It should be noted here that Seth Crooks has been my good friend for getting close to 2 decades (OMG I am that old!). He is way too kind to me, but I do truly feel that this review is a sincere and honest attempt at sharing with you his experiences with the program.
As far as 12 week exercise programs go, K-Element is the first I’ve ever done. As a result of this, comparison to other programs is out. So, this review will stick to what I liked, didn’t like, and suggestions for anyone wanting to give this a go. Also, it is important to note that this program is in the moderate to challenging difficulty range. If a slosh tube is not in your comfort zone yet, you might not be ready to try this.
First, some advice before beginning. As with most endeavors, preparation is key to success. Be ready to start, progress, and ultimately finish. I found the ‘progress’ part the most challenging. The beginning is exciting, “Hey! I’ve started! YEAH!!” The end is rewarding, but the middle… this is where motivation is tested. It is helpful to read some of the ‘mental games’ posts on kemmefitness.com.
Another bit of preparation is to have a place to do pull-ups, a slosh tube, a clubbell and a medicine ball. I know a re-occurring theme at kemmefitness.com is flexibility with the workouts (substituting in exercises, modifying circuits, etc), but for this program there are a variety of exercises done with these pieces of equipment throughout. So, while it is possible to substitute, I recommend using the equipment mentioned above.
One last thing before starting. Prioritize your workouts and schedule them in advance. If you know you have things to get done throughout the week, it will be much easier to get your workouts in if you know in advance when you are doing them. It is incredibly difficult to play catch up late in the week when other things pop up. Okay, on to the review!
These four are good introductory workouts. The reps are lower than later more challenging workouts. This is good because, while shorter in length, these workouts are filled with a variety of exercises with all the pieces of equipment. So, you may spend some of your workout time watching videos of how to do each exercise that is unfamiliar. Nothing negative to say about weeks 1&2.
All right everybody, warm up is over! We are into it now. I found these more exhilarating because I knew immediately that they were more challenging. But, the novelty of starting a ‘new fun exercise program’ began to fade with things like 50 bonus burpees in workout 1 and that miserable ‘x4’ in workout #3, circuit #2. A small realization of how long 12 weeks can be then found its way into my subconscious.
The most memorable thing about these is the big gap in difficulty between #2 and #3. After #2, I was really spent. I just sat on the floor in my basement and, well, that was it. I just sat. Thankfully #3 was such a breeze by comparison that getting re-motivated wasn’t too tough. Going from week 5 to week 6, I was a little better prepared for dreaded workout #2. Nevertheless, this was where it got tough mentally. Not at the beginning, not the end, but the middle. To put it in music terms, anyone can get jazzed up when they hear the intro to ‘Eye of the Tiger’. It’s easy to pick up the pace when the chorus kicks in. But the verse in between… Ugh.
Generally speaking, I am an animal lover. This was really tested with workout #1. Bears are cool, right? Ducks, frogs, inchworms…aw, how cute! No! Not cool, cute, or fun in any way. Ego-wise, being reduced to a sweaty pile of mush by animal walks is tough. But that is the purpose here: break down and re-build stronger. Only other thing about weeks 7&8 is there are lots of slosh tube floor wipers. These can be tough to get the hang of, but you’ll get it. Goodness knows, you’ll get enough practice.
I found workouts 2&3 pretty challenging. Both of these do a good job of wearing you out, then hitting you with some tough work. I noticed a real change in how I felt during this time period. At the risk of bragging, I felt in the best shape of my life. This was nice for additional mental motivation. Yes, the workouts are quite tough now, but there are rewards!
Rounding third and heading for home! Should be easy, right? We’re in great shape, it’s the end of the program, nothing we haven’t done yet. But it just wouldn’t be right if workout #2 didn’t make you cry like an infant. Honestly, 20 barbarian presses and 20 slosh tube press squats after everything?! Advice here - slow and steady wins the race. Don’t try to work fast to get done. Take breaks as needed and, as my wife says, hydrate! Workout #3 features the rapid fire format, which is fun and makes time go quickly. As for workout #4, it could be building the Great Pyramid for all I care, it’s the last one!
I am happy to have completed K Element. I feel a genuine sense of accomplishment in addition to the noticeable physical benefits. Be ready for a challenge. Be ready to sweat, whimper, and maybe to cry a little bit. But ultimately be ready for Functional Fitness at its best!