On Finding Strength in the Face of Adversity

How Losing Both of Her Parents Due to Health-Related Causes Sparked One Woman’s Fitness Revolution

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Shevanne Robinson, Personal Trainer and Founder of Body By Shev

Work, school, home, family, friends, extra-curricular activities, exams, bills, meetings galore, appointments…

Yea, you get the point. As a society, we are much too busy. Many of us pride ourselves on our ‘busyness’, and tend to attribute our doing the most to F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out)—whether that be related to missing out on potential career opportunities, learning experiences or would-be connections that may lead us one step ahead.

To make matters worse, most of us now place more value on career, education and technology (social media!) than our health and overall well-being. And, if there’s anyone who can attest to the necessity to prioritize one’s health over
other happenings, it’s Toronto-born, NYC-based fitness coach, Shevanne ‘Shev’
Robinson. At young age, athleticism became part and parcel of Shev’s life. Sports and
exercise had become a central part of her identity and daily repertoire, so much
so that when Shev’s mother suffered a stroke when she was a mere 11 years old,
then another stroke when she was 17, Shev stepped up to the plate to play an
integral role in caring for and offering nutrition tips to her ailing mother—in hopes
of witnessing her achieve a full-fledged recovery. Unfortunately, an all too
familiar tale reared its ugly head, when in November of 2011, Shev’s mother
succumbed to yet a third stroke.

To add insult to injury and as fate would have it: Just one month after her
mother’s passing, Shev’s father also suffered a similar fate, when he died of
cancer; his untimely death occurred after having spent time in palliative care.
During our phone conversation, Shev shared with me her thoughts on the Black
diaspora, in that the foods we eat tend to be starch-rich, accompanied by thick
stews that are sometimes full of saturated and/or trans fats, and thus, lead us to
develop such conditions as diabetes and hypertension at alarming rates.

Our diets, as coupled with our prioritizing work, school and everything under the sun,
besides our health is: a “combination for self-destruction,” in Shev’s words.
And, while Shev may have gone through the motions as far as the loss of her
parents is concerned, their passing has played an indelible role—a catalyst, if you
will—for the expansion of the Body by Shev (formerly ‘Preserve Your Sexy’)
movement. Having launched in 2010, Body by Shev was definitely an extension of
who the fitness enthusiast is by nature. In Shev’s eyes, fitness is about more than
fun and aesthetics; it’s a lifestyle.

The thought alone of realizing that, perhaps, the loss of her parents might have
been preventable—if only through health education and resources—has given
Shev a true sense of purpose. Shev believes that she holds the responsibility of
educating the masses and encouraging people to “get stuck on fitness.”

Over the years, Shev’s journey has really been one of self-care, self-love, personal
development and health promotion. And, out of her evolution as a woman came
the birth of a well-seasoned entrepreneur, who owns and operates her own
business that offers fitness training to a broad base of clients. Included in her
roster of services are health and fitness-focused regime programs such as
Dynamic Functional Strength Training, Weight Loss and Nutrition, Healthy Weight
Gain, Online Training, along with healthy eating and snack tips.

Today, even as a successful, self-made businesswoman, Shev believes, “no
amount of money is greater than your health”, and implores the masses to:
“Invest in your health.” Shev also offers that if the cost associated with buying
healthy menu items from popular health food stores like Whole Foods Market is
cause for concern, one can always opt to shop at lower-cost food stores such as
Trader Joe’s. When the will is there, one will always make a way.

But, in the age of Instagram and photo filters, we get so caught up in the illusion
of beauty, without pausing to reflect upon what might be going on with someone
internally. Because truth be told: Health and fitness are about more than simply
looking like eye candy; they’re about looking great on the outside, while feeling
great on the inside.

As a follower of Shev’s Instragram page for quite some time now, I can testify that
Shev is the real deal and that her workout regimen is valuable, consistent and
never misses a beat. So, don’t sleep on the movement. Go check out Body by
Shev on various social media platforms, as well as her very own website:, where the slogan is, “working out is a lifestyle, not a
hobby”. Get ‘fit-spired’ to join in on Shev’s fun and fit healthy lifestyle revolution

Check out an extension of my interview featuring Shev (below):

What does walking in your purpose uniquely look like to you?

Walking in your purpose uniquely means walking on the right path in your journey
of life. You will truly understand your purpose when you can wake up in the
morning to do what you love without hesitation. In life, I believe people start
living when they find their purpose. Until that point, we are all just going through
the motions of life. Some people never get the chance to ever walk in their
purpose, and those are the people that never truly live.

How would you recommend non-active people begin their respective fitness

I always recommend that non-active people start with an activity they love. Never
throw yourself into something you hate. If you hate training in the gym, why
would you start there? Fitness isn’t exclusive to working out in any gym. Try a
dance class, ride your bike along the river side, or join a local sport you love to

Can you lend some tips and pointers on cost-effective ways to eat healthfully?

I always tell people the first step to eating right is not eating out. When you don’t
prepare your food, you have no control over how it’s prepared or the quality of
food you are consuming. Meal prep for the week and brown bag it. You will save
money, actually think about what kind of food you are eating, and you can
portion out your servings for the week. Also, support your local farmer’s market. It’s often cheaper than any grocery store, and the quality of products is better. Include at least one serving of vegetables to every meal, and you are on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

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