Thursday, February 19, 2009

P90X Better Than Steroids? by Steve Edwards

The X is gettin' some serious love lately. My dad calls the other night and says he watching a show in the Giants and two pitchers, Zito and Wilson, are doing 90X. Tony calls me the other day to get my opinion on something because NBC is coming over to film a segment on Wii and wants the X perspective. He calls me again, a couple of days later from a plane on his way to do more X interviews and says, "Dude, you see the Grammys last night?" I hadn't but Cheryl Crow gave us a huge shout out from the red carpet.
Then, yesterday, I get this from Tony:
On WFAN, (biggest sports radio station in NYC) the host was talking this morning about A-Rod and said something to the effect of "his body was never that chiseled, not like he had a P90X body or anything".

This, for those of you not privy to the national news, is a reaction to Alex Rodriguez admitting that he'd been doing steroids. In reality, steroids don't make muscle, they just increase your body's ability to build muscle. But in a world where we see advertisements to "build muscle without steroids" as if the public thinks it's impossible, it's nice to get a little validity for our system. Anyone can have an X body. All it takes is a little structure and a lot of hard work.

Note: Jon Congdon (our President) sent this and I think it's a nice addition:

Everything you see about P90X that might appear to be PR is "organic" -- meaning that we don't pay for PR, and don't hire celebrities or athletes to do it, or talk about it. It's advertised on TV, in magazines sometimes, and more and more on the Internet, but we don't do PR. If Cheryl Crow, or Usher, or an MLB, NHL or NFL athlete buy it, they buy it just like everyone else and either because they saw the infomercial or a friend told them. That's what's so amazing about the P90X phenomenon of late.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

One On One Interview with Carol Bardelli

If you ever watch late night TV, then most likely you’ve seen one of Tony Horton’s infomercials featuring his fitness systems and products. The following article is an interview with Tony Horton by Carol Bardelli who has achieved great success with Tony’s fitness programs. Carol proves that you can be past fifty, be extremly fit, and enjoy a very active lifestyle.

Interview with Tony Horton
Carol Bardelli: Hi Tony, I’m excited to get this opportunity to talk to you.

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?

Having Fun While Working Out

Tony Horton: 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 to 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.

Carol: 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?

Three Downfalls of Most Fitness Routines

Tony: 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 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.

Fitness Programs for Everyone

Carol: 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 everyone. 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 for me 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?

At Home Fitness Boot Camp Training Success

Tony: 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 sense. 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.

Carol: 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 tendinitis, 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?

Overcoming the Challenges of Getting Fit

Tony: 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 him to 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 a 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 severe 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.

Carol: Tony, thanks again for this opportunity to interview you. And I’ll see you tomorrow for a workout when I slip one of my Tony Horton DVDs into my player.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Ski Trip to Alta & Snowbird by John Nicolich

Interlodge. It’s a word unfamiliar to most but to those who know, it holds a special, mythic meaning. It could mean the best powder day ever, with access limited to those few souls lucky enough to be holed up on the hill while all others are strayed in the valley below. I arrived in Utah to snow flakes the size of saucers falling in a density that blotted out the sky. Ross and I shuttled up Little Cottonwood Canyon together with the anticipation of a huge day, maybe a huge week. We also learned that interlodge would be in effect at midnight. The road would be closed for the night and the snow would continue to fall. The ride up seemed to take forever. In a neurotic sort of way, I felt that everything would be all right, if we could just make it up this hill. Car wrecks to the left and right, snow inches thick on the roadway, a slightly deranged driver – any of these things could harsh on my dream. Finally, we pulled into the Peruvian parking lot. Not breath of breeze, just a steady unyielding stream of fluff. Utah snow – the greatest snow on earth.

We woke to a morning like no other. The snow was deep everywhere, the sky was starting to clear, and the parking lot was empty. The road was open, but the going was slow. There was no line as we skated across the parking lot to the lift. Ross, Tony, Steve and I made our way up the Collins lift brimming with anticipation. In seconds the game was on. Knee deep blower POW greeted us as we made our way to the Sugarloaf lift. In an instant we had lost Ross and it was clear that the powder rule was in full effect. After a few glorious laps we made our way over to the Supreme Lift. Truth be told we have never had much luck at this lift for one reason or another. Today, we knew it would be different. Our mouths watered as we scoped lines that were as yet untouched. We could have some serious fun back here! We raced off the lift only to find the entire zone closed off. Stymied yet again by this cursed lift. (To make things worse, the ropes dropped shortly after we left and the reports on the skiing were remarkable.)

We made our way to the front side and to Wildcat – our Old Faithful stash. Unbelievably, we were able to track line after line in the deep, with virtually no company. We went in for lunch and met an upbeat and forgiving Ross. We also witnessed the arrival of Stan. In true Stanley fashion he told of an all night work session, last minute changing of flights, frenzied packing, and a blackberry full of emails. He would join us later. We went back out and furthered an epic day that none of us would soon forget. Day One was done.

Our number was growing. Paul and Theone would join us on the shuttle to Snowbird to meet Dale. The day was cold and clear. We could see the spindrift at the tops of the peaks and the day was absolutely gorgeous. We loaded the Tram and at the top found conditions reminiscent of a deadly Mt Everest expedition. The cruel wind howled and seemed to swirl everywhere. The surface was beaten to a sheet of hardpacked ice that made navigation tricky. The sound of the shrieking wind disoriented me as we tried to escape the wrath of the bitter cold. I dove over the side to Mineral Basin to try to escape the insane conditions on top, but found an unforgiving blow coming straight up the hill. The snow was slabbed over but soft. Tony plunged ahead skiing with perfect grace in the tricky snow. Stan also went ahead, and Steve was right behind me. Suddenly, I fell through the crust and tumbled headfirst into the freezing snow. I dropped a ski, and Steve stopped and retrieved it for me. It’s a good thing too because the snow was so deep, I was making no progress on my own as the wind continued to howl. I found that I wasn’t the only one in difficulty – there was carnage everywhere on this side of the hill.

At the Mineral Basin chair, someone pointed to Tony and said "Dude, you have frost bite." Sure enough his nose was bright white and we got a harsh reminder of the extreme conditions. We headed back up to the top and tried the (skiers) left side of the basin instead of the right and found the snow much better. Now it was safe to rip. Not wanting to spend any time in the fierce wind at the top we each picked our own lines and met at the bottom. At least some of us did. The powder rule was especially cruel on this day as our large group splintered to bits. Nonetheless there were cases of true heroism, as Stan (the Man) Pennington waited at the top, in the sub zero bluster, for Steve to tinkle. The US Marines have nothing on Stan Penn who would leave no man behind.

In all the excitement we realized that we had not heard from Dale. We went in for lunch and found him there, stoic but not angry. After a quick lunch, we went out for some more fun. We ripped through the Cirque and late in the day, went all the way across the back side to a glorious stash. This area is at the far end of a rocky, undulating traverse and has no name. The entry was tricky – steep, tight, and rock strewn. Dale and Steve had to catch some mandatory air before dropping into the knee deep powder. From there, we ripped a circuitous route through the trees, around the rocks and over the rollers. It was like an amusement ride. Hearing Dale behind me laughing and hooting the whole way was inspiring. I caught myself laughing like a little kid. We kept going until last chair, finally making our way to Dale’s car for a ride back to the hotel. Day Two in the books. That night we dined with Ann and Bob, fresh off the Power 90 program. They both looked great, fit and trim. Tony helped Ann out by eating most of her berries at dessert! We also met a new friend, pro skier Kasha Rigby.

It snowed again overnight but with a huge wind that threatened to shut down the lifts. That morning the mood was subdued, mostly from sheer exhaustion. Two killer days of skiing bell to bell had sapped our strength. No one was in a hurry to brave the elements yet again. After a slightly late start, we found that the snow was soft, if not deep. Better yet, no one was on the hill; we had the place to ourselves. We racked numerous runs on Wildcat and in spots found the snow had blown in knee deep. Better still, the wind seemed to fill in our own tracks, making each run as excellent as the previous one. We met with Kasha and decided to brave the high traverse to get to our favorite goods – Rustler trees.

The traverse was sketchy to be sure; it was a near complete white out on the exposed hillside. To make matters more interesting, the surface was rife with icy sections and hard protuberances that threatened our health and well being. Yet the reward at the end of the road was simply glorious. We picked our way through untouched lines as if we owned the place. Run after run we found untracked blown in snow on steep terrain, with lines that seemed to last forever. Lap after lap, we braved the dangerous traverse for the right to wallow in the pure heaven we found in those trees. This day was certainly the diamond in the rough; we had no right to have this much fun. Life lesson: Don’t ever judge a day by first light, and good things come to those willing to pursue.

The smiles at dinner were wide. Our large group had a ball, recounting the day, telling old stories, remembering days gone by. This group is special and the company is superb. I think we all truly value these sessions, maybe more than the skiing.

Day Four opened with a beautiful glorious morning. The previous day’s wind had kept Snowbird pristine; the tram and Mineral Basin had both been closed while we shredded Alta. We had a good size group with Dale, Paul and Theone and kept it together pretty well. The powder rule was overruled. A few runs in the sunshine on the front side made for a lot of happiness. Then we went through the tunnel and found Mineral Basin had just opened.

The sight was one to behold. The bright morning light illuminated an enormous untouched canvas of snow, as far as the eye could see. The vision was inspiring and grand. I sat there pondering a moment and recognized something out of the corner of my eye. It was Horton, poaching my line! The powder rule was re-sustained. Game on.

The snow was a gorgeous light powder that flew off my skis effortlessly like dust in a windstorm. I ripped huge, wide turns at mach speed. There was no thought of conserving the canvas with tighter turns. There was no thought of anything but the freedom of movement, gracefully arcing from one side to the other. Near the bottom, I picked a tight chute and shredded it with no effort as the soft snow yielded to my will. My line was truly artistic, with some huge high speed turns, some air, and some tight no nonsense skiing. However, our once unified group was now splintered, as we rushed to load the chair before the oncoming hordes. Unfortunately, someone had let the word out and every unclean shredder and his brother showed up to despoil our nirvana. Within an hour the goods had been pilfered by these pagan infidels. Ultimately, we waited on horrendous lines until we realized that everyone was now leaving the area. We took a few more runs without the crowds before moving on. I’ll not soon forget the bounty in that back basin; it was truly outstanding.

We moved on to the Cirque, then to the back side. We met up with Sweet Jane; always fun times with her. Late in the day, Dale and I blazed another trail through the steep and treed section from the previous Snowbird day, and we hooted and hollered the whole way. I couldn’t stop laughing as we picked our way through crazy tight spaces with crazy deep snow. How much money is a moment like this worth?

Again we rode until last chair and by now I was exhausted. Unfortunately, we were stuck in Snowbird with no way back to the Peruvian. After watching bus after bus leave us behind, we bribed a Snowbird driver to take us back home.

Our group would be splitting up soon and heading back into the real world. One last day of spring skiing awaited us. However, there would be one more surprise before that. Those pants. Those fancy white pants. I had been envious of Tony’s new pants since I first saw them. I had shopped for them but was unwilling to treat myself. The bright white color perfectly matched my showy red jacket (contrasting horribly with my green envy). On this last night together, my buddy treated me to something I would not get for myself. He gave me those pants; I put them on and felt the groove. I felt complete. Big thanks to Tony.

Day Five was another beauty. Paul and Dale were gone now. I missed our big group. This bright sunny day would have been great for the whole group with no powder rule pressure. We went back to our Rustler haunts and found some good snow to play in. Theone, suffering from tuberculosis and insomnia all week, was a Shred Betty, killing every line. After lunch Steve had to leave. My shuttle was at 245. I was on the Sugarloaf lift at 215. We raced to the front side, and grabbed one last line down Baldy face. But now it was time to go, and I blasted. I pulled into the Peruvian just before 230 and began a frenzied packing session. I wound up stripping to my skives in the lobby, much to the amusement of the few witnessing guests. I zipped up my last bag at 245, and loaded up with a huge smile still on my face.

The transition to reality is always difficult after a fanciful journey like this. The complicated troubles of the world seem so distant when I’m ripping with my friends in a foreign land. It always takes a few days to decompress, and in this case to rest. It was a long, terrific trip that seemed to pass all too quickly. Good luck picking your favorite day or favorite memory on this one. The sum experience is the true treasure. I can’t wait to do it again.

See You in Jackson!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Why Are You Here?

This, boys and girls, is the $64,000 dollar question. As you might know, I'm in the health and fitness game, but fifteen years ago, training folks, was sort of a "side" gig. I spent most of my time running around Hollywood auditioning for 3rd rate movies, Miller Lite commercials, and student films.

At a young age, I thought my purpose and reason for being on earth, was to entertain. I did some stand up comedy. Fun at first, but just hell toward the end. I had small roles in bad movies and bit parts in large, bad movies. I even got the occasional modeling gig. Posing? Was this the reason why I'm here? Truth be told, I was pretty unhappy most of the time while chasing my dream as an actor. It was crazy competitive and not very fulfilling. Exercise and fitness was a part time job in those days. I made a decent living training people, but it didn't seem like a lifelong career to me at the time. I wanted to be a movie star! Turned out, Brad Pitt I'm not. More like Don Knotts.

Along the way, I picked up Keith Elles's book, "The Magic Lamp." This book was a guide that helped me figure out what I was supposed to be when I grew up. After reading it and doing the lessons, I discovered that helping and working with people brought more satisfaction then acting in hemorrhoid cream commercials. I was put on this earth to teach. All those acting classes and 2 AM comedy spots in front of 3 people, were early training to help me deliver my message. I am extraordinarily fortunate to have made this shift to my present career. I eat, live and breathe my purpose every day. I feel very lucky to have been given this gift. It is such a satisfying feeling waking up every day knowing why I am here.

I believe that a majority of the people who suffer from poor health, sadness, depression, obesity and lack of fitness, do so because they don't know the real reason why they're here on this Earth. They have jobs, families and make money. Most have a warm bed and the creature comforts of a modern lifestyle. Is that enough? Is it filling the void? Is it everything you hoped and dreamed for as a kid?

Sure, you have your mini-moments of hope and bliss..a good night's sleep, a fun party, one of your kids scores a goal at the soccer game, a nice glass of Cabernet with your Italian dinner. A lot of people, most people, can link these little happy moments together for a lifetime and pretend that everything is just fine. The truth is their job doesn't fulfill them and the little victories are just Band-Aids. But this is life, right? W R O N G !

Is your job the reason why you are here? Is your family the reason why you are here? Is your glass of Cabernet during dinner why you are here? Maybe. For some the answer is yes. For many others the answer is a big fat NO. If the answer is NO, then whatcha gonna do about it? Read a book, go to a seminar, volunteer at a local shelter or school? What?

Here's a great example:

A man has a job and this job pays the bills, feeds the family and keeps a roof over everyone's head. But this job is not why he's here. He loves his family but it's not the sole reason why he's here either. This man loves riding his bike. He loves everything about bikes. The gears, the tires, the frames, the brakes. He loves tinkering with bikes. His "regular" job is just a job. He's purposeless. Someone close to him suggests that he apply for part time work at a local bike shop. At first, this means less time with his family, which is tough at first, but he wants to be a happy dad, so he takes the job working just a few hours a week. Five years later, he owns the bike shop. He took the risk and discovered his real purpose.

Have you ever been bored? If the answer is Yes, there is a chance, a likelihood, a possibility that you have not yet figured out why you are here. When you have found your purpose, you have discovered why you're here. It's hard to be bored when you're out in the world doin your thang! Your reason-for-being makes you happy. You want and need to do your thing often. When you are doing your thing, you are not overeating, you're not watching tons of TV, you're not prone to addictive behavior and it's very hard to be sad, depressed, anxious, overwhelmed and unhappy when you are doing your thing baby!

What is your thing? Will Keith Elles's book help you find it? Maybe. It helped me, but it wasn't the only source. Opening doors and staying curious helps too. Woody Allen said (he denies this, but we give him credit anyway) "80% of life is showing up" Most people are afraid to show up. New things scare people. Hard, complicated (at first) things can be frightening. Not looking good while doing something new, upsets people. I say so what, who cares and big deal to all that noise in your head. If you show up, you might discover why you are here. And after you've shown up use the other 20% to pay attention while you're there.

I know this little ramble is a touch esoteric, but I'm just here to help you figure out what's important in your life. It's a remarkably short trip. Won't it be sad if you never learn what truly makes you happy? Get out of your funk and discover what makes you click! Sometimes it's as simple as finding a hobby. Your hobby can become your life, your purpose, your reason for being here.