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.

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HELL WEEK #1

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

Freeletics and Christmas

My work-out in the park in Brazil seems like a very long time ago. Since then I’ve returned to the UK, fitted one more work out in before Christmas (more on that shortly) and had a little break for the festivities. Now it’s nearly New Year, and so I’m trying to get back into the swing of things before January so that 2016 doesn’t come as too much of a shock.

So Week 3 continued with Prometheus (Endurance). I only selected three workouts for Week 3 as I knew I’d be travelling and very busy until Christmas.

I did this workout at the gym. In the area they use for classes. I like it in there because I’m not visible to the rest of the gym, and people can’t see me flopping about and getting all red and sweaty.

As a side note, now I’ve signed up to Freeletics, it seems weird that people use machines rather than their own body to keep fit, but hey.

Prometheus was hard, but not crippling. I’d also had a fair bit to drink the night before.

And then it was Christmas. I decided not to work out back at my parents’ house. Mainly because they’d look at me like I was mad, but also because I needed a bit of a break from everything.

So yesterday once I was back in Bristol, I did my first workout in the park just up from my house. It’s kind of perfect for freeletics. Although at first I did feel a little self-conscious working out with the houses nearby looking over me. I quickly forgot about that once I was doing 2/3 Hades. Blimey, that was HARD. The sprawlers were really difficult. Didn’t help that I had only had a cup of tea before the workout, so by the end I could barely walk. Pretty much mainlined a bowl of porridge and a banana afterwards.

 

trees and sky
View from the mat
 
I think I’m going to find the pull-ups the most difficult. I can just about do one properly, but only just, so when I saw that Week 4, Day 1 was Poseidon, I could have cried. A total of 55 pull-ups. Ha! No chance.

I managed to do the push-ups correctly, although towards the end I reckon Coach would have had a word or two about my form, but there was no chance with the pull-ups. Did them as jumping pull-ups, and even that was hard.

Have a feeling that I’m not going to be able to lift anything up later.

Diet and weight

A quick word or two on this… I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to monitor what I’m eating. Here’s where I started:

11 st, 13 lbs (November 2015)

I had a Goal Weight of 10 st, 7 lbs (which I now think is far too low), and so MyFitnessPal was recommending I eat 2370 calories a day.

I regularly come in well below my goal, but I don’t seem to be losing weight. Now, there are probably two reasons for this:

  • Inaccurate recording of actual calories consumed
  • Weight gained through muscle growth

I suspect the first one is the most likely at the moment, as although I’ve certainly been gaining muscle and family have commented on my physique (they don’t see me very often), it’s not a vast change (yet!).

This morning I weighed in at 12 st, 1 lbs, so gaining weight! I don’t really mind this, but I do want to shift that beer belly.

So I’m going to do Dry January. I suspect that the belly is mainly from beer and wine, as my diet is pretty healthy. I partly want to do it because I’ve never given up drinking for a sustained period before, and also because work will be busy, so it will allow me to focus a bit on getting fit and getting loads done at work.

I also did a Big Shop yesterday – loads of fruit, veg, seeds and protein – and I’ve been planning my meals for the next week, which should help me save money and eat well.

Tomorrow’s workout is Hermes. I like the look of Hermes. Mainly because I want to get better at running…

Freeletics and Christmas

Week 2: Day 4

Had to really gear up for this one. I’d been working the day before in São Paulo and went out for a late meal (spaghetti bolognaise and a couple of glasses of red wine), so wasn’t feeling massively up for it when I woke up about 7.30am. And it’s Sunday.

But I headed down to the hotel’s weird empty gym, which mercifully has great air con (it’s 30° outside) and buckled down.

Today was 4/5 Prometheus, and while it was hard, it wasn’t quite as hard as I thought it would be.

The climbers I actually quite enjoy and can usually do them really quickly. 

The knee push-ups are quite easy too, especially after doing the normal ones.

The crunches were hard but not too hard.

It was actually the HH squats that hurt (after doing them last week, my muscles were still sore), and the jumping jacks gave me a bit of a headache, but perhaps that was the red wine).

I was dead pleased I completed it, and before breakfast. I think I need to watch the impulse to stop towards the end, out of laziness rather than exhaustion. It’s tempting to stop because, well, I’ve basically done it so what difference will ten more jumping jacks make?

So that’s week 2 finished.

I can already see a slight improvement in my abs and arms and chest. And my legs feel really strong. 

I definitely need to improve my diet. It seems that 70% of success on Freeletics is about nutrition, and at the moment I’m drinking too much alcohol. I’m noticing the desire to eat less shit food/sugar. But then again, I’m on holiday and it’s Christmas next week, so maybe I should cut myself some slack…

In January I’m going to start a clean diet, based on recipes I’ve pinned on Pinterest. I’m not going to buy the nutrition guide because from what I’ve seen of it, the recipes are a bit depressing, and I really like cooking so I’m going to do my own low-carb, high-protein diet. And crucially, I’m going to do Dry January. But I’m not going to tell anyone, I’m just going to do it. Otherwise I’m bound to fail…

Next Week

I’m leaving São Paulo and heading to Rio tomorrow. Staying in an AirBnB, so no hotel gym. Not quite sure where I’m going to be able to workout, as Coach has scheduled both Ares and Hades which require 40m run space (or 2x 20m) and a pull-up bar. 

I’ve been told to be careful where I go in Rio, so need to ideally find a basketball court or similar near Santa Theresa, or a gym. 

OR… I postpone week three and do some of the other workouts that don’t need that equipment and which I can do in my room.

Guess I’ll see what happens when I get there…

Until then. Ciao!

Week 2: Day 4