I have a number of friends who’ve had very good results with the Beachbody 21 Day Fix program. Now, you know exercise and physical activity is really not my thing, and my love of bacon and cheese prevents me from dieting, but I’d gotten to the point where I was avoiding wearing some types of clothing, and I only liked being photographed from certain angles, so I figured I would give it a shot. There were lots of impressive before and after photos, so I figured if I lost just 5 lbs. I’d be happy. I’m on day 12 right now, and have already surpassed that goal! Plus, I’ve definitely noticed physical changes already! Like, I put on jeans the other day and they just slid right up and buttoned shut :o)
The program consists of three weeks of healthy eating, plus a daily 30 minute workout. Of course I know what’s good to eat, but the trick is that you get color coded containers in varying sizes that help you control your portions. That visualization is really helpful! You also get a booklet that explains the eating plan and gives lists of what you can eat and recipe ideas, but honestly I was so overwhelmed the first couple days. I actually planned my daily meals a few days before starting the program, but once I started, I ended up shifting things around. Again, being visual, I created a color coded Google Sheet where I could list out my daily meals and snacks, and tally up the number of containers at the end of each day.
The workouts are really not horrible, even for someone like me who does not do stuff like this. All you need for any of them are two sizes of hand weights and a yoga mat. Or you could use a resistance band instead of weights, and they have someone in each video to demonstrate how to do that. Each of the daily workouts focuses on a different area: total body, upper, lower, cardio, pilates (probably my favorite), “Dirty 30” (surprisingly my second favorite), and yoga. There’s also a bonus plyo DVD which makes my knees sore just thinking about it. And an extra 10 minute abs workout you can add on to any of the other days. I just get up and do them first thing in the morning, and then I’m done for the day. There is a lovely woman named Kat who appears in every workout and demonstrates the alternate moves, if you’re not quite ready to go full force with all the moves yet.
For me, the eating really hasn’t been a challenge. I already cook and prepare a lot of our food, and besides my generous use of cheese, I already am making a lot of vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Although we eat out a lot as well, it’s not like we’re having fast food every day (or very often at all). So the difference is really just portion size, and making sure I get the right proportion of veggies and protein vs. fruit, carbs, fat, etc. I’m actually making a lot of the same recipes I would have made before, just the portion is different, or maybe I’m swapping white rice for cauliflower “rice.” So the menu isn’t a problem for me. It’s really all about planning and making sure you have those ingredients prepped and that you know what you’re going to be eating that week. Some people prepare a week’s worth of meals in advance, and I just can’t do that – I don’t want to eat the same thing every day, nor do I want to be eating 5 day old leftovers by Friday. But I will generally prepare enough of a meal to split into 2-3 portions and have for a couple meals.
If you’re going to eat out, there’s even equivalents in the eating plan book for things like pizza, sushi, and burritos. (I haven’t had to do it yet, but the next time I go out to lunch with my coworkers, I have my Qdoba burrito bowl order all planned out!) If you need alcohol to have a good time, you can replace one serving of carbs with one glass of wine three days a week.
Challenges: At the end of week 1, I got hit with a wicked cold. I had to pause the next couple workouts a few times because I couldn’t breathe or had to take a coughing break, but I never missed a day. That same weekend, we got a blizzard with over 2 feet of snow. Everyone on Facebook was posting pictures of the comfort foods they were making while they were snowed in: chili, cookies, etc. I was stuck in the house with my vegetables and didn’t really feel like eating a salad. I did end up making a veggie fried rice with cauliflower rice which actually was pretty good. And the next week I got ingredients to make a 21DF friendly veggie and turkey chili.
So overall, my totally unbiased review is that the program is worth it and I am definitely pleased with the results so far. You can do multiple “rounds,” but I think after my 21 days are up I’m going to take a little break at least from doing it 100%. I will probably continue the workouts, and the lessons I’ve learned just about how to visualize portions will definitely stick with me. Stay tuned, because I also want to do an in-depth review of some of my favorite participants in the videos ;o)