Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chalean Extreme First Impressions

Like most of the fitness-video-obsessed, I ordered Chalean Extreme as soon as it was released, in mid-December. Due to shipping snafus and issues with scratched discs and then being sick for almost a month (boo!), I haven't really gotten to try it out until this week. Now that I have tried it somewhat, I can say that I am pretty much happy with the program.

For those that don't know, it's a 3-phase program designed to lean you and and buff you up. Pretty much the same goals as any infomercially marketed fitness program or device. I think it stands out from lots of other infomercial products, though, because it gives you a complete plan that includes exercise as well as a nutrition plan. It's put together along the same lines as P90x, so it comes with a lot of support material. The materials are very nicely put together books, one for nutrition and one for the workouts. There are lots of glossy photos in both books, and the nutrition book is more than half cookbook. I think this is a great package for the price.

Regarding the workouts themselves, the 3 phases are: burn, push, and lean. Burn and lean are circuit-style workouts, where you do super-setted-ish strength excercises to maximize fat burning while you work out. You usually do one lower body move, like squats, lunges, or deadlifts, followed immediately by an upper body move for each rep. You lift as heavy as you can, and you shouldn't be able to do any more reps than 12 in the burn phase (I believe it is 6-8 in the push phase, but I'm not there yet to say for sure.) The push phase is supposed to be more standard strength training moves, with no super-setting involved.

I like that the pace on these is slow, but it is a bit disconcerting that it's supposed to be at your own pace, rather than following a beat or following along with the exercisers on screen. In P90x, the go at your own pace seemed to work better for me. In Chalean, the cues switch between doing your own pace and following along with the people in the video. You're supposed to follow their slow pace, but then everyone on screen gets off beat from each other, and it's kind of confusing which rep you're on. The camera jumping from person to person all at different places in the move and in the set also adds to the confusion. What I do a video, I don't want to count my reps, so if the people on screen are all going at a different pace, I'm not really sure how many reps I'm doing.

Other than this one complaint, I'm pretty happy with the burn phase. The workouts are fun, and short. The cardio is challenging and fun. The recipes I've tried have all been very easy and very yummy. I'm sure that anyone following this program as designed (including the very restricted calorie plan) would get excellent results in terms of fat loss and definition. I'm not sure how good I'll be at following the nutrition plan for 3 months, but I know I'll still get good results with just the workouts alone.

No comments: