I’ve been selecting “cardio and strength” for my Freeletics workouts for the past few weeks, as I felt the strength algorithm was becoming a little repetitive.
And while it’s certainly getting my heart rate up, I’m becoming a bit tired of the endless burpees.
Yesterday I had 175 burpees to do alongside 2x Krios.
I’m a big believer in eating the frog first (the maxim that if you eat a frog for breakfast every morning, nothing else could be worse for the rest of the day; in other words, do the thing you least want to do first), so I started with the burpees.
God, they’re boring, and exhausting. I didn’t beat a PB on any of them. I hadn’t eaten much beforehand and my energy wasn’t that high, so they were a real struggle.
I pushed through and did them all, plus 2xKrios. I was fucking shattered by the end.
Even though they’re boring, I can just feel how good burpees are. They really do work loads of muscles. But I just don’t know how to pick the speed up. I can’t break my PBs. Basically, I can’t do more than 10 a minute. And I see that loads of people I follow on the app are way faster than that.
So – any tips?! Or do I just need to push myself harder?
My last post was about the things I’ve learned from a year of doing Freeletics. So today I thought I’d look ahead to the next year, as I have no intention of stopping!
It’s interesting reading my very first post about how I was never really sporty when I was a kid. It just didn’t occur to me. I was happier reading books and playing musical instruments. Now I can’t imagine not exercising.
When I started Freeletics I was doing it in some £3 shorts from Primark and an old t-shirt. Now I own Freeletics wear running tights and tops, gloves, and various other bits and pieces. It’s really become part of my life.
Over the next year I want to crack running. It still doesn’t feel completely natural to me, and I can never get the pacing quite right. I get out of breath really quickly. I’m a good sprinter (I used to do 100m sprints at school), but longer runs tire me out.
I also want to master my nemesis, the pull-up. Last night I was watching a couple of Freeletics transformation videos on YouTube and seeing people master it looks so satisfying. I’m just not quite there yet.
I also want to unlock some more skills on the app. It might be over-ambitious to say I’m going to unlock all of them, but I’d like to at least unlock OH Pushups and Pistol Squats. I probably need to sort the pull-ups out first before tackling Toes-to-Bar and Muscleups.
And finally, I’m going to continue working on my nutrition and on cutting back on alcohol. It makes me feel so good, and it makes a real difference.
I’m currently on Week 24, so give or take I’ve taken about twice the time I should have done to get this far. I stopped for a month, and some weeks I just can’t fit in the workouts (or can’t be bothered!).
But this week, something switched. I’ve hit PBs on every single workout so far. Today I had three sets of 50 burpees and I found them pretty straightforward – did them almost continuously without stopping and beat my PB on each set. And then I did 2x Morpheus, which was fun. Yes, FUN.
I’m noticing I’m much more flexible, have more energy, my body shape is changing significantly (particularly noticeable on my thighs, shoulders, biceps and chest), and I find myself looking forward to workouts. And as I get quicker and my form gets cleaner, I find that I want to work outside more. Freeletics clears my head.
At the beginning of this journey, I read the evangelical blogs and transformation videos with a degree of scepticism. I doubted that working out could feel so good. But now I get it. I totally get it.
So what have I learnt this year?
Pull-ups are really hard
If you haven’t worked out regularly before doing Freeletics, and you’re slim, you’ll probably find doing correct-form pull-ups really hard. Impossible even. I’ve been trying all year and still can only do Jumping Pull-ups. But I’m doing at least 10 every day and recently I’ve noticed that I’m almost doing proper pull-ups now. Keep at it. As for the other skills you need to unlock on the Bodyweight app, sheesh. I’m nowhere near those yet.
Exercising outside is by far the best way to do Freeletics
It took me a while to pluck up the courage to work out in my local park despite it being less than a minute from my front door. I was worried about people giving me funny looks, or that my sweaty, red face would scare children. I was also anxious that people who also used the park to work out would be critical of my form (which was also a reason why it took me a while to work out at the gym). But actually, no one gives a shit. I certainly don’t look at other people when they’re working out. And the fresh air makes you feel really good. Can’t recommend it enough. Here are 7 tips from Freeletics about training outdoors in winter.
You won’t see a big transformation if you don’t make a radical shift with your nutrition
I started Freeletics because I noticed I was getting a slight beer belly. And while it has certainly reduced it, I haven’t seen the huge transformation that the YouTube videos promise. And that’s because I really enjoy red wine and beer. My diet has changed. I eat more protein, less carbs, more vegetables. I drink less, I’ve cut out sugar in coffee and I eat almost zero junk food. But I haven’t radically shifted my diet. I haven’t bought the nutrition coach. I still drink alcohol. But I’m okay with that. I’m fitter, more healthy and my body has changed.
I find it really hard to get up first thing in the morning to exercise
I’ve tried everything: setting a timer on the TV to come on, going to bed earlier and so on, but I still find it really hard to get out of bed and exercise before work. But when I do, blimey it feels good. You feel like you’re ahead of everyone in the day, it gives you energy, a sense of achievement and forces you to have a good post-workout breakfast. Basically it sets you up for the day. But for some reason all of that still doesn’t make me jump out of bed.
Don’t sit down on the sofa!
And if you didn’t work out before work, then avoid sitting down on the sofa when you get home at all costs. I make myself strip out of my work clothes and change into my workout gear straight away otherwise it’s so much harder to get going.
You won’t stick with it if you don’t buy the coach
I tried doing Freeletics without Coach and I think unless you have superhuman discipline and motivation, it’s really hard to stick at it unless you stump up. Coach pushes you to do harder work-outs, it makes sure you work out your entire body, and it you get the satisfaction of ticking off days and weeks as you go (and no, I don’t get paid by Freeletics to say this!).
Form trumps speed
The app foregrounds beating your PB with each work-out, but often taking your time and making sure that all your exercises are correct form is far more important. I seem to get better results doing that and in the long run it helps you get quicker too.
And finally, stretching works. It might be boring, but it really works. And it makes you feel much more flexible and strong. And reduces muscle pain when you push yourself. Why would you not?
The community works
I don’t feel like I’ve properly tapped into the Freeletics community yet. I followed some people by reading the sub-Reddit, and by looking at other people’s followers. Hardly any of my Facebook friends are on Freeletics and those that are are all at Level 1. And there isn’t a Freeletics group in Bristol, so I don’t have a crew of people who I train with (although I am considering starting one). But when people who follow me give me a #clapclap or comment on and like this blog, it’s a real boost. Thanks guys!