'Time to get extreme, baby!'

'Time to get extreme, baby!'

One week down in the Lean Phase of ChaLEAN Extreme and I can definitely feel the burn, in a good way!

In my immediate Twitter update, I likened Lean Circuit #1 to the compound exercises in Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred. And having completed the first week of this phase, I must say the entire set is like that. Having a 140 character limit doesn’t really allow me to elaborate, so I will do so in this post.

I realized that, in order to keep perfect form, I had to go a little bit lighter than the Push phase because we are no longer to isolated strength moves. Chalene is challenging us with compound exercises. I also had an ephiphany with regards to the dreaded tricep push-ups. Lots going on with the Lean Phase!

Stay tuned! This is going to be a loooonnng update, folks!

The first thing I noticed when I previewed Lean Circuit #1 was that this workout was longer than previous phases. Couple that with the fact that each exercise is made up of multiple moves makes this a really intense workout. Chalene promises results from this Phase, and seeing the realness with which she brought the first circuit, I truly believe that!

The very first exercise was the Bicep Curl w/ a calf raise. In the Push Phase, I was doing those with 15 and 20 lb dumbbells. Not anymore! Doing this move, while also having to concentrate on balance and contraction for the calf raise meant I had to go a little lighter. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t getting worked, because my muscles still fatigued. This month we go back to shooting for 10-12 reps.

Next move was the tricep push-ups. I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never be able to do those without modifying, and let me tell you why. It’s not a matter of strength this time. It’s a matter of position. My arms are long. Really long. Moving them so they are right against your rib cage, is the issue here. When my arms are in the proper position to do the push-up, my torso is nowhere near the floor! It’s like I’m in limbo! It then begins to strain my back instead of working my triceps, and that’s not good! So, I go down to my knees to do it and it’s perfect! My torso gets right near the floor at the same time my arms are in position, and I definitely failed doing the move. And the way my triceps were screaming the next day tells me I was doing it right! I don’t feel like a failure because I can’t do the move like others. I know why it isn’t working, and have found a way to make it work for me. Couldn’t be more pleased!

Going through the rest of that workout, and I am sweating bullets! My arms were worked over, and I can’t wait to see how I progress through this circuit.

Also, within 24 hours of Lean Circuit #1, I noticed the significant increase in my hunger. I woke up, in the middle of the night, to go to the bathroom. Once I got back in bed, my stomach was growling and I found myself grabbing a handful of almonds (I keep some bedside) to satisfy my appetite! Chalene said this circuit would kick our metabolism into high gear and it truly has! It’s even more noticeable than when I was doing the Burn Circuit.

Lean Circuit #2 was more of the same burn. Chalene tore up my shoulders and deltoids! Even though I was using lighter weight, because it’s a weak spot for me, I could definitely feel it! The thigh band we use for many exercises is no joke! The calf raises, single leg lifts, and outer thigh abductions were super tough. And having to also doing a simultaneous strength move really presents a challenge; a welcome challenge.

I enjoyed Lean Intervals. It’s funny, with the Interval workouts, that I’m never usually “in the mood” when I start. Then I get started and it feels great! At the end, I really do feel so accomplished. There were some new moves in Lean Intervals, that went well with the rest of this phase. Adding a lunge or squat into the muscle endurance portion of the circuit training really ramps up the heart rate. And, even though we are trying to recover, the “work” continues!

The thigh toner is evil. I am 100% convinced of that now! It hurts so good! My outer thighs screamed all through Lean Intervals. Jumping Jacks, Step Taps, and Outer thigh lifts have never been more intense! I laughed at several points during this workout. Not because anything was particularly funny, but because music that I remember from my Firm tapes popped up. It’s just funny to me how much harder I have to work now!

From this day forward, I will refer to Lean Phase #3 as “Chalene tries kill Suz”! Man, that workout was tough! Just when you think you can’t do any more reps, along comes another exercise to fatigue your arms/shoulders. And get ready for a ton of push-ups! I don’t think I’ve ever done that many push-ups in one week before ChaLEAN Extreme. Chalene even sneaks them in the deluxe “I’ve Got Abs” workout! Sneaky, sneaky!

I’m not going to lie. I had modify my push-ups most of the time. The push-ups with side plank felt fast to me. As a result, I had to modify. I know I can go slower, but I would then have to find my remote and pause it in order to keep up with the rest of the workout. That seems like a hassle. So I simply modified the move. I used to think that if I had to go down on my knees for push-ups that I wasn’t really doing it right and, as a result, wasn’t going to feel it as much as I would if I were doing the standard position. I no longer feel that way. My arms shake while doing push-ups. That tells me that I wasn’t really doing it right before, but I am now. The travelling push-ups felt fast to me too. It took me a second to get the shifting and my balance right. I almost fell over the first couple of times, lol!

I mostly used 12 lb dumbbells for Lean Circuit #3. After last month, and how heavy I went, this was a bit of a shock. But in order to truly have great form in the combo exercises, and fail between reps 10 and 12, it was necessary. Chalene was mostly using 17.5 lbs, so I wasn’t that far off what she used. I’ve found that I tend to use a few pounds less than her.

Fat Burn Challenge was definitely tougher for me than Burn It Off. Everything I did this week was tougher than what I had been doing. I love the challenges and this month presents them!

On some of the exercises, next week, I will try to go a little heavier, but not all! My arms shook like crazy during this workout. While I was doing these moves, I felt my muscles react. I felt it in places I haven’t worked in past workouts. The Cross Body Chop, in particular, is something I don’t recall doing before. I can really feel it in that exercise. When Chalene introduced it, in the Lean Intervals workout, I was like whoa! Nice!

Since I’m using the Deluxe workouts, everything I did this week, except for Recharge, was new! I think my body will reap the benefits of that. It will serve as a major shock to it after a month of really slow and heavy lifting.

I’ve noticed that the moves that require me to balance in plank position are the hardest for me. My arm gets a shakin’ and it’s a fight to complete the intended exercise. Keep your abs contracted really helps with this! Definitely getting a full body workout this way! So far I’ve ended up going down to my knees at about the 7th/8th rep.

Muscle failure seems to come more quickly than in the first 2 phases. Also, from the compound exercises (with lower body work), I definitely feel the cardio effect. I’m very excited to see the progress from right now to Week 12! I do expect to see some significant changes this month. These exercises really do seem Jillian Michaels-esque and I saw results doing 30 Day Shred. Can’t wait to see what ChaLEAN Extreme can do!

If you are reading this part then you must really be into ChaLEAN Extreme. This was my longest update yet! That’s because I edited this post every day after I was finished working out. I thought it would be easier this way since the workouts would be fresh in my mind. I really meant to do it this way all those other weeks, but I am very easily distracted!