SPOTLIGHT SERIES- JULIA SHELLEY | Status Fitness Magazine Official Website


| Posted by Ali Sohrab | comments
email this article and share with friends!


FITNESS MODEL: Julia Shelley 

Occupation: I am a Corporate Flight Attendant, Loadmaster, and Cabin Safety Trainer contracted to different humanitarian aid organizations around Africa and Afghanistan.  

Fitness Goals: Ive had this goal for a long time now of completing what I call my Travel Fit List. Its this list I made up of all the cool marathons, hikes, mountains to climb, and fitness competitions around the world that Id like to do.  The ultimate goal is to accomplish at least one fitness challenge on every continent and keep pushing myself to find new challenges along the way.  

Training Plan: My training plans changes quite often depending on specific goals throughout the year. For the past year it has been mainly competition preps so 5 weight sessions (3 lower body and 2 upper body) plus 5 cardio sessions per week.  I try mixing my cardio up between HIIT, sprints, and one long run (8-10KM) each week.  When Im home (or off from my work routine in Africa) Ill usually add Bikram Yoga into the mix as well.  

Thoughts on HIIT, Power Lifting, TRX, Yoga, Crossfit and Bodybuilding? I would never knock any type of training. In general, I think people will have more success in their training if they are doing something they love. If it gets them active and theyre sticking to it then theyll have a much better result than a routine they arent excited about. Youve got to do what excites you to get results. If you are a highly motivated individual than take turns trying different things. There are always races, retreats, meets, competitions and shows out there.  Pick one to focus your energy on and sign up before you can talk yourself out of it. The biggest battle is committing to something or getting yourself in the gym. Once youre there, youre there -may as well do it! 

When it comes to my own training I always push myself to be a multi-faceted athlete. It shocks my system when I dont let my body get too used to any one thing.  I think the only constant in my training over the years is HIIT. Its hard not to keep going back to something that gives me the best results every time. If my body starts getting used to it, I just switch the exercises or timing around. Theres just so much you can incorporate into HIIT and I love sharing these exercises with friends, PT clients or on social media as most people are shocked at how hard some of my programs can be (even without weights).  Other than that I usually have a different focus each month.  Anywhere from a Yoga challenge or retreat, to hitting a new 1 RM or top PBs in strength and endurance training.   

Nutrition & Supplements:I believe nourishing our bodies with real food is the most beautiful form of self-love. The food we eat can either be used as a form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.  Its up to you!  I want to live a healthy, long, energetic life so I try to keep my nutrition in check year-round and thankfully enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods. I place my main concentration on making sure every meal has a lean protein and a healthy fat source.  After that I will choose carefully how many and which meals I add some form of nutritious carb to. I usually eat 5-6 meals per day depending on portions and add carbs such as sweet potato (my fav!), plantain, quinoa, oats and rice to anywhere from 1-4 of these meals. It all depends on what I'm training that day or if I have a show or photoshoot coming up.   

As far as supplements go my must haves are a good Multi Vitamin, Vitamin C, D, B12 and Omega 3s, BCAAs and a clean Isolate Protein that wont bloat me and I can trust the ingredients in. When training for shows, I will add on Potassium, Magnesium Citrate, and L-Carnitine.  

I am not currently sponsored, so I try to test out a wide variety and pack as much as I can for my trips to Africa. I would have to say some of my favorite supplements are: 

  • Magnums Quattro Chocolate Love Protein Powder 

  • Fusion Muscles STRONGMAN vitamin pack, and Magnums PRIMER vitamin pack,  

  • and for BCAAs my latest fav is Beyond Yoursel AMRAP (Peach-Mango or Blue Freeze flavor). Although Im pretty excited to try some new BCAA flavors from other companies on my next trip back to Canada. Hard to get a hold of all my favorite supplements in the Congo.   

Describe your lead up to the LA Pro/Am? All of my competition preps come with different types of challenges depending on which country I'm based in for work at that time. Leading up to the LA Pro/Am I found myself mostly living in Congo and Dubai. Congo was really challenging as we had really long flying days and the gym where I lived would be closed before and after my work day.  So, instead I got a gym membership on the other side of the country (where we flew) and had to make do with morning HIIT cardio in my living room at 4am. Wed then fly across the country to Goma where I would do my weights on our lunch break instead of hanging out at the airport.  It took a lot of extra effort in that time but I got myself into a decent routine. Later on I was lucky enough to finish my prep in Dubai with lots of amazing gyms and beautiful weather.   

Id have to say one of the keys to my success in this prep should also be attributed to having such a wonderful coach, Paul Anthony of Dreambody.  Hes an encyclopedia of knowledge, has a larger than life persona and somehow teleports that to me across the world. Theres nothing like being coached by a former World Champion, whos an encyclopedia of knowledge, truly believes in me, and actually likes the challenge of accommodating the training routine to what little I may have in Africa.  

How was your experience on the WBFF stage? I was much more nervous for this past show as it was my pro debut and the biggest show Id ever competed in. It was a true challenge but I really enjoyed it.  Meeting so many of the pros I admire was exciting and the energy on stage was like nothing else. 

What do you love most about the WBFF? What I love most about the WBFF is the quality they put into all their events. After months of training it can be really nice to treat yourself to what turns into an entire weekend of red carpets, extravagant venues, and the best photographers and host hotels. They also choose some of the most amazing cities around the world to host their shows in, which makes the travel aspect of it pretty fun too!   

The WBFF is just this incredibly welcoming world-wide fitness family. I find it fits very well with my travel lifestyle as I have the opportunity to compete or attend shows anywhere in the world and get to know like-minded people all over.  All the WBFF athletes, my coach Paul Anthony, not to mention Paul and Allison Dillet are some of the most encouraging and supportive people I know.  We all support, follow, push each other and train together when we can. So grateful to be a part of it all.     

Special Skills: I have this thing for doing one handed handstands around the world.  So, Ive got a pretty crazy collection of these handstand pics in front of major sights in every country. 

What my parents mean to me/taught me? Just because something wasnt handed to you doesnt mean you cant get there.  When you achieve something on your own, you will appreciate it that much more.  Growing up my family didnt have the means to go on vacations so I had never been on a plane until after I was hired as a flight attendant. I had so much curiosity as a kid about the world beyond my hometown. My family was incredibly supportive of me choosing this lifestyle, even if it did take me away from them. They knew I just wouldnt be happy if I didnt chase my goals and learn from my own experiences about different cultures and countries.  Although I think they are a bit happier now that my fitness goals are bringing me back closer to them, which I love as well.  

Appreciate your teachers.  My mom was an elementary school teacher and so much more goes into their work and all that they do for their students then we realize.   

Be happy with what you have and place value in experiences with loved ones over material items.   

Pancakes are a completely acceptable meal any time of day.  Only I've now amended the recipe to be protein pancakes but will always love how both my parents made theirs.  My mom did crepes, while my dad did thick old-fashioned pancakes. 

What separates Status from other fitness magazines? I love the in-depth articles in status. They always ask some of the deepest question and really help the readers get to know the athletes they admire. They also choose a variety of different athletes to appeal to everyone's taste which also helps expand our knowledge of the training techniques, supplements and nutritional approaches different athletes and sports have. 


What would it mean to you to become the next Status Fitness Cover model? I probably just wouldnt believe it. Someone would have to place the cover in front of me. Even then Id still check again the next day incase it was a dream. In all honesty I cant think of a greater honor than gracing the cover of Status -a fitness magazine I've been reading for years. To be put in the ranks of so many athletes Ive looked up to and that got me where I am today would be a dream come true.  


If you meet Status Editor-In-Chief, Rodney Jang, what question would you ask him?  I would probably ask him what his life goals are, since he asked me mine (in this article).  Im always inspired by entrepreneurs and leaders and like to know what drives them. Hes behind one of the top Bodybuilding, Fitness and MMA magazines in the world so I'm fairly certain hes got some inspiring stories to tell and big plans ahead.  


What was it like working with photographer Ali Sohrab? Ali is one of the kindest and most professional photographers I have ever worked with. I felt completely comfortable working with him and hope we can come up with some more great content in the future. He has such a creative mind but also lets me do my thing, and sometimes the greatest photos come from nothing either of us planned and just laugh about later.   

Six things people would not know about you. 

I love hiking and being in the mountains and have been fortunate enough to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (19,341 ft) and Everest Base Camp (17,600 ft) in Nepal.  

I used to take flying lessons and have soloed a plane but later found I enjoyed jumping out of them more so I did my AFF solo skydive course and am currently working towards my A license.  -I absolutely LOVE skydiving and find it incredibly calming.  Theres just nothing else like it.  Its a crazy mix of emotions from pure adrenaline before you jump, absolute focus after you jump, and then complete calm once your shoot has deployed and you can just soar through the air enjoying the view.  As long as you dont get too distracted and miss the drop zone;) 

In 2012 and 2013 I taught bootcamp classes every Sunday in Afghanistan to many of the soldiers stationed at Kandahar airfield. 

My dream job when I was a kid was to be an architect.  I loved drawing floor plans and making my dream home.  

Before becoming a flight attendant I had never been on an airplane.  Now ive been to 60 countries and have lived on 3 different continents.  

I was a volunteer firefighter for 2 years in Redwood Meadows, Alberta and miss it and them all the time. The most exciting training I ever got to take part in was under water ice rescue.  Now thats an experience thatll get your heart going.   

Who inspires you?   The strongest person I know that always inspires me to never give up is my nephew Foster.  He was born with a very rare disease called SCN8A encephalopathy. Its a form of epilepsy that causes many different types of seizures, developmental delay and regression (loss of skills).  We were told early on that his life expectancy was 2 and hes now 4 and half and has battled more in his 4 years in this world then I could ever imagine in a lifetime. Whenever I think im not capable of something I just look to Foster for courage. The answer is always in his smiling face as he continues to fight. Hes our own little family super hero!  

My other hero is a good friend that has no idea Im about to write about her.  Jenny is a pilot I had the pleasure to work with in Afghanistan six years ago.  Turns out after meeting in Kandahar that we actually lived 20 min down the road from each other in Calgary. A little while after meeting Jenny I met her husband John and was inspired by their approach to life. They are both pilots who have this zest for life that you dont get to see everyday. Together theyve travelled the whole world, sailed across the Atlantic, flown inverted in fighter jets, skydived, ran marathons, ironman and always give back thru volunteer work, charities and mentoring others. Seeing their approach to life was nothing short of life changing. Sadly, Jenny lost John a few years ago to cancer but continues to live a life he would be so proud of. This was a couple that truly lived and truly loved and I cant imagine any better way to live.   


Who do I wish to inspire? I like using Fitness and Travel as a catalyst and hope to share my own experiences to help inspire others to get out of their own comfort zones and believe they can.  I want people to see that it really is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle while travelling and achieving other goals. In fact putting your health and fitness first gives you confidence, pride and essentially more focus and clarity towards your other goals.  You are more likely to be successful in other areas of your life if you take care of your own health first and build from the inside out.  I hope to be able to help, coach and mentor others to do the same.  


Transformation story:  I was always very active as a kid. I loved gymnastics, going on long bike rides and rollerblading but did not do as many team sports.  Im not sure why, except that ive always been more competitive when it comes to trying to beat my own personal best and maybe less competitive against others. I think because I was very active but didnt play team sports I wasnt really sure where I fit in. It wasnt until 2010 when a friend challenged me to do a half-marathon with them that I really had any focus since those early gymnastics days. I remember that first training run like it was yesterday. I did 3km of the 5km we had planned, got a cramp and walked home in the freezing cold. Thankfully Im stubborn and tried again the next day. That was in March and I ran my first half-marathon in August. The following March 2011, I ran a 30km race, and that Oct competed in my first Figure modelling competition placing 1st.  I guess you could say the fitness bug had officially bit me.   


Life Goals:  I have many bucket list goals -that ol’ “Travel-Fit listand they are fun to accomplish, but in all honesty, I just make those lists as a way of pushing myself to live a well-rounded life.  To me its more about trying to constantly better myself and do more, and thats certainly not only found in travel and fitness. Family, friends, love, education and giving back will always be more important than all those other adventures. I want to feel satisfied in all aspects of my life and hopefully help inspire others along the way. In the end its all about experiences, love and what you leave behind in this world. 


Five Lesson Ive learned: 

-Never settle. There are too many mediocre moments in life. Go thru the hard stuff because the life altering moments are just on the other side. Its worth it! 

-There are little angels (many of which found in childrens hospitals) that quite possibly have been put on this earth to give us perspective, demonstrate true strength, and show us that miracles are possible. We can all be better, do better, and have so much more to give.  What your complaining about, someone else may be dreaming about. Be mindful and be thankful. 

-Dont take anything personally.  Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, limitations, or dreams. 

-There is no exact formula to happiness or way you must live your life. Each of us will have our own unique adventure.  

-Experiences are always more satisfying than material possessions.   


Five most important attributes you see in a person. 

  • Being humble 

  • Empathetic  

  • Having a positive mindset  

  • Always kind to strangers 

  • Self-respect and sticking to your values 


Advice you would give to children who want to start training?  Find a sport or type of training that interests you the most.  If it doesnt interest you and you dont get excited from seeing your progression in it you wont stick to it anyway.  Better to love what you do and be proud of your results than copy what other kids are doing. 


Favourite Quotes: 

The biggest adventure you could ever take is to live the life of your dreams.~ Oprah 

Self-discipline is the definition of self-love.~Will Smith.  

Be the type of person you want to meet.~Unknown  


Where can we connect with you on Social Media?

Instagram URL: @juliashelley 

Facebook URL: Julia Shelley 

About Ali Sohrab

Holding a Master degree in Stage and Lighting design, with 20 years delivering exceptional photography to clients, print publications, and organizations, has put Ali Sohrab as one of the top inspiring published photographers around the globe.

Ali’s signature lighting, his creative eye, and his mastery in body language, not only makes your photoshoot fun and exciting, it will turn your photos into a great investment towards your carrer.

To book or to learn more about Ali Please visit his website: