Sweat 12 Week Challenge
Last week marked the end of the Sweat 12 Week Challenge which was a virtual online challenge I participated in. The goal of the #sweat12wc was to complete 12 weeks of any of the the Sweat workouts, which can be found in the SWEAT app. The word ‘challenge’ might infer that it was a competition of sorts against others, however it actually more or less is a competition against yourself. You just are going through it simultaneously will thousands of other women online.
I’ve been following Kayla Itsines and Kelsey Wells for years and have done many, many rounds of BBG, BBG Stronger and PWR using the SWEAT app and even before when Kayla just had a PDF version of BBG. I absolutely love the workouts, the app, the trainers and the community, all of which contribute to me sticking around all this time. This was my first time, however, participating in a challenge. I had just completed Kelsey Wells PWR 1.0 (weeks 1-12 of her program) and was a few weeks into PWR 2.0 just before the challenge started January 12th. So I chose to start over on PWR 2.0 (week 13 of her program) for the challenge.
A lot of people have asked me about my workout routine and how I like the Sweat app overall so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to talk about how Kelsey designs all of her PWR workouts, and my personal results from this challenge.
All of Kelsey’s resistance workouts are designed they same way, following the same basic structure and just contain different exercises for different muscle groups the specific workouts target. In each week, there are typically 4-6 resistance workouts to choose from (back & biceps, chest & triceps, leg, shoulders & abs, glutes & hamstrings, abs)
I usually start with my own warm up of running a mile or two or walking on an incline. It wasn’t until about week 9 of the challenge that I started using the ‘Cardio & Movement’ warm up Kelsey includes. Her warm up suggests 3 minutes of cardio and then about 5 minutes of various warm up activities, mostly to get your heart rate up.
There are two rounds of activation exercises and their goal is simply to activate the muscles you’re about to work out. In each round of the activation section, there are then two exercises (so four different ones in the entire section) and you do each one for as many specified reps or time in a circuit for 4 minutes. So here is what it could look like:
The pyramid section is my favorite! This is where I usually get to work pushing myself. There are 3 exercises in the pyramid section. The goal for each exercise is to increase your weight and decrease your reps each set, while only taking a 30 second break in-between sets. Here are some screen shots from the app of a leg day Pyramid section:
The last section of the workout is the tri-set section. In this section, you do 3 exercises in a circuit for a total of 8 minutes, along with a 1 minute rest. So it would look like this:
Burnout & Cool Down
At the end of each workout there is an option to do two 1-min burnouts and a cool down stretch section.
I only sometimes opt in for the burnouts but almost always do the cool down just to keep my muscles safe and help with next-day soreness. All in, the workouts can take about 45-60 minutes.
At the end you get this cool trophy that I’d usually share in my IG stories. A few times, Kelsey Wells actually re-shared my story in her stories! I fan-girled HARD!
A Week of PWR
To meet all the goals in the week for the PWR program, you must complete
- Four Resistance workouts, structured like above
- Two Cardio sessions that can be either ‘Low Intensity’, like walking, running or biking at a steady pace for a set amount of time or ‘High Intensity’, like sprints.
- Two Recovery sessions, which can be full on stretch sessions or event just a rest day – which is super important for your body!
If you complete all of the requirements in each section, you had a perfect week. But if you didn’t complete every requirement in each section, I still consider you to be winning the challenge/your challenge. Sometimes it is really difficult to get yourself to the gym, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too, and that is OKAY. Kelsey’s program is all about empowering you to be the best version of you, and not just physically. To be honest I didn’t see any changes on the scale these last 12 weeks, but I know I got stronger!
I’m not usually one to share photos like this, but I think they are an important part of my transformation during this challenge. This isn’t to negatively criticize myself, but instead give me a sense of accomplishment. I think both photos are of a strong and beautiful woman!
These photos are not a true start (week 1) to finish (week 12) transformation. Week 10 was when I felt my best and probably looked my best too. Since I wasn’t working, I had ample time to spend at the gym, and on cooking and eating healthy. But what the photos do show is a real transformation over time and something that I am proud of (even if those abs are now covered under Girl Scout cookies)!
I could go on sharing more about the Sweat app and how it functions and why it’s so great, but I think I have shared enough for this post. That’ll be a topic for another day!