Keeping motivated in Autumn

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*Insert inspirational quote about roads and autumn here* Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

It’s been a while. I haven’t been slacking, I promise. Just busy.

Although I have taken a couple of weeks off my Coach programme to swim more regularly and to do the pull-up e-book that Freeletics published recently.

Now summer is over, it’s tempting to slack off training a bit though. You know, our bodies are covered up by more clothes, it’s colder, you want to eat more, it’s harder to train outside. But I’m trying to stay motivated and to remember that exercising helps my mental health during the winter.

I did do one of my Coach training sessions last week. This was:

10 Strict Pullups
10 Hanging Knee Raises
Interval: 3 rounds of 10 x squat jumps, 10x elevated split squats (both sides), 5x stands, 30secs rest
2/5 Achilles
50 High Knees (replaced a 100m sprint cos it was raining)

I quite enjoyed all of that. Varied. Seemed to work out most of my body. Was pleasantly exhausted at the end. Although the pullups and burpees in Achilles were punishing. I’m still not quite there with pullups, so did them as Assisted pullups.

Then I’ve been doing the programme of pullups that the Freeletics e-book suggests. It builds up intensity and frequency and there are lots of shoulder pullups and passive hangs, plus pullups. I can feel it getting easier and I’m on week 2. Week 3 next week, which I’m going to combine with my normal coach workouts and a swim at the weekend.

I’ve also been increasing the length of my swims by 50m each time. I’m now up to 46 lengths of a 25m pool. Considering when I started a few years ago 20 lengths was my absolute max, I’m pretty pleased with that. Have been trying to work on my technique too.

I’ve written about this before, but the weekly email from Freeletics today reminded me that my focus, determination and ability to work through something until it’s finished has massively improved since I started doing Freeletics. I really do believe that physical exercise has a big impact on your ability to concentrate. I find myself really pushing through difficult tasks at work, at home. I’m much more likely to just do something than to put it off. And I think the way that Freeletics is designed has helped me with that. The thought of not finishing a workout on the app and not being able to earn points or tick off the day means I always push through. Having a community of other people following me keeps me accountable somehow too.

I also use a habit-building app called Momentum where I can track my streaks with certain activities. That old Jerry Seinfeld thing about not breaking the chain inspires me to keep going and pull on that workout gear. I also track other stuff like eating well, reading, getting to bed on time, waking up early etc. Wanting to get a perfect streak compels me to train every week.

So people, what keeps you going? How do you motivate yourself?

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Keeping motivated in Autumn

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

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