Freeletics coach – Week 8

Freeletics coach - week 8

Freeletics coach – week 8

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 😉

Freeletics coach – Week 7 – Helldays!

Week no. 7, first week after my vacation and – as in every 15 Weeks Freeletics program – the 7th week had only Helldays.

Week 7 - Helldays

Week 7 – 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!

No Excuses!

Freeletics Coach – Week 6

Freeletics strength coach week 6

Freeletics strength coach week 6

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:

thin mat - ideal for traveling

thin mat – ideal for traveling

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 🙂

 

 

Freeletics coach – Week 5

Trying the HS-Pushups at a palm-tree

Trying the HS-Pushups at a palm-tree

This week I was on the beautiful island of Guadeloupe in the caribbean sea with 3 of my friends. I decided to continue with my workout plan, although it might be challenging to to integrate the exercises in our travel plans. But I have to say, it was easier than I thought. I tried to do the workouts in the morning or in the evening when the sun was not that aggressive and my friends where still sleeping. One of them is quite sportive too and he joined me for some of the exercises – but as everybody who is new to freeletics he could barely complete a workout.

Pull-ups at the beach

Pull-ups at the beach

One of the best things about freeletics is, that you can do it almost everywhere. The only thing that was sometimes hard to find, was a place to do the pull-ups. There are many possibilities like trees, bars on buildings or walls. Keep your eyes open and be creative.

Apart from this exercises I did a lot of other activities like hiking, swimming, running and other exercises with my friends on the beach. So from that point of view it was no problem to continue my workout routine. The only bigger problem I experienced was with nutrition. As Guadeloupe is a small tropical island with not much industry much of the food has to be imported and is accordingly expensive. I ate a lot of chicken to get the amount of protein I usually take, but being with 3 other people all the time made it hard to always get my “special treatment” regarding the nutrition. If everybody wants to eat hamburgers for dinner and there is no alternative around, you have to defer to the majority. Also rum is cheap in the caribbean and on your vacation you always want some fun too. But fortunately fresh fruits are cheap here, so the recovering from hangovers and the vitamin input is no problem.  I was far away from beating my PBs this week but at least I completed all the workouts.

I could not make a screenshot of my workout plan this week, as WiFi spots were also rare during the past days, so I write it down this way:

  • Day 1: Artemis
  • Day 2: Poseidon 2X
  • Day 3: Kentauros
  • Day4: Artemis

Now we are continuing our trip to Dominica. Other than Guadeloupe it does not belong to the european union (Guadeloupe was a french colony and is under french administration) but is a independent nation. It is much more native and less developed than Guadeloupe so it might be harder to find safe places for the workouts or get the nutrition I want…but I will see, and from what I heard so far, they have chicken there as well 😉

Here are some pictures of the trip so far, enjoy:

 

 

Freeletics Coach – Week 4

Freeletics coach week 4

Freeletics coach week 4

This week I keep it short. I am going on vacation to the caribbean sea and have a lot of things to prepare. Anyhow I will try to keep up with my coach and do all the workouts. Let’s see if I stay motivated to do Burpees on the white sand beach. I will also try to post something here.

The 4th week was kind of hard, after the 15k run on the first day my legs hurt the whole week, but I kept going. I was far away from PBs this week, I remember having that kind of a through in my last 15Weeks challenge as well in the 4th or 5th week. Don’t let this tear you down, keep going, progress will come. Apart from that I found a nice spot to do the workouts not far from my home. It is a playground with a basketball field and there is the possibility to to pull-ups and to go an a run, as it is located in a park. I also found a training group that meets in my town to do the workouts together. After my vacation I will try to join them more often.

So, the train to the airport leaves in 5 hours, time to finish packing and doing the last workout at home for the next 3 weeks.

See you soon!

Freeletics Coach – Third Week

This was my third week of the new Freeletics strength coach. You can see the workout plan in the image below. I can not really say what the focus  was – partly on upper body, especially on chest with the two venus sessions that include 200 pushups each. But Kentauros and Gaia gave me nice burning thighs, too.

Freeletics strength coach - week 3

Freeletics strength coach – week 3

It was raining a lot this week, so I did most of the workouts inside. Sadly I cancelled my gym membership last week, so I had to do the workouts at home. This can be a huge pain in the a**, you sweat more, don’t have that much fresh air and maybe your neighbors beneath will not be amused after a workout like Gaia where you are literally jumping all the time. But it’s better than not working out at all.

Why did I cancel my gym membership? Because I’ve not been there since I started with freeletics and I have to commit, even some month before that…and in that case 80€ per month are huge waste of money. Also I did not really like going there. It was always crowded and you never could do a workout without waiting for a machine to be free.

I was at three different gyms so far and it was always the same: A trainer constructed a workout plan (which was basically the same in every studio) at the beginning and I started to follow the plan. After some time I increased the weights or the repetitions, but anyhow it got boring after a while. So I started to look for more advanced and effective exercises, read books, searched the internet or asked people at the gym (not the trainers because they never had time – or the gym wanted extra money for their time). This was time-consuming and I found a confusing set of opinions about what workout philosophy is the best.

In every gym, after a while I was responsible for my workout routine all by myself. No trainier helped me, there where no given targets, except the ones I set myself. And that is the point when I always started to cheat. “I had a hard day today, I will skip and go tomorrow” – “I’ll just do a short workout today” and suddenly I realized – Oops I didn’t go there the whole week. Setting targets and challenging yourself is key for improving in every kind of sport. But especially in the beginning you might try to find a lot of excuses. There will be the point when you stop doing this, when sport becomes an essential part of your everyday life and you do no longer cheat yourself. Just keep going!

But why is it so hard to do this? One point is, that creating a diversified, challenging and effective workout routine is complex and takes a lot of knowledge and time – or you spent a lot of money in a personal trainier. With the freeletics coach you get all this for a good price. There is a lot of knowledge behind the creation of the plans and a huge variety of exercises. The aims may be high in the beginning but you will grow and reach them and once you completed you first workouts with a star or beating repeatedly you personal best time you get hungry and always want more! And the best part is, even after the 20week that I do freeletics now,  the coach sets challenging targets. I love it!

So enough for today, I bought new shoes yesterday and now I have to try them on the 15km run the coach has given me to start week  no. 4. Stay focused and no excuses! Success will come as long as you are trying!

Peace 😉

Freeletics – HIT Techniques

Freeletics is a form of high intensity training (HIT). HIT is not new, there are different forms of HIT techniques and workouts since the 1970’s. High intensity workouts are basically all based on the following principle.

There are 4 levels of intensity:

Pull-ups

Pullups – do easier versions (like jumping-pullups) or take slight breaks (5-10 seconds) if your muscles are to tired to complete the whole exercise.

  1. Level one is when you work with a submaximal number of repetitions. Lets say you could do 10 repetitions but only do 8.
  2. Second level is, when you go to your maximum – you do the 10 repetitions.
  3. Third level means you go over the point of muscle fatigue – you do the 10 repetitions and try to do one more, it might not be a complete exercise and there will be the point when the movement has to be interrupted.
  4. Level 4 is where high intensity training begins. You go until you reach your maximum and then use the following HIT techniques to do even more.

To bring your muscles behind the point of failure, there are several techniques that can be used for different kind of exercises and depending on your personal favor. At the beginning it might be hard enough to finish a freeletics workout in acceptable time but later, when you get stronger an more experienced you can use HIT techniques to make even faster progresses.

Interval training

This technique is particularly suitable for bodyweight training like Freeletics. If you reach the point of muscle failure, take a short break (5 to 10 seconds) and then try to do some more repetitions. You can repeat this multiple times. As some of the Freeletics workouts contain exercises with a lot of repetitions (like 100 pushups in Artemis) that you can not do in one go at first, you might even do this without knowing that it is a HIT technique.

Particular repetitions 

This is also good for Freeletics and even included in the regular workout routines. When you reach the point of muscle failure, and you can not do an extra repetition, do a slightly modified, easier version. In Freeletics for almost every exercise there is a easier version that you can do, when the actual exercise is to hard. You won’t get a star for your workout, but you will get better at it.

An other possibility is to do the additional repetitions with swing (for example when doing pull-ups) but be careful as the risk of injury is increased. Also the strain on the muscles is lower that when doing easier versions of the exercise. This should only be used by experienced athletes.

The “Afterburner”

This is a technique that you only should use if you are on an advanced fitness level. You combine two exercises that target the same muscles and do them right one after another without a break. The first exercise (basis) will put the weight on your smaller muscles while the second exercise will stress the bigger muscle. You will find these pattern in some Freeletics workouts and in the coach, but you can also use it to combine your own exercises and workouts if you don’t work with the coach.

Most of these techniques are already implemented in the Freeletics workouts and you might be doing them already without knowing it. But I think it is interesting to understand why the workouts are built the way they are and that it is normal and desired that you don’t do the 100 pushups in one rush. This is not a sign of weakness – this is HIT training.

I hope you found this helpful 🙂

Never Quit!