If you are interested in fitness, then you have almost certainly heard of the company Beachbody or one of their previous products, like the Insanity workout or P90X. These intense workout programs have taken on a cultural weight because of their reputation for being extremely taxing, but that intensity puts up some big results. 21 Day Fix is the newest program from Beachbody. The biggest revelation with 21 Day Fix is that the company has now added on a dieting component to go along with a workout. This is a potentially huge step, because changing your diet is actually even more important for losing weight than perfecting your workout. Now with 21 Day Fix, you can theoretically do both. In this review, we’ll examine 21 Day Fix and decide if it lives up to the hype and the reputation of previous Beachbody products.
Let’s start with some fundamental aspects of the program. The designer is a trainer named Autumn Calabrese. She built 21 Day Fix to be accessible and easy to use, because the goal is to help you build up long-term habits for good nutrition and portion size. These concepts determine a high degree of your weight and you don’t need to count all your calories and macro-nutrients to do them right. Instead of using spreadsheets to track what you eat and conforming to banned-food lists, the 21 Day Fix involves easier ways to guide your eating. For example, you will use a special set of color-coded containers of different sizes to help you know how much to eat at each meal. This is a good way to help you visually see what a healthy portion size looks like instead of making you weigh your food or calculate the caloric intake, so it’s an easier habit for you to maintain.
The accompanying exercises are grouped into six workouts that you rotate through. Each exercise is fairly simple, so that as many people as possible will be able to do them with good form. It is surprising to many people that they can get excellent results from doing a few fundamental exercises with the right form, instead of extreme workouts with high-burn cardio and complex movements. The emphasis on simple fundamentals makes it easy to get into 21 Day Fix no matter what your starting level of fitness is, and it is also meant to be accessible for children. 21 Day Fix promises a weight loss of 15 pounds
There are three packages for the program. From least to most comprehensive, they are the Essential Package, the Challenge Pack, and the Ultimate Package. The Essential Package is the baseline. It will cost $60 and contains two DVDs that have a total of six different workouts, six food containers to guide your portions, and a shaker cup to help you prepare shakes. This matters, because shakes are part of the daily diet plan in the program. The diet plan, a special three-day guide called Quick Fix, an extra workout called Dirty 30, and online support are also included. The Challenge Pack adds on 30 days of mix for the shakes, which are called Shakeology in one flavor. The Ultimate package adds a resistance band, a large to-go food container, a food bag, and two extra workouts, Flat Abs Fix and Barre Legs. The Ultimate package costs $120, or you could add the two workouts to either of the other packages for $30.
Because the basic package includes the six baseline workouts plus the bonus Dirty 30 workout, you get a total of at least seven workouts to rotate through as you progress. You can also add on two more to bring the total to nine. Each workout is about 30 minutes long. That’s just long enough to give you results, but short enough that it is not too hard to fit it into your day.
Since the 21 Day Fix is, as the name suggests, 21 days long, you do each exercise three times in the basic package. If you take one or more bonus workouts, then you can insert them into the rotation at almost any point. The six basic workouts include Upper Fix, Lower Fix, Total Body Cardio, Pilates Fix, Cardio Fix, and Yoga Fix. The cardio workouts don’t need anything other than an exercise mat, but for the others, you’ll need a resistance band or free weights to take full advantage of their potential. It’s possible to do them as body-weight exercises, but the goal is that you should move up to using free weights to increase the impact. Additionally, the Yoga Fix is a stretching-centered routine that you should use at the end of each week to stay flexible.
21 Day Fix Recipes
The diet plan is one of the most interesting parts of 21 Day Fix, especially considering that previous Beachbody programs emphasized workouts so much. In essence, the different containers are each a different color, and you have to fill each colored container with the right food. Green is for veggies, purple for fruits, red for protein, yellow is for carbs, blue is for cheese and healthy fats, orange is for seeds and oils, and the shaker cup is for drinks and shakes. Using your gender, your height and weight, and how much you exercise before starting the program, you can learn how many servings from each container you should each each day. For example, a woman of average height, weight, activity level, and caloric intake can eat 3 full green containers, 1 purple one, 4 reds, 3 yellows, 1 blue, and 2 orange in one day, distributed however she wants. The key is to use the serving containers as a guide, which is a simpler way to stay on track than by looking up ingredients and calories.
How To Use 21 Day Fix Containers
While many people are drawn in by the promise to lose 15 pounds in 21 days, this is not a crash diet program. The best use of 21 Day Fix is to repeat the program over and over again. Think of the 21 days as a sequence that you rotate through, not a one-off series. The reason to take a long-term view of the program is because of its emphasize on fundamentals. The nutritional guidance is key to help you maintain healthy portion control no matter what your current health level. On the workout side of things, this program is quite modular. That means if you are reaching a plateau or are bored with the included workouts, you can mix in other 30 minute workouts, such as those from Insanity or P90X. It’s a good idea to maintain a similar structure. For example, replace the Upper Fix with another upper body workout to avoid over-working or under-working any muscle group. Depending on how you structure your workouts, it might also be a good idea to add in low-activity rest days to avoid strains.
The best part about the 21 Day Fix is how easy it is to alter. For example, you have a lot of freedom with the nutritional program because of the emphasis on portion size. That means you have a lot of control over what you eat and you can mix up the diet to keep things interesting. One of the biggest reasons that people stop diets is because the list of meals they can eat is so short they become bored. That won’t be a problem with 21 Day Fix.
Pros & Cons
- The 21 Day Fix is a comprehensive program because it gives you workouts and a diet plan to follow at the same time. That is what makes it easy to shed the first 15 pounds on your first loop through the program.
- The program will build strong fundamentals for the future. Not only will you learn some useful daily workouts, but you’ll also get a visual intuition for healthy portion sizes and proportions of different kinds of food. That information is useful even when you aren’t working out.
- The idea of color-coded containers for food is fairly original and it’s well-executed. It doesn’t take much work to follow the rules, you can eat a large variety of foods, and you can carry them to work for convenience.
- Both the workouts and the diet plan are very easy to get going and require little in the way of gear. There’s no odd exercise tools, no blenders or choppers, and you don’t need much space. That all adds up to make 21 Day Fix a great way to ease yourself into some good principles of healthy living.
- The claim of dropping 15 pounds in 21 days is not as impressive as it sounds. Much of that initial weight is water weight, and most workouts with enough cardio will be able to take off 15 pounds in three or four weeks without much trouble.
- There’s no built-in rest days, which means if you aren’t careful it’s easy to pull a muscle. This is a workout based on cardio and weight loss, not building muscle mass, but it’s still worth considering rest days.
The 21 Day Fix has a lot of upside. Yes, it can be expensive, but you should think of it as a long-term guide, not a three-week program that you drop after running through it once. The most valuable aspect is the way it guides you to learn correct portion control. In reality, you could probably pair any decent workout regime with this diet and achieve similar results. That is actually a good thing, because it means you can change out the workouts if you don’t like them. But it does contribute to the feeling that 21 Day Fix is overpriced. The advice and guidance is good, and the provided workouts are fairly good as well. It just comes down to whether you think it is worth the money. In my opinion, the best thing to do is to buy the basic package and then add on the extra two bonus workouts later if you like it enough to finish the first 21 days. After that you have the freedom to do what you want with it.