I’m wrapping up my second round of 21 Day Fix Extreme. The first time I did it I joined a challenge group, mostly to observe, and didn’t commit much, other than trying to be a bit more conscious of making healthy food choices and doing the workouts when convenient. The second time, I hosted a challenge group as a Beachbody Coach and committed to doing as many of the workouts as I could fit in around half marathon training as well as followed the diet as best I could. As you know if you read my blog. I’ve had a lot of success with P90X. I couldn’t do a review of 21 Day Fix Extreme without some comparisons to P90X, although the focus of this post is a review of 21 DFX, not a comparison of the two.
I really love the 21 Day Fix Extreme workouts. I really believe in this program and know that it works. In the past I was skeptical of workouts that were any less than an hour, but this program has made me a believer the short, intense workouts can really deliver results. For example, most P90X workouts are an hour (plus 15 minutes of Ab Ripper!) but each workout spends about 6-8 minutes on the warm-up and 5-8 minutes on the cool-down. Plus, Tony talks a lot and the breaks are longer so that you can write down your reps. I’d say that in the 60 minute video, you’re only working 30-40 minutes. 21 Day Fix Extreme workouts are usually around 33 minutes, with a 1-2 minute warm-up and 1-2 minute cool-down. Breaks are typically 15 seconds which is just long enough for you to grab the next set of weights, and maybe get a sip of water.
The moves in 21 Day Fix Extreme are meant to get your heart rate up, and I sweat more in my 21 Day Fix workouts than most of my P90X workouts (with the exception, of course, of P90X Plyo!). My legs are just as sore after 21 Day Fix workouts as they were in P90X workouts. However, my upper body has never been as sore as after P90X. I think each program has its pros and cons, but I must say that 21 Day Fix Extreme is the first Beachbody program since P90X that has me hooked!
The 21 Day Fix Extreme Workout Schedule:
- Monday: Plyo – High intensity cardio with weights. Full body workout.
- Tuesday: Upper Fix – Upper body and core exercise with weights and a band.
- Wednesday: Pilates – Full body Pilates workout with a core emphasis. Band is used.
- Thursday: Lower Fix – Lower body workout (lots of squats and lunges).
- Friday: Cardio Fix – Cardio with weights.
- Saturday: Dirty 30 – Full body strength training.
- Sunday: Yoga – Challenging (with modifications) yoga workout
- Optional: 10 Minute Hardcore Abs – Tough ab workout.
My favorite workouts are Upper Fix (I’ve always loved working upper body) and Dirty 30. My only criticism of this program is that some of the moves are probably a little too complex for their own good. Workouts can be hard and effective without being complex. The best example of this is yoga – there are some moves that even advanced yogis (and I doubt many advanced yogis are even doing this workout – they’re probably at a studio doing yoga) can’t do. Although there are always modifications and Autumn provides pretty good coaching on form, some of the moves may be intimidating and cause people to not always utilize good form while trying to do them. Or worse, decide yoga isn’t for them at all.
As for balancing the workouts with running and other fitness, it is possible. Since they workouts are only 30 minutes long, they can be incorporated into your training schedule as cross-training. I typically plan to skip at least one workout per week and aim to get in 6 out of the 7 workouts. I usually skip either Plyo, Lower Fix or Cardio Fix (or two of these) per week. Since it’s hard for me to get in the workouts on days when I also run, I tend to do two workouts per day at least once or twice a week. I usually pair Pilates with either Upper or Lower Fix and do them back to back when I do this. Sometimes I’ll also pair Dirty 30 and Yoga.
Just as with any program that you may use to make changes in your body, nutrition is key to this program. Although the workouts are tough and effective, they are nothing without a good nutrition plan. The nutrition plan for 21 Day Fix doesn’t involve counting calories – it involves counting containers. The program kit comes with these containers and they are color coded by product grouping to make it easier. Before you start the program, you can calculate the calorie bracket you fall into which determines your container allocation.
- Green container = vegetables
- Purple container = fruits
- Red container = proteins
- Yellow container = carbohydrates
- Blue container = healthy fats and cheeses
- Orange container = seeds, nuts, and dressings
- Teaspoon = oils and nut butters
- Free foods such as spices, vinegar, mustard, etc.
While I believe the containers are a great method, I encourage people I coach to not feel guilty if they have to add containers to their day, ESPECIALLY if they are breastfeeding and/or running, biking or swimming on top of the program. Based on my weight I fall in to the lowest calorie bracket (1200-1,499 calories). Personally, it is unrealistic for me to eat that few of calories at any time without starving, let alone while doing 21 Day Fix, training for a half marathon and breastfeeding. At a minimum, I add a yellow (carb), blue (fat) and red (protein) container to my day. and the few times I’ve tracked calories because I was curious how it compared to the containers, I was eating closer to 2,000-2,200 a day and still losing a pound a week on average. I also think it’s fine for anyone to have unlimited vegetables (green container).
Even if you are doing the program and not nursing or training for something on top of it, I think you will still see results if you add healthy foods to your container allocation. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you’re fueling your body with healthy foods – you shouldn’t be starving! If you’re like most average people who tends to indulge on the weekends (or like me who has a daily dessert habit) I guarantee that you’ll get results without even counting the containers if you simply follow the nutrition plan’s allowed foods. I personally challenged myself to give up my daily dessert habit and instead I get my sweet fix from fruit and even better, Shakeology. Shakeology is a recommended part of 21 Day Fix and is sold as part of a Challenge Pack which combines the workout program and a month of Shakeology at a discount.
Challenge Groups Explained
If you aren’t familiar, a challenge group is a private Facebook group that includes members who are all working toward similar fitness goals. My May Challenge Group contains people who are doing both 21 Day Fix Extreme and 21 Day Fix, as well as someone who is doing 22 Marine Corps and wanted to join for the inspiration.
Every day I have an early morning post that states the day’s workout, contains some inspiration and has a challenge. A couple examples of challenges are: post your goals for the week (I do this every week!) or take a photo of your meal prep for the week. These simple challenges keep people involved in the group and all the posts add up to a lot of inspiration! I’m incredibly inspired by my group – they make me work harder and resist that nightly dessert craving. Without them, I know I wouldn’t do as well. Even when I joined my friend Allison’s challenge group in March just to observe and not do any workouts or anything, I felt more motivated to workout and accountable to eat healthy, even though I didn’t post anything at all!
I’m hosting a June 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme Challenge Group (starting June 13th) and I’d love for you to join! Comment below or email me at nwoyski at gmail.com to let me know that you’re interested!
Have you done 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme? Do you like the idea of the containers for nutrition tracking? Do you want to join my June group?