Icon: Tony Little
Fitness entrepreneur, born 1956, Tampa
[Video: Brook Pifer | Interview: Art Levy]
» Some people say I don’t have a filter. I say it like it is. You’re not going to make everyone happy, but if you’re saying the truth and what you believe, why is it wrong?
» I’ve built myself into a brand. There are three business books out there now, maybe four, and they each have three or four pages on me.
» During a bad economy, you have to be able to change quickly. You have to diversify. If you know that a category is going to be going down because it’s a luxury item, you better friggin’ change.
» In the early ’80s, I won Mr. Florida and won Junior Mr. America and was chosen kind of as one of the big prospects for Mr. America, and then I was hit by a Pinellas County school bus. I got back damage and shoulder damage. I entered Mr. America four weeks later, even though I couldn’t train, which was not a good thing, but I still placed fifth. Then, everything fell apart. I was out of work for probably about two years, went ‘Why me? Why me?’ and got addicted to painkillers. I saw Jane Fonda on television, saw her doing her new high-impact aerobic dance type stuff, and I immediately saw an opportunity to come back in a new profession as a personal trainer.
» I like cars. I gotta get out of driving these sports cars, though. I’ve been lucky — ’97 was my last big crash.
» Billy Mays could sell anything. I can’t sell anything because I can only sell things I truly, truly believe in and I’m involved in. Billy, he was an endorser. Half the stuff I have I take from concept to development. I don’t go on and endorse a product unless I own part of the product.
» I’ve turned down at least six reality shows over the years. They want the bad things. They want the dysfunctional. Everyone ends up in a divorce. I don’t want that.
» My son was overweight when he was young. He was a big kid and people would say to me all the time, ‘Are you helping him lose weight?’ I wasn’t going to push my son. I can be a good role model, but I’m not going to make the kid cry or anything like that. Now, he’s like the leanest, meanest jock around and he did it himself.
» I’m a believer that you’ve got to speak up. You’ve got to go for it. I can take a lot of no’s to get a yes. All you ever need is one.
» You do have to realize that on television it has to be very simple to understand. You can’t go into technical things. You’re not buying a pelvic pillow. You’re buying the idea that you can sleep better. It has to serve a purpose. It has to be life changing.
» Most people think I’m hyper, but I am very low-key and hardly speak at all during the day. Obviously, a couple cups of coffee and an energy drink every once in a while helps stimulate that central nervous system for a better presentation.
» I’ve failed a lot in my life. I just also have a shotgun marketing technique. I find a lot of things and, if I love them, I do them all at once and I just need one to work.
» I hit a tree at 55 mph. I was getting ready to do the Gazelle infomercial — and everybody knows the Gazelle was a huge hit for me — and the company in Ohio let me go because I had 200-some stitches in my face and we were three weeks out from shooting the show. But I didn’t take the ‘no.’ I got on a plane and I went to Ohio and I talked to the president of that company. I said to him that I felt that the American public would be more impressed with my infomercial with me having the problem. It was a huge hit. It did $66 million on that one show.
» Passion is the big thing. People understand passion.
[Photo: Brook Pifer]
» I continually have to sell myself. Nobody else can sell me.
» Being 53, it sucks. The worst thing for me about getting to be 53, other than the pain and stuff that I go through from the accidents, is I don’t feel it. I look at other people my age and go, ‘Do I look like that?’
In case you missed it:
- Ron Magill is a ‘Florida Icon'
- Artis Gilmore is a ‘Florida Icon'
- An Interview with George Billiris
- Frank Morsani is a ‘Florida Icon'
- Alto ‘Bud' Adams Jr. is a ‘Florida Icon'
- Winston Scott is a 'Florida Icon'
- Florida Icon: Carlton Ward Jr.
- Florida Icon: Mel Tillis
- Robert M. 'Bob' Beall II is a Florida ‘Icon'
- Peter Meinke - A life in poetry
- Carl Hiaasen is a Florida ‘Icon'
- Nan-Yao Su is a Florida 'Icon'
- Roland Martin is a Florida ‘Icon'
- Florida Icon: Derrick Brooks
- An interview with Annika Sorenstam
- Iconic Florida developer H. Irwin Levy
- ‘Alligator' Ron Bergeron is a Florida Icon
- Howard Schnellenberger is a Florida 'Icon'
- Florida Icon: Barbara Mainster
- Florida Icon: Walter Lanier ‘Red' Barber
- Louise Gopher is a 'Florida Icon'
- H. Lee Moffitt is a 'Florida Icon'
- Kiran Patel is a 'Florida Icon'
- 'Florida Icon' Howard C. Tibbals shares life lessons
- Alex D. Brickler is a 'Florida Icon'
- Life lessons from hockey great Phil Esposito
- Lucy Morgan is a 'Florida Icon'
- Donald Goodman is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ed Droste is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ray Ferrero Jr. - Florida Icon
- W. George Allen is a 'Florida Icon'
- Tom James is a 'Florida Icon'
- Patrick Smith is a 'Florida Icon'
- Jerry Uelsmann is a 'Florida Icon'
- John L. Parker is a 'Florida Icon'
- C.C. 'Doc' Dockery is a 'Florida Icon'
- Toni Jennings is a 'Florida Icon'
- Dave Barry is a 'Florida Icon'
- Shaquille O'Neal is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ruth Alexander is a Florida Icon
- Brian Johnson is a Florida Icon
- Florida Icon: Sam Gibbons
- Thomas 'Blue' Fulford
- Icon: Don 'Big Daddy' Garlits
- Icon: Charles E. 'Chuck' Cobb Jr.
- Icon: John DeGrove
- Icon: Charles Gray
- Icon: Harry Crews
- Icon: Burt Reynolds
- Icon: Tibor Hollo
- Icon: Gary Mormino
- Icon: Richard Gonzmart
- Icon: Bob Graham
- Icon: Ward Hall
- Icon: Eugenie Clark
- Icon: Warrick Dunn
- Icon: Arthur Rutenberg
- Icon: Chris Evert
- Icon: Preston Haskell
- Icon: Joseph Kittinger
- Icon: The Fanjul Brothers
- Icon: Romero Britto
- Icon: Steve Raymund
- Icon: Cesar L. Alvarez
- Icon: Juan 'Chi Chi' Rodriguez
- Icon: Gay Culverhouse
- Icon: Gene Leedy
- Icon: William R. Hough
- Icon: Peter Prichard
- Icon: Ed Price
- Icon: David L. Paul
- Icon: Jan Garavaglia
- Icon: Claude R. Kirk Jr.
- Icon: Don Zimmer
- Icon: Kenneth H. 'Buddy' MacKay
- Icon: Dick Vitale
- Icon: Michael Gannon
- Icon: Marcella Hazan
- Icon: Wade L. Hopping
- Icon: Edgar Mitchell
- Icon: James Rosenquist
- Icon: Bob Martinez
- Icon: Arnold Palmer
- Icon: Don Shula
- Icon: Mike Peters
- Icon: Margaret D. Lowman
- Icon: Doug Williams
- Icon: Bob Butterworth
- Icon: Fred Schultz
- Icon: Eugene Patterson
- Icon: Harris Mullen
- Icon: Bill Haast
- Icon: Marion P. Hammer
- Icon: Albert Dunlap
- Icon: Joseph Woodrow Hatchett
- Icon video: Joseph Hatchett
- Icon: Talbot 'Sandy' D'Alemberte
- Icon: John Walsh
- Icon: James Robert Cade
- Icon: Nathaniel Pryor Reed
- Icon: Gus Stavros
- Icon: Betty Castor
- Icon: Mary Ann Carroll
- Icon: George Steinbrenner
- Icon: Ferdie Pacheco
- Icon: Vic Dunaway
- Icon: George Smathers
- Icon: Phyllis Apple
- Icon: Nick Bollettieri
- Icon: Harris Rosen
- Icon: Max Mayfield
- Icon: Carrie Meek
- Icon: Andres Duany
- Icon: T. Willard Fair
- Icon: Bobby Bowden
- Icon: Stetson Kennedy
- Icon: Don Francisco
- Icon: Janet Reno
- Icon: Reubin O'D. Askew
- Icon: Clyde Butcher
- Icon: Willie Gary
- Icon: Wayne Huizenga