Ever finished a workout program only to find out you’ve actually gained weight? Studies have shown that this is probably due to people over estimating the amount of calories they’ve burned and then compensating by eating more. Beachbody’s 21-Day- Fix program aims to fix this problem by providing a detailed diet plan coupled with a workout program. To see weight loss results, you need to follow both the diet and the workout program, preferably as closely as possible. I’ve just finished the program – read on for my unbiased review of 21-Day-Fix.
Note: I’m in no way affiliated with Beachbody On Demand.
What is 21-Day-Fix?
21-Day-Fix is a dual program of workouts coupled with a restricted eating plan called Ultimate Portion Fix, designed by celebrity fitness trainer Autumn Calabrese. The idea is that it takes 21 days to form a habit of healthy eating and exercise. After that, it should theoretically be easy enough to maintain the routines going forward.
Unlike some of the other Beachbody workout programs, like Barre Blend, 21 -Day-Fix is focused on weight loss. It also aims to correct unhealthy eating habits by educating people about portion control. Apparently Autumn Calabrese created the 21-Day-Fix program after watching a client who was eating a healthy diet, struggle to lose weight. She realised that it was because even though her client was eating salads etc. her client’s portions were just too big.
Included in the 21-Day-Fix program is:
- color coded containers to measure your food into (more on that below).
- the Eating Plan Guide that gives you a list of food you can put in each container.
- the Start Here guide that tells you what calorie bracket you are in. You also use the guide to records your weight measurements before and after undertaking the program
- printable tally sheets so you can keep track of how many containers you’ve eaten per day (you can also use the 21 Day Fix app to keep track of your containers)
- recipes and tips for eating out at restaurants
- workout calendar so you can see what workout you need to do everyday.
At the end of the program they have a 3 day quick fix guide to use during the last 3 days of the program to get optimal results.
Autumn Calabrese has also written two Fixate Recipe Books which each include about a 100 recipes that are made using the foods listed in the Ultimate Portion Fix eating plan.
Autumn explains what is included in the program really well in this video:
How do you get access to 21-Day-Fix?
You can access 21-Day-Fix through the Beachbody website by buying one of their “packs”. Each pack comes with a Beachbody on Demand subscription (you can read my Beachbody on Demand review here) which is great if you’d like access to a huge variety of workouts. If you already have a Beachbody on Demand subscription, you can just buy the Portion Fix Kit.
I’ve noticed that you can also get 21-Day -Fix program from Amazon which includes the workouts on DVD. If you just want the program without a Beachbody on Demand subscription and are happy to use a DVD player, this seems to be the cheapest way to access the program.
What are the workouts like?
For 3 weeks, you do a 30 minute workout per day. There is a different workout every day. The moves get increasingly harder each week although there’s a modifier in the group who does an easier version of the moves.
The workouts are surprisingly challenging – even doing the modifier moves I wanted to quit many times. The moves aren’t overly complicated however. I hate trying to follow a complicated routine and spend half the time getting it wrong.
The workouts incorporate cardio, pilates, yoga and strength training.
You can see a sample workout here:
What is the Ultimate Portion Fix nutrition plan like?
The focus of the Ultimate Portion Fix nutrition plan is on eating healthy foods in the proper amounts, using portion control containers. Each of the 7 containers are different sizes and colors so you can see what a serving size should look like.
The plan is all about eating clean, whole foods. No processed foods are allowed. The 7 containers are as follows:
Green container (1 cup) for vegetables
Purple container (1 cup) for fruits
Red container (3/4 cup) for proteins
Yellow container (1/2 cup) for carbs
Blue container (1/3 cup) for healthy fats
Orange container (2 tablespoons) for seeds and dressing.
You’re given a list of acceptable foods for each container.
Before undertaking the program, you need to calculate what your calorie target is (using the Start Here Guide). Your calorie target number determines your daily container allowance – i.e. how many serves of each color-coded container you can eat per day. If you’re in “Plan A” for example, which allows you to eat 1,200 – 1,499 calories per day, you can eat from 3 green vegetable containers, 2 purple fruit containers, 4 red protein containers, 2 yellow carb containers, 1 blue healthy fats container, and 1 orange seeds and dressing container.
You can also have Beachbody on Demand’s meal replacement shakes (called “Shakeology”) once a day.
Once you’ve worked out how many containers you can have a day, you measure your food allowance into the containers each day.
The diet is a high-protein, high fibre, low carb and no refined sugar program – you can’t just try and shove a pizza slice into your yellow carbs container for example. All the usual suspects are prohibited such as junk food, candy and ice-cream. I expected to not be able to eat junk food/ fried food but you also can’t eat refined carbs such as white pasta, white bread and white rice which I found really hard. Packaged snacks and energy bars are also off limits which can be difficult if you’re busy and need to grab something on the go. If you really need a treat, you can eat one of the approved treats up to 3 times a week (such as a cookie made from one of the 21-Day-fix recipes).
I like that Beachbody gives you on a maintenance program after you finish the 21 days which is a bit less restrictive. You can also be less restrictive with the diet plan if you are repeating 21-Day-Fix (a lot of people do multiple rounds). However I’ve got to say that the diet plan got really tedious for me after a couple of days both in terms of the actual food allowed and the planning it took to prepare it. I’d much rather calorie count on a diet program like Weight Watches where no food is off-limit.
Pros of 21-Day-Fix
√ the cost of the program is pretty reasonable
√ 21-Day-Fix is designed to make you drop pounds fast
√ the program aims to overcome emotional eating
√ the program claims to retrain the brain around portion control
√ the program has paleo, vegan and gluten-free options
√ minimal room is required for the workouts
√ new workouts each day prevented me from getting bored
√ I liked that the exercises were capped at around 30 minutes each day which I felt was pretty doable
√ the program is great for anyone who wants to take all the guess work out of putting together a weight loss routine. If you follow the program to the letter, you likely will lose weight.
√ the containers are very helpful in learning the right portion sizes which is an important factor in weight loss
√ you can always join an online accountability group or get a Beachbody coach if you need extra accountability
√ 21-Day-Fix has a huge online community. It is very easy to find recipes for the nutrition plan for example, or to find before and after shots of people who have had success on the program
√ unlike other weight loss programs such as Weight Watches, there is no calorie or point counting required
√ some people will find Autumn Calabrese to be super motivating.
Cons of 21-Day-Fix
X such a restrictive program is probably not sustainable for most people. Studies have shown that quick weight loss usually results in people regaining the weight. Slow and consistent weight loss is proven to be the way to go. For me, there is no way I could stay on the program long term. I also wonder if tracking your food intake in this way may lead to disordered eating in some people
X the containers were a pain to use at first but after a while I got pretty good at estimating
X the nutrition plan definitely involves some planning. I did need to get up earlier each day for meal prepping. I found prepping the night before didn’t really work as the food was pretty unappetizing after sitting in the fridge all night. Note that if you are planning to meal prep meals in advance, you might want to invest in a couple of sets of containers. You can purchase the containers separately – either directly from Beachbody or via Amazon.
X the way they push their Beachbody supplements etc. during the workouts can be annoying (“Hope you took your Energiser before we got started!”) If you rely on these supplements/ shakes especially long term to maintain weight loss, the program becomes pretty expensive
X the container system is a pain to use when you’ve also got a family to feed – especially if you have fussy kids like me
X there are really no processed foods that you’re allowed to eat so it can be a problem when you’re trying to just do something quick.
X you are meant to eat everything in all the containers every day even if you don’t feel like that particular food.
What equipment do you need for 21-Day-Fix?
Besides the colored containers, you also need a set of light and medium weights, a mat and some mini resistance loops.
Are the 21-Day-Fix workouts suitable for beginners?
Yes. If you are struggling with the workouts you can always do the modifier moves.
How much weight can you lose doing 21-Day-Fix?
If you follow the program faithfully, you can expect to lose around 15 pounds.
Can you lose weight on 21-Day-Fix by only doing the workouts?
I think if you didn’t follow some sort of diet – being the Ultimate Portion Fix plan or some other weight loss program, you are unlikely to see any movement on the scales.
Is 21 days enough to see results?
You can expect to lose around 15 pounds. However the idea behind the 21-Day-Fix program is that in 21 days, eating healthily and exercising daily will have become a habit that you can sustain. A lot of people do the program a couple of times so that it is more like a 60 – 80 Day Fix.
Who is 21-Day-Fix most suited to?
I feel like 21-Day-Fix is best suited to people who want to drop a couple of pounds quickly for say a big event like a wedding and who want to be shown exactly what they need to do to achieve results. It would also be good for people who are just not sure what the correct portions of food should look like.
How is 21-Day-Fix different to other weight loss programs such as Weight Watches?
Weight Watches is based on a points system. You’re allocated a certain number of points to use each day. You could theoretically use up all those points on junk food (but of course you’d be pretty hungry the rest of the day). Beachbody’s Ultimate Portion Control nutrition plan however has many foods (even seemingly healthy foods) that are off-limits for the duration of the 21 days.
Is 21-Day-Fix the best Beachbody program for weight loss?
21-Day-Fix review concluding thoughts
The nutrition plan is very restrictive. I did find myself obsessing over food a bit. But I guess for most of us trying to lose weight who live a sedentary lifestyle, we are going to need to be very careful with what we eat. It is a time consuming program to follow, not just because of the workouts but because of all the dietary restrictions. My advice is to pick a time to start the program when you know you are going to have the time to devote to meal planning etc. and are not likely to be stressed out.
If you do multiple rounds of 21-Day-Fix, or if you are in weight maintenance, your container count is higher. But for me I really can’t live with the restrictions long term. I think someone like me would be more successful on a diet like Weight Watchers that offers a little more freedom.
To be successful at keeping the weight off, you really need to overhaul your lifestyle by exercising, reducing food portions, eating whole foods and skipping the processed foods.
Do you agree with my 21-Day-Fix review? If you’ve tried the program, how much weight did you lose? Let me know in the comments!
Courtney has a passion for all things fitness on a budget. She loves home workouts and trying out different fitness gear.