Freeletics Bodyweight 4.0 Review #2

redd-angelo-14425

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

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

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

Back on the burpees

I’ve been trying to get up earlier recently as I know that I feel much better when I work out in the morning. I think I’m also much more likely not to give it a miss if I get it out of the way.

But I didn’t get home from being away this weekend until nearly 1am last night, so I wasn’t expecting to work out this morning. I woke up about 8am this morning and after tea and planning the day ahead I decided to just bite the bloody bullet.

I’ve got a couple of full work-outs to complete in my current Freeletics week plan (that’s been running for about three weeks…), but I didn’t have much time before work, so I did one of the sets of burpees Coach has scheduled this week. 50. Suffice to say I was much slower than my PB (4:51). I took me over six minutes to finish. And I was pretty sweaty.

So there’s work to be done – need to get back on form.

In other news, I’m consistently completing 10 jumping pull-ups in 0:15. So I think it’s time to move onto actual pull-ups and see how we get on there. I feel stronger and like I can almost do them without the jumping. I’ll keep you posted.

Back on the burpees

I completed Freeletics Hell Week and this is what happened…

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!

I completed Freeletics Hell Week and this is what happened…

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

Mastering the pull-up

  
I’ve always been skinny. The only reason I started Freeletics is because I was getting a little beer belly. My arms have never had much muscle to them. My dad used to say my muscles were like “knots in cotton”. Thanks Dad.

So pull-ups have always alluded me. I just don’t have the strength to lift my body weight. Physically can’t do it.

You may remember a few weeks back I had to abort the 50 pull-ups Coach had given me.

I’m determined to master them. I feel stronger from my 12 or so weeks on Freeletics, but I need to pay more attention to shoulders, chest and arms of I’m to get those pull-ups down.

So I’ve decided to do 10 every day. Starting with jumping pull-ups for a couple of weeks and then working to proper ones. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Mastering the pull-up