This article is part of a series about getting fit in the new year. Check out the entire Man up! feature here.
If you’re one of the 45 million people who’ve purchased the fitness program juggernaut that is P90X, then you’re well indoctrinated into the Church of Tony Horton. And you’re familiar with his seemingly endless stream of vocal encouragement that has had legions of devoted fans trimming down and ripping up in front of their TV screens for years. (UPDATE: the P90X workout is now available as an app for workouts on the go. Details after the interview.)
Well, Tony is back (actually, he never left), and he’s got an even bigger, badder program, P90X2, that’s designed to re-kick the butts of those who have “graduated” and now find the original equivalent to a Sunday afternoon stroll. This new version takes the fit and puts them through an elite athlete level program designed to get them into Marvel superhero shape. (Capes not included.)
I had a chance to talk to Tony and ask him about the new program, why he looks better at 53 than most guys at 33, and how we can train for sports other than those involving a ball. And since no one says it better than Tony, here are his thoughts on P90X2, the magic of yoga and how to get your butt in shape for extreme sports:
On getting fit: If you’re only training three days a week, it’s just like throwing yourself down the stairs: You’re gonna be sore the next day, but you’re not going to get any more fit. You need regular fitness to get peak levels of fitness physically, mentally and emotionally. Five days is the minimum, 7 days would be fantastic, 6 days is ideal.
On his own fitness: I was a tackling dummy when I played high school football, I never got into an actual game. I also didn’t make the tennis team. And I didn’t have the lung capacity to play basketball. Then, when I was in college, I got it: you need to do this at least 5 days a week. And train and practice. Everything changed.
On the way pro athletes train: Athletes move differently than other people. They train at high intensity through multi-plane movements. In P90X we introduced new kinds of movements, including some from yoga and kenpo, along with some traditional weight training.
In P90X2 we take that a little further. We add speed and power. No cardio. Athletes don’t use it. All they care about is how high, how far, how fast. So we’ve included more range of motion along with power and speed. You’ll be using secondary and tertiary muscles you won’t use when doing a biceps curl. And it’s more fun because it’s incredibly challenging. We take you outside of your comfort zone.
On yoga: Yoga is the glue… yoga is the magic. If your joints and connective tissue are crap, you can’t perform with speed and agility and balance.
On beating Father Time: Two things we lose when we get older are speed and balance. Traditional exercises don’t address this. You just do the same movements over and over. Boring. Plateaus and injury are coming if you keep doing that. You need to move in multiple directions.
On training for hiking, skiing, climbing, etc: You would never decide one day to run a marathon, then jump up and run 26.2 miles. You’d hurt yourself. Badly. But many people do jump up and go, “I’m going to go skiing!” and head to the slopes. You’re setting yourself up for injury.
What we do is inside training for the outside world.Training 6 days a week is essential for these sports too, and will help you perform better.
After having a plan and a purpose, the magic is 3 things:
1. Variety: If you’re a fast twitch guy, do some slow twitch exercises. Add in things that will help you do what activities you want to do, better. Work on your strengths and the things you love, but also add in things you’re weaker at. That’s key.
2. Consistency: Again, 5 days is the minimum, 6 is ideal. And you’ll stop the “on and off” nightmare most people have.
3. Intensity: Push the envelope a little bit. It shouldn’t be easy. But make sure you have good form, pay attention while you’re doing it, and don’t train to get hurt.
And finally, on couch potatoes: Watching American Idol makes you an idle American.
P90X2 is launching later this year, but you can pre-order (and catch some preview clips of what you’re in for), at P90X2.com and get it in time for the holidays. Or those New Year’s resolutions…
: For those who want to take their workouts on the road, Tony Horton can now whip your ass into shape from the convenience of your iPhone.
Available on the App Store for $4.99, the P90X App provides an intuitive scheduling and tracking method while giving you the opportunity to purchase P90X specific “Guided Workouts” led by Horton. The app will auto-populate your calendars with P90X Classic, Lean or Doubles routines and also schedule personal workouts such as runs, hikes or swims.
Complete with the ability to track progress over time, the P90X App stores your sets, reps and weight, compiling a comprehensive workout history in graph format.
You get the P90X Fit Test as well as Ab Ripper X Guided Workouts for free. Individual P90X Guided Workouts such as Plyometrics, Legs & Back, and Core Synergistics can be purchased for $6.99 each or in a bundle of the five resistance workouts for $29.99. Want it all? You can purchase the complete 12-Workout Bundle within the app for $59.99.