Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cheat, Slow Down & Take Breaks

I've discovered over the years that one of the main reasons why people can't stay fit and healthy is because they put so much pressure on themselves to see constant improvement in their performance and appearance. They also become discouraged when things like strength, energy, range of motion and endurance waver from workout to workout. For some reason many of us think that with every workout we're supposed to get stronger, leaner and better. The truth is, no one can continuously maintain or sustain an ever improving level of energy and enthusiasm for every workout. It's impossible. There are dozens of factors that effect how we're able to accomplish things. Sleep, stress, diet, weather, illness, injuries, biorhythms and more, all play a part in your day to day successes, disappointments, accomplishments and setbacks.

My 5th Law of Health and Fitness is Reality. If reality dictates that you're wiped out after a long day, and at the end of that long day you have a PlyoX workout to do, then let reality play a roll in how you will do that workout. Some choose to skip the workout altogether because they feel (prior to starting) that their performance will be substandard based on past performances. Others might 'get through it" but beat themselves up afterward because they weren't as strong or capable as in past workouts. If this kind of mental gymnastics is happening with you, then understand that comparing your present situation with past ones will make you crazy. This kind of thinking is a leading cause for why people can't get or stay fit and healthy.

Life is filled with ups and downs, and these ups and downs will inevitably affect the quality of our workouts. When I ask you to do your best and forget the rest, I'm asking you to see if you can show up and be okay with how you're doing right now, not last time. The place and head space you're in right now is all you have. Why would you want to ruin it by comparing it to something else? If a particular workout seems daunting prior to starting it, then I say, it's okay to "get through it" anyway you can. This includes using that pause button on your remote often if necessary. It's also okay to skip parts of a workout. Run-in-place or stretch during Bow to Boat or Plyo Push-ups if your too tired or not in the mood. I'm here to tell you that it's perfectly okay to cheat like hell, take breaks and skip some moves if that's what you need to do to get through a workout. I do.

Any workout (no matter how altered it is) is always better than no workout at all. When you shift your mind set to doing something (even when you don't want to) you'll be less likely to completely fall off the fitness wagon. Don't let your ego fight what's happening to you right now. Gracefully accept the conditions that present themselves as opposed to fighting the reality of your situation. I've mentioned the fight or flow scenario before and it applies here as well. Go-with-the-flow based only on who you are right now, and stop fighting the truth of now because you so desperately need to keep up with your past. If you can do this and accept this, then you'll know how to stay fit and healthy for the rest of your life.


Anonymous said...


This is great advice that I recall you dispensed at the August fitness camp in 2006. I have constantly asked myself how am I showing up today. It definitely helps. Thank you for the refresher! What is happening with camps for this year?

Take Care,
Shane Fielder
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

psalm9567 said...

Great words, Tony! I do find myself from time to time comparing my level of fitness now to where I was before July of last year. That's when my panic hit and it all went a bit downhill. I am fighting back and before I started this new round of the X with Skill's group, I took my fit test, knowing that I would see that I had taken leaps and bounds backwards.

What I did find surprised me! All my numbers were up! Well, all except pull-ups! But my heart rate was lower after the jumping jacks, my push-up # was higher, my In & Outs were up, my weight for bicep curls to failure was up. I WAS IN BETTER SHAPE EVEN THOUGH I'D GAINED SOME POUNDS BACK.

Now, when that "comparison" thought comes, I kick it to the curb. One day at a time, one workout at a time. I do have a plan: my WOWY stuff is in place, menus made, food porn purged. I guess I could sing along with Popeye, "I am what I am and that's all that I am!"

Cheers, Tony, thanks again for giving it to us straight.


moviefan said...

As usual Tony, you know exactly what to say! There are times when I feel like I am wasted, but like you said, I do my best and forget the rest! If I don't at least try, then I feel like more of a failure than if I tried at all in the first place. Sure you still feel like you didn't Bring It, but you at least accomplished something.

Thanks again,

nick said...

You know, Tony, if I would stand at the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway here in NYC, and ask every third passerby why he or she sometimes gets depressed or generally down, I would bet my bank account (which isn't much) that most of them would answer that they at times get hung up on past negative experiences. In fact, I would probably answer the same way. Hell, on a few occasions, I've already ruined a perfect post-workout high by excessively obsessing on some "perfect" workout I had 4 years ago, and then ritualistically torturing myself why I couldn't attain those results again. That same putting yourself down and beating yourself up translates to all areas of life. How many times have we ruined a great feeling or idea because of some distant "bad" memory that always pops up when we try to enjoy something?

You know, the past has a way of distorting the truth. Reality and truth get easily blurred by the passage of time. A lot of things happened that you think happened, but really were never that "good" or that "big" or that "bad." Live for the future, let go, it's not all in your hands.

Jake Silver said...

I just wanted to stop by and say thanks for taking the time to write this Blog. I have done Beachbody DVDs for over a year now and in fact I am about to start a new round of P90X. What you posted here is exactly what I tell myself, Do My Best and Forget the Rest. I push that play button and see what I can do that given day.

David Raines said...

Dear Tony - I sent this to your sales site they sent me here - I had stage 4 cancer in 1999 and almost died 3 or 4 times. The doctors damm near killed me trying to heal me then sent me to hospice to die on about 11 grams of morphine a day. 180 days later God healed me and the cancer was gone. they had to wait 9 months to do a couple of major opperations on me to fix all the damage done from the Chemo.
After that it took me up until now to get to doing 21 push ups 3 times a week and I am running some - still have a ways to go. Last year my 18 yr old son beat me up and my wife threw me out of the house and I am doing well now as I am recovering and determined to succeed - my disibility just ended and I am making money at a great job in Apollo Beach FL - Here's the request - If there's any way you or someone in your company would be willing to take me on I really would like to get better faster but I don't think I could do a lot of those exersies - I would be so happy to just get into shape -
Oh I did finanally reach one dream - I bought a Harley last year and rode it to Calif and back! anyway I saw your show and I got so excited i just had to write - I am 50 51 in May I am also coming up on 31 years clean from drugs - If you would just consider assisting me - I would be very greatful - the only thing maybe I have to offer is that I play the harp(Harmonica) very well and maybe I could do a commericall for you after you help me get RIPPED - and you could absolutely say if I could do it anyone can! well mabey a lot of people could - Obviousley this is the very short version of my story keepin it short in hopes that you will read it - My oncolojest said that he should write a book about me and my last surgen said of 10,000 operations he would remember mine! God has been good to me and please just consider it - I work for a construction company amd I know my boss would agree to having the whole company go on the program and get everybody ripped!
Kinda like a extreem company make over - sorry i am just trying to think of some way to get you to assit me cause I really want to live fully again - I tried a plates video and Billy blanks and abourt 3 others but just could not seem to do their programs - sorry I am rambeling - please just think about it???
thank you very much for reading this -
God Bless - David Raines 813-766-5111

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Anonymous said...

Hello Tony:

Thank you for this blog. I am new to the P90X program, however I am not new to fitness. I too tend to want to kick myself here and there when I know I can do better or maybe even push it a little harder. I usually fall short on a day when I am tired or worn out from the day. So when this happens I will set a goal to do better on the next workout, and in your words “Bring It”. I am glad you brought P90X to the public, I have been waiting for something that was challenging, fun, and had a meal plan to go with it. It’s a great package! Thank you!! 

I am not sure if you check blogs often, but if you do, I was curious to know how to get a trainer? I had one assigned to me, however he has not responded back to my emails. I was hoping you might have some advice? It would be nice to have more of that buddy system with someone who has already been through the program. GOD that sounds like I am talking about AA. Hehehe
Actually I would rather have you as my trainer. We can all wish right? Heheheh

Thank you for your time,


Anonymous said...

Hi Tony.

Your comments are appreciated. You're right. Why not thinking and working forward. The pass workout results should be in our mind just for a guide or remembering us how tough that was and how better it can be now...

It's normal to say '' that was tough '' and so what? Instead, if it's to easy... someting's maybe wrong. So let's go, pushing play commitment for a long term!

We should call workout ''WORKHARD'' just meen that you should push just over your limit when you do a workout. This will tell you that something's presently working.

Cheers to you alls, BeachBody team!

Tony B said...

WEll I am here to say this man lives by his words.
Recently I was in LA and had occasion to do a workout with Tony on what was a very hard day for both of us.
I had done a 4mile walk in the morning and rehearsed all afternoon exercising for about 4 hrs. Tony had a sore shoulder and other commitments along with the rehearsals.
I wanted to take a Yoga class that evening and told him about it
When I got back to the hotel room i was totally beat and could very well have just gone to sleep as it was going to to be a gruling day the next day.
But, no, I got up jumped in a cab and went to the yoga studio and who do you guess showed up. Yep, Tony Horton himself..He said he didn't show for 2 workouts already that day but wasnot gonna make it 3..We took the class( WE SHOWED UP) no expectations and it was a totally uplifting & energizing experience.
It made the next day so much easier to get through and it was one of my best yoga experiences ever. Great instructor..
So yes, you can cheat some reps, drop some moves but most importantly SHOW UP.. It might just be the best workout you ever did!!!! When you least expect it sometimes the greatest things happen..
Tony B

phill said...

I am new to your world...I have been in gyms off and on for the last ten years...working hard up until summer...gliding through summer...and then gaining huge weight only to work five months to get it off...


I woke up one morning and saw some commercial about p90x and thought about it for a few days...then ordered it...

not because I am in great shape or even can do a pull up...even when I was almost at 300 benching I couldnt do a pull up...

Now that I am fifty lbs overweight I still cant do a pull up...

But ordered because I get bored with workouts...after five months of inteance body killing workouts I just get bored...

SO I am giving this a shot...I will learn new things and me and my son just truring 13 who is 5' 7" 10 and half shoe and not overweight but needs to learn how to get more limber will do the the 90 day deal...

And whatever we cant do in the 90x we will fake it...or at least try it until we do get it...good or bad we will attempt to get better with you product...

and I am sure there will be days I will need to come back to this post when we wake up at 5:30 in the morning to push play...and say...I may not fell like killing myself this morning but lets do what we can...

because I know doing something is better than sitting on my tush watching you guys doing it wishing I could do it...

Kristen said...

I love what you posted on your are very motivating Tony and FUNNY!
I SHOWED up to my own garage after a long day at work yesterday and did the pylo DVD, my first time by the way, and did it, loved it and sweated my booty off. You ain't going to get anywhere sitting on you butt on the couch, so like you say on P90X, Bring it and anyone can do anything for 30 seconds!
I'm showing up today to do my shoulder work out and my ab ripper, can't wait! Wait, did I really say that? said...

This cannot have effect in actual fact, that's what I consider.