Find my 15 weeks training program here: Freeletics
This is the first part one of a little series I am planning for a while now. I would like to share some little games we use to do in our training group, usually after the workout that are fun, but also challenging, especially if you do them in a group.
There is this song – Flower by Moby. The lyrics are quite easy – its basically just two lines:
“Bring Sally Up. Bring Sally Down.”
You can do this with a variety of exercises, we usually do pushups (but squat or pull-ups do also work). Every time the line “Bring Sally Up” comes up, you bring your body up and hold until the “Bring Sally down” comes up, then hold until the “Up” part starts again. Important when doing pushups: Do not lay down, hold your body just a few centimeters above the ground.There are just a few people in our group who make it to the end of the song. I think my record is around minute two. Here are some videos of me and people from my training group doing the challenge:
The song is available on sound cloud:
How long can you bring sally up?! Try it!
The 15th week of a Freeletics program is essential – it’s the Hellweek! That means 7 days of training, no rest-day and always giving everything. The mere amount of exercises might seem impossible at first – but you are a Free-Athlete and nothing is impossible! Just keep going, you will be surprised what potential you developed over the past weeks.
During this week you will put your body under huge stress, so the key elements of a healthy lifestyle (like mentioned many times before) are more important than ever! I can not stress it enough: Eat clean, sleep enough (7-8 hours) and trink a lot of water! During Hellweek the recovery phases will be extremely low so you need to provide your body with the best you can do in this short periods.
The most challenging part will be the mental negotiation to do a workout every day. After 3 or 4 days you will reach the edge of your physical capacity. Your workout times will become longer and that is normal. You might want to take a day of and if you must, you can. This was my second Hellweek and as I remember, during my first Hellweek I did a rest-day on day 6 – but did the 6th and the 7th workout on the last day. This time I went through with the whole thing and even did some extra exercises and broke a lot of PBs even on the second half of the week.
During this Hellweek I did:
- 595 Burpees
- 280 HS-Pushups
- 560 Pullups
- 705 Pushups
- 905 Situps
- 1550 Squats
- 275 Jumps
- 425 Straight Leg Levers
- and a little bit of running
To overcome this immense workload will make you strong – mentally and physically. But let’s not talk – let’s do it! Have fun with the Hellweek and don’t let it get you – you can do it!
Hey, I am back! Sorry for not posting for two weaks – but I had a lot of things to do. My project at work is at a critical state and everybody had to work a lot of extra hours. It is a software development project and we are slowly running out of developers – to complete my currently assigned tasks in time, I would have to clone myself three times 😛
But anyhow, now christmas holidays are about to start and it got a little more quiet and I finally found the time to write this post. During the past two weeks the freeletics workouts were a really good distraction from work. Nothing is better to clear your mind after a hard business week than a good and intense workout – besides alcohol, but you feel much better afterwards…So, today I want to talk about how freeletics – or sports in general – have an influence on my performance at my working place.
Training made me much more resistent to stress and increased my productivity. Before I worked out so much, being at the office for 8 or more hours exhausted me. It was hard to work extra hours and if I did one day, I left earlier on the next day because I had no more energy. And even on a normal working day, I felt that my productivity was at a really low level for the last 2 or 3 hours at work. On a stressful day, this point was reached even earlier. Most of the time, when I returned from work I was so tired, I didn’t want to go out anymore.
Now – here are the differences. I worked almost 10 hours every day for the past 2 weeks and this feeling of having my head full of things, that always gave me a headache during the day did not come. Many of my coworkers, who had to work extra hours too, were on a bad mood after short period of time or even got sick because of the stress. I didn’t. I can not really explain why – I had more to do then ever before, and even much more demanding things – but they never tied me down. I suppose it is because of the following things:
First, I feel better than ever before in my life. Eating healthy and habitually doing sports are the basis for this. If you are in a healthy and physically good state, progress will come and with progress comes self-esteem and confidence. And other people realize this and they will treat you in a much better way. You can work much more productive because your body is much more reliable and during stressful times it is easier for you to focus and keep your head clear. I realized this in many grueling meetings during the past days where complex things were discussed over hours. Most of the people got confused, lost their focus, got angry or backed down completely. And even though I was a rather small fish among these people, it was me who tied the important topic back on the agenda or showed solutions when it seemed like we ran into a dead end many times. Before I changed my lifestyle, I was rather the guy who was sitting in meetings and just trying to follow and it was always another person who brought up the solution.
Another key factor is the will to take challenges. If you are doing high intense sports, you will not be able to avoid challenging yourself. And if you do, you will see that almost every challenge can be achieved if you just try it. You may fail for the first time, but in the end you will succeed. You will learn that every challenge, however big it may look, can be beaten. You just have to keep going, focus on the next step but not loose the main target…And always care for yourself. As I said, a healthy body is the basis for all this. Eat clean, do sports, sleep sufficient, trink a lot (water or tee) and no or at least just a little alcohol.
You can see the workouts I did in week 13 and 14 in the two pictures. Week 15 is going to be the last week of this coach ( the coach will continue but I will stop to write a post every week). It is going to be a hellweek, I know this because I am already in it and almost at the end, as I am writing this lines. But you will see it next week. Until then, keep going, take your vitamins and remember: even though life is hard some times – you can be harder!
PS: here are are some inspirational pictures of healthy food 😉
This week I decided to take 5 training days instead of my usual 4. It wasn’t really so, that I had more time this week…but I just wanted to try something new and to change my workout-ryhtm. It’s all about variation to keep things interesting. So, getting the 5 days done was hard, furthermore I had a really hard week at work and stayed in the office much longer than usual – but I made it and it feels like a huge progress now.
If you remember, I unlocked the “Handstand-Pushups” skill last week, and this weeks workout plan already included a lot of them. Doing 100 of them on the third day was almost impossible, I had to switch to pikes after 10 repetitions. But thats another great thing on Freeletics, it always gives you new challenges you can work on.
I also got the Freeletics nutrition guide this week. Lately I ran out of ideas for healthy and protein rich meals and ended up eating a lot of low fat quark, eggs and protein muesli. The nutrition guide provides you with recipes and general tips for a healthy nutrition. There are two kinds, one for loosing weight and one for building muscles. I chose the second one. It starts with an introduction that reminds you to eat more protein and less industrial sugar, fast-food and instant meals – but I already stopped doing this when I started with Freeletics. It also has 6 recipes, two for each meal of the day. I tried everything this week and I have to say, they are really good. The recipes are rather simple and usually I cook in a more advanced way. But I tried all of them without any modifications and the result was always good. Here are pictures of my breakfasts this week. The bircher muesli was really good to take to work and I could prepare it in the evening – very nice.
There also was huge a jubilee this week – I completed my 200th workout. And like my 100th it was Zeus…amazing coincidence or what? So I am looking forward to the next 200! Cheers everybody and never give up!
This time it’s two weeks in one post. The first day of week 10 was hard – a lot of Burpees. If you hate Burpees and sometimes ask yourself why you are doing this to you, check out this page and join the million-burpee-challenge. To see how many crazy people are doing this many Burpees every day might push you.
Apart from this my week had the usual Venus sessions. I think almost all of the past weeks had at least 2 Venus workouts..and I can see and feel the 200 Push-ups on my chest. I would say it is in a better shape than ever before. I also broke my PB again, slowly but constantly I continue to make progress.
Week 11 started with a lot of Burpees too, Burpee Frogs are even harder than normal Burpees I think. They are not done by counting the repetitions, but by doing them on a given distance. How many repetitions you do, depends on how far you jump – and jumping takes strength. So when your legs start to feel heavier and your jumps become shorter you need to do more repetitions to reach the required distance. It is cruel but effective…and looks kind of ridiculous 😉
My workout-plans became a little bit one-sided lately, a lot of Venus, Artemis and Poseidon. To unlock new workouts, you must acquire new skills on your freeletics profile. These are advanced exercises that are extra tricky and you might need a lot of strength or balance. Do not worry if you can not do them from the beginning – I think no average person can do this. In the image below you can see the available skills and wich I unlocked. You unlock a skill by doing one repetition according to the rules in the describing video.
This week I unlocked the Strict-Handstand-Pushups. This is a crazy exercise. You need to stay in balance while all of your blood rushes to your head – and then you do pushups. It took me a while to find the right balance, take care that your hands are not too close, as it is much harder then. Also try not to make a hollow back – tense your shoulders and your back.
I did around 5 repetitions to find the correct technique. During the first two I bent one of my legs – this stabilized my stand and helped me to find the right position for my hands. Go ahead and try it. Now I will see how this new skill influences my weekly workout plan.
I also tried to do a one-hand-pushup…but this was too hard. My upper body did not move an inch away from the floor…long way to go!
I completed week 9 of the strength coach. The first day was monday and it was quite tough. Some Burpees, Pushups and Kentauros. Tuesday, wednesday, thursday and friday I had no time to do the other workouts, so I did the second day on Saturday, the third day on sunday morning and the fourth day on sunday evening. Two times venus on one day is hard – this monday I had shaky hands all day and at lunch I almost dropped my fork in my potato-salad…but now it’s better. No pain no gain…
I checked my profile and I do Freeletics now for over 6 months, thats a half year with at least 4 times sports per week. I never did sports in that intensity for this long before. But the diversity of the generated workout plan and the fast visible progress make it that easy. It is like an addiction – but with only positive effects.
In the last post I talked about the new warmup pro that I unlocked in week 8. I found this video that explains the whole warmup routine. I think that explains it much better than I could with words… Enjoy!
This week I wanted to work harder on my PBs as the last couple of weeks I was far behind them and did not made any progress. I set the goal to break at least one PB this week and I was highly motivated! The first workout was Venus and although my arms were tired from the hellday of last week, I gave everything…and missed my PB by 30 seconds. But getting this close only made me wanting more. The next day’s workout was Artemis – and this time I beat his a*s. I was almost 5 minutes faster then my old PB. It is amazing what can be reached with the right mindset and motivation. Even when there are times during the freeletics 15-weeks challenge when you feel like stepping back – do not give up! This is normal, take your time to recover and try to figure out what restricts you like: do you get enough good sleep ? do you trink a sufficient amount of water during the day? do you eat clean? do you feel sick or have pain? All this are factors that influenced my results in the past. The good thing is that you can do something about it. In this way, Freeletics also helps to “monitor” the healthiness-level of your current lifestyle. If my workout times get longer, there was something I did wrong.
Outside you can feel that Winter is coming and I did most the workouts inside. Before I started with Freeletics, I always (literally) got a cold during this time of the year, with sinusitis and all the stuff. But not this year! Maybe it is because I escaped to the caribbean, but I think that also my body and immune system got stronger. It is such a great experience to see all this positive effects Freeletics has on me, it astonishes me almost every day!
Third training-day was right after halloween and I was completely hungover – so no chance to break another PB. But finally, on the last day I broke my Venus PB as well! After all, this was a very successful week. I unlocked a new kind of warmup routine that replaces some of the former exercises with more advanced ones – maybe I will create an extra post to show some of them. So far – Keep going and give it your best 😉
Week no. 7, first week after my vacation and – as in every 15 Weeks Freeletics program – the 7th week had only Helldays.
A Hellday is a day with at least two workouts. The purpose is to go to your limit and beyond. You are allowed to spread the workouts over the day if you can not do them in a row. This week had three Helldays.
Wednesday: Hellday 1 Artemis & Kentauros
I completed Artemis in the evening and decided to do Kentauros in the morning of the following day. I was really tired and could not even do it with a star, I had to replace the Burpee Frogs with Burpees.
Friday: Hellday 2 Artemis and Poseidon
I did the two workouts in a row. I was very slow with the Artemis, don’t know whats up – but I am far from my PBs the last time.
Sunday: Hellday 3 Venus and Hades
I decided to bite my teeth and try to work harder on my PBs. I did not reach them but got closer than ever in the last 3 weeks.
The week was not that hard – but I have to admit that I did not gave my best. This is something that developed over the past weeks during my vacation; I could not break or even reach close to my PBs. So I am setting a goal for the next week: break at least one PB! I know, normally I should try to break my PB every time – but I am this far away from archiving that. Most of my PBs were set during my last 15 weeks coach (cardio & strength). I remember that the last time, the coach varied not that much in the workouts as this coach does. Most of the time, the first and the last workout of the week were the same, with workouts in between that trained other body parts. So it seemed to be easier to improve.
Anyhow, the target is set – let the hunt for PBs begin!
This week I spent on the beautiful island of Dominica in the caribbean sea. We traveled there by ferry from Guadeloupe and it is the second stop on our journey. On Guadeloupe I found plenty of spots to do my exercises – on Dominica this was not so easy. The island is less developed and more natural, so finding places that are appropriate to do workouts are rare – there are no playgrounds, grasslands or even big parking spots. Most of the island is covered by rainforest or at least heavy vegetation. The first days we spent near Portsmouth where we had a small villa in the rainforest. It literally rained almost every hour, followed by hot sunshine what lead to high humidity. We had no air-conditioning in our house and it rained hard at night too – so getting a good night sleep was tough.
We walked around a lot, visited sites (like the indian river where scenes from pirates of the caribbean were filmed) and searched for beautiful beaches. This were the only places where I could do my workouts – it felt so great to jump into the refreshing sea after each set of exercise…would be awesome to have this at home too 🙂
The rest of the week we spent in Roseau, the capital city of Dominica. There, finding a spot for a workout was almost impossible – so I only did 2 of the 4 workouts this week and I had to repeat the week but it was not that bad as we did a lot of hiking, swimming and snorkeling so I got a lot of movement anyhow.
Dominica was a great experience. It’s nature and wildlife was fascinating but also the people and how the they manage their life with the little things they have. They seemed to be happy with what they have, even compared to our standards it is not much.
On Martinique – our last stop – doing the workouts was much easier and I completed the 6th week. We had two beautiful apartments in quiet habitations with nice pools, one in Le Prêcheur at the north side of the island and one in Le Diamant on the south side. The weather conditions were not that tropical, but still hot.
Résumé about Freeletics and healthy lifestyle in general on vacation:
As you don’t need any equipment it is easy to do your workouts. I just carried a thin yoga-mat but didn’t use it often as I worked out at the beach most of the time and the wet sand is much better than a mat 😉 The only problems are the pull-ups there I had to improvise. The Freeletics app works offline, only the coach needs an internet connection from time to time. I tried to do the workouts near wifi-hotspots, but even when this was not possible, the coach synchronized the workouts when I connected to the internet the next time.
In tropical regions the hot weather might be odd, I did the workouts in the morning or evening, when the sun was not that intense. Also I trank almost 5 Liters of water every day. On the plus side: working out at a beach is amazing! I did the burpees near the water, so that some waves could reach me. It is great to get some cold refreshment during and after the exercises.
Eating clean can also be a challenge, especially if you travel in a group of people. I did not always want to get an extra treatment and sometimes this would not even possible. I remember one night in Dominica when nothing where we could buy food was open except for a KFC restaurant – and we came from a six hours hike and where almost starving…on the other hand, on this island you can get a lot of fish and fresh fruits, but some things I eat at home with high protein level like curd was impossible to find.
Overall, maintaining my workout routine was challenging but manageable during the holidays, and I would say it was even necessary. Three weeks is a long time and you lose a lot of progress when you take a break for this long. If you do freeletics for a couple of time, your body starts to (kind of) require it. When I took a longer break (around 5 days) on Dominica, I started to sleep bad – even though I felt more tired in the evening and I started to feel uncomfortable.
This trip was a great experience and I made a lot of valuable memories. Now I am at home, started to work again – and it is strange how your everyday life just continues like on the day you left. I thought back now and then this week, when I had a rough day at work – remembering the sun and sweat on my skin, the sand between my toes and the fresh ocean – nothing to do for the day, except finding a nice beach to spent some hours. For a short time after a vacation you can live on memories like that, but they already started to fade away and – I am sure – in a couple of months I will almost have forgotten the beautiful beaches, the sound and smell of the rainforest, how it felt to take a bath in a clear, fresh river after a long hike and the unhurried mentality of the people.
Life goes on and on…with or without you – and from time to time it is important to take your time-out. God, I needed this vacation 🙂