ChaLean Extreme: Burn Circuit

Chalene Johnson
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Total Body Workouts

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Other reviewers have really broken down the exercises well, so I will not go into detail there. In full disclosure, I have only done the Burn Circuit workouts, so I cannot compare them to the other workouts in the series. However, doing the Burn Circuit was enough for me. It may seem shallow, but there are things other than just exercises that I need to workout at home. I do need good music and an instructor I can click with. Without good exercises, good music, and the right instructor (all three ingredients, so to speak) a workout will not make it with me. I have to many that I can enjoy.

That being said, I can honestly say, I am soooo glad that I borrowed CLX.

THE GOOD: She gives great, clear form pointers. There was definitely enough rest between reps. Reps were not too many, in fact she wants you to fail between 10 and 12 reps. With only 9 exercises per workout, this is doable. There was the famous beachbody rep counter and time clock, so I knew how much time I had. Some of the exercises were really good when used with weights. And of course, 40 minutes per workout is great on time!

THE SO-So: Music was not great. Actually, it was bad. Again, just trying soooo hard. Using the tubing with CLX was awkward, and yes I viewed the band tutorial twice before using the workouts. Since the moves were compound moves, the bands were not really effective for lower body.

HE BAD: I do not care for Chalene's personality in this one. It's as though she tries too hard to be hip and cool. And these phrases get tiresome: "Little sis, you are looking GREAT!" "Layli what weights are you using?" "Can someone get a shot of my knee?" and my favorite "I don't know why you guys are complaining I feel GOOOOD!!" or something like that. It's because the backgrounders did all the reps while she walked around the room. It SOUNDS like I'm being shallow, but trust me, it gets annoying.

Yea, I know, I didn't get through the whole system. But the point for ME for thinking about the system was to use it primarily as a tubing workout. Since it does not work well as a band system for me and Chalene is annoying (and the music is not great) I probably won't even think of using it again.



This DVD contains Burn Circuit I, II and III. Each of them are 40ish minutes long, focus on burning out at 12 reps, and involve combination/compound exercises for the upper and lower body together. If you do not like compound moves you will not like these workouts. Compound is my favorite so I LOVED these - my only issue is that sometimes it is hard to follow along because the exercisers are not always in synch with each other so its easy to lose track of where you're at rep wise. Also if you do not have a strong core, like me, some of these exercises will be challenging in the lower/mid back area for you but may not challenge you in the intended muscle group (this was particularly true for me in BC #2).

Instructor Comments:
Chalene gives lots of form pointers and is her usual fun, motivational self. CLX itself is a keeper!



Chalean Extreme Burn Circuit

These three circuits make up the first phase of the CLX strength program. There are three workouts (all on one DVD) and they are about 35 minutes each. They all have the same warm up and cool down (in fact all three phases have the same warm up and cool down) and they are all synchronized carefully to music. There is a different tune for the warm up, each exercise, and the cool down. I found the music to be very encouraging and refreshing. Chalene works out with four other individuals, in an open gym (there are some TV screens in the background with “sexy” men and women posing their bare abs, arms, legs, which might bother some people). In the below right hand corner of the screen, there is a timer bar with the overall countdown of the workout, as well as a rep counter. I found this very helpful, however thought the font they used made the numbers blurred and somewhat hard to read (I didn’t realize there was a rep counter until the third or fourth workout!) Minor complaint and not too distracting. If you follow the rotation (I did), you complete the Burn workouts 1, 2, and 3 once each per week for a total of four weeks and 12 workouts, before moving on to the next phase. I felt like this gave me time to master the exercises but not get overly bored, once the boredom started to set in it is on to the next circuit.

Of the background exercisers, the one to the viewer’s left right behind Chalene demonstrates the exercises using tubing/bands of various resistance. To the viewer’s right is an exerciser demonstrating easier modifications (lower poundage as well as other modifications like keeping your feet grounded on certain moves, as appropriate). Of background exercisers in the far back row, the one to the left uses the heaviest poundage (a male, and the only male exerciser) and the one to the right generally uses slightly lighter weight than Chalene, who uses the heaviest poundage after the man in the back. The far back right hand exerciser is Chalene’s sister. The production quality is high and there are Beach Body commercials both before and after the workouts themselves. Thankfully you can skip right to the workout (four skips will get you there!)

As a high intermediate exerciser (particularly with strength workouts), I found that I could match Chalene’s poundage on most of the workouts and exceed her on some, but did not match her on others. I found the moves to be very doable and exceptionally well cued, in fact thanks to the CLX videos my form on lunges greatly improved, making this otherwise straining exercise on my knees to be enjoyable and effective. Chalene and the male background exerciser use BowFlex SelectTech weights, and thanks to CLX I did cave and invest in a pair (they are expensive but an excellent product and companion to CLX, if you are willing to invest). Otherwise a variety of dumbbells or bands can be used, and are demonstrated with the other exercisers.

I felt like the Burn Phase was the least challenging (but still a great challenge!) of the three, and a good place to start with the CLX program. Easily modifiable depending on the poundage you use. This phase uses combination moves, which I enjoy, and that, paired with the shorter workout time and that legs were worked on all three days, were the top reasons that I chose CLX. I thought the system was executed well and I was not disappointed. During the Burn Phase, Chalene wants you to fail between 12-15 reps. After the 20 minute mark (which is about the last three or four exercises) there is a “Get Extreme” set with an additional three, super slow, exercises. A complaint I do have for CLX is that Chalene could have used a wider variety of exercises. She tends to prefer certain exercises and overuses them (particularly with rows in the second circuit; it was overkill and I ultimately modified by only doing dead lifts for the second set). Since there are only nine exercises in each workout, it seems like each one of them could have been unique and creative, not repetitive. Overall I give the CLX Burn Circuit phase a B+ for good music, production values, excellent instruction. I like CLX enough to keep it in my rotation and hope to do it again in a year or so, and I feel like the series was a good investment and worth the money.

Burn Circuit #1
The first circuit is made up of the following exercises:
1. Warm up
2. Sumo Squat (plie squat) with Hip Lift (to work side waist muscles), hold dumbbells at shoulders
3. Lunge with Posterior Fly
4. Push Up with Leg Lift
5. Dead Lift with Posterior Fly
6. Lunge with Core Rotation (use only one weight, holding at ends with both hands)
7. Bench Press and Leg Lower (uses lavender band that came with the workouts, looped around legs)
8. Sumo Squat with Side Bend, weights held at shoulders
9. Forward Lean Lunge with Double Arm Posterior Fly
10. Chest Fly with Hip Lift (bridge position)
11. Cool down

Burn Circuit #2
The second circuit is made up of the following exercises:
1. Warm up
2. Sumo Squat (plie) with Bicep Curl
3. Lunge with one arm Tricep Extension (tricep kickback)
4. Dead Lift with Row
5. Sumo Squat with Overhead Tricep Extension (French press)
6. Dead Lift with Double Row
7. Bowler’s Lunge (curtsey lunge) with Single Arm Row
8. Bicep Curls with Abductor Balance move (using lavender band looped around legs, move leg out to side while curling)
9. Forward Lean Lunge with Double Row
10. “Triple Threat Pushups” (tricep pushups, traditional pushups, then spider pushups – legs in a wide stance for spider pushups)
11. Cool down

Burn Circuit #3
The third circuit is made up of the following exercises:
1. Warm up
2. Sumo Squat with Overhead Press (military press)
3. Lunge with Calf Raise (combination leg and calf, no upper body for this exercise)
4. Squat with Lateral Raise
5. Lunge with Frontal Press (narrow military press)
6. Squat with Calf Raise (combination leg and calf, no upper body for this exercise)
7. Sumo Squat with Delt Raise (arms bent)
8. Squat with Double Overhead Press (turned out military press)
9. Lunge with Lateral Raise
10. Sumo Squat with Calf Raise (combination leg and calf, no upper body)
11. Cool down

Instructor Comments:
Chalene is motivational, encouraging, and has a light hearted sense of humor. She is an excellent cuer. She does however only do a few reps with you (the first couple and the last couple) and the rest of the time she walks around the room critiquing others’ form, pointing out modifications, and having the camera person zoom in on somebody’s particularly well cut muscle. So in that sense she doesn’t really “do” the workout with you, which seems to be a common Beach Body occurrence (and I can see the positives of doing it this way) although I tend to prefer when the instructor works out with you. Since I have yet to check out the Turbo Jam series, this was my first experience with Chalene and I thought she was a very good instructor. She made some jokes, she mentioned diet and reminded you to stretch more if you needed, and congratulated you on a job well done at the end of the workout. Very enjoyable.

Emily B.


There is an important correction to my last review: Chalene wants you to fail between 10-12 reps for Burn, not 12-15 (that's Lean). Thanks!

Emily B.