What I Learned In 2 Hours With Tony Horton

In January while I was in the Nashville for work, I had the opportunity to meet and work out with Tony Horton, Mr. P90X himself, and listen to him share his thoughts on fitness, exercise and healthy eating.

Amanda and Tony WorkoutYour probably already know this, but accidental fitness professional Tony Horton developed P90X, a commercial home exercise regimen that is known for its intensity.  The training program uses cross-training (weight training, martial arts, yoga, and calisthenics) and periodization and is combined with a nutrition and dietary supplement plan.  The program has grossed over $500 million in sales since its release.

Because I had a busy day planned (meetings, multiple workouts and a plane to catch), I had to get up early to get in my scheduled 12 mile run.  I hadn’t checked the weather before heading to Nashville so I had packed like it was going to be in the 40s, NOT the mid-teens that I was experiencing.  What that meant was I had to do my long run on the treadmill.  Boo.

I was scheduled to workout with Tony at 7:00 so I hit the hotel gym at 5:00 to warm-up and get those miles in.  The run went surprisingly well and I even managed to watch Jack Reacher, the latest Tom Cruise action flick, while I ran (normally I get motion sick if I try to watch TV while running).

From the hotel gym, I walked over to where I was going to meet Tony for the P90X workout.  It goes without saying that my body was incredibly warmed up.  When Tony would introduce a move he would show the basic move and then a modification to make the move easier as well as a mod to make it more difficult.  Because of being so warmed up and frankly feeling pretty darn good about completing my first 12 mile run on the treadmill, I used the more challenging modifications.  The hour long workout was like a greatest hits of his signature P90X moves – some yoga moves, martial arts, plyometrics, calisthenics and more).  The time flew by and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the workout (I was never a fan of P90X) and how great I felt after.

Once the workout concluded and Tony and I chatted briefly about my Ironman plans (he said I should add P90X workouts to at least 5 days of each week – ha!), I headed back to my room to shower and get ready for the talk with Tony. 

During his hour-long talk, Tony shared his five tips on how to slow the aging process and make exercise an integral part of life.

  1. Exercise with variety.  Many people do the same exercises or workouts day in and day out.  Tony suggests doing something different every day.  He schedules his workout schedule 7 days at a time and usually manages to exercise 5 to 6 days per week.  Every workout is different and that variety is key to preventing boredom, reducing risk of injuries and avoiding the dreaded plateau.
  2. Consistency.  The more you do of a given activity, the better you get.  Tony believes that movement in a variety of ways is the fountain of youth.  He suggests exercising 5 to 7 days a week for the rest of your life.  Create a schedule of consistent workouts and make them a priority.
  3. Intensity.  Push a little more every time you exercise.  Think outside the box to find new activities to push yourself and “be okay with sucking.”  You will get better at whatever activity you undertake if you push yourself a little more each time you engage in the activity.
  4. Purpose.  You need to know what your purpose is – if it’s a number on a scale or a certain clothing size, then that may not be the right motivation.  You should be working out regularly for the love of it – how it makes you feel, how it clears your mind and helps you work better.  People often don’t exercise because they don’t want to be physically uncomfortable.  Remember:  if you move today, then you you’ll improve yourself and have a better you!
  5. Have a plan.  Have a plan for your weekly exercise.  Put that plan on your bathroom mirror, on the back of your front door or hang it on your fridge.  Create the expectation that you’ll execute the plan by hanging it someplace you will see it every day.  I have a copy of my training plan on my home desk, my office desk, on each of my mobile devices and in the bag that I carry on a daily basis – I couldn’t avoid my plan if I wanted!  Tony shared his weekly workout plan and it was fascinating.  I’ll share it in another post as this one is long enough! 

Tony also talked briefly about food during his talk as well. He believes that food can be either medication or poison for your body – you can age faster, get sick sooner and die younger or you can view each meal as an opportunity to grow younger, feel better and fuel your body with what it needs to live and work for you.  His rule of thumb is that if your great, great grandparents would recognize what you’re eating then you’re eating right. Avoid processed foods and eat whole, single ingredient foods as much as you can.

Amanda and Tony HortonAll in all, it was a great two hours with Tony!  I had an awesome workout and realized that it’s much more fun to do P90X with Tony Horton standing over me and I learned some good nuggets of information during his talk.  Oh and the next day?  I felt every single 12 mile and every single P90X exercise I did!