- 7 Tips to Keep Cool on the Cheap
- Hot New Programs!
- Tony Horton: Up Close and Personal
- Test Your Blueberry IQ!
A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining,
the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing,
and the lawn mower is broken.
7 Tips to Keep Cool on the CheapBy Joe Wilkes
Summer is upon us and that means heat, heat, heat. If you've watched the news lately, you know that here in California we're literally burning up, and we're about to enter another heat wave this week. Other parts of the country are experiencing similar long, hot summers, and with the price of fuel and electricity going through the roof, cranking up the air conditioning seems like a less feasible option all the time. So what can you do besides sweat it out? Here are a few tips for keeping it cool.
1. Drink yourself cool. But don't reach for the margaritas. Cool? Yes. Hydrating? No! The key to staying cool is to stay hydrated. And the best thing to drink, as always, is water. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol because they will dehydrate you and make matters worse (although if you're passed out from drinking alcohol, you might not mind the heat so much). Herbal iced tea, lemonade (make your own but go easy on the sugar), and sparkling water are all great summer beverages.
2. Embrace your inner vampire. Whether or not you have air conditioning, the sun is your worst enemy for keeping cool. By keeping your blinds and drapes closed during the day, you can keep your place cool without running up the air conditioning bill. If you don't have air conditioning and want to open your windows, lower the blinds to the height of the open windows and keep the windows covered on the side of your house on which the sun is shining.
3. Spice up your life. This may seem counterintuitive, but summer is the best time to eat spicy food. Think about cuisines from countries close to the equator, like Mexico, India, and Thailand, that incorporate chilies and curries. Spicy peppers cause your pores to open and let the cool air into your body. They will also encourage you to drink more water!
4. The poor man's air conditioner. And I am the poor man of whom I speak. During periods of poverty in my youth, I came up with the frozen-towel method of staying cool. Take a washcloth, a hand towel, or even a bath towel if it's really hot, and dampen it and stick it in the freezer. When it's stiff, though not frozen solid, remove it from the freezer and wrap it around your neck. Heaven! When it thaws, refreeze and repeat. If it's really hot, try doing the same with a T-shirt!
5. Ice, ice, baby. Ice is your friend. Don't have an air conditioner? Have an air conditioner and don't want to hurt the environment? Put a pan full of ice cubes in front of a fan—the ice will cool the air. This is only a temporary solution as the ice will melt, but it should last long enough for you to fall asleep, for example. Taking a cold shower before bedtime can also help keep you cool.
6. Feet, don't fail me now. Keeping your feet cool is key to keeping your whole body cool. Soak your feet in a dishpan or bucket of cold water. Try wearing damp or frozen socks (see #4) to bed as well. It will help fool your brain into thinking your whole body's cool.
7. White is the new black. And anyone who's seen my wardrobe knows how painful this tip is for me. Black and dark-colored clothing absorb heat and will cook you like a potato in tinfoil. Wear white or light-colored clothing to reflect the heat. Loose-fitting clothing is also good—it will allow a breeze to move through instead of trapping in the warmth.
Tony Horton: Up Close and PersonalBy Steve Edwards
"Are you kidding me? That will never work." This was the reaction to Power 90® from the powers-that-be in the infomercial world. That was back in 1999, when a fledgling company called Beachbody was about to attempt to change the infomercial world by releasing a fitness product that required customers to do their own work. Nearly a decade later, Beachbody is synonymous with health and Power 90's sequel, P90X®—one of the top infomercials on television. Today, we sit down with its primary creator, Tony Horton, on the heels of his 50th birthday, to learn how a few guys willing to take a little risk changed the way America views fitness.
Beachbody: Did they really say that Power 90 would never work?
TH: All the pundits—all the experts, big shots, and other infomercial companies—around the country said that there was no way it could work. "People don't want to work that hard," they told us. "It goes against the grain of what infomercial fitness products are all about."
But Carl [Daikeler] and Jon [Congdon] trusted me. They had seen the results that Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen [Tony's clients at the time] had achieved, and they believed that there was a segment of [the] public that would go for it. Our instincts were right and we proved everyone wrong. There you go, industry. Take that!
Beachbody: But the three of you had already worked together, so you must have had some idea.
TH: We had done Great Body Guaranteed [a few 6- to 10-minute workout videos] with Debbie [Siebers], and one assistant, who I think was Heather Church [who is still at Beachbody]. It did okay, so we got some money and made Power 90. But Power 90 was a workout program, and a diet, that required a commitment. We knew the program would work, because it had [Carl and Jon had both been through it]. We just didn't know if the public would go for it.
We were just a few guys with some dreams, hoping not to lose our shirts. It was really Carl. He was the one who saw what it could become. That man is a visionary. He broke the mold. I never thought it would amount to what it's become. I was just thinking about making some side cash so that I didn't starve and could pay my bills. It's blown my mind—the things we've done and the lives we've changed.
Beachbody: How did you meet Carl? Why did he choose you instead of a "famous" fitness trainer?
TH: This guy I trained, Ben Van De Bunt, worked at Guthy-Renker [where Carl was working at the time] and said, "You've gotta meet this guy. You have the same energy and sense of humor." We immediately hit it off. We went skiing and had a lot of fun. Basically, we were just two guys who got along great.
Beachbody: You still must have had some credentials for him to pick you. Had you always been into fitness?
TH: For me, fitness was a total fluke. I was not a fit kid. I was not good at team sports. I did play football, but I wasn't good. I got beat up a lot. I couldn't even play full-court hoop[s] because I wasn't fit enough to run up and down the court. Then I discovered individual sports like gymnastics and skiing, the things I do today. They kept me active, at least, but not really fit. Then in college, I took a weight-lifting class. I liked it because it was the first thing I'd ever done that I could control myself.
Beachbody: So this led you to becoming a trainer?
TH: Ha, not exactly. I came to L.A. to be an actor and a model. I was actually a professional pantomime, if you can believe that. Then my agent said that I should work out if I wanted more modeling work. So I signed on at World Gym, in Venice, and began working out alongside famous guys like Lou Ferrigno. This inspired me to learn more.
Then I met Mark Sisson [one of the consultants on P90X] who taught me a lot about training. It's where I learned things like speed and agility drills. I got hooked, and pretty soon I was training other people.
Beachbody: World Gym doesn't exactly seem like the kind of place to foster your holistic approach, so you must have added your own spin on fitness. For example, most bodybuilders are in to eating massive amounts of protein yet you're a vegetarian. Why is that?
TH: I don't buy into the protein myth. You need it, sure, but not in those massive amounts. I basically became a vegetarian because I just thought meat was nasty. I got sick of eating chicken. I was trying to eat as healthy as possible. I like eating vegetables because they make me feel good. I like not eating fatty junk because I feel bad. I do still eat fish, so I'm not a true vegetarian.
Beachbody: People are always surprised to find that your programs don't prescribe magic-pill-type supplements. There are some, but most are just nutritional-support products. The only traditional bodybuilder supplement is creatine. Why did you choose that one?
TH: Because I'm a vegetarian I don't get creatine [from] meat, so I [have to] add it. I think it's an amazing supplement. I've been using it 15 years and my liver is still perfect. It has no side effects at all. I think some of the stuff you read about [creatine] on the Internet is pure conjecture, or maybe guys blaming creatine for side effects of steroid use that they don't want to admit [to]. I notice when it comes to recovery and overall strength it's a phenomenal thing, at least for Mr. Vegetarian here.
Beachbody: You once called the Beachbody Message Boards the coolest thing you'd seen in all of your years in the fitness industry. Why?
TH: I wasn't a computer guy. I had no real idea of what went on in there. I'd never been in a chatroom. So when I saw an opportunity for strangers to connect with each other, I thought it was the missing link for people to get fit and stay fit for the rest of their lives.
Beachbody: Now that Beachbody is bigger, has this changed?
TH: It's gotten fancy in there. I don't even know how people make some of those pages. It's probably a little more complicated. But the basic core of the idea is exactly the same. [The Message Boards] are the same vehicle. They give people a chance to change their lives. They make it a lot easier to get fit and healthy by connecting people. It's very cool.
Beachbody: Developing P90X was a long and painstaking process. Then it didn't catch on right away. Was that difficult?
TH: When it didn't catch on . . . I dunno. It was disappointing, sure. But I thought it would eventually find a home. We didn't know it would take this long, but we always believed in it. We knew it was good program. The quality of the show was way above anything ever done. I just always felt it would find its niche. It was too good not to. Then one day it took off.
Beachbody: Are you still happy with it?
TH: When you look at the people who've gotten the results, yeah. I mean, that answer would have to be absolutely yes. But, sure, there are things that I would change. For example, Kenpo [X] could be tougher and less chatty—I see things like that. I can't help it. But [when] you look at what it's done, it's hard not to be satisfied. People in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are getting into the best shape of their lives. It's caught on with regular athletes and pro athletes. We've got guys on the Philadelphia Eagles and Montreal Canadians doing it—[even] Cirque du Soleil performers. We must have done something right.
Beachbody: Plus, it has worked for you. You're not exactly riding off into the sunset.
TH: You know, you've got to walk the talk. I don't want to bash other trainers, but you don't see a lot of those guys with their shirts off. They're pitchmen. Maybe [they] were fit when they were younger but they got too involved in the money or the fame or whatever.
I'm out there 5 or 6 days a week working my butt off. I like feeling good. I like feeling strong. There is nothing better than feeling good, not feeling vulnerable as you age. I see a lot of people my age that are old. They look old. They act old. They say old-people things. You don't have to accept that. I'm hanging out with 15- and 16-year-old kids and have more energy than they do. I may not be as fast, but I'm stronger, healthier, and more flexible than I've ever been.
Beachbody: Are the guys you work out with all younger?
TH: My group is all over the place. Some of the guys are in their 20s. A few—like the guys in the P90X vids—are older. I'm the oldest, but not by much. And we're all fit, all the same, really. The older guys in the group hang with the younger ones just fine. This fitness thing is paying off.
Beachbody: How does it feel to be 50?
TH: 50 feels awesome, like the beginning of a brand-new era. It's like nothing I could have imagined when I was younger. I'm more excited than ever to rip down more mountains, jump off of more cliffs.
It doesn't feel like the beginning of the end. It's the beginning of the beginning. I'm stronger than ever. More flexible than ever. My state of mind and my quality of life have never been better.
I have exercise and eating to thank for it. It feels like the fountain of youth. And the cool thing is that Beachbody has allowed me to share that experience with other people. It doesn't get better than that.
Beachbody: What's next?
TH: We just released One on One, and there are a ton more where that came from. I think people will be excited about it. I'm working with an agent on the Tony Horton book. It's about a year out. And I've got a meeting this week on something we're calling "The Food Movie." I think the movie will be fun, silly, and informative. I think it's going to be a really great project and I'm looking forward to it.
Beachbody: Any final birthday thoughts?
TH: I just want to say that my 9 plus years with Beachbody [have] been the most amazing journey. I feel so fortunate. I could have never imagined that I had the perfect job. I thought I'd be an actor or a comic or model. Absolutely none of that compares to what I get to do. I run into people all the time that thank me for how much I've helped them and changed their lives. I think that all of us at Beachbody work together to create that, and if I can be the talking head that delivers the message, then I'm glad to do it. It's not only providing an amazing life for me but for many others.
At 50 years old, I'm still helping people. I feel very proud of what I do and the company that I work for. I'm a lucky, lucky man. And it's a beautiful thing.
Got something to say? Chat with the author and other readers this Thursday, July 10th, at 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT in the Beachbody Chatroom!
Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.
Test Your Blueberry IQ!By Joe Wilkes
Did you know that July is National Blueberry Month? How much do you know about these tiny nutritional powerhouses?
- What did early American colonists make by boiling blueberries and milk? Grey paint. As anyone who has had to wash a child after a blueberry-picking outing can attest, blueberry stains are quite powerful. They don't use them in those denture commercials for nothing.
- Blueberries are the second most popular berry in America. What's #1? Strawberries are the most popular berry, but blueberries are gaining popularity all the time. Over 200 million pounds of blueberries are grown commercially each year, and North America produces 90 percent of them—with Maine responsible for 25 percent.
- How many berries can one bush produce in a year? Over 6,000 blueberries, making the blueberry a real price performer for farmers. They have only been commercially cultivated since the early 20th century though. Before that, you had to collect them in the wild to make blueberry muffins (or paint).
- How long will fresh blueberries last in the refrigerator? Blueberries have a pretty good shelf life. They will last in the refrigerator for 10 days. Blueberries ripen on the tree and do not ripen further when picked, so when you buy fresh blueberries, what you see is what you get. Blueberries also freeze well.
- What vitamins are blueberries particularly high in? Blueberries have high levels of vitamins B6, C, and K. They also contain high levels of manganese and dietary fiber. Studies have shown that blueberries may lower blood cholesterol levels, prevent urinary tract infections, and lessen the effects of Alzheimer's disease.
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