Introducing the Principles
Bring It! starts with Part 1-The Principals. This section is part introduction to Tony Horton’s program (which he says is the same one he uses himself) and part self discovery. One of the first things he goes through is his principles: Individualization, Periodization Training, Progression, and Cleanse-Nourish-Supplement. While he goes in depth on each of these I’ll try to sum them up somewhat: No one plan will work for everyone so we must figure out what our “fitness personality” is and choose programs designed for it. We can avoid hitting plateaus and boredom by incorporating variety. No matter what level we start from, we will improve. We must cleanse our bodies of toxins like caffeine and alcohol and replace unhealthy foods with nourishing one then will learn about which supplements will work best.
My Fitness Quotient
Once the introductions are complete, it’s time for the self-discovery part: taking his assessment called the Fitness Quotient(FQ). The test is divided into two parts “Finding Your Fitness Level” and “Finding Your Fun Factor.” The first part “is designed to pinpoint your level of conditioning and motivation”. The answers determine which workout plan we’ll follow throughout the book. The second part will show you what kinds of exercise activities you most enjoy which helps in finding things to “engage in during your active rest time” as well as to “create a fitness routine that you can actually look forward to doing.”
Fitness level is calculated based on 25 questions each with three answers. The category most of your answers fall in determines your fitness level. If you’re between categories he says to pick the lower one and then take it to the next level if you need more of a challenge. As it turned out, the majority of my answers put me in the “Warrior” fitness level (below that is Striver and below that Beginner). It was pretty accurate including such statements as “You enjoy physical activity and work out consistently. Exercise was probably part of your natural routine in childhood. You are self-motivated and fairly disciplined, and you enjoy working out several times a week…” So, throughout the program I’ll be following the exercise and dietary guidelines for Warriors.
Fun Factor is determined by reading lists of statements under Meditative Player, Social Player, Team Player, Extreme Player, Competitive Player. While I checked boxes in all of the categories the most I checked off were under Extreme Player. The profile also rang true including statements like “…You’re a no-holds-barred person who gives it your all…You get excited over new things and thrive on change…” He recommends checking out waterskiing, kayaking, scuba diving, snowboarding, mountain biking, or surfing. I can’t say I’ve ever properly done any of them (although I did use an inflatable kayak on my last white water rafting trip) but they look interesting. Learning to surf has actually been on my to try list for awhile (along with capoeira and rock climbing). Interestingly enough, Tony Horton says this is the category he fits in.
The Fit Test
The Fit Test is not as physically demanding as I expected it might be. Most of it is based on measuring a few movements. The only physical activities included step ups to gauge working heart rate, modified push ups, squats over a chair, and crunches. The hardest thing about it was keeping up with the timing (most things are done over the course of a minute), and it probably would have been easier if I’d waited for my husband to be home to track the time while I did the rest. Ideally resting heart rate is supposed to be a three day average but I’m not that worried about it so it’s just from one day.
Resting Heart Rate: 67 (Good)
Step Up (Working Heart Rate): 128 (slightly under Training Zone for my age)
Waist to Hip Ratio: 26″ waist/37″=.70 (Excellent)
Hamstring Flexibility: Normal
Shoulder Flexibility: Good
Upper Body Strength (Modified Push Ups): 25 (Excellent)
Lower Body Strength (Chair Squats): 30 (Excellent)
Core Strength (Crunches): 25 (Excellent)
The resting heart rate was only in Good rather than Excellent range. The working heart rate was a little lower than the Training Zone given for my age but Tony said “Everyone’s working heart rate varies, and it’s not uncommon for an individual to go outside of the training zones…” so I’m not too concerned. All the other results met or exceeded those for the highest level for their respective tests, so I’m in pretty good shape.
The Cycle of Success
Part 1 wraps up with Tony’s Cycle of Success which is somewhat or a pep talk of things to do to “make sure your head is in the right place.” There are 12 different sections of several things Tony places importance on. While many are things I already knew to do it didn’t hurt to have the reminder. At the end he sums it up: “Ask for help, don’t fall for gimmicks, stand up for what you believe, face your fears, find mentors, and be creative. Practice clearing your mind, observing your thoughts, and discrediting those that don’t serve you. Finish what you start. Engage yourself in a hobby or two. Choose right over wrong. Lighten up. Do what you love, love what you do.”
Having made it through part 1, I was ready to move on to Part 2, the routines.