The beginning

This is the beginning of what I expect to be the biggest change in my life so far. I started with Freeletics.

You don’t have to read this. I don’t write it to inspire anyone or to inform anyone, I’m mainly writing it for myself. But if you like, you can read about my journey and if you want to, you can leave a comment and tell me what you think. I’d be glad to get in touch and to know about your thoughts.

Let me tell you a few quick things about me. I’m male, 27 years old, 1,86m tall (if you don’t know the metric system: that’s huge. Like a mile or so. Or actually like a bit more than 6 feet (just googled that…)), my weight is currently round about 84kg (Google says that’s 185lbs). I live in Cologne, Germany with my wonderful wife. I am a web application developer, web designer and photographer and I love everything that has buttons or bluethooth (or both). I have a strange sense of humor and my english is far from perfect. Sorry for that.

In December of 2014, I got panic attacks. They came out of nowhere, starting with situations where I thought I would suffocate. In some situations, my heart felt strange. Sometimes, I felt super dizzy. My body started to not behave the way it should anymore. I went to see some doctors and they didn’t find a thing. I was in perfect condition. Not very fit nor very healthy, but my blood levels were normal and all of my organs worked properly. My lung was fine, my heart was also fine and the rest of my body seemed also to be fine.

Despite my body being “okay”, I felt sick. Some weeks passed and my body started to just hurt at various spots. Sometimes, my arm or my leg would hurt and sometimes it was my stomach or my head. Things became like really strange. I started to think about a lot of things and somehow ended up calling a psychologist. In Germany, this is a huge step people won’t talk about. By calling a psychologist, you admit that you’re broken. I was.

Together, we figured out that I had an anxiety disorder. Basically, that’s a disorder where your mind starts to worry and to fear things. My main worries were about my body being sick and me having a tumor or dying in pain. I wasn’t (obviously), but the symptoms I had totally stressed me out.

Thanks to my psychologist (who sadly had to retire a few months later), I learned how to cope with my disorder. I saw him frequently, he was a bit like an italian grandfather, so I secretely started to call him “El Dottore” when speaking to my wife. El Dottore teached me, that it wasn’t my imagination telling me that I was feeling pain or other symptoms. My body really felt those things. As strange as this may sound, thats great. I obviously wasn’t insane but sick. Sickness can be cured.

I learned that the main factor (in my case) was stress. Over many years, I had lived at a high stress level and worked too much and the wrong way. I had to relax. That’s way harder than it sounds. Imagine lying on a beach, sun is shining, you have a book and a cocktail. Everything is great. And your heart starts hurting. Not really helpful if you want to relax. I sadly didn’t have the opportunity to go to the beach (there’s no beach around) but you probably get what I’m saying?

In the months that came, I learned how to relax effectively and how to live at a slower speed. Today, I take more breaks and I don’t work the weekends. I don’t read emails at home. And so on. Those things were really helpful and I’m back from panicking all the time to worrying sometimes. I still worry way to often and about way to many things, but I’m completely able to participate in my own life. Thanks to my wife (who’s the most important person to me), to El Dottore, my boss and all the friends and family members who supported me, my life wasn’t really affected badly in those really difficult months.

One year later, I realized that I probably got lucky. I had great supporters and they helped me taking some really important measures and changing a lot of things in my life. In late 2015, I even began running a few kilometers several times a week which is like a REALLY huge step for me. This would not have been possible or conceivable until 2015. In the course of the year, I realized that my body needed a healthier and more active lifestyle in order to get more resiliant. My disorder (hate that word) still isn’t gone for good and my old, bad behaviours still sneak in every now and then. So I have to be wary and to work on my mental health every day.

There is a latin telling from someone intelligent years ago: Mens sana in corpore sano.

“In a healthy body, there’s a healthy mind”

That’s what I want! Give me a healthy body, problem solved! Actually, it probably won’t be that easy, but if the medics of the world aren’t wrong, than a healthy body should really help. Sadly, I don’t know much about body health or fitness. I know a lot of things about computers, like programming or designing stuff, but I don’t know anything about how to get fitter and stronger.

El Dottore (think of mafia films and italian music, just for the picture) told me that I needed to reprogram parts of my behaviour in order to really be able to relax in my everyday life. Well, I tried to do so and started to make decisions. Those decisions concerned the way I work, the way I live and the way I think. Decision making is my thing now.

That’s how I came here. Last week, I decided to become really healthy.

As you probably know, there are a lot of strange words in German (if you don’t, watch this). There is one word that really matches what I saw last week — it’s “Winterspeck”. This word doesn’t exist in English, it literally translates to “winter fat”. You know? Like after Christmas and Easter (and probably Thanksgiving over in the US) you get a bit less skinny? I have too much Winterspeck on me and I don’t want that. I don’t want to feel like jelly or to look like a default nerd (sorry guys, most nerds just aren’t super sexy). I want to be strong and fit.

So I searched for a fitness programm, found Freeletics and here I am. I downloaded the app and got the “coach” part of it (spending money helps not “undeciding” (is there such a word?)) and took the fitness test. When asked what I wanted to achieve, I told the app that I wanted to loose Winterspeck, reduce stress and improve my overall fitness. I then had to take a fitness test which was quite hard and I was totally broken afterwards. My muscles were burning on tuesday and on wednesday. And oh, on thursday. (To improve your German: there’s a word for when your muscles are sore and you feel this special sort of pain in all parts of your body. It’s called “Muskelkater”. Which translates to “muscle hangover”.)

The app (or the “coach”) then gave me my workout plan for the first week. I obviously really screwed up the test. My first workout was “50 jumping jacks”. Coach obviously thinks I’m a total nerd with no muscles at all. But anyways, I did that yesterday (and felt like a total nerd with no muscles at all) and broke my own personal record of never having done it before.

50 Jumping Jacks — PB★ 00:43.

So, I started my Freeletics journey and I’ll try to give you guys some updates about how we (me and my Muskelkater) are doing every now and then. Feel free to leave me a note or follow me in the Freeletics app (“MV Medium”) to give me a clap clap.

Any tips or tricks for beginners? Experiences with Freeletics? Let me know!