Tony Horton To Fitness Business Owners: Better ‘Walk The Talk’

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Tony Horton, the creator of fitness program P90X says exactly what he thinks as he describes his modest start in the fitness industry, his real motivations, and how too many fitness business owners fail to walk the talk, especially on nutrition.

Are you modeling the correct nutritional practices? See what Tony Horton has to say.

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Transcript

Sean Greeley
All right. Hi, this is Sean Greeley here with MP TV. And we’re at the home of Tony Horton talking all things fitness.

Tony Horton
Tony, great to have you here, Sean. Pleasure to be here, my man,

Sean Greeley
thanks for coming by. Fantastic. Now you have been a tremendous leader, innovator in the fitness industry for many, many years, have a longevity that has lasted quite a long time in our community are folks who are coming from where you started as a coach as a fitness professional. And I’d love for you to share how you got your start as a coach, when did you first start at with knowing you had a passion for fitness and sharing that with others? You know,

Tony Horton
it came late for me in life. I was not a great athlete, as a kid, I was on the football team more of a tackling dummy really from Monday to Friday than I was an actual player. And my experience as an athlete as a kid was was not a very good one. And I think because when I grew up in the 60s and 70s, it was about winners and losers, you know, either you if you played well, and you got to you know, if you’re a good athlete, you got to play and if you were not you sat in the sidelines. And that’s where I spend a lot of my time I was a very frustrated athlete, I didn’t really have the experiences I wanted to have. But then later in life, I took a weightlifting class in college. And for the first time ever, I had a coach that was a good guy. I’m not to say that my coaches were terrible, they just had this mindset of getting their picture in the paper and, and you know, it was all about wins and losses and stuff like that. And so we were really instruments in which to achieve that for our coaches. But when I took a class and I was trying to get a credit, I met somebody who really shared with me techniques and methods that, that, that fit me that helped me understand the process that helped me understand that they were steps to get from point A to point B. Anyway, to make a long story good. You know, that was my first experience. And it was purely based on ego it was based on aesthetics, you know, having ripped arms and six pack abs and those kinds of things. It wasn’t and and to meet women, let’s face facts, that was what I was looking for. But I wanted an ECA. But it wasn’t an ECA. In the end, it required a lot of a lot of interesting information I didn’t have. But that was my first introduction. And I came out to California where I am now and I was broke, you know, I came out here with 400 bucks in my pocket. And it was all about survival. So you know, training or exercising or joining a gym wasn’t even an option. It was just purely about, you know, I would I would go to the beach and I would body surf or I would play some tennis or some golf, I play a lot of basketball. But I wasn’t training, I wasn’t exercising, I wasn’t really doing any of that. And then I got very, I got very lucky I got an agent, I was I was a young actor and agent said you’ve got to get you have to get in better shape if you want to get some work. So I joined a gym. And the neat thing about California and now it’s everywhere in this country is that there are fitness facilities, you know, every every other block. When I grew up, they were at the high school and they were at on the college campus. But they weren’t gyms where you could do aerobics and lift weights and meet people in the whole social thing didn’t exist. And I just fell in love. And you know, after about five or six years, I was I was a member of four different gyms. But I still wasn’t really training anybody yet. I was just lifting for the sake of lifting and doing cardio. I didn’t know about yoga or polarities, these things were sort of foreign to me. And I had another job I was a runner, 20 Century Fox and I started training my boss. And because he was noticing my transformation, and so my boss introduced me to Tom Petty, all of a sudden just blew up. I didn’t need to be a runner anymore to be a carpenter anymore to be a waiter anymore. I didn’t have to do any of those things anymore. And, and I had the typical, you know, trainers job of getting up at five o’clock in the morning, that first client was at 530. And I was driving all over Los Angeles, from Hollywood to Westwood, Malibu, to Venice, you name it. And you know, I had about sometimes seven clients a day. And when you’re driving from Santa Monica, to Malibu, to Malibu, to Hollywood, you know, a lot of your time is driving around. And I thought I had the greatest life in the world because I didn’t have to work for the man anymore. I was setting up my own time, my own schedule, my own my own fees. And I was hanging out with celebrities, it was pretty cool.

Sean Greeley
What was the most rewarding part of that experience for you? What did you really love about not just working for yourself, but working with other people.

Tony Horton
I love the fact that I could take somebody who was really struggling with it was clueless about their health and their wellness and what to eat and how to exercise and teach them how to how to function better. You know, I could teach them how to look different. I taught them how to, on every level, how to be a better person how to be a better, Rockstar had a better be a better mom or executive. And that’s what it really came down to, you know, the, I think a lot of times people are hiring a trainer for the sole purpose of looking different in the future. You know, it’s all about aesthetics. But I think, you know, if I if I’m talking to the folks that are watching, it’s really much more than that. And the reason why the best way to hook a client is to be able to explain to them, that it’s not just a physical thing, it’s a mental emotional thing. And for some even a spiritual thing and also, to constantly constantly educate yourself in new areas of health and wellness. You know, a lot of people are still stuck in that weight training only mode, or that cardio class mode or the only plot is no only yoga and you’re restricting yourself from growing your business. And you’re restricting yourself from having greater success with your clients. I mean, that’s what power 90 was p90x, p90x. And now the next program that we’re working on as well. It’s just really about variety and fitness, and being able to share that in such a way. So that your clients get excited about seeing you get excited about training and don’t look at it as this thing that they have to do.

Sean Greeley
Awesome. You know, you’ve been through the journey that that many people in our community have in that you’re trying to get your start as a coach, and it’s like, how do I get that first client, and then you get your first client. And for you, it turned very quickly, all of a sudden, you get too many clients, and you run around your work with people. And then what was once a problem of not enough now, because the problem is too

Tony Horton
many too many went and running yourself ragged. And at that point, you have to say, well, am I at that stage where I want to rent a space and open up a facility and hire other trainers that have my same philosophy, and that really, it’s up to you, you know, you have to decide how big you want to grow it at the stage in which I thought I was going to go there. I got lucky because I was also sort of an on camera guy. So I was an actor and I was a model when I was younger and much more handsome than now. But but the two things were happening separately as an actor, an on camera performer and as a fitness trainer, but the two kind of came together because my first job really was was NordicTrack. And I would fly to Minneapolis and do some work for them. And I was unique because I knew a little bit of exercise science, kinesiology, and food science. So I, you know, I could walk the talk, I also looked fit, and I was, you know, lean and ripped and strided and vascular, which was nice on camera. And so I was able to bring both those things together. I can’t

Sean Greeley
imagine Did you? Did you think that this thing would go in the directions? It did? Or what how did that evolve for you?

Tony Horton
Not in a million years, it just it just was one of those fluke things, you know, serendipity, whatever you want to call it Kismet? You know, it’s a combination of events that just kept leading me in this direction. And I was discovering that I was having a lot more fun. And a lot more success as a trainer than I was an actor actor was being an actor was a very frustrating process. And I don’t think my heart was in it. You know, when it came to acting, I was in an acting class, I was going to auditions, I was a member of the Union. You know, I mean, I had all the things an actor was supposed to have. But you know, you’d go on after audition after audition and never booked anything. And then occasionally, you know, you get something. But one thing about training was that it was happening every day, it was right there. I was meeting amazing people. And, and because it just led me in a natural direction. And it’s and I love training, and I love sharing training. And you know, if we’re talking to a lot of young coaches and trainers at home, you know, there’s a lot if you want to be successful, there’s a lot of things that are important. And certainly one of them is looking the part. I am blown away by people who don’t walk the talk, I just cannot figure out how they can build their business. And you know, I’m you know, that’s my calling card, that thing right there in my arm. Right? That one too. And so, people look at you and think, Damn, dude, you’re strided and vascular, and show me how to get there. Um, and I eat, I eat the way I tell people to eat. Because this stuff works. training on a regular basis. And eating healthy food gives you a better life gives you a better life aesthetically, gives you a better life, emotionally and mentally. And so if you want that, and that’s important to you, and I think it would be, then I’m going to show you really fun, cool ways to make that happen. And that’s how you make your business explode. A lot of my stuff, too, is based in humor, you know, and, and being okay with the fact that people aren’t really great at things right away. And I didn’t get that as a kid, you know, either you performed or you didn’t. And if you did you play and if you didn’t, you sat on the sidelines. And and you know, health and wellness is for everybody, whether you’ve got 40 pounds to lose, or whether you’re an ex athlete who’s gained some weight wants to get that get that back again, with your mom with five kids. And that’s the amazing thing. The amazing thing about about what we’re trying to do together sharing this information is, is there’s a crisis, there’s an obesity crisis, and we’re the ones that are going to solve it, it’s not going to be the healthcare company, it’s not going to be the insurance company, our governments dragging their ass, they’re not doing anything. I mean, they’re trying to but they’re just not moving at the rate and speed that we can move at. We can make change now. And that’s what’s impressive, but it’s about figuring out the best ways to do it. So people stay excited and want to keep showing up.

Sean Greeley
And you make a great point about people in the fitness industry who don’t walk the walk. And you do and I think that’s a that’s a challenge for a lot of coaches as they start to grow in the industry start to build their business, they’re working a lot of people. They’re trying to get it all together, got up,

Tony Horton
blah, blah, blah, I don’t care, I want to hear about it. You’re not a you’re not a construction worker, you’re not a dentist, you’re a health care professional. Your job is to kick some ass on your own schedule workouts. Find like minded people that want to do it with you push the freakin envelope and stop eating fat, sugar, salt and chemicals out of boxes and bags and start eating like your great great grandparents ate. That’s who you have to be how can you share that with others and not do that, that blows my mind that you have to do it. I mean, if you want your business to grow your, you know, your stunning personality and your fantastic looks are going to take you so far. But you have to actually be that person. And I go to events all the time. You know, and I see people who are you know, trying to help other people and I’m thinking you’re not even helping yourself. So you’re a hypocrite. Why would I want to help? Hand money to a hypocrite, Not in a million years. So figure that out, man, figure out how to make your healthy food tastes good. And figure out where your time slots are for your workouts. And anything other than that is a bunch of Who cares? I don’t want to hear about it. You know, I didn’t get I didn’t become this successful because and you know, do I want to show up to every workout No, literally more than half the time I look at a plyometric workout. And I just rather shoot myself. It’s just, I don’t look forward to it at all. But man, when I’m toward the end, and I’m pushing hard, and I’m sweating, and when the thing is over, oh, that just makes me feel like it’s worth it. And as a skier and as an as an athlete at 55. I want to, I want to enjoy this, this the athletic endeavors that I that I participate in. And when you’re overweight and overwhelmed and eating garbage, it’s not going to happen. And you’re not going to certainly grow your business.

Sean Greeley
I think that’s one of the things you represent best as a leader is inspiring people with your mindset and your commitment to not let all these voices in your head that tell people every day that they can’t achieve their goals, they can’t stay on track with their fitness, they have to choose between one thing or another. And I think you do a great job of that for our community and for for everybody in the fitness industry. And I’d love for you to just share, what are some of the top tips that you help people as a coach and as a leader to improve their mindset to achieve those things they want to achieve? Because really, that’s that’s what leads it all right.

Tony Horton
Well, you know, in a nutshell, this is what I’ll be talking about when i when i get down to Florida and I want to give away too much. But there’s a combination of a lot of different things that need to happen. As a trainer and as somebody who’s training somebody, you need to show them as much variety as possible. Plain and simple. It’s not rocket science, but you can’t just be doing the weight training with your clients every day. It can’t be just be teaching aerobics classes every day. You’ve got to be versed in martial arts. Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in America. Most most trainers most people suck at it, figure out our way to get pretty good at and show people how to do it because you know things like sprawls and hook elbows and downward elbows and Superman punches and this stuff is awesome. I mean, you’d have to hit stuff you don’t have to hit people just you know learn how to learn those movements because they’re dynamic. And they’re cool. And they burn a bunch of calories and they change the way people look and the way they feel yoga. Pilati too, if you’re a bodybuilder, weight trainer, kind of a trainer, dude, Gal, whoever you are, figure out a way to get better at those things. And if you’re not somebody who, who uses bodyweight exercises and weightlifting, figure that stuff out, because that is fitness one on one. And that variety is everything also to consistency is essential if you’re, whether it be yourself or with your clients, get your clients to pay for a bunch of workouts in advance and put an expiration date on them. That’s how you do it. You don’t do one at a time, you just say hey, if you want a little money off, you got to pay for 1215 pay for a month, three months, whatever it is, and you got this much time to get it all I understand life is crazy, you’re going to miss some workouts, I’m going to give you some leeway here. But you know, you’ve got to have some structure. And and I’m talking, you’re not going to train a lot of your clients five to seven days a week. But if your clients are going to get results, they got to train five to seven days a week, you might seem two or three, but you have to be tough with them. What are they doing on the other days, the the goal here is to show people how to get fit and healthy and then you go away and you get somebody new, you want to work with the same client for 10 years, you know, two days a week and the other the other five days a week they’re doing nothing I mean, that’s just not, that’s not a good health professional, your job is to help them figure it out. So that’s what they become a three is intensity, you know, intensity is, is important. A lot of people are under training and overtraining, a lot of people don’t know anything about modifications, they don’t know the steps to getting you know, from point A to point B and you have to figure out how to do that and how to share that with your clients. For as a plan, you need a plan, it needs to be written down 30 days in advance period, just figure out the entire month of July. And you do that on June 30. And the same thing with July 30. You figure out August you figure it out in advance. It’s done. It’s locked in like your lunch like everything else. And then you know, accountability, how are you going to stay accountable, working out alone, if you can get up at five o’clock in the morning and do a you know, an hour and a half Bikram yoga class, I don’t know who you are, I know what you’re made up. I know if you’re Superman or Superwoman. That ain’t me, man. But if if you can work out with other people and make it a group setting, you know, that kind of accountability also turns up the volume and everybody gets has more fun and gets a better result. You know, and there’s a bunch of other things like stress and sleep, and it goes on and on and on. And something like one of my laws is reality, understanding that some people are ectomorph Some are mesures Some are endo and you’re not going to turn an endomorph into a supermodel it’s just not going to happen. You know you got to take you tell yourself, Am I as fit as I can be in my as healthy as I can be and are my clients that way based on their genetics, plain and simple. And so those are some, but I’m going to reveal the rest when I see you in Florida.

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