My workout gear has started heckling me. It’s been such a long time since my last proper scheduled workout that it’s started doing an impression of the Tell-Tale Heart, calling to me while I sleep.
Just to put things in context, I used to work out pretty regularly. I was a performer in some physically demanding stage shows, and I qualified as a personal trainer so that I could take care of my body.
I was never ‘buff’ or ‘jacked’ or whatever the gym rats are saying these days but I could comfortably move my body from a lying-down position to a standing-up position without it feeling like a herculean task.
Now, those days are sadly long behind me. I still go for the occasional run, do a few push-ups here or there, review the occasional fitness tracker, but the joints are definitely a little rusty.
Slow and steady wins the race
I don’t know if you’ve ever been in this situation, but the more time that passes, the harder it gets to motivate myself to actually slip my (slightly rounder) body into some workout gear and hit the mat.
Gyms are pretty intimidating places if you’re feeling less-than-confident, full of testosterone fuelled meatheads and fitness models in training. I’ve always been a fan of working out at home, and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to test out some of the fitness apps available that you would be able to use at home while also getting myself back in shape.
Because it takes at least six weeks for actual physiological adaptation to take place, I will be using different apps, and occasionally using this column for updates, both on what I think of the apps, and how I’m getting on with my road back to fitness. Don't worry, if you're not into fitness stuff, it won't all be fitness.
That said, my hope is that you’ll join me on this journey.
Hitting the mat
So, the first workout. The first app.
Freeletics Bodyweight, is available for both iOS and Android devices.
Each workout has a dictated set of exercises; you’re given the amount of both sets and reps, then you have to complete your allocated workout in the shortest time possible.
For me, that immediately rings alarm bells, as speed over form is where all injuries are born, but Freeletics does a pretty impressive job of instilling good form in you. Each exercise has a video connected to it, showing an aggressively attractive demigod performing the maneuver with a skill and grace that you’ll never achieve.
Continuing the theme, each of the workouts are named after characters from greek mythology, and there is something really satisfying about doing ‘Atlas’ rather than ‘core workout’. You can kid yourself into thinking you’re sculpting your body into a statuesque form.
Make no mistake, Freeletics is definitely aimed at people who are wanting to really push themselves and get that low body fat, big muscle look, and that means that the workouts are tough.
The cost of fitness
There’s a free version of Freeletics that just gives you access to some of the workouts, but if you start paying the subscription, all the workouts open up, and more importantly, you get an artificially intelligent coach that gives you workouts specific to your fitness level and goals.
Which meant that actually hitting the mat wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it was going to be. There were some crunches, some mountain climbers, some side lunges, and finished off with an interval session.
It wasn’t easy, but I definitely finished the session wanting more, which is probably a good indicator of the smartness of the AI. All I know is we’re off to a good start.
If you want to join me on this journey, or have any apps (or pieces of tech) that you want me to try out, send them over to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at @AndrewMLondon
- Andrew London is a laughable excuse for a human being, barely held together with string and sticky tape. In Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself he will be sharing with you the different technology that he uses to try and pass for a proper functioning person.
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