Tony Little (born September 16, 1956) is an American television fitness personality and businessman, best known for his fitness infomercial products. Little is a certified personal trainer and identifies himself as “America’s Personal Trainer”. The Florida Times-Union, of Jacksonville, describes him as being known for his “booming-voice enthusiasm” and long blond ponytail. As noted by Success.com, Little is known for his use of the catchphrase “You can do it.”
As a child, Little and his mother were abandoned by his father, and he was raised by his mother in Fremont, Ohio. As an adult, he moved to Tampa, Florida to advance his personal fitness career. Little has two children from a prior relationship, daughter Tara (born ca. 1987) and son Trent (born ca. 1988). In 2009, Little married fitness model Melissa Hall. She delivered their twin sons, Cody and Chase, in Tampa on November 23, 2009. Little describes himself as an avid collector of antiques, classic cars, and obscure species of livestock. Little is a former Mr. Florida and Mr. Junior America bodybuilding champion. In 1983, while training for the NPC USA Championships, he was involved in a car accident and suffered numerous physical injuries. He had two herniated discs, a knee dislocation, a cracked vertebra, and lacerations. He recovered enough to compete in the event and finished fifth place as a middleweight competitor. During his recovery, Little began developing exercise programs and became successful in the fitness industry. His book One on One with Tony Little: The Complete 28-Day Body Sculpting And Weight Loss Program has sold thousands of copies. His fitness videos have won 14 Platinum Awards, 9 gold video awards, and over 47 million customers. His products are sold by retailers worldwide, including HSN and QVC. His most notable product is the Gazelle which was co-created by Little, colleague Bryan Williams, and Fitness Quest.
Little has frequently been the target and source of parody. In his own infomercials, he has often dressed up, and parodied other TV personalities, such as Fabio, Richard Simmons, and Susan Powter. Little’s persona was depicted as “Peter Small” on an episode of Beavis and Butt-head, “Take a Lap”. Bruce Springsteen’s 1995-97 Ghost of Tom Joad Tour, contained the song “Sell It and They Will Come”, a tribute to the insanity of late-night infomercials. Tony Little remarked that, ‘I figure that he (Springsteen) got home from a gig and wanted to watch some TV and couldn’t get away from me. The line was: ””And Tony Little, America’s personal trainer, please kill yourself.”” That cracks me up. I love the parody stuff.’ In 1997, he appeared as himself, making fun of his own image, on The Weird Al Show. The following year, he once again parodied himself on the Fox show MADtv. He also did a cameo appearance in the movie Frezno Smooth in 1999. In 2005, he appeared in a GEICO commercial, that at first pretends to be another of his personal training videos, but then becomes a commercial for car insurance. On an episode of MADtv in early 2002, he was parodied and was portrayed by WWE wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin himself would be parodied by MADtv cast member Will Sasso. Little appeared in the 2006 film The Pumpkin Karver. Little has appeared on VH1’s Best Year Ever 2007. In October 2006, Little appeared on an episode of G4TV’s popular videogame review show X-Play; the episode in question was actually named “The Tony Little Episode”. The highlight of the episode featured Little in a comedy sketch which directly parodied his own infomercials. In the sketch, Little magically transports (via superpowers) an excessively obese member of G4’s web design team into a fitness infomercial (Little claims in the sketch that he obtained said superpowers when he was 16 years old, after being bitten by a radioactive ponytail). Little then shows the person how they can begin an exercise regimen using specialized video-game peripherals. Little appeared in an October 29, 2006 episode of VH1 reality show Celebrity Paranormal Project. Little has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno three times. Little appeared on NFL Countdown on December 7, 2008. He was “training” the players on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2009, he appeared on an episode of Real Chance of Love 2. One of Tony Little’s infomercials made it on the movie Jennifer’s Body in a scene when Jennifer is watching TV and circling which boys to kill on her yearbook. In April, 2014, Miller Lite beer launched a retrospective ad campaign that included a “recap” of the fitness crazes that (ostensibly) followed the introduction of Miller’s low carb, low calorie beer, in which a brief clip of a Tony Little infomercial appears.