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P90X Creator is an Exercise Whore

At the National Press Club last week, Tony Horton, creator of the popular P90X exercise regimen, led a public hour-and-a-half workout. We joined and are admittedly still sore. But before the torture we were able to sit down with him for an interview.

In addition to working out with a smattering of congressmen famous for doing P90X, Horton has worked with the first lady and is “aware that there are copies of the program in the White House.” He calls that “a real honor.”

Horton has visited Washington several times, sometimes working with the National Press Club and other times on Capitol Hill. “I just love this town!” he gushed. “I’m sort of a political junkie anyway. I watch CSPAN and MSNBC and Fox [News] and NBC Nightly News, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.” Notably, Horton didn’t mention CNN.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is Horton’s favorite TV news personality, although he accidentally called him Brian Wilson. Some fan! “Did I say Brian Wilson? I meant Williams,” he said, correcting himself. “I like him, but I don’t know his name,” Horton joked before letting loose a stream of cartoony sounds that also pepper his workout routines (“Yikes! Rzzyabbit!”). Horton’s other two favorites are Colbert and Stewart, though he wouldn’t identify who he prefers. “It’s kind of a tossup. I like them both for different reasons, ” he said. “I don’t want to say favorites because if I’m ever asked to be on one of their shows…”

At about this point, a woman interrupted our interview to greet Horton, apparently he has met her before. She complimented him on his hair, so naturally, we asked who styles it. “James back at Juan Juan,” Horton said, referencing a glitzy-sounding salon based in California. “I’m like Brad Pitt. I’m like a guy who thinks he’s in movies so I like to change it,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll just buzz it. I was on a kick last year about growing it out and I got over that… I’m just glad I have it. And it’s still coming in fairly brown.” Horton, 54, said the sides of his hair are starting to come in gray.

Back to real questions.

As with Colbert and Stewart, Horton abhors playing favorites….

So naturally we asked if he’d rather do a round of P90X with President Barack Obama or Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and it turns out he’s a political party whore. “I’m not gonna answer that. There’s no shot. You’re not gonna get an answer from me,” Horton said, before actually answering. “I’d rather do it with both. I have fans on either side of the aisle. I’m just there to help all people regardless of their political persuasion. And to be honest I think it would be a great idea to get them both in a room and do it together. That’d be one area where it might not be competitive, just egging each other on to be better.” (Yeah, riiiight.)

Finally we asked Horton to recall his interview with Politico’s Patrick Gavin from last year. “It was fun,” he said. “A lot of times when you come into this town… I know the drill. I didn’t know it initially. I would come in here and [reporters] have some questions: ‘Tell me about your career.’ Then all of a sudden toward the end of the interview, are those political questions: Are you a conservative? Are you a liberal? Who do you vote for?’ And I’m thinking ‘Oh my God, I can see this stuff in print, there’s no way in hell.’ And I’m not here to be controversial. That’s not what I do.”

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