Santa Maria Sun / Sports Lead
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 26
Bringing the XP90X creator Tony Horton leads a workout at Vandenberg in advance of a certification class for the fitness program in Santa Maria
BY SHELLY CONE
When celebrity fitness trainer Tony Horton walks into a room, like he recently did at Trattoria Uliveto in Old Orcutt, heads turn.
Horton—the man behind the P90X fitness training program—knows how to command attention with a confident swagger and his trademark wit. Incidentally, earlier that day, he also commanded a gym full of military and civil service employees at Vandenberg Air Force Base as part of a tour of five military bases in six days.
After a sweat-inducing workout based on the concepts of “muscle confusion,” the very basis of the P90X program, Horton and his entourage stopped by the Italian eatery in Orcutt and took a few minutes to speak with the Sun about his latest endeavors, and what it’s like to be “Tony Horton.”
“It’s bizarre. It’s 100 times better than I ever expected it to be. It’s awe-inspiring to realize how you get paid, and the people you meet and the lives you change,” Horton said.
Some of the reason he finds it surprising to be the persona he is today is because it was never in the plans. In fact, at one point he was the very antithesis of who he is today.
“I was Anthony Sawyer Horton,” he said. “But I thought the ‘S’ stood for ‘scared.’ I thought my shadow would beat me up; but I always thought something would work out for me.”
Eventually something did, but it wasn’t the way he expected. As a child, his family moved around a lot and he had a hard time making friends. Part of the reason was because he had a stammer, something that both his father and grandfather also had. Horton worked hard to get rid of it.
Early in his life, Horton wasn’t fitness-inclined and his diet was definitely not befitting a future fitness trainer. He pursued an acting career. As a young man, Horton was inspired by Jerry Lewis. In college, it was Steve Martin, and as a young, struggling actor, it was Jim Carrey. Much of the personality and humor Horton displays both in person and in his exercise videos are remnants of his early aspirations to become a comedic actor. However, instead of his acting career taking off, he found his fitness career blossoming.
First he began working out because, he admits, it helped with the girls. But then he became inspired by it. He started to acquire some big-name training clients; however, his star really began to rise when he started creating his fitness videos. Perhaps the most popular of those videos, P90X remains a top seller nearly a decade after its introduction.
The concept relies on muscle confusion; essentially the theory that muscles begin to get used to a repetitive motion and therefore stop changing. Changing up the movements before the muscle gets a chance to become accustomed keeps the muscles actively growing and building strength.
Horton regularly goes to Washington, D.C., where he’s the race marshal for the National Press Club’s yearly 5K race. He works with about 140 members of Congress on Capitol Hill at the Results Gym and did his first workout at the Pentagon this June. He’s also warmed up the crowd for First Lady Michelle Obama and her “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity campaign.
But one of his favorite patriotic duties is teaching and lecturing troops on how working out is a practical tool that helps them prepare for the rigors of their jobs. Horton recently completed a fourth tour with Armed Forces Entertainment, the Tony Horton “Ripped and Ready” Tour, where he traveled overseas to Japan, Italy, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Germany, reaching soldiers, airmen, sailors, and their families and motivating them with a fitness regime geared especially for them. Though he’s often worked with troops overseas, he never did so domestically until recently.
He had been arranging a tour that included a couple of bases in California when he met Roger Miller, who works at Vandenberg Air Force Base and also happens to be a certified P90X coach at rippedandbuff.com. Horton expressed an interest in adding Vandenberg to the tour and Miller set it up.
“The energy within the gym was felt throughout the entire facility. Even those that had already worked out stayed around to catch a glimpse of Tony and the crew. Some even jumped in after we began just to say they worked out with us,” Miller said.
An afternoon session attracted even more people and a greater energy. Miller said about 300 people attended the evening session, and the crew spent much of the day meeting and greeting airmen.
Miller himself lost 42 pounds on the program and saw improvements in his chronic arthritis.
“Through P90X I learned more about my body and the physical things I had to deal with. It transformed me,” he said.
Miller said he learned a lot about nutrition as well as exercise through the program, and took the certification training in Santa Monica to teach P90X. The same training will be offered at the end of this month in Santa Maria.
Horton said meeting people like Miller is one of the best parts of promoting his program, which now includes P90X2.
“One of [the best] things is the fact that P90X, nine years later, is still going strong. Info products don’t have that kind of staying power. And the people who use it are walking billboards for the product,” he said. “They really show what is possible.”
Arts Editor Shelly Cone can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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