Author Archive | Shannon Vonkaenel

Something Clicked……

Another amazing week!  It started off a little rough though…

I typically workout on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  Rarely do I workout more than 3 times per week unless I miss a day, then I will make it up by doing 4 days the next week.  This schedule works really well for my busy family and our wallet :)   This week however, I needed to take Dalton to soccer practice on Tuesday, so Dalton and I opted to do the 5:00 yoga class, then go to his practice.  Let me start by saying this…Dalton is a 15 year old boy who is built like a brick house and has a mohawk that varies in color.  It is pretty awesome and entertaining watching him do yoga.  Let me also say that I have nothing against yoga – it is damn hard and the people that are able to do it are strong and amazing.  I hate yoga!  It’s terrible to say it, I know, but seriously, I really do not enjoy doing yoga in any way.  Even though I was sweating like crazy and way sore the next day, I still felt like I didn’t work hard.  I did work hard, but I felt like I missed a day of working out.  Other than feeling guilty for “not working hard enough”, I have been stuck for the past month – at least in my 41 year old messed up head I have been stuck…on the scale….DAMN THE SCALE!!!!  I weigh myself everyday.  It really helps me understand my body and how it works.  90% of the time, this works great for me and doesn’t get me down when the number goes up by 1 or 2 pounds because I know in the next day or two, it will be back down.  This week I have been frustrated at the frozen number on the scale and I start blaming myself.  I have to be honest, in the past month or so, money has been really tight and eating “clean” has not been happening as often as I would like it to.  Pasta and processed foods have been sneaking their way back into my kitchen because that’s what’s in my pantry right now.  If I had planned a little better, I still could have eaten better, but lack of planning leads to eating whatever you can throw together.  Having 2 teenage boys in the house does not help either….

So on Thursday morning, I step on the scale….still 222…What the fuck!!!!!!!  I am already crabby and tired due to the hockey game Wednesday night when the damn Blackhawks beat my Boston Bruins in triple overtime, this just makes it worse.  Even worse is the class full of 2 year olds that I have to face for the next 8 hours and then the WOD that night that includes damn pullups which I STILL cannot do, even with a band!  Grrrrrrr!

I make it through the day without abusing any children and head home to change for Crossfit.  This is our WOD:

“Suns Out, Guns Out”

20min to do 10 Snatches @ 70-90% of 1RM. Utilize the time to use CORRECT AND PERFECT form.


3 rounds for total working time of:

32 Alternating Split Jumps

16 KB Snatches (1.5p/1p)(8/arm any order)

12 Pullups

I have only done snatches twice prior.  My first time doing them, my one rep max was 70# and the 2nd time I don’t remember…

I started light (35#) to warmup and just kept adding weight.  I settled on 80# after failing at 90#.  I got through my 10 using good form, throwing in a couple of squat snatches at the end, just to try.  With about 8 minutes left I look up at the leader board and see Lynn leads the women’s snatch PR at a massive amount of weight (I forget what it is cause she PR’d again at 135#!!!!!  Holy shit!), then it was Gretchen at 105# (I think) and then I saw Maggie’s name up there!  Maggie – I didn’t know you were on the leader board girl!  Damn – nice!

Being a little competitive, I thought, “Well, shit, now I have to try 90#!”  I threw 10# on the bar to try it again.  First try….FAIL.  Heidi, our trainer is watching and tells me right away that I started too slow – I failed from the start.  Explode!   I set myself up again…explode…explode…the bar is at my eye level as I muscle it above my head to complete the 90# snatch.  What a feeling!

Crap, I still have 3 rounds of hell to complete.  Luckily, I am on a high from my PR that I am ready!  After figuring out the rhythm of the alternating split jumps, I felt like a rockstar!  Actually, I felt like Dalton, my brickhouse of a 15 year old.  I decide to RX the kettlebell weight at 1 pood and then the pullups….

Lately, I have given up on pullups and just been doing ring rows.  Tonight, I decide, nope, I will do the damn black band pullups if it kills me!  It’s only 3 rounds, I can do it…AND I DID!  It took me more than 14 minutes, but I did 36 pullups along with everything else in the WOD!  They were damn hard and I was exhausted, but it was done.

I was already feeling pretty awesome, but felt even better when I get this message from Paul:

“honestly it’s really cool seeing how hard you work, you are one tough SOB”

Validation.  It’s amazing how someone validating that you worked hard at something, can make such an impact.  Paul doesn’t know this, but this one comment made me stronger and lead me to today’s WOD – Nicole.  Pull ups again….and running…..

Oddly enough, I wasn’t dreading this one.  It’s a 20 minute AMRAP so I will just do what I can…

We start with a 400m run and jump on our pullup bars.  On Thursday, I had been watching my husband as he did his pullups with a blue band because he looked damn good doing them…he has a nice rhythm and looks strong when he does them…I made some mental notes….

First round…black band – 7 pullups straight through..hang for a couple of seconds…4 more pullups….drop….run again…ugh!….

Second round….black band – 8 pullups straight through and my chin is well above the bar!  3 more to get to 11.  WTF?  IT CLICKED!!!!  I FIGURED OUT HOW TO DO A FUCKING PULL UP!!!!!!!  I am so euphoric, I just want to get through the run so I can come do some more pullups!  I finish the 20 minute AMRAP with 11 pullups in all 4 rounds.  Still feeling euphoric, I take a black and a green band to the other side of the gym while Dalton does his teens class…I start with the green band and do 3 pull ups pretty effortlessly!  OMG  No turning back now!  I borrow a green band to take home so I can feed this new addiction called pull ups…my hands are screwed….

It’s shocking to me what a rollercoaster ride this is.  I feel like I am constantly battling the emotions and head games that strive to make me fail.  This is the first time I am documenting this battle, so I feel like I am repeating myself all of the time with the struggles that I face.  I feel like they are happening more often than ever before, but I have come to realize, that I have been battling this my entire life and just haven’t been aware of the emotions and head games.  By writing this down every week, it is making me accountable and aware of not only my body, but my head.  It’s truly amazing and enlightening.  I highly suggest to anyone struggling with fat loss and getting healthy to put your successes and failures out there for the world to see.  Hundreds of people know that I weigh 222 pounds and my body fat percentage is 43% (I think that’s what is was).  Hundreds know that I have struggled with my weight all of my life and have been desperate enough to re-route my digestive tract with gastric bypass surgery only to fail again.  The fact that hundreds of people know this about me has allowed me to begin to become the person I am supposed to be.  I am not there yet, but I know, without a doubt, I have hundreds of people supporting me and cheering me on because I put it all out there.

Recipe tomorrow….pork chili?????

AMAZING Salmon Burgers with Sweet Potato Kabobs



Shannon is Eat To Perform’s resident food blogger.  When you buy Metabolic Flexibility for Fat Loss, you gain access to the Science Lab private forum, webinars, and a collection of dozens of recipes like this one as well as help with planning your daily meals.    

After the last week of awesomeness, I figured I need to get a new recipe out there.  I need to start by saying that the support I have received from everyone, ETP members, friends, family, etc. has been AWESOME!  I never thought my story would serve as motivation for anyone.  Obviously, Paul saw something more than I saw in myself.   It is humbling and motivating for me to know that my story can touch so many people and I can’t wait to continue this journey I have begun.

I grew up on the East Coast, where fresh seafood was in abundance.  I remember “clam bakes” with my Dad’s family where there would be pots full of clams and lobster.  Oh, how I miss that!  Being in Minnesota, I just have to make due with what I have…store bought seafood  and fish from the grocery store….meh!

Salmon is a pretty good choice here in the Midwest.  You can usually get a pretty good piece of salmon that’s somewhat fresh….(at least that’s what I tell myself)

My first idea was to soak some cedar planks and grill my salmon with some basic seasoning, but it was raining most of the day here, so I thought I would create some salmon burgers to sear in a pan instead.  Typically, salmon burgers need some mayo and breadcrumbs to help bind them.  Not these ones!  Instead of mayo, I used coarse ground mustard and some almond meal instead of breadcrumbs.  They turned out delicious!

As for the sweet potatoes….how have I not thought of this sooner?  Skewered sweet potatoes on the grill?  Brilliant!  So simple too!

Here are the recipes!

Salmon Burgers with Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce


  • 2 pounds of salmon
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tbsp of course ground mustard
  • 2 tbsp almond meal
  • salt and pepper to taste

Remove the skin from your salmon and put the meat into a food processor.  Pulse a couple of times for 10 seconds – until the salmon is broken up, but not totally ground.  In a separate bowl, mix the salmon with the remaining ingredients, being careful not to overmix.  Form the mixture into 6 patties and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Place the salmon patties in the pan and let cook for 4-5 minutes.  Flip and continue to cook another 4 minutes.  Remove from heat, top with a dollop of lemon dill yogurt sauce and enjoy on some bibb lettuce or a bun – whichever you prefer.

Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce


  • 1 6-8 oz container of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 of a lemon’s juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • salt to taste

Mix all of the ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Sweet Potato Kabobs


  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Wooden skewers

Heat your grill to medium heat.  Coat the sweet potato cubes in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Skewer the potatoes onto the wooden skewers.  Place the skewers on the grill and cook for around 5-10 minutes per side.  Remove when the potatoes are tender in the middle.

A Kick-Ass Week Ends With an OMG Moment…

6monthbefore&after copy2

Click the link to enlarge the image

Note From Paul:  As I have mentioned before I don’t work with anyone.  I teach them to teach themselves   The one thing I taught Shannon was the same thing I teach all of the people in the Extreme Fat Loss class.  Don’t lower calories too low.  You have to keep enough energy to crush WOD’s and improve.  

This picture is pretty astonishing and one thing that seems obvious is that Shannon is on the right path this time.  Too often people with a lot of fat to lose get too aggressive and crush themselves in the gym.  This whole time Shannon has been eating at a slight deficit, mostly whole foods but enough to sustain her energy levels.  In Met Flex for Extreme Fat Loss we teach you to fuel your workouts with carbs, for clients with a lot of fat to lose I like those carbs to be whole foods.  Shannon averages roughly 2,500 calories and as you can see her progress is going great.  

Every Monday night we have a seminar for our members with a good amount of fat to lose.  You can attend these free when you purchase the book using the link above.

This is Shannon Talking Now

Ever since I did Murph, I feel like my body has never recovered.  It’s not a bad feeling; it’s actually pretty awesome.  My body has been more sore than it was during month 4 and 5 and I think it’s because I am pushing myself a little harder.  I wasn’t aware that I was pushing myself harder, but my body is telling me that I am.

This past week has been a pretty awesome one.  On Tuesday of this week, I RX’d a the weight in a WOD that I really did not plan on.  We had to do 40 lunges at 65#, 30 at 75#, 20 at 95# and 10 at 115# (with the same amount of toes to bar in between).  I warmed up with the 65# and thought, “No way in Hell can I RX this!” until my “friend” Jill said very matter of factly, “I didn’t think I could do it either…you can do it!”.  30 minutes or so later I was pushing through those last 10 lunges at 115#.  Never in my wildest dreams….

Thursday’s WOD was equally surprising for me.  Fat Grace….  Fat Grace is pretty much Grace, but lifting your body weight.  Well…..I currently weigh 220 pounds and although I may be strong, I am not THAT strong.  Hell, most of the men in my box couldn’t power snatch my body weight.  What to do, what to do?  Just do Grace?  I had never done it before, so it would be a good time to try it…NAH!!!!  Let’s up it to 105# and see what I can do.

My plan was to do 5/minute at least for the first 10 and then see what happens.  I really didn’t think I would be able to keep up that pace, but you’ve gotta start somewhere, right?  My expectation for this WOD was to hopefully finish before 10 minutes….

I completed my first 10 lifts, looked at the clock…1:59…Holy Shit!  Can’t stop now!  The next 10 took about 3 minutes and those last 10 were completed as the clock read 7:24.   I had to really think back and double check that I really did do 30 reps…Yep!  30 reps…..

My week of WODS finished up today as we did Barbara at my box.  Really?  5 rounds of basically the mid section of Murph (except let’s add in some sit-ups too)?  I was so ready to cancel my reservation, but my husband showed no signs of cancelling, so I knew I was in for it….  My plan was to do 3 rounds.  I can get through 3 rounds.  I just didn’t want to be the last one finishing…again…

There is no shame in finishing last, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes, it gets tiresome when the elite and some not so elite athletes are huddled around you cheering you on.  While they are helping me push myself to finish so they can go away – you just wish they’d go away and leave you to your misery.  Today, Craig, our box’s Chuck Norris, walked by a few times cheering me on, and I thought, “You are lucky you are so adorable, cause I really want to kill you!”

I wouldn’t change it for the world though.  These elite Crossfitters give me something to work towards…one day, I will be that person that the person finishing last hates and loves all at the same time.

Anyways…back to Barbara…I finished all 5 rounds…45 minutes!  Woo hoo!!

Feeling so great about myself given my last week of WODS, I had my husband take a picture so I could compare it to my original.  That is what you see above.  While I am no where near where I want to be, it amazes me to see the difference in my face and body.  Damn, I was fat!

This is not my first drastic before and after.  About 10 years ago I weighed 295 pounds.  I was desperate and so unhappy and ashamed that I had allowed my body to get to that point.  My entire family, including me, was very active in Tae Kwon Do.  I loved it and was pretty good at it.  Unfortunately, my body could not do what I wanted it to do because of my weight.  Hell, sitting on the floor with my legs crossed was torture!

In November of 2003, I had gastric bypass surgery.  I came through the surgery with ease and was back to work within a week.  I stepped on the scale every day and was losing weight…every day!  It was incredible!  I tested for my black belt in Tae Kwon Do about 3 weeks after my surgery and felt amazing.  After all was said and done, I lost 150 pounds.  I got down to 150 pounds and looked pretty fantastic!  I was lifting weights at our gym and exercising – getting all sorts of attention too!

That all lasted about 3-4 years and then life happened….again.  I gained 100 pounds back and was terrified that I wouldn’t lose it again.  I tried several times, lost 10 pounds, gained it back, lost 10 pounds, gained it back…vicious vicious cycle….

Here I am today.  The before and after above may not be as dramatic as my 6 month before and after from my surgery, but it is far more gratifying!  I know that I will end up looking better than I did at 150 pounds, but the journey to get there is so much more rewarding than that journey I took after my surgery.  I know a lot of people reading this have struggled with their weight, just like me.  You need to keep going…don’t give up on yourself…you are worth the work and you will be so proud of yourself when you reach each tiny goal you have set.

Sorry no recipe today…BUT I have some delicious ingredients in my refrigerator for tomorrrow…..salmon burgers are on the menu for tomorrow!

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