Let’s get something straight, or crooked, as the case may be: the Elev8d Crab Walks are good for the ego.

Most people, me included, exercise to get or stay in shape and tone muscles. But after a few weeks trying the Elev8d regime, I’ve discovered that if anything really needs realignment and toning, it’s my humility. That’s in large part thanks to the Elev8d Crab Walk—something that I assumed would be simple to do. Just pretend you’re in preschool again and scurry on, right? But I failed miserably at crab walking in a straight line, and I was worn out after just a few attempted “steps.”

I’m a middle-aged mother of three and have always been what one would call “active.” I’ve got a Half Ironman triathlon under my belt (winning my age group, thank you very much); I cycle competitively (read: I try to outpace my husband); and count a ride of less than 30 miles just a warm-up. I swim with a masters team several mornings a week, averaging a few miles per swim workout, and I run—reluctantly and not particularly fast. I practice yoga fairly regularly, have a decent headstand and a non-existent handstand (unless I can kick-up against a wall), and consider my Warrior Two a mighty fine pose. But the little ol’ Crab? It undoes me.

Which is why I’ve been so intrigued by my introduction to Elev8d Fitness. I’m into my third week and my body and my ego are both getting a well-rounded workout. I am surprised at how challenging some fairly elementary moves are, such as the Elev8d Crab Walk, which causes my abs to revolt and sag, and my triceps to grimace in the first 30 seconds. The Elev8d Front Under is another one that caught me by surprise. I can bike for three or four hours and entice my quads and glutes to power up some steep hills, but ask me to duck under a rope like I’m a girl at a junior high slumber party playing a limbo game and I’m all of a sudden awkward and struggling.

I like how these straightforward, no-nonsense exercises are both easy to do and not so easy to do. Easy in the sense that an 8-minute routine on a busy morning or before a bike ride is totally manageable. If I have a bit more time, the 16-minute set still is not asking too much; I can do it as a warm-up or warm down in my own living room, without going to a gym. And yet they’re not so easy in the sense that at least one exercise in the batch challenges me to work harder than I thought I would have to, use muscles that aren’t part of my typical repertoire. Those triceps, for example, or my lower back and abs to hold my core and hips level on those blasted Crabs.

Three weeks with Elev8d and I feel like I’ve had a tune up—not unlike taking my bike in for the mechanic to tighten the cables and adjust the derailleurs. All my gears seem to be shifting more smoothly now: when I swim, the ache I used to feel in my back right hip is almost gone, and when I run, I actually enjoy it. A crick I’d always get in my left shoulder and neck when I’m bicycling no longer keeps me from looking over my shoulder for cars before turning left—no doubt, a good thing.

I’ve also been traveling a good bit over the last three weeks and can report that it’s been easy to do the exercises wherever I am—hotel room, on the beach, in a gym, or on a wide front porch overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’ve used ottomans as a makeshift bench for Elev8d Side Overs, and my front steps for the Elev8d Spiders (one of my new favorite moves). I love having an array of workouts to choose from each day, and knowing that whichever I choose will only take a few minutes. I’ve mixed and matched, and more than once did an 8 minute and added a 16, just because the exercises looked fun.

Gus, my 11-year old retired Greyhound, can’t quite figure out what’s going on when I’m down on all fours attempting the Elev8d Bear Crawls, but he needed a little excitement in his life anyway. His chocolate brown eyes look straight into mine when I’m wrapping up the day’s series with the aptly named Cat and Dog, then when I get up, he rises from his sphinxlike pose and stretches his long narrow body into his own downward dog. We go for our morning walk and we’re both feeling less creaky and more energized. I’d say an exercise routine that gets both my thumbs up and his tail wag is off to a strong start.

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