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Black History NJ: Shaun T

New Jersey’s own renowned fitness trainer, businessman and television personality, Shaun Thompson – more famously known as “Shaun T” – was born in Camden, New Jersey on May 2, 1978. Though he resided in Camden during much of his youth, he also spent his early years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his mother and brother.

shaun t, black historyBy his teen years, Shaun T was living with his grandparents in Deptford Township. His grandfather was the pastor at Camden’s Calvary Bible Tabernacle; both his grandparents were recognized patrons of the city, who went as far as distributing bread to the members of their community who struggled to feed their families. The powerful examples set by both were quickly instilled in the soon-to-be motivational speaker and fitness guru.

Shaun T attended Deptford High School, where he grew up running track and playing both football and baseball. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at Rowan University in Glassboro and aspired to be the next Anderson Cooper. He soon changed his major to Sports Science with a minor in Theater/Dance after he gained roughly 50 pounds his freshman year of college, inspiring him to get back into shape. He soon became an aerobics instructor, as the result of a Sports Science requisite that required him to teach an aerobics class.

After he graduated from college, Shaun T became a health program manager at Wyeth, a pharmaceutical company. He soon moved out to Los Angeles, California, making the trip with his brother, Ennis, after nailing an audition with a Los Angeles dance agency. He struggled financially shortly after moving to California; but in 2006, Shaun T was slated to become a back-up dancer for Mariah Carey when he was discovered by a Beachbody executive while teaching a hip hop dance class at the Equinox in West Hollywood. By the following year, Shaun T had released his first workout video, the celebrated Hip Hop Abs.

During the course of the next year, Shaun T filmed a few more Beachbody exercise videos for various audiences before beginning work on the famous Insanity workout series. Insanity is designed as two months’ worth of intense exercises for those who are serious about getting in shape.

Over the past decade, Shaun T’s catalog has grown larger, incorporating distinguished series such as Insanity: The Asylum, Focus T25 and Insanity Max 30. Throughout his teachings, Shaun T always encourages his fellow fitness addicts to dig deeper and “trust and believe” in themselves to achieve their ultimate goal.

shaun t, black history

Shaun T continues to stay active and release new exercise videos today. His most recent set, Shaun Week, includes seven different videos stemming from familiar workouts comprising one week of intense exercise. He also produces a regular podcast called Trust and Believe with Shaun T.

In 2012, Shaun T married former professional soccer player Scott Blokker, and the couple currently live with their two adopted babies in Arizona. To keep up with his latest exercise videos, apparel and more, visit his official website. You can also follow him on Instagram @shaunt.