Become Ship Shape with The Biggest Loser's Shannan Ponton on a Carnival Cruise

4 March 2014

Prior to stepping on board a Carnival Cruise ship, Australia’s Biggest Loser trainer Shannan Ponton was apprehensive.

“It started as a job. The instructions I gave to my manager were, ‘Get me on and get me straight off!’ Heading to the ship orientation I was imagining the Love Boat. How wrong could I have been? Ten minutes into the tour I was again on the phone to my wife and manager with new instructions, ‘Keep me on here as long as possible’,” said Shannan.

“There’s a fully equipped gym, spin and yoga studio, countless pools and restaurants, kids club for my son and some of the best bars I’ve ever seen. A family-friendly holiday with healthy options everywhere and perfect places for a beer or three. My favourite activity was the Green Thunder – it’s the fastest water-slide at sea. The freaking thing goes over the side of the boat. A real adrenaline fix. Can’t wait for another hit.”

 Shannan on the Carnival Spirit

Now a cruise convert, Shannan is determined to encourage travellers to not only enjoy everything about cruising, but to maintain health and fitness while onboard. Swapping the Biggest Loser house for a cruise ship, the popular trainer wants all holiday-makers to be ship shape as a Carnival Cruise Lines ambassador.

“There’s a synergy that exists between our brands. I’m not a fitness freak. I love training hard, eating well… most of the time, but I also spend plenty of fun time with my family and relax with a beer and a sing along in the evening. It’s all about balance and I believe that’s the ‘Carnival Difference’. There are options for any type of holiday that you desire. I’m simply offering a healthy, fun alternative to the traditional “punish the buffet” mentality. That said if you want to ‘smash up’ each sitting, I’ll happily sit, eat and chat with you judgement free. It’s your holiday so enjoy,” he said.

Jennifer Vandekreeke, VP of Carnival Cruise Lines Australia is thrilled that Shannan has taken on this challenge that will be available to guests sailing on Carnival Spirit from March 21, 2014 and on Carnival Legend when she arrives in Australia in September 2014.

“We are extremely excited to have Shannan on board as our first-ever Australian ambassador. His vibrant, enthusiastic personality is infectious and mirrors who we are at Carnival Cruise Lines. We’re thrilled to be able to offer guests sailing on board Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend access to a number of world class experiences either developed, or hand selected, by Shannan himself,” said Jennifer.

 Shannan on the Carnival Spirit

Shannan is using his 20 years experience in the health and fitness industry to develop special group workouts that he will teach to the Carnival Cruise Lines trainers. He will also design ‘do-it-yourself’ gym programs for travellers who prefer a solo workout. Shannan’s suggestions will complement the daily trips and activities offered on board.

So what are some ways you can stay healthy while cruising? Here are Shannan’s tips.

1) Take the stairs, instead of the lifts.
2) Have a crack at one of my specially designed cruise ship workouts.
3) Try a spin, yoga or abs class.
4) Get up onto our wonderful deck top running track, outdoor multi-purpose court or just have a family game of putt putt. There are activities for every age, shape and fitness level, you just need to bring the ‘can do’ attitude
5) Stay well hydrated - that includes water.

But it’s not just about being active – healthy eating is also important.

“Too many people see the opportunity of ‘all day dining’ (and fine dining at that) as an opportunity to re-live their childhoods and gorge themselves. Unfortunately this will create immediate negative health effects. I’m a big fan of trying all sorts of foods but over indulging for the no reason... not so much. I just think back to series 7 of Biggest Loser when I had to eat what my family of contestants ate for just ONE week. I put on 6.8 kg in five days and 8.6kg in seven days. So I’m speaking from experience,” he said.

“I encourage cruisers to choose from the Shannan approved menu options. I’ve worked closely with nutritionists and the ship’s chefs to develop a delicious menu that’s good for you. We’ve done all the hard work, guests just need to make their personal choice. I’m not totally heartless, it’s a holiday and the decadent desserts in Nouveau are WELL worth an extra half an hour in the gym!”

Check out what Shannan did on board his cruise

Lyndon Barnett

Guided by curiosity and a sense of adventure, Lyndon travelled independently to 69 countries on six continents. As such, travel is Lyndon's only addiction. He enjoys with equal measure - scaling the peaks of a South American mountain at altitude, attending opera in a European Opera House or hunting for a bargain in an Asian market.