Life is full. Especially if you are Shaun T, a world-renowned health and fitness expert, TV host, motivator and creator of the best-selling fitness programs INSANITY, HIP HOP ABS, FOCUS T25, INSANITY MAX:30, CIZE and the recently released SHAUN WEEK. Shaun takes all of this in stride and with a heart full of gratitude. He stays focused on encouraging positive lifestyle changes by people around the world and proving that becoming the best version of yourself is attainable.
Last fall, he shared his story, a workout, and insights from his book “T is for Transformation“. Since then, life got a little fuller! Shaun T and his life partner and business partner, Scott Blokker, became parents of twin boys, Silas Rhys Blokker and Sander Vaughn Blokker, now seven months old. (Aww!) 24Life caught up with them over a busy weekend as they shared their observations about daddyhood, fitness and keeping it real.
24Life: What has surprised you the most about fatherhood—something that you didn’t expect or that no one told you?
Shaun: People told me everything.
Scott: They did! Even though they said “Oh my God, you’re going to have twins, it is going to be so hard,” I thought, No, actually Shaun and I are very capable, and we are going to be just fine. And after three months, we realized that we needed help. So what I didn’t expect was how hard it was going to be and how there are times when the babies will cry, and we have absolutely no idea why, we are running on two hours of sleep and it gets crazy.
Shaun: I just didn’t know how deeply emotionally connected I could be to a human being, and in a different way than you are to your spouse. It’s surprising because you look at the baby and you are like, I don’t even know you, at first. And yet the love is just—wow! It’s just so wild. The love is indescribable.
24Life: What advice do you have for soon-to-be fathers?
Scott: I have two things: First, interview, decide and get to know a babysitter or nanny before you have the child because once you have the child you are going to need help—if you have the ability to have help or at least a babysitter. Interview someone early so that when you need help, you have that person you can call, and they can come and help because doing it while you are in it is extremely difficult.
Second, and this is massively important: You have to make time for yourself and for your spouse. You need to make “me” time; you need to set aside time for just you and you need to set up date nights for you and your spouse, because you get sucked into this vortex of only taking care of the child or children and you don’t realize that you are neglecting yourself and your spouse, and things can go south unless you protect your relationship. The reason I say this is that the first time we went on a date night, I remember thinking, “This is essential. This is absolutely essential for two people who are together. They need time away from the child, so they can spend time with each other and rejuvenate.”
Shaun: You are 100 percent right, and I want to add that I always feel connected to Scott because we are best friends intertwined with our marriage, so you are 100 percent right. I will share one more thing: Expect the unexpected. This will sound strange, or very silly, but watch a season of “Big Brother” and you see these grown people in a house who act like children. That is what having children is like. You have no idea the emotional roller coaster you go on. You think you know your baby and then the next day they change, and the next day they change, and you think OK, three days of the same thing…you think you know, but you have no idea! So, expect the unexpected. And you can then have fun with it—if you literally expect the unexpected.
Scott: You think you have it figured out and then curveball! Yes. Hashtag true story.
24Life: How has becoming a father changed your relationship with health and fitness?
Scott: I honestly don’t think it has changed for me. I have always made time for my health and fitness; I have always lived by the 85/15 rule: 85 percent healthy, 15 percent fun. It is important to me how I feel when I work out and take care of my body, and I need that to continue with kids because if I don’t feel good, they are not going to feel good. So, for me, not a lot has changed, but it can!
Shaun: Having kids enhanced my relationship with health and fitness because before I had children I could go play tennis for two or three hours in the morning before I started a day of work. Now, I’m even more focused on fitness in an hour. For me, fitness is my job, and now I really don’t look at fitness as a job, unless I am creating something for an event, program or a live workout. Now, I’m super efficient. I no longer play tennis for hours or stay out after 6 p.m. or 5 p.m., because the nanny leaves. Instead, I get up early in the morning and get my workout done. It has actually improved my tennis game, as well as my fitness off the court. I know how to get an amazing workout in a short amount of time and it shows in my body.
Happy Father’s Day from all of us at 24Life.