But little did he know then that his love of movement and rhythm would transform into a social empire, one boasting 3.22 million subscribers on Youtube, where he brings fun, fresh and inspiring dance routines to people across the globe.
"I’ve always been an insecure person. I never felt cool, attractive or like I belonged. I often felt like I would never quite be enough in any category. When I started teaching dance fitness classes in college everything clicked," he explains. "I swear I heard the angels sing the moment I put on that fitness pop star mic. I felt like I had found a public space where I could feel the same way I felt dancing in the mirror at home. I wanted to carry that feeling of freedom, euphoria and confidence with me and spread it to as many people as possible. I started a YouTube channel and The Fitness Marshall was born."
The channel, which sits at number eight on the list of Youtube's 'Most Popular Fitfluencers' list, thrives from Marshall's belief that shaking your booty is remarkably healthy, and not just in a fitness-and-weight-loss kind of way. Dancing can boost your brainpower, improve your outlook, grow your social circle, and protect your most important organs... even if you have no rhythm.
"Dance and music are so powerful. They stimulate a part of our brains that is truly magical. It’s an experience that connects all people. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, or how well you dance. All of us have the ability to connect to a rhythm and release that energy through movement. I’ve done every workout under the sun and nothing brings me the JOY that I feel doing The Fitness Marshall dances. Every week we do a special 60 minute livestream for our Booty Army members on YouTube and it never feels like "working out". It’s a giant celebration where we have the time of our lives dancing like we are on stage at Madison Square Garden."
And it makes sense. Ever wonder why the second you hear, say, Beyoncé's latest chart topper, you automatically start tapping your feet? It's an instinctive response: you're hardwired to sync up your own movements to music, possibly because even primitive cultures used rhythmic movements to express themselves. "It doesn’t matter how much dance experience you have. All that matters is that you give yourself permission to be as silly, free, and uninhibited as possible," he adds. "If you’re moving, you’re doing it right. I cannot count the number times I mess up in a class. I laugh at myself and keep going."
Caleb's Favourite choreography so far
"This is the hardest question you could possibly ask me. I have a new favorite every time I get asked because we are constantly pumping out new dances. Lately I’ve been coming back to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s "Rain On Me”. I also LOVE our dance to Britney and Tinashe’s "Slumber Party" (so underrated). It’s funny because I feel like I’m known for my camp/silly routines but my favourite dances are the ones that make me feel like the fiercest diva in the world."
Go-to workout playlist
"OMG I’m so happy you asked. I recently launched my own workout playlist on Spotify called “Workout By The Fitness Marshall”. It’s got all of my current favourite workout songs. I switch it up every week because I get bored very easily."
I adore Richard Simmons and what he did to revolutionise fitness. He created an environment where everyone was welcome and he truly made fitness fun. I admire him so much and hope to continue using my platform to spread joy and love to as many people as possible. He unleashed his most authentic self every time he danced. By giving himself permission to have fun, those who took his classes were able to do the same. I think about that every time I teach.