Inspiration To Live By from Tony Horton

Last night, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Tony Horton, the creator of the popular home fitness program P90X.

tony hortonI could beat him in a fight, don’t you think? ;) (thanks, Ericka, for the photo!)

I first met Tony back in April when I was out in California for a Jamba Juice Fitness event, but only for a hot second, so actually getting to hang out and talk to him for quite a while last night with a small group of fellow bloggers was quite the treat.

Tony is in town for the Beat the Deadline 5k tomorrow morning and arrived early to offer a workout to the public at the National Press Club. Those of us that are on “Team Chevy” for the race were lucky enough to be invited to a special hang out session with Tony before the workout. So cool to get to know him better!


I found Tony to be such a nice and interesting guy. Hilarious, too! Some fun facts:

  • He originally moved to Los Angeles to become an actor.
  • While trying to make ends meet, he worked as a mime, carpenter, GoGo dancer at Chippendales (!), stand-up comedian, and more, before finding his love for training and fitness (and clawing his way out of $60,000 of credit card debt).
  • His first celebrity client as a trainer was Tom Petty (and he has also trained, among many others, Usher and Ewan McGregor – swoon).
  • He can do 30 pullups + 30 pushups in 1 minute flat.
  • His favorite breakfast is steel cut oats with blackberries & blueberries and an omelette with veggies, lots of basil, and avocado. Yum!

What I liked most about Tony, though, was how he preaches two main things that I also preach:

1. “Train because you want to be happy.” Not because you have to work out – but because you want to, because it will make you feel good. I know exercise makes me a better, calmer, happier person every day I do it, and I loved that he said this.


Tony led a big group of people in a hard, sweaty workout after we met with him, and there were big smiles throughout the room, both during and after the workout.


Tony makes exercise fun, and everyone was pushed out of their comfort zone in a good way. Which leads me to the next thing that Tony preaches:

2. “Do what scares you.” I love this on so many levels because it applies both to life and to workouts. There have been many times in my life when I was terrified about taking a leap of faith. I remember wanting to teach English abroad for years before I finally got up the courage to actually do it. On the plane ride to the Czech Republic, I was so scared. What on earth was I doing? I thought. Why was I leaving everything that was easy and safe and going across the ocean to a place where I didn’t know a soul? But of course, I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.

I was also terrified when I started my prerequisites to go back to grad school to become a Registered Dietitian. I remember leaving my first day of Chem 1 class, calling Matt, and tearfully saying how I didn’t think I could do this and I was totally overwhelmed by how long my journey back to school would take me. But again – here I am, and it was all so, so worth it. As Tony said later on in the evening to the group that came to work out with him, “No is the first two letters of ‘nothing’. If you say no to experiences, that’s what you’ll get – nothing.”

tony horton workout in dc

I love that Tony encourages people to get outside their comfort zones when fitness is involved, too. As he said to the crowd, it’s not an easy task to do what scares you, but you’ll be much better off for it. You guys know I love yoga now, but a few years ago I used to hate it, mostly because it scared me. It was weird, and a total waste of time, or so I thought, as a way to convince myself I wasn’t missing out. I credit Tony’s P90X Yoga X (along with a great American beginner’s yoga instructor at my gym in Prague) as a big part of my change of heart. (See also: How I Went From Hating Yoga… To Loving It.) Yoga X is my favorite yoga DVD and I think I’ve done it at least 100 times by now. It’s hard, and fun, and when I first started doing yoga back in the U.S. and was too nervous to go to studios, it was a wonderful way for me to get more comfortable with the moves on my own. Not to mention, it’s a killer workout! Before I started doing that DVD, I thought yoga wasn’t really a workout. Um, yeah. I was wrong.

The workout that Tony led us in last night was a lot of fun – he used a lot of yoga-inspired planks and incorporated all sorts of high intensity moves, too. I always love his workouts and it was really fun to do one of them with him in person instead of just on the TV!

tony horton workout in dc national press clubTop left and bottom photo credits to Ericka

Thanks again to Tony for the great night and for the reminder that the easy choice isn’t always the best choice. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. Right? I’ll try to keep that in mind when I’m running 26.2 miles in November and questioning my own sanity… :)

How are you getting outside your comfort zone this weekend?  I’ll be challenging myself with not one but two races – the Beat the Deadline 5k on Saturday morning and the Parks Half Marathon on Sunday morning. Whew! I’ll be taking it easy on pace tomorrow and trying to be speedier on Sunday, but not so speedy that I PR. Treating it as a marathon training tempo run! It’s looking to be a beautiful weekend for running, so I’m excited. Hope you’ll get out and enjoy it, too!


  1. 1

    That’s awesome that you met Tony Horton. I did P90X a few years ago and liked it.

  2. 2

    Awesome lessons! I can totally resonate with the idea of pushing past through the comfort zone. It’s scary yet that’s where the magic happens not to sound cliche.

    Right now I’m pushing past the fear as I step into focusing on building my business on a fulltime basis. You just reminded me I experienced the same fear regarding my blog and its been growing strong for the past 4 years. Hope you have a great weekend and have a great race!

  3. 4

    Love your concept of getting outside your comfort zone. A truly big idea, and an incredibly important one. Well done on encouraging readers to look for such opportunities!

  4. 5

    It’s a strange coincidence that you posted this today.. I am gonna try a new thing every month starting tomorrow.. with Bikram yoga! and yes, I am scared as hell but life is all about new experiences and if we didn’t push ourselves out of the comfort zone we would never know what has the potential to make us happy. So glad u got to meet someone that inspires you as much as Tony :)

  5. 7

    What an awesome opportunity! I love doing P90X style workouts because they never get boring, you’re always switching movements.

  6. 8

    That’s so cool!! He sounds like a pretty awesome guy. I love the idea of doing something that scares you. Especially since the same for me – I went back to school 2 fall’s ago and I did the same thing to my hubby – asked him if I was making the right decision because I felt almost depressed and just so unsure. Well, I’m glad I’ve stuck with it, because here I am in my last year!

  7. 10

    Tony Horton seems like a guy who is truly living his dream – I love it! And funny what he had to go through to get there (Gogo dancer?!?). I love the idea of exercising because you love it and it makes you happy … off to my run now! Good luck with your half tomorrow!

  8. 11

    Both of these are great ideas to live by! If training doesn’t make you happy, then why are you doing it? And if you don’t push yourself outside of your comfort zone, then life would be monotonous and boring.

  9. 13

    I’m a long time reader, some time commenter, and I think we’ve met at a race or two. Anyway, I did the Parks Half last year and it was fabulous! Such a great course! Enjoy it. My recap from last year is here:

    Also, in searching for that recap I realized you are training for Richmond, right? My first half, in 2009, was Richmond. Loved it. It might not be super relevant for you, but my recap should be on the races page on my blog.

    Anyway, have fun tomorrow!

  10. 15

    Really awesome! What a neat experience… And look forward to hearing about today’s 5K and tomorrow’s Half-Marathon!

  11. 16

    Great post! :)

  12. 17

    I’m getting out of my comfort zone by doing a training run for my first half marathon and the run will be the furthest I’ve ever gone.

    Such a wonderful and inspiring post. Tony sounds very inspiring. I’ve never tried P90X but it sounds really challenging but fun too.

  13. 19

    I am a BIG believer in doing something scary every once in a while. I just took a big leap career wise and am somewhat terrified but also really excited. The more you push the comfort zone boundaries the bigger the comfort zone after all :)

  14. 21

    That’s SOOO cool that you met him in person! I do P90X occasionally… but only the yoga on my rest days because the other videos seem intimidating D:

  15. 23

    I ran to yoga instead of driving (its four miles) my hip hurt so there was a lot of walking, but given that I live in MN, i wanted to get as much outside time in as I can before it starts to get cold!

  16. 24

    An amazing post!

  17. 25

    Wow, his advice really resonates with me. I’m planning on going travelling by myself after Christmas this year, and while I’m super scared, I am looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing new things. Thanks for sharing! I feel like I was there myself :)

  18. 28

    That’s awesome! What a great reminder to push yourself. I think it’s also refreshing to see someone find success in what they love after trying so many different careers. It’s encouraging for those of us who have struggled to find what we love!

  19. 29

    My sister owns the P90X videos, and I do the Yoga X every time I am visiting her- I’ll second the fact that it is TOUGH. SO awesome you got to work out with Tony in person!

  20. 30

    I love the “do what scares you” motto as well, and can also relate to it within the context of a long academic journey! Sweet post — glad you got to meet Tony!


  1. […] our new bestie Tony Horton (creator of the popular P90X at home workout series) – if you missed my post on Friday about how inspiring and awesome he is, check it […]

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