Video Fitness

ChaLean Extreme

Chalene Johnson

This is a 3 month series of workouts designed to help people lose weight by lifting heavy weights. It is truly different than anything else out there, and overall, I think it is a nice system. However, it is not really meeting my expectations and I am actually pretty disappointed about that. Judging from the excitement over these workouts in the forum, I am very much in the minority on this!

Here is the rotation:

Day 1 - Circuit 1
Day 2 - Rest
Day 3 - Circuit 2
Day 4 - Burn Intervals & Abs
Day 5 - Circuit 3
Day 6 - Burn it Off & Recharge
Day 7 - Rest

Month 1=Burn Circuit (combo moves)
~ 8-12 reps plus sometimes an "extreme set" where you do 3 more after a 10 sec rest.

Month 2=Push Circuit (no combo moves)
~ 6-8 reps plus more "extreme sets"

Month 3=Lean Circuit (combo moves)
~ 10-12 reps plus "exteme"

All of the circuit workouts have 9 strength moves and no cardio. Generally you are alternating body parts. There are lots of combo moves, usually a lower body with an upper body or core move. These workouts all clock in at 30-40 minutes.

I should mention that I did not do the rotation, so I can't speak to its effectiveness. This does not stop me from having an opinion. :-) I think it is an OK rotation with a few flaws. The biggest is that I really wouldn't want to do Burn Intervals in between two circuit workouts, even though it uses light weights. If I were doing the rotation I would need more variety with the cardio for sure, and probably additional ab work, even though I do feel the strength circuits work your core pretty well.

The Positives:

~ The package as a whole is nice and complete, especially for people who are looking for some sort of system that they can follow a while and like the extra motivation. The support materials are very nice and include:

  • a guidebook on the system and workouts with pictures and tips on how to do each exercise
  • a beautiful recipe book with pretty pictures and nice easy recipes
  • fat calipers and a workout band
  • a dvd tutorial on the moves with a bonus "kitchen makeover" section
  • a motivational CD from Chalene

    ~ The workouts are unique and truly different from anything I've seen before.

    ~ The 3 day split is interesting, since you do legs 3 days, but split your upper body parts over the 3 days.

    ~ These workouts are very short and time efficient.

    ~ Chalene really encourages you to lift heavy, and I think that is a good thing.

    ~ The ab work in this series is decent, and I like that she gives two separate workouts.

    ~ Burn Intervals was kind of fun, on its own, even though I don't like it's placement in the rotation and I thought the weight sections could be better.

    ~ There are some fun and interesting moves in these workouts. I enjoy combo moves and this has a lot of them.

    The Negatives:

    ~ I found it very difficult to lift at a slow pace with these workouts. Chalene doesn't lift the entire set, and you are left to count on your own or look at the background exercisers, who often start going faster when Chalene stops lifting. I want to go faster too. There is not a strong beat of music, so you can't use that as a guide. I'm left to rely on myself, and I usually let myself down here. I like a video workout to give me that support with the counting.

    ~ Overall, I don't love her choice of upper body moves. There are too many isolating moves for the triceps, biceps and shoulders, and I would have preferred that she include more pushups, back work and overhead presses. (There are some, but not a lot.)

    ~ Although I think her 3 day split is interesting, it doesn't offer much flexibility. You need to get all 3 workouts in every week to work the upper body properly, and there is no good way to split the upper body and lower body. For the purposes of the rotation, I get it - but it diminishes the long term potential of the workouts.

    ~ There is some whooping with her crew, and it can be annoying at times. I started to tire of the entire crew after two weeks. They started to seem fake to me.

    ~ These are missing the fun-factor for me. I'm not sure why. I think it is because with strength work, I like to feel like I have a goal or a challenge that I am reaching for, and I can't find that with these workouts. I feel they are effective, but I don't get the sense of accomplishment that I do with my other strength workouts.

    Other nitpicks (but not super important) include:
    ~ Burn it Off could be sequenced better. It isn't a real anaerobic workout, like it could be with a few tweaks.
    ~ The warm-up is the same for every workout.
    ~ Not enough stretching at the end, and no upper body stretching really

    When I saw these were called "Extreme" I couldn't help but think of P90X, and I hoped I would like these just as much. But I don't. There just isn't anything that they inspire me to do, like P90X did. I already know that I can lift heavy weights, and I don't see myself getting much stronger with this series. Although some of the individual moves are fun, overall, the workouts don't have a fun factor for me, so there is nothing drawing me to them.

    On the other hand, I do know that a lot of people are going to do great with this series. Some people are intimidated by the concept of heavy weights and this is going to encourage some to get over that, and I think that is a very good thing. I also know that a lot of people who already enjoy heavy weights will love these too, because they are so time efficient and also because they are different from anything else out there. I think others may try to do a rotation for the first time and find some benefit in just sticking with something for a few months and seeing real results as opposed to just randomly doing what you feel like.

    I'm glad Chalene made a series that everyone is so excited about, I'm just disappointed that I'm not one of those that loves this one.

    Instructor comments: Chalene is fine to me, but I did not seem to repond to her like many others have. She can be a little bit over the top in some ways (with her dress, words, and mannerisms.) She can be very motivating though, and she usually does a good job with the form pointers.

    Lisa C


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