Sunday Swimming

Image from (Artem Verbo)

Had a big night out last night with some friends. Cutting back on drinking is often hard on the weekends when you want to socialise, and when the social norm is to get absolutely shitfaced.

But what’s been really helping me cut back isn’t so much the obvious health benefits, but the thought of having a nice Sunday with a clear head.

So last night I had friends over to my place for pizza and pre-drinks, and then we headed out. I had a few glasses of white wine at home but then once we were out I just stopped drinking. It helped that the club was the packed and only seemed to serve Red Stripe in cans and tiny G&Ts in flimsy plastic cups.

I hung out for a bit and watched some of the live performances that were on, chatted to some friends and then headed home about 2am. By that time the effects of the wine were wearing off, and I slept soundly for a full eight hours. Bliss.

And then today has been about good food, relaxing, doing washing and my weekly swim. 

I’ve blogged about this before, but I find swimming a real head clearer, and it uses my body in a very different way to Freeletics. I’m not a very strong swimmer so a quick 20 lengths is about all I do, and then I go to my new favourite coffee shop and watch the world go by. So much better than lying on the sofa nursing a hangover and eating junk food.

Check out these articles:

Being teetotal is intoxicating
8 reasons you should be in the pool

Also, I’ve recently discovered The Greatist, which has really good articles on health, fitness and nutrition.

Sunday Swimming

The times when you almost give up one minute after you started

After my productive Sunday morning, I then went for a swim and did 20 lengths. I’m not that strong a swimmer (medium lane for me all the way), so doing five lengths without stopping was an achievement! 

So then yesterday it was back to work and I was tired. But I still made myself do a Freeletics work out while the curry was as simmering on the hob last night.

It was 3x Metis. I’ve done it before in 23 minutes. Yesterday I was pushing 26. For some reason it was really hard work. I almost gave up after the first set. I gave up trying to beat my PB very early on and concentrated on good form.

I have noticed that the desire to work out is becoming habit. I find myself trying to figure out how to fit it into my day. I’m much less likely to put it off. In particular at the moment I have in my mind that working hard through the autumn/winter will pay off in the summer.

Also – protein porridge. New favourite thing.

The times when you almost give up one minute after you started

Neck pain

Boo. No Freeletics for me for the last week. And after all that chat about getting back into the groove.

I’ve pulled a muscle(s) in my shoulder/neck, which has made turning to look behind me pretty difficult. Went to the osteopath yesterday and she did some good work on it, but it’s still hurting, so I haven’t been able to work out at all.

I am going swimming today though as that will help, and the Osteopath recommended yoga too.

Hopefully back on it in a couple of days.

Neck pain

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.



Kronos: OUCH

Pacing, a swim and pizza


5419592353_3f706442d2_bSo I did my 3x Metis Strength. It wasn’t so bad. It was tough, but okay.

And in my notes for next week, Coach reminded me to think about pacing. Not to start too fast, or even better to start slow and speed up towards the end.

Next week my challenge is to beat 3 PBs. Gonna smash it.

I went for a swim today. Haven’t been for ages. Noticed I had more stamina and could swim faster. Thanks Freeletics!

Then after all that exercise, I had a day off. Currently eating pizza and drinking red wine on the sofa. Happy Saturday.

Back on it tomorrow.

Pacing, a swim and pizza

The Back Story

I was one of those kids at school that loathed P.E. I couldn’t really see the point of sport, wasn’t competitive, wasn’t a LAD. I was in Senior Choir and the school orchestra. Football – nah. Rugby – the girls actually used to come and watch me play because it was so funny. A scrawny little gay-boy shivering on the sidelines, desperate not to get hit in the face with a rugby ball.

I did like athletics though. I loved 100 metres sprint. I did relay for the county. And then as soon as I left school, I stopped.

I’m an active person, I cycle everywhere, but until recently I didn’t do any proper exercise. It was only when work began to get more serious and I needed an escape, and when I hit the big three-oh and all the pints of lager began to give me a little beer belly that I started to want to do something about it.

I started swimming, which I loved. Built up my lengths, started to go more regularly. It was a great mind-clearer. Then I started to go to a pool next to a gym. I thought maybe I should do some cardio or weights too. But I HATE GYMS. Preening, sweaty and soul-less. So. What to do?

Freeletics came up on one of those frankly terrifying Facebook algorithms.  I liked the branding. The guys in the videos were hot. Especially Joshua XII. I mean, jeez. So I downloaded the app and signed up. The app was pleasing too. Slightly bombastic. A bit cool. Easy to use. I liked it.

So I started doing some of the free workouts. They were hard. I didn’t really have anywhere to do them apart from in the living room of my first floor flat. When I did high jumps the windows rattled and I was worried that my landlord downstairs might wonder what the cocking hell I was up to.

I gave up pretty quickly because I didn’t really want to do it. I was swimming. I wasn’t that unfit. The beer belly wasn’t really showing yet.

But then over the next couple of months I both began to enjoy working out and began noticing some changes in my chest, arms and back, but I still didn’t come back to Freeletics.

Until this week. I re-downloaded the app – out of curiosity more than anything – joined a different gym that was cheaper (with the intention of doing some of the workouts there) and took the plunge. Signed up for coaching.

This blog is about my progress. I’m writing it because I’m hoping that someone will read it and that it will spur me on to keep going. I’m hoping it doesn’t peter out after about two weeks.

So far, I’ve done the fitness test, which was pretty straightforward and my first day’s workout, which was:

Day 1

10 x burpees
10 x burpees
10 x burpees

So far, so good. I was out of breath, for sure, but could probably have done more. I’m still doing them in my living room (sorry landlord!), but I’ve got a yoga-mat arriving tomorrow and I’m headed to the basketball court at the back of my house for my next work out (1/5 Morpheus).

Oh, and here’s my Day 0 photo…

Day 0

The Back Story