Cancelling my gym membership and other January activities

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So. 2017. Here we are.

Have to admit, I did stop training over Christmas. And only started again the other day.

My final pre-Christmas workout was Uranos, where I beat my PB, and then on Christmas Eve (when I was sick of my family already and itching to do something physical) I knocked out a quick Athena.

I’d kind of forgotten that I can break with Coach every now and then and do those super-quick, no equipment workouts wherever and whenever. It felt quite nice to do a quick 7 minute workout, just to get the blood flowing.

And then post Christmas I was straight back to it with KENTAUROS. Jeez. I did it on a beautiful, sunny, freezing cold day in the park. Even though it was cold I was sweating buckets by the end. Blimey that workout tires me out. And my legs were aching for days.

On Monday evening, just before going to back to work after the break, I did Artemis. I quite like this workout – 50 burpees, 50 pull-ups, 100 pushups, 150 squats, 50 burpees. I beat my PB, but no star (still not mastered the pull-up).

The other thing I did this week was cancel my gym membership. Probably the opposite of what everyone else is doing at this time of year. £17 per month, and I wasn’t really using it. I’ve decided that wherever possible I will exercise at home or outdoors. And that there shouldn’t really be any excuses about that. I don’t need the gym.

So I’d better crack on with tackling that 2017 bucket list

 

Cancelling my gym membership and other January activities

Back in the gym

To be honest it’s fucking freezing outside. Sudden temperature drop for bonfire night. And so it was either do 2×2 Kentauros inside (and I keep getting paranoid that my jumps are pissing off my landlord who lives downstairs) or head to the gym. Gym it was. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, I find 2×2 Kentauros much harder).

I’ve been cycling a lot this week, so I wasn’t feeling like I particularly needed to exercise my legs, also I was a bit tired, so I only did 20m of lunge walks and burpee frogs instead of 40m. I was still exhausted.

After it was done, I did loads of stretching which felt really good. Especially since I did 50 correct-form jumping pull-ups earlier this week so I was acheing a bit.

And then the week was complete. I selected 5 workout days next week and confirmed my suspicion that coach is a bit kinder on you if you work out every day. This is what next week looks like…

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A quick observation from being in the gym. Freeletics really does work out your whole body. You can tell people who go to the gym lots and lift weights… their bodies are all out of proportion. Freeletics gives you an overall level of fitness and tone that I just don’t think you can get in the gym.

Back in the gym

JackKnives: like, wtf…

Saturday morning. Peeled myself out of bed and checked Coach. Nemesis (Strength). Oof.

Turns out it doesn’t take too long. I completed it in less than 30mins. And probably could have done it quicker.

And it’s also pretty simple. 5 sets of JackKnives and Froggers. JackKnives start at 50, then 40, 30, 20, 10, and the Froggers do that in reverse.

Unless you’re super flexible, you’ll probably look at the video of JackKnives, and think, YEAH RIGHT.

  
And you’d be right to think that. They’re fucking hard. I can get my legs up pretty easy, but getting my torso to do the same is impossible. And it makes your abs burn. Feels good in a weird way though.

So I kind of did them, in crap form, but I didn’t chicken out. And I did the Froggers with good form.

But God knows how to do JackKnives properly. Reckon that’ll need practice.

Meanwhile, I also did 10 pull-ups. I still find them really, really hard. Almost impossible. Have decided to do that every day to try and get better. My skinny arms just can’t pull my body weight. But I WILL get there!

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Oh, and I also downloaded the Freeletics Gym app. Have decided not to do that too. I want to see through the body weight app. And there’s something about lifting weights that doesn’t feel quite right for me… Looks cool though, and nice design. 

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Image: workoutlabs.com
 

JackKnives: like, wtf…

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?

HELL WEEK #1

I was a bit worried about being able to complete Hell Week. Not only because the workout regime look HORRIFIC, but because I was travelling again and wasn’t sure where I’d be able to exercise. Turns out, apart from the first day, when I needed a pull-up bar, the whole weekend was sans-equipment, so I was able to do everything from the comfort of my hotel room. Only thing was that I didn’t have a mat, so came very close to carpet burn.

So here goes…

DAY 1: HADES and 2x PERSEPHONE

Hades was pretty tough. I hadn’t worked out for a few days, and the burpees nearly killed me. I did slightly duck out of the pull-ups as I didn’t have access to a bar, so I did pull-downs on the machine in the hotel gym. Still, was pretty tough. I also did the running on the spot rather than over a distance. But this workout still wiped me out and I had another one to do that day.

Although when I came to do Persephone towards the end of the day I was more than ready for more. Lunges are pretty straightforward, but then with more bloody burpees and straight leg levers (which are surprisingly difficult), this was pretty difficult. Also I had to do the whole thing twice.

My progress photo after this was very encouraging, albeit it was under generous hotel bathroom lighting. But I can definitely see my body changing now, and it feels great.

DAY 2: PROMETHEUS & HERMES

Really enjoyed Day 2. I was well up for it and smashed two PBs. Felt amazing afterwards.

DAY 3: THANATOS & 3xATHENA

Day 3 on the other hand was a bit of a killer. Got through it though if only to be able to say I’d completed a hell week, and to see what next week had in store. Also, did quite a good time on Thanatos and then realised I was basically doing squats rather than stand-ups as I hadn’t watched the video. So I’m going to remove the star from that one (I’ve got it again next week so will give it a proper go).

3xAthena – wow. That was hard. 225 of each exercise was a killer. Especially the burpees. I am finding myself getting quicker at everything though and that it’s easier to do each exercise properly.

And that was it. Not as taxing as I had feared. And the endorphin rush yesterday was huge.

Next week there’s a day where I’ve got to do 100 pull-ups. There’s no way on god’s earth I can do that.

Also, the warm-ups and stretching have changed to Warm Up Pro and Stretching Pro. Oooooh, exciting!

Oh, and finally, my diet has been shite this week. Not much alcohol (dry January has really had an affect on my overall drinking), but rubbish food as I’ve been away from home. Need to get back on that next week.

HELL WEEK #1

The Calm Before the Storm

Today was the final day of Week 6, which I’ve spread over two weeks. It was 2/3 Metis Strength followed by two 400m sprints and two 200m sprints. And do you know what, I quite enjoyed it.

Coach seems to have been giving me lots of leg workouts over the past couple of weeks. So actually, it was pleasing that I didn’t find the Burpee Squat Jumps, Froggers and High Jumps particularly taxing. I feel a lot stronger and seem to have more stamina.

And I enjoyed the runs too. I did them in the gym on the treadmill. I should have really gone outside as it was such a beautiful day, but I couldn’t think of the right space to do the sprints (everywhere is pretty hilly around Bristol and there isn’t a running track nearby).

When I started I kind of thought maybe this would be a fad, that I’d stop after a while, but I’ve found myself getting quite addicted. Of course, shelling out money for the coach means you’re kind of invested, but there’s something about seeing what Coach has in store each week that I look forward to finding out. I like it that it’s not all planned out at the beginning.

I stopped Dry January the day before yesterday. We had a three-hour board meeting at work and so I kind of needed a drink after that. I did feel really disappointed in myself afterwards though. I’ve really enjoyed not drinking, feeling more alert, getting more done, feeling more healthy. I don’t want to slip back into bad habits.

I’m off to Vancouver on Monday for a week with work. So as I sat on one of the mats at the gym stretching after today’s workout and completed the week on the app, I was THRILLED to see that next week is Hell Days. This is going to HURT:

Day 1


Hades
2x Persephone

Day 2

Prometheus
Hermes

Day 3

Thanatos
3x Athena

3xAthena looks horrible.

But the hotel I’m staying in has a gym, so I reckon I can really focus and do one workout in the morning and one in the evening. Ouchy.

 

The Calm Before the Storm

End of Week 5

  
Realised I haven’t updated this much for a while. Not that anyone has noticed. I’m basically just talking to myself.

However, just watched a YouTube video with Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach) where he talked about tweeting and instagramming about three recipes/workouts a day when he had zero followers, so YOU NEVER KNOW, maybe I’ll become a social media sensation and get a four-book deal. Or, more likely, I’ll just keep chuntering away here on my own.

I think my problem is that I’ve never been known as a sporty person. The idea of me doing anything sporty, let alone blogging about it, will be quite strange to my friends. And some of them have signed up to Freeletics. None of them have actually done a workout yet though, which suggests they’re not likely to be looking at the app much…

I’m also finding it difficult to do work-outs outside/in public. I don’t work out in a group; there doesn’t seem to be one in Bristol, and at the moment, as I end up being a panty, sweaty mess about half way through a workout, I don’t really like doing it on the basketball court next to my house as it’s overlooked by houses. Maybe I need to get over it. I think I might have to next week.

Anyway… Where have I got to over the last 19 days?

Well, I dipped out of the coach momentarily to do a 1.5k run on the treadmill at the gym. Was pretty easy. Had been hoping to do my normal workout, but should have realised that going to the gym after work during the first week back after the Christmas holidays was a bad idea. I’ve never seen the place so packed. And my usual workout area (where they do the classes) was full of people lunging, led by a woman wearing a Beyonce mic and shouting.

Then I was back under Coach’s orders and did Ares. I did this in my flat, so I couldn’t do the 2x 40m runs. I substituted them for High Knees. I can also still only do jumping pull-ups. They’re just too difficult. As a side note, I’m noticing that coach is scheduling more leg work-outs than arms, so I’m not feeling like I’m gaining strength in my arms. Might have to supplement Coach’s workouts with extra pull-up training.

Next up was 2/5 Aphrodite. Was pretty hard. Burpees are horrible. Very hard. And that was only 2/5!

Then it was Venus Standard. Looking back at that work out, I’m pretty impressed that I managed 150 push-ups. Although I think some of them were knee press-ups… So no star for me that time.

The rest of last week was pretty fucking hard. Aphrodite (ouch), Prometheus (oof) and finally, today, Helios (jeez).

Now, what was strange was at the start of the week, I was down to Helios standard (675 points – looked horrific – total of 300 burpees). Then, after Aphrodite it changed to the Endurance version, which is slightly easier (400 points, burpees changed to sprawlers etc). I think this might have been because my coach feedback after Aphrodite was ‘EXHAUSTING’, but be interested to hear if anyone else has noticed Coach changing their schedule during the week (hellooooooo? Anyone out there?)

So even the Endurance version of Helios was absolutely knackering. Getting through 150 sprawlers was difficult enough, and then to have to do them again right at the end of the workout was pretty hard. The final sprawlers took ages. I could only really do 3 or 4 at a time before stopping. Anyway, I got through it and felt pretty goddamn good afterwards.

Next week looks even harder. Here it is:

Atlas (Standard)

Kentauros (Standard)

Hermes (Standard)

3/4 Hermes (Strength)

2/3 Metis (Strength)
400m Sprint
400m Sprint
200m Sprint
200m Sprint

As a final note, I’m a cynical Englishman who can’t really abide motivational quotes etc etc, but I did find next week’s message from Coach a boost, even though it is a bit of a cliche.

By now, you made it through your first five weeks of Freeletics. You constantly get fitter and your body is about to change visibly. You are not a beginner anymore. We will no longer beg you not to give up. You know that backing down is not an option. It’s up to you to change your mindset. From now on, it’s about bursting limits. Every single time. It’s about being hungry. And putting in the work. About leaving excuses behind and unleashing your potential.

Dare to step it up. Athletes in their first weeks look up to you. Make sure to be a good role model. Especially if you train in groups. Maintain good form, be motivating and help others to improve their performance.

And as a final, final note… A word about Dry January.

Haven’t had a drink since New Year’s Eve. Feel pretty bloody good for it, and am getting loads done. I’m sleeping better, feel less anxious, and my diet is much, much healthier. I’m not 17 days in and it’s getting easier every day not to drink. Gonna try and push through until the end of the month. And hoping that it’s having an effect on that little beer belly. I’m not noticing much difference at the moment, and my weight has dropped a little, but not a lot. So let’s see. But I’m certainly finding that Freeletics is unleashing a stubbornness and determination I kind of knew I had, but not to this degree. I really want to make this work, and I’m surprising myself with my ability to do so.

BRING ON WEEK SIX.

End of Week 5