Shaun T (on @shaunt) is the creator of best-selling fitness programs, including INSANITY, Hip Hop Abs, CIZE, and Transform :20; host of the podcast Trust and Believe With Shaun T; and author of the memoir T Is for Transformation. Here’s how he fuels for fitness.
Experience Life | Describe your training and nutrition goals.
Shaun T | This is a great way of life for me. Being over 40 now, I feel like my body reacts really well to it. It’s important for me because I feel good on the inside. I don’t feel bloated anymore. I don’t have stomachaches.
When it comes to the nutritional style you choose, I believe it’s about how you feel on the inside. If I feel bad on the inside, I’m less motivated to work out, I’m sluggish, I’m not going to have a positive attitude, and I’m not going to have good brain power.
EL | Do you use tests to inform your food and fitness choices?
ST | I do not use assessments of any sort except for the assessment of how I feel. Gaining 50 pounds is why I started this journey — and as I was losing weight, I didn’t try to rush the process. For me, it was about enjoying what I was doing, making different lifestyle changes, and paying attention.
I think assessment tools can be great, but I think sometimes we rely on technology too much and don’t rely on our gut. At the end of the day, you have control. You can determine how you feel and what you need if you pay attention to yourself.
EL | Do you have any food rituals or superstitions?
ST | I talk to my food. I literally am like, “Food, what are you going to do for me?” If the ingredients are good and it’s going to make me feel good, I eat it. I don’t deprive myself. I don’t eat cheese because it makes my stomach feel like I’m at a fireworks viewing. But outside of that, I eat and I have fun.
EL | How has your food regimen changed over time?
ST | I used to follow a nutritional program that had me eating six meals a day. Now it’s just one and a half. It’s so much easier. I love it.
EL | Describe a day in your life.
ST | I wake up at 4:30 a.m. I have water first, then coffee. I play tennis from about 5:30 to 7 a.m. — tennis is my outlet, it’s something I love that’s tough and challenging, which I think is an important aspect of fitness. Later in the day I’ll do either a weight-training workout or a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout. For recovery, I’ll do cryotherapy or compression therapy.
I do a 16-hour fast every day and have my first meal around 10 a.m. I start off with green stuff — vegetables, and I love avocado — usually with some fish. I try not to eat a lot of red meat. I’ll eat eggs cooked in grassfed butter or avocado oil. Sometimes I throw a gluten-free pancake in there because that’s just a necessity. Then I don’t really eat anything until my kids do, at about 5:30 or 6 p.m. That’s less meal-like — I call it “sninner,” like snack and dinner mixed. And on Fridays I eat doughnuts.
This originally appeared as “Fit Fuel” in the May 2020 print issue of Experience Life.