A quick post today as I haven’t posted for a while. Last week I didn’t train at all. No real excuses – I had the time, I just didn’t prioritise it. And I didn’t swim either.
So today I cleaned the flat, went and bought lots of fruit and veg, did all my washing and planned when I’d train and when I’d swim this week and I’m going to try and stick to it. So here I am trying to be accountable by posting it here.
Interesting email today from Freeletics too. They’re about to launch a completely rebuilt app based around five key values. Look forward to seeing how it works.
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
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?
Yesterday I watched a documentary on BBC iPlayer that Adrian Chiles made about his drinking. More specifically about how if you’re a regular social drinker, it’s not really seen to be a problem. You know, a few pints here, a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, big nights out at the weekend.
I’ve massively cut back on my drinking over the past few years. I’m much more moderate and don’t often drink to get drunk, which I used to do when I was in my twenties. But I definitely identified with Chiles, particularly around how drinking is such a social lubricant (“alcohol is the only drug you apologise for not taking”).
It made me download the Drink Aware app, and to start logging my drinking, in a bid to cut down. I have to say I think the 14 units recommendation is a little draconian. That really isn’t very much alcohol in a week. But I’m going to see what it’s like to try and stick to it. Because I know I don’t want to give up drinking. I enjoy it. I like wine. I enjoy trying unusual cocktails or tasting whisky. And I’m able to stop. So perhaps massively reducing the amount I drink will help me enjoy it more.
I had to work last night (a Saturday), so I after watching the documentary I was thinking that I wouldn’t drink after I finished work. But true to form I caved immediately. And ended up going out until about 2am. Strong work. Although I didn’t drink a huge amount and I stayed clear of beer.
But this morning I wasn’t about to let myself off the hook, so I went to the park and trained. It was the final workout of my Coach week – Ares. A quick workout so it wasn’t too painful. I replaced the pull-ups with jumping pull-ups though. Not quite there yet.
There was a little kid with his grandma in the park. About five years old. He came over and wanted to chat. Asking me what I was doing. Peering at my screen as Coach counted down from 5. Was a bit distracting, but kind of cute. He asked if he could join in!
Later today, after training, I cycled to the swimming pool and managed 42 lengths (I do two more every time I go). I hadn’t really eaten much so was pretty tired by the end. Rewarded myself with a massive bowl of salads and quiche from my favourite cafe near the pool.
It’s also nice to have my bike back. It’s been broken for a while, so I’ve been getting the bus and walking everywhere. Today I cycled for over half an hour just getting from A to B.
So actually I’m pretty pleased with my slightly hungover Sunday. Lots of physical stuff. And I went to someone’s birthday drinks just now and didn’t drink, and it was FINE. Didn’t even feel like I needed to.
Always feels nice when you have a good start to the new week/month. Hoping I can keep up the good work.
I’ve got the day off today. As it’s Friday it was tempting to lounge around, drink coffee, maybe go to the pub late afternoon. BUT NOT ME. Now I can do pullups I feel INVINCIBLE. I’m like a new man. There’s no stopping me.
After my pullup breakthrough on Wednesday I also worked out yesterday.
5 Strict Pullups
6 Straight Bar Dips
I’m pleased to say that it wasn’t a fluke. I did the 5 strict pullups pretty easily. Well, not easily, but easily enough.
The straight bar dips though. Erm, I simply couldn’t do them. I rigged up my Freeletics bar in a door way and between worrying that it would collapse and worrying that I’d bang my head on the door frame, once I actually got onto the bar I couldn’t really do the dip – just didn’t have a strength. So maybe these need a bit of work…
And then 2/3 Dione, which was absolutely disgusting. I don’t know why I once wrote on this blog that it was FUN. It’s really not. It doesn’t help that it was pretty humid here yesterday. I don’t think I’ve sweated so much. I hate burpees. Absolutely hate them. I didn’t beat my PB and I was delighted when it was over.
Yesterday I worked out early evening, so I wasn’t sure whether I’d do my third and final workout of the week this morning or later in the day. But when I woke up this morning I actually wanted to, so I did. Today was:
Interval – Legs, Lower Back 4 sets of:
8 x Cossack Squats
10 x Single Leg Hip Raises Right
10 x Single Leg Hip Raises Left
10 xSquat Jumps
60 secs rest
2/5 Aphrodite (Endurance)
Sheesh. This felt like quite a lot. The whole thing took me nearly an hour. I wasn’t particularly in a rush though and was trying to concentrate on form.
But I got through it, and then after a bowl of porridge and dried fruit and a coffee, I went for a swim and did 30 lengths.
I think that’s quite enough exercise for one day. I’m now having a little afternoon lie down…
I’ve cut myself some slack after that last post. I’m so busy with work that training is taking a back seat.
Last week I trained once. This was my work out:
10 x Side Lunges
8 x HH Standups
Interval (Legs, Lower Back), 3 sets of:
— 8 Cossack Squats
— 10 Single Leg Hip Raises Right and Left
— 10 Squat Jumps
— Rest (60 Secs)
Wasn’t too bad. Although I’m out of practice on Burpees, so Persephone took a little longer than I wanted it too.
Also this week, I’ve been trying to do 10 Assisted Pull-ups a day to try and build strength in my arms and shoulders. Still hoping to be able to do Strict Pull-ups one day.
Today I went for a swim; a Sunday tradition these days. I’m not a particularly strong swimmer – always in the medium lane – but it’s a great head-clearer for me and it makes me feel good if I’ve been out drinking on Saturday night; it’s a kind of low intensity exercise that gets the blood flowing again.
My Coach week next week is Hell Days (if they’re still called that). I’ve chosen three work out days instead of the usual four, with the hope of being able to easily do that by Saturday. My week looks like this:
I completely forgot to write about the final day of Hell Week.
Day 7 was a gentle end to the week. Nyx. Just sit-ups, leg raises and stand-ups. Did it in 08:10, which was 1:30 better than my PB.
And then I gave myself a break for a couple of weeks. I had a bit of a cold during Hell Week and then had a mad week at work. And then last week I was away from home and working crazy long hours so didn’t have time to exercise. I know, I know, #noexcuses, but it was either get less than five hours and exercise or sleep an extra hour, and I’m not really any good on less than seven and eight.
Felt nice to have a bit of a break. I left it so long that Freeletics sent me one of those ‘what’s happened?’ emails.
So yesterday I got back into it. Conditioning. Was tough.
3 sets of
10 Assisted Pullups
30 sec Superman hold
15 Hanging Leg Raises
I’m getting better at the Assisted Pull-ups, and Press-Ups and Superman hold are no bother, but I find the hanging leg-raises really hard. Partly because my pull-up bar is in a door frame, so it’s hard to really hang and be able to get a good swing. But mainly because I’m not strong enough! Will keep practicing.
Went for a swim today. Also felt a bit tough cos I didn’t go last week.
Going to get back into the swing properly tomorrow.
Might even try to tick off some of those advanced skills…
First day of Hell Week today. Haven’t done one for a while. I always have that mixture of dread and excitement when I click that colour scheme changes from blue to red and I see that the following week’s training is Hell Week.
I was going to start yesterday (Sunday), but I went for a swim instead. 30, 32 or 34 lengths (lost count!) in half an hour. Not bad.
So when I woke up this morning (early because of the clock’s going back), I knew that if I didn’t start Hell Week today I wouldn’t do it at all. I always find that if you don’t start out well on a Monday morning, it’s really hard to get the momentum going for the rest of the week.
Day 1 was fairly straightforward – Persephone (Endurance).
30 HH Squats
30 HH Leg Raises
20 HH Squats
20 HH Leg Raises
10 HH Squats
10 HH Leg Raises
I find these days that squats are much easier. I can feel that my legs are much stronger. I used to think that because I cycle everywhere I didn’t need to work on my legs as much. But now I do, I can cycle faster and feel stronger.
I like Persephone. It’s quick, relatively easy, but you still feel like you’ve had a full body workout. I even beat my PB by about 3 minutes. Good start to the week.
It’s Artemis tomorrow, which I’m really not looking forward to.
After a few weeks using a resistance band to do assisted pull-ups as part of my Coach weeks, but also as extra practice, I surprised myself yesterday.
Coach gave me 4 strict pull-ups as part of my conditioning workout. I rolled my eyes and thought ‘yeah, right’. Usually I’d not even attempt to do the pull-up properly. But yesterday, for some reason, I went to the bar without the band.
And I could do it! I did three pull-ups with correct form! Arms extended, feet off floor and then chin over bar. Couldn’t do the forth properly, but fuck it, I’d actually done three properly!
So how did that happen?
I’ve been doing Freeletics for nearly two years. Far longer than the 15 week transformation videos posted on YouTube. If you read back in this blog, you’ll see that I’m far from the disciplined trainer. I might be fairly good at training regularly, but I’m slack on diet and I drink alcohol.
And I’ve always struggled with the pull-up. I was a skinny kid. I didn’t have the muscles in my arm to pull up my bodyweight. So for nearly two years I did jumping pull-ups. And then when I was staying at a hotel, I used a resistance band for the first time. And suddenly being able to do a proper pull-up felt a lot closer. And so I bought one from the Freeletics Store and have been using it nearly every day since.
I think the good thing about using a band rather than the jumping pull-up, is that the band actually makes you use the muscles needed in the pull-up, whereas the jumping one doesn’t really. I’m no expert here, though, so please do correct me if this isn’t true.
Either way, by doing the assisted pull-up regularly I must have been training my arms in the right way. The challenge now is to build up beyond three (!). My plan is to keep doing assisted pull-ups until I can do more than ten without a break.
I had to do a further 30 assisted pull-ups as part of the day’s training, and they also felt easier, although I can’t do 10 back-to-back yet.
Today, I also did 28 lengths at the pool. Every time I go I’m adding two lengths. The window to swim on a Sunday is only 45 minutes after classes and before the pool closes, so there’s no hanging around. When I first started going I could only manage 20, and I had to take breaks every few lengths. Now I can do 28 without a break, with time to spare. I’m aiming to get to 40.
So all in all, I’m feeling good. And all this after a week off last week. I was tired, work was busy and I kind of got off on the wrong foot on Sunday. So I didn’t train at all last week. Managed a swim on Sunday and that was it. I was waking up late, not eating much fruit and veg, not drinking enough water.
But this weekend I’ve had lots of sleep, got all the food in for the week and cleaned my flat, so I’m ready for the week ahead.
I had such good intentions. But this week didn’t go so well. This is mainly due to having a friend/colleague visit from another country. I’ve been on tour-guide duty, making sure she met the right people, saw the sites and ate at the right places.
It started well. I did a good swim on Sunday and I did fit in a Freeletics workout on Wednesday morning. But the rest of the week has been pretty lazy. And I’ve been eating out and drinking alcohol.
I’m trying to save money at the moment, so both of those things aren’t supposed to be on the agenda.
But I guess I’m going to cut myself some slack. It was important to be there for my guest. And I’ve had a really nice week.
Today is Friday, and I’m working from home. I’m going to get a good few hours work under my belt and then do a workout later on. And I have to get up super early on Saturday to go to London for work so it’s no drinking and an early night tonight. Lots of water.
You can always reset and start again. And next week is all fresh and new.
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.