Time to get fit to the core! Everyone wants a six-pack like IFBB Bikini pro Shannah Baker, as it tells the world you mean business when it comes to your fitness program. But what’s the best way to get there? Of course, diet is of most importance, but if you really want to reveal those abs, you need to change up your routine and try some different exercises and combinations to build strength. Shannah has a “Fit to the Core” workout and exclusive tips that she is going to share with us this week, but before we start building a strong and sexy core, let’s get to know this Australia native as Shannah talks about motivation, her best tips for working the core and more!
FITRX: How did you get into fitness?
SHANNAH: My husband was the reason I first joined the gym! I got into fitness seriously after I decided to compete in April 2014. Before that I had been going to the gym for a couple of years, but I guess I really had no idea what I was doing then [laughing].
FITRX: Were you active when you were growing up?
SHANNAH: I was active my whole childhood. I grew up riding horses, bikes, playing basketball and was always outdoors!
FITRX: Why did you decide to start competing?
SHANNAH: Initially, I wanted to challenge myself! I liked the way the girls looked in IFBB and as I had already started in the gym, I had found an interest in it. I had a modeling background, so it really caught my eye, and after watching Olympia 2013 IFBB Bikini pros, that was all the motivation I needed! So I went for it!
FITRX: Why do you enjoy fitness so much?
SHANNAH: I love the way it makes me feel. I have so much energy; I’m happier and a more positive person than I used to be before I found fitness. I feel so free and in the zone when I am working out, like my own little world. I feel strong and just good overall! The instant relief when I get to the gym and start training is kind of indescribable, but ‘m sure other people who train will understand!
I have made SO many friends from all over the world and get to travel often to expos and network with a lot of people, which I really enjoy! I love meeting new people! The fitness industry has opened a lot of doors for me and I am absolutely grateful for that. I also think that fitness teaches you so many things, from self-love, to discipline, how to stick to a plan, goal setting, time management, nutrition— to name a few.
FITRX: What is your weekly training schedule like?
SHANNAH: I train and do cardio six days a week. My splits are usually: back and biceps, shoulders and triceps, glutes and hamstrings. I will add in abs and also plyos.
FITRX: Was it hard for you get build your six-pack, or was that an area that developed more easily for you?
SHANNAH: I can’t say that I “had to start from scratch” as I believe a background in horse riding helped me maintain a strong core. I do, however, find it fascinating how you can change the look of your abs due to how you train them. I used to train a lot of obliques, which made my waist quite thick, so I try to avoid a lot of oblique work now.
FITRX: How important is diet to getting a six-pack?
SHANNAH: There are no shortcuts. But in terms of how important, I say, extremely. Sure, you don’t have to be on a competitor’s diet, but how you eat is definitely going to be the indicator of how much of your abs you see! Also make sure you are getting the correct amount of water in daily!
FITRX: What is your diet like, and what are some staples of your diet?
SHANNAH: For me my staples are eggs, egg whites, white fish, chicken and turkey mince; lots of veggies, mostly greens; occasionally salads and fruits; carbs such as pumpkin, brown rice, basmati rice and oats; fats: avocado, egg yolks, nuts, oils. I stick to a very basic diet and that works for me!
FITRX: What’s your favorite cheat meal and how often do you have it?
SHANNAH: I’d have to say pizza or sushi! Depending on how close I am to a show, I usually have a great cheat meal once a week.
FITRX: Do you have a life motto that you live by?
SHANNAH: “If you never ask, you’ll never know.”
FITRX: What’s your advice for women who want to get in shape like you?
SHANNAH: Have a clear vision of your goal and why you want to get there. Goal set. It’s not an easy road, but it’s so worth it! Fitness has changed my life.
FITRX: What do you like to do for fun outside of fitness?
SHANNAH: I like to get outdoors as much as possible. My husband and I love to travel whenever we get the chance! I enjoy outings on the Jet Ski, going to the beach, going on the motorbike, hiking, little adventurous drives, etc.
FITRX: How do you stay motivated?
SHANNAH: I think looking back on old pictures for me is a big one! Especially lately, just seeing how your body keeps changing and changing. Being at a show like, “I am at my absolute best right now” and thinking there is no way you’re going to be able to beat your last package, but then you do! I also look up to a lot of women in the fitness industry who inspire me, day in and day out, and watching their journeys helps motivate me on the road to my goals! And to the ladies I share my fitness journey with on social media. I get some of the most lovely and heartfelt messages from women all over the world— how I have helped or inspired them in some way— which always feels so surreal to me! But I am so grateful to have that opportunity to reach out to so many people.
FITRX: What accomplishment are you most proud of thus far?
SHANNAH: I think I am most proud of my dedication overall. But a moment that has changed my life and outlook on the fitness industry is when I stepped onstage at the Arnold Classic Australia for my pro debut in March 2017— it was just such an AMAZING weekend. I met so many great people and I was so proud to be up there representing Australia as a pro! I still can’t believe it. I know my husband is extremely proud, and I know my Nana would be, too!
Song: “Mi Gente” by J Balvin [for the moment]
Quote: “Stay true in the dark and humble in the spotlight.”
Accomplishments: 2016 IFBB Australian Overall Champion and pro card winner; competing as a IFBB Bikini pro; Oxygen magazine cover girl, July/August 2017.
Recipes: Homemade pizza or pumpkin lasagna
Shannah Baker’s Pumpkin Lasagna
1 or 2 butternut squash/pumpkins*
Loose spinach leaves (small bag)
Turkey mince (500-600 grams)
Spring onion (2-3 stalks)
Sliced mushrooms (200-250 grams)
Pasta sauce (500-gram jar)
Feta cheese or other cheese, added to desired taste.
Shannah says: “You only need a light sprinkle so it doesn’t become overwhelming; 20-30 grams sprinkled on each layer.” Shannah uses goat milk feta cheese from Australia
*Amount depends on the size of your cooking dish. Shannah uses a glass loaf dish that measures 5.25 x 9 x 2.75 inches – 1.5 quart
White Sauce Topping
Rice milk (or regular milk)
1. Cut pumpkin into slices (these will act as your “lasagna” sheets) and cook in oven until soft. Bring out and sit aside.
2. Combine mushrooms and onion in a pan, cook until soft, add turkey mince and cook until almost done. Add sauce, let simmer until fully cooked and set aside.
3. Line baking dish with olive oil or coconut spray and begin to layer pumpkin as bottom sheet.
4. Add turkey mince on top, sprinkle with cheese and add a thin layer of spinach to cover. Add another layer of pumpkin and repeat steps (pumpkin, turkey, feta, spinach) until dish is full. Top layer should ideally end up being a layer of pumpkin— add one more sprinkle of goat milk feta and add sauce.
5. Place dish back in the oven to slightly brown the top.
Makes four servings. Shannah suggests serving with a side salad.
Questions? Feel free to inbox Shannah on Instagram @shannahbaker
Shannah’s Supplement Stack
White Lightning® for energy and fat burn: before cardio
Mesomorph® – pre-workout
Chain’d Reaction™ BCAA – intra-workout and post-workout muscle recovery.
L-Glutamine – recovery
Carnisport® – morning/nighttime fat burner non-stimulant
All supplements are from APS Nutrition
Keep Up With Shannah
Look for Shannah’s “Fit to the Core” workout on Friday and learn how to get strong, flat, sexy abs!