Hell Week conundrum

947114_655701377777033_1029787658_n

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?

Hell Week conundrum

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…

—-

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

Kentauros: the re-match

I put it off for as long as I could today. I did other Sunday chores, like washing and cleaning and personal admin. I thought about skipping it and doing the next day’s workout. I put it off for so long I forgot about it and almost jumped in the shower. But NO. I couldn’t avoid it: KENTAUROS was waiting for me.

It was pretty shitty weather though, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it in the rain, so I switched to 2×2 (which as I’ve said before, I think is actually harder).

It still took ages. I set out to match or just beat my PB. When I was in the first set and it was only like 04:00 minutes in I thought I was going to easily smash it, but then it begins to wear you down and I slowed a lot.

It’s kind of helpful to think of the 2×2 version of Kentauros as basically just 240 burpees with some extras thrown in. The jumps and the lunges are a welcome break, but they’re over so quickly that you’ve hardly caught your breath before you have another 40 burpees to do.

As soon as I hit 4/6 sets I knew I could do it, I just had to keep pushing. Earlier on I was way ahead of my PB, but now it was edging closer, that threatening, irritating white line on the app getting closer and closer.

The feeling of elation and the endorphins you get at the end of this particular workout are amazing. I lay on the mat for ages feeling all satisfied and woozy.

I’ve still got this neck injury, so I’m really trying to pay attention to my stretches and keep as supple as possible. Haven’t managed to get to yoga yet, and I’m away for the next two and half weeks so won’t for a little while. If the pain persists I’m probably heading back to the osteopath, or for a massage.

But yes, very pleased with today. I also did about 20 minutes fast cycling across town today, so I’ll probably sleep well tonight.

 

Kentauros: the re-match

Coming back after time off to… HELL WEEK

2016-05-31 09.02.13
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?

Header_Cheering2
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?

Coach: Renewed

2406812666_725f5879d5_z
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

Kentauros, the workout that nearly broke me

kentauros

There’s something about having had to give up on the pull-ups the other day that made the thought of stopping Kentauros (Strength) half way through seem more acceptable. So far on my Freeletics Journey, I’ve not give up on any workout, so I’ve wanted to keep my winning streak intact. But the aborted pull-up sets have kind of broken that streak.

However, I didn’t stop the pull-ups because I was tired, more that I physically couldn’t do them. I’ve tried to think of a metaphor here, but I couldn’t. So you’ll just have to make do with the facts.

Speaking of facts. Apologies – today is a bit technical. Promise I’ll be a bit more interesting later this week.

Anyway, today, Coach gave me Kentauros (Strength), 50 burpees, 50 burpees, 50 pull-ups, 50 pull-ups. I couldn’t work out this morning before work, so was left to do the whole lot this evening. Let’s just say I didn’t make it past Kentauros.

First of all, I was doing it in my living room so I changed to 2×2. Let’s look at the difference between the normal and 2×2 versions:

Normal
2 x 20m Lunge Walk
10 High Jumps
2 x 20m Burpee Deepfrogs
10 High Jumps

2×2
40 x Split Lunges
10 High Jumps
40 Burpee Squat Jumps
10 High Jumps

All of that, six times.

When you look at the leaderboards for both of those, the results are interesting. People I follow on Freeletics largely came from the SubReddit. They’re people who are fairly advanced, and that keeps me going.

Top time in the normal version is 18:52 (congratulations Nils W), with a bottom score of 50:47 (Chris Letic).

Top time in the 2×2 version is Juan Luis (47:36), with a bottom score of 48:08 from Tore Rasmussen. This suggests to me that the 2×2 version is much harder. It certainly felt like it.

I had to stop a few times for about 3 minutes each time, and about half way through the third set of 40 Burpee Squat Jumps I had to revert to normal burpees. Later on I also stopped doing the Split Lunges and had to do normal ones.

It was very hard. The only things I could do quickly and with good form were the jumps. The whole thing took me 01:07:10. Ugh.

No way I was doing the extra 100 burpees and pull-ups after that. I almost gave up when I wasn’t even half way through. My thighs burned. My wrists hurt from lying on my mat, in position for burpees, for too long while I mustered the energy to jump.

So yeah, I didn’t really enjoy it today. I’m going to the burpees and pull-ups tomorrow.

I’m surprised that Coach gave me all of that on one day. Feels like an awful lot. And like an algorithm selected it rather than a real person. Especially as when I did the pull-ups last week I said it was ‘Maximum’… I guess this is the first time that I doubted Freeletics. But maybe that’s just because I found it hard, and I should just toughen up and get on with it.

Onwards…

 

Kentauros, the workout that nearly broke me