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Fitness Pioneer Q&A: Tony Horton

Photograph by Gregg Segal

Age: 54
Program:
P90X (available on DVD)

Do you have a fitness hero?
I remember as a kid watching Jack LaLanne on TV and saying, “Man, that guy is something.” There was nothing he couldn’t physically do. I’d grab a chair and try to do something he was doing, and I couldn’t come close. I learned through people who train hard every day that it’s sometimes a long journey. But stinking at something is not bad. Your job is to show up the next day and stink a little less.

Where did your P90X system come from?
We wanted to force folks to get away from the linear, one-dimensional movements with gym equipment and cardiovascular machines. It’s about rotating the upper body and lower body and cardiovascular and resistance exercises. We call it “muscle confusion.”

Common workout blunders?
A lot of people get stuck in one fitness philosophy. You have folks who just do Pilates. I think Pilates is fantastic, but often it doesn’t get people the results they want because it’s just…Pilates. Same thing with yoga. I think yoga is the fountain of youth. But yoga alone doesn’t work on speed or increasing muscle size. Then there are guys in their thirties and forties who are doing the same weight-lifting routines they did for high school football.

Your definition of fitness?
Fitness is having confidence. Fitness is self-esteem. Fitness is not expecting your doctor and your pharmacist to find answers to your problems with pills or potions. Fitness is, for the average person, finding time to work out four days a week—ideally, six.

 

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