Oh hello again… I’m back

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Pushing on through…

I’m back. After my longest time away from Freeletics yet. A five week break, but it feels like longer.

My job involves a pretty massive project that happens every two years. It’s an eleven-day event that means I’m working 14 hour days for about two weeks, plus long days and nights in the lead-up. I wrote in my last post about how it’s hard to keep up momentum when life or work takes over, and after writing that I decided to cut myself some slack.

On the plus side of not working out, I massively increased my step count every day and I often eat less (adrenaline, time etc). On the downside, I tend to drink more at social events in the evening, and when I do eat, I tend to choose quick-fix food like pasta, pizza etc rather than wholesome meals. Mmmm, hot cheese and carbs.

But the event is over now, so I’ve been reclaiming my routine. Pretty much everything else went out of the window too – I stopped reading, keeping a journal, drinking enough water, swimming, getting my five a day etc etc. So this week has been about pushing myself back into these habits.

I was also daunted by where I stopped in my coach week. I left a workout hanging – Dione plus some other stuff (can’t remember what now), and every time I opened the app there it was looking scary and difficult.

So this morning, after a long night’s sleep (I still have quite the sleep debt to repay), I decided to redo the fitness assessment and start again. A five week break seemed like as good enough reason as anything, and I figured that doing something quick and undemanding like the test might help me break the psychological deadlock I’ve found myself in.

It’s pretty easy – a dynamic warm up which is pretty standard, then 10 pushups, 25 sit ups and 25 mountain climbers. Didn’t really break a sweat. But it felt good to be back on the mat, and now doing it again tomorrow doesn’t seem so scary.

On a related note, I’ve really noticed that I feel more stiff and more achey after a long time away from Freeletics. My back hurts again and I don’t feel as flexible. I can’t touch my toes, when before it was really easy. I’m going for a massage on Tuesday to try and ease up some of those muscles.

It feels like the perfect time to get back into Freeletics now that the sun’s out (kind of – it’s raining here today), and the weather is nicer.

#noexcuses

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Oh hello again… I’m back

Hell Week Day 2: Artemis

Aaah, I’d forgotten about Artemis. Definitely one of my least favourite Freeletics workouts. Each exercise is done all at once. And there are lots of repetitions.

50 Burpees

50 Pullups

100 Sit-ups

150 Squats

50 Burpees

Horrible. I almost gave up twice. There’s something horrible about having to do so many reps back to back. Somehow splitting them up like most workouts do feels more manageable.

I didn’t do the pullups properly, obvs. I did jumping pullups. But everything else I did with correct form. No star, but I beat my PB.

I was pretty sweaty at the end. Also – and I think this happened on Hell Week once before – I have a cold. Came on yesterday. I had to summon up the energy to workout, but it made me feel better. Going to see how I feel tomorrow, but hoping I can push through. It’s GAIA tomorrow, which is a bit easier.

Onwards!

Hell Week Day 2: Artemis

Entering the final week of #CoachChallenge

Tomorrow I start the final week of #CoachChallenge.

I have to say, I’ve found the promise of a voucher and the Week 3 40% discount has encouraged me to not break my routine. So often with Freeletics, I’ve had breaks or a week where I haven’t exercised once. Hence why, even though I’ve been doing Freeletics for nearly 2 years, I’m still only on Week 47. But now I’m in more of a regular routine, exercising in the mornings rather than evenings, I find it much easier to stick to the plan.

I used the Week 3 40% discount to buy a new pull-up bar, which I can adjust to do the exercises that require a lower bar (incline rows, negative bar dips etc), and an a resistance band which I’m going to use to try and finally crack pull-ups. Annoyingly they arrived yesterday when I was out, and tomorrow is Monday, so I hope I’m not going to carry on missing the delivery every day this week.

Last night I went to my friends house for a cheese and wine party. Four of us. Twelve cheeses. Bread. Meats. Lots of wine. Not good for that six-pack. So today I ate loads of vegetables and healthy carbs, went swimming and did about half an hour cycling around town. And I’m going to try and have a good week sticking to all my habits.

Now it’s September, I’m a bit annoyed with myself that I didn’t push myself harder to exercise outdoors more this summer. I only did it a handful of times, mainly because it’s so easy to do it in my living room and I still feel a little self-conscious doing it. But when I do, it feels so good.

Just in case you’re interested, here’s my final #CoachChallenge week:

Day 1
10 Straight Bar Dips
Conditioning (Legs, Core): 3 x rounds 30 Squats, 15 Arm & Leg Lifts (L&R), 15 Standups
Krios

Day 2
8 Crunches
Conditioning (Upper Body, Abs): 3x rounds 15 Pushups, 20 Bicycle Crunches, 15 Plank Switches, 10 Leg Raises
4/5 Hyperion

Day 3
10 Split Lunges
12 Pushups
4/5 Aphrodite
400m Sprint
400m Sprint

Day 4
6 Jumps
10 Strict Pullups
Conditioning (Legs, Abs): Split lunges, Calf Raises, Leg Raises, High Knees). 3 rounds x 20 each

I still don’t really have anywhere to do sprints. I need to find a big flat place. All the parks near me are on hills and all the quiet roads are hills too. Hmm.

I’ll let you know how I get on. Have a great week.

Entering the final week of #CoachChallenge

Freeletics Bodyweight Coach 4.0: Week 1 review

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Today was – finally – my first day of the new Coach.

Here’s what was in store:

10 Pushups

Strength, Interval: Upper Body: 
4 Rounds of:
Commando Pullups Left x3
Commando Pullups Right x3
Straight Bar Dips x8
Clapping Pushups x8
Strict Pullups x4
Rest 60

It feels like this first week is about Coach figuring out what I can and can’t do. Almost like redoing the fitness test again.

But the first thing I notice is that whereas before, all you needed to do Freeletics Bodyweight was a pull-up bar, now it’s a bit more complicated. I don’t have an adjustable bar at home. I have a fixed pull-up bar. So Straight Bar Dips are impossible. I really want to carry on doing Freeletics at home, rather than at a gym or elsewhere, so I might have to invest in one of their portable bars. This is a bit annoying as they’re not cheap. But hey. Today I improvised by doing the Straight Bar Dips on a work surface – far from perfect form though.

So, taking each exercise one-by-one:

Push-ups

10 push-ups are no problem. Did them in 00:14, correct form. I was reminded, after not having done Freeletics for a week or so, how easy I now find push-ups. I have a much stronger upper body and find doing 10 no problem at all. Now onto the interval training.

Commando Pull-ups Left / Right

These were easier than I thought they would be, at least in the first couple of rounds. I was surprised by my strength. They got much harder in the latter half of the workout though and by the end I wasn’t really doing them correct form.

Straight Bar Dips

So yeah, I was doing these on a table basically. I started doing them between two chairs, but the chairs really hurt my hands, and actually once I used the table, I could do much better form. These were quite hard. Although I kind of think I might be able to get good at them relatively quickly.

Clapping Pushups

Ha. So I could just about do these on the first round, but the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds I couldn’t really do them, so just ended up doing normal pushups. Blimey these are hard!

Strict Pullups

Those of you who have read this blog before will know my struggle with the pull-up. But I have to say that not doing them against the clock and concentrating on form not speed meant that I pretty much did them perfectly on the first round. The later rounds were more tricky and I had to give myself a bit of a jump-start, but I felt like I was making progress.

Overall, I was easily as knackered and sweaty as I usually am at the end of a Freeletics workout. I’ve read elsewhere, mainly on Reddit, that some people find the new coach too easy, but I certainly found it as challenging, if not more so, than the old coach. It was hard to get my head out of wanting to do everything really quickly, as speed has been such a part of the mentality of Freeletics for so long, but once I got my head around concentrating on technique, I found it really enjoyable, and quite difficult.

Next up this week, I have:

Day 2
10 Jumps
Poseidon

Day 3
Conditioning: Interval: Core, Upper Body

Freeletics Bodyweight Coach 4.0: Week 1 review

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

Kronos: OUCH

15684e3b79b2e21a16997f3b62d9578eI did my first Kronos almost a week ago and I still hurt. Jeez, that work-out is surely one of the toughest of the lot.

There’s something about having to do the full number of each exercise in one go rather than it being split into reps. It really pushes you.

Here’s the breakdown of what Kronos puts you through:

100 Pushups
200 Situps
300 Squats
200 Straight Leg Lever
100 Pullups

I completed it in 01:03:48. The sense of achievement when I finished was amazing.

The thing is, it’s not too unpleasant (there are no burpees for a start!) and once you get into the swing of each exercise it’s not too bad. I found the sit-ups the easiest, followed by Pushups, Squats, Straight Leg Lever and then the pull-ups the hardest.

I didn’t do the pull-ups with correct form. I still can’t (although the daily jumping pull-ups are making them feel a little more possible at some point in the future).

What’s great about Kronos is that it works out your arms, chest, legs and abs all at the same time. And damn, I could feel it for the next couple of days. Walking down stairs after 300 squats was pretty painful.

And then yesterday, after a few days off and a swim on Saturday (which was really tough as my legs and arms were so tired!) I did the horror that is 3x Metis (Strength). Ugh. Was hard and I was a bit hungover and tired, so didn’t come close to beating my PB.

About half way through, when I knew I wasn’t going to beat my PB, I almost gave up, but there’s something that switches in my brain when I’m over 50% done – it suddenly seems so much more manageable, and I think about how I’d feel if I stopped, so I manage to power through.

All of this, combined with a load of cycling around town meant that I slept very well last night!

Meanwhile, friends I haven’t seen for a while are regularly commenting on the change in my physique. And I’m feeling stronger than I ever have.

GO FREELETICS.

 

Kronos: OUCH

I reached week 10 of Freeletics, and I feel great

 

I’ve been really getting into my groove again with Freeletics in the past few days. I’m going on holiday tomorrow and I’m almost disappointed I won’t be in routine. Might have to do a couple of work-outs over the weekend.

But anyway, I’ve done three days back-to-back and I feel absolutely fucking great.

First up was Venus. Venus is a pretty simple workout – just pushups, squats and sit-ups. I beat my PB, but my skinny arms were struggling with the pushups towards the end. I really need to work on my arms to master pushups and pull-ups. When I was in the gym at the weekend, this toned guy came in and did about 25 pushups really quickly. He made it look so easy – I make it look like a big old sweaty mess. However, I do always notice a difference in my physique when I do push-ups. Particularly my chest and shoulders.

The next day was Apollon. I did this in the wrong order because I was at the gym and couldn’t switch between burpees, squats and running easily. So I did all the burpees and squats first (skipping through the running on the app) and then did the full 2.4km on the treadmill at the end. Slightly cheating maybe,  but I actually really enjoyed the running. Had a massive endorphin rush at the end. And then I went and bought loads of healthy food. Was a good day.

Then finally I had to do 2xAthena, 100 Burpees, 50 Squats, 50 Squats and another 50 burpees in one day. Usually I cheat a bit and split these over a couple of days, but yesterday I got up early on a Monday morning, did the 2xAthena, which was quite nice (when I say ‘nice’ I mean it didn’t completely destroy me). Then when I got home from work I did the burpees and squats.

I really tried to pace myself with the burpees – not rushing at the beginning and trying to keep a steady pace and not collapsing for 30 seconds half way through. It feels much better to go slowly and not break.

And now I feel pumped. My legs are noticeably more muscular, my arms feel great and I’m feeling simultaneously energetic and tired (but in a good way).

And in stats, I’ve done

525 Squats
225 Burpees
200 Pushups
155 Situps
75 Climbers
2.4km run

I think I deserve a holiday!

Oh, and I promised you a progress photo, so here you go. (And yeah, I know the lighting is more favourable in the right hand photo, but still…)

March Progress

I reached week 10 of Freeletics, and I feel great