Tony Horton is the developer of best-selling workout program P90X, and its various spinoffs P90X2, P90X3, 10-minute trainer and so forth. Several years ago when I was looking for a good workout program that I could do from home or on the road, like many other business travelers I was up late watching TV and saw the P90X commercial. I ordered that first program and I’ve been using the programs ever since. That was over 10 years ago.
Horton has now published “The Big Picture: 11 laws that will change your life,” Harper Wave 2014.
As you would expect from the Nation’s fitness guru much of the book focuses on eating and working out, but it also serves as the foundation for the success principles that Tony covers in the book.
In all my years of success in life and career coaching, staying physically fit is something I also struggle to do. It didn’t come naturally and if there was a pill I could take to get the same results I’d probably do it. While I have worked out since junior high, I have not always eaten right and my calorie burn has not always exceeded my calorie intake. Something that was a mode shift in my mind though was looking at food as fuel rather than as entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy great Dairy Queen blizzard from time to time, but more as a treat rather than a staple.
“If you want your life to be what you want it to be, your machine will need to function properly,” says Horton. “If you have an overweight, inactive machine and you feed it lousy fuel, I don’t care how smart you are, you’ll never truly find a sense of adventure, curiosity, and productivity that will allow you to discover your authentic self.” (X)
We all know that to stay fit and healthy is essential to our survival. So why don’t we do it? First, I understand the struggle. We live in a world, particularly in the United States, where the food industry has managed to create its own unique vocabulary so that they can sell us stuff that is not food and call it food. Nevermore did I understand this when I was trying some off-the-shelf oatmeal one morning after discovering I had run out of my special protein filled oatmeal (courtesy of Slimgenics). I could not even make it 20 minutes into my workout before I felt sick and had NO energy with that off-the-shelf crap.
What this means is that our laws, our supermarkets and our food industries are not making this easy on this. If you want to live longer you’re going to have to make some personal choices about what sacrifices you need to make and what discipline you need to engage.
Being fit and healthy allows you to do the things you always wanted to do (XI). It absolutely pains me to see people in their 50s and 60s who look about in their 90s or low 100s. I see that they only have a few years left in life. Let’s face it, how many morbidly obese senior citizens do you see walking around? Not very many right? There is a reason for that. Don’t you want to live long enough to see your grandchildren grow up? Are you really so tired of life that you are ready to check out at 60? Sorry, I’m not. I’ve got stuff on the calendar well beyond those years and if you’re not going to stay alive for you, do it for the people that love you.
We all have challenges when it comes to fitness. I know that I do. We all have challenges with just finding time in our day to work out, but also, eating healthy is more expensive. It is cheaper and quicker to grab something at some fast food joint than it is to do some intelligent shopping and take a few extra minutes for food preparation. However, there are people with five kids, full-time jobs and going in 50 different directions who still manage to take the time to take care of themselves (and their families). If you are unable to find the time it’s because you are not looking hard enough, or you’re not sacrificing some TV or video game time. Try harder if you want to live, or I guess we can pry that video game controller out of your cold dead fingers sooner, rather than later.
And just like in every other area of life, the research shows that obesity and depression are communicable diseases. When you surround yourself with overweight, miserable people you have a much greater chance of becoming overweight and miserable yourself (XVI). Take a look at the people you’re hanging out with. This could be your first change. I don’t mean you have to go hang out with the muscle heads and Zumba goddesses tomorrow, you’ll get there soon enough, but at least start out with some people who are a little bit more fit and actually care about what they shove into their mouth.
Do your Best and Forget the Rest
I was first introduced to the phrase “do your best and forget the rest,” while watching my very first P90 XDVD. It’s a fantastic quote. Like I said, you don’t have to bench press 350 and be able to jump on the spinner cycle for a 90 minute sweat ride. If you can’t walk to the end of your block, or at least make it to the end of your driveway, GOOD! Tomorrow your goal be to make it to your neighbor’s driveway. Just the small efforts will begin to make significant impacts in your life.
I have a cousin who decided he would only have one serving of food at each meal instead of multiple. With that ONE small change, he changed his entire physique and now looks great, not to mention that much healthier.
I remember the first time in a Nautilus gym in the 80s that one of the resident muscle-heads tried to “train” me to lift. I could not move for 7 days afterwards. Unfortunately, he was more about impressing me with how much he could lift than it actually training me to lift. I think its these types of fears that keep people away from trying to get into shape.
The cover of men’s and women’s magazines don’t make it any easier. Keep in mind, the people on those covers follow an incredibly strict exercise and eating program to get into that shape, and sacrificed some “normal” living for a period of time before the photo shoot (plus a little airbrushing never hurt). You don’t need to look like that to be fit and healthy. I eat very well, can crank out well over 20 pull-ups in a set (which I could not do 10 years ago) and can churn out miles on my road bike yet when I take my shirt off I still resemble more the shape of a pear then the shape of a V and I haven’t seen my lower abs since I was 16 (I can see the upper ones though).
Right now, that’s what I have time for in my life. I don’t have a personal chef to travel with me on the road and to see those lower abs and lose the love handles, I’d have to make sacrifices beyond what my lifestyle can take right now. You can make a few sacrifices and add years to your life without looking like a cover model.
Do your best and forget the rest. Too many of us are worried about not making enough progress, or only making marginal progress. Remember that even marginal progress is still progress!
Horton talks about the “New Haters.” He invented the word and its definition – a new hater is anyone who hates anything new. They are afraid of change and often lash out with criticism or dismissal of new ideas (8). Going one step further is a Blocker. A Blocker is a New Hater who tries to block your progress in order to justify their own inadequacy (8). If you listen to these people you’re probably as terrified of the world as they are, so the first thing you need to do is hate less, eat less (or at least better) and move more.
When you’re confronted with a Blocker or New Hater, breathe, acknowledge their opinion (which doesn’t mean you agree with it, just nod and paraphrase it so they know you heard them), then, do what Fleetwood Mac recommends – GO YOUR OWN WAY! Your body, your family, your friends will thank you for standing up for them.
Horton, Tony. The Big Picture: 11 Laws That Will Change Your Life. New York: Harper Wave, 2014. Print.