I had a really good week last week. Exercised five days straight. Four days of Freeletics and one day swimming. I ate well. Loads of vegetables. Lots of water. Felt amazing.
I was partly working so hard because I knew I was going to a festival at the weekend. And that it would very much be a weekend off.
And a weekend off it was. Loads of beer. Burgers. Pizza. Late nights. Sleeping in a tent. I suppose dancing is basically cardio, right?!
And as I did my last Freeletics session on Thursday, I checked next week’s coach and low and behold, it’s HELL WEEK. Seven days. Seven workouts. I do notice that Hell Weeks aren’t as intense as they used to be. Sometimes you had at least two workouts on quite a few of the days. This time it’s just one complete Bodyweight workout each day. Mine looks like this:
I’ve done days one and two so far. Managed to just about push myself through Nemesis on Monday. It’s now Wednesday and I skipped working out yesterday because I slept terribly the night before and now I’m in my mid-30s I basically get three-day hangovers.
And then yesterday I got the email from Freeletics about #CoachChallenge. I’m really up for this. Completing 6 weeks of bodyweight coach for a fifty euro voucher. Just need to not break for five days on the trot.
I’m going away twice over the next 6 weeks, so I’ll have to be pretty strict about working out when I’m away. But why would I not do this. It’s basically free money for working out. And I’ll probably use the voucher to buy an adjustable pull-up bar.
After much deliberation yesterday, this morning I woke up early and decided to just get on with Hell Week. If I have to take a couple of days break while I’m travelling, then so be it.
First up was Uranos and Krios.
I have a confession about Uranos. I don’t do the running bit. I cycle to work and back every day so get plenty of cardio and I really, really hate running. I did the running in Uranos once, so I know my time. I just set the workout going and do the warm up during the time when I would be running. Naughty, I know. And I also know that cycling and running use very different muscles.
I was hungry and hadn’t eaten anything yet, so Uranos was a bit difficult and I didn’t beat my PB. Was knackered at the end, but decided to push on with Krios as I knew it wouldn’t take very long.
And now I feel fantastic. I’ve done two workouts before 9am and it’s given me an energy boost and put me in a great mood. Must. Remember. This. Feeling.
There I was, Monday morning, feelings smug that I’d got out of bed and done 2x Metis (strength), which incidentally, is pretty tough on the old thighs (and the downstairs neighbours – all those jumps).
I completed the ‘week’ that I’ve been doing for about the last three weeks (sorry Coach), and was looking forward to what was in store, when blam, HELL WEEK. Jeez.
So this is tricky. If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling with motivation these last few weeks. And last time I did Hell Week, it was after a similar period of inaction (maybe Coach knows). I found it really gave me the boost I needed to get back into regular training.
But here’s the thing, this time, the timing isn’t great. I have a major deadline this week at work, and next week I’m away for the whole week in another country, so not even sure where/when I’ll be able to train.
So, do I just crack on with Hell Week on my usual schedule and take a few days out if needs be, with the knowledge that it will take longer than seven days, or do I postpone until I return from being away?
If I postpone, I’ll have to select my own workouts in the meantime. And I’m not sure I’ll get the most out of training. It might not do my motivation any good. I’ll feel like I’ve got some time off. If I just get on with it, I might feel frustrated that it’s not ‘pure’ Hell Week.
Here’s what Coach has in store:
Day 1: Uranos, Krios Day 2: Venus, 200 burpees Day 3: Hermes, 2x Morpheus Day 4: Kronos, 2x Krios Day 5: Venus, Artemis Day 6: Kentauros (Strength), 200 burpees Day 7: 2x Ares, 100 pullups
Ugh. The first three days aren’t too bad (apart from all those burpees). It gets tough mid-week, and I don’t know if I’ll have running space and pull-up bar when I’m away.
Hmmm… I’m of a mind to just get on with it and adapt as needs be. What do you think?
That was tough. I’d had a month away from Freeletics and when I picked up where I left off, I realised I had one week left of the initial 15-week programme. So I didn’t feel like I was entering Hell Week at peak form. My diet hadn’t been great, I’d been drinking quite a bit and I hadn’t exercised for ages.
But I made a promise to myself to complete the week in the correct time (i.e. not leaving any gaps between days) and I bloody well did it!
Here are my observations on the rest of Hell Week:
I read somewhere that your mind underestimates what your body can do. This is totally true. So many times throughout the week my mind was telling me that I couldn’t do any more, but if I just pushed my body one step further, pressed go on the next set, forced myself to do just 10 more burpees, it was amazing how much I could achieve. I really didn’t think I’d be able to do all the exercises back-to-back, but now it’s done it doesn’t feel so daunting. And now I look at next week and think ‘what a breeze’
Sleep really helps. You can do so much more when you’ve had a good night’s sleep
I don’t think I’ve ever drunk as much water as I have this week, and yet I seemed to always be thirsty. Maybe like 3 or 4 litres a day.
My appetite was also huge. I tried to make sure I ate well this week.
There were a lot of pull-ups in my workouts this week. I still can’t do the correct form, so replaced them all with Jumping Pull-ups. I’m getting stronger though
It’s a clever trick of Freeletics to give you Hell Week at the end of Week 15. I saw my body transform more quickly that it has been, and I reckon if I’d stuck to good nutrition and done the programme in 15 weeks rather than 25 I think I’d have been submitting my transformation photos to Freeletics. But I still feel like I’ve got some more work to do.
I like Krios. It’s a nice workout
I hate 3x Metis Strength. Hate it.
I really like working out in the open air rather than inside. Especially in summer.
I also downloaded the Freeletics Nutrition app this week and signed up for the Coach. But then I have to say that on looking at the recipes, I got an immediate refund. I just didn’t like the look of the programme, and have seen better and more tasty lean recipes elsewhere. Food is just too important to me. So I’m going to continue eating lean and healthy, but I don’t really want to have that level of control over what I eat. It’s enough to have a work-out routine. Sorry Freeletics. Not for me.
So there we go. 15 weeks down and where am I?
I am much stronger, fitter and in much better shape than when I started
My stamina and endurance has increased hugely
Freeletics has had a positive effect on my mental health, reducing anxiety and giving me a cheap, enjoyable way of escaping work
I have more self-esteem and more pride
I have a better diet, drink less and look after my health in ways I never used to before.
Here’s to the next 15 weeks! Who knows where I’ll be then!
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
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.
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.
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!
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.