I’m almost at the end of Hell Week. Worked out every day apart from Thursday when I was dealing with a crisis at work and had to have a meeting over the time I would have worked out.
Here are some things I’ve noticed:
- I’ve slept more than I usually do; at least an hour more every night
- I’ve drunk more water than I usually do
- Getting training done in the morning is the right thing to do
- I’ve lost weight. About 2kg
- I haven’t really eaten enough. For two reasons: it’s been stressful at work and I lose my appetite when I’m stressed and because it’s still hot in the UK and I eat less in hot weather
- My thighs really hurt
- I still have a long way to go to properly master the pull-up
- Jeez those 100x plank leg lifts in Amazona are tough
- Achilles is really fucking tough. Almost gave up.
- 2 x Krios — I dunno why I have myself a star the first time I did this. I absolutely can’t do it with correct form. And I added time onto my PB
Just got Perseus and Poseidon to go and then I’m done.
Last week, my workout included the following:
6 Squats, 10 Lunges,
Interval: 3 rounds of – 10x Incline Rows, Side Plank Twist, Plank Switches
I did jumping pullups in Poseidon rather than actual pullups. Still not quite there.
And five days later, my arms still hurt. Specifically my biceps. Ouch.
I worked out again the next day, including 3/5 Aphrodite. Took me 27 minutes. Absolutely exhausting.
I’m hoping that the achey arms will subside. A lot of blogs and articles say you should just work through it. But if they’re still achey in another week, I might get it checked out.
On another note, I’ve noticed the workouts getting a bit longer/harder. I wonder if that’s Coach listening to my feedback on workouts and upping the ante. I must have been saying “I can do more”. I’m quite enjoying being pushed a bit harder.
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?
- Pull-ups are really hard
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.
- Burpees are hard, but effective and are over quite quickly
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.
- Exercising outside is by far the best way to do Freeletics
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.
- You won’t see a big transformation if you don’t make a radical shift with your nutrition
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.
- I find it really hard to get up first thing in the morning to exercise
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.
- Don’t sit down on the sofa!
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.
- You won’t stick with it if you don’t buy the coach
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!).
- Form trumps speed
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.
- Stretching works
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?
- The community works
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!
I have to travel a lot with my job, and sometimes that it’s difficult to make time for exercise when you’re in an unfamiliar environment. This post focuses on Freeletics, because that’s my work-out of choice, but these tips can apply to pretty much any kind of exercise. I’ve also linked to some other articles I read while writing this post.
- Don’t worry about not having the right kit with you
The beauty of Freeletics, or any HIIT, is that you can pretty much do it anywhere. All you need is a bit of space in your hotel room or AirBnb. So if you don’t have room in your luggage for a yoga mat, fear not – a carpeted hotel room will do the trick (although beware of carpet-burn!)
Of course, if you’re staying in a hotel, there might be a gym. I tend to try and get in there as early as possible while everyone else is still asleep – that way it’s quiet and you can concentrate.
My only challenge is that it’s difficult to do pull-ups when travelling. Freeletics have a portable ‘No Excuses’ pull-up bar that you could take with you and fix on the bathroom door.
- Block out time in your schedule
Much like working out when you’re at home, I find it’s important to block out time in your schedule for Freeletics. I tend to work out either very early (before breakfast) or whenever I might have gaps in my schedule later in the day. When you’re out of a normal daily routine, I accept that I’ll probably be working out at a different time each day, but as long as I work out when is best before I do anything else that day, then I can relax knowing I’ve got it covered.
- Use 2×2
If you’re in an unusual place and can’t run or exercise outside, remember that you can always switch your Freeletics Bodyweight app to 2×2 and do all your exercises in your hotel room. Or you can always just re-order your workout days and do the workouts that don’t involve distance.
- Research local freeletics groups
Sometimes when I’m travelling I research local Freeletics groups to see where they workout or if they have any meet-ups planned. Facebook is a good place to start with this. I joined the Freeletics Vancouver group on a recent trip. Working out with other people is always a good motivator, and it can be a great way to meet locals when away from home. The Freeletics website has a list of groups around the world.
- Eat well while travelling
It’s so tempting to rely on easy, quick foods that might feel familiar when you’re in a new place. I’m a sucker for pizza when I’m travelling. But you can eat healthy too. Start the day with fresh fruit and eggs at the hotel buffet and then opt for fresh meat, fish and salads and you can’t go wrong. It’s still possible to eat well, but also don’t beat yourself up if you have a lapse – especially if you’re on holiday! Here’s a handy post with some tips and tricks on how to eat well while travelling.
- Make sure you get plenty of sleep
If you’re travelling long distances, jet-lag can really take its toll. I find that I am much less likely to work out if I’m tired, so I try and make sure I get more than enough sleep. But if the jet-lag does kick in, exercise if often a good way of beating it.
- Hire a bike, rather jumping in taxis
Cycling is a great, cheap way to experience a new city, and keeps you fit too. Try hiring a bike rather than jumping in taxis. I did this in Copenhagen and it was brilliant. Although I wouldn’t want to try it in cities that weren’t so cycle-friendly!
- Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t fit it in
If you’re away from home for work, sometimes your schedule is so packed that there simply isn’t time. Don’t beat yourself up. Even a few push-ups or burpees in the morning makes a difference (try this five-minute hotel room workout). Sometimes I use being away to try and beat PBs on all those quick exercises like 25 push-ups etc. And if you can’t do a full work-out, just cut yourself some slack and start again next week.
Freeletics also have a blog about exercising while travelling, and you should also check out the Freeletics sub-Reddit
Right, off to do 2xMetis in my hotel room 🙂
I’ve now had about a month off for various reasons. I pulled a muscle in my shoulder which still isn’t quite healed, and I’ve been really busy at work. But still, #noexcuses, right?
So as we’re now at the beginning of September, I’ve got that ‘back-to-school’ feeling, so I’ve decided to do something of a reboot.
I’m going to re-do the fitness test today and start afresh. I feel out of practice, and the Coach week I’m in feels like it might not be the best place to re-start.
I’ll let you know how I get on.
Also planning on starting yoga this week too. Need to do more stretching.
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.
Something weird happened to me when I finished Week 15 of Freeletics. I’d got through that initial programme and had noticed a fair bit of difference in my body shape, and so for some reason the discipline and routine slipped.
I’d set my workouts to 3 or 4 a week, but take two weeks to complete each week. I was back drinking too much and not exercising. Even though I still do jumping pull-ups every day to try and build my strength.
I’ve been pleased with the results of Freeletics. I’ve felt more confident; I’ve been comfortable being topless and wearing vests when I’ve been out and about at festivals or in the park. And so I need to keep going to get even better results.
So – I’m writing this very brief post on a train late on Sunday night, in the hope that this will spur me on to get back into the swing tomorrow.
I’ve also been a bit lax on the old blog posts, so I’m going to try and post more regularly too.
Here’s to the future. #noexcuses.