If you’ve been following the blog for a while now, you’re well aware we’re very picky when it comes to diets – Most of them usually have you eating less than you should be and focus on low fat/no fat foods (which is basically loosely translated to ‘chemical wasteland’) and few of them come along with a structurally sound fitness plan (I can’t say this enough – Healthy eating is only half the battle, folks!).
This certainly doesn’t mean all diets/eating plans are bad. I understand some people need structure to succeed and not everyone understands what a portion really is (especially here in North America). Some people are entirely too busy to spend time calorie counting or calculating their macros, and not everyone wants to keep a food journal documenting every morsel of food they put in their mouth.
If there’s one thing a dieter wants, it’s a clear and concise plan that doesn’t require a whole lot of thoughts. It’s a simplistic and casual approach to learning how to eat better and be healthier overall. Right? Right.
If that’s what you’re looking for, than Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix might just be for you. In this article we’re going to talk about all of the good and all of the bad in this eating plan – What it is, how it works, the pros and cons of following it, whether it’s safe, and whether or not I think that it’s worth your time (because three weeks would be quite the investment to find out it’s pointless, isn’t it?).
What Is The 21 Day Fix?
The 21 Day Fix is a fitness and nutritional program that was created by Autumn Calabrese – A bikini competitor and single working mom that understands just how valuable saving a little bit of time when it comes to dieting can be.
The ‘promise’ of this program is that you can get yourself beach-ready in only three weeks (We’ll talk more in just a minute about how attainable that goal really is).
Autumn promises that if you follow the program you will lose weight. And if you don’t? She’ll give you your money back.
There are two ways to go about The 21 Day Fix – You can become a coach and sell the program yourself, or you can just get on the program itself. We’re only going to be discussing the latter today because I assume that that’s what most people will be interested in (That said, let me know if you guys would like to know more about the coaching aspect and perhaps we could work in another post at some point).
How It Works
Since there are a few different components to the program, we’re going to break them down and talk about them individually for a better understanding.
The Fitness Program
If you purchase the program, you’ll be sent two DVDs that have a total of six workouts on them. Each one of the workouts is 30 minutes long and has been put together to maximize your caloric burn. For weeks one and two of the program, you’ll be doing one workout a day and then for week three it’s amped up to two workouts (because presumably by that point you’ll be in better shape and able to handle the extra workout). Here’s a brief rundown of the workouts you’ll get to do over the 21 days:
Total Body Cardio Fix: Created to elevate your heart rate and up your metabolism to ensure that you’ll lose as much weight as possible while on the program.
Upper Fix: Focuses on your upper body (shoulders, back, abs, and chest).
Lower Fix: Targets your lower body area (calves, thighs, butt).
Pilates Fix: Helps you tone your body by tightening your butt, hips, and thighs and elongating, sculpting, and defining your core.
Cardio Fix: Consider this to be step two of the first workout on this list. It takes your cardio routine to the next level!
Yoga Fix: Of course this is my personal favorite from the list. Yoga fix helps boost your flexibility and tones your muscles while helping you relax.
These workouts are well-crafted, fairly easy to get through, and actually manage to stay exciting throughout the program. You know that monotonous feeling that you get after doing the same things over and over again? You don’t seem to get too bored with these ones. And hey, even if you do get bored you only have to plow through it for three weeks!
Another thing I like about The 21 Day Fix’s fitness program is that if you’re someone that’s got a bad back, wrecked knees, or you just haven’t been active for a while and the workouts as they are are just a little too much for you, there’s a modified version of the workouts that are less intense to ensure that no matter who you are, you can definitely do it.
The Eating Plan
I’d like to be able to tell you that there are absolutely no calculations involved at all with this eating plan, but unfortunately, that’s just not the case. That said, there’s a lot less work involved with The 21 Day Fix than there is with some of the other diet/eating plans we’ve reviewed. All you need to do with this one is calculate your baseline (directions to follow) and determine your target calories based on your current weight. But that’s all the math you need to do. That’s right – No calorie counting, no weighing, no macro calculations.
So how do they determine what you can and cannot eat? By focusing on portion control. And they don’t even expect you to figure out what a ‘portion’ is! They provide you with a set of Tupperware containers that take all of the guesswork out of it for you – If it fits in the container, you can eat it!
Here’s a breakdown of the containers you’ll get and what they’re for:
Green Container (8oz): For vegetables
Purple Container (8oz): For fruits
Red Container (6oz): For proteins
Yellow Container (5.3oz): For carbohydrates
Blue Container (2.7oz): For healthy fats and cheeses
Two Orange Containers (2oz each): For seeds and dressings
A Shakeology cup so that you can mix up healthy protein/vitamin drinks and smoothies
This program allows you to tweak your eating schedule to suit your individual needs as well, meaning that regardless of whether you’d rather have three main meals and a couple of snacks or you’d prefer to consume 6 small meals a day; you can do whatever you’d like as long as you’re reaching your daily caloric intake.
This is a HUGE bonus because there are a ton of diets out there (obviously) but a lot of them have you rearranging your eating schedule to suit their needs which just isn’t convenient (or even feasible) for a lot of people.
Figuring Out Your Baseline And Target Calories
You’re probably thinking at this point that since it seems so easy, there has to be a catch, right? Like, the math involved to get your baseline and target calories is so ridiculously difficult that you’re going to have to hire a mathematician to do it for you, right?
Wrong! It’s actually fairly simple:
Baseline Calculations: Your weight in lbs multiplied by 11 = Your baseline
Now that you have your baseline, there are just a couple more calculations that you need to do:
Your baseline + 400 = Your caloric need
Your caloric need – 700 (calorie deficit) = Your target calories
And that’s it! Now, obviously you’re going to need to recalculate those numbers again every so often, but as you can see the calculations themselves are fairly simple and don’t take very long at all.
There’s then a whole system that shows you just how many of each container you’re allowed to consume on any given day based on your target calories, but you’ll get all of that information if you purchase the program. I will say though even if your target calories are at 1200, you’re going to be a far cry from starving – There are even people that say they had some trouble eating as much food as they should for the first little while. If you’re someone that likes food (like me), this is great news.
There are also a few bonuses included with your purchase (including 24-hour coach assistance if you’re beginning to feel defeated).
The Pros & Cons
You get everything you need in one package to get started.
This plan focuses on fitness as well as nutrition (which as we know go hand in hand when it comes to living a long, healthy, and happy life).
There’s a variety of different types of workouts to ensure that you don’t get bored and walk away from it.
The program comes with 24-hour access to coaches to ensure that you stay on track.
Even if you’re not looking to lose a whole lot of weight, this program teaches your portion control and healthy eating in a much easier to learn manner than a lot of other diets do.
Provided you follow the program to a tee, you should see results after just three weeks.
You won’t need to give up your favorite foods (you just need to learn proper portioning).
If you’re someone looking to lose hundreds of pounds, you likely won’t have a beach ready body after three weeks (meaning you’ll have to stay on the plan for longer if you want to reach your goals).
Though there is a variety of workouts, it’s fairly small. This can be either good or bad, depending if you want to keep things simple or you’d like more variety when it comes to your workouts.
It does focus on low-fat/non-fat foods to some extent (like with milk and cheeses).
Is It Safe?
Provided that you don’t go to extreme lengths to restrict your calories to a point that you get sick (I’ve seen it happen) and you opt for clean foods as opposed to the low-fat/non-fat crap, I’d say that it’s one of the safest plans we’ve reviewed – It even comes along with modified exercises (which makes it even safer as far as I’m concerned).
Does It Work?
Absolutely! But don’t expect to look like a model in just three weeks. You’ll have to run through the program a few times and keep up with the good eating, but The 21 Day Fix definitely can work. Let me introduce you to Gina – She’s been with Beachbody since March of last year; by December, she was fitting into a size small bathing suit! But let me tell you, this woman worked at it.
Regardless of her mood, her schedule, her personal or professional needs. She put the time in and drank her Shakeology every single day. And it definitely paid off – Not only does she look great, she feels better and has a ton of energy (which she needs to keep up with her kids).
The Usual Statement
Please keep in mind that you should always consult with your medical professional or holistic practitioner before starting this or any other type of diet (or making any huge lifestyle change for that matter), just to ensure that you don’t have any sort of underlying health conditions that you don’t know about (it happens). There’s nothing worse than trying to get healthy and finding out that you’re actually making things worse.
Have you tried The 21 Day Fix or any other Beachbody product? What did you think of it? We’d love to hear about your personal experience with the program – Let us know in the comments section below!
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