My Experience with 21 Day Fix

I’m recapping my personal experience with Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix Program. I have no affiliation with BB and this isn’t a sponsored post – I purchased it out of my own pocket and just want to share my opinion. Please make sure you consult a medical professional before beginning any new exercise regimen or diet such as this one. Now that we got the disclaimers out of the way, I’m anxious to share my results and thoughts on the 21 Day Fix!

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I’ve been a regular exerciser for over five years now after an on-again-off-again habit prior to that, and I’ve done everything from videos to Zumba to spinning to Bodypump to virtual bootcamps to yoga to my most recent favorite, Jazzercise. Unfortunately due to a wacky schedule, my inability to wake up early in the mornings, and some low back issues, I had to temporarily nix my beloved Jazzercise classes. So I was in the market for a new exercise program, and 21 Day Fix seemed like a perfect fit. Some things I look for when it comes to a workout regimen I can stick to: convenience, variety, non-intimidating, modification-friendly, effective, efficient, and fun!

I’ll be honest – I’m in pretty good shape and wasn’t looking to lose weight but rather increase my strength and overall energy, so dropping pounds quickly wasn’t a motivating factor for me; 21DF was most appealing to me for its quick and effective 30-minute workouts. Along with that came a nutrition plan focused on portion control (details below). I didn’t follow the 21DF specific diet, but I did try to make smarter food choices over the 21 days. I also drank Shakeology every day, and I can go into that during another post. I’m totally a skeptic of meal replacement shakes, but I felt that Shakeology was 100% worth it – especially in combination with the exercise program and helping with muscle recovery.

What is it?

From the web site: “The 21 Day Fix workout program by Autumn Calabrese was created to help people lose up to 15 lbs. in 21 days through simple fitness and simple eating. Its Portion Control eating system and seven, 30-minute workouts each week are designed to burn fat and get you looking better than ever in just 21 days.”

Workout Breakdown

Total Body Cardio Fix: Includes moves that keep your heart rate up and your muscles engaged. I feel like this was a very well-rounded workout that consisted of a good mix of strength, cardio, and core work. It flew by!

Upper Fix: Targeted resistance training helps to shape your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and abs. There was less variety in this workout, and I felt like it was a little lackluster after Day 1’s Total Body Cardio Fix. There were only two rounds of exercises so it felt long and repetitive at times instead of moving quickly like the previous day.

Lower Fix: Firms and tones your entire lower body (glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves) while you blast fat and burn calories. You get a big bang for your buck in this workout. It includes really diverse lower body moves and incorporates pulses and static holds which leave your legs shaking by the end of the set.

Pilates Fix: Strengthens your core, elongates your muscles, and firms your hips and thighs. I liked having this “active rest” day after three days of go-go-go. It was still absolutely challenging, especially the ab section, but in a way that’s less sweaty and strenuous.

Cardio Fix: Gets your heart pumping and your body moving with high intensity movements like burpees and mountain climbers. This was probably my least favorite workout because it’s pretty high-intensity and high-impact (there is a low-impact option but it’s still very taxing). It’s definitely effective at spiking your heart rate and keeping it there in an interval style.

Dirty 30: Four rounds of eight fat-burning compound exercises. This was my favorite of the workouts because it’s just a great total body strength session that uses efficient compound exercises (upper + lower moves at the same time) with very little cardio to get the job done.

Yoga Fix: Improves balance, flexibility, and strength. On Day 7 of the plan, this active rest workout is very much welcomed. This is a fairly basic yoga flow with lots of sun salutations and stretching to help the muscles loosen up after six days of working non-stop.

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(Post-naptime workout 🙂 )

21 Day Fix Eating Plan

Along with the workout DVDs, the program provides and emphasizes following a simple eating plan that uses seven pre-portioned color-coded containers for the various food groups (veggies, fruits, protein, carbs, healthy fats, seeds/dressing, and oils/nut butters) to achieve optimal results. The point of the container system is that you don’t need to worry about calories, ounces, or measuring in general. You figure out your calorie level through a basic metabolic formula (based on your weight) and the corresponding calorie level tells you how many servings of containers to consume in a day.

You’re encouraged to drink plenty of water (in addition to plain coffee and tea), and there’s also wiggle room for treats like wine, oatmeal cookies, trail mix, and chocolate (within reason, and only if you swap it out for your various containers throughout the week).

I think this nutrition plan is a great way to kickstart someone’s journey in healthy eating and paired with the workouts probably produces fantastic results, but I don’t think it’s sustainable in the long run. It’s a great introduction for those who are new to eating whole foods and helps them get an idea of portion sizes so they can eyeball it later on, but I can’t imagine using the containers for more than 21 days. However, it’s really about what works best for the individual as part of their bigger-picture healthy lifestyle change (since I’m not a fan of short-term fad diets).

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Pros:

  • I was part of a 21 Day Fix private Facebook accountability/challenge group that I checked in with every day. Everyone cheered each other on and the coaches shared motivation, recipes, and guidance each day. I think it made the process way more enjoyable.
  • The workouts are quick (30 minutes or so) and contain a good mix of cardio, strength, and flexibility exercises in a short amount of time.
  • You can do it at home with minimal equipment – a set of heavy and light dumbbells (or a resistance band) and a yoga mat are all you need.
  • Modifier available – There are many low-impact variations and modifications throughout all of the workouts. I love this for people like myself who struggle with previous injuries or those who are just beginning a workout regimen and need to progress slowly before working their way up to going full-force.

Cons:

  • The warm-ups are redundant. The warm-up sequence is identical in almost every workout. Sometimes I wish Autumn would’ve changed it up to make it a little more exciting.
  • The name of the program. Similar to how I feel about the eating plan – I don’t like that the name implies that it’s a “quick fix.” Hopefully it’s the catalyst that some people need to continue down the road to good health, but I also hope it’s not discouraging for those who are expecting radical results in three weeks. (A lot of the before/after photos they promote are people who have done several rounds of the program.)

My Results:

I make a point not to get on the scale anymore, so I can’t tell you if I actually lost any weight (which was not my goal), but I can say that I toned up a lot and my strength increased a ton. I managed to make it back to one Jazzercise class after having started 21DF and I couldn’t believe how much easier the weights portion of the class felt compared to before. I also didn’t have major back problems while completing the program. I actually think it improved a bit because I was strengthening supporting muscles that prevented weakness in my low back. Most of all, I loved experiencing increased energy levels during the whole process. The fact that I was exercising daily coupled with drinking the Shakeology was probably the major reason.

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I can see myself going back to some of the workouts as staples later on, especially the Dirty Thirty workout and the Pilates and Yoga DVDs, or if I need a “reset” I can complete the whole program from the beginning.

Have you tried 21 Day Fix or anything similar? If you’ve done the Beachbody workouts, which one is your favorite?

2 Comments on My Experience with 21 Day Fix

  1. Elizabeth
    June 16, 2016 at 9:25 pm (4 years ago)

    I have been exited for this post since you mentioned you were working on it and would’ve have grilled you for your opinion long before if I’d known you were doing it 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it and I may have to bother you for more info once my current “routine” is over.

    I ran across the “Bikini Body Mommy” workout series last summer and while I HATE the name, I enjoy the fast 20 minute 6 days a week workouts. It’s completely web-based and free unless you want some of the extra workout series or her meal plan. I got through approx. 40 of the 90 day challenge last summer before going back to work. I just picked it up again a month ago because the leader just had her 4th baby (I think?) and I thought it would be fun to watch her actually “lose baby weight” in real time. It’s fast, challenging for me and she’s pretty real about things which I appreciate. I definitely haven’t lost any weight, but I’ve always felt her focus was more on strength and toning than cardio. Between these workouts and mini-yoga sessions at work I’m definitely getting stronger which has always been a weakness for me. It’s also the first time I’ve gotten out of bed in the am to exercise so that alone is a win 🙂

    Be prepared to be asked for more details at some point in the future, but this answered a lot of my questions!

    Reply
    • mhofker
      June 25, 2016 at 4:07 am (4 years ago)

      I’ve thought of so much more I wanted to add about 21DF after I wrote this, so I may have to do a volume 2. 🙂 Thanks for the info on Bikini Body Mommy. Definitely going to check that out. Love quick options when time is at a premium. Kudos to you for rising early every morning! And yay for newfound strength!

      Reply

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