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21 Day Fix: A Brief Review

The 21 Day Fix is the latest program from Beachbody focusing on daily exercise and portion control. The base kit includes seven workouts (plus a couple of bonus workouts), several color-coded containers, used in conjunction with a detailed eating guide to help you choose nutritious foods in the appropriate amounts. The workouts are 30-minutes long, and have plenty of options for modifying your workout based on your fitness level. There is an “ultimate” add-on kit, which I also purchased which includes an additional large container for on-the-go eating (mixing the smaller containers together – like a salad), an insulated bag, a shaker bottle (for mixing up Shakeology or water), and additional bonus workouts.

The small containers are very, very small. I feel like I’m playing with a dollhouse-sized set of Tupperware. I knew I had a problem with portion control and overeating, but this is ridiculous. Granted, most of the containers are filled several times over the course of the day, but still. They are very, very small. They are high quality, easy to clean, and seem to be leak-proof. Although they are dishwasher safe (top rack only) and microwavable, I wash mine by hand and avoid nuking them. I’d like them to last a long, long time.

The workouts are deceptively innocent and easy. The moves are simple and don’t require superhuman coordination to perform. I found myself starting out thinking it was going to be easy, only to find I had run out of gas in the last ten minutes. Also, invest in some epsom salt because Autumn will make you sore.

The eating plan is a conventional, omnivore diet. Before you begin, you calculate your caloric needs (the math equation is very easy – no calculus!) to determine your calorie range. Using a provided chart, you next determine how many times you fill each color-coded container. Lastly, a list of acceptable foods for each container is provided from best to least best choices. For example, the red container is for proteins. Salmon and chicken are closer to the top of the list, while protein powder is listed near the bottom. If your calorie range requires five servings of proteins each day, simply go to the list and choose what you like best and try to spread it around to each meal.

I struggled the most with the eating plan because I’m a low-fat, low-protein vegan whose diet most resembles the recommendations of Dr. John McDougall. The 21 Day Fix eating plan calls for a protein to carbohydrate ratio of 2.5 – 3:1; I eat the opposite and avoid adding fats and oils. Other than the occasional handful of nuts added to recipes or half an avocado on a salad, I avoid dietary fats. The only protein options available for vegans are tofu, seitan, shakeology, and protein powder. While there are several vegan protein powders available (my favorite is Sun Warrior), I dislike eating too much soy. Most of my protein comes from eating beans, lentils, and peas – which, on this eating plan count as carbohydrates.

I wanted to see great results from this program so badly. I’ve seen dozens of pictures of successful Fixers who lost 15, 20 pounds and inches off their waistlines. I however, didn’t see results. I didn’t see much more than a pound lost. Unfortunately, the eating plan, in my opinion, isn’t really suitable for vegans. I’m certain that this is the reason I didn’t have the tremendous success that others have had with the 21 Day Fix.

Pros:

  • Short workouts (easy to add to any schedule)
  • No-brainer portion control
  • Easy to follow eating plan (for omnivores)
  • Not much equipment required (a few dumbbells are all you really need)
  • Easily adaptable to your lifestyle after completing the program

Cons:

  • Eating plan not suitable for vegans, especially not long term

 

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