Friday, March 11, 2011

The Beachbody® Chronicles:
Moving to the Lean phase of ChaLEAN Extreme®

I’ve officially moved on to the Lean phase of ChaLEAN Extreme®.
   It’s the phase in which Chalene Johnson, creator of ChaLEAN Extreme, promises that “amazing things are going to happen to your body, and we’ll have fun doing it, too.”
   I’ve been having fun so far and have seen results from the first two phases of the program, Burn and Push, so I’m optimistic Johnson’s promise will be kept.
   I enjoyed my first Lean phase workout, Lean Circuit 1, when I did this week.
   In the Lean phase, compound movements are used in its three workouts. This means both the upper body and lower body are used in each exercise. In the Burn and Push phases, it was either the upper body or lower body alone doing most of the work.
   Like the Burn phase, in the Lean phase you are encouraged to choose weights that are heavy enough that will make a targeted muscle reach failure, or complete fatigue, by 10 to 12 repetitions. (You can also use a resistance band.)
   And you are also meant to do each exercise slowly, lifting the weights in a concentrated, deliberate fashion.
   Johnson says it’s a method of weight training that will help build lean, sexy muscles, burn fat and help the metabolism fire.
   In Lean Circuit 1, the biceps and triceps are targeted with nine different challenging sets over the course of a 44-minute workout.
   There is, for example, the tricep extension in a runner’s lunge. Lunging forward and leaning over the front leg, an exerciser then does a tricep extension with both arms.
   The bicep curl with a hamstring curl has an exerciser putting a toning band around one ankle and under the other foot. Using a chair for balance, the foot with the band under it is pushed backward while the opposite arm is used for a bicep curl. It’s an exercise that’s absolutely murder on the hamstrings!
   The plank with a tricep extension is also challenging. One arm holds the body in a plank position (holding a push-up in the top position), while the other does a tricep extension, weight in hand. There is the option to doing the exercise on one’s knees, one that I certainly used!
   The high I always felt when doing the first two ChaLEAN Extreme phases was here again, so I’m looking forward to delving into the other Lean phase workouts.

Stay tuned to Fantastic Fitness DVDs for The Beachbody® Chronicles - a series of articles about the adventures my husband and I have using ChaLEAN Extreme®, TurboFire®, P90X® and Insanity®.
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