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

A Change of Daily Routine

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Photo: David Mao, from Unsplash

Despite all my enthusiasm and renewed energy at the beginning of the year, I’m finding January really hard. I’m sleeping lots, feeling tired (work is also quite full on at the moment), and finding the motivation to exercise is really low.

I last did proper workouts nearly a week ago. I’ve still been cycling to work, and I did my first yoga class last week (more on that later), but Freeletics has been a really struggle.

Today I did 50 jumping pull-ups and 50 burpees, which is one part of a day that Coach has given me this week.

So here’s the thing. I think I need to make some routine changes. First, here are the problems…

  1. I never work out in the morning, but when I do, I feel amazing
  2. I’m always too hungry to work out after work

Here’s why I think these things are happening (bear with me on this)

I try and be in bed by 10:30pm, but then I often don’t go to sleep until about 11.30pm, which means that to get eight hours sleep I don’t wake up until 7.30am. I like to have a cup of tea in bed, check the news, plan the day. Which means I’m not usually in the shower until 8.30am, and then it’s a rush to get to have breakfast and get to work for 9.30am. And ideally I’d like to be there at 9am.

I tend to eat porridge/fruit or yoghurt/granola for breakfast and something light for lunch (salad, sandwich etc), so by the time it gets to 5.30pm, I’m starving and just want to finish work, go home and cook dinner.

So at either end of the day, I don’t have the energy / time / desire to exercise.

Now the solutions.

  1. Go to bed earlier. Lights out by 11pm.
  2. Get up at 7am
  3. Spend less time drinking tea and looking at the internet in the morning
  4. Work out in the morning
  5. Eat a big breakfast and a bigger lunch

Then I can relax in the evening, or do other fitness stuff, having completed my Freeletics workout.

Which brings me on to… Yoga!

I did my first class last week. I’m doing Iyengar, which involves a lot of held poses, rather than yoga with ‘flow’. I enjoyed the discipline of holding stretches and poses, and I felt great afterwards.

Also, I was really surprised with how much Freeletics had improved my ability to hold the poses and my general flexibility. I’ll definitely be going back.

Tell me – what’s your routine? When do you work out?

A Change of Daily Routine

Burpees: how can I pick up the speed?


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?

Burpees: how can I pick up the speed?

10 Things I’ve Learned From a Year of Freeletics

It’s almost exactly a year to the day since I joined Freeletics. You can read my first post here.

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?

  1. Pull-ups are really hard

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    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.

  2. Burpees are hard, but effective and are over quite quickly

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    I found burpees really hard and very exhausting at the beginning
    , but I think they’re by far the most effective exercise, as they target lots of muscles at once. It’s really satisfying when you get faster, and they never last that long.

  3. Exercising outside is by far the best way to do Freeletics

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    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.

  4. You won’t see a big transformation if you don’t make a radical shift with your nutrition

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    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.  

  5. I find it really hard to get up first thing in the morning to exercise

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    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.

  6. Don’t sit down on the sofa!

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    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.

  7. You won’t stick with it if you don’t buy the coach

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    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!).

  8. Form trumps speed

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    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. 

  9. Stretching works

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    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?

  10. The community works

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    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!

 

 

 

10 Things I’ve Learned From a Year of Freeletics

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

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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

First week back after re-doing the fitness test


I completed my first week of Freeletics after retaking the fitness test. For those of you arriving at this blog via this post, I’ve been doing Freeletics for about a year, but had some time off, due to a hectic work schedule and an injury.
So my first week back was

Poseidon

3/4 Venus

3/5 Aphrodite, 50 pushups, 50 squats

Poseidon wasn’t pretty straightforward. Did it in 04:40, but with no star because I still can’t do bloody pull-ups. 

It’s a great workout if you want to feel (and see) and immediate difference in your shoulders, arms and chest. It’s quick and powerful, even with jumping pull-ups.

Next up was 3/4 Venus, which I also really enjoyed (mainly because there are no burpees!). But by god did my thighs hurt for the rest of the week after not having done squats for ages. Oof.

Finally it was 3/5 Aphrodite which I absolutely hated. So out of practice on the burpees! And then I had to do another 50 push-ups and 50 squats. 

I did that workout after a particularly stressful day at work and it really helped reduce my anxiety. Excercise rules!

In other news, I’m trying to cut down on snacking and am still trying to drink less. One step at a time.

It’s pretty simple though right? Eat well, sleep well, excercise loads and drink lots of water. 

Have a great week athletes!

Image from freeletics.com

First week back after re-doing the fitness test

Back on the burpees

I’ve been trying to get up earlier recently as I know that I feel much better when I work out in the morning. I think I’m also much more likely not to give it a miss if I get it out of the way.

But I didn’t get home from being away this weekend until nearly 1am last night, so I wasn’t expecting to work out this morning. I woke up about 8am this morning and after tea and planning the day ahead I decided to just bite the bloody bullet.

I’ve got a couple of full work-outs to complete in my current Freeletics week plan (that’s been running for about three weeks…), but I didn’t have much time before work, so I did one of the sets of burpees Coach has scheduled this week. 50. Suffice to say I was much slower than my PB (4:51). I took me over six minutes to finish. And I was pretty sweaty.

So there’s work to be done – need to get back on form.

In other news, I’m consistently completing 10 jumping pull-ups in 0:15. So I think it’s time to move onto actual pull-ups and see how we get on there. I feel stronger and like I can almost do them without the jumping. I’ll keep you posted.

Back on the burpees