The wellness expert explains his fitness philosophy, how exercise helped him believe in himself and how to have a long-lasting career.
Fitness guru, Shaun T will be speaking at #EssenceFestDurban and getting all attendees empowered to seek a healthy lifestyle.
Ever since he rose to fame with the release of his Hip Hop Abs DVD, the expert has been making major waves in the health space with his high-energy routines and commitment to proving positive motivation. He recently spoke with ESSENCE about what it means to him to be speaking at the first-ever ESSENCE Festival Durban, how exercise helped him believe in himself and how to have a long-lasting career.
How did you discover your passion for fitness?
At one point in my life I had gained 50 pounds. How I lost the weight was by dancing and just really started feeling free every step of the way. The freedom that I felt when I was dancing and started to lose weight is what I gained a passion for. If you're able to mark down the moments where you actually feel good, throughout your fitness journey, and you go back to those moments in a time of struggle you'll be able to really attach yourself to the positive things that happened. That's how I was able to find a passion for fitness and dance and it's always going to be near and dear to my heart, because that's when I started to believe in myself.
How would you describe your fit philosophy?
My fit philosophy is fit doesn't have a size, it has a mentality. If fit had a size then everyone would be the same exact size after they finish their 50-60, or any fitness program that they have. In general it's about people getting comfortable with their body and what their genetics gives them. Whether you're curvy, whether you're fit, whether you're ripped or whether you're skinny, it's about what you're doing with the body you’ve been given, trusting and believing in who you are at that moment.
So, when people hear Shaun T, they knows exactly who you are: dancer, fitness expert, Insanity! What do you think is the key to having such a recognizable brand and a long-term career? What do you think it takes to get to that level?
Authenticity. The voice and the authenticity of what you speak. When I speak in the fitness videos I'm speaking from a person who knows - I know what you're going through when you hit that first moment or that first barrier and you don't want to do it. Everything that I do and everything that I put out is authentically me. For my videos I create those workouts. I don't have someone else create them for me. I create them so that I can go through the struggle with the people and understand exactly what they feel like and what they're going through in order to get them past the finish line and 10 meters beyond. I think that’s something a lot of people appreciate and look for in experts, and why I’ve been able to stand the test of time.
You’ve been a longtime speaker and supporter of the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans and you’re now heading to Durban. What keeps you coming back and what are you looking forward to?
I love ESSENCE and I love what it stands for. Just being empowered and being motivated, for myself, and then being able to empower and motivate my fans through the ESSENCE platform is amazing. Now, to be able to go international, especially in Durban is everything. I love to spread the word of positivity and definitely to trust and believe in who you are when it comes to your life and your body. Now, being able to literally, physically, be tangible to people in Africa, in Durban, it's just incredible and amazing. I think the energy's going to be great, and I think people will definitely leave over-inspired.