Freeletics Bodyweight 4.0 Review #2

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I’ve now done two more days of the new Coach. And I have to say I’m really enjoying it. The workouts are shorter and more intense, and I’m finding that they’re really working my muscles a lot harder (I’m have more of that satisfying soreness – is it satisfying?).

Yesterday I did:

10 Jumps
Poseidon

The jumps, pan, no problem. I did Poseidon in 04:09, but no star because I still can’t do perfect form pullups.

And then today, the final day of my three-day Coach week, was

Conditioning
Interval: Core, Upper Body.
3 rounds of:
Commando Pullups Left x10
Side Plank Twists Left x15
Side Plank Twists Right x15
Commando Pullups Right x10
Plank Switches x10

Taking each in turn:

Commando Pullups
I found these relatively straightforward although I’m not doing them correct form. I could just about do 3 the other day and it was the same this time. Then I started having to give myself a little jump start.

Side Plank Twists
I liked these. I could feel that they will be good for core strength, but they were also nice stretches. They got more testing later on in the workout.

Plank Switches
I also enjoyed these. They were fairly tough later on, but they were a nice change from pushups.

I’m really liking how the workouts are quite quick, but work your muscle groups really hard. I am finding it much easier to do before work. And not racing against the clock means that I’m much more likely to concentrate on whether I’m doing things right, rather than trying to beat a PB.

I’ve set the next Coach week to 2 workouts which I’ll do later this week, as I’ve now done four days in a row (including two swimming sessions and an hour’s bike ride).

While I’m here, a quick update on nutrition…

I’ve been making some really conscious changes to my diet. These include:

  • Cutting out bread as much as possible
  • Low carb lunches (usually a chicken salad or similar)
  • Porridge or overnight protein oats for breakfast
  • As much fruit and veg as possible, certainly more than five pieces a day
  • Shit-loads of water
  • Cutting down on beer and wine in favour of spirits, and cutting down my drinking alcohol at all to one or two nights a week.
  • Higher protein content in most meals (last night’s steak was delicious!)
Freeletics Bodyweight 4.0 Review #2

Quick Sunday update

A quick swim today. Usually try and do 20 lengths on a Sunday – there’s a 45-minute lane-swimming window at my local pool. Did 22 today – and didn’t really stop for a break throughout. Felt good. I’ve noticed that my legs are looking and feeling a lot stronger from doing Freeletics. More definition, bigger muscles in my thighs and calves.

I’ve noticed that my belly has come back a bit, which isn’t great. The result of over-indulgence at Christmas, drinking and not looking after my diet. Challenge over the next few weeks is to make sure I’m eating well – lots of fruit and veg.

Also, I’m booking a holiday soon – something to work towards…

Tomorrow is 2xMetis, which I’ve never done before. Let’s see how that goes.

How was your weekend training?

Quick Sunday update

10 Things I’ve Learned From a Year of Freeletics

It’s almost exactly a year to the day since I joined Freeletics. You can read my first post here.

I’m currently on Week 24, so give or take I’ve taken about twice the time I should have done to get this far. I stopped for a month, and some weeks I just can’t fit in the workouts (or can’t be bothered!).

But this week, something switched. I’ve hit PBs on every single workout so far. Today I had three sets of 50 burpees and I found them pretty straightforward – did them almost continuously without stopping and beat my PB on each set. And then I did 2x Morpheus, which was fun. Yes, FUN.

I’m noticing I’m much more flexible, have more energy, my body shape is changing significantly (particularly noticeable on my thighs, shoulders, biceps and chest), and I find myself looking forward to workouts. And as I get quicker and my form gets cleaner, I find that I want to work outside more. Freeletics clears my head.

At the beginning of this journey, I read the evangelical blogs and transformation videos with a degree of scepticism. I doubted that working out could feel so good. But now I get it. I totally get it.

So what have I learnt this year?

  1. Pull-ups are really hard

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    If you haven’t worked out regularly before doing Freeletics, and you’re slim, you’ll probably find doing correct-form pull-ups really hard. Impossible even. I’ve been trying all year and still can only do Jumping Pull-ups. But I’m doing at least 10 every day and recently I’ve noticed that I’m almost doing proper pull-ups now. Keep at it. As for the other skills you need to unlock on the Bodyweight app, sheesh. I’m nowhere near those yet.

  2. Burpees are hard, but effective and are over quite quickly

    kentauros
    I found burpees really hard and very exhausting at the beginning
    , but I think they’re by far the most effective exercise, as they target lots of muscles at once. It’s really satisfying when you get faster, and they never last that long.

  3. Exercising outside is by far the best way to do Freeletics

    2016-05-31 09.02.13
    It took me a while to pluck up the courage to work out in my local park despite it being less than a minute from my front door. I was worried about people giving me funny looks, or that my sweaty, red face would scare children. I was also anxious that people who also used the park to work out would be critical of my form (which was also a reason why it took me a while to work out at the gym). But actually, no one gives a shit. I certainly don’t look at other people when they’re working out. And the fresh air makes you feel really good. Can’t recommend it enough. Here are 7 tips from Freeletics about training outdoors in winter.

  4. You won’t see a big transformation if you don’t make a radical shift with your nutrition

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    I started Freeletics because I noticed I was getting a slight beer belly. And while it has certainly reduced it, I haven’t seen the huge transformation that the YouTube videos promise. And that’s because I really enjoy red wine and beer. My diet has changed. I eat more protein, less carbs, more vegetables. I drink less, I’ve cut out sugar in coffee and I eat almost zero junk food. But I haven’t radically shifted my diet. I haven’t bought the nutrition coach. I still drink alcohol. But I’m okay with that. I’m fitter, more healthy and my body has changed.  

  5. I find it really hard to get up first thing in the morning to exercise

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    I’ve tried everything: setting a timer on the TV to come on, going to bed earlier and so on, but I still find it really hard to get out of bed and exercise before work. But when I do, blimey it feels good. You feel like you’re ahead of everyone in the day, it gives you energy, a sense of achievement and forces you to have a good post-workout breakfast. Basically it sets you up for the day. But for some reason all of that still doesn’t make me jump out of bed.

  6. Don’t sit down on the sofa!

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    And if you didn’t work out before work, then avoid sitting down on the sofa when you get home at all costs. I make myself strip out of my work clothes and change into my workout gear straight away otherwise it’s so much harder to get going.

  7. You won’t stick with it if you don’t buy the coach

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    I tried doing Freeletics without Coach and I think unless you have superhuman discipline and motivation, it’s really hard to stick at it unless you stump up. Coach pushes you to do harder work-outs, it makes sure you work out your entire body, and it you get the satisfaction of ticking off days and weeks as you go (and no, I don’t get paid by Freeletics to say this!).

  8. Form trumps speed

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    The app foregrounds beating your PB with each work-out, but often taking your time and making sure that all your exercises are correct form is far more important. I seem to get better results doing that and in the long run it helps you get quicker too. 

  9. Stretching works

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    And finally, stretching works. It might be boring, but it really works. And it makes you feel much more flexible and strong. And reduces muscle pain when you push yourself. Why would you not?

  10. The community works

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    I don’t feel like I’ve properly tapped into the Freeletics community yet. I followed some people by reading the sub-Reddit, and by looking at other people’s followers. Hardly any of my Facebook friends are on Freeletics and those that are are all at Level 1. And there isn’t a Freeletics group in Bristol, so I don’t have a crew of people who I train with (although I am considering starting one). But when people who follow me give me a #clapclap or comment on and like this blog, it’s a real boost. Thanks guys!

 

 

 

10 Things I’ve Learned From a Year of Freeletics

Autumn, where finding the motivation gets harder

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Image: Semih Lydian (via Unsplash.com)

Really had to push myself to work out today. A rainy October Monday. I wanted to try and exercise before I went to work, but after a long few weeks travelling for work, I’m still trying to catch up on sleep so I stayed a little longer in bed. And then by the time I left work it was 6pm and I was tired and hungry.

But after cycling back from work, I made sure I changed straight away into my workout gear before I succumbed to the sofa. That way I’d already taken the first step.

So today was Uranos. I quite like this work out. It has the right mix of cardio and strength (running and burpees followed by press ups, pull ups and jumps), and it doesn’t take that long.

I must have been having a bad day when I last did Uranos, either that or I’m getting fitter, but I beat my PB by 8 minutes! And for the first time I managed to do 20 burpees without a break.

I still don’t get a star for it though, because I can’t do correct form pull-ups (those who follow this blog are familiar with my pull-up trials).

I’m noticing a big difference on my arms, shoulders, chest and thighs, but I still have a bit of a belly – which is purely down to nutrition. Must keep working on my diet.

Autumn, where finding the motivation gets harder

7 Little Changes You Can Make Very Easily


Swap the latte for black Americano

    Some lattes have as many as 300 calories, more if you’re adding sugar. Even if you go skinny, it still all adds up. Get your coffee hit with an elegant, cool black Americano. Virtually no calories and still delicious.

    Ditch the fruit juice

    For ages I’ve been drinking loads of fruit juice, primarily as a way of ticking off one or two of my five-a-day. But then I went to the dentist and he told me to cut down immediately. Fruit juice contains loads of sugar and many of the nutrients and vitamins have been squeezed out. Much better to eat proper fruit and veg throughout the day.


    Get eight hours sleep minimum

      It just makes you feel better. More energy, better mood, clearer mind. That’s it really.


      Download coach.me

        I use coach.me to try and build new habits. You can join pre-existing programmes or start your own, and you can pay for an actual coach (I don’t do this). For each habit you want to build, you can select the number of days you want to do that task each week and tick off when you do them. It has a really simple interface and I’ve changed a lot of my bad habits using it (including stopping smoking).


        Cut out alcohol

          I enjoy drinking and socialising too much to quit alcohol altogether, but I’ve been making a conscious effort in the past year to really cut down, and now try to only drink at the weekend. I’m also trying to stop drinking beer and move onto spirits and wine. The hardest thing for me is the impulse to reach for alcohol when I’ve had a hard day. Trying to replace that impulse with exercise.


          Don’t snack

            Alongside drinking, snacking is the main reason I put on weight. I’m now trying not to snack at all. I was never allowed to as a child, so it’s a bad habit that’s developed in recent years. If I do need to snack, I try and eat almonds, dried and fresh fruit and protein. 


            Drink as much water as you possibly can

              Joe Wicks recommends 3-4 litres a day, which I think is soooo much. I aim for 1.5-2 litres. And then I’m in the toilet a lot! When I exercise I drink more. It keeps you healthy and also reduces the craving for snacks.

              7 Little Changes You Can Make Very Easily

              8 Tips for How to Work Out While You Travel

              Brooklyn Bridge

              I have to travel a lot with my job, and sometimes that it’s difficult to make time for exercise when you’re in an unfamiliar environment. This post focuses on Freeletics, because that’s my work-out of choice, but these tips can apply to pretty much any kind of exercise. I’ve also linked to some other articles I read while writing this post.

              1. Don’t worry about not having the right kit with you

                The beauty of Freeletics, or any HIIT, is that you can pretty much do it anywhere. All you need is a bit of space in your hotel room or AirBnb. So if you don’t have room in your luggage for a yoga mat, fear not – a carpeted hotel room will do the trick (although beware of carpet-burn!)

                Of course, if you’re staying in a hotel, there might be a gym. I tend to try and get in there as early as possible while everyone else is still asleep – that way it’s quiet and you can concentrate.

                My only challenge is that it’s difficult to do pull-ups when travelling. Freeletics have a portable ‘No Excuses’ pull-up bar that you could take with you and fix on the bathroom door.

              2. Block out time in your schedule

                Much like working out when you’re at home, I find it’s important to block out time in your schedule for Freeletics. I tend to work out either very early (before breakfast) or whenever I might have gaps in my schedule later in the day. When you’re out of a normal daily routine, I accept that I’ll probably be working out at a different time each day, but as long as I work out when is best before I do anything else that day, then I can relax knowing I’ve got it covered.

              3. Use 2×2

                If you’re in an unusual place and can’t run or exercise outside, remember that you can always switch your Freeletics Bodyweight app to 2×2 and do all your exercises in your hotel room. Or you can always just re-order your workout days and do the workouts that don’t involve distance.

              4. Research local freeletics groups

                Sometimes when I’m travelling I research local Freeletics groups to see where they workout or if they have any meet-ups planned. Facebook is a good place to start with this. I joined the Freeletics Vancouver group on a recent trip. Working out with other people is always a good motivator, and it can be a great way to meet locals when away from home. The Freeletics website has a list of groups around the world.

              5. Eat well while travelling

                It’s so tempting to rely on easy, quick foods that might feel familiar when you’re in a new place. I’m a sucker for pizza when I’m travelling. But you can eat healthy too. Start the day with fresh fruit and eggs at the hotel buffet and then opt for fresh meat, fish and salads and you can’t go wrong. It’s still possible to eat well, but also don’t beat yourself up if you have a lapse – especially if you’re on holiday! Here’s a handy post with some tips and tricks on how to eat well while travelling.

              6. Make sure you get plenty of sleep

                If you’re travelling long distances, jet-lag can really take its toll. I find that I am much less likely to work out if I’m tired, so I try and make sure I get more than enough sleep. But if the jet-lag does kick in, exercise if often a good way of beating it.

              7. Hire a bike, rather jumping in taxis

                Cycling is a great, cheap way to experience a new city, and keeps you fit too. Try hiring a bike rather than jumping in taxis. I did this in Copenhagen and it was brilliant. Although I wouldn’t want to try it in cities that weren’t so cycle-friendly!

              8. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t fit it in

                If you’re away from home for work, sometimes your schedule is so packed that there simply isn’t time. Don’t beat yourself up. Even a few push-ups or burpees in the morning makes a difference (try this five-minute hotel room workout). Sometimes I use being away to try and beat PBs on all those quick exercises like 25 push-ups etc. And if you can’t do a full work-out, just cut yourself some slack and start again next week.

              Freeletics also have a blog about exercising while travelling, and you should also check out the Freeletics sub-Reddit

              Right, off to do 2xMetis in my hotel room 🙂

              8 Tips for How to Work Out While You Travel

              First week back after re-doing the fitness test


              I completed my first week of Freeletics after retaking the fitness test. For those of you arriving at this blog via this post, I’ve been doing Freeletics for about a year, but had some time off, due to a hectic work schedule and an injury.
              So my first week back was

              Poseidon

              3/4 Venus

              3/5 Aphrodite, 50 pushups, 50 squats

              Poseidon wasn’t pretty straightforward. Did it in 04:40, but with no star because I still can’t do bloody pull-ups. 

              It’s a great workout if you want to feel (and see) and immediate difference in your shoulders, arms and chest. It’s quick and powerful, even with jumping pull-ups.

              Next up was 3/4 Venus, which I also really enjoyed (mainly because there are no burpees!). But by god did my thighs hurt for the rest of the week after not having done squats for ages. Oof.

              Finally it was 3/5 Aphrodite which I absolutely hated. So out of practice on the burpees! And then I had to do another 50 push-ups and 50 squats. 

              I did that workout after a particularly stressful day at work and it really helped reduce my anxiety. Excercise rules!

              In other news, I’m trying to cut down on snacking and am still trying to drink less. One step at a time.

              It’s pretty simple though right? Eat well, sleep well, excercise loads and drink lots of water. 

              Have a great week athletes!

              Image from freeletics.com

              First week back after re-doing the fitness test