Getting back to it

A quick post today as I haven’t posted for a while. Last week I didn’t train at all. No real excuses – I had the time, I just didn’t prioritise it. And I didn’t swim either.

So today I cleaned the flat, went and bought lots of fruit and veg, did all my washing and planned when I’d train and when I’d swim this week and I’m going to try and stick to it. So here I am trying to be accountable by posting it here.

Interesting email today from Freeletics too. They’re about to launch a completely rebuilt app based around five key values. Look forward to seeing how it works.

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Getting back to it

Keeping motivated in Autumn

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*Insert inspirational quote about roads and autumn here* Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

It’s been a while. I haven’t been slacking, I promise. Just busy.

Although I have taken a couple of weeks off my Coach programme to swim more regularly and to do the pull-up e-book that Freeletics published recently.

Now summer is over, it’s tempting to slack off training a bit though. You know, our bodies are covered up by more clothes, it’s colder, you want to eat more, it’s harder to train outside. But I’m trying to stay motivated and to remember that exercising helps my mental health during the winter.

I did do one of my Coach training sessions last week. This was:

10 Strict Pullups
10 Hanging Knee Raises
Interval: 3 rounds of 10 x squat jumps, 10x elevated split squats (both sides), 5x stands, 30secs rest
2/5 Achilles
50 High Knees (replaced a 100m sprint cos it was raining)

I quite enjoyed all of that. Varied. Seemed to work out most of my body. Was pleasantly exhausted at the end. Although the pullups and burpees in Achilles were punishing. I’m still not quite there with pullups, so did them as Assisted pullups.

Then I’ve been doing the programme of pullups that the Freeletics e-book suggests. It builds up intensity and frequency and there are lots of shoulder pullups and passive hangs, plus pullups. I can feel it getting easier and I’m on week 2. Week 3 next week, which I’m going to combine with my normal coach workouts and a swim at the weekend.

I’ve also been increasing the length of my swims by 50m each time. I’m now up to 46 lengths of a 25m pool. Considering when I started a few years ago 20 lengths was my absolute max, I’m pretty pleased with that. Have been trying to work on my technique too.

I’ve written about this before, but the weekly email from Freeletics today reminded me that my focus, determination and ability to work through something until it’s finished has massively improved since I started doing Freeletics. I really do believe that physical exercise has a big impact on your ability to concentrate. I find myself really pushing through difficult tasks at work, at home. I’m much more likely to just do something than to put it off. And I think the way that Freeletics is designed has helped me with that. The thought of not finishing a workout on the app and not being able to earn points or tick off the day means I always push through. Having a community of other people following me keeps me accountable somehow too.

I also use a habit-building app called Momentum where I can track my streaks with certain activities. That old Jerry Seinfeld thing about not breaking the chain inspires me to keep going and pull on that workout gear. I also track other stuff like eating well, reading, getting to bed on time, waking up early etc. Wanting to get a perfect streak compels me to train every week.

So people, what keeps you going? How do you motivate yourself?

Keeping motivated in Autumn

First go at the HS Pushup

Well, I kind of kept up the good work. I trained four times this week, which has been unheard of recently. And I did three days with no alcohol whatsoever and two with only a glass or two of wine. And when I did drink, I didn’t drink beer (liquid bread as someone called it recently). However, on Wednesday I had a work party where there was loads of free wine. One of those events where someone is always filling up your glass so you’re never quite sure how much you’ve had to drink. I pretty much had the recommended units of alcohol in one evening. Oops.

Training this week went like this:

Sunday

I blogged about this at the time. I did Ares in the park with an inquisitive child looking on. Did it in 10:23 and replaced actual pullups with jumping pullups.

Monday

Drill
8x Hanging Knee Raises
1x HS Pushups

Interval – 4 rounds of:
8x Incline Rows
8x Negative Pushups
8x Squat Jumps
60s Rest

1/4 Venus

50 High Knees

Most of that was absolutely fine.  But the HS Pushup? There was just absolutely no way that I could do that. I got up against the wall okay, but actually being able to lift my head off the floor was impossible. My arms just aren’t strong enough. Definitely one to work on.

Wednesday

Drill
15x Burpee Squat Jumps
10x Strict Pullups

Interval – 4 rounds of:
5s Pullup Hold
10x Situps
5x Plank Switches
60s Rest

1/2 Amazona

I took my time on the pullups and made sure I did them properly.

Amazona is one of the new workouts. I quite enjoyed it. Definitely works out your legs (it’s all lunges and squat jumps and plank leg lifts). It was over quite quickly (05:32) and I definitely felt like I’d had to work hard enough

Friday

2x Hebe

Half way through this I had a short break and came out of the app momentarily to look at Twitter (!). My phone took this moment to update the Freeletics app, so I lost the workout and had to start again. So I had a 7minute break in the middle of 2x Hebe. To be honest this was very welcome. It’s a tough workout I think, even though Freeletics marks it as easy and quick. This worked out my legs more than Amazona. Squat jumps, Squats, Sprawls and pushups. I was very sweaty at the end.

Next week brings my first Adonis and my first Kerberos. Bring it on.

 

First go at the HS Pushup

Getting real about drinking

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Yesterday I watched a documentary on BBC iPlayer that Adrian Chiles made about his drinking. More specifically about how if you’re a regular social drinker, it’s not really seen to be a problem. You know, a few pints here, a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, big nights out at the weekend.

I’ve massively cut back on my drinking over the past few years. I’m much more moderate and don’t often drink to get drunk, which I used to do when I was in my twenties. But I definitely identified with Chiles, particularly around how drinking is such a social lubricant (“alcohol is the only drug you apologise for not taking”).

It made me download the Drink Aware app, and to start logging my drinking, in a bid to cut down. I have to say I think the 14 units recommendation is a little draconian. That really isn’t very much alcohol in a week. But I’m going to see what it’s like to try and stick to it. Because I know I don’t want to give up drinking. I enjoy it. I like wine. I enjoy trying unusual cocktails or tasting whisky. And I’m able to stop. So perhaps massively reducing the amount I drink will help me enjoy it more.

I had to work last night (a Saturday), so I after watching the documentary I was thinking that I wouldn’t drink after I finished work. But true to form I caved immediately. And ended up going out until about 2am. Strong work. Although I didn’t drink a huge amount and I stayed clear of beer.

But this morning I wasn’t about to let myself off the hook, so I went to the park and trained. It was the final workout of my Coach week – Ares. A quick workout so it wasn’t too painful. I replaced the pull-ups with jumping pull-ups though. Not quite there yet.

There was a little kid with his grandma in the park. About five years old. He came over and wanted to chat. Asking me what I was doing. Peering at my screen as Coach counted down from 5. Was a bit distracting, but kind of cute. He asked if he could join in!

Later today, after training, I cycled to the swimming pool and managed 42 lengths (I do two more every time I go). I hadn’t really eaten much so was pretty tired by the end. Rewarded myself with a massive bowl of salads and quiche from my favourite cafe near the pool.

It’s also nice to have my bike back. It’s been broken for a while, so I’ve been getting the bus and walking everywhere. Today I cycled for over half an hour just getting from A to B.

So actually I’m pretty pleased with my slightly hungover Sunday. Lots of physical stuff. And I went to someone’s birthday drinks just now and didn’t drink, and it was FINE. Didn’t even feel like I needed to.

Always feels nice when you have a good start to the new week/month. Hoping I can keep up the good work.

Getting real about drinking

Blogging to make yourself accountable…

I’ve been a bit slack again recently. I did Hell Week towards the end of July and kept going fairly well for the following week, but then I went on holiday and didn’t work out for a while.

Got back on it last week though. Even went to the park early in the morning to train and it felt amazing. Today I had a fairly easy workout:

5x Hanging Knee Raises
10x Burpee Squat Jumps
Interval (Upper Body, Abs): 4 rounds of 8x Pushups, 5s Pullup Hold, 10x Plank Leg Lifts, 60sec rest
2/4 Poseidon
100m Sprint

Quite enjoyed it. Wasn’t outside so replaced the sprint with 50 High Knees.

I’m still pretty limited in the number of pull-ups I can do, so I also had to replace the pull-ups in Poseidon with assisted pull-ups. I’m wondering if I’ll ever get properly good at pull-ups. Thought I’d mastered them, but I still can’t do more than a few in a row.

Going to try and keep going this week, which is partly why I’m writing this blog – to make me accountable in some way. I find that if I write about training, I’m spurred on to do it. And because comments from readers always give me a boost 🙂

However, I can feel a cold coming on – the result of camping in the wind and rain this weekend – so I’ll see how I feel.

Onwards…

Blogging to make yourself accountable…

Lying to yourself doesn’t work…

My final two days of Hell Week are done. Thank god. These were:

Perseus

2x Poseidon

I quite liked Perseus. A nice mix of exercises: Strict Pullups, Mountain Climbers, Sphinx Push-ups and High Knees. It was over quite quickly – in my case 10mins – and even though it wasn’t too taxing I was still exhausted at the end.

And then today I did 2x Poseidon. Now, the last time I did this was two years ago. Apparently I did it in 12 minutes and I gave myself a star. There’s just simply no way I should have given myself a star. I couldn’t do the pullups. And I still can’t. I can do a few, but nowhere near the 100 that 2x Poseidon wants you to do. So I did assisted pullups today and didn’t give myself a star. I also added 8 minutes to my time.

It’s always tempting to give yourself a star, or skip a set, or lots of other little cheats. But it’s not really worth it, because it gives you a false sense of achievement, and when you do actually achieve it, it doesn’t feel so good.

Anyway, I got through the workout. Afterwards I had zero power in my arms.

And now I can have a break for a couple of days. I’ve asked coach for two workouts this week – he’s given me Upper Body Conditioning with a 100m sprint and 2x Agon.

Another Hell Week done. Onwards!

Lying to yourself doesn’t work…

Hell Week progress

I’m almost at the end of Hell Week. Worked out every day apart from Thursday when I was dealing with a crisis at work and had to have a meeting over the time I would have worked out.

Here are some things I’ve noticed:

  1. I’ve slept more than I usually do; at least an hour more every night
  2. I’ve drunk more water than I usually do
  3. Getting training done in the morning is the right thing to do
  4. I’ve lost weight. About 2kg
  5. I haven’t really eaten enough. For two reasons: it’s been stressful at work and I lose my appetite when I’m stressed and because it’s still hot in the UK and I eat less in hot weather
  6. My thighs really hurt
  7. I still have a long way to go to properly master the pull-up
  8. Jeez those 100x plank leg lifts in Amazona are tough
  9. Achilles is really fucking tough. Almost gave up.
  10. 2 x Krios — I dunno why I have myself a star the first time I did this. I absolutely can’t do it with correct form. And I added time onto my PB

Just got Perseus and Poseidon to go and then I’m done.

Hell Week progress