Beginning ChaLean Extreme: First Impressions

31 Jul


With Day 1 officially behind me, I can happily say: I am loving ChaLean Extreme!  Like in-an-excited-mood-all-morning love it.  Now… I’ve only done the fitness test and one workout, so I may not be the best judge yet… but I thought I’d give a few first impressions of the program.  I can’t wait to continue and see what the next few weeks will bring.

Initial Good Impressions:

  • The workouts have a time countdown clock on the screen (in usual beachbody fashion), so I knew exactly how long I’d be sweating this morning.  Very convenient for planning purposes.
  • The workouts are different everyday!  There is a calendar telling me exactly which workout to do when.  I love the structure, but variety.  I really hate doing the same workout each day.
  • Chalene is awesome.  She is motivational, but also sincerely sweet.  I feel like she’s just training me and not putting on a show or making a video.  I’m really looking forward to working out with her.
  • I love lifting, and that was pretty much all we did for the first workout.  LOVE.  The first workout was 35 minutes and consisted of a warm-up, several exercises (squats, shoulder presses, chest presses) in sets of 12, and a cool-down.   Perfection.
  • Holy injury prevention.  Not only can all moves be modified, but they are done slowly and correctly.  I was massively impressed with Chalene’s ability to fully explain how to do a move.  I’ve completed P90X, so I’ve done a workout or two .  Chalene explained things in a way that was straight forward without either talking down (if you’ve worked out before), or talking up (if this was your first day picking up a weight).  I’m thrilled I chose this program and if the next few workouts are similar, I think it will truly help strengthen my runner’s knee issues.
  • I’m actually excited to see what tomorrow’s workout brings.  I’ve been feeling on the burnt out side for awhile now – it’s awesome feeling jazzed about fitness.

Negative First Impression:

My biggest beef is the nutrition plan.  1300 calories is the recommended amount based on my weight.  And let me tell you folks, that’s just not very many (for me).  I did pretty well yesterday, but when I came home from work I was grumpy, irritable, and starving.  I just about bit Adam’s face off – it wasn’t pretty folks.  He did make the comment “well it’s definitely extreme.”  Hah.  Good point.

I ended up scarfing almost a whole bag of baby carrots on top of my dinner (that already put me at 1300).  I was still dying so I went with some cheese, grapes, and a whole wheat tortilla.  I ended up going over my calorie allotment yesterday.  It was an important lesson that I’d rather eat a bit more throughout the day than get to a crash/crazy lady person point.  Essentially if eating 200-400 calories more in oatmeal or fruit prevents me from eating 800 calories in cheese and crackers – that’s completely worth it!  I want to focus on whole, fresh foods – not numbers.

Additionally my goals with this program are not truly weight loss.  Sure, I’d love to lose 3 or 4 pounds (who doesn’t?).  But my main goals are fitness, muscle definition, and a trim body.  Of course I need a low enough caloric intake to make this happen, but I am not looking for any extreme weight loss (remember, that wedding dress still needs to fit, I don’t want to get it taken in!).  I’ve decided to up my calories to 1500 for today.  I’ll give it a whirl and push it up to 1600 or 1700 if that’s killing me.

I would prefer if the nutrition guide gave ratios of protein/fat/carbs and a range of calories.  I don’t do well with strict allotments.  But I’m just going to modify the best I can and keep moving forward.  I learned a lot from the P90X nutrition plan even though it was hard in the beginning, so I’m going to do my best to glean info from Chalene as well.

The good news?  At this point – no other negative thoughts.  :)

Tips to Begin

  • Print out the workout sheets!  I forgot about this one and was bummed this morning when I didn’t have them.  They are available online.
  • If you’re doing your measurements and pictures on your own, plan a little extra time.  I was surprised how long it took me to measure and photograph myself without someone around to help (and it was also hilarious/frustrating).  A little bit late to work because of it…oops. :)  But – also make sure you do take measurements and pictures…they are so inspiring at the end!
  • Watch the beginner DVD.  I actually didn’t get around to watching it until I was making breakfast this morning and it was very motivational.  I enjoyed it and should’ve started it before I began the program to get all pumped up.
  • Do your best.  I was a little disappointed that I didn’t stick to the nutrition plan entirely, but today is a new day!  Time to just press play again and use every day to get a little bit better.  It’s easy to get frustrated with a new program either by not being able to do all the exercises or following the guide.  Don’t let the frustration get in the way of keep pressing play!

So far I’m very pleased with the program, and I’m excited to keep moving forward.  I love the set-up of a 3 month program.  I will do a different workout every day, but each of the four weeks within a month will be the same.  Then the following 4 weeks will be new DVDs.  And so on.  It progressively builds and changes.  The variety is there, but consistency as well.  Perfection.

Happy Wednesday!


21 Responses to “Beginning ChaLean Extreme: First Impressions”

  1. Brittany July 31, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    WHOO I am excited for you, my cousin is sending me her Insanity dvds and I am so excited haha. My booty needs some SHRINKING!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings July 31, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      Thanks lady!!! I’m so excited too – it’s fun feeling jazzed about getting sweaty again. I cannot wait to hear about your Insanity experience!!! Yay!! Please please blog about it! And I’m sure your booty is just lovely! ;) Though I agree, some toning does always do a body good!

  2. crazycatruns July 31, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    I think it’s great to recognize that nutrition recommendations can only be a guideline. I find that I just simply need more calories than “recommended” and that I’m much healthier (and happier!) when I get them via whole foods. I know me and I know I will crash and binge with too much restriction – so why do that to myself? Yet, I fall into that trap occasionally and need the reminder. :) Glad your first few days have been doing well overall!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      Agreed – they truly are just a guideline…especially now that I’ve done this a time or two before. I know that I get very angry with little food :) An important lesson! And you are SO right – whenever I restrict too much I just go crazy. Usually with white cheddar cheezits. Or cheese in general. It’s a problem :) Glad to know I’m not the only one out there with a similar problem!!

  3. Shawn July 31, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    Awesome review! Good luck on Chalean Extreme. I did the workouts, which are pretty good, but get too repetitive for my taste after a few times. I just followed the workout plan very loosely, never really looked at the meal plan. Can’t wait to read more about your experience with it.

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      Thanks so much! So far so good, I’m really surprised at how much I like it. Hopefully I have a few weeks before it gets too repetitive for me. I’m thinking I might do yoga or other workouts on the rest days to help shake things up. Thanks for the luck :)

  4. hkzwart July 31, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    YAY! So glad you are happy with your choice! Don’t you just love Chalene?? I’m glad you are adjusting the calorie suggestion. Not sure why it’s so low. T25 recommends that I eat 1100 calories a day and there’s just absolutely NO WAY! I’d be “hangry” ALL the time if I did that. Keep adding those good calories and you’ll be better off. As much as I like Shaun T, I’ll be glad to get back to Chalene in a few weeks! :)

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

      I LOVE her! Like I can’t believe how much I love her!! It’s funny because many people told me that I would love her… but wow she’s just awesome. I can’t wait to keep going. And, she just puts me in a good mood for the day. Interesting that T25 is also on the low end for calories! I just would rather do a slow and steady thing over an extreme sort of weight loss. Maybe they’re trying to keep up with Biggest Loser! I’ve added in more calories and I’m feeling much better… a lot less hangry :) Are you doing ChaLean Extreme or something else in a few weeks?

      • hkzwart August 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

        YES! I loved starting my day with her, too! She’s addicting and mood elevating for sure. One of the things I loved about TurboFire was the more reasonable food plan. Even with the 5 Day Inferno Plan promising to “Get You Hot By the Weekend!” calories were at the 1300 mark, and I was never hungry (and lost 4 pounds!). The recipes are great, with normal ingredients and super easy prep. The lunches in particular are still some of my go-to’s. I’ll be returning to Chalene in September when I start another TurboFire Challenge Grooup. I can’t wait! Oh, and I get to hear her speak AND work out with her LIVE in November. Even better! :)

  5. Lucy @ Lucy On The Lookout July 31, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Great stuff Kelly, glad you’re pleased with it :) Quick newbie-beachbody question (I’m not even sure if these DVDs are available in the UK!) but do you have to spend a lot of money buying weights etc. for the workouts? I am definitely intrigued! (Mainly because I’m scared of the weights section in the gym, so it would be cool to be able to do it at home!). Glad you’re not beating yourself up too much re: calorie intake, as I’m sure your body needs those extras to keep kicking butt!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

      It’s pretty exciting being excited to workout :) Makes it much more enjoyable! I’m not sure if you can get them in UK – but I’m willing to bet yes? You just may have to pay a bit for shipping. When I started P90X I already had 5 lb. weights. I ended up purchasing 8 lb., 10lb., and 15 lb. weights. So now I have 4 different amounts – which I feel like is pretty good for P90X, and seems to be for ChaLean. I think you could get by with 3 different weight amounts too. My weights were about 1 dollar a lb… which I know doesn’t really help you! But essentially, they were not that expensive, and I felt that they would be an expense I would use again. I looked at it as an investment. Now I have a little weight rack too, and I love it. It just makes it that much easier for me to workout, and I can use the weights for any program I choose! I also was scared of the weight section – it’s so intimidating. I think if you got 1 or 2 different weights just to try it out you might really like it!! :)

    • hkzwart August 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      Hi Lucy! Here’s the scoop on ordering in the UK directly from Beachbody…”If you are outside of the US or Canada, we are able to process orders for most of our Programs. Please Email us at for a shipping quote and questions about ordering. Please include your shipping address and the products you are interested in purchasing. Products will be payable in US funds via major credit cards, in one payment only.” IF you end up choosing ChaLEAN Extreme, I’d be happy to add you into one of my accountability groups to help you succeed with your program! I, too, am intimidated by the weight section at the gym (or hotels!) so I love being able to lift in my own home. Kelly is spot on in terms of the weights you’d need to purchase. Let me know if you have any other questions… happy to help! :)

      • Lucy @ Lucy On The Lookout August 1, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

        Thank you! I am definitely tempted though at the moment am going to focus on running as have a few races in September, but this is definitely something I’m going to look out for maybe for the autumn/winter! I found the transformation Kelly went through really inspiring (as my body doesn’t really ‘change’ with only cardio) so it would be great to try. Especially if weights and a rack are so cheap..! Plus it’s great that I can wait until Kelly finishes ChaLean so she can tell me which she prefers out of that and P90X :)

        • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

          Hahah I love it. Well I’ll definitely be able to give you my opion on P90X vs. ChaLean… I can see the post now ;) And you’re right about the transformation. Honestly I’ve run for so long that I just thought “this is how my body looks, unless I do something crazy or surgical or starve” And yes some may argue P90X is crazy – but I found it doable and have really enjoyed the changes (both from a looks and physical perspective, you saw how my pace increased!) I’ll keep you posted as I progress – I’ve definitely been impressed with all the Beachbody products I’ve used… as you know :)

  6. MegBek July 31, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Good call on eating more! If you’re eating the right foods, it’s not going to do anything detrimental to your progress. And it’s better to feel happy and energized than grumpy because some plan told you that you can’t have 1301 calories today. Diet is 80%. Eat clean food and you have nothing to worry about :) Get it girl!

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

      Oh yeah – life is way better now! The past two days I haven’t almost killed anyone, which is success. :) I’m just not a fan of extreme weight loss methods…slow and steady does it. Thanks for the encouragement!! :)

  7. Catherine @ A Two Storey Home August 1, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    Yay! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it!! I think it’s a wise decision to up your calories by a few hundred with quality, real foods. You’re still in a weight-loss zone, but I bet you’ll feel a lot more functional :)

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

      It has been truly awesome! I’m sooo glad I went with it. I’ll be curious what my results will be like. Today and yesterday I’ve been eating more and feeling much more normal. And you’re right – I still feel like I’m in a weight-loss zone, it’s just very slow and steady. Which is great! I’m not looking to lose a ton, more just slowly get a bit tighter… I think a few hundred more will put me in that happy zone :) I know Adam appreciates it hahah! :)

  8. kathy @ vodka and soda August 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    i’m a beachbody fanatic and have done many of the programs but I HAVE NEVER FOLLOWED ANY OF THE MEAL PLANS OR adhered to a strict caloric intake and i’ve lost weight AND gained incredible muscle.

    while I’m all for clean eating and regular exercise, it’s also important to listen to your body. you can’t put on muscle if you’re eating in a big deficit and a 1300cal diet for many women is way too low. of course, if you’re very small/petite then a 1300cal may be good but i’m with you on a 1500cal diet and see what happens.

    i’m 5’4 and i eat around 1900-2000cals/day (sometimes more if i worked out extra hard that day). when i was doing p90x, i was on a 1800-1900cal target and when i was doing body beast, i bumped it up to 2000cals/day……mind you, i never tracked my cals but i eat very clean and i don’t have any processed foods/junk/sweets/desserts etc. i did track my cals for 2wks only which is how i found out how much i was eating and then ditched that. those numbers are good for reference to keep you from going over but note that you also have to listen to your body.

    when i first started doing insanity, i was on a 1200-1300 cal diet and i didn’t lose weight at all but was GAINING weight! i was also starving most of the time so my husband told me that i was eating way too little. when i bumped up my calories to 1500-1600, i started losing weight again.

    so listen to your body in addition to using those numbers as a guideline.

    sorry for this long comment :(

    • kelly @ racesrepsramblings August 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

      haha no worries! I totally agree (and I can totally relate to long comments :)). You are so right about clean eating – honestly I think that’s the most important part. I’d rather fill my body with good stuff, then “okay” stuff that is only 100 calories. I’ve been using the ChaLean recommendations as a guide, but have found myself really listening to my body this week. It’s a tough thing to learn, but slow and steady is much better than a crash diet that is unsustainable!!

    • hkzwart August 4, 2013 at 8:40 am #

      Great tips on calories and balance! You are right on. And I’ve been doing a lot of reading/research lately on metabolism which is making me re-think how I look at food and calories.

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