"Change happens when change happens."
Shan Charles has quite a story to tell. This man has been through a lot of ups and downs during his short time on this earth and has an outlook on life that is both admirable and interesting. From being kidnapped, abused, and homeless to happy, healthy and thriving—through some serious resilience and strength, peppered with an unmatched willingness to succeed and prosper, Shan has fought the odds, ended up on top and has inspired countless people along the way.
No story is the same, but this is Shan’s.
Currently living in Houston, Texas, Shan was actually born and raised in Los Angeles, and in a way, his current story begins there. “In 2018 I met my now wife. I took her to Los Angeles for her birthday. While out there, my cousin made a few comments about my weight and it made me feel so insecure. I was 281 pounds at the time. September of 2018,” Shan explains. “I was overweight due to a lack of self control, depression, a toxic relationship, and a disconnect with what made me happy. I ate with little regard to how it would make me look. It became the easiest escape while being consumed and surrounded by my problems and fears.”
From that point on Shan dedicated himself to being in the gym and began to strive for healthy lifestyle changes. He was on a mission to prove to himself that he could lose that weight and he was going to do it for himself. Although he struggled at first and even dealt with a few injuries, those struggles were simply part of what allowed him to study more and find out what worked for him, which in the end only added value to his life.
“Fast forward to March 2019, my father passed away due to heart failure. In a truck. Alone. In a city with no friends or family,” Shan tells me. “Someone found him dead in his truck.” News like this never comes at a good time, and Shan now had a few new problems placed in front of him. “The last message I sent him was to watch what he eats,” says Shan. “Literally begging him to pack a lunch.” From here, trauma followed Shan and depression set in. “But it made me lock-in like hell,” Shan says with confidence. “I went from a Shaq mentality to a Kobe mentality. It was a game changer.”
It was definitely a game changer, because from September 2018 to January 2020 Shan went from 281 lbs. to 191 lbs. at 5% body fat. “Change happens when change happens,” he tells me, which is a personal mantra of Shan’s that he uses to inspire individuals daily, myself included.
Our relationship with Shan began around this transitional period with a spontaneous DM on Instagram in 2020. “I sent you guys this message,” Shan tells me. It read:
Good evening! I was wondering if you all were looking for an ambassador with a story. 100 pounds down from 291 pounds. Now 10% body fat, and looking to inspire a world to believe that everything is possible! And anything can be fuel for the journey!
“This was June 2020,” Shan reminds me. Adding, “I had a feeling that the company made sense. I was annoyed with companies just trying to look cute with mediocre merchandise. But Lasso seemed to just get it. It felt more medically based. More prevention. More durability. Less celebrity. It made sense at that time for me to reach out. I trusted the vision!”
Shortly over a year later, here we are. Shan is now a real, life-sized megaphone for Lasso and someone who truly embodies Lasso’s Stay Moving lifestyle. Never forced, never fake. When someone genuinely likes something it shows, and the fact that Shan utilizes the benefits of Lasso performance socks every single day—in and out of the gym—is just one small example of the pride he has for the brand and the value he sees in the gear. “Nike is cool, Adidas is cool, even Puma is cool…” Shan quotes on an Instagram video. “But you want to know what’s really fly?” he asks with his famous smile. “Lasso gear!”
More mornings than not, I wake up and skim through our Instagram DMs, always knowing Shan’s glowing positivity and out-of-this-world personality is already out in the world, inspiring, moving and living. He wakes up early and puts in the work, and the consistency never goes unnoticed. In the midst of his personal journey, Shan currently works professionally as a personal trainer. However, in his words, he tells me, “For a living, on the outside looking in, I am a personal trainer, but from my perspective, I am a motivational speaker who utilizes the avenue of health and wellness to inspire people to be their own super hero.”
So how can someone who has been through so much still smile, inspire and motivate others as naturally as Shan? The answer isn’t simple, but it’s honest. “Commit to the hardest thing first,” Shan tells me. “For me, getting out of bed can sometimes be the hardest thing to do. Who doesn't like sleeping in just a bit longer? So what did I do? I decided to wake up at 3:30 Monday-Friday and study fitness, mental health, or whatever tickles my fancy. I committed to learning something new at a time that I would rather be sleeping. Challenging my mind and body to be better than the person I once was first thing in the morning usually gets me going on the right foot.”
Shan is far more than your average personal trainer and if you have the chance to train with him, you’ll understand what that means. He takes this role very seriously because there is a personal connection between himself and every client he works with. His goal is to build a real relationship with you through every class, every stretch, every move you make. He wants you to succeed as much as you do, and he puts in the thought, time and energy to make sure you do. “I'm learning there is more to being healthy than being able to eat well and train at a high level,” Shan explains. “A healthy mind is the start to any physical transformation. And nurturing your mind constantly with information that motivates and informs you on what it is you can do to change your life for the better would be my first step.” The road to a healthy life often comes with many side streets—there is no easy way to get there, there’s no easy way out—but there’s also no denying it begins with a healthy mind.
“Being once homeless, kidnaped as a teen, extremely overweight, I know what it means to want the easy way out,” says Shan. “I know how incredibly frustrating it can be to try and try and try and to still be in the same position. But I encourage you to do this one thing—find your inner superhero deep down. Design your day so you can overcome some of life's easiest tasks as you build the momentum and discipline to conquer those things in your life that are holding you back. Do not be afraid to celebrate ‘minor’ victories.”
It’s hard not to feel inspired when you hear Shan speak and he has no shortage of positive lessons to share with the world. He is constantly evolving and despite any roadblocks, Shan keeps charging along day after day, celebrating victories large and small, reminding us all to do the same. Through every class and every client, and every single up-and-down that has presented itself, Shan has always stayed moving and we admire it.
“Thank you to my wife for understanding I come from a place of trauma, guilt, abandonment and fear,” says Shan in closing. “Thank you for understanding I am more than my struggles. To my clients, thank you for trusting in yourself enough to challenge yourself daily. Your commitment to your commitment fuels me daily. I love to see your growth in all walks of life. Your change is happening. And thank you to Lasso for seeing something in me that is bigger than fitness and social status. Thank you for seeing beyond the follower count and showing me new ways to inspire.”
We salute you, Shan. The feeling is mutual.