21 Day Fix Review
- Simple, portion-controlled meal plan utilizing useful containers
- Effective and convenient 30-minute workouts
- Since the program is only 21-days long, you can fully complete it and return it under the 30-day money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied
- Expensive compared to other home workout programs, given that it's only three weeks long
- Not suitable for vegans or vegetarians due to the meat-rich diet
- Unlikely to notice a physical change by the end of the three-week program
Introduction To This 21 Day Fix Review
From this 21 Day Fix review you will learn:
- How the 21 Day Fix differs from other home workout programs
- Why the diet aspect plays such an important role and what it consists of
- How the 21 Day Fix is able to deliver significant results in only three weeks
This review begins with an overview of the program itself, covering the goals and strategy. Next, there is a look at what equipment is included with the 21 Day Fix, then we consider the overall structure of the program followed by a detailed look at the workouts and diet plan. We then discuss what results can be achieved, whether the 21 Day Fix is good value for money and, finally, where to purchase it.
21 Day Fix Review: Program Overview
The 21 Day Fix is a home workout program and diet plan which lasts for…you guessed it, 21 days.
Developed by a celebrity fitness trainer, certified personal trainer and national-level bikini model competitor Autumn Calabrese, the primary goal of this program is to burn fat, fast, and deliver significant weight loss results within a short period of time.
We all know that any training program requires effective workouts with a good, clean diet being equally important, if not more important. With most home workout programs, the actual workouts are perceived as being the ‘primary’ element of the program, with the diet being an ‘add-on’. With the 21 Day Fix, there is more emphasis on the diet aspect making it the primary element with the workouts taking second place.
Neither the workouts nor the diet plan offer anything new or anything you probably haven’t already seen or read before but the program does offer structure, convenience and simplicity – all of which contribute to keeping you motivated throughout the program.
Users have reported a loss of 10-16lbs over the 21 days. That’s around 0.5 to 0.75lbs of fat burned per day, which is something I would certainly be proud to achieve. I discuss results in more detail in a later section.
What’s In The Box?
Like a lot of other BeachBody products, the 21 Day Fix program is available in two packages: the Essentials package and the Ultimate package. As you can probably guess, the Essentials is the cheaper option, but the Ultimate package includes more.
Below is a brief outline of the contents of each package. The Ultimate package comes with everything that’s included in the Essentials package, plus the extra items as specified below.
- 2 DVDs containing 7 x 30-minute workouts
The 7 workouts include:
- Total Body Cardio Fix;
- Upper Fix;
- Lower Fix;
- Cardio Fix;
- Yoga Fix;
- Dirty 30 Fix.
Most of these workouts are pretty self-explanatory but will be discussed in detail in a later section.
- 7 Color-Coded Portion-Control Containers and Shakeology Shaker Bottle
These portion-control containers are a great addition to this diet-focused program. Each container is of a specific size and color and is designed to hold your day’s worth of food from a particular food group:
- Red = Proteins
- Green = Vegetables
- Blue = Good Fats
- Yellow = Carbohydrates
- Purple = Fruits
- Orange = Oils/Dressings
Whilst the containers themselves are nothing out of the ordinary, they do offer convenience and help keep you organized.
Additionally, the 21 Day Fix diet does not consist of calorie counting. If it fits in your container, you can eat it!
- 21 Day Fix Start Here Guide
The Start Here guide is self-explanatory: it tells you how the program is structured and includes a basic workout calendar to help you keep track of your workouts.
- 21 Day Fix Eating Plan
The Eating Plan is extremely useful and should be read cover to cover. The key information to take away from this guide is the amount of calories you should be consuming each day. Don’t worry, like I said before, there’s no actual calorie counting involved. This guide tells you exactly how many containers of each food group you should be eating per day based on your calorie intake. As an example, if you calculate, from the formula in this guide, that you should be consuming 1200 calories per day then you will be instructed to eat the equivalent of four red containers of protein and only one blue container of fats.
- 3 Day Quick Fix
This guide reveals Autumn’s three day diet prior to any shows, competitions or photo shoots. It is a very restrictive diet that consists of oats and eggs for breakfast, with a further five meals of meat, vegetables and coconut oil spread throughout the day. This is akin to the type of diet some bodybuilders will maintain while also approaching a competition.Note: This 3 Day Quick Fix is not the same as BeachBody’s other program: 3-Day Refresh. (Read my 3-Day Refresh review here);
- 2 Bonus 30-minute workouts on 1 DVD Only included in the Ultimate package
The bonus workouts are Flat Abs Fix and Barre Legs. Again, the workout names make it obvious what the workouts consist of, but I’ll discuss these workouts in more detail later.
- 1 Large 21 Day Fix Container Only included in the Ultimate package
Lunchbox-style larger container. Nothing to get excited about, really.
- Resistance Band Only included in the Ultimate package
A standard-issue resistance band. Required for some of the workouts in this program. If this is the only item you’re interested in then I’d recommend just getting the Essentials package and purchasing a resistance band from Amazon – it’ll work out cheaper.
- 21 Day Fix Insulated Tote Bag Only included in the Ultimate package
Again, nothing to shout about. A nice-looking, insulated bag with 21 Day Fix branding which holds all of your containers nicely. Once again, I wouldn’t purchase the Ultimate edition just to get this bag; it doesn’t do anything that a standard bag or backpack can’t do.
If, however, you’re interested in meal management or you’re someone who likes to be organized, I recommend this Innovator Insulated Meal Management Bag – I have one! They’re not as cheap, but they’re fantastic for organizing, storing and transporting your meals for the day.
The only other item I’d recommend, which isn’t included in either of the packages, is a yoga style floor mat, to protect your back when conducting exercises on the floor. You can get away with not using one if you have a soft carpet, but if you have wood flooring or similar then I’d strongly recommend getting one.
21 Day Fix Review: The Overall Program Structure
When you first begin the 21 Day Fix you will be required to work out your target calorie consumption. This is calculated using your weight in pounds then subtracting another number (also based on your weight) to leave you with a number between 1,200 and 2,300 (round down or up if you’re over or under those numbers, respectively).
Don’t worry, all of this is detailed in the 21 Day Fix Eating Plan guide!
The number you are left with determines how many portions of each container you should consume.
See the calorie chart below for an indication of how many portions of each container you should expect to consume depending on your calorie range. (Click the image to enlarge.)
With regards to the training side of things, you have 7 separate workouts. One workout is to be completed each day. That’s right – 7 workouts per week. Now, before you cry “Overtraining!” in the comments section after you’ve realized that there’s no rest day, know that your Sunday workout is Yoga Fix: a much more relaxed workout, focused on stretching and breathing exercises.
And, c’mon, the workouts are only 30 minutes long anyway!
Below, I have provided the full workout schedule. You may notice a few things:
- Firstly, Wednesdays and Thursdays each give you the choice of two workouts: Lower Fix or Barre Legs on Wednesdays and Pilates Fix or Flat Abs Fix on Thursdays. Barre Legs and Flat Abs Fix are only included in the 21 Day Fix Ultimate package, so if you opt for the Essentials package you won’t have this option.
- Secondly, there is an optional double workout for each day in the third week. If you think you are fit enough by the third week (and can afford the time) then it is recommend you do two workouts per day that week – the workout you would usually do plus the optional workout. It is recommended that you perform the second workout later in the day and not immediately after the first workout.
I know two workouts per day is a lot to ask but you have to put the effort in if you want results in such a short time-frame!
21 Day Fix Review: The Workouts
In this part of the 21 Day Fix review, you will learn about each of the workouts, how they are constructed and the types of exercises included.
- Total Body Cardio Fix
This workout is intended as pure fat burner session which is in contrast to many of the other workouts which target specific muscle groups. It’ll keep you sweating for the full thirty minutes.
Dumbbells are used extensively in this workout in a range of exercises, such as lunges, wood-chops, x-country skiers and transverse twists. In addition, there are also many traditional bodyweight exercises, such as jumping jacks, planks, crunches plus some common weight-lifting style exercises such as bent-over rows, lat pullovers and front dumbbell raises.
- Upper Fix
As the name suggests, this workout focuses on building your upper body strength.
Dumbbells are used in the majority of exercises in the Upper Fix workout. The exercises include curl-to-overhead-press, a modified bench press, front dumbbell raises, lat pulldowns, rows and more. There are still some exercises included which do not require dumbbells, such as push-ups and scissor-crunches, but you will need dumbbells to complete this workout so get yourself a pair now if you don’t already own some!
- Lower Fix
This is another aptly-named workout, targeting the leg muscles with an array of varied lunges, squats and leg raises. Dumbbells are advised in this workout however squats and lunges can be performed effectively without the added weight, therefore dumbbells are not essential for this workout.
- Pilates Fix
A more gentle workout, the Pilates Fix is simply thirty minutes of stretching, breathing and stretch-and-hold exercises. A significant portion of this workout is spent performing exercises whilst lying down so, as I’ve already stated above, get yourself a yoga mat if you don’t already have one.
- Cardio Fix
The second cardio-focused workout of the week, the Cardio Fix, uses dumbbells less and focuses more on traditional cardio-esque exercises. Expect exercises such as modified mummy-kicks (those that have completed Insanity will remember this one!), squat thrusts, on-the-spot running, lunges, burpees and knee-to-elbows.
- Dirty 30
Dirty 30 is, in my opinion, probably the most challenging workout of the 21 Day Fix. This workout contains a range of unusual but very fun and intense exercises. Two of my favorites are the Renegade Row, which involves staying in a push-up position for the duration balancing on only one arm whilst using the arm to execute a dumbbell row, and the Chest Fly Raise, which requires you to be lying on your back and performing dumbbell flies whilst raising your legs at the same time. Both exercises are tough and, as you can tell, dumbbells are required for this workout.
- Yoga Fix
Day 7’s workout is a welcome change-of-pace. Expect to spend thirty minutes practising a lot of different stretches and breathing exercises.
21 Day Fix Review: The Diet
Onto the main focus of the 21 Day Fix: the diet.
I touched on this section earlier in this 21 Day Fix review during the overview of the program structure. As already stated, the first step is to use the provided formula to determine your daily calorie intake which, in turn, will determine how many portions of each container you should consume each day.
I will use my own calculated portion sizes and typical meal plan as the example in this 21 Day Fix review.
Based on my weight at the time, my calculated calorie intake was in the 1,200 – 1,399 range. This allowed me to consume the following number of containers each day:
- 4 x Red (Proteins)
- 3 x Green (Vegetables)
- 2 x Yellow (Carbohydrates)
- 2 x Purple (Fruits)
- 2 x Orange (Oils/Dressings)
- 1 x Blue (Good Fats)
I decided I would consume five meals per day: three ‘traditional’ meals, being breakfast, lunch and dinner, and two to three snacks in between meals.
As I work out in the mornings I would consume my carbohydrates in the first half of the day to replenish my energy levels.
Therefore, my daily meal plan would look like this:
1 x Red (Proteins)
1 x Yellow (Carbohydrates)
1 x Red (Proteins)
1 x Purple (Fruits)
1 x Red (Proteins)
1 x Yellow (Carbohydrates)
1 x Green (Vegetables)
1 x Orange (Oils/Dressings)
1 x Green (Vegetables)
1 x Purple (Fruits)
1 x Red (Proteins)
1 x Green (Vegetables)
1 x Orange (Oils/Dressings)
1 x Blue (Good Fats)
As a result, a typical day’s meal plan was:
Bowl of Oats
Green Leaf Salad
So that was my diet. It’s as simple as that. You’ve probably seen a very similar diet in books and other diet websites. As I stated at the beginning of this 21 Day Fix review, there really isn’t anything special about the diet itself: it’s more about the way it helps to keeps you organized.
In addition to the diet plan, there’s also a Food List which contains a vast array of foods that you’re allowed in each category.
Finally, I recommend you get shakeology to go along with the 21 Day Fix. It’s a great way to ensure you get the protein you need. Alternatively, check out my article on essential supplements for the ideal supplements to, erm, supplement your training.
What Results Can You Expect From The 21 Day Fix?
In this part of the 21 Day Fix review, we will discuss what kind of results are achievable and realistic.
First of all, it’s important to manage your expectations. Whilst great results can be achieved from this home workout program, you will not go from looking like an actual couch potato to a chiselled Tyler Durden look-a-like in three weeks. It’s just not possible.
That being said, BeachBody, Autumn Calabrese and the team behind the 21 Day Fix know this and want you to realize that any major transformation is a long-term process and requires months of hard work. Many cycles of the 21 day fix need to be completed in order to achieve significant results and, thankfully, they’re honest and up front about it, most noticeable in their transformation images.
It may be a case that you’re not significantly overweight and are just looking to shed a few pounds quickly. Situations that make a single cycle of the 21 day fix ideal include:
- preparing for an upcoming holiday or vacation;
- preparing for a show (body-building or similar);
- making weight when participating in an upcoming sporting event, such as a boxing match.
I completed a single cycle of the 21 Day Fix. I wasn’t overweight when I began this program but, like a lot of people, I could have done with losing a few pounds.
Personally, I found the workouts weren’t as intense as those in many other home workout programs but the structured diet plan and organized way of preparing, storing and consuming meals did help to me to stick to my diet every day throughout the full three weeks, which is something I typically struggle to do.
Now, although the workouts not being as fast-paced or as challenging as those in other home workout programs they are still effective and, in conjunction with the diet, I did lose 10lbs by the end of week 3. I am pleased with these results because, to be honest, I didn’t feel like I actually worked hard throughout this program. As I’ve already said, the workouts weren’t too tough and the diet side of things was simple.
Is The 21 Day Fix Good Value For Money?
In this final part of the 21 Day Fix review I briefly discuss the program’s value for money, who should use it and your options for purchasing it.
At the official BeachBody price of $59.85, I wouldn’t describe it as an expensive home workout program (it’s certainly cheaper than the likes of P90X), however, one could argue that you get a lot more bang for your buck with P90X.
If you’re a beginner or someone who struggles to stick to a diet then I’d highly recommend the 21 Day Fix home workout program. It will:
- introduce you to a sensible eating plan;
- make sticking to the eating plan easy and, in turn, instil discipline;
- introduce you to moderately intense home workouts.
As always, there are a number of ways to procure this home workout program, primarily either BeachBody directly or Amazon.
If purchasing directly from BeachBody, you only have the option of the 21 Day Fix Essentials Package, however, you do get the usual great BeachBody service and convenience:
- Pay in 3 monthly instalments;
- 30-day money-back guarantee;
- It’s cheaper than purchasing it on Amazon!
You need to buy from Amazon if you’re interested in the 21 Day Fix Ultimate Package. That’s the only reason I can think of to buy this from Amazon, as the Essentials Package costs over $12 more on Amazon than buying direct.
As I stated earlier in this 21 Day Fix review, I think the Ultimate Package is over-priced and doesn’t really include enough extra goodies to justify the extra $70+ purchase price.
Ultimately, my final recommendation if you are planning on purchasing the 21 Day Fix home workout program is to buy the Essentials Package from BeachBody then, if you don’t already own some, get yourself a pair of dumbbells to use with the program.
If you’ve decided the 21 Day Fix is perhaps a little too tame for you, then check out other home workout programs specifically for the advanced trainer.