As with all phases in the CheLEAN Extreme program, the Burn Phase is 4 weeks long, with 3 burn circuits per week (there are cardio and ab workouts, but my focus is only strength training). Each burn circuit has 9 exercises with 10-12 per exercise and lasts about 30 minutes. Each repetition is intended to be done slow and methodic. On the last three exercises of each circuit, Chalene does a breakdown set – this involves doing your 10-12 reps, waiting 10 seconds, then doing 3 very slow “extreme” reps. The goal here is to break down the muscle fibers after you’ve used the muscles. I owned 3 lb. and 5 lb. weights and purchased a set of 8 lb. weights before beginning the program. I have never had much arm strength, so I knew I had to start out very low, and didn’t think I would need much heavier than that for the extent program.
Most of the exercises include more than one muscle group. For example, you may do sumo squats and bicep curls simultaneously. The workouts seem to go by really quickly and they are very upbeat. I wish there was an option for cues only, like in the P90X program, because I get tired of hearing the same commentary each week. Besides that, I am overall happy with the workouts.
In my first week, I was using the 3lb. weights for the warmup and the 5 lb. and 8 lb. weights for the exercises. By the second week, I began using Nick’s set of 12 lb. weights in a few of the exercises. I was surprised at how fast I was able to build up to such a heavy weight. At this rate, I knew I was going to need more weights by the next phase of the program. By the fourth week I was using 8 lb. and 12 lb. weight for nearly all of the exercises.
Nick had purchased Universal Adjustable Weights when we began the program. I debated purchasing a set for myself because I just didn’t feel like I would get much use out of them. Although, a quick calculation changed my mind completely. Not including the weights I already owned, if I increased my weights to 35 lbs. or more buying additional weights in 5 pound increments, the weight set was more than justified. Upon completion of the Burn Phase, I ordered the Universal Adjustable Weight set. My intention is to use the new weights in the Push Phase.
With all of the weight increases, I noticed my arms are beginning to have some definition. I measured myself prior to starting the program and after the Burn Phase I took the measurements again. There was no substantial loss, although I did lose approximately ¼” in each arm. I have also tracking my weight throughout the program. I haven’t lost any weight, but my body fat percent has decreased a little. I am not worried about the lack weight loss, because I remember when I started P90X I gained about 5 pounds. I have no doubt that as I begin to tone and build muscle, my body will reshape. I am looking forward to the Push Phase.