H2 Blog Index

Tony Gets It

I thought I would share this article that was recently published in American Fitness Magazine. I love that someone, like Tony Horton who has influenced the fitness community so much understands the need for trying new things and knows the benefits to yoga. I hope you enjoy his bits of wisdom as much as I did!






Tony Horton
Keeping on top by giving more
By Cherryh Butler

It's true that most fitness professionals will never see the level of success that celebrity trainer Tony Horton has enjoyed, but the creator of the nation's top-selling workout series, P90X®, is confident that many can easily increase their business and profitability by doing a few specific things—walking the walk, being generous and having a passion for learning new skills.

Horton, who set out decades ago to be an actor, but instead found his passion in the gym, believes the most successful trainers and instructors practice what they preach. They eat healthy, work out and take care of themselves. Horton says a trainer should be a role model to his clients. "If you are a trainer, lose the weight and walk the walk," he says. "Out of shape trainers that eat garbage won't be taken seriously. I can't show up at an event—even though I'm 54 years old—not cut and looking fit."

One of the best marketing tactics Horton has in his gym bag of tricks is giving freebies.

"A lot of trainers who are fairly successful don't like doing this, but you have to," says Horton, who recently returned from a military base tour, where he volunteered his time. "I still do this to this day; obviously you can't do it all the time, but you can show up to a seminar, and if you are passionate about what you do, and your main focus isn't making money to buy some fancy car—if your passion is altruistic in nature, then you can build your business."

No one knows everything about fitness, not even Horton, who recalls a recent track workout he did with four UCLA coaches. "You have to be as fit as you can possibly be, and that means you've got to work on your weaknesses and learn a lot about other techniques," he explains. "I know a little about speed and interval drills, but these guys kicked my ass. And they also gave me fresh ideas. To build your business you've got to be in shape, and you can't be afraid of fresh ideas."

Getting stuck in just one type of fitness mode will kill any career. For example, Horton points out that there are only so many people who want to do yoga. The yoga instructor who adds something original to his class, like plyos or unique music, is going to build his business.

"I'm not saying you need to throw kettlebells in your yoga class, but you have to find what it is that makes you special, and then find ways to advertise that. A lot of things are going to fail, but that shouldn't slow you down. You fall on your face and get up. People who succeed continue to ask questions of their mentors, but when the answers don't resonate, then you ignore them and keep moving forward." AF


Tony Horton is on a mission to expand his fitness empire. Using the success of his fitness DVDs he's propelling his brand into other industries. For example, his latest project is Tony Horton Kitchen, a meal planning, delivery service to help people learn to eat healthier.

"A lot of people use exercise as an excuse to eat whatever they want, but exercise equals fitness and good food equals health," he says. "Without proper fuel—when one is fighting the other—you've got a problem."

The main barriers to proper eating are that people don't have time to cook and that they are also addicted to chemicals found in most foods. Horton's way of eating solves those problems. The system delivers precooked meals to clients each week. They can choose the number of meals they get and also among menu options: vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian. Horton says, "You need a certain amount of variety when it comes to nutrition, and I've provided a meal plan that's tasty but filled with nutrients."

Horton doesn't make any bones about the price; with meals costing about $11 each, it's not for a family of eight or a thrifty college student, but it is for someone who can afford to buy organic at a grocery store or eat out at restaurants.

"We have organic vegetables, free-range buffalo and wild salmon," he says. "Yeah, wild salmon is expensive, so it's not for everybody, but it's not any more expensive than ordering those things at a restaurant. It shouldn't be a luxury that only rich people do."

The next step will be a line of Tony Horton spices and sauces. But he isn't satisfied with staying in the kitchen—he's also working on a deal to endorse sunglasses designed for outdoor activities and is developing a sports clothing line with shoes being the ultimate end goal. A fitness watch may be in the future, too.

Cherryh Butler is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor in Kansas City, Mo. She has a master's in journalism and contributes to magazines, newspapers and websites all over the country.


"I can things at my age...not because I can do a bunch of pull-ups. It's because I do yoga."

—Tony Horton


Tony Horton is renowned as the creator and star of the P90X® extreme home fitness system, but many don't know about his yoga side. In the mid-1990s Horton discovered this form of exercise and it changed his life. "I had heard of yoga," says Horton. "But I thought it was silly." Then a woman he was dating invited him to a hatha yoga class. "I had my butt handed to me!"


Horton understood that being bad at something was a good thing. And he began taking yoga classes regularly. He noticed that not only did yoga improve his flexibility and range of motion, it gave him more endurance during sports, such as rock climbing and skiing. "I found that yoga allowed me to push harder in all other aspects of fitness without getting hurt."

Horton developed his first yoga video, the little known Ho' Ala ke Kino (Awaken the Body) in 1994. Later he worked with a variety of fitness experts developing and testing the 90-day program that was to become Power 90 Extreme, or P90X® for short. And in this system, he included the key element of his own fitness regimen—a full 90-minute yoga class: Yoga X. "A lot of people balked at the idea of an hour and a half yoga video," recalls Horton. "But every class I ever took was that long—so that's what I did."

The practice is essential not only for one's physical well-being, but it can be used to deal with life stressors, such as being stuck in traffic or dealing with your boss. With yoga you are centered and connected.

Horton endeavors to practice yoga at least twice per week. In addition, he explores various styles when traveling across the country. Horton says, "Every time I have a new teacher I feel like a beginner."


Matthew Graham is an AFAA certified personal trainer and freelance writer.

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