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.

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Back on the burpees

Getting back into the swing of things

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.

Getting back into the swing of things

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?

I reached week 10 of Freeletics, and I feel great

 

I’ve been really getting into my groove again with Freeletics in the past few days. I’m going on holiday tomorrow and I’m almost disappointed I won’t be in routine. Might have to do a couple of work-outs over the weekend.

But anyway, I’ve done three days back-to-back and I feel absolutely fucking great.

First up was Venus. Venus is a pretty simple workout – just pushups, squats and sit-ups. I beat my PB, but my skinny arms were struggling with the pushups towards the end. I really need to work on my arms to master pushups and pull-ups. When I was in the gym at the weekend, this toned guy came in and did about 25 pushups really quickly. He made it look so easy – I make it look like a big old sweaty mess. However, I do always notice a difference in my physique when I do push-ups. Particularly my chest and shoulders.

The next day was Apollon. I did this in the wrong order because I was at the gym and couldn’t switch between burpees, squats and running easily. So I did all the burpees and squats first (skipping through the running on the app) and then did the full 2.4km on the treadmill at the end. Slightly cheating maybe,  but I actually really enjoyed the running. Had a massive endorphin rush at the end. And then I went and bought loads of healthy food. Was a good day.

Then finally I had to do 2xAthena, 100 Burpees, 50 Squats, 50 Squats and another 50 burpees in one day. Usually I cheat a bit and split these over a couple of days, but yesterday I got up early on a Monday morning, did the 2xAthena, which was quite nice (when I say ‘nice’ I mean it didn’t completely destroy me). Then when I got home from work I did the burpees and squats.

I really tried to pace myself with the burpees – not rushing at the beginning and trying to keep a steady pace and not collapsing for 30 seconds half way through. It feels much better to go slowly and not break.

And now I feel pumped. My legs are noticeably more muscular, my arms feel great and I’m feeling simultaneously energetic and tired (but in a good way).

And in stats, I’ve done

525 Squats
225 Burpees
200 Pushups
155 Situps
75 Climbers
2.4km run

I think I deserve a holiday!

Oh, and I promised you a progress photo, so here you go. (And yeah, I know the lighting is more favourable in the right hand photo, but still…)

March Progress

I reached week 10 of Freeletics, and I feel great

A few notes from the last two weeks, and some thoughts on nutrition

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It’s been a while since I wrote. I’ve still been on it, but I’ve been finding it much harder, and particularly hard to stick to good nutrition.

And also I’ve noticed a bit of a slow-down in my body transformation. I’m still feeling and looking pretty toned, but I think by week 10 of the programme I’d thought I’d see a more radical transformation. I guess not being super strict on number of work-outs per week, and by not sticking to a strict nutrition guide means that it makes a real transformation more tricky. I’m on holiday in the second half of next week, so I’m going to cut myself some slack, but then get back on it in a big way in the week after next.

But anyway, what have I been up to?

I won’t go into details of each work-out – here are some quick thoughts from the past two weeks:

  • Squats really burn if you don’t stretch out properly afterwards
  • I still find push-ups hard – can’t do them fast. Need to work on my arms. Hopefully that’ll make pull-ups easier too
  • I’m getting much better at burpees. Even enjoy them sometimes.
  • Warming up and stretching really do make you get better and make the work-outs easier
  • I am still regularly beating my PBs, which feels really good.

I’m still pretty evangelical about Freeletics. I think it really is the best fitness app. I love the competitive edge, I love the tailored training, I love feeling like I’m part of a community.

I see from an email yesterday that they’re planning new apps, alongside running. I reckon one of them will be nutrition, which should be cool. I’m gradually thinking that maybe I do want to download the nutrition guide.

I find it hard to cut out carbs, I still drink too much, and I’m probably not drinking enough water. I might start with a few recipes from Joe Wick’s Lean in 15 and see how I get on.

Tonight it’s steak, sweet potato chips and salad. Yum.

Oh, and I know I still haven’t done a progress photo. Will do next time after Apollon.

(pic from United Breast Cancer Foundation)

 

A few notes from the last two weeks, and some thoughts on nutrition

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