Anyway, I finished Week 5 of ChaLEAN Extreme, which was also the first week of the Push Phase of the program.
During the Burn Phase, Chalene instructed us to choose weights that would only allow us to complete 10-12 reps. This month, the goal is 6-8 weights, so the mantra is “go heavy or go home!”
I took on that challenge and genuinely surprised myself in the process!
In my mind, I was going to make a draft of this post, add a little bit to it after every workout, and then push the “publish” button yesterday. Naturally that didn’t happen! Instead, I’m going to go through my worksheets and recall my thoughts on the first week of the Push Phase.
The first thing I want to share is that I strongly feel that I will be purchasing yet another pair of dumbbells to add to my collection. After I picked up those two 20 lbers, a couple of weeks ago, I thought that might be enough for a while. Now, I’m not so sure. Doing some of those lower body exercises, I thought I could go heavier! My brother has a set of 35 lb dumbbells, but I’m so not there yet! Chalene doesn’t even use 35 in these workouts (I’ve seen her go as high as 30, though)!
Even though I previewed all of these workouts before attempting to do them, I still erred on the side of caution and went a little lighter. That’s no different than what I did last month. I’m ready to “push” it to the limit this week! The only day I really threw caution to the wind was for Push Circuit 3. I went heavier than I had planned on going and surprised myself with how much I could lift. I did the bench press (on my back) with my 20 lb weights! Say what?! Never been able to go that heavy before!
The exercises were nothing new. The Push Circuit 1 workout featured old standby’s like bicep curls, squats, tricep extension, and push ups. They work, so why not? I don’t need fancy schmancy exercises in order to feel worked over. And since Chalene wants your muscles to fail by rep 6, it’s easy to pick up that really heavy weight and see what you can do! The particular exercise you’re doing isn’t going to last forever! And as another week passes, I still feel better about my push-ups. I hope I’m able to tear it up by the end of this program. That’d be pretty sweet!
Push Circuit 2 featured a lot of shoulder and back work. Moves like lateral and deltoid raises are a challenge. But I know I’m doing it right when my arms start shaking! Out of all the body parts we focus on, I feel that these are my weakest. I may not be able to lift as much as other exercises, but I’m getting stronger. My emphasis is on perfect form and going slow.
I really enjoyed Push Circuit 3. It’s where I went the heaviest during the week. I only used my 15 and 20 lb dumbbells. Nothing lighter! Sumo (wide plie) squats, single arm rows, chest fly, double bent over row, bench press, and reverse grip row, were some of the exercises featured in this workout. 6 reps really is nothing, so I really put my mind into the moves and I felt so good after I finished! And the best part is that I pushed myself to do 8, so I felt even better about my progress. I’m continue to feel really strong, which was a goal I set before starting ChaLEAN Extreme.
I haven’t really talked about the lower body exercises. Now’s a good time. They’re going well. Like I mentioned earlier, I think I can go heavier than 20 lbs for a lot of the exercises. Focusing on “sticking my butt out”, like Chalene reminds us, really helps me feel the burn. And again, shaking legs is a good thing! I haven’t really had that happen before (with other workout DVDs), so it’s encouraging!
And while I continue to be aware of how much (little) I’m eating, it’s getting easier since I started using the iPhone Lose It! app to keep track of my eating. Squeezing in snacks where I wasn’t before has kicked my metabolism into a gear I haven’t experienced in years! And while I’ve only been working these extra calories in for a few days, I really am feeling the need to eat something every few hours now. My stomach lets me know!
I noted improvement with my physique last week. Not so much this week, but that’s because a certain monthly visitor was all up on me. I definitely felt a little bloated and blah, in genera, so I didn’t pay much attention to how I looked. I was trying to make myself “feel good”. Making myself work out when I’m on my period is always a challenge, but I did it! I haven’t missed a workout since I started ChaLEAN Extreme. That’s what really keeps me going!
So, I’ll keep my eye on my worksheets this week to see how much heavier I can lift! Now I’m off to grab a late snack!