'Insanity' creator Shaun T. talks 'Shaun Week' and social media: 'you can't be fake'

Rob Smith

Full disclosure: I’m a huge Shaun T. fan. And why wouldn’t I be? I’m one of the hundreds of thousands of people who’ve dropped major weight using his various workouts. His initial ‘Insanity’ workouts helped me drop about 10 pounds, but it was ‘Insanity Max 30’ that helped me shed the last 20 pounds that really shaped my body.

In person, Shaun T is taller and even more defined than he seems in his videos. What I didn’t expect was his genuine warmth and positive energy, especially after a scheduling mix-up nearly derailed our interview. With sales of his various fitness DVDs hitting over $1 billion and a schedule packed with numerous speaking engagements and conferences, Shaun T. is a long way from having financial problems, but he doesn’t make business decisions purely based on money. “I’m not motivated by money at all,” he told Yahoo Finance. “Feeling good doing something makes it so much more valuable and holds so much more currency to me.”

One currency we discussed is social media, which is where Shaun T. is doing the majority of promotion for his new workout series. ‘Shaun Week’ launches on June 12 via Beachbody on Demand, the online streaming arm of fitness giant Beachbody. Shaun has nearly 3 million of what he calls his “fitfam” following him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To succeed on social media, he says, you have to be authentic and in touch with your audience. “Social media is currency, but you have to be careful,” he said. “You can’t be fake.”

What isn’t fake are the results. I’ve personally seen my jawline sharpen and waist size drop after using Shaun T. workouts (along with diet and other exercise), and YouTube is littered with video after video of people who’ve gotten results and shared their journey via social media. When Shaun T. discusses his fans, his genuine emotion comes through. “I want the people to be into what I’m saying, and to relate to what I’m doing,” he said. “My whole philosophy on business is truth, trust, and transparency.”

Rob Smith is a writer and producer at Yahoo Finance