Hell Week Day 7 and then a two week break

I completely forgot to write about the final day of Hell Week.

Day 7 was a gentle end to the week. Nyx. Just sit-ups, leg raises and stand-ups. Did it in 08:10, which was 1:30 better than my PB.

And then I gave myself a break for a couple of weeks. I had a bit of a cold during Hell Week and then had a mad week at work. And then last week I was away from home and working crazy long hours so didn’t have time to exercise. I know, I know, #noexcuses, but it was either get less than five hours and exercise or sleep an extra hour, and I’m not really any good on less than seven and eight.

Felt nice to have a bit of a break. I left it so long that Freeletics sent me one of those ‘what’s happened?’ emails.

So yesterday I got back into it. Conditioning. Was tough.

3 sets of

10 Assisted Pullups
15 Press-ups
30 sec Superman hold
15 Hanging Leg Raises

I’m getting better at the Assisted Pull-ups, and Press-Ups and Superman hold are no bother, but I find the hanging leg-raises really hard. Partly because my pull-up bar is in a door frame, so it’s hard to really hang and be able to get a good swing. But mainly because I’m not strong enough! Will keep practicing.

Went for a swim today. Also felt a bit tough cos I didn’t go last week.

Going to get back into the swing properly tomorrow.

Might even try to tick off some of those advanced skills…

 

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Hell Week Day 7 and then a two week break

Hell Week Days 5 & 6: Nearly there

Day 5 was a slightly easier day. Hyperion (Endurance).

5 sets of:

5 Pikes
25 HH Squats
5 Pikes
25 High Knees
60 sec rest

Completed that in 11:04. Wasn’t too hard. And I also realised half way through that I was doing normal squats, not HH squats.

So, not much to say about Hyperion really. Apart from that because it was Day 5, my thighs were beginning to hurt.

Day 6 was a real achievement though. Not only was I a little bit hungover (oops), I was dreading it because the app told me that the last time I did Dione it took me 55:05. That was a year ago.

Reading back in this blog though, I see that I quite enjoyed doing that workout. It exercises pretty much your whole body.

3 sets of:

75 Jumping Jacks
25 Burpees
50 Leg Raises
75 Jumping Jacks
50 Situps
25 Burpees

It also feels like a good cardio workout, what with all those jumping jacks.

As soon as I started I realised I was definitely going to beat my PB. I always have half an eye on those little blue bars during the workout – the ones that tell you whether you’re ahead or behind of your PB. And I get competitive with myself.

I was faster on every single thing. Some significantly. It was a real boost to know how far I’ve come in a year. Sometimes I don’t think I’m making progress at all, that I’m just flatlining, but then there are days like today when I can see how much fitter I am.

Even leg-raises, which I hate, weren’t so bad. Although I often think they’re doing damage to the small of my back.

I completed the workout a full TWELVE MINUTES better than my PB. TWELVE MINUTES. I was absolutely dripping with sweat and felt quite light headed, but my god it felt good.

I have one day left to do in Hell Week. I’m not doing it today because I went swimming instead. I’ll do it tomorrow morning. It’s a quick one – Nyx – which shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.

And then Hell Week is done.

I can’t quite believe I’ve been doing Freeletics for nearly two years. And it still hasn’t lost its appeal. Bring on the next two years.

 

Hell Week Days 5 & 6: Nearly there

Hell Week Day 4: Kentauros

Kentaurous, my old friend. How I have missed you.

Today it was a beautiful autumnal morning. Cold, crisp and sunny. I could see my breath. I headed out to the basketball court next to my house and trained there. There’s usually no one else there, so I can sweat and pant without fear of embarrassment.

I have a funny relationship with Kentauros. Today it was Endurance, so slightly easier. I kind of hate doing it, and I always think it’s going to take ages. But today I did it in 18mins, and I wasn’t cutting corners.

If you don’t know it, Kentauros is one of the tougher of the Freeletics workouts. It’s particularly hard on the thighs.

Six sets of:

2x20m HH Lunge Walks
10 High Knees
2x20m Sprawl Frogs
10 High Knees

But I did it. And it felt so good to finish. I genuinely think that my stamina and ability to finish things in all aspects of my life has improved because of Freeletics. Once you’ve pressed go on the app, you know that the feeling of giving up will be much worse than the temporary pain of pushing through. And you know that your workout is only going to be about half an hour, so you might as well finish.

And so when I’m at work, or at home, I find it much easier to start a task and not stop until its done. I’m much less likely to part-finish something, or get bored and go and do something else. I set myself a goal and I work until its done. Whether that’s clearing my inbox, writing a paper, cleaning etc etc.

Anyway, training outside today was lovely. I’m hoping I can fit another outdoor session in this week. Tomorrow is a lot easier: Hyperion. But then… Saturday’s workout is Dione. A year ago it took me 55 mins. So I’m hoping I can beat that, but I’m not looking forward to it.

 

 

Hell Week Day 4: Kentauros

Hell Week Day 3: Gaia

I’m writing this a bit late. Gaia (Endurance) was yesterday, but I didn’t have time to write.

Even deciding to do today’s workout felt like an achievement. As I mentioned in my last post, I had/have a cold. So I was feeling a little under the weather. But I someone managed to pull on my workout gear and roll out the mat.

I thought today would be relatively easy. But it wasn’t.

10 sets of:

40 Jumping Jacks
30 High Knees
20 Mountain Climbers
10 HH Stand-ups

When you don’t have much energy, this is a pretty full on workout. It’s pretty much all cardio, apart from the stand-ups, so it gets your heart beating and I was pretty out of breath. Also there are no breaks. And 10 sets is a lot. So by the time I was done, I was exhausted.

I’m only training in the morning now before breakfast, so I was also feeling fairly weak at the end as I hadn’t eaten.

But I did it. And I think it actually helped get rid of the cold as I was feeling much better by the afternoon.

Hell Week Day 3: Gaia

Hell Week Day 2: Artemis

Aaah, I’d forgotten about Artemis. Definitely one of my least favourite Freeletics workouts. Each exercise is done all at once. And there are lots of repetitions.

50 Burpees

50 Pullups

100 Sit-ups

150 Squats

50 Burpees

Horrible. I almost gave up twice. There’s something horrible about having to do so many reps back to back. Somehow splitting them up like most workouts do feels more manageable.

I didn’t do the pullups properly, obvs. I did jumping pullups. But everything else I did with correct form. No star, but I beat my PB.

I was pretty sweaty at the end. Also – and I think this happened on Hell Week once before – I have a cold. Came on yesterday. I had to summon up the energy to workout, but it made me feel better. Going to see how I feel tomorrow, but hoping I can push through. It’s GAIA tomorrow, which is a bit easier.

Onwards!

Hell Week Day 2: Artemis

Hell Week Day 1: Persephone

Morning.

First day of Hell Week today. Haven’t done one for a while. I always have that mixture of dread and excitement when I click that colour scheme changes from blue to red and I see that the following week’s training is Hell Week.

I was going to start yesterday (Sunday), but I went for a swim instead. 30, 32 or 34 lengths (lost count!) in half an hour. Not bad.

So when I woke up this morning (early because of the clock’s going back), I knew that if I didn’t start Hell Week today I wouldn’t do it at all. I always find that if you don’t start out well on a Monday morning, it’s really hard to get the momentum going for the rest of the week.

Day 1 was fairly straightforward – Persephone (Endurance).

30 HH Squats
30 Sprawls
30 HH Leg Raises

20 HH Squats
20 Sprawls
20 HH Leg Raises

10 HH Squats
10 Sprawls
10 HH Leg Raises

I find these days that squats are much easier. I can feel that my legs are much stronger. I used to think that because I cycle everywhere I didn’t need to work on my legs as much. But now I do, I can cycle faster and feel stronger.

I like Persephone. It’s quick, relatively easy, but you still feel like you’ve had a full body workout. I even beat my PB by about 3 minutes. Good start to the week.

It’s Artemis tomorrow, which I’m really not looking forward to.

Hell Week Day 1: Persephone

The Pull-Up: Mastered. Kind of.

Finally, a breakthrough.

After a few weeks using a resistance band to do assisted pull-ups as part of my Coach weeks, but also as extra practice, I surprised myself yesterday.

Coach gave me 4 strict pull-ups as part of my conditioning workout. I rolled my eyes and thought ‘yeah, right’. Usually I’d not even attempt to do the pull-up properly. But yesterday, for some reason, I went to the bar without the band.

And I could do it! I did three pull-ups with correct form! Arms extended, feet off floor and then chin over bar. Couldn’t do the forth properly, but fuck it, I’d actually done three properly!

So how did that happen?

I’ve been doing Freeletics for nearly two years. Far longer than the 15 week transformation videos posted on YouTube. If you read back in this blog, you’ll see that I’m far from the disciplined trainer. I might be fairly good at training regularly, but I’m slack on diet and I drink alcohol.

And I’ve always struggled with the pull-up. I was a skinny kid. I didn’t have the muscles in my arm to pull up my bodyweight. So for nearly two years I did jumping pull-ups. And then when I was staying at a hotel, I used a resistance band for the first time. And suddenly being able to do a proper pull-up felt a lot closer. And so I bought one from the Freeletics Store and have been using it nearly every day since.

I think the good thing about using a band rather than the jumping pull-up, is that the band actually makes you use the muscles needed in the pull-up, whereas the jumping one doesn’t really. I’m no expert here, though, so please do correct me if this isn’t true.

Either way, by doing the assisted pull-up regularly I must have been training my arms in the right way. The challenge now is to build up beyond three (!). My plan is to keep doing assisted pull-ups until I can do more than ten without a break.

I had to do a further 30 assisted pull-ups as part of the day’s training, and they also felt easier, although I can’t do 10 back-to-back yet.

Today, I also did 28 lengths at the pool. Every time I go I’m adding two lengths. The window to swim on a Sunday is only 45 minutes after classes and before the pool closes, so there’s no hanging around. When I first started going I could only manage 20, and I had to take breaks every few lengths. Now I can do 28 without a break, with time to spare. I’m aiming to get to 40.

So all in all, I’m feeling good. And all this after a week off last week. I was tired, work was busy and I kind of got off on the wrong foot on Sunday. So I didn’t train at all last week. Managed a swim on Sunday and that was it. I was waking up late, not eating much fruit and veg, not drinking enough water.

But this weekend I’ve had lots of sleep, got all the food in for the week and cleaned my flat, so I’m ready for the week ahead.

japheth-mast-329255
Um, this is not me. Photo by @japhethmast on Unsplash.com
The Pull-Up: Mastered. Kind of.