Fitness As “Info-tainment” (with Tony Horton)

Today I’m talking to — and I don’t use this term lightly — fitness LEGEND Tony Horton. Tony is the creator of P90X, which became popular among millions of users. (Yes, I remember those infomercials too). Tony leveraged an acting background to become the fitness industry’s most visible personality for years. He’s also a straight shooter and isn’t afraid to look back on his career to say what he could have improved — and how he continues to learn. Which movement would he have removed from P90X? Who bailed on him for a celebrity workout? And what’s he up to today? All that and more in today’s episode.

Before we get into that, I want to give a quick shoutout to today’s episode sponsor, Thirdzy. Thirdzy’s PM Recovery Collagen is formulated to help you sleep deeper and recover faster. It’s got collagen peptides to support muscle, bone, and ligament health, plus sleep-promoters like magnesium, L-theanine, and tryptophan to help you fall asleep and stay asleep for better recovery. I’m personally a huge fan of magnesium before bed to help with relaxation. Wake up feeling energized and ready for the day and training ahead. Use code BarBendZzz — that’s BarBend with three Zs after it — for 25% off today.

Tony Horton on the BarBend Podcast

In this episode of The BarBend Podcast, David Thomas Tao and Tony Horton discuss: 

  • What excites Tony in fitness after his lengthy career (2:08)
  • How a background in performance launched Tony’s unlikely fitness career (6:00)
  • Where the fitness industry NEEDS to go (9:30)
  • Learning from failures and mistakes in programming (15:18)
  • Chasing the material and “success” (19:00)
  • Things Tony might do over, especially with P90X (24:00)
  • Tony’s multiple home gym setup (28:00)

Relevant links and further reading:


Everybody had cameras that were on their shoulders like they were working for Fox News or Fox Sports. We didn’t have things like this. People were getting good feedback and when you do an infomercial, 99.5 percent fail, and ours didn’t.

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by


Today, I’m talking to and I don’t use this term lightly, fitness legend, Tony Horton. Yeah, that Tony Horton. Tony is perhaps best known as the creator of P90X which became popular among millions of users. Yes, I remember those infomercials too.


Tony leveraged an acting background to become the fitness industry’s most visible personality for years. He’s also a straight shooter and isn’t afraid to look back on his career to say what he could have improved and how he continues to learn.


Which movement would Tony have removed from P90X if he could do it all over again? Who bailed on him for a celebrity workout? What’s Tony up to today across several different businesses? Also, he has four different poem gems, which he describes in detail. That’s really interesting. All that and a lot more in today’s episode, which I hope you enjoy.


Before we get to that, I want to give a quick shout-out to today’s episode sponsor, Thirdzy. Thirdzy’s PM Recovery Collagen is formulated to help you sleep deeper and recover faster. It has sleep promoters like magnesium, L-theanine, and tryptophan to help you fall asleep and stay asleep for better recovery. Wake up feeling energized, and ready for the day and training ahead.


Use code BarBendZzz, that’s BarBend with three Zs after it, for 25 percent off.


Tony, thanks so much for joining me. It is a pleasure to sit down with you. You’re someone whose work I followed for a long time, probably over a decade at this point since I’ve been in the fitness publishing game. I appreciate you joining us. You knew this question was coming, but what is exciting to you about the fitness space now?

If you’re an individual looking to get into shape, you’re open-minded, you’re curious, and you’re willing to experiment, then you’ve got so many options between CrossFit, Tonal, Peloton, and me.


My new program, The Power of 4. I’m also on Tonal. I’m very excited about The Power of 4 on Tonal.


That’s what I’m most excited about. I don’t know why I would say something like that.

David TaoDavid Tao

By the way, for those who are listening, there’s no PR person with a gun to Tony’s head or anything like that. They’re not [laughs] threatening him.

No. I’m just really excited about some of the new…I was with Beachbody for 20 years. That was a nice run that that way it came to shore, and that happens in this world. You got to always reinvent yourself.


I’m very fortunate that my wife and I, during the pandemic, came up with this program, and a lot of people, really enjoying it. Then, of course, Tonal knocked on my door. A lot of people knocked at my door. “He’s not working for Beachbody more. Let’s see what he wants to do.”


I’ve got these three little things that I’m doing, and I really enjoy all three. My supplement line called PowerLife as well has been a home run.


All of its hard work that transition was a bear. I was riding that way. If you had Beachbody men, it’s going to be, “What’s the next program?” “Good. I got six months to develop it.” “Sure.” I got casting, rehearsing, and test groups. Then, I got to shoot it. Then, I go home and I wait for the next one year later. This is different. This is really hard.


Above and beyond the things that I’ve been able to provide for people, there’s so much out, there’s so many great instructors, gurus, programs, and different devices. In and amongst it all, there’s a lot of crap.


There’s a lot of companies out there that are just trying to make a buck for a couple of months with their gadget. Their silly gadget doesn’t work. There’s a lot of pills, potions, and things that are supposed to do X, Y, and Z, and they don’t.


I’m doing some gymnastics training at 64. I’m doing some animal flow at my age. I am terrible at all of that. I love the fact that I have these great people around, Chelsea Mckenney is somebody…


If you guys want to google Chelsea stuff, it is off the chain. The guy, he’s off the radar on the Interweb, but Michael Bradley, I just shot a program with him yesterday. We finished it up. His stuff…I don’t know. We’ll see where Michael wants to go.


For those of you that are looking, you want to find the next best guy or gal, but he’s a guy, Michael Bradley is, I think, the best trainer I’ve ever seen in my life up until me.


A lot for Michael Bradley stuff is going to blow up because he’s one of the most athletic, coordinated, balance. He’s got hair down to his mid-back. He’s one of the most jacked, funny. This kid is the bomb diggity. I’m thrilled for him. I hope more and more people get turned on to Michael.

David TaoDavid Tao

I think that’s underrated in fitness. Fitness has an entertainment component. That’s something you know very much about.


You can have the best program in the world, but if you can’t capture people’s attention, if you can’t do a little bit of storytelling, you can’t insert yourself into someone else’s fitness narrative and be a part of their fitness narrative, no one’s going to care.


I think that’s something we don’t talk about. There is a type of charisma. There’s a type of showmanship here. Is that something that you had to purposely develop throughout your career, or did that come more naturally to you?

It was never intentional. I was a young comic, [laughs] whatever. I was trying to be and I was with second city, LA. I was developing all these skills because I wanted to be an actor. I thought I was a cross between Brad Pitt and Jim Carrey.


I got charisma, but I’m also a silly boy. The acting thing is hard because you’re competing with 10,000 other guys that look and act just like you. That whole audition process and driving from the west side to Hollywood. You look around the room and go, “Oh, I didn’t realize I had so many doppelgangers. This is fun.”


Once awhile I booked a gig. I’d book a commercial or a little micro spot on a TV show or a couple of tiny parts on a movie, but I was broke. It was not a way to make a living. The fitness thing was a thing that I used to fill in and it ended up being a whole career.


When my time came, I was lucky enough to be around the right kind of directors and folks that I was co-producing this stuff with it. They said, “Dude, just be you.” Most performers, most trainers, most mentors, coaches, teachers, whatever they are, you’ve got to work really hard to get them revved up and to get them more motivated.


Because it is, it’s infotainment. That’s what an infomercial is. Richard Simmons did it, Jane Fonda did it. They were very theatrical on the way. Tony Little was another one. Gerard was one that on the beach with all the gals and his little round mask. There was something that was about them that people were drawn to.


It wasn’t necessarily the exercises of the routines. Some of them were good and some of them were lame. It really depends, but that is really, really important because…Why does anyone gravitate to anybody honestly? Because there’s something about their persona, their personality, their authenticity.


For me, humor was a big part of it. The other thing for me was any trainer that gets away from doing the same things over and over again and hoping that their clients get a different result, are the ones that are going to be most successful. I knew early on as a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none.


Also, a guy who had the attention span of a gnat on crack cocaine, and I’m also trying to avoid myself and my client from trying to avoid boredom, injuries, and plateaus. Typically, you’re doing something. I don’t care if it’s some famous guru or some fancy machine that you just bought.


If you get bored or you get injured or you stop seeing results, you’re on to the next thing. I think that’s part of my popularity and I think anybody who rises to the surface, he’s got to have like, “Hey, let’s do some martial arts. We’re going to do some Pilates. Now, it’s yoga. Let’s base on core. Hey, let’s do some hit training. Let’s work on hypertrophy. Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta.”


They have to become pretty familiar with all those things so their clients and whatever they’re doing there, their tribe or their followers will just…Power Four has 25 basic routines plus another 25 that are just random live events and different kinds of fitness experts. It’s just trying to keep people keep them on their toes and keep them interested.


We’re looking at our before and after pictures now. They’re as good or better than all my P90X stuff because I know more now. I’ve added…Diet’s a huge thing. It’s not a set program for everybody because when you make something, you can’t give them 25 different eating strategies.


Us because we’re streaming and we’re always changing and evolving, we got keto folks and paleo folks and vegetarians and vegans and people who live on water and air only. Those folks are very trained. That’s the goal. You don’t want to just sell something for the sake of selling something.


You want to give them real results and you want to keep them motivated over the course of not 30, 40, 60 days. You want to implant some knowledge so it’s who they are now. They’ve transformed their whole perspective about life. Exercise isn’t about your ego and it shouldn’t be, but it is and it’s too much.


It still is the way people advertise things. It’s too much about aesthetics, size, arms, the six-pack abs. Those are all great and they’ll come, but make it about the quality of your life, physically, mentally, and emotionally, even spiritually today.


I did a yoga session this morning. It was about the last thing I wanted to do because I wake up the Tin Man is like, “Oh.” I inhale, holy crap, man, shoulder, back, everything. By the end of that thing, man, I was like a spark. Oh man, I could tell I still am and that’s what exercise does and it happens that day.


It happens that day and that’s where the industry needs to go. That’s where I believe people want to be more successful and draw in more folks. That’s that kind of a variety, that kind of charisma, that kind of Je ne sais quoi is needed.

David TaoDavid Tao

Love that you used the word infotainment. I brought that up on other podcasts before and people get offended actually. I have offended people on this podcast and I’m like, “Well, if you’re not entertaining, if you’re not captivating, people aren’t going to build habits.”


Then it’s not aspirational, it’s not fun. They don’t want to build it into the routine. It’s a punishment. They see it as…If someone sees exercises as a piece of punishment, I ate a piece of cake, I have to exercise this much as a result of eating that piece of cake. I don’t care who you are.


Humans do not have the willpower to make that kind of feedback loop sustainable long term. It’s just not going to happen.

David, you’re spot on, man. I agree, 100 percent.

David TaoDavid Tao

Let’s talk about earlier in your career. Maybe in the early days of P90X, maybe even before that. Let’s talk about some early programming failures you had. You’re younger, you don’t quite have this incredible body of knowledge and experience and thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of results and use cases.


Where are some early programming mistakes you found yourself falling into?

It’s interesting. I want to answer that as honestly as possible. I was very fortunate because the first things I did, I was a hired gun for Nordic Track. They were out of Minneapolis so I would fly from LA to Minneapolis. They liked me because I had an acting background and I also know a little bit about exercise science and kinesiology, blah, blah, blah.


I could walk and chew gum at the same time, and you need to hire an actor. It’s pretty obvious he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I’m doing this right here. Pat in the head. Ready. Here’s one for you. One finger, one thumb. I could do that.

David TaoDavid Tao

 [laughs] For those who can’t see, we’re just multi-tape. We’re doing all the basic.

Yeah, we’re doing…Yeah, Tony’s doing mine but no one can see it. In those early days, I was a performer for a company and all of my job was to hit my mark and to try to sell some pretty funky stuff.


The piece of Nordic Track device was pretty effective. Again, it’s this one thing. It’s like a stationary bike, reversal clamor, a treadmill or a heavy bag. It’s just one thing. I was just thrilled to get on an airplane and get hired for a gig and go.


Now, whether those things were successful or not, I don’t know. I got my payday and I went home and then it was different. When I started with Beachbody, the first thing I did was something called Great Body Guaranteed.


It was an actual program of push-ups and sit-ups and crunches and arm day and back, then leg day and whatever in the stretch workout. It was kind of Fitness 101. It was all body weight stuff, maybe a couple of dumbbells and some bands.


I worked with somebody else. Somebody else who’d been in the business for a while. He said, “Well, how about should this exercise sitting? Where should that one be and how should we do it?” I didn’t have the persona then.


I was just pretty strict because my Nordic Track days were “Hi, everybody. Tony Horton here. We’re going to really work hard today. You’re going to really love these routines. We’re going to work on our chest, and our back, and let’s start with our stretch.”


Again, apparently, it did well, because we were able to make something called Power 90. When people see it, they buy it. You’re buying wild spots with our…we’re going to buy Copic Ipsy, New York. We’re going to buy Fort Lauderdale, Florida and we’re going to buy Seattle, Washington, and see what happens.


These spots are coming up for this infomercial at 3:00 in the morning and people are up late, eating ice cream and drinking beer. At the same time, been going, “Hey, man, looks good. I don’t know that Tony Horton guy as well, but I’m full and I’m bloated and I’m got to get going.”


Then what was happening with it, we were getting some feedback and this is pre-Internet. This is pre what you and I are doing here on Zoom, the phones. Everybody had cameras that were on their shoulders like they were working for Fox News or Fox Sports. We didn’t have things like this.


People were getting good feedback. When you do an infomercial, 99.5 percent fail and ours didn’t. I guess the short answer is I was very lucky. I had some good training early on. Look, I was trained in Tom Petty and Billy Idol and Annie Lennox and Bruce Springsteen and Stephen Stills. I couldn’t help Stephen and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Stevie Nicks couldn’t help her either.


Anyway, Sean Connery, Shirley MacLaine, Bryce Dallas Howard. My day was pretty full and I was learning, I was hanging around very successful rock stars, TV stars, and movie stars. The conversations aren’t all about fitness. I’m not that kind of get trainer.


It’s like, “Hey, let’s do this exercise,” and just bullshit and talk about life in the world and everything. And so, I was learning from these very successful people like OK, that’s a nugget. I stole so many nuggets from Billy Idol. So many. I trained Tom for 32 years before he passed away.


I was learning a lot just from those folks and I was doing improv classes and I was doing stand-up. I’ve had three different acting coaches. For me, there was a lot of Intel coming in so that I didn’t have those early failures because I had the right people around me. Plus I was with the right kind of folks who are helping me develop these programs.


Hey, man, reality checks came in and they were successful because people were getting results. After a while, you’d make…P90X came along and it was the biggest thing since Jack LaLanne and all this. I’m just riding that wave, but P90X2 didn’t do as well. It was too hard.


Professional Collegiate and Olympic athletes were doing it because we were doing four-ball push-ups. We’re doing levers. We’re doing a push-up called Impossibles which were basically impossible. Super, super proprioceptive balance skill-based stuff. A lot of people come up with me and said P90X2 saved my life.


P90X2 turn me from division one to division three. P90X2 help me be a Marine. P90X2 gave me the physique and strength and ability to be a better skier, a hockey player, ice climber. It was nuts, but we didn’t sell nearly as many. I think the mistake there was…my feeling was P90X was hard.


Then like, let’s see what super-hard. Then, we made P90X3, which was half an hour, got back to basics. Basically, P90X Lite didn’t do as well as P90X, but collectively the whole P90X series — 10, 11, 12. I don’t know how many million were sold, and there’s people that still don’t know them.


Still people hey-dude. I’ve seen this. I see people at the airport, “Just did the upper-power X.” I go, “That thing is like 16 years old. He goes, “Yeah, still works.” Professional football players will come to me. Extended my career in football for five years because of PLYO and because of upper-power X.


Here we are with the Power of Four, my wife and I, it’s a little mom-and-pop thing. I have all this great intel from Kelsey, from my buddy Ted who was a yoga instructor, from Michael. We just talk and chat and experiment, and we’re still going strong.


I wish I could say, yeah, those first three were horrible. I don’t know what I was doing. I was on my mind, I screwed up, but that didn’t really happen to me.

David TaoDavid Tao

We’ll get back to the conversation in just a moment. First, a quick shout-out to our episode sponsor Thirdzy. Thirdzy PM recovery collagen is formulated to help you sleep deeper and recover faster. With sleep-promoting ingredients, like magnesium and L-theanine to make for a potent recovery supplement.


Wake up a little more energized and ready for the day and training ahead. Use code BarBendZzz for 25 percent off. Now, let’s get back to the show.


It’s like a rock star who writes the hit song off their first album and they kind of have to chase that a little bit, right? The follow-up. Sometimes you have a sophomore slump, sometimes the second album.


You’re like, “Where’s that hit track?” It’s not quite hitting my calling you a one-hit wonder by any means. I’m saying sometimes you nail it pretty quick out of the gate.

Great body guaranteed and we have 100, 200 thousand of those clean, a Power 90, 3 million but that was over the course of many years into the P90X. Then P90X was like, “Whoa, who the hell is this guy?”


There was the whole world woke up from a nap, what happened. That was worldwide — Russia, China, Mexico, Canada, South America, Asia. It was just one of these things that was crazy.


I’ve been to 63 military bases around the world. I’ve been invited by the Pentagon to work with Armed Forces Entertainment to go entertain our troops, from Kosovo to South Korea. You know what I mean? Because it was such a big phenomenon. Now, have I been that successful since? I can tell you this, I don’t get Laker seats on the floor anymore.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] Well, they’re not…This year, this season, that’s not what happened.

Maybe based on this year, I can get the seats back again.


David TaoDavid Tao

You should have made some calls, Tony. I think it might be easier to do that, surely.


They suck, so can I come and watch them be bad? I don’t know. I root for them still, man. I still watch every game. They’re my team. Those perks like this free stuff, and I don’t get watches anymore and I don’t get free meal plans. That’s how it is.


I remember when I was training Billy Idol, and he was at the top of his career, Nike was just, “Whatever you want.” Then, his album didn’t do well, and it was like they never knew who he was. I was like, “That’s lame,” but it is what it is. They have to go with folks who are popular.


I’m fortunate at 64 that I’m making a nice living. I can pay my mortgages and I can eat. That was some noxious that I just did that.


Look, Tonal has treated me great. They let me have a ton of say and how what the curriculum is going to look like. Same thing with the supplement line. The supplement line saved my life. I had Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Nobody heard of it until Justin Bieber got it. Now, he’s suffering like I did, but it was brutal.


Those folks came together. There are nutrition scientist folks. Said, “You need this. You need that. You got a leaky gut. Let me help you there with your digestive thing, so we came up with this thing called foundation for…” That twice a day saved my life. It really brought me back, along with other things like physical therapy.


I had to learn how to walk again, and I learned how to drive again. I learned to work out again. It was pretty tough, but all those things, I know more, so much more now. I’m not in the P90X heyday. I don’t walk into Barney’s and buy three watches anymore, which sit in a cabinet that collect dust.


It’s like a Wesley Snipes thing early on like, “This is so much money. What will I buy? I’m going to buy that and that, and that,” and that’s a big house. Then, of course, “Oh, I got to buy furniture crap.” You learned those lessons, you grow up hopefully, and you don’t make those mistakes anymore.


I’m in a nice groove now. I’m pretty happy with where we are.

David TaoDavid Tao

If there’s anyone in fitness who deserves a VH1 behind the music, I think it might be you. To be fair, I only watched the first two-thirds of all of those. I never see the downfall. I never see the third act when people have to re-calibrate entirely.


I stopped when they buy the watches, basically. I’m like that’s positive. I’m going to end on that note. I never see the dark side of the celebrity. [laughs]

Yeah. Here’s the thing about money, fame. There’s no course that “Hey, here’s what happens if you’re successful,” because all these things are going to happen. Even though being poor and living day to day and being up to debt, that’s a struggle too but nobody knows who you are.


Nobody hears you bitch and moan, but then when you’re finally successful, there’s a whole new pile of things like, “Oh, yeah, that’s what rich people always say.” Before, I was juggling one ball and I wasn’t happy and I was sad and I was depressed, but I had to go. Then I got a couple of celebrity clients and then, “Oh, that was two balls. I can do two balls.”


Now, it’s 18 balls, man. It’s just like, “Way, way, way.” Which balls you go? I don’t want that one in. Get rid of that one. You know what I mean? That’s all part of this keeping up with the Joneses, I suppose.


My car is seven years old, paid for, 30,000 miles. I don’t need another one. I’m past that bling-bling stage of life.

David TaoDavid Tao

I’m curious if along your career and you’ve been in this industry for over 30 years. You’ve seen a lot of stuff. Is there anything that you remember seeing, and you called it out as a fad, and you were just 100 percent spot on? This is the moment to be a little smug.

This is the part of the conversation where we talked about earlier. Is there any topics that are off-limits? I will say this. It’s like every celebrity that’s ever worked with another celebrity in their entire three or four months on the set. The other celebrity was an absolute A-hole, just a terror.


“What’s it like working with them?” or whoever. “Oh my gosh, he’s fabulous. He’s wonderful. I mean so…he’s such a professional.” They go back to their trailer. “Oh, I can’t believe I have to say that.” I will say this, there have been a lot of things out there that are complete crap.


Absolutely bamboozling people, but the guru was day like this. There’s a yoga instructor here in LA. His classes were packed, but statutory rape and other things, and had to move to another country because…whatever.


It’s like, “Wow, man, all these people fell for this cat.” I took his class a couple of times. He didn’t even know I existed in the room, but every gal in that room, boy, he’s touching them and just doing this whole super-sleazy thing. I look around and go, “Why is this room so filled? Because this guy is such a d-bag.”


It just blew my mind because, whatever, he had a couple of articles about him and he was on “The Today Show” once or twice. Who knows why people gravitate to some people. It’s just mind-bending to me. There’s a lot of full-on programs too that came and went, and infomercials that were just blowing out people’s knees.


Because it was on the TV and their friend did it, but their friend is a 28-year-old former gymnast with really good knees. The people who are 50 pounds overweight never exercised in their life, they want to do it too. Their ACL shatter, or their MCLs, or their backs are blown out, but they keep going.


It’s like, “God, what a bummer.” I look at P90X, there’s about five moves I pull that out by pulling. At the time, they seemed OK because I was younger and whatever. One of them dive bomber push-ups. Anybody doing P90X, be careful. Be careful with that one. Don’t do it, or do something else.


Any kind of push-up you want, but that motion under the fence back into the fence can be really problematic for people that got a lot of adhesions in this part of their body. You live and you learn, and you don’t do that thing. You don’t do that twice, but a lot of people, it’s all about…


Now, people can hear me, but I’m doing the money thing.

David TaoDavid Tao

Rubbing your fingers together like money stack.

Yeah, I’m rubbing my fingers together. Give me the money. Show me the money and it’s too bad. There’s a lot of ways to get people really fit and put them through a process that makes them feel fantastic.


Worked maybe, but makes them feel fantastic so they’re not going through two, three, four, five, six weeks of rehab to come back again so they go do something that hurt them in the first place. Yeah, it’s a bummer and those things are still out there, and people are still doing them. I hear about that.


“Oh, you doing X, huh?” Not P90X, but whatever it is. “How are your knees? How’s your back? How’s your…” “Yeah. I had to get…I’d take six weeks off.” You weren’t supposed to do that. Stop doing that.


Hey, Doc, it hurts when I go like this, when I…Don’t do that. Doctor said…I don’t know why people just keep on wrecking themselves and they don’t have any rehab strategies or not doing any kind of recovery stuff. They have terrible sleep. They’re dehydrated. They’re sleep-deprived.


They’re super stiff anyway, but they don’t take doing yoga or Pilates. What a shock you’re always giving hurt. That’s why the variety of thing for me work for me.

David TaoDavid Tao

It goes back to those three tenets you talked about earlier, can’t let people get bored. You got to keep people from getting injured. If they plateau, they’re going to check out. They’re going to move on to the next thing.


People forget the middle of that sandwich and I don’t know about you, but the middle of the sandwich is normally the best part if it’s not sustainable. That was a bad analogy. Sorry about that. [laughs]

It should be. It ain’t the bread and maybe unless it’s toasted and it’s sourdough.

David TaoDavid Tao

 …sandwich. Wow, the best part was the bread. It’s not what you’re going there for. Anyway

No, sir. Just something to keep the food off your hands. That’s all bread, sandwich ever was.


David TaoDavid Tao

This is now…


 Delivery system of the stuff inside. When the stuff inside sucks…

David TaoDavid Tao

This is now Tony and David talk sandwiches, a podcast coming to you…catch us on Spotify exclusive, the sandwich podcast, where two guys in the fitness industry talk about some sandwiches they ate a while ago.

Yes. Maybe not the most popular part, but entertaining, so heck, what the hell, David, let’s keep going.

David TaoDavid Tao

People keep tuning in there. Look, there are a lot of sandwiches. Anyway, separate from that, you mentioned earlier in the podcast, some folks that you love working with today. Some folks who you admire, people who are established up-and-comers, and all of that is keeping you excited about fitness.


You mentioned you’re doing more gymnastics, you’re incorporating a lot of stuff that challenges you in your 60s after a lifetime of fitness. Is there anything out there right now in the fitness space that you’re like, “Man, I’d really like to try that,” or “There’s someone I’d really like to work with or train with or learn from,” and you haven’t had the chance yet.

There’s a lot that I have and I’m sure there’s others that I haven’t met yet. Because there’s probably 15 people there. They come into my life and I’m…Laird Hamilton would be kind of cool. I would love to get under the water and see whether I drowned or not. Wim Hoff would be another one.


Let’s go sit in an ice bath and have a 20-minute conversation. It’s some crazy stuff and there’s a lot of benefits to it. Both those guys do, I just haven’t ever met them and had the chance. I was supposed to work out with Laird one day, but then it was huge surf so we blew it off and went surfing.


Oh well, I missed out on that opportunity. As far as actual routines, I don’t…Again, I’ve got four places on my property where I work out and I always invite people here that can muddle their way through it or crush it. Really depends. There’s a wide range of levels of athleticism.


I’ve got my main gym which used to be a garage and a bedroom, and I knocked all the walls down. I made myself this pretty cool gym. There’s a pegboard, an I-beam, and there’s a pull-up bar, and there’s a tonal in there. There’s a bunch of Sandbag Kettle bags, and we do it.


We play around there as much as we can. I got these soft pliable boxes, every height imaginable. There’s a lot of that plyometrics that we do. In the yard, there’s three places. There’s a 20-foot rope, and then there’s a high bar next to the 20-foot rope and some parallel bars.


Then there’s a little area where we do some handstands on a level spot there in the yard with a platform we do that on. That’s just location one. Location two is another pegboard with a 17-foot rope and an additional pull-up bar. One of the moves is called peg beam rope.


We go up the pegboard and you’re reaching way up, your feet are almost off the ground depending on how tall you are. Then you go all the way up. It’s about, whatever. I don’t know. 14 feet off the ground and you climbed this beam, which is basically this thing that holds up my house, which is not technically a piece of fitness equipment, but we turned it into one.


Then we go up and we go up to that and now, we’re 17 plus feet off the ground, and then you have to hold on to the rope or the beam to reach way over to ring this bell. Then you go down the rope and then you go back up the rope and you go down the beam, you go across the pegboard, and there’s a pull-up bar.


We do maximum pull-ups. Most people see that and go, “I’m going home.” So that’s it. Then I have a ninja course in the backyard, a full-on “Ninja Warrior” thing. It’s a smaller one, but I carved this little spot in my backyard and we changed all the obstacles once a month, just to turn up the volume.


It’s a bear and everybody…I don’t know if you know what a flapper is, but if you’re doing a lot of…there’s the salmon ladder, which is bang, bang, bang going up. Then there’s all these little funky things you’re grabbing onto. There’s no legs.


Your legs are dangling. You’re learning how to transfer your weight from thing to thing. Every week there’s somebody bleeding all over the darn thing and that’s just part of it. [laughs] For me, it’s not really what you ask, but I’ve got so many different things that I’m already doing. I went heli-skiing a bunch of years ago. I’ve done that a bunch.


Ice climbing would be cool. I’ve done a lot of rock climbing and not real mountain climbing. It’s only so much of a bandwidth. This gymnastics training is just tough. All that stuff to get yourself vertical doing a handstand properly. We’re not doing backflips. We’re not doing tumbling. We’re just doing a lot of inversions, which I’ve always been interested in since I was a kid.


My plate is full, David. It is full. This morning, I created a little yoga routine that I had never done before, and I sprung it on my buddy Verchiel. I think he was appreciative. [laughs] He looked a little gassed, but he hung in there and it was fun to do.

David TaoDavid Tao

 Jury’s out. It’s always like, “Do they enjoy that? I think so.” We’re going to say yes. We’re going to assume yes until we hear otherwise specifically.

He was just off to my right. Then two other guys were supposed to be here and they bailed, but the two of us went at it. One thing about yoga is I like to do interpretive improvisational yoga. It’s like, “What happened?”


I just love to put sequences together that maybe I’ve never done before, never taken a class before, and adding all those balance stuff. Crow, side crow, half moon, all those different things. Usually like you do a salutation and you got warrior one, your warrior two, your warrior three, your reverse warrior, your right angle pose, your triangle pose.


Then just flipping right side, left side, right side, half-moon on this side, half-moon on that side. Let’s do that today instead of going through the Vinyasa to get there. He was glaring at me, but it was cool. I still feel amazing after that and I love that about…I go into a gym, whether it’s chest, back, shoulders, and arms.


There are some routines that are just rogue. These are the sequence. This is how many reps. I don’t want to mess with it because I’ve been doing this routine for …like my ply routine on Wednesday nights. I ski better now at 64 because that thing is just a rock.


My Monday night cardio is always different. And so, it’s that kind of variety. Keeps me from getting bored. Keeps me from getting hurt and allows me to continue to get pretty fit for an old son of a gun. I just flex for everybody who…for David. Yeah, there he goes. We’re both flexing.


Eat your heart out, Rock, because David and Tony are in town.

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, we both have those…We’re 23-and-a-half inch biceps just so…Yeah, around the old classic physique style. Tony, where are the best places for people to follow along with you, for your work, all that jazz?

 I could give you my Twitter, my Instagram, and Facebook, blah, blah, blah. I’m just going to tell you to go to Then everything is there and you can hit all the tabs and you can go on wild adventures with me.


I’m going to be in Jackson Hole at the end of January for my 10th — can’t believe it — annual ski ride, yoga retreat in Jackson Hole. It’s the last Wednesday to Sunday in the month of January 2023.


If you want to know where I’m going, or what I’m doing, I’ve got t-shirts and hats and all kinds of things if you want to buy, get into the power for. The other thing I would tell you is If you want to jump on that train, it’s really fun. Of course, my supplement line.


Now, I’m giving you three. I was only going to give you one, but Protein powders, post-workout, pre-workout, the stuff called Foundation Four that I don’t miss. I’m really proud of that line and if you’re going to go to, use the Tony30 discount code. 30 percent off, only place you can get it.

David TaoDavid Tao

I have no idea what that does. Enter it at checkout. I have no idea what that does, but try it, folks.


 Yeah, just put in my name, Tony, and 30 and then you’ll notice that the price gets less because you did that.

David TaoDavid Tao

I’m going to try that on everything I buy around the Internet.

Put Tony30 in everything, see what happened.

David TaoDavid Tao

And tell what works. Tony, I appreciate you joining me. It’s a pleasure chatting with you and thanks for jamming with me today.

Dude, David, you’re good at what you do, man, I had fun today. Sometimes I don’t, most times I know. Today, I did, so thank you, man.

David TaoDavid Tao

Normally, I stop the recording…This is great. People listen to this. Normally, I stop the recording before people say that, or they say they didn’t have a good idea but I’m going to leave this in. Editor, leave that in.

Leave that in because you’re worth it, David.