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Here's my Push Phase Review.
Here's my Lean Phase Review (includes final results).
Here's my Turbo Jam Review.
This workout series is NOT for the faint of heart. It's an ass kicker.
After 5 weeks of the Turbo Jam workouts which are mostly all cardio I decided I needed to add some weight training to my regimen. My body was responding well to the TJ routines in as much as I had become pain free, but I wasn't losing any weight (that could also be due to my diet, but that's another topic for another day) and I know from my past as an athlete that I respond really well to resistance training.
Enter another lazy Sunday afternoon and another well placed infomercial. (I've never bought anything off the TV before all this. I'm beginning to feel like a royal sucker.)
The whole ChaLEAN Extreme system is big. It comes with 7 discs (learning DVDs including weight training, band training, and kitchen makeover, 5 workout DVDs, and a motivational CD), a training book ("Muscle Burns Fat (tm) Guidebook"), and a diet book ("Fat Burning Food Guide"). And when I say "book," I mean a book with glossy pages, photos, no typos, and thick. It also comes with calipers to measure your body fat. Also included is a resistance band (which is NOT intended for anything but added resistance for lower body work).
:: One of the things I am enjoying most about this system is that it lays out my workouts for the next three months (90 days), so I never have to wonder what happens after that first month (like I did with Turbo Jam). There's also a guide for maintaining your results.
Also, the Guidebook gives you a place to mark your weights and number of reps so you can keep track as you progress. WoWY.com also has a .pdf file you can download to track your weights/reps, as well.
Chalene's broken down the three months into three phases: Burn, Push, and Lean.
In the Burn Phase your goal is to "fail" in 10-12 reps and you work both upper and lower body in combo exercises. The Push Phase you attempt to fail in 6-8 reps and only one body part at a time is focused on. And last, the Lean Phase combines upper and lower body work with core work. The claim is the Lean Phase is where dramatic fat loss is witnessed. Lean for Life shows you how to maintain all your hard ass work.
:: Some people have complained that Chalene's "cheerleader" like enthusiasm in her Turbo Jam workouts was a turn off, but rest assured that in her ChaLEAN Extreme routines she's far more "down to business." She does a great job in educating you about your position and what not to do. She also sets a great tone to keep your motivation up.
:: TIME ::
Circuit workouts are approximately 30 minutes each and are the meat of the system. The Burn Intervals & Ab Burner/Extreme Abs workouts total about an hour, as do the Burn it Off! & Recharge combo. Burn Intervals is a combination strength- and cardio- training that alternates bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity. Ab Burner & Extreme Abs are 10 minute workouts that uses weights to work your middle. Burn it Off! is high intensity with light weights and approximately 30 minutes long and Recharge is a yoga-esque streching routing that lasts 20 minutes.
:: TO START::
- Buy weights. It wasn't clear to me what kind of equipment I needed right off. In the Muscle Burns Fat (tm) Guidebook there are some guidelines for weights (you can either get bands or free-weights), but the bottom line is buying weights/resistance bands is another investment. You can go weightless for a time, but I'd assume only if you're at the very lowest of your strength levels. Currently I have 3 lbs, 8 lbs, 12 lbs, and 15 lbs weights and I consider myself at above a beginner level, not quite fully intermediate. As I get stronger I will have to fill in the gaps with the 5 lbs, 10 lbs and + 15 lbs weights, which sucks for the pocket book, but I guess I'm willing to do it. It's cheaper than a gym membership.
- Watch the Burn Basics DVD.
- Get a pen and your Guidebook or rep sheet.
- Grab a towel and some water.
- Pop in Burn Circuit 1 DVD and go!
- Day 1 - Burn Circuit 1
- Day 2 - Rest (this is critical because of the intensive weight training of Circuits 1 & 2 - you can add a cardio here, but don't do back-to-back Circuits)
- Day 3 - Burn Circuit 2
- Day 4 - Burn Intervals & Ab Burner
- Day 5 - Burn Circuit 3
- Day 6 - Burn it Off! & Recharge
- Day 7 - Rest
::BURN PHASE CONCLUSION::
:: I find the weekly schedule to be challenging, but also doable. I really like how each Circuit (hard weight training) is broken up by either a rest day or a different kind of workout. And the like I said before, it's an ass kicker.
:: I find the Burn Interval workout to be the toughest and the Recharge a welcome recovery. During anything that uses a weight I usually find myself laughing at the end of a set because I really can't move my legs or my arms. And because of this, I don't suspect that just anybody could do this workout. I'm about 20-25 lbs overweight, but I consider myself fairly strong and I seriously struggle to do many of the exercises. If I were +75 lbs overweight I don't know that I could safely do the routines without risk of serious injury. But I could be wrong. I'm not a trainer, it's just my own thought on it. So, if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you might want to start with her Turbo Jam series to lose a few pounds and gain some core strength, then graduate to this program.
I just completed Week 1 and I feel great. I experienced some really intense soreness after the first couple of days, but I expect this week to be a little less sore in general. I'll update again at the end of the Burn Phase.
...........................................................6/28/09 Update: After completing the Burn Phase I am totally pain free. I am considerably stronger and I feel tighter. Week 1 was by far the most painful soreness-wise. After Week 1, I experienced soreness, but it was manageable. By Week 4, I had increased all of my weights and was able to do certain exercises (like the "Free Throws") to completion, whereas in the beginning I could get to about 17 and then had to stop. I was also able to add a "on my toes" push-up each week each time we had push-ups, but was never able to do all of them in that position.
And here's what you really want to know: I've gained 10 lbs over the last month (not something I usually do - I'm a 1-2lb kind of girl). And nothing in my life has happened other than this workout. I'm eating the same, stress isn't bad, health is tip top (I just had a physical), so I have to assume that it's muscle. I have to PRAY that it's muscle under my fat! I can see more definition in my thighs and my arms, I just can't see any other muscle due to my fat sticking around.
My clothes are actually fitting a little tighter, too, so it's not just the scale. My mom and husband have both commented that I seem "curvier," which is fine, but it'd be nice to be slimming down, too. But, like I've said before, I'm going to be VERY patient and just wait for the end of the 90 days. I've done a lot of research online and lots and lots of women have had the same experience: no weight loss, then it melts away in the Lean Phase.
It's important to note that in Week 3 I started watching what I ate more closely, eating every 2-3 hours if I could, but I wasn't all that consistent with it, and I was also drinking wine regularly. I should be eating 1400-1600 calories a day, but I was probably averaging closer to 1600-2000. My eating habits may have contributed to not losing any weight. We'll see as I progress and shape up my diet in the coming weeks.
[Ed. note (5.6.10): For those of you curious about how this all ended up, go to my Lean Phase Review for results. Also, I started it all over again and am currently in my second week of Push, and still loving it! This time around I have NOT gained 10 lbs, due mostly (I think ) to really watching what I eat. No significant weight loss, however, just amazing muscle tone in my arms and feeling firmer all over. I can do push-ups like nobody's business this time around. I'll post a re-cap post in 7 weeks or so when I complete the Lean Phase again.]