Sweaty Notes: PWR by Kelsey Wells Guide Review

Kelsey Wells is a powerhouse. In every sense of the word. Her body is one of the best I’ve ever seen, tantamount to a real life wonder woman. Add the fact that she’s a mom, bring about a whole new level of inspiration with a hint of envy. Her positive attitude is what I love most and her messages are always encouraging.

I’ve been on the fence to try her program for a while as I feared it may be like BBG as it’s hosted in the Sweat app. And I simply did not want to pay the $20 subscription fee per month for the Sweat app after a not to satisfying experience with it when it launched a few years ago.

But having exactly 12 weeks before the end of 2018 convinced me to start this program. I also needed something that was hosted on my phone and that removed any planning or thinking from my life as I was about to write a big exam for my CIMA qualification. It seemed like the logical choice for a workout program to take me to the end of the year.

 

Quick Facts About the Guide


Gym-based resistance workouts to help you gain strength and muscle. Targeted hypertrophy workouts using weights, gym equipment and resistance band.

  • Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/kelseywells/
  • Guide Link: https://www.kelseywells.com/
  • Home/Gym: Gym
  • Focus/Style: Weight Training with a hint of Plyo
  • Format: Sweat App
  • Weeks: 12
  • Duration of Workouts: 45 to 60min (average); 7 days per week
  • Cost: $20 per month
  • Value added features: In-app mini instructional videos and meal plan, weekly challenges
  • Adaptability: Combining this program with any other activity was a challenge for me especially from week 8 onward. But I persisted with my 3 runs a week and made my weekend workout sessions longer.
  • Modifications/Progressions: Modifications are given for each exercise in the app. .
  • Value for money: Yes, especially if your gym fees are low, or if you have home gym like me where can substitute equipment for similar movements. With the latest update of the Sweat App and additional workout options, it’s definitely a great bang for your buck.
  • Fitness Level: All fitness levels as the program gets harder as the weeks go on.

Weeks 1 to 4

The first four weeks of the Kelsey Wells PWR program was definitely a little light for me but I actually enjoyed going back to basics and focus on my form and improving my running.

I started missing leg days though as the leg days at the start was only once a week shared with abs. I recently completed CUT by Natacha Ocean, a program that had loads of deadlifts and pull ups and other functional movements which I definitely missed in the beginning .

Initially, I used the Nike Training Club app for my HiiT workout as the Sweat app only has a timer. I also did combinations of sprinting and skipping for the HiiT parts at the end of some of my workouts and it really helped to amp up my heart rate as the workouts itself was more low intensity and focused on Hypertrophy and building strength.

My running started to seriously improve and I was able to manage longer distances. I am not sure whether this was because my resistance sessions was lower intensity or just the fact that I was getting fitter.
Workout Split

  • 4 x Resistance (1 Optional)
  • 3 x LISS
  • 1 x HiiT
  • 1 x Challenge
  • 2 x Recovery (1 x Rehab; 1 x Rest)

Workout Structure

  • Optional Warm Up: either 3 or 5 minutes
  • Activation Rounds: 2 x 4 minute rounds with AMRAP of 2 exercises for each round
  • Pyramid: 3 exercises with 3 to 4 sets of each with decreasing reps
  • Circuits: 2 x 6 minute circuits with AMRAP of 2 exercises for each round and 30 seconds rest (I skipped at times during these rest period to keep my heart rate up)
  • Optional Cool Down: 3 to 5 minutes

 

Weeks 5 to 8

I tried to fit in all the workouts for the week and did 3 runs per week as LISS/HiiT. It was a bit challenging at first as the workouts are a bit longer than the usual 30 minutes per session I am used to, so when I combined 2 sessions, it came to about 75min if I took rest. I ended up not taking much rest in between exercises but I did not feel like this was a bad thing either.

I love the challenges that came with the program and week 5’s Legs challenge had me sore for days. From this week on wards I also decided to leave out the option HiiT session as I was running over 20km per week over my 3 runs and didn’t want to over do it.

The addition of a full leg day definitely gave me serious DOMS after not having a full leg day for the first few weeks. This made recovery sessions with the foam roller a must do and forced me to prioritize recover.

Entering week 7 I felt a bit overwhelmed to try fit in all the workouts but I know that I wanted to finish this program and just persevere – coming off a mentally exhausting period with my studies, my body felt knackered and I found myself being slightly demotivated. Luckily, it was just a hiccup and after 2 rest days, I felt my usual energetic self again.
Workout Split

  • 5 x Resistance (1 optional)
  • 3 x LISS
  • 1 x HiiT
  • 1 x Challenge
  • 2 x Recovery (1 x Rehab; 1 x Rest)

Workout Structure

  • Optional Warm Up: either 3 or 5 minutes
  • Activation Rounds: 2 x 4 minute rounds with AMRAP of 2 exercises for each round
  • Pyramid: 3 exercises with 3 to 4 sets of each with decreasing reps
  • Circuits: 2 x 6 minute circuits with AMRAP of 2 exercises for each round and 30 seconds rest (I skipped at times during these rest period to keep my heart rate up)
  • Optional Cool Down: 3 to 5 minutes

 


Weeks 9 to 12

Week 9 clearly was made with the thought of leveling up with 6 resistance sessions of which 2 is optional, a LISS and HiiT session plus the usual challenge and recovery workouts. I really didn’t want to give up my 3 runs a week so I decided to try the impossible and do 2 resistance workouts in my hour sessions which I managed to do. The warmup was skipped but I felt the activation sessions really helped to warm up anyway.

Every workout seemed to have good balance between low impact exercises with a resistance band (Donkey Kicks for eg) followed by weighted movements (Squats) to really fatigue the muscle being worked. This style of training really requires a lot of patience, especially if you like getting your heart rate up. I’ve had to tell myself that just because I am not sweating profusely or have a constant high heart rate, doesn’t mean that it’s a bad workout session. On the contrary, these sessions are the perfect balance for my longer runs.

Closing off the last 4 weeks with challenges such as the 300 Rep challenge was fantastic even though it extended some of my hour session by an additional 15 minutes. As mentioned before, the intensity of the workouts are low to medium so I am able to go for a bit longer than usual. The one thing I really love about the program are the additional weekly challenges and during the last 4 weeks of the program, the challenges were really, well challenging. It included movements that I love like Pull Ups and Deadlifts. I managed to hit a PB of 62kg on my deadlifts and 32kg on my backsquats.

These last 4 weeks I also struggled to fit one of the recovery sessions as I would have a full day of rest with no exercise, and then have to make time on the other days for a full body recovery session. Needless to say, I did start to feel the DOMS kicking in hard as I did not make stretching a priority.
Workout Split

  • 6 x Resistance (2 optional: Glutes & Hamstrings; Abs )
  • 1 x LISS
  • 1 x HiiT
  • 1 x Challenge
  • 2 x Recovery (1 x Rehab; 1 x Rest)

Workout Structure

  • Optional Warm Up: either 3 or 5 minutes
  • Activation Rounds: 2 x 4 minute rounds with AMRAP of 2 exercises for each round
  • Pyramid: 3 exercises with 3 to 4 sets of each with decreasing reps
  • Circuits: 2 x 6 minute circuits with AMRAP of 2 exercises for each round and 30 seconds rest (I skipped at times during these rest period to keep my heart rate up)
  • Optional Burnout: 2 exercises of 1 minute each
  • Optional Cool Down: 3 to 5 minutes

Final Thoughts

I definitely preferred PWR to the traditional BBG type workouts as I like to focus on form and strength rather than speed and I always felt a bit of underlying pressure with BBG. Towards the last few weeks, fitting in all the resistance was challenging but definitely worth it. If you do the guide remember that some of the resistance sessions are optional, I’m just the type of person that like to have all my boxes ticked in the app.

Also note that I did the guide from home so I had to substitute exercises that included gym machines but managed to substitute these exercises for similar ones.

PWR added fuel to the fiery passion I have for strength training and I cannot express enough how empowering it is to be stronger and fitter. Knowing that I am strong enough to defend myself, fast enough to run away from dangerous and confident enough to wear whatever the hell I want to is liberating.

My running improved immensely in terms of distance and pace and I firmly believe this is due to the fact that I had lower intensity strength sessions.

For the last few years my transformation has always focused on becoming stronger and more comfortable in my skin, regardless of the exterior changes (or lack thereof) that I may see in the mirror. I know that to see “Instagram Worthy” results, I will have to change certain aspects of my diet, but I do love the experience of food way too much to put myself through a process of cutting for example. I know now my worth does not depend on a transformation pic, the number on the scale or the amount of affirmation I receive on a social media platform. I am worthy at whatever stage I am in this health and fitness journey. Period.

In the end, I love exercising. It’s added an immense amount of value and balance to my health, physically and mentally. And it makes me happy. As simple as that.

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PS check out the video review on my IGTV and my journey throughout the 12 weeks on my highlight reel!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jana's Whole Hearted Health says:

    Loved this review! I hope to try the PWR program later this year when I am a bit stronger and a little more well acquainted with the weight room. I have tried BBG in the past and wasn’t really a fan, but the pwr program seems quite a bit different. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Like

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