Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Skier's Christmas Carol by John Nicolich

The second week of December was bleak and depressing. Johnny-Boy and I had just returned from Targhee, driving all night through a blustery storm that seemed to leave snow everywhere but here. Our mountain had only inches and we needed feet. Then a severe cold snap bit into our area plummeting temperatures well below zero. The wind howled and snarled and cold air crystallized any bit of skin left exposed to its wrath. It hurt to breathe and needless to say it did not snow. In this horrible setting our family tried to get hold of the Christmas spirit, but busy lives and countless activities made each day a chore. We didn’t even have a Christmas tree yet. Ever the cheapskate, I joked that we should wait till New Years when we could get one for a bargain. My kids called me Scrooge, and the Grinch. Meanwhile I buried myself in work to distract my longing for the addiction. Would it ever snow again?

Finally, Silver Mountain (about 2 hours drive from home) promised to open on Thursday December 18. They had about 10 inches of "snow" as a wind-scoured base and the temps were still in the brutal subzero range, but hey, at least it was skiing. On Wednesday night I attended my daughter’s piano recital that’s given every year at an old folks home to cheer the elderly. I was bitter and cold, and tired from a long P90X workout (now is a good time for a recovery drink!). As I sat in the room warming my frigid bones, I mingled with some of the residents.

When the Christmas songs started I suddenly found myself thinking back over Christmases past. It started with memories of gifts I received as a kid. I remember getting my first sleeping bag and practicing rolling it up again and again. I reminisced about the cool slot car set I got when I was nine. The songs of the concert kept rolling along but my memories went deeper and deeper. I could see my long dead grandparents, as they were when they were young and vibrant. I could taste the Christmas Eve seafood dinner and the laughs we had afterwards playing cards. My grandmother always cheated by feeding me her cards so I could win.

This was getting weird. I lost track of the present and was now flashing through the past in vivid, descriptive terms. I quickly scrolled through more recent times like my son’s first Christmas and traveling with two babies and a diaper bag to get home for the holiday. When the recital was over, the elderly gal I was speaking with before looked over at me and winked knowingly. All this was strange enough, like scenes from "It’s a Wonderful Life," but by the time we left for home it was snowing and there was an inch on the ground. The cold, hard wind had stopped and light flakes fell gently to the ground.

That night the news reported a winter storm warning. They advised that most schools would be closed and to keep off the highways unless absolutely necessary. I left my house at 6AM and entered the storm of the century. More than 2 feet of snow had fallen. The roads were caked with fluff higher than my car’s clearance. The news reported that Spokane and Coeur d’Alene were crippled from the dump and they advised all non-essential vehicles to stay home. This was opening day. This was essential. I blazed a trail through the dark, emerging morning over mountain passes, past wrecked cars, and around slow moving semis. Winter storm warning my ass, I’d drive through the gates of hell (and jump the toll) for a good powder day.

I made it for First Chair with crazy expectations. The snow was thigh deep and the cold temps meant it was lean and light. The first descent was a straight-line, as the snow billowed up before me. The entrails splashed on to my chest, then over my head as I picked up speed. I was alternately laughing and choking as the cold white filled all space. Was it perfect? Non-believers would report on the rocks, stumps, and other unseen obstacles underneath the deep. They would comment on the lack of speed, and the need to walk out of any flat terrain. For me though, this day was perfect.

This day turned my spirit around. I came home and hugged my kids and kissed my wife. I laughed deeply as I described my day to any one that would listen. Most couldn’t believe I would brave the elements and risk my life on this seemingly trivial pursuit. But really it saved me from despair. It also marked the beginning of a set of storms like no other. It’s been cold and snowy ever since that day one week ago. I’ve been skiing everyday since. Seven days in a row.

Today I marvel that just one week ago everything seemed so bleak. Today I continue to live the dream. This afternoon, as I made my way through my favorite tightly spaced tree runs, it occurred to me that I could see nothing but the spaces. The trees were there, but my path through them was easy, unimpeded. As I made my way through I had no plan, no fixed route; I was just reacting to the terrain. There were no obstacles today; there were only opportunities and reaction. This is true freedom. This is the power of the addiction. This is my church and this is my religion.

So as this Christmas Morn looms, remember this true tale. If your spirit wavers you may be visited by the Ghosts of Christmas past. If you are truly blessed you will be rewarded with a gift. The gift may not be apparent at first, but if you recognize it, it can change your life. As for me, I’ll be skiing with Jacob Marley tomorrow and I’ll not worry a bit about the future. The Moment suits me just fine.

Peace and Merry Christmas to all.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Boys & Girls,

Our good friend Melissa Le'ppin wrote this P90X play on "The Night Before Christmas"

I thought it apporprieate on the night before Christmas. Enjoy!

Thank you Melissa!

T. Ho Ho Ho

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the Gym
Not a spin bike was moving, not even a rim

The plates were all racked on the plate trees with care,
In hopes that St. HortonClaus soon would be there

The wishers were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of ripped abs danced in their heads

And Jim in his lifting belt and Karen in new gym shoes
Were just settled down for an iron-filled snooze

When out on the floor there arose such a clatter,
Jim sprang from the Couch to see what was the matter.

Away to the weight room he flew like a flash,
Tore open the door and made a great crash.

The light on the top of the new-polished floor
Gave the lustre of mid-day to equipment galore,

When, what to his wondering eyes should be fell
But a chin up bar, and eight pairs of dumbells

With a little old lifter so muscled and raw
He knew in a moment it must be St. HortonClaus.

He was dressed all in under armour, from his head to his feet,
and his clothes were all sweaty from intense muscle heat.

Tons of equipment he carried in his sack,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

More rapid than eagles his dumbells they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now five, now ten, through sixties for this mob
and made sure we were able to PICK THE RIGHT WEIGHT FOR THE JOB

His eyes--how they twinkled! The weights he could carry!
The nutrition plan he gave us with limited dairy

Your workouts aren‘t working, your proteins to low
P90X … now that’s the way to go.
He clinched both his fists shouting this is not an illusion
To get ripped in 90 days takes MUSCLE CONFUSION,

12 intense routines ,, that;s what it takes,
While controlling your eating with good protein shakes

He was muscley and fit despite pushing 50,
and I smiled when I saw him, thinking man is this nifty.

He said just Press Play and vow to not quit
with P90x you j u s t h a v e t o BRING IT!

Merry Christmas Everyone
X out - Melissa

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Perfect Winter Day in Late Fall

Blog Lovers,

Every once in awhile I like to reveal a little piece of my personal life. Here's a short note I wrote to my ski buddies last week after an epic day of skiing at the Grand Targhee Ski Resort in Alta Wyoming. My good friend Johnny N. left the mountain the night before the storm hit and that's why I mention his vulnerability at the top of the e-mail. He loves deep snow and missed it by just a few hours. Ouch! Jennifer is one of my favorite people in the world and she was planning to come over from Jackson Hole not expecting to be skiing in thigh deep powder. She nailed a rare beautiful and perfect day in the snow in early December (still Fall on the calendar) with me and only a handful of happy people. Lucky us!

PS ~ Gotamas are skis and when it's puking it means snowing hard.

PSS ~ If you love skiing, riding and the mountains like I do, come and join me and other BeachBody diehards at Jackson Hole for a mini-camp, February 27 thru March 1st. Contact JuliAnne Forrest at

Here's the e-mail


What I don't want to do is rub it in, partly because Johnny is very vulnerable right now.

All I will do is relay the facts. About 9:00 last night I spoke with Jennifer. She would show up around 9:00 this morning. I went to bed before midnight with zero exceptions and not a flake in sight. When the alarm went off at eight AM I hit the snooze control... twice. What's the hurry, right? Why would today be any different than the last four? Knowing that Jen would be arriving soon I pulled myself out of bed at 8:15. The curtains were pulled tight but there was some light peering through a little crack at the top. Was that sunshine? Please no. Prior to opening the curtains I said out loud, "Show me something gorgeous!" OMG! There it was. Lots and lots of snow. Beautiful, new, fluffy, puffy, whiteness. I honestly couldn't believe it. It was like Christmas morning when you're ten years old. I threw my fist in the air and made some weird (non 50 year old) cheering sound.

I threw on the gear, grabbed the Gotamas and headed to breakfast. Muppet, Dino and Eric and two other strangers were the only people having breakfast. I stuffed my face with oatmeal, raisins, tea and burnt wheat toast, dry. Jennifer was easy to find, because it's easy to find anyone when there's only 20 people hanging around in a 5 thousand square foot area. Keep in mind that at least 8 inches were on the ground at 8 AM and it was still puking. By the time the whole team caught the chair by 9:15 we had close to a foot at the top of the mountain, and it was still coming down, hard.

If you've ever skied Targhee on a powder day you know the rest of the story. Untracked all day long, an empty mountain, shin to waist deep pow and huge grins from buzzer to buzzer, blah, blah, blah.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Diet Myths & Cooling Cravings

If you’ve wanted to shed some extra pounds, you’ve probably heard and read it all by now, and maybe you’ve even tried half of it, too. With all the information out there these days, it can be hard to pick apart what’s worth trying, what isn’t and separate the solid advice from the bunk. No matter what you hear or read, the simple truth about achieving a healthy weight boils down to getting fit and burning more calories than you consume during the day. Maintaining it means staying fit and not eating more calories than your burn during the day. Sure, there are little things you can do to boost your success or suffer greater setbacks, so let’s look at some popular diet myths and debunk them. We don’t want to waste our time tweaking the wrong things, do we?

Myth 1: Bread and potatoes make you fat.

Completely false. Starchy vegetables and (whole grain) bread, are carbs you need for fuel. The problem is not these foods, but how we tend to prepare them. It’s when you smear your bread with butter and fry your potatoes that you increase the calorie intake as much as four times. Dip your bread in a little extra virgin olive oil or eat it plain instead and dress your baked or boiled potatoes minimally to get the benefits from these foods without skyrocketing your caloric intake.

Myth 2: If you drink water before a meal, you’ll be less hungry.

Well – sort of. Water does curb your appetite if it's incorporated into food like a soup, or a thick vegetable juice like V-8. Apparently, when water is bound to food, digestion is slower and a fuller stomach means fewer hunger pangs. The thing to look out for: It's easy to confuse hunger and thirst, so if you find yourself craving something, drink a big glass of water first and see what happens. It may be that a drink is all your body really wanted.

Myth 3: Shellfish is packed with cholesterol.

On the one hand, it's true. Three ounces of shrimp contain more than a third of your daily cholesterol. But there's more: Shrimp is low in saturated fat and has a bit of omega-3 fatty acids. Eaten in moderation, shellfish can have health benefits. According to researchers at the University of Southern California, eating shellfish every week produced a 59% reduction in heart attack risk. I might just start eating some shellfish once in awhile after learning that.

Myth 4: It’s fine to eat the occasional burger and fries.

The problem: The word, “occasional.” If that means every Friday night to you, you’re probably pushing it. Now, if we’re talking every few months and you're fit, your numbers for weight, waist size, cholesterol, and blood pressure are all good, AND the rest of the time you’re eating vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and other nutritious fare, well, okay then. You’re fine. But few of us are that perfect. If you do “occasionally” indulge, take a nice fast paced 90-minute walk afterward to help offset the effects.

Myth 5: Women can’t do anything about gaining weight after menopause.

While hormones can be blamed for everything from acne to PMS, your fitness level has a much bigger impact on your weight than any hormonal changes that come with age. Most older women who continue vigorous, regular exercise can and do maintain their figures.

Myth 6: Diet soda is worse than the real thing.

Truth is, they’re both lousy for us. Both types increase kidney and heart disease risk, plus they contain acids that erode tooth enamel and welcome cavities. It’s always best to satisfy your thirst with water, diluted fruit juice, and green tea rather than any type of soda.

Well, that’s great to know, you might be thinking – but what do I do when I’ve just GOT to indulge in a little something before I go NUTS??!! I’ll tell ya what. If you’re going to indulge yourself in something sinful and delicious and there’s just no stopping you - do it as early in the day as possible. Researchers say that we get the most satisfaction from our food in the morning and our capacity to feel satisfied steadily weakens over the course of the day. If you eat your biggest meal at breakfast and continue to eat small portions of healthy foods throughout the day, chances are that you’ll be a lot less likely to have strong cravings for unhealthy “comfort” foods in the evening.

Monday, December 01, 2008

National Examiner Interview with Carol Bardelli

Hi Tony, I'm excited to get this opportunity to talk to you. My name
is Carol Bardelli, I'm a columnist at The Examiner, and I write for a
website called Healthy New Age. HNA has an existing page on you and
your exercise programs, some of which I've written. They wanted me to
rewrite the biography they have on you. That lead me to ask for an
interview with you through Beachbody's PR representative.

I have a few questions for you to open our interview. Further
questions, if any, will depend on your answers. Feel free to add
anything you'd like to cover. And thanks again for giving me this

Question one:

Tony, I've used all of your exercise videos, starting with Great Body
Guaranteed. Now I'm using Power 90X Plus and Tony Horton One On One.
I couldn't help but notice you can motivate people, including myself,
like no one else. An example is the portion of Power 90X Legs & Back
in which we do wall squats. I've got my back to the wall, my legs are
burning, there's about thirty seconds left. And you've got me and the
gang laughing out loud. What's your take on you're motivational
skills, combined with your personable demeanor and sense of humor?

I discovered a long time ago that the best way to get through the physical pain and agony of any workout is to have some fun along the way. Exercise is hard enough and to turn it into rocket science or make it so serious that it feels like torture, will certainly result in failure. I'm trying help people look at fitness and exercise in a completely new way. My goofy light hearted approach makes the physical intensity of exercise slightly more palatable. My coaches growing up cared more about winning and losing than the players on their teams. I was miserable during fitness tests and drills and there was never a sense that modifying an exercise was okay. I want everyone to play and I want everyone to succeed. I'm constantly looking for practical techniques that keep people in the game. If you're busting a gut during a wall squat, then I'm doing my job.

Question two:

Your programs are revolutionary, not because of their separate
components like resistance training, aerobics, stretching, yoga,
karate, plyometrics, and core. The unique way you blend them seems key
to the amazing results people are able to achieve in a short period of
time. What inspired you to design fitness programs that integrate all
aspects of exercise?

There are three things that cause people to lose faith in their fitness routines. Boredom, injuries and plateaus. When you repeat the same movements over and over again, one of these three will take you down. After 25 years in the fitness business I've seen hundreds of people get hurt, lose interest and stop seeing results because of lack of variety in their routines. Concepts/techniques like Sectional Progression with Power 90, Muscle Confusion with P90X and now Super Stacking with my new 10 Minute Trainer program are all designed to avoid boredom, injuries and plateaus. Running is a great but it's just one thing. Yoga is the Fountain of Youth in my opinion but it certainly doesn't improve your Plyometric strength. If you want a well rounded level of fitness and you want to continue to see results over a long period of time then variety is certainly the spice of health and fitness.

Question three:

With exercise systems like Power 90, Power Half Hour, Tony and the
Kids!, Tony and the Folks!, Power 90X, 10 Minute Trainer, Tony Horton
One On One, and Power 90X Plus, you literally offer something for

Power 90X, P90X Plus, and Tony Horton One On One, are designed for
folks looking to take their physiques to the next level. I can attest
to the challenging nature of these workouts, as well as the intensity.
Even after years of aerobics and weightlifting, I found myself almost
crawling to the shower after my P90X workouts. But, man, did I ever
see results. You're personally responsible you my finally developing
triceps definition. I finally have horseshoes. And now I'm addicted to
your extreme workouts.

Do you see a wider audience opening up to your style of extreme
workouts? And do you plan new projects along these lines?

First of all, congratulations on those triceps and thank you for your commitment to the program. If you had asked me this question a year ago my answer would have been different than today. P90X was intended for gym rats and people tired of spending money on expensive trainers and not getting results. A finite number of people in a niche market. We would have been happy if just these folks realized that you can get better results in your living room. Turns out our little niche in-home boot camp idea had legs. P90X has become a phenomenon. Everybody is doing it. Even folks who probably need Power 90 or some other milder workout program first. The amazing thing is that people (on their own) are approaching the program with common since. If there's a move or exercise that's out of their comfort zone, they skip it (for now) or modify it in some way. People are listening to what their body can do during these workouts and understanding that trying to keep up for the sake of keeping up is counterproductive. They're doing their best and forgetting the rest.

Question four:

On a more personal note, I have mild Cerebral Palsy. This has never
stopped me from doing anything including driving, horseback riding,
and of course, Power 90X. I also discovered that pull ups on the
program relieved my shoulder tendonitis, while plyo and yoga has
improved my balance. Did you think people with physical challenges
would use your systems, and that it could be used for rehabilitation?

You are living proof that a positive attitude is a huge piece to the success puzzle regardless of your situation. My nephew Andrew has a more than mild case of Cerebral Palsy and I've introduced to him all kinds of fitness routines that might have been considered too difficult for a guy with his genetic birth defect. He has a trainer, works out at the gym and goes to yoga twice a week. The fact is, we all have different starting points in life. The real measure of person is determined by how hard they're willing to work to overcome and deal with the hand they're dealt. I was the quintessential 98 pound weakling with a speech impediment, afraid of his own shadow, who got beat up at the bus stop by the local bully. That was my starting point. My challenge was great and long but worth it in the end. I'm not a physical therapist so it's not my place to say that it's okay for someone with sever physical challenges to jump into P90X, but I will go out on a limb and say that if you have the will, there is a way for anyone and everyone to benefit from a fitness program that challenges them.