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

End of Week 5

  
Realised I haven’t updated this much for a while. Not that anyone has noticed. I’m basically just talking to myself.

However, just watched a YouTube video with Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach) where he talked about tweeting and instagramming about three recipes/workouts a day when he had zero followers, so YOU NEVER KNOW, maybe I’ll become a social media sensation and get a four-book deal. Or, more likely, I’ll just keep chuntering away here on my own.

I think my problem is that I’ve never been known as a sporty person. The idea of me doing anything sporty, let alone blogging about it, will be quite strange to my friends. And some of them have signed up to Freeletics. None of them have actually done a workout yet though, which suggests they’re not likely to be looking at the app much…

I’m also finding it difficult to do work-outs outside/in public. I don’t work out in a group; there doesn’t seem to be one in Bristol, and at the moment, as I end up being a panty, sweaty mess about half way through a workout, I don’t really like doing it on the basketball court next to my house as it’s overlooked by houses. Maybe I need to get over it. I think I might have to next week.

Anyway… Where have I got to over the last 19 days?

Well, I dipped out of the coach momentarily to do a 1.5k run on the treadmill at the gym. Was pretty easy. Had been hoping to do my normal workout, but should have realised that going to the gym after work during the first week back after the Christmas holidays was a bad idea. I’ve never seen the place so packed. And my usual workout area (where they do the classes) was full of people lunging, led by a woman wearing a Beyonce mic and shouting.

Then I was back under Coach’s orders and did Ares. I did this in my flat, so I couldn’t do the 2x 40m runs. I substituted them for High Knees. I can also still only do jumping pull-ups. They’re just too difficult. As a side note, I’m noticing that coach is scheduling more leg work-outs than arms, so I’m not feeling like I’m gaining strength in my arms. Might have to supplement Coach’s workouts with extra pull-up training.

Next up was 2/5 Aphrodite. Was pretty hard. Burpees are horrible. Very hard. And that was only 2/5!

Then it was Venus Standard. Looking back at that work out, I’m pretty impressed that I managed 150 push-ups. Although I think some of them were knee press-ups… So no star for me that time.

The rest of last week was pretty fucking hard. Aphrodite (ouch), Prometheus (oof) and finally, today, Helios (jeez).

Now, what was strange was at the start of the week, I was down to Helios standard (675 points – looked horrific – total of 300 burpees). Then, after Aphrodite it changed to the Endurance version, which is slightly easier (400 points, burpees changed to sprawlers etc). I think this might have been because my coach feedback after Aphrodite was ‘EXHAUSTING’, but be interested to hear if anyone else has noticed Coach changing their schedule during the week (hellooooooo? Anyone out there?)

So even the Endurance version of Helios was absolutely knackering. Getting through 150 sprawlers was difficult enough, and then to have to do them again right at the end of the workout was pretty hard. The final sprawlers took ages. I could only really do 3 or 4 at a time before stopping. Anyway, I got through it and felt pretty goddamn good afterwards.

Next week looks even harder. Here it is:

Atlas (Standard)

Kentauros (Standard)

Hermes (Standard)

3/4 Hermes (Strength)

2/3 Metis (Strength)
400m Sprint
400m Sprint
200m Sprint
200m Sprint

As a final note, I’m a cynical Englishman who can’t really abide motivational quotes etc etc, but I did find next week’s message from Coach a boost, even though it is a bit of a cliche.

By now, you made it through your first five weeks of Freeletics. You constantly get fitter and your body is about to change visibly. You are not a beginner anymore. We will no longer beg you not to give up. You know that backing down is not an option. It’s up to you to change your mindset. From now on, it’s about bursting limits. Every single time. It’s about being hungry. And putting in the work. About leaving excuses behind and unleashing your potential.

Dare to step it up. Athletes in their first weeks look up to you. Make sure to be a good role model. Especially if you train in groups. Maintain good form, be motivating and help others to improve their performance.

And as a final, final note… A word about Dry January.

Haven’t had a drink since New Year’s Eve. Feel pretty bloody good for it, and am getting loads done. I’m sleeping better, feel less anxious, and my diet is much, much healthier. I’m not 17 days in and it’s getting easier every day not to drink. Gonna try and push through until the end of the month. And hoping that it’s having an effect on that little beer belly. I’m not noticing much difference at the moment, and my weight has dropped a little, but not a lot. So let’s see. But I’m certainly finding that Freeletics is unleashing a stubbornness and determination I kind of knew I had, but not to this degree. I really want to make this work, and I’m surprising myself with my ability to do so.

BRING ON WEEK SIX.

End of Week 5

Week 3: Day 1

I’ve had a few days off. Mostly because I’m on holiday, and also because it’s fucking hot in Rio. Like 34° hot.

I joined the Freeletics Rio de Janeiro group and asked where I should work out. Some people suggested using the free gyms on the beach, but seeing the guys who were using them the other day made me think twice. Jeez – people really look after themselves here! Sculpted is the word…

I’m staying up the hill at Santa Teresa. And after a few days here, watching how much people exercise and work out, I thought I’d better get myself together. There seems to be a very body-conscious mentality here which is both a bit intimidating and also quite inspiring. People also don’t seem to give a shit about other people’s bodies. There’s no sneering or pointing!

Anyway, I found this little park. Perfect for Freeletics!  And apart from the old ladies’ aerobics that was there at 8am when I turned up, it was pretty much deserted.

 Time for my first Ares.

It was pretty straightforward. Although it was very hot outside, so I sweated a lot. Was nice to do some sprinting and I reckon I can do much faster next time. 

I really need to work on pull-ups. I’m not doing them properly, so no star, but even so they’re really hard. Still 35 in total is pretty good! I even did a few extra sit-ups at the end. 

There was a small baby running around towards the end, and she kept getting in my way, so some of the times were a little slower than I think I can do them. So I’m expecting to beat my PB next time.

Felt really energised afterwards, and ready for the next workout.

Now, I’m off to look at men on Ipanema beach.

Week 3: Day 1

Week 2: Day 4

Had to really gear up for this one. I’d been working the day before in São Paulo and went out for a late meal (spaghetti bolognaise and a couple of glasses of red wine), so wasn’t feeling massively up for it when I woke up about 7.30am. And it’s Sunday.

But I headed down to the hotel’s weird empty gym, which mercifully has great air con (it’s 30° outside) and buckled down.

Today was 4/5 Prometheus, and while it was hard, it wasn’t quite as hard as I thought it would be.

The climbers I actually quite enjoy and can usually do them really quickly. 

The knee push-ups are quite easy too, especially after doing the normal ones.

The crunches were hard but not too hard.

It was actually the HH squats that hurt (after doing them last week, my muscles were still sore), and the jumping jacks gave me a bit of a headache, but perhaps that was the red wine).

I was dead pleased I completed it, and before breakfast. I think I need to watch the impulse to stop towards the end, out of laziness rather than exhaustion. It’s tempting to stop because, well, I’ve basically done it so what difference will ten more jumping jacks make?

So that’s week 2 finished.

I can already see a slight improvement in my abs and arms and chest. And my legs feel really strong. 

I definitely need to improve my diet. It seems that 70% of success on Freeletics is about nutrition, and at the moment I’m drinking too much alcohol. I’m noticing the desire to eat less shit food/sugar. But then again, I’m on holiday and it’s Christmas next week, so maybe I should cut myself some slack…

In January I’m going to start a clean diet, based on recipes I’ve pinned on Pinterest. I’m not going to buy the nutrition guide because from what I’ve seen of it, the recipes are a bit depressing, and I really like cooking so I’m going to do my own low-carb, high-protein diet. And crucially, I’m going to do Dry January. But I’m not going to tell anyone, I’m just going to do it. Otherwise I’m bound to fail…

Next Week

I’m leaving São Paulo and heading to Rio tomorrow. Staying in an AirBnB, so no hotel gym. Not quite sure where I’m going to be able to workout, as Coach has scheduled both Ares and Hades which require 40m run space (or 2x 20m) and a pull-up bar. 

I’ve been told to be careful where I go in Rio, so need to ideally find a basketball court or similar near Santa Theresa, or a gym. 

OR… I postpone week three and do some of the other workouts that don’t need that equipment and which I can do in my room.

Guess I’ll see what happens when I get there…

Until then. Ciao!

Week 2: Day 4