I’m not wealthy or a celebrity, but Tony Horton is my personal trainer. It all started way back in 2010. I was out of shape, unhealthy, and didn’t want to be a let down for my baby girl. I found out about this “workout at home” program called P90X made by Tony Horton and Beachbody. I even came across Coach Wayne’s success story, and I thought, “This could help me. This could actually work!” So I bought in and purchased the P90X workout program, a couple dumbbells, and went all in.

This isn’t the great success story you typically hear. I didn’t get in great shape and then live happily ever after. I went from the best shape of my life to the worst, all within my 30’s. At my worst, I could barely even walk! Don’t worry there is a happy ending to this. Let me tell you the full story.

Getting in Shape with P90X

When I first started, I didn’t know how to workout. I never really lifted weights. Sure, I lifted weights a little in high school, but nothing serious. I really didn’t know what I was doing. The only thing I remembered was running was good cardio from my high school soccer days, but I didn’t know anything else about cardio either. All I knew was that I needed to lose weight and get healthy or I would die young. Dead serious, my father had a heart attack a few years prior to this, and I knew that’s what I was headed towards myself if I didn’t do something.

Day 1, when I started P90X I weighed about 290 lbs. Even for being 6’3” that’s still a lot, especially since I was very soft in the middle and had a big gut. I don’t remember the progress after 90 days and completing my first round of the P90X program, but I do remember where I was after about 9 months.

After 9 months of doing P90X every single day I was in the best physical shape of my life. I lost a total of 55 lbs. I wasn’t really the typical skinny as according to BMI my ideal body weight was probably 190 lbs or something. However, I would do P90X in the morning and my body felt good enough to do another round of exercise in the afternoon already. Overall, I felt great. My progress wasn’t all from exercise. During that 9 months I also ate very healthy to match, and would not have lost weight if I hadn’t.

This was very good progress towards a healthier lifestyle, and at a time in my life when it was still relatively easy to do. I was only about 30 years old.

The Downfall in my 30’s

After that first year of getting in great shape and being much healthier, I stopped doing P90X every day. I tried to maintain. This is where the struggle came in. When I stopped working out for an hour or more each day, I didn’t really know hoe much to eat. I knew how to fuel my body for exercising, but not for maintenance of the weight loss. As a result, I quickly gained back 20 to 30 lbs.

Over the next few years I would do P90X on and off and was able to maintain some level of fitness. However, I was never as fit as I was years prior from that first 9 months of hardcore dedication to exercise and the P90X program. But I was able to maintain being overall healthy, and even bought P90X3 when it came out and continued working out.

I went on and off working out for several years. My motivation to work out was to be healthier and always wanted to lose weight to be skinnier. I thought, as so many of us are taught, that skinnier is healthier. This was in fact a toxic idea that limited my motivation and kept preventing me from sticking to working out daily. It’s irrational, but true.

I also has difficulty from my home life. My wife at the time was supportive of me, but didn’t participate. This made it extremely difficult to make exercise and healthy eating a permanent lifestyle change. Ultimately, I just didn’t get the support I needed at home. Regardless of any excuses or blame that could be argued either direction, this fact is ultimately my own fault.

Eventually, I didn’t work out anymore. I even developed an issue with my lower back muscles that caused me to not even be able to walk a single mile without server pain. In several years, throughout my 30’s, I went from the best shape of my life to debilitating back pain that prevented me from working out at all. In fact, my lower back was so bad it prevented me from doing much physical activity for a period of time.

After all this, my weight gain had me back up to about 280 lbs. And, I had lost a lot of muscle mass in the process. What a way to end my 30’s? I could hardly walk any decent distance without pain, and pretty much had constant lower back pain. I didn’t know what to do!

I did end up seeing a Chiropractor, and they helped a lot. My lower back was out of alignment slightly, which caused major problems. I went once, thought that’s all I needed, and tried to be patient for recovery. While it helped some, my back kept shifting out of alignment and never really getting better.

I started my 30’s in the best shape of my life, and I ended my 30’s in the worst. And, I ended my 30’s without my wife, which I will not get into here. Some majorly depressive life changes occurred.

The Comeback in my 40s

Eventually, I started seeing a Chiropractor regularly in 2021 at the age of 39. This helped me a lot! My back kept shifting back out of alignment. With help from the Chiropractor, I was able to manage things better, and I started walking every day. I would walk 3 - 4 miles almost every day, usually in some pain, and kept going to the chiropractor about once per week.

After about 6 months of consistent Chiropractor visits and walking daily, I was able to work up to running a mile or so every once in a while. During this time I started going to the gym occasionally to lift weights and work to get stronger too. I was applying what I learned from P90X and Tony Horton to help improve my life once again. This was all a massive improvement, and I was not going to stop there!

After about 10 months of consistent Chiropractor, walking, and running occasionally, I decided to run regularly in October 2021 at the age of 40. Because I was not able to for so long, I decided I was going to push myself and just do it! I kept going to the Chiropractor and started running every other day. I started by running a single mile or so each time, and worked up to running 3 miles within few weeks short time.

When I would run, I was in pain. When the pain got worse, I would go to the Chiropractor. I ended up going to the Chiropractor once per week still. I refused to let the pain stop me. After all, the pain of running, while probably a 7 out of 10, was still less than the 11 I would feel for a couple years when my lower back was hurting me most. It was time for mental determination over physical limitations. I decided I was going to either live by running and exercising, or die. There would be no in-between.

I decided I was going to either live by running and exercising, or die. There would be no in-between.

After about 6 weeks of running, I ran my first 5K (3.1 miles) race at Walt Disney World. And, since I wanted to push myself, I ran the 10K (6.2 miles) race at Walt Disney World the next day that same weekend. Yes, I went from running 1 mile every other day to pushing myself to running a 5K and 10K in the same weekend.

Then, I registered for my first Half Marathon another 6 weeks or so later at Walt Disney Worlds Marathon Weekend event in January 2022. When I registered, I figured, “Why not run multiple races again?” So I registered for all 4 races that weekend. I ended up registering to run the Dopey Challenge that consists of a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon. Was I crazy for thinking I could do all 4 races for a total of 48.6 miles in a single weekend, while never having run even a Half Marathon before? Absolutely, but I was determined to be healthy or die, as crazy as that is.

When the Disney Marathon 2022 weekend came, the longest distance I ran at one time was 11 miles. I ended up running the 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon races. Finishing the Half Marathon was an emotional achievement because only a year before I could barely walk a single mile. I did also ran the Full Marathon, but had to speed walk due to crazy insane blisters on my feet that developed half way through the marathon. But, do you know what? I finished that Marathon too! This was also an emotional achievement, and was extremely proud of myself. Completing my first Dopey Challenge taught me I can truly achieve anything I put my mind to, and am far stronger than I ever thought.

Completing my first Dopey Challenge taught me I can truly achieve anything I put my mind to, and am far stronger than I ever thought.

I have since learned a lot about running shoes. I never knew there was so much to know about running shows, running form and technique, and other aspects of long distance running when I started. I now own more pairs of running shows than regular shoes. I own different running shoes for different types of runs, races, and distances. Fellow runners know, it’s a whole thing.

After completing the Dopey Challenge in 2022, I’ve gone on to run every other day consistently since. I even completed a run streak in June 2022 when I ran 40 days in a row of at least 2 miles per day. And, in 2022 I ran a total of 579 miles. Overall, I have completed a total of 4x 5K, 6x 10K, 5x Half Marathons, 2x 10-milers, and 2 Marathons so far. I run now. I am a runner now.

In addition to the running, I now go to the gym every other day. I alternate days running and going to the gym. I apply what I learned from Tony Horton in my workouts. Currently I actually weight about 280 lbs, but am much stronger than before. In fact, I’m probably stronger than I’ve ever been, and a 3 mile run in an easy running distance.

I am primarily focused on strength and physical ability now. I do eat healthy and focus on fueling my body to perform. I am losing fat and building muscle, and am no longer concerned about the toxic attitude of losing weight. I am dedicated to daily exercise with both weight lifting and running. I’ve built this lifestyle as a habit this last year and a half since beginning to run consistently and seriously. I do not ever plan on stopping. This is me now. I am a much different person today than when I first purchased P90X all those years ago.

I will always consider Tony Horton my personal trainer. He taught me how to exercise. Tony taught me how to lift weights, believe in myself to succeed, plyometrics, yoga, and so much more! I’ve taken these lessons, challenged myself, succeeded, and continue to push myself forward. It’s been a lot of progress working on myself, but I am very grateful for the foundational lessons i learned from Tony Horton and P90X. Thank you Tony Horton for helping me change my life!