I finished Week 10 of ChaLEAN Extreme and continue to feel challenged. I really like that. I feel like when workouts stop being a challenge/struggle, I don’t get as much out of them. That’s not going to be an issue this month as the Lean Phase is still kicking my butt! And, as a result, I am noticing some more changes in my body. I’ve got to say I’m very pleased!
Chalene says this month is the month where you really start to see changes, and I definitely think that’s because of the multipart exercises. Starting with Lean Circuit #1, I increased my weight loads a little bit. The very first exercise, Biceps curl w/ calf raise is still tough! Doing bicep curls, alone, has never been enough to make me beg for mercy, but adding the calf raise really amps things up! My calf starts burning long before my bicep, so it takes that much concentration to make sure I finish strong. I love that!
Later on in the workout, the Bicep Curl w/ hamstring curl does the same thing. The evil thigh toner makes an appearance and kills me! I’ve never felt it in my hamstrings as much as I do in this workout! And I’ve been working out regularly for years! Even after I finish, I will make sure that I continue to use the thigh toner for exercises like this. It really works!
The plank with tricep extension is super tough, but, as I’ve stated before, doing any exercise in push-up or plank position is hard for me because of my long arms. My wrists are tiny too, so that doesn’t help either! I used to get really frustrated doing things in this position because I felt like I wasn’t progressing strength-wise. It’s really a gravity and leverege issue. Out of my control! I increased my weight load this week, but still had to modify a little. I felt the burn in my tricep and also kept my mind focused on contracting my abs. It helps a lot in this exercise!
In Lean Circuit #2 I really have to pay attention to my back. I don’t do this workout in front of a mirror, but I usually have a shadow on the wall that I try to sneak a look at during these exercises. My lower back sometimes hurts, so I don’t bend as far down. I didn’t increase the weight load at all in this workout. I continued to concentrate on form. I felt like I still got as much out of it that way. The first week I’m always a little more tentative because I haven’t done the moves before. In the second week, I know what I’m doing, how it’s supposed to look and feel, and can really get down and dirty!
The first exercise I want to single out is the Hamstring Curl w/ Lateral Raise; and that’s because of that hamstring curl. It is no joke! I love it! The plank w/ single arm row is tough too, for the same reason the plank w/ tricep extension is. That position is hard to hold! It’s a little worse for this one because it’s a row. At the bottom of the position, it’s hard to keep the dumbbell off of the ground because my arms are so long. I want to keep tension in my muscle — and not have it rest on the mat — so I have to bend my arm a little, in order to keep it off the floor. That adds another dimension to the exercise.
In general, all the deltoid arm raises just kill my arms, but that way I strive for. I can feel that I’m getting stronger in the deltoid muscles. And I can see that I’m getting the definition that I’ve always wanted. For Easter, I wore a white button-down shirt from the Limited with my green Express pencil skirt. The shirt was a size small, which is standard for me. When I put it on, I noticed it was tighter on my arms, in the deltoid region. I smiled a little at that. I thought that where it hit, just off my shoulder, was really flattering. My hard work is paying off!
In all of the exercises in Lean Circuit #3, I upped my weights. I did 12 lbs last week, just to give it a shot. This week it was all 15s and by the end of the workout my arms were shaking something fierce! It took all the strength and concentration I had to finish all of those Extreme reps! The push-up side planks are still hard for me. I think the reps go too fast. And if I slow it down, I don’t complete as many. It really just isn’t convenient to try and pause it. It throws the flow of the workout down. So, for this exercise and the travelling push-ups, I end up modifying most of the reps. And I absolutely love the Army crawl!
After I finished Lean Circuit #3, my shoulders were worked over and sore! That lasted until the next day when I was doing Fat Burn Challenge. Speaking of the cardio workouts, things got better this week. It’s still far more of a challenge than the non-deluxe workouts. My heart rate sky rockets, but I’m noticing that I recover much faster than I used to. And those step taps and raises with the thigh toner are manageable. And by manageable, I mean I can finish all the reps. They hurt like hell, but I live for that! That’s how I know it’s working!
Speaking from a vanity standpoint, I love this phase! I’m noticing more definition in my abs. And the pooch area is minimizing. I know, I know. I don’t really have one. That’s what my friends have been telling me for years. But being a woman, I have the right to be critical of my own body, and that’s the one place I have fat on my body. It’s not much, but it’s been the hardest place to tone. And so far, ChaLEAN Extreme is helping! Even though I’ll be done in two week, I think I’m going to continue this phase for an additional 2 weeks. I don’t think my body will adapt and plateau before then with these workouts. They are tough!
I was going to start up running again today, but Mother Nature had plans of her own. It rained on and off all day, and I am not getting my hair wet! We’re supposed to get up to the 70s later this week. Hopefully I can get one in then. I can’t wait to see how my running endurance is. I’m also going to start using those iPhone run-tracking apps and sharing my reviews of them. The first one I’m going to use is Run Keeper (Free Version).