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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So what the hell is CLX and P90X?

Well, they're two of the best 90-day workout programs I've come across!
(Again, I am not a Beachbody Coach and I do NOT receive any type of compensation for talking about Beachbody products!)

ChaLean Extreme (CLX) and Power 90 Extreme (P90X) are both weight-lifting programs that focus on the idea that muscle is the fountain of youth for everyone and lifting heavy to build muscle burns calories/fat. They both have you lifting heavy weights (if you plan on using pink barbie dumbbells, think again) in the range of 10 lbs. - 50 lbs. which brings me to my next point: you need some serious resistance to use these programs! Any form of resistance, bands or weights, will work for each program. I use a set of PowerBlocks that go up to 25# and even that's too little bit for my lower body.

Although they're both similar in the area of building muscle, this is where they're different also. CLX is geared towards weight-loss where P90X is not. Let me repeat that. P90X is not a weight-loss program, but that doesn't mean you won't see results if you need to lose a few pounds. To see results from P90X you can NOT be in a calorie deficit. Building muscle requires a person to eat a little more than maintenance so being on a restricted-calorie diet is counter productive. BUT, if you think about it, eating at maintenance of what your healthy body weight should be, not currently what it is, should still let you lose weight and gain muscle. Does that make sense?

For example, right now I weigh 136. The healthy body weight for my height is actually 115 lbs. - I'm short! IF my level of exercise stayed the same:

eating 2000 cals = maintenance at 136 lbs.
eating 1600 cals = maintenance at 125 lbs.
eating 1400 cals = maintenance at 115 lbs.

So eating at 1600 cals is actually above my maintenance of 115 lbs. but it'll still let me lose 10 lbs. from my current weight of 136. Anyway, P90X suggest 1600 calories be the MINIMUM calorie intake for women on the program simply because you need to fuel your body with enough energy... especially when you're doing the extreme workouts designed in the program.

On the other hand, the CLX workouts are a lot shorter in length, aren't as 'extreme' as P90X, and it does allow a lower calorie intake, therefore it is advertised as a weight-loss program. But be warned that you may lose more inches than pounds so be sure to take measurements/pictures to judge your progress. Remember the scale is a filthy, no good liar sometimes! Here's a run-down of the two programs:

ChaLean Extreme:


Level of fitness: Beginner to Advance
Even though you're lifting heavy weights and form is really important, Chalene Johnson (the creator of Turbo Jam), takes a lot of time focusing on what proper form is - P90X doesn't spend too much time with this. According to the CLX official website, the program's main focus is to bust the myth that cardio will help you loose the most weight. MUSCLE BURNS FAT! Plain and simple.

The CLX program has you working out 5 days/week: 3 days lifting, one day cardio/ab work, and one day stretch/yoga. Each dvd runs about 30 - 45 minutes long so it's easy to get in extra cardio after your workouts. For me personally, I throw in an extra day of cardio to make my exercise week a 6-day week, I play the dvd's twice so the workouts come out to an hour long and I add ab work on three days instead of just one. The CLX weight-lifting workouts do incorporate ab work throughout the exercises, but I prefer a solid, straight-through type of ab work.

First 30 days:
  • Burn Phase - lift range 10 - 12 reps; combination exercise that combines lower/upper body
Second 30 days:
  • Push Phase - lift range 6 - 8 reps; isolated exercise that target one body part
Last 30 days:
  • Lean Phase - lift range 10 - 12 reps; dynamic exercise that combines lower/upper body and balance
(If you notice the rep range, you want your muscle to be tired and at failure by the designated amounts. None of this light weights and a million reps thinking. We want to build lean muscle, not just build muscle endurance, right?)

Power 90 Extreme:

Level of fitness: varies (see below)
P90X isn't advertised as a beginners program and I think that's correct. You are lifting a considerable amount of weight and without proper form, you could really injure yourself. P90X was the reason why I took up a personal trainer in the first place, to learn to get proper form, but I obviously stayed longer since I love my trainings. Anyway, P90X also incorporates plyometric moves which are not exercises for the beginner. Although most of the exercises can be modified for a beginner, I wouldn't recommend someone just starting out on their fitness journey to pick this up. It is an EXTREME workout.

During the 90-day program, you work all the major muscle groups of your body and the main focus of P90X is muscle confusion, which the program follows by changing up the exercises and introducing new moves into the mix every 30 days. This keeps your body guessing so you never plateau. The program has you pushing play 6 days/week and each workout runs about 60 minutes (except for yoga which is 90 minutes!). There are three versions of the program that you can do:
  • 3 days lifting and ab work, 1 day plyometrics, 1 day yoga, 1 day cardio/kenpo
  • same as Classic but with 3 extra cardio sessions done in the morning on the 3 lifting days
Lean (more cardio based)
  • 2 days lifting and ab work, 2 days cardio/kenpo, 1 day yoga, 1 day core work
So there you have it... a brief description of what each program is like. Both CLX and P90X come with a fitness guide and a nutrition guide with meal plans and menus. Don't forget, nutrition is 80% of the results!!!


Christine said...

I am taking time off from weights for a while but I am all about this kind of stuff. I have been saving up to buy some Cathe videos but the more I hear about Chalean the more I interested I get!

Thanks for the informative post!

Katie J said...

What an informative post! Thanks for sharing!

Heather & Chaos said...

Thanks for informing us of the difference! Really makes an impact of what I what I want/am ready for next!!

Kyle Gershman said...

Awesome info!

Amazon Runner said...

I LOVE the ChaLEAN Extreme Program! I just started the third and final phase of the program and I am so proud of myself. I lost 10" my first month on the program and 6 1/2" during my second month. I anticipate more losses as I complete the program.

I do add more cardio in the form of walking a few days a week. I highly recommend this program for learning proper form and executing slow, deliberate movements with a lot of focus.

I am MUCH stronger now than when I started.

sarah said...

I've always wanted to try CLX. I have P90X and have tried that but I don't have a heck of a lot of room in my apartment for it. I might look into the CLX after the holidays.

Thanks for the info!

MackAttack said...

I never really knew what each of these programs were, thanks for the lesson!

force factor said...

I was looking for a something like this. then I got around this force factor and ordered Force Factor. It worked well for me!

Nathan said...

I looks like you are extremely active and fit, wow! Great job! I know how much dedication and work it takes to stay fit. I recently completed the P90X and have started the Insanity program. I cannot believe how crazy Insanity is! I was looking at your blog and it doesn't seem that you are a Beachbody coach. I have been making a modest amount of money being a Beachbody Coach and it really hasn't taken too much effort.
If your interested click on the "Coach" tab at http://www.beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/mccabe21

Good Luck with your workouts!