I tried Freeletics for a month and here's what I thought about it. BY KIMBERLY TAN
My Fitness Journey
Growing up, the only sporadic workouts I enjoyed were cycling, swimming and bowling – if that counts as a workout. Over the years, I tried to get more into fitness and have attempted BBG, PWR (via the Sweat app), kickboxing and even trained to run a 10k. However, in the last few months, I mostly stopped exercising. Hence, I embarked on this challenge to see if I could really get myself to workout for 30 days.
A couple of caveats: While on this monthly challenge, I also did other workouts like Muay Thai, aerial yoga and barre workouts, which means that in one week I worked out every day.
Start off with some basic information, like your goals, height, weight and age, and your fitness level, and the app will create several workout plans for you. I went with the above as I wanted a good mix of both cardio and to tone muscle.
The app is fairly easy to use and you can adjust the number of workouts you’re doing weekly. Furthermore, you can also feedback which muscles are sore so that you can avoid straining those. For example, midway through the challenge, I felt some pressure on my knees, so I opted out of upper leg workouts for a week.
These typically change every day, but usually it starts with a dynamic warm up, including stretches, jumping jacks and lunges. Next, you do one or two exercises with a certain number of reps, like knee push ups or sprawls. The latter is like a burpee without the push ups. After you complete this, the next step is the full circuit workout. This might entail four exercises with a certain number of reps that you repeat four times.
Otherwise, other configurations I’ve seen include an ascending then descending number of reps. For example, 10 crunches, 20 mountain climbers, 30 jumping jacks, 40 lunges, 30 jumping jacks, 20 mountain climbers and 10 crunches. Another variation I’ve done is 10 crunches, stand-ups and leg raises, followed by 25 crunches, stand-ups and leg raises. Between each set there’s usually a short rest of 30 – 60 seconds.
After this there may be another, easier exercise you’d have to do, or you can go straight to the cool down. On other days, the workout might include a short run of 800m or 1.5km.
What I liked:
The workouts were fairly manageable and you could immediately feedback after the workout if you were unable to complete it. Along the same lines, you could also specify if you only had 15 minutes, had no equipment or space, or couldn’t do a run. With this feedback the Coach would adjust it to include more bodyweight exercises. More importantly, you could tailor the workouts so they avoided straining certain body parts – for me it was my knees.
Additionally, I found the workout videos demonstrating each exercise very helpful, and ensured that I did them as accurately as possible. Moreover, the fact that I did not have to go to the gym to use the equipment meant I had one less excuse to stop me from working out. That said, I do recommend using a yoga mat, especially when doing the numerous lunges to protect your knees from slamming into the ground.
What I didn't:
When doing the warm up and cool down routine, I would have liked for the Coach to read out the current exercise so I didn’t have to manually look at the screen. Also, I wasn’t able to skip any days even though I might have been working out that day. This is useful since you can’t really fake your progress and you’d have to get the workout done.
In addition, I’d have preferred if the app included foam-rolling exercises or stretches to do on your rest days, to help with aching muscles and joints.
Sorry, no shirtless pics of me baring my non-existent abs, but here’s what I did notice. I started off the program feeling bloated, and also hating the way I looked in the mirror sans clothes. Now, I see progress and room for improvement, and I appreciate that working out has helped me feel less bloated, and more like the old, fitter me.
I also felt like I had better endurance, and sprinted faster the second week, shaving off my 800m record by 28 seconds. The workouts were slightly easier, although I still struggle doing burpees. I also drank a lot more water, and tried to consciously improve my eating habits by adding more vegetables into my meals. Granted, I still have a long way to go before I can actually do stand-ups properly.