Today he’s the face of the infamous P90X workout, a three month exercise regimen that has taken the country by storm and made his infomercial the most successful in the country. Progenitor of Beachbody workouts like Power 90, 10 Minute Workout, Power Half Hour, One on One and more, Tony Horton seems to be akin to a force of nature, ever burning, moving, succeeding and confident. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny his results, from the huge success of P90X to the legions of people whose lives he’s changed through his workout DVD’s. But how did he reach this pinnacle of success? Where did it all start? Was he always this confident and fit, or did he have his own mountains to climb?
Born in 1958 in Westerly, Rhode Island, Tony grew up in Trumball, Connecticut and attended the University of Rhode Island. At the time, Tony says that he wasn’t into fitness, didn’t eat well, and had a life filled with stress and problems. “I used to have so many problems and issues. Everything seemed difficult and daunting. There was so much drama and conflict. I was lazy, tired and overwhelmed. Life was a struggle. Not in a million years would I have equated a poor diet and erratic physical activity as the bane of my existence.”
However, upon graduating Tony caught the acting bug, and flew out to take a shot in Los Angeles. He did fairly well at first, but ran into a roadblock, until his agent spelled it out for him: if you don’t look good, you won’t get parts. Tony looked around and saw the fantastic shape so many of the actors and actresses were in, and decided to get serious about his own health. He joined Gold’s Gym on Venice Beach where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno were training, and started working on his physique. However, he didn’t want to get huge like those guys; instead he started devising his own training methods, trying to create a functional fitness routine that would help him look great but with more of an athletic bend.
“In my late 20s and early 30s I began to eat better and workout more regularly – oddly enough new opportunities came my way, my confidence improved and the drama began to fade away.” One of those opportunities was the chance to train Tom Petty from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for one of his upcoming tours. Tony had caused a stir amongst friends and peers due to the phenomenal success his own training had had on his own body, and Tom asked for him as a result. Within three months Tom was in the best shape of his life, and it wasn’t long before other celebrities and rock stars came knocking.
Opportunities continued to open up for Tony, and soon he started his own company called ASH Fitness, and was the spokesperson for Nordic Track. He continued to train a host of celebrities, and was hired to get the entire cast of The 13th Warrior into shape.
“By the time I met BeachBody CEO Carl Daikeler 13 years ago my fitness and food balance was close to great. Not perfect but pretty good. Those early days creating routines for Great Body Guaranteed and Power90 were fun and exciting. I was in the right place at the right time with the right experience to be able to help Carl and Jon create something different and better when it came to in-home workouts.” Carl and Tony hit it off when they were introduced to each other, and Carl hired Tony to help him get in shape. Amazed with the results, Carl immediately sought Tony out when he formed Beachbody in 1998, and together they began to create such successful programs as Power 90. Each workout was more successful than the last, but it was only with the release of P90X that Tony truly became a national superstar, with tens of thousands of devoted fans.
Today, Tony’s doing great. Fit, successful, wealthy and an agent for positive change in people’s lives, he’s on top of the world. However, he’s always the first to point out that YOU have to be the one to choose to listen and take that first step, and he never forgets that skinny, unhealthy, stressed out and fast-food eating kid he was back in Rhode Island. He’s his own example of how anybody can change their life around, and take control through exercise, healthy eating habit and determination. “Joy, happiness, opportunities, success and the life you want comes from making The Change to a lifestyle that involves regular exercise and whole foods. What seems hard as hell at first will turn your life into a carefree world of endless experiences, plenty of opportunities and the energy and enthusiasm to enjoy life for the rest of your life. The issues and drama of the past will fade way because you had the courage to make consistent fitness and healthy food a priority.”