Freeletics Week 12 and the joy of having somebody to talk to

Okay, I don’t mean having somebody to talk to in life generally. I do have some friends, you know. (And they are friends; the fact that almost all of them are life size cardboard cutouts of famous female actors is neither here not there.) No, I’m referring to having somebody to talk to about Freeletics. Because the thing is, you can’t really talk about it to people that don’t do it. It’s not even like the conversations I used to have with non-runners. At least everyone knows what running is, and is familiar with the concept of putting one foot in front of another a few thousand times a week in an attempt to be marginally less unfit. Pretty much nobody here in England knows what Freeletics is. So if the topic of keeping fit ever crops up, the conversation usually goes something like this:

Them: Are you still running?

Me: Sort of, but not very often. I’m doing this thing called Freeletics now.

Them: Free-what?

Me: Freeletics. It’s a kind of exercise regime to get fitter and stronger without having to go to the gym. You don’t need any equipment, it’s all body weight routines and natural movement.

Them: So it’s like CrossFit then?

Me (wearily, having heard that approximately nine thousand times): Well, not really, no. Like I say, you don’t do weights. Lots of pull ups and push ups. And you can do it on your own. There’s an app. Er…

Them: An app?

Me: Yeah, you download the app and subscribe to a coaching plan. It doesn’t cost much, you just follow what the app gives you and it works.

Them: What’s it like then?

Me: It’s fucking hard. But it works.

Them: So you pay an app to tell you to do push ups? Why don’t you just do them yourself?

Me: Because it’s… Look, it’s like a proper fitness plan, it’s specific to you. It changes as you get better. And it makes you push yourself.

Them: Why don’t you just push yourself – yourself?

Me: Would you excuse me for a moment? I just need to get something. [Leaves room, returns forty seconds later carrying an axe.]

Me, brandishing an axe: You were saying?

And so it goes. A couple of weeks ago, I was on the farm track near my house doing a workout. I think it was Ares. A man drove past as I was trying to catch my breath after a sprint. He wound down his window and stopped, and said, “what are you training for?”. I said “nothing specific, just trying to get fit… You know.”. He obviously didn’t know, because he assumed I had misunderstood the question and said, “no, I mean what are you training for? Are you doing a triathlon or something?”. I had to patiently explain that I was training because – well, just because. I swear this is truth: he looked at me as if I was a deeply strange, possibly dangerous and probably insane individual. He just put the window up and drove off.

Of course, there is the social aspect of the Freeletics app. But it doesn’t really allow for much more than clapping people’s workouts and offering the odd comment. (By the way, I’m not desperate or anything BUT PLEASE FOLLOW ME IF YOU’RE ON THERE. And unlike in Germany, Freeletics isn’t a thing over here. I was, in short, lonely. I felt like a man shipwrecked on an island, frantically doing burpees on the beach in an attempt to attract the attention of passing aeroplanes. That metaphor probably needs a bit of work.

BUT NO MORE. Because a week or two ago, my wife started the coach. And it makes a MASSIVE difference having someone else to talk to about Freeletics. And whilst I concede that for anyone else, our evening conversations would be punishingly tedious, there is something really, really great about being able to talk about the workout you did today with somebody that not only understands, but is interested.

She might read this, so I’d better say something nice about her. Well, she’s only being doing it for a couple of weeks and you already see her abs. THE COW. She’s doing incredibly well. It’s really bloody hard (duh) but she’s signed up for the year with me, and I can’t wait to see where we both are with it in twelve months time. Assuming I’m not dead.

So anyway, my advice to anyone out there reading this with nobody to talk to about Freeletics: meet an amazing woman, marry her, have a couple of kids, wait until you’re nearly forty than do it together. It’s as simple as that. Or there is another option: you can use the comments under this badly written bollocks to talk to me, or each other. Ultimately I would like to build this place into a kind of Freeletics community, but I’m not going to push it. If it doesn’t happen, that’s fine. It simply means that I’m a better person than you. I think.

Right then, last week was week 12, and this is what the Coach made me do, the utter bastard:

Day one: Artemis (standard)

Day two: Atlas (standard)

Day three: 6/10 Gaia (strength)

Day four: Atlas (standar)

Artemis, then. 50 burpees, 50 pull ups, 100 push ups, 150 squats, 50 burpees. Doable, but those 100 push ups in the middle are a killer. But I did them all, so they can just bugger off. Time was 28:48 (PB, no star).

Atlas. Bloody, bloody, bloody leg levers. I will never be able to star myself on this workout because I just can’t raise my legs 90 degrees without bending them at the knee. But whatever, Atlas starts with a 2km run, followed by 50 squats, 50 burpees, 50 climbers, 50 leg levers and 100 jumps. My first time on this was 24.38 (no star), but at the end of the week I managed 21.58 (PB, no star). It really pisses me off, not having that star. Ah well.

And the 6/10 Gaia. Again, it was the strength version and again, I think it’s the hardest workout I’ve done. Beat my previous best though: 25.06 (PB, no star).

There we are then. Another thousand and a bit words knocked off for you ungrateful bloody non-commenting WRETCHES. If i don’t get at least ten comments under this entry, I’m going to drive past each of your houses and look at them menacingly. If you don’t live in England, I will view them on Google Maps street view and look at them menacingly on the my laptop.

Right then, what music shall we finish with this week? There was an entry on the Freeletics blog about workout music. At the end of the post, they’d written something like ‘now we want to hear from you’. So I left a comment stating (correctly) that techno is required listening for Freeletics. I even posted a Black Asteroid video. Eleven days later, that comment is still awaiting moderation. Which tells me that whoever writes the Freeletics blog needs to pull their finger out of their arse and moderate comments.

Anyway. Techno. This isn’t actually techno, but it IS very nice. And certainly more than you deserve. Now bugger off.



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  • Craig

    Gotta say i am loving this blog – we are so similar. I am 42, wife 2.4 kids blah blah, dabbled a bit in freeletics in the past. Bit of a runner (ran a couple of half maras and also a marathon) Have also just signed up for a tough mudder (gulp). I want to use freeletics as my primary training tool for the mudder. I will start following you on the app

    • Shaun

      Thanks Craig, really appreciate it. I’ve followed you back, so now you can look forward to the odd useless comment from me. I’ve got to be honest, I’ve kind of abandoned the running a bit, I find it hard to do both. Got a mate that’s training for the Marathon des Sables this year, he’s keen to do an ultra with me later in the year. Crapping myself that I might say yes.

      • Craig

        An ultra? haha…thing is as we get older its the little niggling injuries that take time to heal. My son plays football and gets a knock on the ankle and he is back the next week. I’d be out for a month! I have the old PDF guide fro freeletics and i am probably going to to the strength coach. You might see from my history i have dabbled for quite some time with no real structure. My aphro PB is nowhere near that now. I always see aphrodite as kind of the benchmark freeletics workout. Anyway..enough rabbling. Will keep my eye out for your workouts. Great blog by the way…very funny as i can relate.

        • Shaun

          19.51?! Jesus! Getting under 20 minutes is definitely my aim, but it feels a long way off at the moment. Thanks again Craig.

  • Ben

    Hi Shaun, just started Freeletics 2 days ago. Nearly died doing Aphrodite this morning before work and been unable to do anything productive all day as a result – hence why I’ve been trawling the web for Freeletics related chatter instead. Why, after the pain of this morning I am still interested I have no idea but I have heard Freeletics has this effect on people. I’m trying to get myself in the best shape I’ve ever been in before my 40th next year (a kind of mid-life crisis thing). I’m sure your Freeletics related humor will be of great help to me!

    • Shaun

      Hi Ben, thanks for reading! Hopefully we can provide a little bit of motivation for each other over the coming weeks and months. I will say this: Freeletics is a lot more enjoyable in srping and summer than it is in winter, so make sure you keep going! As for the midlife crisis thing, well, yes… I’m 40 on Saturday. Naturally I will be getting an early night in preparation for an 8am workout on Sunday. Not really. Having a party and will be DJing until about 4am. I can feel the hangover already.

    • Shaun

      Ben! If you’re reading this, I’m really sorry! I was ill for a few days and have just logged back into Freeletics and saw your question. So sorry for the delayed reply, but better late than never. Hope you’re still managing to work out, let me know how you’re getting on!

      • Ben

        Hi Shaun,
        A belated happy birthday by the way! Been unable to do more than a slow walk for the past 10 days after screwing up my back so very frustrated I can’t continue my freeletics journey at the moment. Unbelievably I think I did it just doing the dynamic warm up where you lie on your back and roll your legs up and over your head. Don’t think my back is as flexible as it was after years of being sat slumped at my desk. Hopefully will be back soon. The passion with which everyone talks of the sport certainly helps keep me itching to get back!

        • Shaun

          Hi Ben, thanks for the birthday wishes! I was starting to wonder whether you’d managed to break yourself somehow – mystery solved! I’m still pretty hopeless when it comes to warming up, although not as bad as I was (when I basically did nothing). Anyway, really sorry to hear about your injury. Back pain is bloody awful, I did mine playing rugby years ago and it still flares up from time to time. (Although, interestingly, not nearly as much since I got into Freeletics.) I’ll keep posting the usual crap here so I hope you keep reading and get back to it as soon as you’re able. Cheers!

  • Le Petit Chose


    So glad you got your wife into this. I already tried having training buddies but it seems that weight lifting is more popular nowadays.

    I still can’t train, and I may have to do a chirurgical operation somewhere around this month. I didn’t make the choice yet, but I’m looking forward to getting back on track asap. Wish you all the best for both your blog & training. And happy birthday to you!

    • Shaun

      Thanks for the birthday wishes! As for my wife – we’re not actually training together yet. She’s only in her third week or something, and getting a lot of endurance versions. But it I’m sure it’ll happen as she gets further into it. It’s just nice to have a real life person to moan to about burpees!

  • Nat

    Hi Shaun, love your blog. I’m on week 12 too, still sane (just) and totally addicted. I honestly felt like i was the only nutter (and i think you have to a headcase to do it) in the UK doing Freeletics so great to read your experiences which are uncannily accurate. I do my Freeletics down a busy local gym and I’m the only one who does it. I get loads of weird stares but i’m quietly smug thinking ‘if only you knew how tough it is’!

    I’ve got ten years on you so i don’t think i’ll be troubling Levant and all the other hardcore Freeletics’ nutters when it comes to best times (by the way are they all on drugs? Some of those times are mental!
    Anyway I’ve got Venus tomorrow morning – just the small matter of 200 push ups, 80 sit ups and 200 squats. Bring it on 🙂

    • Shaun

      Hi Nat, thanks for reading. Not sure if I’d fancy doing Freeletics in the gym, one of the main reasons I started it was because I didn’t want to join one! Having said that, there’s a new amateur boxing gym that’s opened near me, and a lot of the Freeletics routines incorporate some of the fitness stuff they do. Saw a video of George Groves doing burpees at a public workout a little while ago and he was doing the endurance version! Haha, obviously that convinced me that I must be fitter then him…[cough]

      Good luck with your Venus, I actually don’t mind that one. And no, I don’t think I’ll be troubling any of the best times on the leaderboards somehow. You know those pictures and videos of them all working out in some local park? Yeah… I don’t really look like that when I do it…

      Cheers mate, keep in touch.

      • Nat

        Thanks for the reply Shaun. Keep on Freeletic-ing in the free world!
        One thing, out of curiosity can you do the ‘stand ups’ exercise where you start on your back and raise yourself vertical without your hands touching the floor? I only ask because cannot for the life of me get remotely close to achieving that. My youngest, who is seven and incredibly flexible can just about do it but I swear it is impossible.
        Anyway nice to be in contact.

        • Shaun

          Haha, NO! Not even close. I’ve been having to do the strength version of that exercise, where you do a jump once on your feet. I look like somebody attempting to drag themselves off the road after having just been run over. There are quite a few movements that I’m just not able to do, so I just do them as best I can and that’s pretty much it. I would’t lose any sleep over it…

  • dave

    Hi there. at last I,ve eventually come across someone who does freeletics in England. I understand what you mean, every one I know thinks I’m mad, from my family to those at work. 45 years old and still running jumping and hanging of a bar after a year of freeletics
    I’ve done half and full marathon s and a 50k ultra but when you talk to friend s ,work colleagues about your previous days training ie Hyperion strenght followed by 100 handstand pushups then pullups they think your an idiot or talk it down as if it was easy.
    Keep up with the blog it’s very similar to my experience with this training. Hopefully more will get onto this type of exercise.

    • Shaun

      Hi Dave, thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment, really appreciate it.

      I’ve given up trying to tell people about Freeletics now, unless I’m pretty certain that they’ll be interested. I met a boxing trainer last week and he was interested in it, but it almost needs to be someone like that to actually understand the kind of stuff you have to go through. I’ve seen ex-forces guys on forums talking about Freeletics being as hard as the PT they did in the army. But trying to get that across to someone who maybe farts about on a cross trainer once a week – you’re wasting your time. That’s why I’m so grateful that my wife is doing it as well. We can bore each other for hours!

  • So far in the last two days I’ve read every post you have on Freeletics to this point and continuing on. I have got to say you’re pretty damn hilarious and I enjoy your posts. I just joined (and followed you on) Freeletics yesterday and am just starting the workouts. So I’m glad to have a big heads up on what hell to expect. Where I live (Pennsylvania, USA) I don’t know of anyone doing Freeletics though I’m sure they are around and don’t have any actual active friends to engage so I get not having people to talk with about it. Glad to see you started a little community for it.