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

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

Strength in Numbers?

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Image: Freeletics

Today was my first workout in almost a week, after being away on holiday. And man, was that tough.

It was Kentauros (Standard). And I couldn’t get anywhere outside today so I did the 2×2 version. 2x 20m Lunge walks replaced by 40 Lunges; 2 x 20m Burpee Frog replaced with Burpees. Despite wanting to give up half way through, and sweating an AWFUL lot, I made it.

I also tried to take it slowly – seeing as I’d never done it before, it might make it easier to beat my PB next time – and to make sure that I did good form. I still find burpees really hard, but my form is getting much better and the movement much more fluid. I’m also finding I can do them more quickly. Kentauros makes you do 240 of the bloody things. I was cursing the app before I was even half way through.

I tend to check how quickly other people have done the workout before I start, and then decide what time I’m aiming for (usually I try to just not come bottom!). So if you’re on Freeletics, but haven’t followed many people, I’d recommend having a look at the Freeletics Reddit and following a few people who have posted on there. In particular, look for posts where people are searching for people to follow.

It really helps me to see other people’s struggles and successes and it’s always a boost when you get a #clapclap, even if it’s from someone you’ve never met. I’ve yet to workout in a group. I tend to get into a zone when I’m working out and can’t really see how I’d do it with others. Do people do the same workouts? Or do you just crack on with your own coach workout but with others doing the same nearby? Either way, I wouldn’t mind if the guys in the picture above came along and worked cheered me on..

Anyway, today I wanted to do Kentauros in under an hour, or more specifically under 58 minutes, which was the bottom score on the people I follow.. And I did. 53 minutes. BOOM.

I drank quite a lot on holiday. Not good for the belly. I’ve now adjusted MyFitnessPal’s Carbs/Protein/Fat percentage goals to 45/30/25% respectively. Seems like this is the thing to watch, rather than overall calories.

 

Seems that Freeletics are launching a new Freeletics Gym app this week. Have to say I find this a bit confusing. Isn’t the whole thing about freedom from having to have a gym membership/weights/machines etc. Hence the name?

Personally I like the way that Freeletics is helping me gain a body shape that is in proportion – in a way that I find people who use gyms don’t have (either arms that are too big, or chest, or legs. In fact, hardly ever legs – people tend to hate leg day, don’t they).

 

Strength in Numbers?

Freeletics: 1 / Me: 0

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Nope. Can’t do that. Noooo way. [Photo: Emilien Etienne Photography on Flick]
Last week was the first time that Freeletics beat me. I’ve done 9 weeks without giving up once. Which I think is a huge achievement. But last week, Freeletics won.

Last week I have 3/5 Nemesis (Strength), 50 Burpees, 50 Burpees, 50 Pull-ups, 50 Pull-ups in one day. Now that’s hard. I made it through Nemesis. But my form was very poor. I’m just not flexible enough to do Jackknives with perfect form. It feels like I could get there, but at the moment, I’d hate anyone else to see me doing them as it doesn’t look very dignified. Froggers I’m down with.

And then the Burpees were fine, even though I was cursing Coach by the end of the second set of 50.

But Pull-ups. PULL-UPS. I just can’t do them. No way. I can do some jumping pull-ups, but I can’t do 100. And by about half way through the second set I wasn’t really doing them at all. I was just kind of limply hurling myself at the bar. So I stopped. I didn’t feel particularly cross with myself. I would have done if I’d given up during a workout because I was tired, but this was just because I physically couldn’t complete the set. Still. Frustrating.

I’m going to keep trying, but I have really slim fore-arms (always have), and I just don’t have the strength. Anyway. I can but try.

The first workout of Week 9 was Dione. It was hard, but I really enjoyed it. There’s something about the variety of the exercises that makes it fun, even though it’s pretty intense.

And then I had 2x Morpheus, which was a walk in the park, quite frankly.

Some recent observations/notes:

  • Beating other people’s PBs is a great motivator. I always try and beat someone else towards the bottom of the leaderboard if I can.
  • I prefer the non-pro warm-ups
  • I’m noticing that I can do WAY MORE push-ups than I used to be able to. It’s almost easy
  • I’ve been given Kentauros (Strength) (EEK) and the same 100 Pull-ups and 100 Burpees tomorrow. Last time I gave feedback to Coach I said the Pull-ups were Maximum, so I’m surprised I’ve been given them again. Maybe it’s to try and get me to crack it
  • I still have a slight belly. I’m pretty sure this is because my diet isn’t perfect and that I’m still drinking beer every now and then. I’m going to try and be better at nutrition this week.

I’ll report back on those pull-ups tomorrow…

 

 

 

Freeletics: 1 / Me: 0

Week 2: Day 3

Met up with a friend of a friend in Sao Paulo today and she whisked us round the old  city in two hours. Consequently I my feet hurt, I was hot and sweaty and very tired but the time we got back to the hotel. After lying face down on the bed for about an hour, dozing, I went downstairs to the deserted gym (does no one in this hotel exercise?) and did my second 1/4 Venus of the week.

Beat my personal best by about 1 minute (RESULT), and even properly managed the push-up and sit-up technique.

Have to say, that even though I’m a cyclist and have pretty strong legs, the squats are really making my thigh muscles hurt. So after the second round of squats this week, I’m expecting to be aching tomorrow.

I’m REALLY NOT looking forward to the final workout this week. 4/5 Prometheus Endurance. It looks horrible. And if doing 1/4 Venus makes me hot and sweaty, Prometheus is really going to get my glowing.

Week 2: Day 3

The Back Story

I was one of those kids at school that loathed P.E. I couldn’t really see the point of sport, wasn’t competitive, wasn’t a LAD. I was in Senior Choir and the school orchestra. Football – nah. Rugby – the girls actually used to come and watch me play because it was so funny. A scrawny little gay-boy shivering on the sidelines, desperate not to get hit in the face with a rugby ball.

I did like athletics though. I loved 100 metres sprint. I did relay for the county. And then as soon as I left school, I stopped.

I’m an active person, I cycle everywhere, but until recently I didn’t do any proper exercise. It was only when work began to get more serious and I needed an escape, and when I hit the big three-oh and all the pints of lager began to give me a little beer belly that I started to want to do something about it.

I started swimming, which I loved. Built up my lengths, started to go more regularly. It was a great mind-clearer. Then I started to go to a pool next to a gym. I thought maybe I should do some cardio or weights too. But I HATE GYMS. Preening, sweaty and soul-less. So. What to do?

Freeletics came up on one of those frankly terrifying Facebook algorithms.  I liked the branding. The guys in the videos were hot. Especially Joshua XII. I mean, jeez. So I downloaded the app and signed up. The app was pleasing too. Slightly bombastic. A bit cool. Easy to use. I liked it.

So I started doing some of the free workouts. They were hard. I didn’t really have anywhere to do them apart from in the living room of my first floor flat. When I did high jumps the windows rattled and I was worried that my landlord downstairs might wonder what the cocking hell I was up to.

I gave up pretty quickly because I didn’t really want to do it. I was swimming. I wasn’t that unfit. The beer belly wasn’t really showing yet.

But then over the next couple of months I both began to enjoy working out and began noticing some changes in my chest, arms and back, but I still didn’t come back to Freeletics.

Until this week. I re-downloaded the app – out of curiosity more than anything – joined a different gym that was cheaper (with the intention of doing some of the workouts there) and took the plunge. Signed up for coaching.

This blog is about my progress. I’m writing it because I’m hoping that someone will read it and that it will spur me on to keep going. I’m hoping it doesn’t peter out after about two weeks.

So far, I’ve done the fitness test, which was pretty straightforward and my first day’s workout, which was:

Day 1

10 x burpees
10 x burpees
10 x burpees

So far, so good. I was out of breath, for sure, but could probably have done more. I’m still doing them in my living room (sorry landlord!), but I’ve got a yoga-mat arriving tomorrow and I’m headed to the basketball court at the back of my house for my next work out (1/5 Morpheus).

Oh, and here’s my Day 0 photo…

Day 0

The Back Story