19 workouts. 17 personal best times. 7156 points. 4 hours, 18 minutes and 39 seconds. I am, in a very real sense, knackered. I am also, unsurprisingly, extremely pleased to be writing this post after it’s all over. I’d suspected that the Coach might have something up it’s sleeve for week 15. What I didn’t suspect was that it would be a massive stick with which it would attempt to beat me into submission for the next seven days. Yes, seven days. Seven straight days of Freeletics workouts. It’s not for the faint hearted. But is Hell Week really, well, hell?
Probably the hardest thing is looking at what the Coach gives you and thinking ‘how the hell am I going to find time to fit that lot in?’. Fortunately for me, it happened to coincide with a relatively clear week. But if you were working 12 hour days or had an extremely busy schedule, you’d find it hard. At least, I imagine you would. To be honest, the thought of working 12 hour days or having an extremely busy schedule are difficult for me to comprehend. I work from home, which means I spend most of my time watching videos on YouTube and drinking coffee (ONLY KIDDING MRS C, I AM VERY BUSY INDEED, HONEST). Here’s what I got for my second hell week:
Day one: Atlas
Day two: Kentauros, 50 push ups, 25 pull ups, 25 burpees, 25 high jumps
Day three: Atlas, 1/5 Aphrodite
Day four: 2/4 Venus, 25 burpees, 25 burpees, 25 squats, 25 squats
Day five: Apollon, 2x Poseidon
Day six: Dione, Venus
Day seven: Artemis, 4/5 Aphrodite
When I first read through that lot, my initial reaction was one of horror. This was swiftly followed by more horror, then a little bit of injustice and finally a smattering of disbelief. (See picture above for artist’s impression of me five seconds after reading my workout schedule.) Because when you look at it, it’s a lot. Isn’t it? Well, if you bundle the 25 burpees, 25 squats and so on together to form one workout, it takes the total down to 12. That’s still quite a lot, but a more manageable number than 19. But then there are the workouts themselves. The week started off okay, but I could see that the last three days were going to be really hard.
The thing with hell week is that the more you think about it, the harder it seems. It’s the same with actual workouts themselves; if I start Artemis thinking about the fact I’ve got ANOTHER 50 burpees to do at the end, plus 100 push ups and everything else in between, I don’t enjoy it. It’s horrible. I’ve learned that it’s better to focus on my movement and each individual rep. Count it, move on. (As an aside, I’ve also learned that I’m not very good at letting my mind wander while I’m working out. Well actually, I am. I’m just not very good at counting at the same time.)
So with hell week, it’s best not to think about it as a whole. Break it down and concentrate on what’s in front of you. It was surprising how quickly I got comfortable with the routine of working out every day. Not comfortable with the workouts themselves, obviously. But if you just go with it, it quickly seems normal.
I’m not going to list the times for every workout (follow me on the Freeletics site and have a look), but I’ll give you a general summary of how it went. Monday was pretty straightforward, just one Atlas to ease me into the week. I don’t mind Atlas, I scored a PB of 21:45 with no star because of those bloody, bloody, BLOODY straight leg levers. I get more angry than I should about the fact that I just can’t do them. For the ninetieth time, I can’t even touch my toes.
Tuesday. Kentauros. Kentauros is worse than death. Kentauros IS hell. A real hell week for me would be seven consecutive sessions of Kentauros. I hate it. HATE. IT. I had to do it indoors, which meant finding the longest run in the house for the burpee froggers. Best I could do was 8m, which meant endless turning and… Do you know what? Even the memory of it is exhausting. I didn’t give myself a star because I shorted on the lunge walks towards the end, my knee not touching the floor. AND I DON’T GIVE A SHIT. Bollocks to you, Kentauros. Bollocks to you. And your mum.
Wednesday and Thursday passed without major incident. Friday was another big one. Apollon. It had been a long time since I’d done it. I remember the first time: on the field at the back of my house, hot sunny day, basically feeling like I was going to die. It took me 29:19 that day (you can read about it here, if you like), so my time of 27:32, whilst an improvement, was hardly pulling up trees. Day five of hell week and I was starting to feel it.
Saturday. Dione and Venus. That was a full hour of working out, and by this point I was really looking forward to hell week being over and done with. Sunday was the same (in terms of time), but it felt bloody GREAT to get over the line. One point to make about the last day though: 4/5 Aphrodite? What the hell is that about? So you’re going to let me off the last 10 burpees, coach? THANKS A LOT. Frankly, that felt a little bit like somebody somewhere was taking the piss.
So, another hell week done. I’m sure I’ll get to experience the delights of it again in a couple of months. At least I can console myself with the thought that at least it will be a bit warmer… But if you’ve got a hell week coming up and you’ve never done it before, just get your head down and get stuck in. It’s not meant to be easy! And another, very important point to make about it is that it really does make a difference. At least it did to me, and I mean physically. I am starting to show definite signs of losing fat around my waist, and the rest of me is definitely looking more defined. Standing in front of the mirror on Sunday night (vain, I know), I could really see the benefits of what I’d been doing. It’s a great feeling.
I tried a couple of recipes from the nutrition guide as well last week, but I think I’ll leave them for a separate post. I’m already adapting them a little bit. I think they really cater for people that haven’t really cooked before. I cook a lot, so I’ve found myself doing things a little differently. But it’s all good. A few weeks ago I’d have been having cheese on toast for lunch. Yesterday I had cauliflower curry with red lentils.
Which, when you think about it, makes me sound like a bit of a wanker.