Tag Archives: ChaLean Extreme

Sometimes All You Need is a Break

6 Nov

After returning from my whirlwind Bachelorette weekend I was excited to get started with P90X.  After finishing 90 days of ChaLean Extreme on Friday, I was pumped and ready for the next challenge.  Well… insert a little bit of standby travel drama and suddenly it’s Tuesday morning before I’m back home for a workout.  All my plans to complete my fitness test and my first whole week of P90X sort of crumbled.  Suddenly I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store (being delayed 24 hours can put quite a kink in the week!), and I needed more days in the week to get my schedule accomplished.  Throw in sleep deprivation from a fun filled amazing weekend (yes, worth it ;)), and I had the recipe for complete P90X failure.

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One of my fav bachelorette gifts. Oh the perks of getting married in winter!

Instead of following my own advice of waiting until you’re really ready to begin P90X, I just jumped in and tried to stay afloat.  There was a bit more sinking than swimming so I decided to redub the week “Pre-P90X week.”  And I’m so glad I did!  This translated to finishing 3 of the workouts which started to get my body and brain used to the intensity and length.  I also got the fit test out of the way (umm so much weaker when I don’t have Adam to compete against encourage me).  I managed to stay pretty active, but also allowed myself time to rest and relax from the weekend.  I took a few glorious days to sleep in and not feel guilt free about my workout.

This was my best “break week” yet!  Mainly because it was a break week of moderation.  I still worked out, but not every day.  This left me feeling refreshed, but not uber lethargic from no workouts at all.  Sometimes when I take a week or two off, I just totally jump off the wagon and IT’S SO HARD to get back on.  Moderation break week = awesome. Additionally, food-wise,  I enjoyed some Halloween splurges that were fun, without going overboard (which is sometimes what happens when I allow myself a break day or week).  This nice moderation allowed me to get more excited about P90X, but allow some freedom… the perfect blend.  Everything in moderation as my Mom always says!

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Yes I will enjoy this cupcake in moderation.

This week I ‘started’ P90X strong and I’m feeling great about it.  I got my chopping party in on Sunday and have my food ready for the week (YUM!  I forgot how much I enjoyed eating by post-it note).  With my measurements and fit test out of the way, I’ve really been able to focus on the workouts.  Perfection.

It’s fun working out again with Tony, he really is pretty ridiculous.  So far the longer workouts aren’t killing me yet, but it’s definitely an adjustment (let’s just say I’ve been running late all week).  So far I have completed Chest and Back (push-up city), replaced Plyo with ChaLean Intervals (my knees are still bugging me, and I softly rolled my ankle last week in rehearsal… don’t even want to talk about it. ), and did Shoulders and Arms this morning.  Tomorrow brings 1.5 hours of yoga. Yikes.

I will say folks… I’m sore.  Even though I’ve been doing ChaLean Extreme, it’s amazing how different exercises bring out different muscles. This is why I love variety!  There is truly no end in sight to pushing my body.  I guess I thought at a certain point I’d have more trouble getting sore… simply not the case!  Hmm.. I wonder what it’s like for professional athletes??  Do you guys still get sore when you switch to a new workout?

In other news, just 3 weeks until White Christmas opens!  I’ve been tapping, dancing, singing, and acting my little heart out every night.  Things have sure been busy (most nights eating dinner in my car, thank goodness for food prep).  I constantly feel my to-do list growing (hello thank you notes!) and my time shrinking!  I imagine the poor little blog may suffer a bit, but I’ll do my best to document my progress with P90X (and of course the wedding, we all know that’s my favorite part!).  Just know I send my love even if I send no posts :) In two weeks I’ll see my sports med doc for ankle/knee issues, looks like I’ll be facing my demons after all.  A bit nervous about what he’ll say about my running future.  Say a little prayer.

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The whole group heading to do some promotional photos!

And in wedding news… things are trucking right along!  Adam and I had our LAST premarital session Sunday (we’ve had to do like a million because we’re getting married at his family’s church, but I’m catholic so we need to do both… let’s just say fiasco).  We feel thoroughly “tested” (we had to take 2 multiple choice tests through the process) and know our strengths and weaknesses as a couple.  Knowledge is power right? As much of a “pain” it has been to fit in all these sessions, it is really nice going into things with every stone uncovered (okay many stones uncovered).  Should help make the whole marriage transition a bit easier!

Adam also finished up our wedding programs this week (I’m in LOVE) and we finished up “Our Story.”  This is a little book about how we met that we’ll have in the pews.  The story how we met is pretty unique and we thought it would provide some entertainment to our guests, and if you can’t tell…we both enjoy writing just a bit.  :)  Happy to have those big projects out of the way.  At this point I’m trying to switch my focus to the musical and off the wedding.  Easier said than done.

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Our rings! We went with simple gold bands. Because we’re cheap, I mean traditional.

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Happy after our last session! Sad because I had to say goodbye to Adam. :(

Anyways, have an awesome week!!  Power Yoga in the morning… GAH.  Wish me luck. 1.5 hours of yoga is a lot even for a ‘yoga-liker’ like me…I’m getting there Lucy and Catherine.  Slow and steady I’m starting to ‘like’ it.

-Kelly

ChaLean Extreme Final Results

29 Oct

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Well it’s hard to believe, but 90 days with ChaLean Extreme have come and gone! I’m so excited to have officially ‘graduated’ from this program and thoroughly enjoyed the process.

What Is ChaLean Extreme?

ChaLean Extreme is an at-home fitness program that can be done right from your living room, with training by Chalene Johnson.  The program is broken up into 3 one-month sections that involve different weight lifting DVDs.  The workouts each last around 30-60 minutes, which is fantastic for anyone with a busy schedule (pretty much everyone ;)). While the focus of the program is lifting weights (go heavy or go home!), there is an intervals DVD (alternating between cardio and weight lifting endurance), and also a sole cardio DVD.  I really enjoyed the variety offered, and the fact that there are 5 days of workouts and 2 rest days. I filled one day with Yoga and the other I usually kept as a real rest day or danced (for my upcoming musical, White Christmas).  The flexibility of the schedule was really appealing to me, but it was also a challenging enough program that I never felt bored.

Final Results

These results are based on following the workout plan and completing most of the DVDs (I worked out on average 5-6 days a week).  Some weeks I switched out the cardio DVD with my 3-4 hour dance rehearsals. I figure it’s probably about the same ;)  Additionally while I did not strictly follow the 1300 calorie meal plan with recipes, I did eat well the majority of the time.  I packed my lunch daily for work and tried to do a higher protein, less carb mix.  I was probably eating on average 1300-2000 calories (depending on the day and the amount of other dance rehearsals I had). I did have occasional treats and was not super strict on completely avoiding things not on my diet plan (especially with special events like my brother’s wedding and bachelorette party).

Tape Measure (across the 90 days):

Waist: -.5

Hip: -.5

Chest: -1.25

Arms:  left +.5

Thighs: +25

Weight

-3.5 lbs.

Muscle Definition

I have noticed a definite improvement in overall tightness.  I feel like my body is lean, as promised!  There is much more definition in my arms and abs in particular.  My core is pretty tight!!

Body Fat

-3% (WOAH!) I am thrilled at this. And I feel like it really makes sense.  So although I haven’t lost tons of “inches”  I feel much tighter and muscular.  This makes sense.  I’ve already done P90X several times so ‘size-wise’ I’m probably about where I should be.  It’s just awesome that my body fat is going down and my muscle is going up! This is a huge health benefit and I’m really thrilled about this one!

Wedding Dress

I had a dress fitting over a week ago and shocker: my dress is a little bit big.  Yeah, caught me off guard.  Which is exciting…Yay!? But…  (A true first world problem if I’ve ever heard one). But… the fit of my dress was one of my favorite parts, it hit me just perfectly!  My game plan is to wait until 3 weeks before the wedding before altering anything.  It’s mainly big in the chest (as my numbers support), so the alteration would be a quick fix. PLUS I have the holidays before my wedding (yum Mom’s crack cookies) and TONS of dancing for 4 weekends of shows for White Christmas.  They will probably even each other out.  Let’s see what happens.

Picture

Please don’t hurt me, but I forgot to get a picture this weekend while I was around people.  I’m going to have Adam take a picture this weekend, so I’ll edit this post if I manage to get one.  But I will leave you with a picture from my Bachelorette party as a consolation prize. :)  More on the weekend to come…

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Pros:

  • Quick workouts, nothing over 1 hour
  • Great variety, with a different workout every day.
  • Goals and challenges with the 3 phase structure.
  • Awesome, fun, motivating trainer
  • Empowering program with a focus on weight training
  • It works!
  • Not a ton of equipment: weights are pretty much it.

Cons:

  • Meal plan, it’s really not for me since I’m not a huge fan of cooking for every meal.  I needed something that could be adapted to my lifestyle (like the portion plan in P90X).
  • You really need weights for it to be 100% effective.  There is a resistance band included and I used this whenever I traveled.  It’s a great option, but I do think weights are a better option.  I would suggest weights of three different sizes… really 4 or 5 is best.  This can be an investment.  I invested in them for P90X so it worked out great for me, but something to think about.
  • There is some great variety here, but not a ton of variety (I’m thinking P90X with its yoga and Kenpo DVDs).

Overall, an excellent well-planned program that I would recommend to anyone who is looking to become leaner and tighter in the comfort of their own home.  This program is very suitable for all levels: beginner to advanced, as many modifications are shown on both sides.  I can’t recommend this one enough!

Up Next:

This morning I took my “final” ChaLean measurements as I took my “before” measurements for P90X.  I’m so excited to start up with P90X again!  It’s extreme (more extreme than ChaLean), but it’s extremely effective.  With all my dancing and lifts in White Christmas (there are about 8 in one song), I need to be STRONG… not just lean.  I think P90X is awesome at getting you strong, exactly what the dr. ordered. More on my third cycle of P90X later this week!

Happy Tuesday!

Kelly

ChaLean Extreme: Lean Phase

18 Oct

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It’s hard to believe I’m in the home stretch of ChaLean Extreme (just 1 week left!).  I am now in the 4-week “Lean” phase.  The first 30 days: Burn, the next 60: Push, and finally LEAN!  This last phase is similar to the rest of the program in that every day I’m doing a different workout.  This is so important to me and keeps me motivated (and interested!).  There are 3 days of weight training (Mon, Wed, Fri) with Tuesday yoga (they have a rest day, but I threw in my yoga DVD), and Thursday an interval day and Saturday as a cardio.  It’s a great mix of some variety filled fitness!  Woot!  The great thing about the lean phase is there are more full body movements.  In the Push phase we focused on one body part at a time, for example: Bicep curls.  We maxed out at a heavy weight, aiming to do 6 bicep curls.  Now in the lean month we are combining two movements.  For example, bicep curls with calf raises.  This engages the core (awesome benefit) and helps get the heart rate up a bit more.  The sets are up to 12, but with a lower weight to survive all those curls!

The structure of the lean phase workouts is great and really makes things fly by.  I look forward to the workouts, though they definitely are challenging.  AND the Extreme Abs workout?  Holy difficult!!  There are moves in there that I’ve never seen before (hello, clap sit up?) which is really fun, but also challenging.  It’s great.

The length of the lifting workouts is a bit longer: on average 40-50 minutes.  And when I add in Extreme Abs (16 minutes), it does make for quite a bit longer workout than phases 1 or 2.  But I love that it’s been a gradual increase of time and will really help when I go back to P90X (gah… 75-90 minute workouts).

The workouts themselves are accessible to a wide range of levels, with modifications offered for every move.  I really love this.  Chalene instructs you how to care for your body with good form.  With my knees there are some moves I just can’t do and it’s great to have a lower impact option.  I think ChaLean Extreme has been a great prep for P90X and also break from it!  Though I am doing less push-ups and pull-ups in ChaLean Extreme, so I feel like I may be losing a bit of strength there.  Let’s see when I start P90X in a couple weeks.

ChaLean Extreme has been a great, well organized program – the lean month is no exception!  Ready to bring it for just a bit longer. And I promise to try and get an after picture next week!  What a slacker…

Happy lifting! (and more importantly, Happy Friday!!)

Kelly

ChaLean Extreme: 60 Day Results!

2 Oct

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Wow – it is hard to believe it has been 60 days of working out with Chalene (Well really 67, I pushed back a week per Dr.’s orders). It has been an awesome 60+ days and I am still enjoying the program.  I feel strong, I look forward to the workouts, and the time needed to complete them is working out quite nicely with my unusually full schedule.  Because I’m not following the diet plan prescriptively, I am likely not seeing maximum results.  Nonetheless I’m still pleased with my progress – at least what I can see with my eyes!  The numbers haven’t really changed, somewhat as expected.  Maybe my body has reached its happy place numbers-wise?  Totally possible.  I’m a few weeks from celebrating my “anniversary” of starting P90X and rededicating myself to regular fitness.  That’s one year of pumping it and working out – perhaps my body has found its new normal!  Either way, ChaLean is still a program I’d highly recommend, just keep in mind I didn’t use the program for huge changes…but based on others’ experiences, it is possible to have a transformation.

These results are based on:

  • Completing almost every ChaLean Extreme Workout (except for the week skipped for health reasons, and I missed the cardio video twice).
  •  Increasing the Ab video from once (as directed)) to 3 times a week.
  • Aiming for around 1500 or 1600 calories per day.  There were some cheat meals in there (the wedding and usually on weekends), during the week I am pretty disciplined. If you are looking for big results you’d have to be more strict.  Personally my balance of strict during the week and more relaxed on the weekends works well for me.
  • I’m not following the ChaLean diet Guide.

Tape Measure Results:

Waist: -.25

Chest: 0

Hips: 0

Thigh: 0

Bicep: -.25 on the left, 0 on the right

Weight:

-1 lb.

Muscle Definition:

Tough to measure, but again, according to my eyes I feel more defined.  My back and shoulders seem much tighter.  And really my arms are much stronger and tighter as well.  So far so good!

Body Fat %:

No change.

Up Next:

I just started the “Lean” Phase and the very last phase of ChaLean Extreme!  Hard to believe I’m coming to a close here soon.  I feel ready to really push it and make sure I finish strong.  The lean phase seems to be a bit longer (workouts 45 min instead of 35) so I’ll have to plan accordingly.  After ChaLean I’m considering doing another round of ChaLean Extreme, or possibly a round of P90X.  With the wedding falling during that time, I really want something structured.  Yep, I’ll admit, the desire to look trim and great for my wedding is alive and well.  What is that?!  I’ll be happy to have it behind me so working out can always feel fun again (okay mostly feel fun).  Sometimes when I feel like “I have to,” I don’t want to, and it begins to feel like a job.  Funny how that works.  Anyways…structure it is, because it does make it most enjoyable and doable for me!  Because I’m still having pretty significant knee issues I will stick to something lower impact.  But we’ll see, looking forward to finishing up!

And pictures… I forgot to have Adam take pictures of me last weekend (it was a busy, busy moving weekend full of pouring rain, crazy mishaps, and all sorts of ridiculousness).  BUT, he will return this weekend, so I’m going to ask he take some pictures then.  Hopefully I’ll finally get some stinking pictures up (cough cough, slacker, cough).  I have found it’s much, much harder to document my progress living alone.  Here’s to next time getting some better pictures.  Have a wonderful week!

-Kelly

ChaLean Updates!

26 Sep

Hey Friends!

I hope all has been wonderful!  It’s been a whirlwind of a two weeks for me full of a wedding (no, not my own, 114 days til that!), a time-out on working out (Dr.’s orders), and moving.  I always said that I wanted to blog because I had something helpful or valuable to share…and let’s face it folks – the last two weeks just haven’t been very interesting.  So I didn’t blog, because whatever I said would have been painfully boring.  Sure I’ve been busy, but who wants to hear “Oh my gosh I’m SO busy.”  Gross.  You’re welcome for not blogging.  Let’s try and keep this stuff relevant and interesting. ;)  Additionally, it’s one of those things where when faced with the choice of blogging about healthy living or actually trying to live healthy, I’m going to pick the latter every single time.

So what has been so important to keep me away from all my blogging friends!?  Well, a picture essay for you all to enjoy:

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A lovely South Carolina destination wedding!

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This lovely beach wedding was for Adam’s cousin, though sadly Adam couldn’t attend (stupid residency). I sang “Lucky” during the ceremony and had a lot of fun!

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Oh yeah, and I wasn’t the most healthful eater. Oops.

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But I caught the bouquet! Hooray! :)

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Packing up my apartment! My lease is up and I’m moving in with my soon-to-be in-laws (the coolest people in. the. world.) until the wedding. Call me old fashioned.

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I made egg scrambles for my parents. Let’s just say they were overwhelmed with my sheer amount of culinary talent.

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My Dad picked out his suit for the wedding! Isn’t he dashing?

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The bridesmaid dresses came in! I tried it on to show my gals! One lives in Seattle and the other in Atlanta, so pictures are everything! Please ignore the moving mess behind me. :)

Yeah – so life is crazy.  Anyone else out there a perpetual let’s-make-things-busier-than-needed person?  I do it every time.  But again, I must enjoy it :)  And if you’re crazy like me, I’m sure you do too!  Okay, onto some relevant updates!

ChaLean Extreme

I’m still pumping iron with Chalene and loving it!  I feel strong, lean, and really haven’t noticed adding any bulk.  This week I “restarted” week 4 of Phase 2.  Last week I had a non-emergent medical procedure that forced me to take 5 days off from working out (stir-crazy!).  I decided to just re-do my week and will begin my FINAL phase of ChaLean Extreme next week.  I’m still really enjoying the program and would HIGHLY recommend it as a terrific beginner program – because Chalene is so patient.  BUT, it’s also great for advanced folks because she really pushes you to lift heavy.  An awesome program.

I’ve also been doing some thinking on P90X vs. ChaLean and will have more words with a complete post – but I do find ChaLean to be an excellent introductory program to P90X.  I think it could really help people get ready to complete P90X successfully.  If you’re worried P90X is too extreme, ChaLean is a great thing to try, because it really offers many modifications (more modifications than P90X).  Additionally, ChaLean is shorter (avg. 40 minutes a day vs. 75 minutes a day).  If you’re not used to working out daily, adding just 40 minutes a day is more doable than the full 75 of P90X.  So if you’ve been wanting to give lifting a go – give P90X a try (I’m thinking of you Lucy!!).

That being said – coming from P90X to ChaLean hasn’t seemed like a huge step-down for me.  Sure it’s shorter and not as intense (time wise and variety of movements), but I think it’s been a needed break and variety while still pushing myself.  Honestly I recommend it either way.

I’m still struggling with the eating program.  It is not as structured as P90X, so I’m having a hard time sticking to it.  I’m doing sort of a hybrid of P90X/lower calorie thing.  It’s been semi-successful, but mainly I’m just trying to eat clean, healthy food.  Which I find difficult if I’m not structured, a struggle for me.  I’m not really doing ChaLean for weight loss (though I wouldn’t hate losing a pound or two) – so I haven’t stressed too much about staying to the recommended 1300 calories.  I will say – I would probably have better results if I followed that, but that’s just common sense!  Not practical for me at this point though.  But please note – your results will differ largely from mine if you do incorporate the eating program.

Knees

Yeah it stinks and still hurts and I still can’t do anything about it.  I try to run every couple weeks just “to check” to see if it’s better.  I ran yesterday to wake up to excruciating knee pain today.  I don’t have anything nice to say about it so I won’t say anything at all.

I’ve decided to abandon running to protect my knees for all the DANCING I’m doing.  I’m rehearsing choreography often and I feel like that’s enough strain on my knees.

Post-wedding I’m planning to get more serious as far as doctors, tests, solutions to my knees.  At this point I’ll just settle with being happy I can dance and do my lifting programs.  I don’t want to inflame them to the point I can’t work out at all.  Smart?  Yes I do agree.  So much for my “running” blog.  Yeah.  Poor me.  Hahah.  I think I’ll survive.

I think that’s enough for now.  Happy almost-Friday!

Kelly

ChaLean Extreme: 30 Day Results!

27 Aug

Howdy folks!  Happy Tuesday to all!  This weekend was another busy one full of pine cone collecting (I now have 481!  HOW did that happen???  Maybe I can sell my extras ;)), gown fittings (for my bridesmaid and wedding dress), and wedding crafting (making myself some sparkly sticks for decorations).  Yes, life has been crazy.  But all this craziness has made me SO excited for the next few months.  I’m trying to front load my work as much as possible to just coast and enjoy almost-wedded bliss. (Or at least that’s my valiant plan ;))  Sounds perfect, right??

With things so busy I’ve had to make some decisions blogging wise and have settled on a new goal of blogging once a week.  It makes me sad to reduce (and hopefully you too?!), but I think it’s the best move to both enjoy blogging and keep my sanity.  But the good news is less spam for email followers.  SWEET!  :)

Up this week: ChaLean Results!  Woot!

For the last 30 days I have been thoroughly enjoying the ChaLean Extreme Burn Phase.  It’s actually incredibly hard to believe it has already been 30 days.  This has been a great reminder to me that time passes quickly whether you want it to or not, so may as well make good use of the time.  My time with Chalene has definitely been the definition of time well spent.  I feel stronger, more toned, and happier to be back following a routine.  I can’t say enough positive things about this program.

Because I started out from a place of pretty good fitness (Just finished 1.5ish rounds of P90X and 2 half-marathons), I DID NOT expect big changes, if any at all.  This does not mean that you can’t get big results from this program.  Personally I don’t have the high numbers to drop huge numbers (like I did when I started P90X) – I’m fairly close the smallest I could be naturally (and healthily and/or not hiring a personal chef/trainer).  Keep this in mind when looking at the results.  Additionally, I measured myself.  I feel I am not as accurate as when Adam did my P90X measurements.  He is a meticulous measurer :)

These results are based on the following:

  • Completing every ChaLean Extreme Workout
  • Switching one of the cardio videos for my long run in the last week (I plan to do this moving forward).
  • Increasing the Ab video from once (as directed) to 3 times a week (more similar to P90X).
  • Running 3 times a week (starting on week 2).
  • Aiming for around 1500 or 1600 calories per day.  There were 5-6 cheat meals throughout the month and overall I was not as disciplined as during P90X.  I have found it easier to remain disciplined during the week and relax a bit on the weekends.  This has proved to be a healthy balance for me.  But also has affected my results.  If you are looking to lose big time you’d have to be more strict.  My balance has been working great personally.
  • I am NOT following the ChaLean Diet Guide – mainly because I can’t cook (oops) and there are not many vegetarian options (I don’t eat several types of meat).  Also I’m a picky eater.  Haha. :)

Tape Measure Results:

Waist:   0

Chest:  -.5

Hips:   0

Thigh:   0

Bicep:   +.5   (interestingly, -.5 in the left…hmm, user error?)

Weight:

– 2 lbs.  I was pretty surprised and happy with this.  I feel like these 30 days took off the little extra fluff I gained during my running/P90X vacation :)

Muscle Definition:

This one is a tough thing to measure, but I feel like I look more defined.  Two people have commented that my body looks more toned (unsolicited, I swear!).  My abs seem to be popping out a tiny bit more (I still need to lose a few more pounds to uncover them completely ;)) and my shoulders seem tighter.  Overall I feel I am looking more lean.  It’s kind of fun to be a strong girl!!

Body Fat %:

-.5%  This one was REALLY tricky to measure on myself.  I can’t say I’m 100% confident in my measurement, okay let’s face it… not that confident at all!  But I believe there was a slight decrease down.  Either way – I’m feeling more toned which is the whole point anyway! :)

Wedding Dress:

Hah!  Don’t you love that there is a category for this??  One of my biggest “signs of success” with the program: my bridal fittings.  When I went in to get my dress hemmed I had to try it on again.  It fit and it looked great. (PHEW!)  I’m really pleased with how my arms and back are toning up.  I took a few pictures and actually was a little surprised at how much I liked it.  I tend to be somewhat critical of myself (um, like every girl), and I was excited that I what I saw on the camera phone.  SWEET.

Up Next:

I have now moved into the “Push” phase and I’m excited to keep moving with the program!    So far so good.  I haven’t noticed “bulking up” at all.  Overall I feel the muscle gain has been very lean and slimming.  Can’t wait to see what Phase 2 brings!!  At this point I would recommend this program to anyone!  I’ll wait until I’m completely finished before making any large declarations though.  :)

Also – I would post my pictures, but my self timed pictures are seriously horrendous.  In what is visible, I was happy with the slight changes.  Hopefully next month I can get someone to take some actual pics.  It’s tough to do on your own!

Have a great Tuesday!

-Kelly

Strength Training for Women

9 Aug

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If you’ve been around here a time or two before, you know I LOVE lifting.  It keeps me strong and has been super helpful keeping my mind off running (or the lack there of).  It hasn’t always been this way though.  I used to be a little cardio monster…pretty much only doing cardio.  I had it in my head that I would bulk up with weights.  Genetically, it seemed completely possible to bulk up, as both my sister and I have always had arms a bit on the thicker side (really helpful in things like tubing behind a boat :)).

When I first started P90X last October, there was always this little bit of fear…am I going to turn into a manly lady?  Not that that’s a bad thing, just not what I’m going for here. Throughout round 1 of P90X, I found myself not bulking up, but actually toning up.  The heavier I lifted, the more it seemed to work and the tighter I got.  By round 2 of P90X I lifted as heavily as I could and guess what?  No evidence of going hulk!  In fact, I loved what the strength training was doing for my body!  As a previous cardio monster, I wondered how I was ever going to get that toned look.  “Come on, I’m running 40 miles a week – shouldn’t that be enough?!”  Well, for me the secret has been strength training.

P90X and ChaLean Extreme are both programs with a heavy focus on strength training.  Meaning we do curls, lateral raises, squats, tricep extensions, and presses – all with weights!  Most of the time I’m fluctuating between 5-15 lbs. per exercise, but this far exceeds my previous days of  my 5 lb. limit: “if I lift over 5 lbs. I will get bulky.”  In my experience, it seems that the only way I would get bulky is if I was trying to: supplements, hormones, or other means.  Amazing.  Mind blown!  (In a good way!)

Inspired by my experience of shattered ideas (that I’ve held for most of my life), I went to the internet to find some support.  Of course I found articles on bodybuilding.com or bodybuilder about the importance of strength training.  But what surprised me was the other locations that touted strength training for women (and training more than just the 2 or 3 lbs. that I thought would get me looking toned).  Discovery Health, the Huffington Post, Prevention, and Shape all had a few articles pop up in seconds, and there are literally hundreds more.  If you’re curious about women weight-lifting you’ll find all that you need in just a couple of clicks.  These were some of the highlights from my research (articles above) that stuck out to me, talk about empowering:

Reasons for Strength Training

  • You burn calories after the session.  A study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that up an extra to 100 calories were burned in the 24 hours after a weight-training session.  Take that cardio!
  • Bye bye Belly Fat!  A study by the University of Alabama found that women who lifted lost more belly fat than those choosing cardio alone.  Yes please.
  • Injury prevention.  The stronger you are, the less prone to injury you will be!
  • A stronger core will make you faster (running).  This happened to me, and I was shocked!
  • Strength training revs up your metabolism!  Chalene is always saying that we’re waking up our metabolism.  And that’s a great thing!  As she said, “higher metabolism, more food” Yay :)
  • Strength training lowers blood pressure for 10-12 hours after the session according to William Haskell at Stanford.  This is one of plethora of health benefits – I’m not even talking vanity.
  • Strength training gives you a sculpted, defined look.  Period dot.  My arms didn’t change “size” in measurements during P90X but holy cow did their look change.  Much more toned!
  • Lifting weights is excellent for women because it can help with the battle against bone loss.  This is especially crucial to prevent osteoporosis.  Now that I think about it… I should really be talking my mom into this!
  • You feel like a champ.  I mean, I feel like a lot of words after a good strength training session.  But let’s just say champ.  Or maybe like Will Smith getting out of the space ship after kicking the alien’s butts in Independence Day.  Yeah, like that.

So if you’ve never considered lifting or strength training, I highly encourage you to give it a go.  It may surprise you, just like it surprised me!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

-Kelly

Are you a fan of strength training?  What benefits have you found?

ChaLean Week 1 Complete!

5 Aug

Happy Monday!  I’m excited to start my second week of ChaLean Extreme.  And when I say excited, no sarcasm here.  I am truly excited to keep at it.  Perhaps I’m still in the honeymoon stage, but I am seriously loving ChaLean (and Chalene :)).  Since I already gave you all the reasons I like it so far, I thought I’d share a bit of the schedule and type of workouts I completed this first week.

The first 30 days (of 90) is the Burn phase.  Each phase is 30 days and has a different focus (Burn, Push, Lean). I’m only assuming that each of the workouts reflect this focus.  I’ve definitely been feeling the burn with this first week!  There has been a big focus on lifting (heavy weight) and combination strength training.  Another nice thing about this program: 2 rest days a week!  This is perfect if you’re like me and enjoy variety.  I plan to do stretching or yoga on my days off to mix it up.

ChaLean Extreme Schedule:

Monday: Burn Circuit 1

  • This workout is about 35 minutes long (awesome!) and starts off with a nice warm-up.  I used 5, 8, 10, and 15 lbs. throughout the video doing squats, curls, and presses.  I probably could’ve gotten by with less variety in weight, but I have them so might as well use them! I was sweating by the end of it and really liked each of the exercises.  Throughout the video there was always a low-impact option (which I always took).

Tuesday: Rest Day!

Wednesday: Burn Circuit 2

  • Similar to Burn Circuit 1, this one is about 35 minutes long and focuses on lifting.  Many exercises had similar moves to circuit 1 and a similar lay-out – but it didn’t feel repetitive to me.  Again – another thoroughly enjoyable workout!

Thursday: Burn Intervals and Ab Burner

  • What a fun little change!  The heavy weights were gone in this workout, instead focusing on reps.  I used much lighter weights (I don’t think I went over 5lbs), but we did about a billion reps.  I sweat a lot and loved the upbeat feel of this one.  This day is a bit longer with Ab Burner (10 minutes).  I think I was working out for about 50 minutes total?

Friday: Burn Circuit 3

  • Back to heavy weights for this one!  More squats, push-ups, and curls.  A similar style to circuit 1 and 2, but again a nice new variety.  Loved it.  Around 30 minutes?  (Clearly I should’ve paid more attention!)

Saturday: Burn it Off and Recharge!

  • Made up of two different segments, this workout was more about cardio.  We did some classic plyo moves and a few with some light weights.  Again, there was always an option for low-impact with I always took.  Fun and energetic, I enjoyed the variety.  The recharge element consisted of yoga-like stretching.  This was the longest day or tied with Intervals, at maybe 45-50 minutes.

Sunday: Rest Day

Progress So Far:

Call me crazy, but I feel like I’m already getting results!  Yes, they are very minor…but I am feeling stronger and healthier.  I’m watching my diet more closely and even attempting to cook!  It’s amazing what really clean eating can do.  I feel more toned and can’t wait to see actual results.  I think my results of this week are more a mental thing – I’m just feeling great!

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This is real life. I actually made this. BY MYSELF! Egg whites, peppers, soy sausage on a whole wheat tortilla. I’m fancy.

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This week I’m taking it to the next level with pre-chopped bags of veggies to add to my egg whites. Extreme fancy.

After upping my calories to around 1500-1600 calories I’m in a much happier place.  It seems to be a more doable amount of calories for my size and activity level.  I’m not quite as angry :)  I’ve decided to continue to use the MFP app to track my food during the week.  With this program I’m giving myself the weekends off – at least from strict tracking.  Honestly tracking your food is hard work, and allowing myself a bit of a break will hopefully allow me to return each Monday refreshed to track again.  I’m still planning to eat well on the weekends, just not quite as intensely! This weekend I attended a bridal shower and enjoyed some of the tasty yumminess as a treat. :)  During P90X I allowed myself treats around once a week and this strategy seemed to work well.  Everything in moderation!

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Working on drinking more water. I even added these fancy cut limes to the water. Are you noticing a fancy trend?

I feel like I’m just gushing about this program, sorry for the annoying enthusiasm about it – but I have just been so happy with it.  It could also be a rainbow of happiness just to have a program I can follow again that I enjoy, and that my knees will allow!  My heart is just happy to be working out again!

Kelly

Beginning ChaLean Extreme: First Impressions

31 Jul

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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!

-Kelly

ChaLean Extreme Prep

29 Jul

Happy Monday!  I’m coming back from the most wonderful weekend out in Seattle with my little sister.  She moved there this winter and it was my first chance to get a peek at her new life out there.  We did a little of this…

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Checking out the AMAZING views Seattle in the summer has to offer. We did lots of exploring!

 

And then we did a little of this…

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Took lots of selfies to show Mom we were still alive.

 

We threw in some of this…

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Wedding fun! Trip to Ikea for some cheapo wedding decorations.

 

And we can’t forget, some of this…

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Ahh, relaxing at the pool.

 

All in all – a completely awesome trip.  I wish I were still there!

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And of course silly pictures to send our family. Love ya Jules!

 

Unfortunately I had a bit of a flight snafu and instead of my nice early flight (with time to prepare for ChaLean!), I had to take the red eye.  Yeah.  So I flew home last night, landed in Indy, hopped in my car and went to work.  A day running on just a few hours of sleep.  Absolute madness.

I had my fingers crossed I would have a certain package waiting for me.  And sure enough: ChaLean Extreme had arrived!  This evening after getting home from work I skimmed the program manuals and got familiar with the program.  I plan to officially start the program in the morning, and I wanted to be prepared.  My flight situation threw off my plan, but I decided to do the prep work tonight and start tomorrow.

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Hooray! Look what arrived :)

So, how do you prep?

The most important thing for me – remove all barriers.  Essentially, I wanted to set myself up so that tomorrow I don’t have any excuses not to begin.  It’s easy to push things off, “Oh I’ll do it next week” or “I’m too tired and I can’t start now.”  I want to start strong and motivated, and that requires effort.

Step 1: Read and Plan

It’s crucial to understand more about the program.  Tonight I didn’t do my deep dive of planning, but I got familiar enough to begin tomorrow.  This week I’ll spend more time specifically mapping out recipes and workouts (once I’m running on more than 2 hours of sleep).  Tonight I skimmed the books and made a plan for the morning.  Because there is a fitness test prior to working out, I needed to plan for it… I can’t just start workout 1 tomorrow.  I’ve decided to do my fitness test in the morning as my day 1.

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Doing some light leisure reading.

Step 2:  FOOD!

Diet is 80% of results and I knew I needed to get some fresh food to start strong.  I cleaned out my fridge, made a list, and tackled Target.  I broke my cardinal rule of always throw a chopping party immediately – but with my restful-sleep-on-a-plane night, I cut myself some slack.  The chopping party will be tomorrow evening.  :)

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1. I threw out all old/expired food and made a list of what I needed.

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2. I gave the old fridge a nice cleaning.

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3. Weeeee! Fresh food purchased and ready to go!

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4. Voila! Instant full fridge of yumminess.

It looks like the ChaLean program follows a high protein diet, limited by calories.  This isn’t typically my favorite style – I really loathe calorie counting.  I’m planning to give it a solid go though, as I want to follow the program as closely as prescribed as possible.  I was pretty disappointed that my calorie intake is set to 1300 calories.  Yikes.  I miss the P90X diet of 1800.  But I know what I’m up against now, and filled my fridge accordingly.

Step 3: Equipment

Because I have a lot of equipment from P90X, I was pretty much set and ready to go.  Tonight I picked up a cheap scale, as I know that’s one of the metrics used in the before/after.  It was a little annoying not having a scale with P90X, so I splurged on a $7.99 dial scale at Target.  It doesn’t show half-pound increments, but that might be a good thing.  I really don’t like to obsess over numbers.  General trends is what I’m looking for.  Other equipment like resistance bands and a fat caliper came with the program.

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The newest piece of equipment.

Step 4: Bring it!

My alarm clock is set and I’m ready to start my day with photos (this will present an interesting challenge alone), measurements, and a fit test.  I’m excited to give myself a baseline, though I know “Day 1” can often be a somewhat depressing place to start (I think most people can agree!).  I know I’ve lost a bit of fitness in the last 2 months.  But the good news?  There’s no where to go but up!  I’m already looking forward to day 30, 60, and 90!

I feel as ready as I can be to start, and that’s so crucial.  My foundation is set and there’s nothing left to do but press play!  Wish me luck on my first day!

-Kelly

How do you start a new workout program?