Fitness Pioneer Q&A: Tony Horton


Photograph by Gregg Segal

Age: 54
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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  • Jerry Dougherty

    I’m sure even after all the infomercials and hoopla that there are still people who don’t believe that this program works. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret, it does and it’s because Tony doesn’t sugar coat it. If you want GUNS you are gonna have to WORK HARD. I’m a P90X certified coach and I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who have told me, yeah I’ve got that program but it didn’t work for me. My question back to them is always, what day did you quit? Day 60, day 30, 15, 1? Plain and simple if you put the DVDs in the machine for 90 days and do what Tony says, modify as necessary, and challenge yourself then combine that with some sensible eating you will see DRAMATIC CHANGE I double dog dare you to prove me wrong!

    • Linda Steele

      I am a 58 year old woman who is not an athlete. I love P90x because I could work at my own pace until I could master the moves in the privacy of my own home. It definitely works. I also love slim in 6, Chalene Extreme.

  • Dan P

    Tony Horton changed my life. Two years ago, my New Year’s resolution was to lose weight and start exercising. I was running three miles a day but it wasn’t doing anything. Then I saw a P90X infomercial and figured “why not?”. It was brutal. The first couple of weeks I could barely lift my hands to wash my hair. But I stuck it. Two years later, I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for years. At age 50, this year I’m training to run a marathon. But P90X was the foundation. I’ve talked to plenty of people who tried P90X and quit. I keep telling them to just keep trying their best. It’s not about where you are now, it’s about the direction you’re going. Thanks, Tony, you probably saved my life.

  • Angie

    I’ve been doing this for 3 yrs now and I have no issues maintaining a good weight or putting on more muscle if I want to. I tend to keep it on the lean side for me personally. I love these workouts and the best part is I can do it at home with my 3 yr old. He’s already working on most videos with me:) Gota teach him young! Love you Tony!

  • Adam

    IT WORKS! I lost 50 lbs in the first 90 days and kept going… just finished round 2 and looking and feeling great! I have NEVER met anyone that followed the diet and workouts and didn’t succeed. This is no gimmick, you put in work… but it is real honest fitness. I’m 37 and keep up with the 20 somethings just fine in sports, climb mountains, and do whatever else I want to try with ease. Tony Horton is my Jack Lalanne!

  • James Kieffer

    Yes, couldn’t agree more Jerry. I’m not a certified coach, but have completed P90X twice. I just ordered P90X2. It’s a great program. You get out of it what you put in to it. The key is to do it, like Tony said. Show up the next day.

  • Lynn

    I love to train with 20 lbs wieghts. And enjoy the old school workouts. If I really want to shake things up I do P90x+ it is an awsome workout. I love the interval training it helps with expanding my lung function and I workout with it in the winter when its cold and summer when its really hot outside. Since I have Asthma I have to be careful not over do it

  • Eric Scism

    Jerry I completely agree with you! It’s all about putting in the effort to get the results. Nowadays so many people want the easy way into a great body. That’s never going to happen. I’m at the end of week 3 right now and I’m already getting tons of compliments on how my body is changing!

  • Serge

    Been doing P90X for years and rotate it with other Beach Body products along with running, swimming, cycling etc. This program is certainly a favorite and it works. The secret is you have to commit yourself and like Tony says “show up and press play”.

    All you have to do is show up. You’ll hate it but you’ll love it!

  • Ryan

    It is a good program — if you’re skeptical, don’t be. Pull the trigger and get after it. The first few weeks are tough and you’ll want to quit (and you’ll be very sore), but keep doing as much as you can. It changed my life in 90 days, which sounds ridiculous, but I’m glad I did it and never looked back. I’m healthier, fitter, and enjoy life much more now.

    I’m not selling anything, just sharing my experience.

  • Bruce

    P90X does work – you have to stick with it though and be patient for the results. I first went through the entire program in 2009 and lost the 30 pounds I wanted/needed to lose. I felt great about myself and what I had accomplished. It’s not easy though. I had not exercised in years and after my very first workout, I threw up. But I told myself I needed to keep at it. I did not notice any physical changes until about the middle of the third week. Not much, but enough to convince me change was coming. But by that time, I actually looked forward to the workouts and in some cases, I did 2 a day just because it felt good. By the middle of the second month, the changes were coming much more rapidly. My clothes were feeling comfortable again and my wife was flattering me about the effects, which made me want to do more. But none of these workouts were done in a gym and few were done at home – I travel a lot for a living so most were done in a hotel room.

    I carried resistance bands with me as well as an over-the-door chin up bar. I connected my laptop to my room’s TV so I could work out with the DVDs. Many hotels have a fitness room with dumbells so when needed, I asked if I could borrow some for an hour. I also started “shrinking” my stomach by not eating so much. If you want better proportions, eat smaller portions. When I got hungry for junk food, I reminded myself how much hard work it would take to burn it off, and that took care of that. Instead, I snacked on fruits, vegatables, or nuts.

    It’s now 2013 and I got lazy along the way and put some of the weight back on so I’m back on P90X. I’m in the third week and starting to feel the results once again. It’s harder to find the time now (each workout is about an hour) and if I wait until the evening, I tend to find excuses not to work out, so no matter what I’m up early and doing my workout first thing in the morning before work. This actually helps me a lot because by the time I get to work, I’m energized.

    I’m almost 52 years old now and I’ve realized that the best thing to do after I achieve my ideal weight once again is to keep up with the exercises. I don’t have that much free time for other activities, but this is one I can control 6 mornings a week. For anyone who’s considering P90X – do it. Don’t give up if you don’t see results right away, but they will come if you also control your eating. It’s going to be hard at first and you’ll doubt yourself but in just a few short weeks, that will end and you’ll be doing something incredible for yourself.

    I have P90X 2, but I’ve not been successfull in using this in a hotel because of the need for medicine balls. Once I finish P90X again though, I may see if there’s a way to adapt it to my situation.

    One Recommendation: I’d like to see BeachBody offer P90X through iTunes as I could stream the videos from my iPad/iPhone to the TV using Apple TV. Anyone know if this is being considered?

  • p90x workout

    P90X workout is one of the hottest trends when it comes to staying fit. The combination of the exercises, diets and supplements incorporated in this program has been very impressive that people would usually take a piece of it. In just a span of 90 days, you are guaranteed of a favorable result. This is one of the reasons why this is a sought after workout plan.