So I completed one week of the 3 week workout/meal plan called the 21 Day Fix. I started last Monday.
The idea is simple. There are 7 workouts, each approximately 30 minutes long. One for every day of the week. You do them in order, no skipping around. There is a meal plan. You get 6 color coded containers. A green for veggies, purple for fruits and berries, red for protein, yellow for carbs and grains, blue for good fat, and orange for seeds, peanuts, and dressing. Based on your weight, the meal plan tells you how many servings of each color you get in a day. You eat 6 meals each day.
Starting with the workouts, I’ve been pretty vague in discussing them, pretty much summing them up to a simple phrase- they suck! Day 1 is “Total Body Cardio.” It’s called this because you work every muscle in your body. At the same time. They pack a lot of stuff into these 30 minute sessions! The next day, your entire body hurts. For me, most of the hurt was in the legs and lower back, so when day 2 comes around and I see “Upper Fix” my first thought is, “woohoo, no leg exercises!” Well, you still need those legs to do some of the upper body weight lifting. When day 3 comes along, I can barely move. This sucks because day 3 is “Lower Fix” and as I’m sure you can guess, this works out the legs that are still sore from day 1. If you’ve done any Beachbody workouts before, you are usually used to a 6-day a week program. You get a recovery day. Some plans actually have an entire week of recovery. The 21 Day Fix has an “active” recovery day. This means your 30 minutes are spent doing Pilates. I’d asked about Pilates prior to doing the video and was told it is similar to yoga; stretching and breathing. This one “hurt so good!” It was painful, but the whole time you are so thankful that you’re not lifting a weight or doing a squat or lunging that you actually enjoy stretching your hurt body. Day 5 is “Cardio Fix.” You’d think the only difference between this and day 1 would be it doesn’t work the whole body, but you’re wrong. I’d done this one a few weeks ago when I originally planned to begin this program. I thought I was doing the other one (day 1) but was wrong. For my plan, day 5 landed on Friday. Knowing the weekend was starting, that I wanted to go out to dinner and that I would not want to work out after dinner, I skipped this one. Hey, I’d done it once so it’s not like I skipped it completely, but just on my 1st week of actually doing the program. Day 6 brought “Dirty 30.” This was a pretty intense workout that worked out all muscle groups. Knowing what I know about Day 5, I have no idea how I would survive these 2 workouts in a row next week. Day 7 came along and it was Yoga. Instead of yoga I enjoyed my day home alone. I caught up on tv, shaved for the first time in at least 16 days, and did some grocery shopping. So, to be honest, I did miss 2 of 7 workouts. A couple things about the workouts. For starters, the exercises that require a band or weights can be done without them. There were a few exercises that I just could not do properly with weights in my hand. Instead I concentrated on doing them properly- using the correct form. This week I’m going to use weights every time they do. Also, they also have the “fat girl version.” In every video the cast of people change, except the trainer and this one girl, the only plus-sized girl. She modifies most of the exercises to make them easier. You still get a similar workout, but she does them in slightly different positions or at a slower pace. This is great for beginners. The bad part is, they focus on her so briefly that for those of us who like to spend a few seconds watching, to make sure we do it right, I found myself rewinding a lot to watch her quick scene over and over. I’ve read some blogs that recommend they split screen so her way and the original way are both shown the entire time. We’ll see how week 2 goes, and I plan on doing 6 or 7 workouts!
In addition to the workouts is the meal plan. As I said, your containers are color coded based on food group. This is my meal plan and “servings.” I get 3 veggies, 2 fruits, 4 proteins, 2 carb/grains, 1 fat, and 1 seed servings each day. The idea is, most people hate weighing and measuring food and hate counting calories. Based on your weight is the recommended meal plan and the meal plan allows for the number of calories you should take in each day. As we all know, it’s best to split your food into 6 small meals instead of 3-4 large meals. Rather than weighing and measuring, for most foods if it fits in the corresponding food group container, you can eat it. Most proteins for instance don’t fit naturally in my red container, so we cut it into bites. In the case of deli-sliced turkey, the plan just calls for 6 slices. For eggs, since the size depends on how you are serving them, it’s simply 3 eggs. Most “junk” consumes your carb/grain serving. For instance, a couple times a week I can exchange 2 servings for 5oz of wine. Or chips. Or a cookie. Naturally, this is my most coveted food group. Each container is a different size. The fruit and veggie containers are about the same, and the largest holding a couple cups worth of food. You’d be surprised how much lettuce you can cram into a small container. The sizes slowly shrink until you hit the seeds/nuts one. This holds a tablespoon or 2 of food. I bought unshelled sunflower seeds to maximize the space. You can also use this one for salad dressing or peanuts too. But I only get 1 so I must plan wisely! One good thing about this is, it’s made me eat more fruits and more of the healthier fats (like pistachios, hummus, and avocado. Things that I would sometimes skip because I felt they were just too high in calories before. One thing I’ve had troubles with is the 4 servings of protein. The size itself seems small, so that may be why I get 4 of them, but 6 slices of deli meat is enough, a shakeology shake is enough, so that leaves for a huge piece of meat for dinner to account for 2 servings. The hardest part, and this is true anytime you are on a meal plan like this, or counting calories in general is the pre-packaged food and restaurant food. Food groups are mixed together. You don’t know how much of what you’re eating. You have to estimate. Luckily, for the most part, when I ate out this weekend I had a good idea of what was in everything and made the healthier choices. I may have over-estimated in my calculations. Beer on Saturday did me in though! I did not account for 1 beer, let alone 4.
So maybe week 1 is not a good indicator of what this plan can do- besides bringing on the pain! I missed 2 workouts, I had beer, and one day I did sneak in a donut (but in fairness I did account for it on my yellow container allotment, the one we use to substitute for bad foods when we need to). In one week I lost 1lb. I’m going to try harder this week. I’m somewhat used to being in pain every day. Time to step up my intensity and not skip any workouts. On weekdays I’ve found a good “routine” for all of my meals except dinner, which is always a surprise and I just have to work around my remaining allotments for each food group. I’m going to finish this one. Only 2 more weeks. If I see better results with more effort, I’m going to do it again the 3 weeks prior to leaving for Hawaii. They also have a 3 day plan for the last 3 days that you can do, but it seems to me like it is basically increasing your intensity and decreasing your food intake. Definitely saving that one for right before we go!