About This Episode
In this riveting episode, Tristan talks to the world-famous Tony Horton. Tony is best known as the founder of P90X, a renowned exercise program that includes a variety of workout regimens. This guy is Obi-Wan Kenobi's trainer and has coached a slew of high-profile celebrities and business owners around the country. He is also the author of The Big Picture: 11 Laws That Will Change Your Life.
Tony and Tristan talk about exercise and the value of mindfulness and rest in living a happy, healthy, and productive life.
Tony’s Origin Story as a Fitness Guru
Known as “America’s fitness clown,” Tony shares how his journey began as a training guru in the fitness industry.
In college, he became interested in fitness. He enjoyed attending a weightlifting class because his instructor made it enjoyable for him. Years later, when he returned to California for an acting job, that spark of fascination was rekindled.
He began working out again in order to prepare for auditions, and people began to notice the physical changes. Some of his peers began asking him for fitness advice, and one thing led to another until Tony simply began assisting others in training.
This led to a chance encounter with Tom Petty, and his career started sailing full speed ahead from there. Now, he is known as the man who trained Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, Ewan McGregor.
Mindset Shift from Hanging Out with Highly Successful People
Tony was inspired by hanging out with successful people and hearing their tales, and he understood that they, too, are average people. They had dreams and struggled to achieve those dreams.
He learned the importance of discipline from them. That same discipline gained through exercise and proper nutrition became the cornerstone of who he is today.
“A lot of people are using sex, drugs, and rock and roll to try and get a temporary high, but the downfall from those is just tremendous. But if you exercise, you are earning it. I’m not using a source outside of myself, I’m the source.” -Tony
Being selective about what to eat and trying to be consistent in his exercise has given Tony more energy to push on with the hard things.
“Oh, and there was luck involved [in my success] as well,” Tony laughs.
What is luck?
“Luck is opportunity meeting readiness,” Tony says. Early on in his career, he was “unlucky.” Some opportunities came, but he blew them up because he wasn’t ready.
“I didn’t have the confidence and knowledge to be able to hit my mark when I needed to. But now I can hit my mark in my sleep. I can get up in front of 26,000 people and do my workout and not even think about it. A lot of opportunities come to me now, but early on, I can barely get out of bed.”
Getting Sick and Rebuilding Yourself
Despite being successful and famous, there was a time when Tony had a sickness that just knocked him out and he had to rebuild himself to the core.
Several things piled up in October 2017, causing him a great deal of tension and concern. He made the decision to leave Beach Body. Then there was the shooting in Vegas. The next day, Tom Petty died. Tony was upset, which aggravated his shingles symptoms in his ear.
It impacted his eyesight, smell, taste, and balance, all of which a fitness instructor needs.
“I couldn’t work out, couldn’t drive. Couldn’t work, couldn’t travel, couldn’t do anything. I just laid in bed,” Tony says. “It was horrible. I was in incredible pain.”
“All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put me back together again.” - Tony
He tried several alternative medicine procedures from tinctures to acupressure and acupuncture. Anything just to help him get dressed and in the car to get to the next appointment.
His recovery took four years. Now and then, he still gets a bout of vertigo. He took medications every day for four years. But overwork, physical, mental, and emotional stress would aggravate his sickness.
“So, I had to learn how to relax more and listen to my body and just chill,” Tony says.
Road to Recovery
Two things helped a lot during his recovery: his wife’s help, and learning mindfulness. He immersed himself in reading books, such as Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living and James Nestor’s Breath.
“Sometimes, you’re in such pain and agony, that all you have is your breath,” Tony says.
He says his wife’s support also helped. “She fed me. I couldn’t go downstairs. Walking would have been impossible. She was the one who drove me for all my appointments with all the king’s horses and all the king’s men,” Tony laughs. “I’m blessed that my wife is my best friend. We’ve been together 13 years and we’re closer than ever. I married a unicorn.”
Mindset shift out of the spiraling negativity
Tristan asks Tony, “When you got thrown into this whole different world where you felt like you were just trapped, how did you start transitioning out mentally, how did you get out of that?”
Tony laughs and recounts some of his past failures. “I went from a C-student with a speech impediment with enough tenacity as a snail in a hurricane to a guy who became pretty successful and pretty good in what I do. So, my whole thing is to just continue to show up, and learn how and when to chill out as opposed to just burning the candle at both ends.”
This feeling of being trapped is something entrepreneurs get from time to time too. Tony gives some pretty amazing advice to them.
“I think a lot of entrepreneurs are still ambitious, which is great. They have all these strategies and plans and goals and all that. But they don’t bother to check how stressed out, pissed off, and unhappy, depressed they are,” he says.
“It’s about balance. I thought I had balance before I got sick but I didn’t. I was missing a strong mindfulness component,” Tony says.
The pendulum swings in both directions, as it’s supposed to. But if we don’t allow it to, something’s going to break. Some mental, and emotional issues are going to pop up. And fighting that tooth and nail is only going to last for so long.
Take the time to take care of yourself despite your busy schedule.
There are two things that we can control.
- What we can do physically with our bodies to help improve.
- What we put in our mouths. Basically - “we are what we eat.”
These two things are the foundation of what we are, and then we build from there. And if you do that, you can get through life. That is the philosophy that got Tony from A-Z.
“I’m still growing, I’m still learning,” Tony says.
Common misconceptions when it comes to exercising and nutrition
· If you train hard you can eat garbage. It is hard enough for people to practice one discipline. Exercise and practicing a healthy diet are two different disciplines.
· They often mistake the timeframe in which something is going to change. Most people work out for aesthetic and health reasons. But they often fail to realize that everyone has their own speed and pacing.
· Exercising for all the wrong reasons. A lot of people get into working out to look a certain way, but that’s all ego and aesthetics. It is understandable because the media is blasting us with unreasonable standards of beauty. But those superficial goals won’t last. I noticed that people who work out to feel good and improve their quality of life last longer.
What do you think are the characteristics of people who succeed in working out?
Honestly, there’s no way of knowing the first thing instantly. I just know it when they keep on coming and I start seeing the changes in them physically and emotionally and their diet starts changing.
You can lead a horse to the water, and I am a pretty good source of water. If you hang out with me regularly and you eat what I tell you to, and you get into these mindfulness practices then you can succeed.
If they don’t want to do it, they won’t succeed.
Younger folks seem to be more pliable or less resistant to doing things outside their comfort zone. And you got to get out of your comfort zone.
Tony shares that he has 10 things on his mindfulness list that he does to take breaks. Mindfulness is important to keep being productive and take care of your health.
“[Most] people just sit in the muck, in the mire of their day, and they don’t take these breaks because they think they’re breaking the rules. Maybe you can’t do that at the office but for a lot of entrepreneurs and people doing their own thing, it sparks that creative energy that would get stagnant if you’re just sitting on your ass.”
You have to notice when you need a break.
If you put a frog in water and turn the heat up slowly, the frog doesn’t jump out. But if you put the frog in hot water, it jumps out.
We are the same in that regard. We often don’t notice we’re slowly burning out until we have to be hospitalized for it.
Lack of physical activity and proper nutrition leads to every possible ailment and disease you can imagine.
What’s next after P90X?
The Power of Four is Tony’s new project that he and his wife started during the pandemic. It is a program centered on the four things he thinks are important to fitness:
They officially launched it recently. Power of Four offers three different levels: Basic, Premium, and Platinum.
Tony is also on Tonal, and he has two programs available there: 20-in-20 Ignite and 20-in-20 Pump Up the Volume. His program is number one and just finished shooting his third one.
He also launched his supplement line called Power Life. During his recovery, these supplements helped Tony regain the weight he lost and helped improve his digestion. If you want to try any of the 12 products available, you can use the code “Tony30” for a 30% discount.
Find Tony Horton
Power of Four website: powernationfitness.org
Power Life website: mypowerlife.com (Discount code: Tony30)
Get Tony Horton’s book The Big Picture: 11 Laws That Will Change Your Life on Amazon!
DISCLAIMER: The people interviewed are well-trained experts and highly skilled in their areas of practice. They take many safety precautions prior to attempting the activities described. The activities or research discussed in these podcasts should not be attempted without qualified supervision and training with professionals.