When it comes to experts in the weight loss and fitness world, Tony Horton is regarded as one of the world's reigning gurus. He created the P90X series as well as a series of exercise DVDs, authored several books and has guided everyone from celebrities to politicians through life-changing transformations. In an exclusive interview on August 12, Tony revealed what it really takes to succeed with your weight loss goals.
Two factors contribute to the obesity epidemic: Our sedentary lifestyles and increasing amounts of sugar in our foods, says Tony. And rather than decide whether to focus on fitness or make time to eat right, Tony believes it's essential to make your health a priority by doing both.
One challenge in eliminating sugar: Deceptive food labels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifies that manufacturers can claim that products are sugar-free only if they have less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving and contain "no ingredient that is a sugar or generally understood to contain sugars," reported U.S. News and World Report on August 12.
But if you eat an entire package of a supposedly sugar-free product that contains 12 servings, you may just have consumed six grams of sugar. Moreover, some claim that ingredients such as honey, concentrated fruit juice, maple syrup and molasses are not sugar, despite the impact on the body when such ingredients are consumed.
Tony wants to encourage consumers to learn to read food labels and eat right. "Over 80 percent of processed foods on the shelf today have added sugar to them. It's about educating ourselves," he said.
But labels such as "organic" do not change the addictive nature of sugar. Also beware of evaporated cane sugar and honey, which can cause blood sugar spikes that result in food cravings and weight gain.
"Adults and children are spending more and more time behind electronics, which can be detrimental to their health," Tony warns. At the same time, they are indulging in the proliferation of processed foods "loaded with the perfect combination of sugar, salt and fat, which creates more cravings and an addictive cycle when it comes to food."
He agrees with experts such as pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig. Sugar is not only highly addictive but dangerous to the health of both children and adults.
To lose weight, Tony advises focusing on a healthy lifestyle that includes a sugar-free diet and exercise. "Move your body and put healthy, whole foods into your mouth," he sums up.
And don't obsess about the latest diet trend, says Tony. Whether it's Paleo, ketogenic, low carb, vegan or vegetarian, "you have to find the diet that works for you as an individual," he emphasizes. "Everyone is different, and no one way of eating works for everyone."
With his high level of activity, Tony eats a diet that includes beans, grains, lean protein and healthy fats. It's designed to energize and fuel his body and fitness program. He also advises against obsessing about counting calories.
"Counting calories are a good way to lose weight initially, but it's a hard lifestyle to sustain and disconnects us from our food. Food is fuel and nourishment, and we need to treat it as such and stop looking for the next quick fix or fad diet," he says firmly.
What are the best foods for fueling your body? Tony listed his top five superfood favorites: Moringa powder, blueberries, spinach, chia seeds and maca.
After more than two decades as a celebrity trainer, Tony took time to reflect on his many accomplishments. "I take the most pride in the fact that I help others get healthy and fit. Being able to work out with motivated individuals who are committed to their health and well-being is the greatest accomplishment I could ever have," he said.
In his role as a fitness innovator, Tony will be one of the industry leaders presenting at IDEA World this year. Taking place August 13 through 17 at the Anaheim Convention Center, the event includes lectures, seminars and product demonstrations for the fitness, wellness and nutrition industries. More information is available at www.ideafit.com/world.