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Chalene Extreme Review

I’m a big fan of Chalene Johnson’s workouts.  I loved, loved loved Turbo Jam.  They were such fun workouts.  So as soon as I heard Chalene was coming out with a new extreme workout I could not wait to get my hands on it.  I got myself on the email list and waited and waited.  Finally the workout came out.  Woohoo!

So I got the workout.  Right now I am in the last phase of the workout, the Lean Phase.  I just have to say Turbo Jammers – this aint your old Turbo Jam.  This workout is for people that really want to push to their bodies much further than Turbo Jam can.  Chalene Extreme incorporates weight training circuits and cardio interval days.  Originally I started documenting the workouts, but sorry I stopped doing that – I just got too busy. So this is my run down of the workout.  Now first I have to disclose, if you didn’t already know, I am a beachbody coach.  I started the Beachbody Coach home business right around the same time as I got Chalene Extreme.  I am sort of biased to Beachbody workouts, but in all honesty I don’t love them all and I do enjoy other peoples workouts as well.  So hopefully, with that being said I can just tell you what I think of the workout.

Chalene Extreme

Ok, so you have 3 phases, Burn, Push and Lean – each are 30 days.  You will need weights or resistance bands.  My personal preference is weights.  I had quite a bit of weights at home so that is what I used.  Chalene uses Select Techs by Bowflex, which are extremely expensive, but I really wished I had purchased them because you really will end up using a variety of weight based on your own strength and Select Tech’s increase in 2 1/2 pound increments, which would have been handy – as well as the fact that I have tons of weights lined up near my tv vs one set of weights.  But that is neither here nor there – my weights did the job.  I have had tons of people ask this question, How heavy of  weights does a woman need.  So far I have not needed anything heavier and 30 pounds.  Most exercises, depending on the body part, I end up using 8 to 20 pounds.  Depending on your strength, I think if you have up to at least 20 pounds you will be good, if you had up to 30 pound weights even better.  Men, sorry I am not sure on the weights for you, maybe up to 50 particularly during the Push phase.

The burn phase and the lean phase use combo moves and 10 to 12 reps.  An example of combo moves would be lunging while doing a lateral raise.  So in keeping with the honesty, non biased portion of the review.  I am not a fan of combo moves.  I am more a fan of supersetting the moves.  For those that don’t know what a super set is – instead of the combo lunge and lateral raise at the same time, you would do a set of lunges and then a set of lateral raises.  The reason I prefer super sets is because I can do much heavier weight on leg movements than shoulder exercises.  But if I combo them my legs will suffer somewhat as I will have to pick a weight that I can do proper form for the shoulders.  Also I find combo moves a bit awkward.  That being said, I still did them and some were good and some annoyed me but I did find most effective.  I guess if Chalene were to come to me and say hey Julie how would you improve my workouts (as if she would ever do that – considering we don’t know each other) Super Sets would be my answer.

So that was Burn and Lean – by the way the moves although combo for both phases, are completely different – so that is fantastic.  The exercises are quite interesting as well.  One really good combo move that was very challenging was a plank with a tricep kickback.  Combo moves like that were very cool.

In between the Burn and Lean phase was the push phase.  This was the phase where you use much heavier weight – only 6 to 8 reps.  I loved this phase.  I felt like this phase really pushed the results and on top of that…No combo moves.  I could really concentrate on form which is so important all the time but especially when you are lifting heavy.

The Cardio Portion of Chalene Extreme

Finally there is the cardio days – Burn Intervals and Burn it off.  Both are interval type of cardio workouts which I really prefer.  I am not a fan of cardio so I prefer to get bang for my buck and find intervals to be the most effective cardio you can do.  Even if you love Chalene and Turbo Jam – these interval workouts are killer.  The first week I did them I couldn’t do them without stopping and walking, I think I even had to sit down once (that was hard to admit), but that was only in the first week.  Now I do them like a champ and they are still very challenging for me but they are good!  Real quick – Burn intevals you will do a hard anaerobic drill followed by a recovery drill (but the recovery drill is a light weight based “active recovery” exercise).  Burn It Off  is 5 hard anerobic drills then a 1 minute rest and then 6 more hard anaerobic drills – I did this one today – darn if it isn’t still a killer.

Ok so there you have it.  I hope you found this helpful, particulaly if you were trying to decide to purchase the program.  If you have any other questions regarding this workout please feel free to contact me anytime.

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22 Responses to “Chalene Extreme Review”

  1. I just started my second week in the Burn phase and have gained 2 lbs. Is this normal as my hope was to lose around 8lbs when it is all said and done. I eat very healthy and have actually been paying closer attention to my diet since beginning the program. Also, drinking alot of water.

    Thanks for your response!

  2. Beth,
    My answer is a definate maybe – how’s that for an answer? I think the typical response would be your lifting weights so you are putting on muscle. Truth be told you don’t put muscle on quite that fast. So let take this further. Hopefully you took your measurements before you started. If your weight is up but your measurements are the same or down then all is well. If your measurements are up a bit then we have a problem, for which we need to look at diet. I would be journaling what you are eating. There are days i think I am eating very carefully but my weight goes up – if I journal I know exactly what I’m eating and sometimes a little handful of this or that makes a difference.

    Finally I want to say be sure to weigh yourself first thing in the morning and naked as a jaybird :) . Well you really don’t have to be naked but the less clothes the better. But the scale only tells weight. Sometimes your muscle are holding water especially if you are lifting so that is why you really want to keep track of the measurements they will be more telling of what is going on.

    So measure, journal, and keep pushing play. If you want to email me privately you are welcome to – I would be happy to help you.

  3. So, I just received my DVD set, and guidebook. I’m not sure what I’m missing, but I don’t see instructions on what workout to do each day? I read the guidebook and watched the burn basic DVD…now what?
    thanks, I appreciate your time!

  4. Julie,

    You should have received two guidebooks. One that is the food guidebook and the other called Muscle Burns Fat guidebook. In there on p34 it tells you exactly what to do on what days. If for some reason you did not get this with your order please contact Beachbody customer service if you ordered through them.

    Hopefully this answered your question – if not please let me know.

  5. I am on week four of the Burn Phase. I cannot believe the difference already in my body! When I started & measured my body fat it was at 35.4%. I will be taking photos and measurements this Sunday (28TH) so how do I calculate my body fat % lost in 30 days? I used the calipers to determine my first initial measurement. Do I subtract my new number from the old? Help. One other comment, I don’t particularly like the workout on Saturday, Burn It Off & Recharge so I do Cardio Party 2 instead. Is that a no no, or can I continue w/ substitute?

  6. Nikster,

    All you are going to do is to do is use your calipers and take your body fat again. If you were 35.4% and this time you are 30.4 you will know you lost 5%. By the way congrats on sticking with your program and seeing results.

    So in terms of Burn it off and recharge vs cardio party 2 – Well I love the turbo jam cardio parties – I’m particularly fond of cardio party 1 myself – I don’t necessarily think it is a no no -but I do have to say that Burn it off is so much more challenging and alot more interval like that I would have to say I would do it. It is a killer but you need to challenge your body that way – and intervals are the most effective form of cardio you can do – I call it the only cardio that is bang for the buck. The recharge – I will be honest – I dont like it because I am not a fan of yoga – but it does have it’s benefits. Right now I am doing P90X and it has YogaX which is 90 minutes of Yoga (Yuk) and I tell you I absolutely detest it – but I think it is beneficial so I make myself do it – maybe not every time but some of the time. So here is my thought – try to get the burn it off in and the recharge if you can – every once in a while sub in cardio party 2 – heck if you want real benefit – you can do a 2 a day – Burn it off in the morn and cardio party later in the day – Ok if I pushed my luck there I apologize.

    Keep up the good work and stay in touch with me so I get to keep up with your progress.

  7. Julie,

    Thanks for your response.

    I am now in week two of the “PUSH” phase and it’s really pushing me to the limit! Did you ever experience lower back pain when doing some of the exercises? I know for a fact I’m doing them correctly, sticking my booty out etc., but sometimes the lower back pain I feel makes me have to stop. I thought maybe focusing more on my abs would help as I know strong abs help with a strong lower back. Also, is it just me or do you feel like your not getting a complete workout when your done with a circuit day. I sweat but feel that 35-40 min just isn’t enough? One other thing, are you (were you) hungry all of the time in PUSH phase? I find I’m starving all the time! I eat a lot of protein and snacks but feel the need to eat (good things of course) all the time. Sorry I’m bombarding you with all my questions!

    My profile; 41 in Aug., 5′ 4″, 155 live in Missoula MT.

    Look forward to hearing back from you!

    Nikki (aka: Nikster)

  8. Nikki,

    Lots of questions are ok – as a Beachbody coach that is what I am here for. As for lower back pain – I have the same problem when we do the bent over type exercises – it’s one thing to do one but if you are bent over for multiple exercises it is hard on the back. I think for me I just have a weaker back so I have to come out of the exercise and go back into it. Unfortunately the lower back doesn’t get worked very often it tends to be weak. I personally loved the push phase. Be sure you are using a weight that really challenges you. I did feel like I got a good enough workout though. I am a big fan of 35-45 minute workouts – call me lazy :) . If your into longer harder workouts your next workout after CE should be P90X.

    As for hunger – sadly I am hungry all the time regardless. Just be sure you putting good stuff in you. Sounds like you are right on with protein. And I am here to tell you no one got fat off of overdosing on veggies and some fruit ;) Most exercise/nutrition programs recommend 6 smaller meals – so as long as you are not just eating junk you should be ok. Are you following Chalene’s meal program? Have you tried Shakeology. I am a big fan of Shakeology. In any case, sounds like you are doing fine. Keep up the good work and feel free to keep the questions coming.

    By the way at the top of the page you will see a sign up for a personal coach – that will also sign you up for my newsletter as well. If you have a good coach no worries, just enjoy the newsletter.

  9. Hi,
    I wanted to know if I can use this program while I am pregnant. Please advice so I can order the program before the summer ends.

  10. Joann,

    It really depends on your level of fitness right now. If you have not been working out much then Chalean Extreme is not the program for a pregnant woman. If you have been consistently working out you can continue and you should be more than able to do CE. You may have to modify things particularly the interval cardio portion. Always listen to your body. When I was pregnant (many years ago) I worked out through the whole pregnancy.

  11. Hi,

    I LOVE that you did this review! It’s really helped me in the decision. I did P90..before the X was added a while back and had great success, then I went back to eating cake…and here I am again. lol. In your opinion, which one would you recommend? P90x or this one? I’m sure they both give you amazing results, I’m just torn between the two and would like another opinion. Thanks!

  12. Calandra,

    The two are quite different. I have done both. It really depends on you and your commitment to a program. P90X is a tried and true program that if done all the way through including the food portion you will absolutely get results. That being said, the workouts are longer and harder in my opinion. Chalene is awesome – and motivating. I have met Tony in person – and he is the real deal. I actually liked his program even more after I met him because I then understood the personality that you see in the videos, he is funny, goofy but really knows his stuff. I think if you are into working hard and can commit to P90X that would probably be the way to go, but if you are a person that dreads hour workouts then you would not find success. You have to choose something that you like and will stick with otherwise it will be another dvd sitting on a shelf. You can go check out all your choices at If you purchase through my online store I will automatically become your coach and can continue to help you out. By the way I am working on a retail site that should be pretty cool so look for that guys in the very near future.

  13. Hi Julie,
    I love that you posted this review! All of my friends are doing P90X, but I know Chalene and know that won’t get tired of listening to her, so I chose to do CE. I have started the Burn Phase of CE and didn’t feel that it was enough time and sweat for me, so I have added in a Turbo Jam before the Burn workout. Is this a good or a bad thing?

  14. or and ps I am only doing Turbo on the phase 1,2, & 3 days, not the days that I am doing cardio intervals

  15. Rebecca,

    Both Chalean Extreme and P90X are great workouts. You have to choose any workout based on what you will stick with and if that is Chalene than great. I think there is nothing wrong with mixing in Turbo Jam workouts with CE. In all honesty you can mix it up with anything, but since you seem to love Chalene Turbo Jam is a logical choice. Besides that Turbo Jam is just plain fun. Keep up the good work and stay consistent.

  16. i just wanted to know if i could do the chalene extreme while breastfeeding?

  17. Well that is a good question aisha. I am not sure – i think if you have been working out throughout your pregnancy than probably. I would be mindful of making sure you are taking in enough to produce milk. I think with any workout you have to be aware of how your body is responding (both good and bad). I would also consult your dr. But if it is ok for you to workout then ChaleanExtreme is a great workout.

  18. I have used P90X and now I am doing CE. P90X was to exausting. I would do the lean and then switch to the regular program. I do like CE because it’s less time. Can i mix it up by doing 90 day’s of the P90X and then CE? Will my results differ each time. I do like that CE does more leg work outs. This is where I need more help. Thank you.

  19. You can mix it up Lori. Both workouts are great but the best workout is the one you will stick to.

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  21. It does make sense all you say. In our company where I work as website designer we tend to keep a similar perspective even to our internal work (not that it needs to be exactly the same or for the exact same thing, however the point is there).

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