ChaLEAN Extreme Preview

I’m going to be terribly ADHD this month and switch programs mid-month. I just got BeachBody’s ChaLEAN Extreme program (retail price $119.95) yesterday, and given how packed my gym has been this month and how little free time I have, the 30-minute workouts in the package are very appealing to me right now. Despite the admittedly goofy name, the program actually focuses on heavy strength training for 30 minutes three days per week in combination with more cardio-based workout sessions on off days to produce results. It also comes with a nutrition plan with 80+ moderate carb recipes divided into three phases to match with the three month-long workout phases of the program: Burn, Push, and Lean.

ChaLEAN Extreme

Workout preferences for me are kind of cyclical, and at this time I am just not feeling motivated to do 60-minute workouts of any kind. This is killing my motivation to commit to another round of RCR-style circuit workouts, even if they ARE with heavier weights, and it’s also making a full cycle of P90X (which also runs 60 minutes per workout on average) really unappealing. Frankly, I’m unenthusiastic about my workouts this month, committed to a LOT of non-exercise projects and work, and ready to stop thinking so much about things and just go on autopilot for a couple of months. ChaLEAN Extreme looks like it is a step down from P90X in difficulty and intensity, but higher than the Turbo Jam, Hip Hop Abs, and Slim in Six BeachBody products. The lifting tempo appears to be slower than what is used in P90X, and the rep range is 10-12 reps for most exercises. Looking at the calendar, the workout schedule includes 3 strength circuit days, 2 interval style cardio days (one also includes ab work), and 2 rest days per week.

I’m reinstating my lunch break walks at a minimum, with skating on days when I feel the urge and the weather is dry. I’ll start the ChaLEAN Extreme program with the fitness assessment and first Burn phase 1 workout tonight and schedule in the rest of the program in my workout journal. I have to finish reviewing the diet and workout schedule during my lunch break, but hey, I can do that while walking. 😉 If the diet seems reasonable, I will give it a go with some protein source substitutions to keep it more in line with my semi-vegetarian goals for this year.

So here we go with the contents of the ChaLEAN Extreme basic package:

  • 5 Workout DVDs and an instructional DVD to show you proper lifting form with free weights and resistance tubes (in a thin pak folder with an additional empty slot in case you purchase the add-on workout disc)
  • “Muscle Burns Fat™” Guidebook – This is a printed book, not a digital file, and contains an overview of the program, the reasoning behind its design, lots of convincing verbiage about the importance of lifting heavy weights to build muscle which will in turn burn fat, motivating before and after photos of the most dramatic transformations from the program’s test group, workout calendars showing exactly which workouts to perform for the three transformation phases of the program and the ongoing maintenance phase, pages for your progress photos and stats, and exercise descriptions and photos.
  • Fat Burning Food Guide – Another printed book that includes 80+ recipes, the ChaLEAN Extreme three-phase nutrition plan, and lots of pretty pictures of some tasty looking high-protein meals
  • Fat Calipers – These come with an instruction card printed with male and female charts for determining body fat from a single suprailiac skinfold.
  • Thigh Toner Band – Looks like a giant flat rubber band about 6″ wide. I’ve seen similar items sold in the pilates section of Target.
  • Chalene’s Personal Motivational Audio CD – More explanation about how Chalene Johnson came to design this program as she hit her mid-30s and discovered that her body was changing — heavy cardio-style workouts were not enough and building muscle became key to keeping her metabolism fired up. Also includes motivational “You can do it!” messages, a list of behaviors that fit people exhibit, and strategies and tips for getting past roadblocks.
  • “Healthy Eats” and Kitchen Makeover DVD (on the same DVD as the workout instruction videos) – Tips and techniques for cleaning up your eating and kitchen as well as low-key ways to eat on plan at any restaurant.

The DVD folio, Muscle Burns Fat guidebook, and Fat Burning Food Guide all fit into a handy cardboard slipcase to keep everything tidy and in one place.

Additional equipment needed for the workouts is pretty basic: Pairs of 5-30 pound dumbbells for women and 12-40 pound dumbbells for men, or the equivalent in resistance tubing (the kind with handles). I’ll be using my adjustable Powerblock dumbbells, and the folks in the videos appear to be using Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbells. Since the instruction video didn’t show anyone doing pull-ups or chin-ups as they do in P90X, I’m assuming that this program does not integrate those exercises.

I’ll get my starting stats this weekend and post my impressions of the Burn phase of the program as I complete each workout this week.

43 thoughts on “ChaLEAN Extreme Preview

  1. I linked here from over at RCR! I was looking at the Beachbody site the other day and saw the new ChaLean program. I have about 3 weeks left until my RCR completion date, and I’m debating on starting the ChaLEAN program next. I’ve tried P90X a few times, and still own the set, but just can’t handle 60+ minute workouts in the morning. I’ll definitely be reading along with your ChaLean progress to see if it’s worthwhile – a big thanks for writing reviews/info on it!

  2. Good Times Maggie. I just got Chalean Extreme too and already have gone through 4 of the workouts. Started last Sunday…I already see changes in my body. Woot! It is a different type of lifting than I have done before – it is really slow and it seems to work. Some people are calling it Metabolic Resistance Training (aka good for fat burning ala Alwyn Cosgrove). Good luck with the program. I am looking forward to your reviews!

  3. Glad to see your trying the Chalean Extreme program. My husband and I are on Week 4 and are loving it – and we also get to avoid the New Year’s rush at the gym. Her personality is energetic (but not annoying) and the program encourages you to lift heavy which I like. I’m curious to see what you think of the program – so far I give it two thumbs up!

    No pull-ups required, by the way.

  4. Hey Maggie! I am glad you got the Chalean extreme. I hope it workouts out for you and I loved your write up about it. I do like that it has shorter workouts than the P90X, that makes it easier to do and to stick to it during these busy times. I guess shorter workouts are a thing of the future since people who are working 40+ hours a week find it hard to get a workout in the gym. Just like you, my gym is packed, I kinda hope people stop going there soon 😉

    We just got an LA Fitness down the road from us but since its packed I think working out at home is the next best option.

    Thanks for the great review of the ChaLean Extreme workout program!

  5. Hey Maggie, I too am doing ChaLean Extreme, I’m on week 2 and have already dropped 5 lbs and am below 130 for the first time in years…..I felt clumsy at the workouts the first week but feel much better form and a much better workout going through the 2nd week. I’ve been doing P90x once or twice a year for the past few years and I to was looking for something that didn’t take 60 to 90 minutes. Looking forward to seeing your views on the program.

  6. I need to get some weight work into my routine and have been considering the ChaLean Extreme program. I’m looking forward to reading your impressions before I decide!

  7. Maggie,
    I just ordered chaLEAN Extreme and I’m really looking forward to getting and starting it. I have completed P90X 3 times now and feel like I’ve really plateaued (which is ironic considering the theory behind P90X!). I have downloaded the P90X workout sheets from your site before (really convenient, btw) and was wondering if you had planned on posting the ones from the chaLEAN workouts? They would be nice to have. Thanks, and I look forward to your response!

  8. Hi Maggie,

    How do you find time in a day to do all this?!! Love your site – thank you! I just got the 13 dvd’s of p90x from Ebay and no booklets came with it. I’m lost as to how start. I’ve printed your calendar and work out logs (thanks!) but still have no “road map” for what the process is to confuse muscles and plan as per this plan’s strengths…help please!

    Sincere thanks,

    Kim

  9. Kim, if you just follow the workouts as scheduled in the calendar, you will be getting all the benefits of the muscle confusion from the program. The additional exercise guide isn’t worth bothering with since it just writes up the exercises already demonstrated in the workouts (zzzzzzzzzzz…I cracked it open once and have not bothered with it again). The nutrition guide was not earth-shattering either–take your pick of bodybuilding style nutrition plans at around 1600-1800 calories per day, and you are good to go: Zone, South Beach, Body for Life/Eating for Life, Abs Diet, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. They are all pretty much the same thing in the end.

  10. Maggie,
    Any word on if or when you’ll be posting the digital forms for chaLEAN extreme? If not, do you have any suggestions as to how I can find these? I don’t have means by which to do them myself. Thank you SO much!
    Sincerely,
    Craig

  11. HELP!! I bought the Chalean Extreme from some fly-by-night ebay knock-off place, and, of course, it didn’t come with the calendar or the resisitance band (I’ve already got one anyway). Does someone know where I can find the workout calendar for these DVDs? Thanks alot!

    Great blog, btw. It’s gratifying to see people in my situation who simply do not have the 60 minutes to commit each day to P90X, but are still dedicated to staying in shape. Sounds like my tribe. thanks again!

  12. Maggie,
    I have recently decided to take my nutrition and exercise to a new level. I am trying to learn more about them and APPLY what I learn. I have invested in other fitness books and exercise dvds before that have ended up on a shelf. I was in b/w the chaLEAN extreme and p90x but ended up ordering the P90x dvds. Now I am waiting for the delivery. I also have done BFL/eating for life, the firm, abs diet, burn the fat feed the muscle. I am wondering what your thoughts are about turbulence training and how it compares to burn the fat/feed the muscle and looking forward to your progress and comments on the ChaLEAN workouts.
    Cibele

  13. hi maggie,
    your site is great! it really helped me decide on which workout program to buy. i noticed you may have a workout schedule for Chalean Extreme and wonder if you were going to post it or could email? thanks so much and thanks for all your greagt postings!!
    nicole

  14. I’ve been doing Chalean Extreme for 3 months. I went to Florida after 3 months and wore a bathing suit with pride! Love the workout! It is circuit and tough enough to challenge. The other thing is that I can continue to up the weights and cycle the workouts so it will be good for a long time. I’m excited about the difference it has made for me!

  15. Hello all, gr8 reading the posts,i bought my chalean from a yard sale the other day, and it didnt come w/ the food guide can someone plzzzzzzz helpme find how to get one, ive called the site and the operator said she dont think they sell it seperately, i ve looked everywhere and dont want to have to buy a new chalean just for the guide, plz let me know if anyone can help me, thx. Dee

  16. I also do not have the workout calendar, but I just got my chalean extreme today, and I want to start immediately, but do not know how to schedule the workouts. Can someone help me please? Is it cardio and then lifting with a rest day or lifting then cardio with a rest day? Also, is the cardio included too? Help!

  17. I do not have the calenders. I don’t know what I should be doing. Could someone help me please.

  18. I’m also looking for the food guide (got Chalean Extreme from some cheapy online outlet, it came with the books but they are NOT the same, they are more like pamphlets!) Anyway…here’s a calendar for those who need it!

    Burn Phase – (first 30 days)

    Burn Circuit 1
    Rest day
    Burn Circuit 2
    Burn Intervals & Ab Burner
    Burn Circuit 3
    Burn It off & Recharge
    Rest day.
    Burn It off & Recharge(Day 29)
    Track Results (Day 30)

    Push Phase(2nd 30 days)

    Push Circuit 1
    Rest Day
    Push Circuit 2
    Burn Intervals & Ab Burner (during week 3- this changes to Burn Intervals & Extreme Abs
    Push Circuit 3
    Burn it Off & Recharge
    Rest day
    Burn It off & Recharge(Day 29)
    Track Results(Day 30)

    Lean Phase(3rd 30 days)

    Lean Circuit 1
    Rest day
    Lean Circuit 2
    Lean Intervals & Extreme Abs
    Lean Circuit 3
    Burn It off & Recharge
    Rest day
    Burn It Off & Recharge(day 29)
    Track your results(day 30)

    Lean for Life Phase

    Week 1
    Burn Circuit 1
    Rest Day
    Push Circuit 2
    Burn Intervals & Extreme Abs
    Lean Circuit 1
    Burn it Off & Recharge
    Rest Day

    Week 2
    Burn Circuit 2
    Rest Day
    Push Circuit 3
    Burn Intervals & Ab Burner
    Lean Circuit 3
    Burn it Off & Recharge
    Rest Day

    Week 3
    Burn Circuit 3
    Rest Day
    Push Circuit 1
    Burn Intervals & Extreme Abs
    Lean Circuit 2
    Burn it Off & Recharge
    Rest Day

    Week 4
    Burn Circuit 1
    Rest Day
    Push Circuit 1
    Burn Intervals & Ab Burner
    Lean Circuit 3
    Burn it Off & Recharge
    Rest Day
    Burn it Off & Recharge

  19. OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH PHYLLIS! YOU’RE THE BEST!!!! I also got a pamphlet version of the Food & Muscle Burns Fat Guidebook off eBay. I even tried contacting beachbody.com to ask them if I could buy a copy of the workout calendar, & the lady I spoke with didn’t have a clue what I was talking about! I about lost all hope until I found this site!

  20. You’re welcome!
    I’ve just about given up hope on finding the Food Guide without buying the whole system over again! 😉 But hey, that’s what we get for trying to save a few bucks!! I understand the diet is different based on your weight and other factors…a little too involved for anyone to really post it. So, I guess that’s a lost cause! But luckily, some people have posted the calendars over at beachbody.com. 🙂

  21. hi all,
    i am new and needed the calendar. I have the food guide which I dont need because I am on South Beach…do you guys want me to scan them from work and email PDFs?

  22. I am also new to this workout and ordered a cheaper version that didn’t come with a calendar. If anyone could e-mail me a pdf version I would appreciate it. I have just started and so far really like this workout.

  23. I am about to start the CE program, but want to get the weights first. I have been reading MANY reviews/comments about it and am somewhat excited about it. There have been very few negative responses, so that is great! It’s good for me to read the posts and I thank you all for posting! Stay healthy!

  24. Hey – I just bought a small version of ChaLEAN Extreme and I wondering if anyone can tell me what workouts I should do for maintenance when I’m finished the whole program. If anyone could let me know that would be great! Thanks!

  25. Hi, Just purchased Chalean and also received the mini pamphlets. Could someone email a pdf full version of the guides with the workout calendar.
    Thank You!!

  26. I’m in the same boat as many of you .. received a pamphlet version and have no idea where to start with the workouts. Thanks SO MUCH to Phyllis for posting that. Now I am searching for the nutrition guide..can someone hook me up too please? 🙂 Thank you!

  27. I would be really grateful for anyone to email me a pdf file on the calendar and the muscle burns fat guidebook. I took the ebay approach to and only have the pamphlets. I’ve done just 2 of the workouts and I already love it!
    Anyone that can help- I would really appreciate it!!!!

  28. I ordered a cheap version too. Could someone email me a PDF of the guidebook and diet book? I would really appreciate it.

  29. Tamara,
    Does the food guide seem helpful and easy to follow? If so, could you scan them to a PDF and post them or email them to me? I’ve been doing the workout for a week now, in my own sequence because I bought it on ebay and it didn’t come with all of the stuff. I now have the calendar, jut need the food guide! Thanks
    Missy

  30. Hi – does anybody have the fitness guide and food guide to email to me? I have the rest of the goodies, just missing those 2. Thanks!

  31. Gosh, am I glad I stumbled across this website! I. like a lot of you got my set off of e-bay and got the pamphlet style books! I would love it if someone could send pdf’s of the fitness guide and food guide! lherbst@orangelake.com
    Thanks so much!

  32. Hi there — not to add to the pile (although I know I am) — could I pleasepleaseplease ask someone from above to e-mail me the Chalean guidebook, nutrition guide, and calendar? I also followed the penny-wise, pound-foolish route of the cheap eBay vendor. (Indeed, you get what you pay for… lesson learned.) Thanks a ton in advance.

  33. Hi. I feel like I’m a repeat here of everyone else. We all got our great deals on the Chalean extreme workout but the calendar did not come with it! Could someone please email me the caldendar? Thank you a ton!!!!

  34. Hi everyone,

    Like a lot of you, I also purchased from e-bay and only got the pamplet versions of the guidebooks. I’d really appreciate it if anyone who has access a pdf version, could email it to me at debbg@shaw.ca. I’m even willing to pay for it but I haven’t been able to find them anywhere without buying the whole dvd set again. Thanks so much!

  35. any luck getting the pdf versions? the pot is getting bigger with those of us with the “pamphlet” versions of the guidebooks.

  36. The nutrition guide and workout book are both rather too long to scan as PDFs unless you are A) un(der)employed with no hobbies, B) completely OCD, and/or C) a much bigger philanthropist than the average person. 😉

    I realize that a lot of you are completists, but trust me, the nutrition guide is ABSOLUTELY NOT NECESSARY TO OBTAIN RESULTS. Pick ANY bodybuilding style meal plan based on 5-6 meals per day, keep calories between 1400-1800, eat most of your carbs before 3 pm, and you are good to go.

    Body-for-Life, Eating for Life, South Beach, the Zone Diet, the Eat Clean Diet, and the Abs Diet all qualify.

    If you are familiar with the other Beachbody products and have the nutrition guides from those, that will work, too.

    As far as the workout guide goes, the only part of it that I ever refer to is the calendar. The rest of the guide is *supposed* to give you spaces to write down the weights you use for each exercise each week…but whoever put the guide together somehow never bothered to include spaces for that! The CLX workout guide is a major editing fail, alas.

    I will take a look at the program again this weekend, however, and write up a summary of the nutrition program and create a spreadsheet log for the workouts to help everyone out.

    Do not ask me to scan the books however. I have a full-time job and a LOT of hobbies, my OCD doesn’t extend to spending hours over a flat bed scanner, and I’m not THAT nice. 😉

  37. I went the cheaper route for my CE also and am looking for the pdf files also, I’ll keep looking on the net, but if anyone here finds it first, email me please @
    panemon44@hotmail.com

    though I do have the p90 meal plan, but would they compare to CE? it looks like they have you eat more as the workouts are more intense than CE…

    thanks

  38. I just want to thank everybody so much-like many of you I only received the pamphlet versions of the guidebooks (oh well, the workouts are really what matters.) For those without a calender there is a post higher on the wall that lists it out. (thank you Phyllis :)) Good luck to everybody working out.

    Also other great diet and recipe tips can come from any of Jillian Michaels’ books (biggest loser trainer) and they can be found at your local bookstore or library. Good luck

  39. THANK ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR POSTING. I ALSO PURCHASE THE CHEAPER VERSION WITH THE BOOKLETS. HELP!! CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EMAIL ME A WORKOUT CALENDAR? TO SAIL485@YAHOO.COM. VERY MUCH APPRECIATE IT. I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START. WISH YOU ALL GREAT SUCCESSFOR ALL THOSE ALREADY STARTING CE.

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