tony horton

A different kind of list

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Some group or another published a list of the most influential people in health and fitness for 2013, and though I have some issues with some of the people on there (Dr. Phil? Really?) and have heard of less than half of the others, it pleased me no end to see some of my personal favorites make the cut.

Shaun T. Insanity, T25. Motivation oozing from his Instagram and Facebook posts.

Tony Horton. The man behind the P90X (and all its variations) brand. He’s 55 and corny as heck, but there is no question that his workouts are effective effective effective.

Chalene Johnson, creator of my all-time favorite workout Chalene Extreme. She’s inspiring, motivating, and down-to-earth real despite her very hard-earned success. I would follow her anywhere.

Michael Pollan (of course) – what foodie can resist him? Mark Bittman, for the same reason.

Jonathan Fields, whose inclusion was interesting to me, as his work is in the “life balance” kind of health as opposed to the more traditional “eat right and sweat a lot” advice.

I posted this list on my Facebook wall, where a friend promptly fired back, “Where are you? This is BS!” Which I took as a huge compliment, even though he later on said he’d posted that on the wrong wall.

But it did make me think. Who are our personal gurus, the people we look to for advice and inspiration? I thought I’d share mine here, in no particular order. And yes, I’m focusing on the “health and fitness” angle, though I’ll include the Jonathan Fields definition here too.

  1. Tricia Lucas. Tricia is a friend of mine here in Charlottesville, very knowledgeable about nutrition and alternative therapies. When I have a question about vitamins and nutrients, she’s my absolute GO TO.
  2. Lindsey Neal. Another neighbor (and a Hospice doc to boot), Lindsey manages to infuse everything she does with excitement and energy. She is CONSTANTLY positive and upbeat, and I look to her for a dose of “rah rah” when I need it.
  3. Jen Lucas. I’ve known Jen for a long time (we were sorority sisters together at UVA) and my respect for her has only grown. Her work these days is in helping people find balance in their lives, or really helping people see the balance in their lives – and she helps me immensely every day, whether she knows it or not.
  4. My challengers. Every time I work with a group of people to increase their fitness levels, I am humbled and inspired. This group right now is no exception. They’re working with all kinds of obstacles, from time constraints to money constraints to physical constraints, yet every day they are going after their health doggedly. They’re sharing what’s working and what’s not, and they are lifting each other (and themselves) up in the process.
  5. Walker Thornton. Walker is a sex blogger who’s also in a writing group with me. Her posts make me think, challenge my expectations, and ultimately have opened my eyes to an aspect of my health that I wasn’t exactly comfortable being aware of.

There may be more that I’m leaving off the list, but for now, these women are my inspiration. Who is on YOUR list?

No pain no gain

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(my first Tony Horton video. Yesterday I purchased my third - P90X3)

I had a conversation with a woman yesterday about exercise and our bodies. She mentioned that some of the moves she’d seen on the video made her joints hurt just by watching. My response? That there are modifications for every move, shown on the video. I went further, though, asking about her specific issues. I modify everything too, because of a bad knee and shoulder, and I made a point of telling her that listening to your body is so so important, whether or not the video trainer shows you less intense ways to move.

“I like your approach! So many people are into ‘no pain no gain.’”

 

This made me pause. There is good “pain”, which I think of as my muscles working hard. It’s the fatigue that makes me fail midway through a pullup, or collapse on the ground doing a pushup. It’s the great and satisfying ache that comes when I wake up sore the next morning, and the sigh of relief when my muscles start their work again.

And there is not good pain.The twinge when you start to move in a way that is not good. The intake of breath as something goes wrong. The wince (as opposed to the grimace of good pain).

I’ve learned to listen. When I feel a twinge, I stop and modify. No ego involved, no “I have to keep up with whatever superfit superhuman is on the screen in front of me.” That the trainers keep telling me to listen to my body surely helps. “Take breaks,” admonishes Shaun T. “Do your best and forget the rest,” says Tony Horton.

Is there a life lesson in this? Is it badass to be able to read the “pain” signals of my choices, to choose to modify when the pain is not constructive and positive? Maybe so.

I believe I’ll start with Tony’s mantra, changing it a bit. “Do your best and learn from the rest.”

Learning is about as badass as it gets.