Holy smokes, what has happened to my fitness posts? They are all in my head and have yet to escape through my fingers and onto the keyboard. In case you are wondering what has happened in the fitness front, I am still doing my 14 week fitness challenge. Here’s a wrap up of Weeks 4 and 5.
WEEK 4 – Final week for Insanity Month 1 and Chalean Extreme Burn Phase
So I’ve been following a hybrid program – Chalean Extreme for strength training and Insanity for cardio. Chalean Extreme comes in three phases: the BURN phase, the PUSH phase, the LEAN phase. Each phase is designed to create that muscle confusion that we all need to keep our bodies guessing and prevent plateaus that we all seem to inevitably hit at one point or another.
There are three different workouts in the Burn Phase, namely,
Burn Circuit 1 – (approx 36 min) – This first workout of the ChaLEAN Extreme program is pretty intense and uses compound exercises to work your chest, shoulders and legs.
Burn Circuit 2 – (approx 38 min) – Works both the upper and lower body, similarly to Burn Circuit 1. Focuses on the biceps, triceps, legs and back.
Burn Circuit 3 – (approx 35 min) – Similar in time and format to Burn Circuits 1 & 2, 3 focuses even more heavily on the legs and shoulders.
The goal of ChaLEAN is to lift heavy with fewer reps but in the Burn Phase your goal is to “fail” in 10-12 reps and you work both upper and lower body in combo exercises. Because there are more reps, I used lighter weights but because I needed to work both the upper and lower body, the workout is still tough that made me sweat!
This is the last week for Chalean Extreme Burn Phase and I can say, I am happy with the results so far.
After 4 weeks of Chalean Extreme (this is my second round), I can say that this is my soul mate workout. I love Chalene Johnson. Working out with her is always a joy – she is pure motivation. I love working out with her on the daily.
I can’t wait to start the Push Phase – so far my favorite of the 3 Phases of this program.
WEEK 5 – Recovery Week
Don’t you love the sound of that? Recovery? I might have taken it too literally though. I have not missed a day in 4 straight weeks with 24 workouts in the past 28 days and when Week 5 rolled in, I was tired. I’ll admit, mostly psychologically. I know I could have pushed more if I wanted to but I also felt I needed rest.
Week 5, Recovery Week is a week of “active rest”. The schedule still called for 6 workouts in 7 days: Chalean Extreme’s Recharge (mostly stretching and some yoga poses for flexibility) and Insanity’s Core Cardio and Balance. Now, never underestimate the Insanity workout during Recovery Week – it is still intense and I still sweat a lot and had to stop at some point to catch my breath!
Result of Week 5: I did 2 Core Cardio and Balance and 1 Chalean Extreme Recharge (I was bored with the slow pace!). The rest of the days, I did Zumba or Dance Central with my daughter. I also did some catch up with my sleep. By the end of Week 5, I was ready to tackle Week 6 which is the Push Month in Chalean Extreme and Month 2 of Insanity! If you have done Insanity, you will understand why I am dreading the Month 2 workouts!
What I learned so far: Cardio is not enough and strength training is important
Chalene Johnson says it over and over in her program, “Muscle burns fat!” A pound of fat and a pound of muscle weigh the same, but they have different energy requirements. Muscle burns more calories than fat. People who are muscular typically have a high basal metabolic rate, or BMR, which means they burn a significant number of calories, even when resting.
Now who wouldn’t want to burn calories even while sitting down?
Plus, I (think) look leaner when I incorporated weight training than just by doing cardio alone. I could write on and on but the photo above speaks for itself. The left one, taken last April when I was starting Month 2 of Insanity and not doing any weight training. The picture on the right was taken at the end of October during the last week of doing the Chalean Extreme/Insanity hybrid program.
You can follow my fitness journey in instagram at @gracegetfit (I’ll try my best to post everyday!).