Tony Horton is the creator of the best-selling workout program P90X. His routine doesn’t just shape your body but he also transforms lives. In his new book The Big Picture, Horton gives readers eleven rules that will change their lives. Horton is able to show how your physical health is linked to your mental, financial and family health. Beliefnet sat down with Horton and asked him the questions that everyone wants to know.
What inspires you to keep researching and developing new routines?
Just like with technology, the science of exercise, fitness, and health are constantly evolving. People rush out to buy the latest smartphone, but for some reason they’re training like it's 1956. That doesn’t make any sense to me! I like to stay ahead of the fitness curve with the most modern techniques available, so that I can continue to improve and help other people improve too.
In your book you discuss the “why and why not?” list. Can you describe this method to our readers and why do you believe this tool helps people with their health journey?
Sure. Sometimes in life we need to change our patterns and habits. We come to realize that we need to get serious about exercise, eating right, ending a toxic relationship, finding a new job, or getting our backside off the couch on a Saturday afternoon. If you’re challenged by that thought, a great way to motivate yourself is to make two lists. The first one contains reasons why you should make a change. That’s the “why” list. The second one contains reasons why you shouldn’t. That’s the “why not” list.
After writing both, it’s going to be pretty apparent what you need to do. For most folks the why not list doesn’t win out very often. Whereas the why list always leads to a more interesting, powerful, energetic, and productive life.
For those that are coming into their own with developing and scheduling nutrition plans can you give some advice on how they can develop a foundation so they won't fail or fall fast?
I cover this, exact topic extensively in my book The Big Picture, mostly in Law 10: Stay Flexible and Law 4: Variety is the Spice of Everything.
Your diet plan shouldn't be a set of mandates filled with restrictions. Be open to eating all types of healthy foods. It’s important that you enjoy what you’re eating—so don't revert back to some old plan just because it helped you lose weight in high school. Notice when your tastes change, because they will. Notice when your activity levels change so that you can increase or reduce your calorie intake.
My diet has changed over the years but one thing has stayed true -- whether I was eating a vegan breakfast, Paleo lunch or Italian dinner -- I made sure my plate was filled with whole, healthy foods.
How important is variety in the kitchen?
Like I said, it’s important to love what you're eating. Variety plays a big role in that. Speaking for myself, I love Italian, Indian, Greek, Mexican, vegan, vegetarian, Paleolithic and sushi. (Not all at once, of course.) Variety is the spice of everything, including how you eat.
There’s also the nutritional aspect. A variety of foods means a variety of nutrients. Kale is awesome—but if that’s the only veggie you eat, you’re denying yourself all the other vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients you’ll find in carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower, and so on.
The plan really comes together with the right spices and sauces. Too many people can't stick to their healthy diets because, let’s face it, most of those veggies I mentioned are not very flavorful on their own. So buy yourself a spice rack and fill it. Learn how to put together a few healthy sauces. It completely changes the texture and flavor of bland healthy food.
Why is consistency in the kitchen so important?
It's important because it's the key to losing weight, staving off disease, having more energy, and improving brain function. Your body and brain can't function properly on the fat, sugar, salt and chemicals you'll find in most processed food. We spend more time and energy taking care of our cars and pets than we do the one God given gift we get -- our body and brain.
Some people get overwhelmed by the intensity of P90X. What advice or words of wisdom can you offer them to help them stay motivated?
That's why I made 10-Minute Trainer and P90X3 (which is only 30 minutes)--for people who feel like P90X is too much.
But here’s a little secret. P90X doesn't have to be extreme. The modifications are there. I tell you to take it easy, slow down, or pick a lighter weight. You get multiple options. Don’t try to compete with the folks on screen. Just do your best and forget the rest.