shannan ponton cruise sydney

Shipshape With Shannan Ponton On Carnival Cruise Line

Posted February 1st, 2016

Staying healthy and cruising may not seem the most likely cabin mates, but as Carnival Cruise Line’s first Australian ambassador, The Biggest Loser’s Shannan Ponton is bringing balance to the onboard buffet. We sat down with the affable trainer in the adult’s only Serenity Retreat, during a cruise to New Caledonia aboard Carnival Spirit, to get the skinny on staying fighting fit while at sea.

Well known to Aussies for his tough love and even tougher workouts on TV’s The Biggest Loser, which wrapped its tenth season late last year, Shannan Ponton is just as down to earth and approachable in person. While not initially a cruiser, Shannan is a convert now, usually with his young family in tow.

“It was nothing like I thought. In my head I’m thinking somewhere a cross between The Love Boat and a floating RSL, but the moment I got on here I was like; this is exactly the type of holiday that I needed,” he says.

As an ambassador for US-based Carnival Cruise Line, he not only brings himself on board on select cruises, Shannan has also had a hand creating nutritious meals, honing his trademark workouts for all fitness levels, and also hosts the Biggest Bootcamp at Sea, which sees the outside deck taken over by up to 600 cruisers for a fun aerobic session. And if you’re worried about having a famous trainer scrutinising your meal choices, don’t be. Shannan is just keen to offer cruisers a healthy alternative.

“The food here’s absolutely beautiful and the buffet has plenty of healthy options,” he says. “There’s plenty of food that’s not quite so healthy, but, honestly, holidays – everything in moderation. Take the time, sit down with your family and enjoy the food rather than just smashing it up.”

And from gym goers shadowing his moves and trying out his workouts in the onboard fitness centre to people stopping him to chat and ask questions in the ship’s restaurants and common areas, Shannan has time for everyone.

“I’m always available to talk to people, I’ve always got time to take photos and sign autographs and offer advice – I don’t have a minute to myself. I’m just that type of bloke that will happily talk to anyone.

“I’m just honestly so happy with the synergy,” Shannan enthuses. “To offer healthy alternatives to an otherwise good product, I reckon is a stroke of genius. I don’t ever want to put my name to something that I don’t believe in. I’m the happiest bloke on board and we sail for at least five or six weeks a year. It’s a pretty good office.”

Shannan’s top 5 tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while cruising:

  • Take the stairs.
  • Eat in moderation, not like you’re at a teenage birthday party.
  • Still exercise. There’s plenty of time on a cruise to get down and set some time apart for yourself so get down to the gym. The gym is as well equipped as any commercial gym.
  • Take some time to unwind and relax. Get a massage or something like that. Your mind is as important a tool as your body.  To get fit and healthy, you need to relax your mind, especially if you’re coming from a high-stress or high-workout job.
  • Understand the value of calories. Walking up and down the stairs twice is not going to burn off a piece of chocolate cake; it’s going to take a bit more time than that.

Shannan Ponton's next sailing dates are April 15, 2016 on Carnival Spirit and November 26, 2016 on Carnival Legend to New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.

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