The Sunday Reset

protein-pancakes
Image from getthegloss.com

As I’ve got older, Sundays have stopped being about crippling hangovers, fry-ups and anxiety and have become more about exercise, reflection, planning and relaxation. Feels good.

Last night I came back from London late, didn’t go and meet friends (and felt no FOMO) and got an early night. Woke up this morning, feeling refreshed after 10.5 hours sleep (also the clocks went back here in the UK last night, so there was a bonus hour of sleep).

As I’ve mentioned before, I use coach.me to help me build habits. For each habit you’re trying to build (write a blog post, go running etc etc) you can set the number of times each week you want to try and carry out that particular activity. Sunday is the day that the whole lot reset, so I always feel like I’ve got a bit of a clean slate, regardless of what’s gone before during the week.

So my first activity of the new week was NEMESIS. I haven’t done Nemesis for ages. The first time I did it was way back in Week 2. The last time I wrote about was here (with the catchy title “JackKnives: like, wtf…”). Incidentally it’s nice to see how much my PB has improved on this one. In that earlier post I say I did it in less than 20 minutes and now I’m doing it in nearly half that time! Anyway, it’s a relatively simple Freeletics workout, with only two exercises. I like it because the number of reps for each exercise swap as you progress. So you start with 50 Jackknives and 10 Froggers, then 40/20, 30/30 etc.

Performing Jack-Knives really makes me notice how inflexible I am. I’m sure that not many people doing freeletics can perform them as accurately as the woman in the instruction video, but still, I can barely lift my shoulders off the floor, however hard I try. More evidence that I should be doing yoga to help with flexibility.

The Jack-Knives really work on your abs – you can feel them burning while you do the exercise, and particularly for me, the ab muscles higher up your torso.

Froggers meanwhile really get me out of breath. I’m also not able to get my feet right next to my hands as in the video, but as close as damn it (I gave myself a star for this workout, despite it not being completely accurately).

And then it’s over. I beat my PB by about 2 minutes, finishing in 16:51.

Then I did some bonus Jumping Pull-ups with correct form.

And then I made Joe Wick’s delicious Lean in 15 Protein Pancakes. Here they are (along with 9 other “banging breakfasts”

Last week I didn’t manage to do my three hell days in three days. I did work out 4 times during the week, so I’m carrying over my final day into next week. And I’m determined to get out running this week.

Have a good one everybody!

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The Sunday Reset

Second Kronos in a week…

Maybe I’m rethinking my dislike of Kronos. I had my second Kronos of the week today. I was knackered after a long day, and it was just the ticket. The endorphin rush at the end gave me the little energy spurt I needed.

I think the thing I like about Kronos is that it works out your whole body, and more than any other workout, you can really feel the results. It works your abs (sit-ups, squats), your arms and chest (press-ups and pull-ups) and your core (leg-levers). Although having to do each exercise all in one block rather than split across sets is pretty tough.

I’m not looking forward to how my thighs are going to feel tomorrow though… Think I might need to invest in a foam roller…

Second Kronos in a week…

Kronos, Hell Days, Pull-ups and thoughts on frequency of training

stopwatch
Always trying to beat that PB!

The clocks go back in the UK next week, which means it’ll be darker earlier. Winter is coming. Time to really get stuck into training, so I can be ready for spring when it finally arrives!

Coach has given me Hell Days this week. I selected three work-out days, and this is what he gave me:

Day 1: Kronos, Uranos

Day 2: Kronos, Nemesis

Day 3: Kentauros, 3x Metis

He (and yes, I’ve decided my coach is a man) has selected a smorgasbord of my worst workouts. You can read about the last time I did Kronos here.

I still feel like I need a kick up the bum with Freeletics at the moment, I’m seeing results, but not the ‘insane’ results the app promises when you first sat up (this is mostly about diet though rather than workouts). So actually I was kind of grateful for Hell Days. Means I really have to push myself again.

I started the week yesterday and fully intended to do Kronos and Uranos. Ha. I’d forgotten the pain the Kronos puts you through. I have knocked a full 13 minutes off my first time trying it though, which is progress.

Before I was half way through I knew that there was no way I would be able to Uranos after this. Mainly because the 300 squats mean that I can hardly move my legs, let alone jump while doing burpees.

Today I ache all over and can hardly walk. It’s a good kind of ache, and I felt AMAZING after I had finished the workout. But I know I will struggle this week to do both workouts on the same day. Might have to split them across every day this week instead.

Which brings me on to a thought I had yesterday about frequency of training. I currently select three days each week. I think this leads me to eating badly and drinking alcohol, as there are more days in the week when I’m not working out than when I am.

So I’m going to up it to five days from now and on and see how that goes. Might also see how that changes what Coach assigns me.

Pull-ups

A quick note on what my regular readers will know is my nemesis – the pull-up. I re-watched the video for the jumping pull-up and realised that my 0:15 PB wasn’t quite true. I haven’t really been doing them properly. Seems that the trick is to fully extend and then let yourself fall. I hadn’t really been doing that, and so I don’t think I’ve been building up enough strength.

 

Kronos, Hell Days, Pull-ups and thoughts on frequency of training

Autumn, where finding the motivation gets harder

autumn-outdoors-bike
Image: Semih Lydian (via Unsplash.com)

Really had to push myself to work out today. A rainy October Monday. I wanted to try and exercise before I went to work, but after a long few weeks travelling for work, I’m still trying to catch up on sleep so I stayed a little longer in bed. And then by the time I left work it was 6pm and I was tired and hungry.

But after cycling back from work, I made sure I changed straight away into my workout gear before I succumbed to the sofa. That way I’d already taken the first step.

So today was Uranos. I quite like this work out. It has the right mix of cardio and strength (running and burpees followed by press ups, pull ups and jumps), and it doesn’t take that long.

I must have been having a bad day when I last did Uranos, either that or I’m getting fitter, but I beat my PB by 8 minutes! And for the first time I managed to do 20 burpees without a break.

I still don’t get a star for it though, because I can’t do correct form pull-ups (those who follow this blog are familiar with my pull-up trials).

I’m noticing a big difference on my arms, shoulders, chest and thighs, but I still have a bit of a belly – which is purely down to nutrition. Must keep working on my diet.

Autumn, where finding the motivation gets harder

7 Little Changes You Can Make Very Easily


Swap the latte for black Americano

    Some lattes have as many as 300 calories, more if you’re adding sugar. Even if you go skinny, it still all adds up. Get your coffee hit with an elegant, cool black Americano. Virtually no calories and still delicious.

    Ditch the fruit juice

    For ages I’ve been drinking loads of fruit juice, primarily as a way of ticking off one or two of my five-a-day. But then I went to the dentist and he told me to cut down immediately. Fruit juice contains loads of sugar and many of the nutrients and vitamins have been squeezed out. Much better to eat proper fruit and veg throughout the day.


    Get eight hours sleep minimum

      It just makes you feel better. More energy, better mood, clearer mind. That’s it really.


      Download coach.me

        I use coach.me to try and build new habits. You can join pre-existing programmes or start your own, and you can pay for an actual coach (I don’t do this). For each habit you want to build, you can select the number of days you want to do that task each week and tick off when you do them. It has a really simple interface and I’ve changed a lot of my bad habits using it (including stopping smoking).


        Cut out alcohol

          I enjoy drinking and socialising too much to quit alcohol altogether, but I’ve been making a conscious effort in the past year to really cut down, and now try to only drink at the weekend. I’m also trying to stop drinking beer and move onto spirits and wine. The hardest thing for me is the impulse to reach for alcohol when I’ve had a hard day. Trying to replace that impulse with exercise.


          Don’t snack

            Alongside drinking, snacking is the main reason I put on weight. I’m now trying not to snack at all. I was never allowed to as a child, so it’s a bad habit that’s developed in recent years. If I do need to snack, I try and eat almonds, dried and fresh fruit and protein. 


            Drink as much water as you possibly can

              Joe Wicks recommends 3-4 litres a day, which I think is soooo much. I aim for 1.5-2 litres. And then I’m in the toilet a lot! When I exercise I drink more. It keeps you healthy and also reduces the craving for snacks.

              7 Little Changes You Can Make Very Easily

              8 Tips for How to Work Out While You Travel

              Brooklyn Bridge

              I have to travel a lot with my job, and sometimes that it’s difficult to make time for exercise when you’re in an unfamiliar environment. This post focuses on Freeletics, because that’s my work-out of choice, but these tips can apply to pretty much any kind of exercise. I’ve also linked to some other articles I read while writing this post.

              1. Don’t worry about not having the right kit with you

                The beauty of Freeletics, or any HIIT, is that you can pretty much do it anywhere. All you need is a bit of space in your hotel room or AirBnb. So if you don’t have room in your luggage for a yoga mat, fear not – a carpeted hotel room will do the trick (although beware of carpet-burn!)

                Of course, if you’re staying in a hotel, there might be a gym. I tend to try and get in there as early as possible while everyone else is still asleep – that way it’s quiet and you can concentrate.

                My only challenge is that it’s difficult to do pull-ups when travelling. Freeletics have a portable ‘No Excuses’ pull-up bar that you could take with you and fix on the bathroom door.

              2. Block out time in your schedule

                Much like working out when you’re at home, I find it’s important to block out time in your schedule for Freeletics. I tend to work out either very early (before breakfast) or whenever I might have gaps in my schedule later in the day. When you’re out of a normal daily routine, I accept that I’ll probably be working out at a different time each day, but as long as I work out when is best before I do anything else that day, then I can relax knowing I’ve got it covered.

              3. Use 2×2

                If you’re in an unusual place and can’t run or exercise outside, remember that you can always switch your Freeletics Bodyweight app to 2×2 and do all your exercises in your hotel room. Or you can always just re-order your workout days and do the workouts that don’t involve distance.

              4. Research local freeletics groups

                Sometimes when I’m travelling I research local Freeletics groups to see where they workout or if they have any meet-ups planned. Facebook is a good place to start with this. I joined the Freeletics Vancouver group on a recent trip. Working out with other people is always a good motivator, and it can be a great way to meet locals when away from home. The Freeletics website has a list of groups around the world.

              5. Eat well while travelling

                It’s so tempting to rely on easy, quick foods that might feel familiar when you’re in a new place. I’m a sucker for pizza when I’m travelling. But you can eat healthy too. Start the day with fresh fruit and eggs at the hotel buffet and then opt for fresh meat, fish and salads and you can’t go wrong. It’s still possible to eat well, but also don’t beat yourself up if you have a lapse – especially if you’re on holiday! Here’s a handy post with some tips and tricks on how to eat well while travelling.

              6. Make sure you get plenty of sleep

                If you’re travelling long distances, jet-lag can really take its toll. I find that I am much less likely to work out if I’m tired, so I try and make sure I get more than enough sleep. But if the jet-lag does kick in, exercise if often a good way of beating it.

              7. Hire a bike, rather jumping in taxis

                Cycling is a great, cheap way to experience a new city, and keeps you fit too. Try hiring a bike rather than jumping in taxis. I did this in Copenhagen and it was brilliant. Although I wouldn’t want to try it in cities that weren’t so cycle-friendly!

              8. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t fit it in

                If you’re away from home for work, sometimes your schedule is so packed that there simply isn’t time. Don’t beat yourself up. Even a few push-ups or burpees in the morning makes a difference (try this five-minute hotel room workout). Sometimes I use being away to try and beat PBs on all those quick exercises like 25 push-ups etc. And if you can’t do a full work-out, just cut yourself some slack and start again next week.

              Freeletics also have a blog about exercising while travelling, and you should also check out the Freeletics sub-Reddit

              Right, off to do 2xMetis in my hotel room 🙂

              8 Tips for How to Work Out While You Travel