Tony Horton and I

That’s me with P90X founder Tony Horton. If you’ve ever done these DVDs, you know that Tony is extremely upbeat and full of quirky humor on the spot. He was exactly the same in real life — and I really liked him.

I was invited to a private tweet up with Tony and some other bloggers at the National Press Club on Thursday. It was very low key and as soon as I walked in, I spent about 15 minutes chatting it up with Tony himself about fitness, Crossfit and more. He was really down to earth and definitely not a prima donna.

Celebrity Trainer

I had expected him to be a little haughty — I mean, he kind of has a cult following and is super successful. His first celebrity client was actually Tom Petty (this was way before P90X days) and he continued training celebrities like Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox, Ewan Macgregor, Usher and Bruce Springsteen. Hello!

With fellow bloggers Ashley, Anne, Heather, Angela, Chelsea and Tony!

We got the chance to sit down and ask him whatever we wanted! Turns out, he has a pretty inspiring story. I love hearing about how people got started — and am quite fascinated by personal brand stories as well.

The Back Story

Tony started out — believe it or not — working as a MIME on the beaches of California for extra cash. Like a real, “in the box,” silent mime. Ha!

He was also a Chippendales dancer and had a variety of other odd jobs before taking on personal training. It wasn’t until he was in his early 40s that he got the idea to put together the “Power 90” exercise plan he used with clients on a DVD. He had done some DVDs before that but obviously this one took off like crazy.

Since 2001, he’s gained a cult following of fitness lovers and he’s as  beloved in person as he is on the DVDs. He was very positive, inspiring and upbeat. He recently created Tony Horton’s Kitchen, healthy meals that may soon be available at 7-11 stores — making healthy food more available to normal people. His fitness role model was Jack Lalanne:

He takes pride in looking younger than his age (55!) — and he certainly. He credits a lot of that to yoga and you’ll see yoga influences in all parts of his workouts. After our private session with Tony, we joined a group of about 100 people for a workout lead by him. Very exciting!

My friend Maggie joined me for that part of the night:

With my back injury, I wasn’t sure if I should even do the workout but I couldn’t say no. I modified it, which made me sad because I totally wanted to do all the moves!

We did an hour plus of P90X-ish moves with some new stuff thrown in. Lots of MMA stuff and a focus on core. I realized I need a serious core refocus. If my core was stronger, I’d also be less likely to get back injuries in the first place.

Tony Horton on Crossfit

Tony did weigh in on Crossfit — a little. I thought he might be negative towards since it was kind of the craze that came after P90X — at least for me. For some people, the next craze was “Insanity” (still want to try that!). Anyway, I told I hurt my back at Crossfit and asked what he thought about it. He said…”Oh that’s interesting, I always hear people say they do crossfit and then they get hurt…” Ha ha, I got the negative vibe but protested that I was hurt only because I did the move wrong (true story!) Didn’t seem to be any hard feelings but I had totally been interested in his thoughts — didn’t want to push it though so I didn’t ask anything else.

With Heather and Anne

At the end of the workout, we did some yoga stuff, which totally made me feel like I should be doing yoga. For real. I just don’t have time to do yoga, Crossfit and running. Plus now I’m going to be doing some spin classes periodically.


However, that calm feeling of quiet and relaxation was pretty powerful. He also had us do an “om” — which I had never done before. You basically lay on your  back, take a deep breath and say “oooooooooom” as loud and long as possible. The vibrating in your throat is eerily calming. Then, we did a warrior cry — take your best guess on that one 🙂

Afterward, Tony gathered us all up to the stage where he talked to us like friends and doled out some inspiring advice and told a few funny stories. You can tell he is a people person that gets energy from a crowd — and from those who enjoy fitness like he does.

Were you or are you a fan of P90X? Did you transfer to a new fitness craze like Crossfit as I did? I still have my P90X DVDs and use sometimes! Have you ever met a fitness role model? 
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