Freeletics coach – Week 9 & Warmup Pro

Freeletics coach - Week 9

Freeletics coach – Week 9

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!

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 PrĂȘcheur 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 – 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!

Freeletics Coach – Second Week

Week number two is over…and I have to say – don’t mess with the new coach! On the feedback of the first week I responded that the training program was “way to easy”…so the coach generated a much tougher workout for this week. You can see the result in the image below.

Freeletics strength coach - week 2

Freeletics strength coach – week 2

At first I thought, yeah this is much better. But after the first day, my whole body hurt. I also had to work a lot and was really tired in the evenings. And I made the mistake to do the workouts on the first training day outside in the rain with inappropriate clothing. I felt like getting sick afterwards. I knew that I had to take a break – so I paused for three days and started from the beginning.

With the old coach you had 20 weeks to complete your 15 weeks workout. What I understood from the FAQ of the new coach, this is now longer the case.  After 15 weeks your subscription will continue, but you have to pay again…no matter how many weeks you completed.

Anyhow, it is important to take your time to regenerate. I always tell myself, that freeletics is still cheaper than a gym – so what. And I also think that it makes no sense to stop after the 15 weeks, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is about integrating sports and good nutrition in your everyday life and not about doing short periods of diet or sports.

So after my three days break I returned and this time I managed to complete the week in time (6 days). The focus of this week was clearly on legs. I had to do a lot of jumping-jacks, froggers, different versions of squats and climbers. For details check the workouts of my plan on the left side.

When I completed my last 15 weeks coach (cardio & strength) I was able to complete each workout with a star in the end. In the first week of the new coach, this was no problem too. But now I had to go back the the easier version of some exercises (pistols, froggers and Hand-Stand Pushups) as it was simply to hard. But I think this is good – there has to be potential to improve. At the beginning of the 15 weeks it is normal that you can not complete all workouts of even not one workout with a star – don’t worry this will happen soon enough. Set your goals and keep trying.

What helps me a lot is to make a strategy for every exercise. That means that you do the given repetitions in variable blocks. Like

Protein after workout - 536g T-Bone Steak - njam :)

Protein after workout – 536g T-Bone Steak – njam 🙂

for example if you have to do 100 Burpees – in the beginning when you start you try to make them in a whole, but after 30 or 40 you have no power left. And then all the following will be much harder. For me it worked better to do like 6 x 15 and 1 x 10. Later you can increase the repetitions to do 5 x 20, then 4 x 25 and so on. At the moment I would do 2 x 35 and 1 x 30. When I started with this strategies my PBs got much better and I started to make quick efforts in increasing the repetitions.  It gives you a even better control over your workouts and your progress.

So, thats it. Week 2 done! It was hard, but thats how it is supposed to be. It reminded me of my first weeks of freeletics, when I was not sure if I could complete the 15 weeks, but I did and now I know that I can complete this 15 weeks to and the next, and then the next…and so on. I rewarded myself with a big T-Bone Steak this evening – I needed protein and so I think I will sleep very well this night. Let’s see what next week brings.

Have fun, keep going and never quit 🙂

 

Freeletics Coach – Warmup and Stretching

With the update there came a lot more information about warmup before and stretching after the workout. Normally I just did around 75 Jumping Jacks and some High Knees (running on the spot) as it was written in my former coach. But now there is a set of 7 exercises that you can do to warm up and prepare your body for the workout. It is a combination of cardio-focused exercises (cardiovascular) like the before mentioned Jumping Jacks and High Knees and exercises that should activate your nervous system and the interaction of your essential body parts (neuromuscular). Some of them are available for free in the Freeletics Knowledge Center. I integrated the new warmup routine in my workouts and it feels great. Some of the neuromuscular exercises remind me of yoga positions – even they seem to be very simple, I can feel that they improve the coordination of the muscles. The warmup routine takes me about 7 Minutes to do. Be careful to not give all your power on the warmup, as a general rule of thumb you should give around 50% of your capacity.

Neuromuscular Warmup

Example of an neuromuscular exercise from http://knowledge.freeletics.com/en/dynamisches-aufwaermen

Stretching is a controversial issue. Some say it is as important as the warming up and that it helps to improve the flexibility of your muscles and to regenerate after an intense workout. It results in improved muscle control, flexibility and range of motion. Some say that is has no value and may even cause harm and weakens the muscle. Here is an interesting article about it.

I did not do stretching so far, but I tried it this week.  The update introduced 6 stretching exercises, some I already knew as they are basic stretching positions, some of them where new to me. You have to hold each position for about 45 seconds. The whole routine takes me about 7 Minutes. Maybe one week is a little bit to short to evaluate the effects of stretching compared to not stretching…but in compare to the new warmup routine I did not feel any differences. Anyhow the above linked article has some good arguments against stretching, I think I will do it sometimes after the workout. The Freeletics philosophy contains warmup and Stretching as key elements for sustainable success with high insensitive workouts and for what I experienced so far, they know what they are talking about. Due to the warmup and stretching the time I need to execute a workout is slightly increased. In total it takes about 14 minutes longer. I will see if I keep  this up, as one of the things I like most about Freeletics are the short workout times and the great effectiveness of those. They allow me to maintain an athletic body without interfering with my work schedule and free time to much.

Let me know how you do it! Do you do warmup and stretching?

Greetings and keep going!
Stefan

Freeletics Coach – Getting started

Heute geht es los! Der neue Coach ist da und ich brenne darauf in auszuprobieren. Wichtig – stellt sicher dass ihr die neue App habt! Ich hatte versucht den Coach mit der alten Freeletics Pro App zu starten und das funktioniert wohl nicht. DafĂŒr benötigt ihr außerdem die aktuellste  iOS Version habt (7.1.2)  da es die neue App leider nicht fĂŒr Ă€ltere iOS Versionen gibt. Wenn ihr in der Freeletics Pro App diese Fehlermeldung bekommt, ruhig bleiben – iOS Updaten, dann gibt es ein Update der Freeletics Pro App im Appstore welches euch nach dem Start der App sagt, dass es eine neue App gibt…und damit klappt alles Super. Wie das bei Android aussieht kann ich leider nicht sagen.

Coach Setup

Freeletics Coach Step 1 - Profile

Coach Settings Step 1 – Profile

Der neue Coach wirbt damit, noch individueller zu sein. In meinem Fall ist das nicht schwer, da ich bisher den PDF Coach verwendet habe. Dort waren alle Übungen fĂŒr die 15 Wochen fest vorgegeben. Ich war trotzdem sehr zufrieden mit dem Ergebnis, bin jetzt aber vor allem gespannt, wie sich die indviduellen WochenplĂ€ne gestalten und vor allem wie das Ergebnis aussieht.

Bevor es losgeht, mĂŒssen einige Einstellungen vorgenommen werden, diese können entweder am PC oder ĂŒber die App gemacht werden. Der Weg ĂŒber die App hat bei mir aber leider nicht richtig funktioniert – da ich die neue App nicht hatte – weshalb ich das ganze am PC gemacht habe. Ein Wizard navigiert den Benutzer ĂŒber die nötigen Schritte. Zuerst mĂŒssen persönliche Daten wie das Geschlecht, die GrĂ¶ĂŸe, Geburtsdatum und Gewicht angegeben werden. Wenn man bereits ein Freeletics Profil hat, sind die Werte schon voreingestellt.

Freeletics Coach Settings Step 2 - Experiences

Coach Settings Step 2 – Experiences

Als nÀchstes wird der bisherige sportliche Werdegang abgefragt und wie hÀufig man bisher pro Woche trainiert hat. Bisher hatte ich durch meinen PDF-Coach 4-5 Workouts pro Woche. Ein Pensum, das ich eigentlich echt super fand, vor allem den Wechsel zwischen 5 und 4 Tage-Wochen. Die 5 Tage waren teilweise schon anstrengend und nicht so leicht in den Alltag zu integrieren wohingegen die 4 Tage Wochen teilweise zu einfach waren und ich zusÀtzliche Workouts (MAX oder kurze Einheiten wie Poseidon oder Metis) eingebaut habe.

ZusĂ€tzlich kann man angeben wie lange man schon regelmĂ€ĂŸig Sport macht und in welchen Sportarten man die meiste Erfahrung hat. Da ich vor meinem letzten Coach eher sehr unregelmĂ€ĂŸig Sport gemacht habe, habe ich mich dazu entschieden meine bisherigen Sport Erfahrungen nicht hier aufzufĂŒhren. Als Softwareentwickler wĂŒrde mich natĂŒrlich brennend interessieren, wie die hier gemachten Angaben in die Berechnung des Trainingsplans einfließen aber ich glaube das bleibt ein gut gehĂŒtetes Geheimnis…

Im nĂ€chsten Schritt folgt ein kleiner Test um das derzeitige Fitness-Level zu testen. Jeweils eine Einheit Pushup-Max, Situp-Max und Burpee-Max. Ich gebe alles, erreiche ĂŒberall meinen PB mit ca. 3 Minuten Pause zwischen jeder Übung. Ich spĂŒre die letzte Hellweek noch in den Knochen. Nach den Übungen kann der Test abgeschickt werden.

Freeletics Coach Settings Step 3 - Fitness Test

Coach Settings Step 3 – Fitness Test

Als letztes wird die Art des Coaches festgelegt. Es steht Strength (Muskelaufbau), Cardio (ideal um Abzunehmen) und ein Mix aus beidem zur VerfĂŒgung. Mein letzter Coach war ein Cardio & Strength Mix wobei der Fokus meiner Meinung nach eher auf Muskelaufbau lag. Es gab zwar auch einzelne Cardio-Einheiten (z.B. Iris, Metis oder Dione) die sich aber im Rahmen hielten. Besonders gefallen hat mir, dass es nicht so lange Runnings gab (maximal 2km). Diesmal soll es aber ein reiner Strength-Coach werden, wobei man den Fokus im Laufe der 15 Wochen auch Ă€ndern kann. Zuletzt noch die Anzahl der gewĂŒnschten Einheiten pro Woche – und ab gehts!

 

Freeletics Coach Settings Step 4 - Start!

Coach Settings Step 4 – Start!

 

Der Coach generiert mir jetzt einen individuell auf mich abgestimmten Trainingsplan – bin mal gespannt. So fertig. Die erste Woche besteht aus 4 Trainingseinheiten. Los geht es mit Zeus – super, eins meiner Lieblingsworkouts (zumindest seit ich die Handstand-Pushups mit Stern schaffe) – fĂ€ngt ja super an, doch was ist das? Am zweiten Trainingstag 800m Laufen und danach direkt ein 8KM Run. Dass Running mit dem Upgrade eine stĂ€rkere Rolle spielen wĂŒrde, wurde ja angekĂŒndigt, aber so? Ich hoffe das ist nicht jede Woche so. Naja #coachKnows. Am dritten Tag steht ein bekanntes Training auf dem Plan – Hyperion – allerdings in einer etwas anderen Variante, als mir bisher bekannt. Im neuen Coach gibt es verschiedene Typen von Workouts, entweder mit Ausdauer (Endurance) oder Kraft (Strength) Fokus. Der mir bisher bekannte Hyperion war Hammerhart, mit Handstand-Pushups, Strict-Pullups, One-Handed-Pushups und Pistols…eindeutig mit Kraft-Fokus. Hier erwartet mich jetzt wohl die Ausdauer-Variante mit Pikes (auch eine neue Übung – bzw. die einfache modifizierte Version der Handstand-Pushups), HH Squats (Squats bei denen die HĂ€nde zu Hilfe genommen werden?!) und High-Knees (Laufen auf der Stelle mit Knieheben) – eigentlich dem Namen Hyperion nicht wĂŒrdig… Am letzten Tag stehen auch wieder zwei Ausdauer Workouts an (Metis und Iris). So langsam frage ich mich ob da nicht noch ein kleiner Bug in dem Upgrade steckt…fĂŒr einen Strength Coach kommt mir das VerhĂ€ltnis von 5 Ausdauer Workouts zu einem Strength Workout doch etwas zu viel vor. Egal, ich versuch’s und wenn nĂ€chste Woche nicht anders wird, werde ich wohl den Fokus auf Cardio stellen…und hoffen dass dann mehr Strength Übungen dabei sind…oder?!