What To Do When You Meet Your Hero
5 Things I Learned When I Met “Insanity” Creator Shaun T
1. Everyone is obsessed with him and therefore I’m not alone.
There were so many people in the crowd when I made my way from northern VA to Richmond VA for an intense and exciting live workout with celebrity trainer Shaun T. Women, men and children – there were business professionals and fitness professionals, all different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities. It was one of the most diverse crowds I’ve ever seen. One thing, though, stood out that we all had in common – we all LOVED Shaun T. In some way, he had personally touched many of our lives. I heard weight loss stories of how Shaun T motivated a woman to lose over a hundred pounds…I stood right next to my very close friend who had lost her father a couple of weeks before, and listened as she gave a tear-filled explanation of how Shaun T’s choreography to Sia’s “Chandelier” gave her an outlet to release her grief.
Some women had t-shirts made expressing their genuine love for Shaun T; others wore clothing from his apparel line. A couple of people who follow him on social media knew that he hadn’t been feeling well the day before, and came equipped with small care packages of cough drops and tissues.
His spirit and personality leap off the screen when you are working out to his DVDs. His energy captures and inspires you. He makes you laugh, he pushes you to push yourself and in the process, you come outside your comfort zone and LIVE!
2. When you truly love what you do, it shows.
So, I already mentioned that he wasn’t feeling well. If you didn’t already know it, you wouldn’t have known. The only thing about him that was blatantly contagious was his personality! His positive aura was infectious and it permeated the crowd like the mist! The energy in the room was incredible, the whole time.
This was one of the more intense workouts I’ve ever done. It was non-stop. It was sweat-dripping, heart-racing, every-muscle-working intense. It was hard. You’d expect moaning, groaning and complaining – some of the people in the crowd were beginners and this was by no means a workout geared toward beginners; there was a modifier (praise the Lord for my new BFF Scott), but even the modified moves were intermediate level.
The tone throughout the whole hour was upbeat, enthusiastic and joyous. Everyone was thrilled to be there and it was because Shaun T was beaming with positivity. He kept a smile on his face and nearly every word out of his mouth was encouraging, supportive and kind.
It was apparent that he was genuinely excited to be surrounded by the people who had supported him through all the stages of his career.
During the Q&A session, the cutest little girl asked Shaun T about how he became motivated to get his start in the fitness industry. As he began to share the details of his humble beginnings and outlined his path leading up to hosting his very own fitness-related show (if you didn’t get a chance to see “My Diet is Better than Yours” then check out ABC On Demand; it’s worth the watch!), you could almost see the passion lighting up in his eyes. It was moving to witness. Plus he pulled the adorable little girl up onto the stage and encouraged her that one day she too would run a business of her own…he proceeded to have his assistant provide his contact information to the little girl’s mother, lifting her back down off the stage into her mother’s arms with, “You call me if you ever need anything. I mean it.”
3. Shaun T knows how to have fun, and wants everyone around him to have fun too.
When I say there were all types of people in the audience, I’m not kidding. This includes people who weren’t very far along on their fitness journey. I can imagine being surrounded by skinny coaches and fit trainers might be a bit intimidating.
That wasn’t the case. There wasn’t any comparison and there was no competitive vibe. It was just fun! He let everyone know that, yes, there would be a workout but the bigger purpose was to have fun! The warm up was everyone freestyle dancing to popular music and during the cool down, we did the same.
If you’ve ever done any of Shaun T’s choreographed workouts, then you’ve already seen the animated and hilarious side of his personality. It’s very real and even better in real life!
4. When the mood strikes you, strike a pose and snap a selfie.
During the workout, we were split into two main sections: the general workout area and the VIP section. I was in VIP, 2 rows back from center stage. There was a girl directly in front of me that didn’t miss a single moment to capture a selfie, a video or a photo of Shaun T. At one point it was almost distracting as she turned to face me, holding her phone at arms length, positioning then re-positioning her body to make sure the frame was perfect.
When we got down on the floor to do some core work, she scooted forward then backward…shifted to the right, then ever so slightly to the left, because now her camera phone was propped up on its side capturing video of her completing C-reaches.
Every once in a while, she would go to such lengths to capture a photo that I looked around to see if anyone else noticed, and if (by their facial expression) I could tell that they were thinking the same as me, “Why can’t this girl just enjoy the moment?!”
But I almost immediately felt badly for those thoughts. I didn’t know this girl’s story…it wasn’t my place to understand why she was doing what she was doing.
She could have been capturing these moments because she had traveled from hundreds of miles to see Shaun T. Maybe she was going to share them with someone who desperately wanted to attend, but wasn’t able to. Who knows? Maybe the girl in front of me suffered from memory lapses and she’d wanted as many photos and video as possible, in case she couldn’t remember the time she worked out live with Shaun T.
I try not to judge others. But I’m human and sometimes I am guilty of passing judgment without realizing it. Once the workout was over, and Shaun T invited everyone closer to the stage for a Q&A, I just felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
I had been looking forward to this event for months. Knowing how much it meant to me was a reminder that it probably meant as much to everyone else in attendance. We savor the moment differently and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Photo credit by @milfsunitedfitness IG – me and my new friend Scott, aka Mr. Shaun T.
5. Just say “yes” to adventure.
I’ve NEVER been an athletic person. As a kid, I didn’t play any sports and I tried out for cheerleading one year and since that too takes athleticism, I didn’t make the first cut.
It might seem kinda crazy that a person who really has zero history with an active lifestyle could be standing here today, a fitness and health coach and crazy obsessed (in a very harmless non-stalkerish way) with the workouts of a known fitness expert!
But here I am…I’ve gone from working out to his DVDs, to working out with him in person, to working DIRECTLY with him in a private challenge group hosted by him. THE SHAUN T! All because I said “yes” to the adventure of taking back my health. All because I said “yes” to sharing my journey in the hopes that it might inspire someone else. All because I said “yes” when it would have been so much easier to say no.
Saying “yes” even once is sometimes all it takes to put you face-to-face with the life you always dreamed of.
Photo credit @britjonesfitness IG
Brit Jones’ website is www.beachbodycoach.com/