Success Story: Sonjia Shaw

From fitness novice to boot camp instructor

From fitness novice to boot camp instructor
FitnessRx reader Sonjia Shaw never participated in sports growing up, and exercising was never really her thing. And for years, the mother of two little girls, ages 3 and 5, was plagued with health problems, including migraines.

But things changed in March of 2012 when Sonia tried a local fitness boot camp with her husband. Initially, she had no intention of sticking with that gym (The Camp Boot Camp in Chino, CA). Instead, she just wanted to support her husband.

However, something clicked with Sonjia after that very first class. “I seriously fell in love with the classes and feeling amazing after working out,” she said.

As she got more into fitness, Sonjia found another source of inspiration— the August 2012 issue of FitnessRx for Women. “I remember Jaime Baird— huge inspiration— was on that cover. From there, I was hooked.”

The Transformation

Today, in addition to being a mom, Sonjia has three part-time jobs— including one as an instructor at The Camp Boot Camp in Chino, where her fitness journey began. The health problems she once dealt with are almost nonexistent, and she’s also competed in three Bikini shows since October 2012. Most recently, Sonjia placed first in the Bikini Novice Class B at the NPC Southern California contest in June.

It’s hard to determine in pounds how much weight Sonjia has lost because the number on the scale has not really changed, due to the muscle mass she’s gained. However, she’s lost over 12 percent of her body fat since she started her fitness journey (and her husband has lost more than 20 pounds since starting the boot camp).

“Being healthy and fit is a lifestyle; it’s not a diet, it’s not a fad,” Sonjia said. “I have many goals but they all include helping others become healthy for life!”

Q+A: How Did She Do It?
Sonjia recently took some time to answer some questions about how FitnessRx helped her— and continues to help her— get into shape. Here’s what she had to say!

How has FitnessRx helped you reach your fitness goals?
FitnessRx has helped me reach my goals because it’s loaded with helpful resources, tips, recipes, amazing athletes, etc. When I first started weightlifting, I went online to the site to see how to properly do some exercises. Amazing inspirational athletes grace the cover (which, by the way, is a huge goal of mine). The tips on there and meal plans are extremely helpful. I love the recipes as well.

The website has been a number one stop that I visit frequently in helping me reach my goals! What is extremely helpful is the videos on there showing the exercises and how to do them properly.

What are your favorite workouts from FitnessRx?
I think every woman wants amazing GLUTES! That is an area I focus on two to three times a week, and Nathalia’s butt-shaping videos have been extremely helpful in showing some glute-focused exercises. I love the videos on the site because proper form is so key, and watching these videos definitely has helped me go in the gym with the confidence that I was working a specific area, and working it correctly for maximum results.

What is your diet like?
My diet consists of lean proteins, fruits, veggies, complex carbs and healthy fats. I use guidelines on FitnessRx and have also used guidelines form athletes that graced your covers (Chady Dunmore and Joseph Donnelly on FitnessRx for Men).

What something you learned from FitnessRx that sticks out to you and still helps you to this day?
One thing I love about FitnessRx that has stuck to me is an article on HIIT Cardio [See “Burn, Baby … Burn! Sprint Your Way to Fat Loss,” in our FREE summer e-book, which you can download here: You will never catch me doing long steady-state cardio. I feel HIIT cardio has changed my health and body and I love it.

What’s your advice for women who want to get in shape like you?
For woman wanting to get into shape— go for it, set a goal and make it part of your life. Do not look at is a chore or something you “have” to do. I get up at 3:30 a.m. to train at 4 a.m., six days a week so I can be home before my husband has to leave to work. There are days you will want to give up or days you feel exhausted, but trust me you will not regret it.

Eat, and eat right. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of your body, not just by exercise but by your daily diet. Don’t look at food as a temporary “diet”; you have to change the way you use food. You will see amazing changes in your mind and body by getting in shape and making it part of your life and that alone is enough to want it. Get online and start researching, use FitnessRx online— it has so many amazing tools on there and even has Print & Go Workouts!

How has FitnessRx helped you reach your fitness goals? E-mail your story to Lisa at

Lisa Steuer

Lisa Steuer is the managing editor of FitnessRx for Women magazine. E-mail Lisa at