Is May too late to think about your summer body?!

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It’s May, and summer is around the corner. Time to put some effort in for that summer body. Even though I kind of object to that term. But still. It’d be nice to look good on the beach.

I’ve had a bit of a break – no reason apart from laziness. Too many nights going for post-work drinks, which not only means I don’t exercise in the evening (and am more likely to eat pasta for dinner!), it means I’m also less likely to get up early with a clear head after a good night’s sleep and head to the park.

I know that alcohol is the single biggest reason I don’t exercise. If I drink (even one or two drinks), my sleep isn’t good quality, I wake up groggy and I end up drinking tea in bed and scrolling through the internet on my phone for too long.

My challenge is that I work with my friends, and my job involves a lot of socialising in the evening. Most nights of the week, someone is bound to suggest going to the pub after we finish at the office, or there’ll be some event or other. It’s also much more difficult when the sun’s out.

So I’ve been trying to be really strict with myself. I try to decline, or make plans after work that don’t involve drinking. And where possible, I exercise in the morning, so that at least I’ve got it out of the way first thing. That feels so good.

But Coach 2.0 is really helping. The workouts are shorter, but no less taxing. I’m much more likely to haul myself out of bed in the morning and do a Freeletics session if I know that the whole thing isn’t going to take longer than 30 minutes, including warm-up and stretching. I really like knowing what part of my body is being exercised each day. And it all feels more efficient and clean.

Overall I’ve noticed more people refer to me as being in really good physical shape. I know my body looks more in proportion, that I have more stamina and commitment in lots of different areas. Freeletics works.

I’m going to start taking progress photos more regularly. Every week. Here’s where I am versus week 1, which is now over a year ago.

Here’s to Summer 2017!

 

 

Is May too late to think about your summer body?!

Freeletics Bodyweight Coach 4.0: Review #3

Getting into the swing of the new coach now. Yesterday was:

Conditioning
Interval: Legs, Core

3x rounds of

Squat Jumps
Bicycle Crunches
Split Lunges
Single Leg Hip Raises Left
Single Leg Hip Raises Right

2/5 Morpheus

And today I ACHE. The whole session took about 20 minutes. I was sweating and tired by the end. And today my glutes and thighs ache.

It’s quite difficult to do a whole set of new exercises when you can’t stop and re-watch the videos to make sure you’re doing it right, so I didn’t give myself a star, but things can only get easier.

Freeletics Bodyweight Coach 4.0: Review #3

Freeletics Bodyweight 4.0 Review #2

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I’ve now done two more days of the new Coach. And I have to say I’m really enjoying it. The workouts are shorter and more intense, and I’m finding that they’re really working my muscles a lot harder (I’m have more of that satisfying soreness – is it satisfying?).

Yesterday I did:

10 Jumps
Poseidon

The jumps, pan, no problem. I did Poseidon in 04:09, but no star because I still can’t do perfect form pullups.

And then today, the final day of my three-day Coach week, was

Conditioning
Interval: Core, Upper Body.
3 rounds of:
Commando Pullups Left x10
Side Plank Twists Left x15
Side Plank Twists Right x15
Commando Pullups Right x10
Plank Switches x10

Taking each in turn:

Commando Pullups
I found these relatively straightforward although I’m not doing them correct form. I could just about do 3 the other day and it was the same this time. Then I started having to give myself a little jump start.

Side Plank Twists
I liked these. I could feel that they will be good for core strength, but they were also nice stretches. They got more testing later on in the workout.

Plank Switches
I also enjoyed these. They were fairly tough later on, but they were a nice change from pushups.

I’m really liking how the workouts are quite quick, but work your muscle groups really hard. I am finding it much easier to do before work. And not racing against the clock means that I’m much more likely to concentrate on whether I’m doing things right, rather than trying to beat a PB.

I’ve set the next Coach week to 2 workouts which I’ll do later this week, as I’ve now done four days in a row (including two swimming sessions and an hour’s bike ride).

While I’m here, a quick update on nutrition…

I’ve been making some really conscious changes to my diet. These include:

  • Cutting out bread as much as possible
  • Low carb lunches (usually a chicken salad or similar)
  • Porridge or overnight protein oats for breakfast
  • As much fruit and veg as possible, certainly more than five pieces a day
  • Shit-loads of water
  • Cutting down on beer and wine in favour of spirits, and cutting down my drinking alcohol at all to one or two nights a week.
  • Higher protein content in most meals (last night’s steak was delicious!)
Freeletics Bodyweight 4.0 Review #2

Freeletics Bodyweight Coach 4.0: Week 1 review

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Today was – finally – my first day of the new Coach.

Here’s what was in store:

10 Pushups

Strength, Interval: Upper Body: 
4 Rounds of:
Commando Pullups Left x3
Commando Pullups Right x3
Straight Bar Dips x8
Clapping Pushups x8
Strict Pullups x4
Rest 60

It feels like this first week is about Coach figuring out what I can and can’t do. Almost like redoing the fitness test again.

But the first thing I notice is that whereas before, all you needed to do Freeletics Bodyweight was a pull-up bar, now it’s a bit more complicated. I don’t have an adjustable bar at home. I have a fixed pull-up bar. So Straight Bar Dips are impossible. I really want to carry on doing Freeletics at home, rather than at a gym or elsewhere, so I might have to invest in one of their portable bars. This is a bit annoying as they’re not cheap. But hey. Today I improvised by doing the Straight Bar Dips on a work surface – far from perfect form though.

So, taking each exercise one-by-one:

Push-ups

10 push-ups are no problem. Did them in 00:14, correct form. I was reminded, after not having done Freeletics for a week or so, how easy I now find push-ups. I have a much stronger upper body and find doing 10 no problem at all. Now onto the interval training.

Commando Pull-ups Left / Right

These were easier than I thought they would be, at least in the first couple of rounds. I was surprised by my strength. They got much harder in the latter half of the workout though and by the end I wasn’t really doing them correct form.

Straight Bar Dips

So yeah, I was doing these on a table basically. I started doing them between two chairs, but the chairs really hurt my hands, and actually once I used the table, I could do much better form. These were quite hard. Although I kind of think I might be able to get good at them relatively quickly.

Clapping Pushups

Ha. So I could just about do these on the first round, but the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds I couldn’t really do them, so just ended up doing normal pushups. Blimey these are hard!

Strict Pullups

Those of you who have read this blog before will know my struggle with the pull-up. But I have to say that not doing them against the clock and concentrating on form not speed meant that I pretty much did them perfectly on the first round. The later rounds were more tricky and I had to give myself a bit of a jump-start, but I felt like I was making progress.

Overall, I was easily as knackered and sweaty as I usually am at the end of a Freeletics workout. I’ve read elsewhere, mainly on Reddit, that some people find the new coach too easy, but I certainly found it as challenging, if not more so, than the old coach. It was hard to get my head out of wanting to do everything really quickly, as speed has been such a part of the mentality of Freeletics for so long, but once I got my head around concentrating on technique, I found it really enjoyable, and quite difficult.

Next up this week, I have:

Day 2
10 Jumps
Poseidon

Day 3
Conditioning: Interval: Core, Upper Body

Freeletics Bodyweight Coach 4.0: Week 1 review

Hell, um, Month…

Hell Week has become Hell Month. I’ve been away, and then have been really busy, so it’s been next to impossible to do the full Hell Week back to back. (and yes yes, I know #noexcuses).

But now I’m nearly done. It’s been pretty tough. I’ve done the whole thing in a funny order, fitting in what I can when I can. And this week I’ve done a workout pretty much every day, plus a swim on Sunday.

Yesterday was Kentauros strength, which was pretty hard, but which I did much faster than I thought I would. I have to say doing Burpee Deepfrogs in new trainers on slightly wet tarmac is hard; I slipped over more than once. Today my glutes and the backs of my thighs really ache.

I now have only Artemis and some burpees to do and then I’m done. I’m hoping to get these done before Saturday so I can start next week on a new coach week (and with the new coach!)

I’ve also been really trying to focus on form over times. It feels much better to know I’ve done things properly than just got through them quickly. And I can also feel myself improving more quickly.

Finally, I saw a video of me from before I did freeletics, and really noticed how I’ve put on muscle since I started. My legs aren’t as skinny, I have much more definition on my upper body and stronger shoulders. Nice.

Hell, um, Month…

I bit the bullet: Hell Week Day #1

After much deliberation yesterday, this morning I woke up early and decided to just get on with Hell Week. If I have to take a couple of days break while I’m travelling, then so be it.

First up was Uranos and Krios.

I have a confession about Uranos. I don’t do the running bit. I cycle to work and back every day so get plenty of cardio and I really, really hate running. I did the running in Uranos once, so I know my time. I just set the workout going and do the warm up during the time when I would be running. Naughty, I know. And I also know that cycling and running use very different muscles.

I was hungry and hadn’t eaten anything yet, so Uranos was a bit difficult and I didn’t beat my PB. Was knackered at the end, but decided to push on with Krios as I knew it wouldn’t take very long.

And now I feel fantastic. I’ve done two workouts before 9am and it’s given me an energy boost and put me in a great mood. Must. Remember. This. Feeling.

I bit the bullet: Hell Week Day #1

Hell Week conundrum

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There I was, Monday morning, feelings smug that I’d got out of bed and done 2x Metis (strength), which incidentally, is pretty tough on the old thighs (and the downstairs neighbours – all those jumps).

I completed the ‘week’ that I’ve been doing for about the last three weeks (sorry Coach), and was looking forward to what was in store, when blam, HELL WEEK. Jeez.

So this is tricky. If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling with motivation these last few weeks. And last time I did Hell Week, it was after a similar period of inaction (maybe Coach knows). I found it really gave me the boost I needed to get back into regular training.

But here’s the thing, this time, the timing isn’t great. I have a major deadline this week at work, and next week I’m away for the whole week in another country, so not even sure where/when I’ll be able to train.

So, do I just crack on with Hell Week on my usual schedule and take a few days out if needs be, with the knowledge that it will take longer than seven days, or do I postpone until I return from being away?

If I postpone, I’ll have to select my own workouts in the meantime. And I’m not sure I’ll get the most out of training. It might not do my motivation any good. I’ll feel like I’ve got some time off. If I just get on with it, I might feel frustrated that it’s not ‘pure’ Hell Week.

Here’s what Coach has in store:

Day 1: Uranos, Krios
Day 2: Venus, 200 burpees
Day 3: Hermes, 2x Morpheus
Day 4: Kronos, 2x Krios
Day 5: Venus, Artemis
Day 6: Kentauros (Strength), 200 burpees
Day 7: 2x Ares, 100 pullups

Ugh. The first three days aren’t too bad (apart from all those burpees). It gets tough mid-week, and I don’t know if I’ll have running space and pull-up bar when I’m away.

Hmmm… I’m of a mind to just get on with it and adapt as needs be. What do you think?

Hell Week conundrum