So, that’s it then. Or rather, it isn’t. Yesterday I completed the initial free period of Freeletics workouts. In just three weeks, I have gained a perfect physique. I am essentially Bruce Lee, only taller and less dead. Piece of piss.
LIES. But I have at least managed to make it to the end of the free period of Freeletics workouts. I wasn’t sure how long these would last; I now know. Three weeks. It’s been interesting, painful… Enjoyable? Mainly it’s been sweaty, and I have constantly surprised myself with my expanding repertoire of grunts and, if we’re being honest, screams. (I tend to do my workouts at home, often while my children are in. As a result, I am forced to keep a lid on my natural instincts, which are here manifested by a powerful urge to shout “FUCK FUUUUUUCK ARGH YOU FUCKER FUCKING COME ON”.)
The final week was more Max exercises, Aphrodite and, for the first time, Zeus. You know Zeus, right? Greek mythology and all that shit? What an arsehole. Comes down to earth and shags some woman, gets her pregnant. Her old man, yeah? Not happy. Sends his daughter and her newborn baby to sea in a wooden coffin. (Actually, now I think about it, that’s not really on.) So Zeus, right? Sits there on the top of Mount Olympus and decides on a commensurate response. Releases a massive sea beast that destroys Argos. (The city where that woman’s father lives, not the place with laminated catalogues.) Thousands dead. The rotten bastard.
I mention this because it occurred to me during the Zeus workout that it must have been devised by someone with a cruel streak. (The previous version of that sentence was considerably more abusive.) It’s a strength workout, and it hurts. It consists of:
First round: 5 horizontal pushups, 15 pull ups, 25 push ups, 35 sit ups, 45 squats, 120 secs rest
Second round: repeat above
Third round: repeat above
Fourth round: repeat above, with a focus on not saying fuck or bugger during the reps
I couldn’t even do the pull ups, due to not having anything to pull up with. There’s an apple tree outside that I used yesterday, but it was raining when I did this. I also had to do the modified horizontal push up, since I simply don’t have enough strength to do the full version yet. I got through it, and by the end I was aching pretty much everywhere. Various muscles were twitching after I’d stopped, but I felt good. Mentally, it’s great to get through a tough workout but I felt good physically as well. I’m repeating myself (again), but in the 18 months I went to the gym and lifted weights, I never felt anything like I do now. Not before, not during and not after. You could make a good argument for saying that I probably wasn’t lifting enough weight, that I’d have done better if I’d had someone put me on a proper programme. But I’m doing this at home, I’m three weeks in and I’m already improving.
For me, the beauty of Freeletics is the ability to constantly monitor your progress. And so far, I’ve made progress on every exercise because there’s a real focus on trying to beat your personal best. For example, the very first workout I did was the burpee max. I managed 44. I’m now up to 52, and I expect to keep beating that. My target for the next time I do it (tomorrow) is 54, ten more than I originally managed.
As a brief aside, yesterday I stuck ‘burpee max’ into Google for a laugh. Predictably, it brought up a ton of videos and forum posts with people talking about and showing the first time they’d done the workout. As far as I could make out, nearly all of these people were at least ten years younger than me. After much searching, I eventually came across a 26-year-old German guy that had done 56 burpees on his first max attempt. He must have weighed about 140 pounds. So there you have it. After three weeks, I am not quite at the level of an unfit 26-year-old German. But I genuinely couldn’t give a shit. It isn’t a pissing contest, I’m doing this for myself.
To bring things up to date then, I finished the final free workout on Sunday. On Monday of this week, I bought the Coach app, which cost me about £33 for the 15-week course. Despite having logged quite a few max routines, this first week is about getting them all done again in order to set a bench mark. The actual information they need from you is pretty basic: age, height, weight, and a guide as to how sporting you are: not at all, a bit or very. I resisted the temptation to put down ‘a bit’ and plumped for ‘not at all’. It would be typical of me to try and do too much, so I’ve exercised a little restraint.
The plan now is to try and post an update every week. After a little bit of deliberation, I’ve decided to put my results up here as well. I didn’t really want to (since they will probably be crap), but I figure it might encourage other farty old tossers like me to give it a go. The whole point is that I’m not as fit or as strong as I would like to be. And to be honest, I can’t deny the vanity aspect of it. I want to look better. Nothing wrong with that. Is there? Well, if there is, so be it.
And then there’s the running. My idea is to alternate it with the Freeletics, so that I will be getting some good exercise every day. That will probably mean around three runs a week; less than I had been doing but it’s not really about racking up miles anymore. Interestingly (not that interestingly), I ran on Monday of this week. I decided to keep it short, 3.5 miles. I was certain that after all my Freeletics exertions, I was going to be strong and quick. So naturally I was complete shit. It wasn’t that I was slow as such, but it was hard. I was working my bollocks off in the last mile just to keep it under 8 minute pace. No idea if this is anything to do with Freeletics, but surely it can only help my running in the long, er, run.
There are then. With any luck I’ll be back in a week to report on my first ‘proper’ week of Freeletics. In the meantime, I will leave you with one of my favourite workout tracks from the past few days. As with music in general, I find that what I want to listen to whilst screaming in agony really depends on my mood. Sometimes a bit of breaks can really get me going, other times I want something more relaxed. And so it was this week. The RAC Remix of London Grammar’s appropriately named ‘Strong’ definitely did the job. See you next week.