Major: Communication Studies
Title: Fitness Trainer and Creator of P90X
Maybe you’ve heard of P90X. It’s the workout of champions – like Congressman and NFL quarterback Heath Schuler, actor Ashton Kutcher, and rocker Bruce Springsteen. And, if you’re an admirer of Paul Ryan’s abs – those are thanks to P90X too. What you may not know is that the face (and body) of the workout that’s turning couch potatoes into powerhouses is URI alumnus and fitness guru Tony Horton.
Horton, who attended URI from 1976 through 1980, took a weight lifting class that set him on his way to stardom. The workout, created with Beachbody, gained popularity through late-night infomercials, was adopted by that nation’s military forces, and then exploded into the national spotlight when Ryan, the Republican VP candidate at the time, revealed that P90X was his workout of choice. It’s a mix of jumping, yoga, martial arts and intense strength training in a workout that allows and encourages people to pace themselves. That’s a lesson he learned in a URI weightlifting class.
“The guy teaching the class was willing to work with me and teach me at a speed and pace at which I could learn. I never forgot that, and it’s why with P90X, I show each exercise with three different methods at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. If someone is struggling with an exercise, we show alterations he or she can make in order to keep pushing themselves. They do what they can rather than getting frustrated by what they can’t,” Horton said.
His life mission is to craft as many abs as possible. “With the amount of sugar and salt people consume, combined with a lack of exercise, more people are simply unhealthy,’’ he says. “I don’t offer a magic pill or potion, and I don’t give shortcuts. P90X requires hard work. I don’t pretend it’s easy, because it isn’t. But it works.”
This big idea, born in a workout room at URI, has brought the 54-year-old fitness fanatic eye-popping financial success: Horton and his business partners say they have built a $400-million-a-year empire.