go check out a yoga class.  I haven’t been to yoga since I moved back from England, so it’s been way too long! Snow days can be productive, I suppose 🙂 What are you all doing today to get your mind and body stronger and healthier? I hope everyone has a fantastic day! Stick with those goals, and remember, relax, take it all one day at a time!!


Taking Charge of Your Life


This morning I woke up and I, for some reason, thought back to the time when I hadn’t exercised in years, drank very heavily, and ate awful, body destroying foods.  I started to wonder why it took me so long to realize that my health and body were worth investing in so much more than a new handbag or a night out at the bar.  Some may call what I did extreme, but I took my 401k savings out (early! eeek) and invested ALL of it in getting myself in shape, getting my personal training certification, buying equipment, and basically turning my life around.  With the current obesity epidemic this country is facing, it makes me wonder why MORE people aren’t having this epiphany and doing something to change their current situation, whether it be weight loss, increased mobility, improving strength, or even just getting out and walking to improve your cardiovascular health.  I understand that people live busy lives, between jobs, family, and trying to fit in some ‘me’ time, it seems like it leaves little room for anything else.  However, let me say this, think of how great those days when you wake up and actually have energy feel…why not feel like that all the time?  Why not say, “I can take 2% of my day and dedicate that to 30 minutes of exercise”?  You don’t need a gym, you don’t even need equipment.  The internet is FULL of great videos that can get you started just working out in your living room.  Also, please don’t let yourself be defined by the number on the scale.  Every person is different, every body shape is different, don’t let a number come between you and your self confidence.   As far as nutrition goes, I feel like the majority of people choose to eat greasy, fast food meals, not because they are cheaper, but because they are FASTER. Take the time for your health to cook yourself fabulous nutritious meals.  Your body will thank you for it! The whole reason I got into this profession is so that I can help people.  I want people to see that they are WORTH making these life changes, to committing themselves to leading the healthiest, happiest, longest life possible.  You have it in you, you can accomplish anything that you set your mind to, the hardest part is always taking that first step.

Written By:

Shannon Benedetto ACSM-cpt

How to get back to your routine after taking a sabbatical

I’m not going to lie, I have been majorly slacking on my fitness lately. My nutrition is on point which is helping me not gain too much weight back while I’m taking a break from the gym, but my question is, how do you get back into a routine once you’ve taking one, two, three weeks or even a month off? I’m going to give you some tips to get you back up and moving towards your goals with more gusto than ever before!

Personal Trainer Tip #1
Don’t expect to go back to where you were immediately
I think this is a huge mistake, and I also think it gets people down and makes it less likely for them to continue. If you have been out of the gym for a month or so, don’t expect to go back to doing what you could before your break right away. Slowly work yourself up to where you were. Remember, something is better than nothing. Stay with positive thoughts and realistic goals and you will get back (or surpass!) where you were before your break.

Personal Trainer Tip #2
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others!
You can’t walk into a gym and compare your chapter 5 to their chapter 25- this will only lead to you feeling like you aren’t working hard enough, get you discouraged, and ultimately lead to you not wanting to go back. When you go to the gym, put your earphones in and get into your own zone. This is about you, not about anyone else in the gym. Don’t be discouraged because you aren’t where you want to be YET, you will get there!

Personal Trainer Tip #3
Set Goals
Realistic goals! There is no better feeling than completing a goal you set out to achieve. It may be holding a plank for one minute, or getting up that extra 30 pounds on your dead lift. Whatever it is, set small goals that will eventually lead to your bigger, long term goal.

All of these little tips will help you get back to where you want to be. There is no shame in starting over, only for not ever starting back up. Keep a positive mental framework around your short and long term goals and you will be guaranteed success! If you have any questions or comments about this article, please feel free to contact me!
Thanks for reading and good luck on whatever journey you are taking!!

Written By: Shannon Benedetto ACSM-cpt

“Oh crap, I think I’m sick…”: When to Push Through and When to Stay in Bed


It’s happened.  I think I finally have to admit to myself that i’m sick.  I’ve been feeling a bit rough the past couple weeks, but it never seemed to really, fully develop into a major cold.  Now, I think my luck has run out.  I fit a workout in this morning, but I took it much easier than normal.  So the question is, when you’re sick, when should you put on your big boy pants and get to the gym and when should you call in sick?

If You’re Running a Fever

If you find that you are running a fever you should definitely be at home, in bed.  The danger in exercising when you have a fever is raising your internal body temperature more than it already is, which can make you even sicker.  If your temperature is 101 degrees Fahrenheit, skip the gym and keep up on your fluid intake.

The Neck Check

Another good rule when deciding whether or not it is advisable to hit the gym is where your symptoms are located.  If your symptoms are above the neck, sore throat, tearing eyes, nasal congestion, or sneezing, you are probably okay to workout.  Any symptoms below the neck, including bronchial tightness, coughing, body aches, fever, and fatigue then you should probably give your body time to rest and recover from whatever it is trying to fight off.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

The best way to avoid all of these maladies is to not get sick in the first place.  Exercise can actually boost your body’s defenses against illness and infection. Thirty minutes of regular exercise three to four times a week has been shown to raise immunity by raising levels of T cells, which are one of the body’s first defenses against infection.  Also, being vigilant in washing your hands correctly and often can help stop the spread of germs.  Carry some antibacterial gel in your pocket and actually use it!

If You Do Decide to Hit the Gym….

One of my major pet peeves is when someone doesn’t wipe down their equipment after they use it.  But, alas, the people who fail to wipe down their machines aren’t likely to change their behavior anytime soon, so i’ve gotten into the habit of ALWAYS wiping down my equipment before I use it.  This is an especially good rule when you’re already sick, with a lowered immunity the last thing you need is to pick up another random cold bug floating on the elliptical machine.  If you’re sick and you’re blowing your nose, please, I beg you, use the hand sanitizer when you finish, every time! Basically, if you’re fighting something off and decide to use the gym, please just be courteous to your other gym goers by trying to minimize the spreading of germs.

Looks like i’m going to be out of the game for a couple days, but if you’re feeling sick, please be sure to contact your doctor to get a proper diagnosis before proceeding with any type of exercise.  Wishing you all the best, health and happiness, happy 2014 everyone!

Written By:

Shannon Benedetto ACSM-cpt

Recommitting Myself to Fitness: My Journey From Couch to Coach


I was sitting here this morning and I was going over my journey of the past couple years in my head.  At my heaviest, I was 250 +/- pounds, my knees constantly hurt, getting up off the couch was a task, and cleaning the house felt like a full on workout.  It was around this time that I decided that I was going to recommit myself to being healthy again.  I remembered that in highschool I was in fantastic shape.  I played field hockey, ran at least a few miles a day and had never smoked a cigarette in my life.  Fast forward 12 years and somehow I had managed to become a smoker, drink on a regular basis, and allow my body to become my own prison cell.  I knew I had to do something about it, so that’s what I did.  I figured, “piece of cake, i’ve lost weight before, this will be easy”.  I was incredibly wrong.  So, so, so wrong.  I really cannot emphasize how completely incorrect my assumption was.  Nearing 30, my body didn’t jump back the way it had so many other times I had decided to lose weight.  The weight seemed comfortable where it was and didn’t look like it was going anywhere, anytime soon.  I kept at it though.  When I started out, jogging in place for 30 seconds was exhausting (this isn’t even an exaggeration).  My trainer really boosted my self confidence, though, and helped me keep my head up and keep going even when I thought that was impossible.  That made me (even when I was still at my heaviest) want to become a personal trainer myself, because what she did for me saved my life and for that I am forever grateful to her.  When I moved back from the UK to the states (did I mention I was living in England? My husband is British and I lived there for 3 years, but that’s a story for another time) I was fortunate and found another FABULOUS trainer, and it was him who set my nutrition right and really increased the intensity of my workouts.  He also helped me pass my ACSM-cpt exam and took me under his wing as an intern for some time.  Now here I am, still not quite at my goal, but still kicking my own butt to get there!  I’m doing what I love, which is helping others achieve something they may have thought was never possible and i’m loving every second of it.  I am completely humbled and grateful for everything that has occurred in my life over the past couple years.  Hard work, dedication, and all the people that loved and helped me when I needed it the most have gotten me back to where I should be: happy, healthy, and most importantly, helping others.

Written By:

Shannon Benedetto ACSM-cpt

How to Make Your New Years Resolutions Obtainable and Beneficial!


It’s that time of year; the time of year when we all decide that this year is the year.  It could be the year that you get that big promotion, or the year you take time out to go traveling.  One of the most common resolutions, however, is to get fit: lose weight, gain muscle, run that extra mile, or just deciding to walk more everyday.  Unfortunately, though these resolutions are made with the best intentions, most of them are made with the promise of making a HUGE change.  This leads me to my first point.

Choose an attainable resolution!

If you haven’t been to the gym in years, don’t expect to start up going every day of the week and keeping that up for 6+ months down the road.  You’ll burn yourself out! Start with a small, short-term goal.  Build on that short-term goal slowly, until  you reach your long-term goal (and you will!).

Pick something you enjoy!

Just because you want to increase your fitness doesn’t mean you need to start off by going to a grueling hour long TRX class.  Do something you enjoy to get you started, increase your confidence, and prep your body for the more advanced training that is to come.  Most gym offer taster classes, or beginner courses that you can try out, or find a personal trainer who will be able to guide you along your fitness journey.

Stick with it!

I won’t lie to you, some days its just going to suck.  It’s getting through those days, though, that make you realize that you CAN do this! You have the power to change your life, be healthier, have more energy and become a more confident person.  If you slip up and eat that piece of cake, it’s okay! Don’t decide that’s the end of the road because you ate poorly or skipped the gym a couple times.  Get back out there and give it your all!  Strive for your goals, dedicate yourself to YOU and anything is possible!

Written By:

Shannon Benedetto ACSM-cpt