I bit the bullet: Hell Week Day #1

After much deliberation yesterday, this morning I woke up early and decided to just get on with Hell Week. If I have to take a couple of days break while I’m travelling, then so be it.

First up was Uranos and Krios.

I have a confession about Uranos. I don’t do the running bit. I cycle to work and back every day so get plenty of cardio and I really, really hate running. I did the running in Uranos once, so I know my time. I just set the workout going and do the warm up during the time when I would be running. Naughty, I know. And I also know that cycling and running use very different muscles.

I was hungry and hadn’t eaten anything yet, so Uranos was a bit difficult and I didn’t beat my PB. Was knackered at the end, but decided to push on with Krios as I knew it wouldn’t take very long.

And now I feel fantastic. I’ve done two workouts before 9am and it’s given me an energy boost and put me in a great mood. Must. Remember. This. Feeling.

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I bit the bullet: Hell Week Day #1

Hell Week conundrum

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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

Cancelling my gym membership and other January activities

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So. 2017. Here we are.

Have to admit, I did stop training over Christmas. And only started again the other day.

My final pre-Christmas workout was Uranos, where I beat my PB, and then on Christmas Eve (when I was sick of my family already and itching to do something physical) I knocked out a quick Athena.

I’d kind of forgotten that I can break with Coach every now and then and do those super-quick, no equipment workouts wherever and whenever. It felt quite nice to do a quick 7 minute workout, just to get the blood flowing.

And then post Christmas I was straight back to it with KENTAUROS. Jeez. I did it on a beautiful, sunny, freezing cold day in the park. Even though it was cold I was sweating buckets by the end. Blimey that workout tires me out. And my legs were aching for days.

On Monday evening, just before going to back to work after the break, I did Artemis. I quite like this workout – 50 burpees, 50 pull-ups, 100 pushups, 150 squats, 50 burpees. I beat my PB, but no star (still not mastered the pull-up).

The other thing I did this week was cancel my gym membership. Probably the opposite of what everyone else is doing at this time of year. £17 per month, and I wasn’t really using it. I’ve decided that wherever possible I will exercise at home or outdoors. And that there shouldn’t really be any excuses about that. I don’t need the gym.

So I’d better crack on with tackling that 2017 bucket list

 

Cancelling my gym membership and other January activities

Kronos, Hell Days, Pull-ups and thoughts on frequency of training

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Always trying to beat that PB!

The clocks go back in the UK next week, which means it’ll be darker earlier. Winter is coming. Time to really get stuck into training, so I can be ready for spring when it finally arrives!

Coach has given me Hell Days this week. I selected three work-out days, and this is what he gave me:

Day 1: Kronos, Uranos

Day 2: Kronos, Nemesis

Day 3: Kentauros, 3x Metis

He (and yes, I’ve decided my coach is a man) has selected a smorgasbord of my worst workouts. You can read about the last time I did Kronos here.

I still feel like I need a kick up the bum with Freeletics at the moment, I’m seeing results, but not the ‘insane’ results the app promises when you first sat up (this is mostly about diet though rather than workouts). So actually I was kind of grateful for Hell Days. Means I really have to push myself again.

I started the week yesterday and fully intended to do Kronos and Uranos. Ha. I’d forgotten the pain the Kronos puts you through. I have knocked a full 13 minutes off my first time trying it though, which is progress.

Before I was half way through I knew that there was no way I would be able to Uranos after this. Mainly because the 300 squats mean that I can hardly move my legs, let alone jump while doing burpees.

Today I ache all over and can hardly walk. It’s a good kind of ache, and I felt AMAZING after I had finished the workout. But I know I will struggle this week to do both workouts on the same day. Might have to split them across every day this week instead.

Which brings me on to a thought I had yesterday about frequency of training. I currently select three days each week. I think this leads me to eating badly and drinking alcohol, as there are more days in the week when I’m not working out than when I am.

So I’m going to up it to five days from now and on and see how that goes. Might also see how that changes what Coach assigns me.

Pull-ups

A quick note on what my regular readers will know is my nemesis – the pull-up. I re-watched the video for the jumping pull-up and realised that my 0:15 PB wasn’t quite true. I haven’t really been doing them properly. Seems that the trick is to fully extend and then let yourself fall. I hadn’t really been doing that, and so I don’t think I’ve been building up enough strength.

 

Kronos, Hell Days, Pull-ups and thoughts on frequency of training

Autumn, where finding the motivation gets harder

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Image: Semih Lydian (via Unsplash.com)

Really had to push myself to work out today. A rainy October Monday. I wanted to try and exercise before I went to work, but after a long few weeks travelling for work, I’m still trying to catch up on sleep so I stayed a little longer in bed. And then by the time I left work it was 6pm and I was tired and hungry.

But after cycling back from work, I made sure I changed straight away into my workout gear before I succumbed to the sofa. That way I’d already taken the first step.

So today was Uranos. I quite like this work out. It has the right mix of cardio and strength (running and burpees followed by press ups, pull ups and jumps), and it doesn’t take that long.

I must have been having a bad day when I last did Uranos, either that or I’m getting fitter, but I beat my PB by 8 minutes! And for the first time I managed to do 20 burpees without a break.

I still don’t get a star for it though, because I can’t do correct form pull-ups (those who follow this blog are familiar with my pull-up trials).

I’m noticing a big difference on my arms, shoulders, chest and thighs, but I still have a bit of a belly – which is purely down to nutrition. Must keep working on my diet.

Autumn, where finding the motivation gets harder

Coming back after time off to… HELL WEEK

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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