'Time to get extreme, baby!'

'Time to get extreme, baby!'

I completed the ChaLEAN Extreme Push Phase on Saturday and it ended with a big bang!

I think I took “Push” extremely literally this week and proved to myself exactly how strong I’ve gotten since I’ve been doing this workout program. I not only purchased (and used) 25 lb dumbbells, but, for an additional challenge, I busted out my brother’s 35 lb dumbbells and completed an exercise with those! Of course it was a simple lower body exercise in the standard squat, but it still felt great.

That’s not the only time I “pushed” myself this week, either!

I used my worksheets to the fullest, beginning last week. I denoted when I thought I should attempt an increase in weights. And this was not necessarily only for exercises where I didn’t feel challenged, but also just to see how heavy I could go; with good form, of course!

Since I didn’t get my new set of dumbbells until Friday, I had to get a little creative. Chalene tells us how to “create more resistance” and I tried my best during the Push Circuit 1 workout. I already mentioned using two 35 lb dumbbells for the standard squat. I’m very proud of that because I remember a time, not too long ago, when I couldn’t even pick both of those weights up at the same time! I also upped my weight amounts in the hammer curl and v-press bicep exercises. That was tough!

By the time I got to Push Circuit #1’s final exercise, push-ups, I figured I’d die right away and need to modify them. Wrong! Even though my arms were worked extra hard, I did all the reps in standard push-up position. That’s a big, big deal to me. As you’ll recall from earlier progress reports, I’ve always had a hard time with push-ups. That’s mostly from lack of upper body strength coupled with the fact that those of us with long arms have a harder time with this move. I’m so pleased to be able to do them properly now!

On Push Circuit #2, I improved with the standard overhead press. Last week I shocked myself by using 20 lb dumbbells. I only managed to crank out 6 that week before failing. This week I did all 8 reps! In the Reverse Fly, last week, I did 6 reps with 12 lbers and was very shaky. I contemplated going back down to 10 to get my form right, but I thought I’d try 12 again to see if I got any stronger. And I did! I wasn’t very shaky and did all 8 reps! I increased weight loads in the Arnold Press successfully as well.

In the Bent Over Lateral Raise and Lateral Deltoid Raise I increased the weights. I wasn’t planning on using anything heavier for those exercises this week, but I wanted to see how I’d do and “push” myself. I failed at 6, and had to go back down for the extreme reps, but still felt good about my progress!

Finally, on Push Circuit #3, I had the 25 lb dumbbells. It’s so funny to go to the store and pick up a new set. There’s always a female cashier who thinks I’m insane once I tell them the weights are for me and not my “boyfriend” or “husband”, neither of which I have, lol! I just couldn’t wait to get those puppies home and see what I could do with them!

I used them immediately on the Sumo Squat and my legs were shaking! I love it! I also used them for the Single Arm Row, Bowler’s Lunge and Double Bent Over Row (20s for the extreme reps), as well as the Double Reverse Grip Row. I wasn’t dying, either, as I did these exercises. That Long Arm Pullover is tough. That’s a weaker muscle for me and the 15 lb dumbbell I used was still tough after a couple of weeks. I wasn’t shaking as much as I used to, though!

I remember doing so many DVDs from The Firm. I never felt that those made me stronger. I also never saw any visible results from those workouts, even though I enjoyed them. I think the heaviest weight I used in that program was a 12 lber for exercises like squats and chest presses. The fact that after only 2 months of ChaLEAN Extreme, and I’m already using 20s and 25s, speaks volumes! And I did Firm workouts on-and-off for 2-3 years!

I am still seeing some very small results on my body (mostly arms and legs) but I’m not concerned with that. My personal goal this month was to get stronger, and I definitely accomplished that! I continue to adjust well to my new eating habits. I’m cutting down on my pop intake starting this week. Yes, I said pop. I live in Ohio and that’s what it’s called here. Deal! I think my next health goal is to work more protein and fitness shakes into my routine. I think they’ll be beneficial to the longterm goals I’ve set for myself.

So, that completed my work in the Push Phase. Tomorrow Today I begin the final month of ChaLEAN Extreme, the Lean Phase. I look forward to it!

P.S. I finally remembered another one of Chalene’s lines that makes me smile. She talks about how all her friends are people she’s met through fitness. She then says that if you want to hang out with her, put on some “tennis shoes”. That line doesn’t mean much to most of you, but as a midwesterner — Chalene is originally one of us too. Went to Michigan State — it’s nice to hear someone use one of our midwesternisms. Yes, i just made that up. We don’t call them sneakers. They’re tennis shoes. (Yes, we understand that we aren’t actually playing tennis in them, so you should too.)