US fitness guru urges yoga for fat soldiers

July 17, 2010 by Virginie Montet

Asked by the US military for tips to help combat the growing problem of obesity in the ranks, a popular television fitness guru came up with an unusual answer: mind-soothing and body-bending yoga.

"I know inclusion of in military training sounds a tad alien," Tony Horton, 52, acknowledged as he presented his techniques to a group of 200 people, many clad in gymwear, at the National Press Club in Washington.

"The days of push ups, sit ups and long runs in the military are over," said Horton, whose functional fitness concept combines equipment-free, body weight-based exercises with push-ups, sit-ups and yoga postures.

"Yoga magnifies the positive effects of strength and cardiovascular exercises," he said. "It's lubricating all the major joints and reduces the potential for injury."

The fitness trainer best known for his trendy "P90X" workout regime has trained celebrities like Usher, Bruce Springsteen and Sean Connery, as well as soldiers at military bases, including Andrews Air Force Base and Fort Bragg.

As Horton demonstrated, men and women of all sizes struck yoga poses, arms and feet outstretched.

"Obesity is a national security issue," Horton said, repeating a warning issued earlier this year by two senior retired generals, John Shalikashvili and Hugh Shelton, both former chairs of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"People are too fat to fight," the fitness trainer added.

Pentagon studies say the military's obesity rate has nearly doubled since 2003. According to Horton, the military saw its obesity rate nearly triple from 1995 to 2008 alone, while the overall number of obese troops has grown from 1.6 percent in 1998 to 4.4 percent in 2008.

In the United States as a whole, more than two thirds of states now have an adult rate above 25 percent, Horton said. In contrast, not a single state had a rate above 20 percent in 1991.

The US military also faces a problem with troops already serving who are overweight, Horton said.

"The failure to meet fitness standards has meant each year thousands have had to deal with canceled promotions, loss of education opportunities," he added.

"The statistics are profoundly disturbing."

Explore further: K-State Physics Professor Named Outstanding Junior Investigator by U.S. DOE

Related Stories

Most Britons escape 'Iraq war syndrome'

May 16, 2006

British troops serving in Iraq suffer post-conflict mental health problems at a far lower rate than U.S. military personnel, researchers say.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jul 17, 2010
This is hilarious.

So, instead of "push ups, sit ups and long runs", he suggests "push-ups, sit-ups and yoga postures", as in, replace the only aerobic exercise with stretching. To lose weight. Yep, he's definitely a guru.

Whatever happened to the good ol' drop-and-give-me-twenty? They can invade countries in less than a week, but they can't keep a diet and exercise regimen?
1 / 5 (1) Jul 17, 2010
Just....amazing. And saddening. Many, many, moons ago when I was an active Marine, we PT'd on a daily basis on our own, and in the fleet we got together 3 times a week every morning without fail for company PT. We had a unspoken culture of fitness, it was just plain unthinkable to allow yourself to become a "fatbody" you had people depending on you to be physically fit.

I'm just appalled that any military branch has to turn to an outsider to ensure fitness.

Guess its not my Marine Corps anymore....Mebbe it has something to do with a higher number of remote operations or somesuch *waves hands vaguely*.

I'm depressed now. Men should not be so divorced from war that they become fat while wageing it 8(

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.