Quick Sunday update

A quick swim today. Usually try and do 20 lengths on a Sunday – there’s a 45-minute lane-swimming window at my local pool. Did 22 today – and didn’t really stop for a break throughout. Felt good. I’ve noticed that my legs are looking and feeling a lot stronger from doing Freeletics. More definition, bigger muscles in my thighs and calves.

I’ve noticed that my belly has come back a bit, which isn’t great. The result of over-indulgence at Christmas, drinking and not looking after my diet. Challenge over the next few weeks is to make sure I’m eating well – lots of fruit and veg.

Also, I’m booking a holiday soon – something to work towards…

Tomorrow is 2xMetis, which I’ve never done before. Let’s see how that goes.

How was your weekend training?

Quick Sunday update

Coming back after time off to… HELL WEEK

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The view from my mat this morning

My job involves a very intense period of work over one particular month of the year (May). The whole year is geared towards that month and so it becomes all consuming. Long hours, lots of socialising, lots of mental and physical energy.

I’ve been doing Freeletics since December, and I always kind of knew that April/May would be really tricky. It’d be hard to find the energy to work out after a challenging day and when there was frequently alcohol involved at the end of it. So I took the decision to not beat myself up about that, and to give myself a break for a few weeks. Four to be precise. I did continue to practice my pull-ups during that period – finding a minute here and there to do them at the start or end of the day. So I guess in the strictest terms, I didn’t have a break. But I did take a break from Coach. Sorry Coach.

So when I returned to freeletics last week, I had one day of Week 14 still to complete. A load of burpees and 3x Metis (Standard). Suffice to say I didn’t beat my PB on any of these. I had noticeably put on weight (pretty much directly from beer and wine – I had a pretty good diet otherwise during my time away from Freeletics). I huffed and sweated my way through those exercises and gave myself a pat on the back for getting back on the horse. WELL DONE ME. And once I’d finished that final Week 14 day, I naively selected 3 days workout the following week, thinking ‘I’ll ease myself back it’. Ha. How wrong I was. I had forgotten that Week 15 is HELL WEEK.

However, once I’d finished staring open mouthed at what Coach had in store, I was kind of excited for the challenge. What better way to get back into working out after some time away than by the physical equivalent of flooding therapy. Here’s what Week 15 looks like:

Day 1: Kentauros, 2x Metis
Day 2: Hermes, 2x Morpheus
Day 3: Hades, Hermes
Day 4: Uranus, Hades
Day 5: 3x Metis, 25 Pullups, 25 Pullups, 25 Burpees, 25 Burpees
Day 6: 2x Krios, 100 Burpees, 100 Burpees
Day 7: 3x Krios, 100 Burpees, 50 Squats, 25 High Jumps, 25 High Jumps

OKAY then!

First things first, this is way more work-outs than I’ve ever done in my life, ever.

Secondly, all those pull-ups (there are pull-ups in the workouts too), are going to be hard. I can’t really done any pull-ups at all. So far, I can only do jumping pull-ups. So I’m not sure how that’s going to do.

But before we get into Hell Week (I’ve already done Day 1 and 2 at the time of writing), I want to talk about a few other things.

Alcohol

I’ve touched on this before, but I think that for me, and probably for many of you, alcohol is the most significant factor in weight loss/gain. When I look back at photos of myself during Dry January, I hadn’t really realised how much it had an effect on visible body fat around my belly. And now, after a couple of months of fairly regular beer drinking, I’ve definitely brought back the beer belly, which was the entire reason to star this whole thing in the first place.

I’ve noticed that Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) says that he only “gets boozy” twice a month, and when he does, he drinks gin and tonic. Far less fatty than beers. I’m kind of kicking myself that I drank so much over the last couple of months as I’d love to be entering Week 15 with a proper transformation photo. That will have to wait.

Protein Shakes

I’d sneered at these before. Especially after watching a BBC documentary about how protein shakes don’t really do much if you get enough protein in your food anyway. BUT, I’ve noticed that I haven’t really been getting the amount of protein I needed through my normal diet (I am for 45% carbs, 25% fat, 30% protein), so I took advantage of an offer on MyProtein.com and ordered a load of whey protein to start making shakes. They’re actually quite tasty and really sort you out after a hard work-out. I’ll let you know how I get on with them. (Oh, and this isn’t sponsored or anything).

So, anyway…

Here we are in HELL WEEK. Yesterday was a bank holiday. I was exhausted from a long weekend, but forced myself to do the two workouts in the evening, and was very glad I did afterwards.

Kentauros was as appalling as ever. I really fucking hate that workout. But I beat my PB by about 4 minutes. I was a dreadful sweaty mess at the end though. And then I did 2x Metis, which was FINE, but didn’t beat my PB because I’d already done about a million burpees and my poor body wouldn’t let me go any faster.

Then this morning I woke up early and took advantage of a bright, sunny day to go to my local basketball court. I always feel a little self-conscious working out outdoors, but it was early and there was no one around. I actually quite enjoyed it. Hermes is a dream. It’s probably one of my favourite workouts because you get those little rests. And then 2x Morpheus was harder than I thought it would be, but not too bad. I beat my PB on Hermes but not on Morpheus, a pattern I reckon will continue throughout the week.

Tonight I have a work do, but I’m not going to drink, and then I’m going to get up early again tomorrow to do Day 3.

I’m determined to do this properly (i.e. not have any gaps), but I think good sleep and the right food is crucial to me being able to do this. Keep it here, folks, and thanks for reading!

Coming back after time off to… HELL WEEK

Coach: Renewed

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Sweet enough already. Photo: Hozey on Flickr

Well, Freeletics must be doing something for me. Although I’m only on Week 9 of Coach, my 15-week subscription ran out today. It was a surprise that when I opened the app it asked me to do the basic fitness test. Had a panic that all my workouts had been lost. I’d say that you should probably be prompted that it’s about to run out before it does, but anyway.

I renewed for a whole 12 months. £1.13 per week. Less that half the price of a coffee.

Speaking of coffee – I went to the dentist yesterday. Good dental hygiene, he said. But that I should watch out on sugar intake. One can hardly turn the news on in the UK at the moment without some warning about sugar. So, starting from this morning, I’m completely cutting out sugar in coffee, and once I’m used to that I’m going to look elsewhere in my diet.

It’s all very well counting calories, but if part of your intake is a chocolate bar mid-afternoon, every afternoon, something’s got to change. So maybe I’ll cut that out too.

Back on it tonight. My glutes really ache after Kentauros the other day. I’ve also just noticed that my next workout is 3xMetis (Strength). Ouch.

Coach: Renewed

Beginning to notice a difference…

Week 6 has taken me two weeks. I think I was over-ambitious trying to fit in five workouts during a very busy period at work, and in the middle of winter when one has to muster superhuman strength just to get out of bed in the morning, let alone put a pair of trainers on.

Anyway, I’m nearly through it. Just 2/3 Metis and a load of sprinting to do and then I’m ready for week 7.

But before the ins and outs of week 6, here’s my Day 58 progress photo.

Day 58

I’m pretty pleased with this to be honest. I’ve lost some weight, I have more definition in my chest and abs and around my shoulders. Still a way to go, but this was a boost.

Week 6, Day 2 was Kentauros. It was tough, and I had to slightly modify it as I was in the gym and there were people using the area I usually work out in. So instead of Burpee Frogs, I did Burpee jumps. I quite enjoyed this workout. I was absolutely shattered afterwards, but it really got the blood pumping.

Day 3 was Hermes. Hermes is boring. But it gave me an opportunity to really work on my push-up technique. I just find it quite repetitive.

And then today was 3/4 Hermes Strength. Now, a while back I unlocked the OH Push-Up skill. I think I managed to do a couple, but with poor technique (by allowing my waist/legs to leave the floor after my chest). When I actually tried to do one properly, there was absolutely NO WAY I could do one. So I did normal push-ups and locked the skill afterwards. Might get to it later.

As a side note, there was a woman doing a workout in the gym today with just bodyweight and a step and she was so agile and flexible it was mesmerising to watch (and I’m a homosexual, so I wasn’t leaching!). It was inspiring to see someone do burpees and other freeletics stuff with such guile and ease while I sweated away in the corner.

I’m still doing Dry January. I think this has a lot to do with my disappearing belly to be honest. I’m also still watching the amount of carbs I’m eating and am eating lots of vegetables and protein.

Interestingly on BBC2’s Trust Me I’m a Doctor, they exposed the protein shake market as a bit of a scam. In a test with two group taking an exercise routine for 8 weeks, there was no discernible difference between the group who drank protein shakes to the group who didn’t. As long as you’re eating plenty of protein in your diet, there’s no need to supplement. Your body will just piss it out. There was a similar debunking of the antioxidant smoothie craze. Might as well drink orange juice apparently.

Beginning to notice a difference…

Freeletics and Christmas

My work-out in the park in Brazil seems like a very long time ago. Since then I’ve returned to the UK, fitted one more work out in before Christmas (more on that shortly) and had a little break for the festivities. Now it’s nearly New Year, and so I’m trying to get back into the swing of things before January so that 2016 doesn’t come as too much of a shock.

So Week 3 continued with Prometheus (Endurance). I only selected three workouts for Week 3 as I knew I’d be travelling and very busy until Christmas.

I did this workout at the gym. In the area they use for classes. I like it in there because I’m not visible to the rest of the gym, and people can’t see me flopping about and getting all red and sweaty.

As a side note, now I’ve signed up to Freeletics, it seems weird that people use machines rather than their own body to keep fit, but hey.

Prometheus was hard, but not crippling. I’d also had a fair bit to drink the night before.

And then it was Christmas. I decided not to work out back at my parents’ house. Mainly because they’d look at me like I was mad, but also because I needed a bit of a break from everything.

So yesterday once I was back in Bristol, I did my first workout in the park just up from my house. It’s kind of perfect for freeletics. Although at first I did feel a little self-conscious working out with the houses nearby looking over me. I quickly forgot about that once I was doing 2/3 Hades. Blimey, that was HARD. The sprawlers were really difficult. Didn’t help that I had only had a cup of tea before the workout, so by the end I could barely walk. Pretty much mainlined a bowl of porridge and a banana afterwards.

 

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View from the mat
 
I think I’m going to find the pull-ups the most difficult. I can just about do one properly, but only just, so when I saw that Week 4, Day 1 was Poseidon, I could have cried. A total of 55 pull-ups. Ha! No chance.

I managed to do the push-ups correctly, although towards the end I reckon Coach would have had a word or two about my form, but there was no chance with the pull-ups. Did them as jumping pull-ups, and even that was hard.

Have a feeling that I’m not going to be able to lift anything up later.

Diet and weight

A quick word or two on this… I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to monitor what I’m eating. Here’s where I started:

11 st, 13 lbs (November 2015)

I had a Goal Weight of 10 st, 7 lbs (which I now think is far too low), and so MyFitnessPal was recommending I eat 2370 calories a day.

I regularly come in well below my goal, but I don’t seem to be losing weight. Now, there are probably two reasons for this:

  • Inaccurate recording of actual calories consumed
  • Weight gained through muscle growth

I suspect the first one is the most likely at the moment, as although I’ve certainly been gaining muscle and family have commented on my physique (they don’t see me very often), it’s not a vast change (yet!).

This morning I weighed in at 12 st, 1 lbs, so gaining weight! I don’t really mind this, but I do want to shift that beer belly.

So I’m going to do Dry January. I suspect that the belly is mainly from beer and wine, as my diet is pretty healthy. I partly want to do it because I’ve never given up drinking for a sustained period before, and also because work will be busy, so it will allow me to focus a bit on getting fit and getting loads done at work.

I also did a Big Shop yesterday – loads of fruit, veg, seeds and protein – and I’ve been planning my meals for the next week, which should help me save money and eat well.

Tomorrow’s workout is Hermes. I like the look of Hermes. Mainly because I want to get better at running…

Freeletics and Christmas