ChaLEAN Extreme Review: Lean Phase - Not a miracle worker, just a great program

I'm getting a lot of hits from people searching reviews of this program. If you find my review helpful in anyway, please leave me a comment or ask me more questions if you have them and go here if you'd like for me to respond. Thanks!

Here's my Burn Phase Review.
Here's my Push Phase Review.
Here's my Turbo Jam Review.
Phase 3 of the three phase ChaLEAN Extreme program is the Lean Phase. This is the phase where you combine upper and lower body exercises to also engage your core. In other words, this is where you work your ass off and sweat profusely.

This has been a long time coming and I finished it the end of August. Sorry for such a late update!


There are 9 exercises in each circuit, just like in the Burn and Push Phases but instead of trying to reach failure between 6-8 reps, you're back to the 10-12. There is also a break down set (a.k.a. Extreme Set) after each exercise, so these workouts are closer to 50 minutes long.

A week in the Lean Phase looks like this:
  • Day 1 - Lean 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 - Lean Circuit 2
  • Day 4 - Burn Intervals & Extreme Abs
  • Day 5 - Lean Circuit 3
  • Day 6 - Burn it Off! & Recharge
  • Day 7 - Rest
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 stretching routing that lasts 20 minutes.


Now we're back to 9 exercises with 3 Extreme Reps so the workout length is closer to that in the Burn Phase (35-40 minutes long) for Circuits 1, 2, and 3.

The Burn Intervals & Ab Burner/Extreme Abs workouts total about an hour, as do the Burn it Off! & Recharge combo.


Because I had become stronger during Burn and Push and had purchased more weights (5lbs, 10lbs, & 20lbs) for Push I didn't buy any more for Lean. I might have needed maybe 5 lbs more on my heaviest weight, though, so I will probably buy another set for Round 2 meaning I have a total weight count of 3 lbs, 8 lbs, 10 lbs, 12 lbs, 15 lbs, 20 lbs, and 25 lbs.


Lean Phase is where you're supposed to see all the amazing effects of your efforts. It wasn't the case for me AT ALL. I loved the exercises, felt amazingly strong and healthy, but I only lost 5 lbs of the 10 lbs I put on at the start of the Burn Phase. I purchased the BodyBugg half way through the Push Phase and I think that's what helped me lose the 5 lbs that I did, not the exercises.

Having said that, I never really altered my eating, kept drinking alcohol throughout the program, and didn't do one exercise more than what was laid out in the guidebook. Therefore, I blame myself for the lack of results, not the program.

Even so, the Lean Phase was by far my favorite phase. Even after 4 weeks there were sets I still couldn't get through entirely and I loved that sense of a challenge. I also wasn't very good at doing the ab workouts assigned; skipping those entirely most weeks and so a weaker core may have contributed to my inability to complete some sets.

Towards the end of the program my back began hurting and then I injured it terribly the beginning of September. I've maintained my 5 lb weight loss since then, but am only now feeling well enough to start over again. Which is my plan.

So, even though I don't have an amazing "after picture" to share, I'm still a huge fan of this program. I'm going to restart it next Monday all the way from Burn on through again. I'll continue updates on how my second time through goes.



  1. No way i could get through that... i did two weeks of no carbs and thought i would literally die...

  2. I can't do no carbs either (or even massive reduction of carbs), I get sick-literally!

    Aside from that, I enjoyed reading this review as I felt that I can relate completely. I tried doing this series during school, but was inconsistent and ended up either stopping because I was sick (caught the flu), or too busy with school and blamed lack of time (which is not right, you MAKE time to work out).

    Anyhow, I am restarting it again now that I have graduated, and am feeling much better about it. I am still in the burn phase, however, but I know I will get through the 3 months this time.

    I also am about 25lbs overweight and I will be taking care of what I eat within reason.

    Thank you again for the review!

  3. Thanks for your great review. I wondered, how long are the typical daily workouts? I am a busy Mom of 2 young ones and currently doing (or not doing) P90X. All of those workouts are almost one hour and I find this impossible most days.

  4. Going to start this in a week and I too struggle with the eating the most.. hoping I can manage to get that under control so I see some results!

  5. I am in the second phase of week one and I have added an extra 45 mins of walking/running for the 5 days I work out. I also count my calories which helps out a lot. I have a calorie counter that I love. I cheat once a week, meaning I indulge on something that isn't so healthy. For all the carb lovers. Eat them in the morning so then you have the energy and the day to burn it off. I was grumpy for like 2 weeks and then I was fine plus I changed everything to wheat, no more white for me. Hope this might help a few. Just a note. I did gain weight my first month but seem to stay steady now. This is a good thing.

  6. really want to try this workout plan after i heal from my c-section. I also want to do the eating clean diet. So I am hoping between the healthy eating, the workout and breastfeeding I'll be able to lose weight and feel great!!

  7. this was great to read, however a little scary, Im excited to start this program, I do have a 2 year old and its kind of hard to fit time in I was under the impression that it was 30 min. work outs..even though I do understand that, that lil time just wont cut it if you want extremem results..thank you, you answered many of my questions.

  8. Its 80% diet and 20% exercise ,you can do anyworkout as hard as you can and still look fat.You are correct the body bug did make you lose the 5lbs ,cause you were montioring your intake.Imagine the results you would had gotten if you'd eaten properly the entire time .That said I do not think you should be reviewing a product and giving it a somewhat bad review and then at the end of each critique and admit that you've been eating in excess and drinking alcohol the enitre time

  9. I lost 3 lbs in burn and I'm in my second week of push. I do weight watchers point plus and focus my points around protein at each meal. I was already in a healthy BMI when I started CLX but I'm on the "soft" side so losing 10 lbs & toning up was ideal for me and in the first month I've lost a few inches and I'm very pleased. I've gone from a size 8 to a 6. Since wine is a hot topic on here - I'm down to a glass a week! And I just read Bob Harper's Skinny Rules...hoping to keep this weight OFF!!

  10. I just finished Push Circuit and I start Lean next week. So far I'm down 32 pounds! I love the weights!!! Diet is definitely a huge factor. If your not cutting calories, you will not lose.

  11. I have been doing this program for a month now. I really watch what it eat using myfitnesspal and added cardio (treadmill or elliptical) 60 minutes per day instead of doing Burn it Off or Burn Intervals. I have lost about ten pounds and feel awesome. :-) I think the key is really watching what you eat and add extra cardio.