“Really great people make you feel that you too can be great”. - Mark Twain. This weekend I was lucky enough to meet someone whose passion for fitness has lead him to a successful career where he consistently empowers others. I think the lessons he provides are great for anyone seeking success in fitness personally or as a trainer.After attending an Insanity workout in Miami, I had the pleasure to talk with Shaun and was instantly impressed that he not only looked fresh after that workout, but was also a genuinely kind person. After meeting other celebrity trainers and finding them to be less than sociable (ehh hem Jackie Warner), it was refreshing to talk with Shaun. His demeanor is much closer to what I found when talking to runners like Shalane Flannagan, Kara Goucher or Ryan Hall. I believe this is because each of them is pursuing a true inner passion and excited to share it.Seriously working out while looking at those abs, how are you not inspired!
Here are some of the secrets to success I took away from our meeting:
Motivating Others: Whether he is teaching a class or doing a DVD, Shaun conveys an energy that he believes is infectious. He is truly excited to help you push yourself and having lost 50lbs himself he understands that it isn’t always easy. Be authentic, share your energy. For all those creating YouTube workouts, I think these are great points! Look in to the camera with sincerity and let your personality go.
Business Success: I expected him to stay on this path of follow your passion, but Shaun surprised me instead by saying that he has two driving factors: Never settle for mediocrity and focus on relationships. It’s very easy to get caught up in the paperwork or the feelings of “I should get paid more for this”, but at the end of the day if the relationships are strong it all continues to workout and it’s a lot more fun.
Cultivate Inner Strength: Shaun repeated to the crowd multiple times that motivation has to come from tapping in to an inner strength. One of the ways he continues to stay motivated is through reading. His top three books right now:
Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10
Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Shaun has said he has always considered going in to the Navy because eh respects it so much, but obviously he hasn’t because he’s lucky to have a career he enjoys so much. Hence the current recommendation of books dealing with the Navy…but if you’ve ever watched anything about SEALs on TV then you know they work hard and have to dig deep in many situations!
Balance: Move everyday, but don’t be afraid to rest! Shaun has recently been doing more Tai Chi as a method of slowing himself down. He realizes that his Insanity workouts feel different now at 34 than at 23 and he needed to find a way to bring more calm into his day. So whether you choose to meditate or do yoga, find a balance between the all out workouts and giving your body time to revive. He also recommends the standard runners trick of telling yourself you’ll just do 10 minutes or just do the warm up if you are having trouble getting started.
Exercise for Life: It might surprise you to learn that the thing he promotes the most is STRETCHING! That’s right not tabatas or weights or running, but stretching is what will help you stay active for the long haul. One of his favorite tips is to bend over and place your palms on the floor, spread your legs as wide as you need to reach the floor. Then make it a goal each week to work your legs closer together…what a great measurable goal! In fact did you know Michael Phelps has like a 2 hour stretching routine he would do prior to races?? That’s right, stop neglecting your stretches.
Beyond that he recommends exercising when you feel best…so if you really hate morning workouts, stop trying to force it and instead make a plan that allows you to workout when you feel best. You’ll be able to go harder and enjoy he process more.
Muscular Endurance: While Shaun knows some folks who have trained solely on Insanity for races, he understands that many of us like to run. So he recommends doing a program like this 2-3 times per week during training as it will help with muscular endurance and work your upper body/core which are not as active during running. Muscular endurance will help you maintain good posture while running and ensure you don’t get that dead arm feeling at mile 20!
I reviewed the Insanity program in the past and stand by my statements that it just feels like too much for a 6 day a week program, but I do love the workouts. I enjoyed working out with him in person and seeing his passion inspire hundreds of people to seriously get moving. In fact, you might remember I did an 11 mile treadmill progression run while watching nothing but the Insanity infomercial because I thought it was so inspiring!
I am hoping to get my hands on some of his new workouts like ASYLUM Deluxe - 30 Day Sports Training Workout and HIP HOP ABS. Here's a short video of my thoughts on Insanity and the interview, if you are looking for more!
Have you tried any of these workouts?
I am grateful for people who remind me the value of pausing and truly paying attention to the person who is right in front of you.