We’re moving onto part 3 of the 9-part Tony Horton interview and things are really starting to get interesting! If you missed the last interview excerpt where Tony explains which type of exercise he can’t stand doing, then check out part 2 of my interview.
In part 3 of the 9 part interview, Tony shares his secret to turning back the clock, and also lets us in on the one thing he had difficulty with 10 years ago. Tony then explains the one mindset shift people need to make that will make the difference between huge results and mediocre results. So let’s dive in.
Craig Ballantyne: Why should people do yoga?
Tony Horton: It’s the fountain of youth.
It’s the fountain of youth. It’s – I think it’s the most – I went to yoga on Saturday. And I walked in there the Tin Man and I walked out Gumby, I mean, in the course of 90 minutes. I mean, not – you don’t have to go to a 90-minute yoga class, but most of the – most traditional – at least where I live here in Los Angeles, most traditional yoga classes are a full 90 minutes.
But it’s strength; it’s balance; it’s patience; it’s breath; it’s strength; it’s flexibility. It’s everything. It’s everything. And it’s isometrics. It’s everything.
It’s NOT interval training, and it’s not high-end cardio training, but as you get stronger and better at yoga, there’s level 1, there’s level 1-2; there’s level 2-3; there’s level 4. I’ve been to yoga classes where you’re standing on one leg or you’re doing handstands; you’re doing shoulder stands; or you’re doing these two-arm crane, pigeon things.
It can be – it’s like – you can go from basic Kundalini yoga, which is mostly just meditative and just mild stretching, to Ashtanga or Hatha or Iyengar, and those classes are like Cirque du Soleil. So that’s why yoga is great, because it’s so diversified.
With running, you’ve got – what have you got? You’ve got: run fast, run slow; run far, run short distance. That’s all you’ve got. And combinations thereof. You know? And I love running. I mean, I love to put the iPod on and go, you know what I mean? If I’m in a – if I’m up in Santa Barbara or I’m someplace really beautiful and there are some great trails, oh, my gosh, I think running is awesome.
But I think people do too much of the same stuff, over and over and over again. I mean, how many times have you walked into a gym and you see people who look exactly the same as they did two years ago? And you think, “Well, man, you’re in here all the time. How come nothing’s changing?”
It’s mind-bending why – I mean, if every – the whole country got up and did yoga every day, holy cow, we’d be – everything would be green; there’d be no pollution; global warming would end. I’m being silly, but it’s true. Yoga is – it’s magic. Magic.
Craig Ballantyne: It is certainly a powerful 90-minute transformation. I totally agree. Did you have yoga in the original P90, Power 90?
Tony Horton: Yeah. It was at the beginning.
It was the first – it was the warm-up in the beginning of the routine. And a lot of people sent it back. We got so many returns because, “Oh, my God, this yoga is RIDICULOUS,” because this was 11 years ago, when…
….yoga has become a little bit more mainstream now.
It’s been on the cover of Time magazine, and it’s in every health mag across the country now. And about 11 years ago, it was still fairly new to most Americans, at least in the middle of the country. People in New York and San Francisco and L.A. were doing it a lot, but – but yeah, and then a lot of people just got really angry, because “what’s this silly yoga stuff?” But it was – I still feel that yoga’s the best warm-up to almost any routine.
Craig Ballantyne: And how has Power 90 changed from that original program, changed over time, and even your training philosophy, some of your beliefs? How have those changed in the last ten years?
Tony Horton: Wow. Good question. I just – I know ten times as much now than I did ten years ago, because now with these new one-on-one series workouts, I have to shoot a new workout every month. And we did Volume I, which was last July to this – July ’08 to July ’09, and every one of those was new.
So I had to come up with 12 brand-new workouts.
So I’m digging around and going to different classes and talking to different people and just having to be like the mad scientist with fitness programs, just to keep them interesting, to keep them fresh and to – and my thing is, I mean, I’m all – I’m mixing stuff up now all the time.
I mix isometrics – I’m doing a lot of stuff on BOSU balls, stability balls, medicine balls. Like, I do push-ups now on four balls. I don’t do regular push-ups anymore. I do – I put my feet on a stability ball and my hands on a basketball and do push-ups. I don’t do pull-ups anymore; I do levers. I do muscle-ups. I do pullovers. You know?
And I’m ten years older now, obviously, in ten years, and I’m – my balance is off the chain. I had terrible balance ten years ago. I was very linear. I was very strong. I could do 110 push-ups in a row, but I couldn’t balance on four balls and do a push-up. No way. I couldn’t do one. So that – those are the changes that I’ve made.
I’m huge onto the – onto BOSU balls, stability balls, and medicine balls.
I’m a huge believer in balance exercises. I did – one of my one-on-one routines was called “One on One on One Leg.” And – for upper body. And the other one’s gonna be “One on One on One Leg” for legs. And there’s – because I’m bad at it. I mean, I do things – I work on things that I’m not good on, and I realize that the – you’re good at things you do often.
So people who get P90X get frustrated because they can’t do the movements. Same thing with Power 90. I go, “Oh, this is no good. I can’t do it.” And I say, “Well, you’re not supposed to be able to do it. If you could do it, it wouldn’t work.” You know? It’s – they’re skill-based fitness routines. The reason why they didn’t – they never sold in the past is because people didn’t like stuff they couldn’t do.
But now Americans are more savvy. They – they’re learning.
And the fact is, if you can’t physically do things at the beginning and you keep practicing and keep failing and you notice that the increments of improvement is slow – that’s why it’s called Power 90 and P90X. It’s 90 days; it’s not 90 minutes.
Most programs that you get are dancing, kicking, punching routines, you know, Billy Blanks. Everybody could do that. I mean, it was a hard, intense routine, but you’re standing on two feet. And you’re throwing punches and you’re doing these combinations and you’re doing these contractions in your core – awesome, great.
But it was very doable stuff, even if some people were doing modified versions and some people were doing really extreme versions.
The thing that’s AMAZING to me is that there are people who have 70 pounds to lose that are doing P90X who can’t literally do 80 percent of the workout but do it anyway. You know what I mean?
They just do it anyway, and they eat right, and in 90 days they go from zero pull-ups to a half a pull-up. And so they do the whole 90 days again, and they go from half a pull-up to one and a half. And by the time they’ve done their fourth round, they’re doing six or seven pull-ups, and a year earlier, they could barely walk the stairs.
And I’ve seen – I’ve heard dozens – like this guy, Dallas Carter. I’m going to Hawaii next week for a fitness camp. Guy lost 150 pounds. He did Power 90, like, four or five times, did P90X five or six times – ’cause those three months will come and go. They come and go, boom, boom. I mean, October, November, December – it’s gonna go; it’s – we’re halfway through November already. Somebody could be halfway through P90X who started on October 1st. And that’s what he did.
That’s what people do. They just love being bad at things because they hear me go, “That’s what it’s supposed to be. That’s – you’re not supposed to be great at stuff at the beginning; you’re supposed to struggle.” You know what I mean?
And one rep turns to two, and two turns to four, and before you know it, you look awesome; you feel great; your life has changed.
To discover the rest of Tony Horton’s fat burning advice:
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