Right, you’d better brace yourselves. Even by my usual standards, this is a pretty bilious post. There will be swearing, there will be complaining and there will be cynicism. None of which tie in particularly well to the Freeletics experience. Which, as you will see, is kind of the point. At this point, I have only a vague idea of how I’m going to write this, so I apologise in advance if it comes across as a rant. Which it definitely will. Anyway, you’ve been warned. Bugger off and do something else if you don’t want me to puncture your bubble of positivity. You awful, awful person.
Let’s do this.
When I signed up for Freeletics, I started to receive their weekly emails. These emails can be useful and worth reading on occasion, particularly when they address specific aspects of your workouts or development. What I find markedly less useful and worth reading is when they attempt to motivate me via their own version of the motivational poster. I’m a grown man. I don’t need to look for motivation in an email, I just look at myself in the mirror every morning and think ‘yeah, better get my arse out there today’.
Please don’t misunderstand, I appreciate the motivation I get via comments from actual people, both here and on my Freeletics feed. But I don’t need to have this super powered ‘NEVER GIVE UP’ attitude rammed down my throat every week.
Over recent weeks and months, I’ve had an increasing sense of being not being a part of Freeletics’ target demographic. And actually, that’s fine. They’ve set this thing up, and clearly see it as being something that is more likely to appeal to younger people of, say, 20-35. No problems with that. I don’t need validation, I’m doing it on my own terms for my own reasons. And yet, it does get A LITTLE BIT FUCKING TEDIOUS when I keep reading things like this.
“If you have little time, prioritize your daily tasks and think of possibilities to make room for your training within your schedule. You should always have 30 minutes for your daily training session!
Think of if-then plans for every kind of situation that could stand between you and your training. Don’t let the little things keep yourself from working out!”
Aside from coming off as incredibly patronising, I have a problem with this. I run my own business. I have two young children. I am chairman of a local organisation that raises money for charity. I’m in a band. Like most people in early middle age, I’ve got a lot on. So spare me the passive/aggressive insistences that I make Freeletics the most important thing in my life. It isn’t.
Having said all that, I put up with it. It’s a small price to pay for the benefits of working out regularly with Freeletics. It’s annoying, and I wish Freeletics would do more to acknowledge the older, fartier people that are doing their best to keep up with all those beautiful young people. But whatever. The world keeps turning, eh?
And then this email landed in my inbox last week and I nearly lost my shit completely.
10 characteristics that show you’ve become a Free Athlete
“Hmmm”, I thought. “This could be interesting.” That was probably the last rational thing that went through my mind before I began to beat my fists on the floor and howl into the void.
Evidently inspired by the trend for lists disguised as actual proper writing, the author of this… thing… has attempted to produce a humorous piece about Freeletics that we can all read and chuckle along with. Because we’re in on the joke, right? Because it’s too TRUE! We’re CRAZY!
The intro blurb reads as follows (without my answers in between, obviously).
“Athlete. Being a Free Athlete makes you different to most people. Have you ever done burpees in your dreams?”
No. I do tend to dream about flying dogs quite a lot, if that helps.
“Do you carry a spare set of exercise clothes with you at all times?”
No. Because I’m a grown adult that recognises it is not always possible or appropriate to indulge my every whim, however unlikely it might be that spontaneously wanting to exercise would actually be a whim at all.
“Do you recruit the whole office to join your training group?”
No, for two reasons. Firstly, I work from home. Secondly, I’m not an arsehole. Well, I am. But I’m a different kind of arsehole.
“Then it’s official. You’ve become a Free Athlete. And you’re certainly not alone. Here are 10 characteristics that all Free Athletes pick up. Which ones do you recognize?”
Let’s find out.
1. Checking your Freeletics feed is your nightly ritual before you go to bed and the first thing you do when you wake up.
Er… No? I genuinely don’t get this. I enjoy the odd exchange of comments on the Freeletics feed, but I can’t imagine how or why anyone would reach this level of obsession with it. Or is that just me? Hmm. Rage levels under control so far.
2. No Excuses applies to everything you hesitate doing. “It’s too late to take out the trash.” No Excuses. “I don’t have time to finish the essay before the weekend.” No Excuses.
I don’t know what annoys me most here, the capitalisation of ‘No Excuses’ as if it’s some sort of fucking trademark, or the notion that ‘No Excuses’ be applied to every single mundane act of living. And maybe it IS too fucking late to take out the trash. Take it out in the morning, for fuck’s sake. And the essay example seems to imply that
Freeletics gives you the power to bend the laws of time. Maybe there ISN’T fucking time to finish the fucking essay. Anyway, if you’re going to apply ‘No Excuses’ to absolutely everything, then how about this? “The law states that I should not throw that stranger into the lion enclosure.” No Excuses. “My wife will shout at me if I piss all over the bathroom floor.” No Excuses.
3. You go to greet your boss with a ClapClap instead of a handshake.
AAAARRGH. HOW DOES THIS EVEN WORK? It is precisely like saying you would great your boss with a Facebook ‘like’. It’s impossible. We’re only on number three and I want to die.
4. Every time you pass a group of people in the park working out, you check for a few minutes to see if they’re doing Freeletics, smile, say NICE and keep going.
What the fuck? Has this ever happened to anyone EVER? This is too specific to work on any level. Plus it would make you look like a creepy fucking weirdo, which is unsurprising given that this qualifies as creepy fucking weirdo behaviour.
5. “Perfect for pullups” springs to mind every time you see an elevated bar.
Ok, I’m prepared to let this one go. Not because I have ever done this, but it is at least a reasonable cognitive response to visual stimulus.
6. Before booking a holiday you always check if the destination has a training group.
If, and it’s a big ‘if’, you are the kind person for whom the act of going on holiday and spending time with loved ones is secondary to your exercise requirements, you need to take a good look at yourself. Then you need to punch yourself in the face. Twice.
7. You have to touch your biceps, abs or leg muscles once a day to check if you’ve got stronger.
Hey gang, we’re back into ‘creepy’ territory! But that’s not all – it’s ‘creepy’ with a side order of ‘vain idiot’! You know what people think when they see other people touching their biceps to see if they’ve got bigger? They think ‘look at that dickhead’. If you must touch yourself, please do it in private. (This can be applied to most forms of touching yourself.)
8. Conquering Zeus, Hades or any of the other ancient Greek Gods is just a normal Monday morning for you.
Well yes, except you’re not conquering an actual Greek God, are you? You are doing a workout that has been arbitrarily named after one of them. However, I am nitpicking. I’ll let this one go, just.
9. Your idea of a selfie is different to most peoples: The selfie you’re most proud of is the one that shows the most sweat.
I’ve only ever put one picture of myself on my Freeletics feed, and now I come to think about it, it’s the only ‘selfie’ (I refuse to treat ‘selfie’ as an actual word) that I’ve ever taken. I look like someone that’s just been plucked from a solitary confinement sweatbox in a Texas jail. I don’t really know why I put it up there. I mean, I look TERRIBLE. I’m not proud of how I look, nor do I view that picture with any real sense of achievement or pride. I just think I look a bit like a murderer. Now I come to think about it, I am probably not the best person to pass comment on this particular list entry.
10. Everything difficult is compared to your first time doing Aphrodite. If it’s not as tough, then it’s not a problem.
Oh just bugger off.
I know, I know… It’s just meant to be a lighthearted blog post with a few truisms about Freeletics and some other stuff that I guess is meant to be funny. But it gives me the right arsehole. So, Freeletics people, less of this bollocks and more of the specific stuff (which is very good). And stop addressing me as if I’m some kind of super enthusiastic 20 year old. I’m not. I’m a curmudgeonly old bastard AND I WANT YOU TO RECOGNISE THAT. And stop telling me that there are no excuses. Sorry, No Excuses. Well you can bollocks, I’ve got fucking loads of excuses. Here’s three off the top of my head:
- I’m fucking knackered
- I’m pissed
- I’m fucking knackered and I’m pissed and I want some chips
As you were.