The man pictured above with the wide smile and the abs of steel is certifiably insane.
And to anyone gutsy enough to endure the pain he inflicts, that’s a good thing.
Best known for his high-octane, super-charged workout program Hip Hop Abs, fitness instructor Shaun T has created a new 60-day home fitness regimen called INSANITY – a total-body conditioning program designed for maximum effort, maximum pain and maximum results.
The New Jersey native has instructed thousands in person and millions at home through his best-selling Beachbody DVD videos. He’s had television appearances on The Tyra Banks Show, QVC, CNN, Dr. Oz and The Ellen Show and now he’s bringing his intense and exhilarating brand of fitness to the Dayton area – conducting one of his exhausting “Insanity Master Class” sessions at the Kleptz YMCA in Englewood on November 20th.
DaytonMostMetro.com recently spoke with the popular fitness trainer about his life, energy and the refute of flabbiness:
DMM: So Shaun, you received a B.S. in Sports Science and you also minored in Dance and Theater. Did you have a clear concept of your career goals when you first enrolled in college, or did the interest in fitness develop later on?
ST: When I first enrolled in college I actually wanted to do communications. I was set on being the anchorperson for some news station. But what happened was…I gained 50 pounds from living the crazy college life…
DMM: Wait a minute. You gained 50 pounds in college?
ST: You know you’re in college doing your studies…you get your food card, you go to the buffet! You don’t have to pay for it, you know? You can go to the food court whenever you want. You eat pizza, stay up late…nobody’s telling you to go to bed. Once in a while, you might have a frat party! [Laughs] So, it was all of that. I literally looked in the mirror one day and said, “You need to pull it together!”
I ended up changing my major to sports science. I was always an athlete and I started going back to the gym and fell in love with the whole ‘body/mind’ relationship. So from that point on, it was just just crazy! I had teach one of my classes an aerobics class, and I decided to a hip-hop dance class because I didn’t want to do just some boring old aerobics.
DMM: What did you do immediately after college?
ST: After graduating I went into corporate fitness. I kind of did like the corporate health thing…never to imagine that I’d be where I am today! But I feel like I’m living everything that I learned in college, believe it or not! Health promotion was my specialization, you know. Theater/dance…I’ve done that as well. I did everything I wanted to do – as far as what my degree set me up for. Now I’m just capitalizing upon it and taking it further to help inspire people.
DMM: How were you introduced to dance?
ST: My first real experience was when I had to teach a class in college. I was 21. The director of the fitness center was like, “Wait a minute. You can cue. You can teach. You can dance. What’s going on here?” [Laughs] For me, it was just natural. I always wanted to dance, but when I was a kid I played football, basketball and track and field. That was my life, you know what I mean? So growing up, my passion wasn’t [in dancing].
DMM: Moving forward, Hip Hop Abs was released in 2007, correct?
ST: Yeah, it was released to the public that year.
DMM: What was the philosophy behind that product?
ST: I instruct different types of people. I have people who are very fit, and I have people that are set in a sedimentary lifestyle. The common goal of trying to get “flat sexy abs” was to create a product that was fun. Because in my dance classes, it was just fun! To see people come back to me and say, “Oh my god. You’re class was so fun!” was satisfying. So I wanted to create something fun that people would do every day, but also that was easy to follow. And while you’re doing the movements, you’re focusing on your core – so you don’t get bored. I wanted people to lose weight…and the people that were in shape, I wanted them to have fun working their core also.
DMM: Tell me about your current product Insanity. It’s being called “the hardest workout plan on DVD”. So this isn’t just Hip Hop Abs 2, right?
ST: I created Hip Hop Abs when I was in the dance and choreography stage of my career. But when I went to create Insanity, I went back to the foundation of my life – which was athletics. I wanted to create something that people could do that they would never be able to say, “I didn’t have a good workout today!’. If you do Insanity – even if you only have 15 minutes – you still feel like you got your workout in.
Also, you can waste a lot of time in the gym. Some people spend like two hours in the gym and they don’t really need that. With Insanity, I’m showing them that you can get faster, quicker results in a shorter amount of time. You actually learn how hard you can work out!
There’s a fair amount of plyometric moves in Insanity. That sounds like a big word. But, it’s about having control over your body…and using your muscles to gain power and speed. I want people [in Insanity] to use their body as their equipment. There’s no need to go out and buy multiple sets of dumbbells. It’s actually easy and accessible for anyone to do.
DMM: I was watching some of your Infomercials on television and YouTube. A lot of people say the same thing about your Insanity workouts: “They kicked my ass, but I feel great!”
ST: This might be a little deep! [Laughs] But, in addition to working out physically, it’s also mental. It’s kind of like going through your own boot camp. And you’re in control! Someone who’s in really good shape can work out alongside someone who is just starting out because you’re both are going to push yourselves as hard as you can. The first person might do 30 reps while the other did 10, but they both worked hard!
So that’s why people feel good because every two weeks we do a fitness test. Every two weeks you see your numbers get better and your reps getting higher. You know you’re getting results. It’s not just about looking good. You feel good about yourself.
DMM: But you certainly push people to motivate them. Have you ever had anyone walk out of your classes before?
ST: No. The reason why is because I give that speech at the beginning of class. I tell everyone, “This is your workout, not mine!” I encourage people to take a break. Because what’s going to happen down the line is they’re going to notice that they’re taking fewer breaks. And that lets them know that they’re getting more in shape.
DMM: What would you be doing if you weren’t instructing, traveling and making DVDs?
ST: Hmmm. [Pauses] If I wasn’t doing anything in fitness, I would have tried to become a Navy SEAL.
ST: That, or I would be a detective.
DMM: What’s your favorite junk food, man? I know you slip sometimes!
ST: Let me tell you something. Me and donuts… [Laughs] Actually, it’s donuts and salt and vinegar potato chips! If they’re in a room with me, there’s a serious conversation going on in my head.
DMM: Lastly, what can the participants of your Insanity Master Class on Nov. 20 expect from Mr. Shaun T?
ST: Just high energy motivation! It’s going to be a happy and intense time. I tell everyone all the time that I can be in a room with 200 people, but please believe that everyone will have an experience with me face-to-face. I will get to everyone in that room!
Shaun T will be conducting his Insanity Master Class Saturday, Nov. 20 at 9 a.m. at
1200 W. National Road
Englewood, Ohio 45424
To register, or for additional information please call 937-836-9622.
Shaun is available for photos and autographs after class.