fitness for life

Shawn Besabella on why he lost patience for anything that doesn’t create happiness

This post is part of a series of Queerty interviews with models, trainers, dancers, and, well, people who inspire us to stay in shape–0r just sit on the couch ogling them instead. 
Name: Shawn Besabella, 30 (@Shawnbesabella)

Home City: San Francisco

Occupation: Last August 2018, I actually quit my job to work in fitness as a personal trainer and group instructor full time. I spent nearly 10 years in the online marketing and advertising industry, and after almost 10 years of being miserable, I decided to change my life and pursue a practice that makes me help and fulfills my morals.

There’s a big misconception that those that quit their job to pursue their passion are “living the dream” and not working hard. While I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, I hustle and work ten times harder than I ever have compared to my past corporate life. The biggest difference is that I’m able to go to sleep every night knowing that even through all the struggle, I’m living my best life.

Favorite Gym: My top 2 gyms are of course the places where I teach: Move-sf and The Assembly. I program all my workouts with everyone of all ages and levels of athleticism in mind. My biggest goal is to give all my clients the opportunity to move their body. Both gyms also foster great environments to build relationships with others that prioritize their health and wellness.

Favorite exercise playlist: My tastes vary depending on the types of exercises I have planned for the day:

  • Circuit/ Met-Con Workouts: I love listening to big, EDM-pop songs that have huge build-ups and drops, to help me push hard over smaller increments of time e.g. Calvin Harris and Deorro.
  • Slow / Heavy Bodybuilding Workouts: I love listening to slow-ish R&B songs to help me maintain my slow pace e.g. H.E.R. and Kehlani.
  • Running: I love listening to podcasts or audiobooks to help keep my brain off the fact that I’m running for miles e.g. ‘Bad Blood’ by John Carreyrou or ‘On Purpose’ with Jay Shetty.
  • Yoga / Stretching: I love listening to instrumental beats with no lyrics to help me get lost in my own flow e.g. Ukiyo and Nujabes.

Every month I drop my favorite tracks into a playlist that you can follow on Spotify: SHAWN B. | Sweatlist

What’s the best food to eat prior to a workout? At least 1-2 hours before a workout I love to eat at least 1 banana (maybe 1 1/2 or a full 2 depending on how strenuous and long the workout is ahead of me). Bananas are a great source of carbs (reminder: carbs are not bad for you), fiber, and sugars that are all necessary to help fuel your brain while blood pumps furiously through your body when working out. Every day, I carry at least 1 to 2 extra bananas in my gym bag to snack on before and after working out.

Favorite Workout Outfit: My workout fit vibes tend to match my mood. When I teach classes I like my looks to be loud and colorful, and then sometimes when I know I want a solid workout for myself I’ll go straight business and wear all black.

There are 4 things that are constants for me in every outfit:

  • Socks: My all-time favorite socks are still the Nike Dri-FIT Cushioned Crew socks because they grip my feet well, contrast well with my skin tone, highlight my calves, and most importantly each sock is labeled accordingly for my feet (crucial when sorting through laundry).
  • Underwear: Jumping around, up, down, and side to side, are some of my favorite things to do, so it’s important I make sure everything stays in place. I always reach for Nike Pro compressions shorts or Nike Pro compression 3/4 tights because they help me feel locked in and are a great look undershorts.
  • Shorts: Two years after discovering them, I’m still loving on the Rhone Guru Short Unlined, because they are the perfect weight for every workout and have a strong waistband us men with a bigger booty. They also transition well for a casual look outside the gym.
  • Tops: Whether I rock a tank top or short sleeve shirt, one thing is for sure, I will always tuck it into my shorts. When I train, I want to make sure I’m distracted as little as possible with my body. Right now, my favorite tank top (5 years strong) is still the Nike Dri-Fit Miler, and then my newly discovered favorite short sleeve shirt is the Lululemon Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeve gifted to me by my friends at Lululemon San Francisco. They both fit firmly in the chest and have enough room around the torso so I can breathe easy.

How do you balance staying in shape and having fun? For me, the process of staying in shape always has to be fun. If I’m not having fun with whatever I’m doing, whether it be training or not, then I’m not going to participate. I simply no longer have the patience to invest time in things that don’t contribute to my happiness.  Don’t stick to one single boutique studio or one single style of workout. It’ll help maintain your interest by mixing up your routine. Try adding in some yoga sessions, spin classes, and most importantly planning in proper rest and active rest days into your weekly plans.

What’s a basic, if useful, work out tip you can offer? Chug a full liter of water immediately after waking up and then 1/2 a liter before bed. Proper hydration is key to a regular digestive system (always regular, never basic) for weight-loss, proper rest, and your body’s natural cooling system while you push yourself to the limit in your workouts.

What do you keep on your nightstand? Only three things are allowed on my nightstand:

  • Lamp: Necessary for those late nights when I wake up to go to the bathroom.
  • Diffuser: While I prepare for bed and while I sleep, I love the scent of peppermint essential oils. It helps keep nasal passages open as I rest and is incredibly calming after my long days of training clients and teaching classes.
  • Water: Before I go to sleep, I make myself chug at least half a liter of water to help make sure my body stays hydrated through the night. People tend to forget that while you’re sleeping, your body is fasting and is going without calorie intake for an extended period of time, so it’s key that you maintain hydration even while you sleep.
  • Shawn B. Tip: Do NOT charge your phone on your nightstand. Set your alarms, turn on Do Not Disturb, and charge your phone on the other side of your bedroom (or in a completely different room if you happen to have a separate alarm clock in your bedroom). Proper sleep is important if you’re looking to make gains in your fitness. That bright screen blinding your eyes as you lie in your bed will train your brain to stay stimulated as you life flat on your back. The only 2 things you should do in bed are sleep and have sex!

Bonus pics, because we care:

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#DRIPDRIP ?? | Balance and coordination are important when making moves both in and out of the gym. Sometimes though balance isn’t about making equal parts. Make more time for the stuff that makes you happy to drown out all that other noise passing through your day.?? ? ?? REVERSE LUNGE + ROW: Switch up the stance on a classic move to build other parts of your body in one move. 1?? Stand upright with a dumbbell held in your right hand. 2?? Lunge backward with your right leg. Maintain a strong back leg, activate your core, tilt your chest slightly forward, and then lean your left forearm on your knee for extra support. 3?? Pulling from your back row the weight up powerfully and then slowly release it down for 1 rep. 4?? Repeat the move for 10 reps in total and then switch legs. 5?? Repeat the circuit for 3 rounds in total. ? ?? SHAWN B.'s ADVICE: Make sure you keep your shoulders and hips square to protect your back through the movement. Don’t be afraid to drop to a knee with your back leg to continue to row if you begin to fatigue. ? ? @korupt_sam ? #shawnblife #vegan #veganfit #vegansofig #instavegan #veganfam #fit #fitspo #fitnessgoals #fitfam #gymlife #workout #gains #workoutcircuit #weightlifting #backday #legday #fullbodyworkout

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