Saturday, 31 October 2015

How to Lose Weight in 21 Days (Starring Autumn Calabrese) - My 21 Day Fix Workout Review and Results

Why I Chose 21 Day Fix

21 Day Fix Demonstration
My first day on 21 Day Fix - working out
 in my living room with the cats
I started 21 Day Fix with Autumn Calabrese because well - everyone was doing it!

I had just finished PiYo which have longer workouts and the quick workouts in the Fix also appealed to me - only 30 minutes? I can fit 30 minutes into my day!

Well, since I was a stay-at-home-cat-mom at the time I didn't have any issues fitting it into my "busy" schedule but my workout partner (boyfriend) did and loved the idea of a quick fitness fix.

Having someone to workout with you (there's the a word - accountability!) is huge so if my partner was doing it with me I knew I'd be more successful. 

I was a little concerned that my boyfriend would be turned off by the fact that 21 Day Fix is marketed towards women but
he didn't seem to care - there's men in the videos too! Besides Autumn Calabrese is a pretty attractive lady - who wouldn't want to stare at her. Just sayin'.

 He also liked that, unlike PiYo, these videos were mostly simple weight lifting videos.

Is 21 Day Fix Low Impact?

I find weightlifting is actually easier on your joints than bodyweight exercises. 

This is contrary to what a lot of people assume but in my experience (having juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in both knees and my left elbow) weight lifting is a very gentle, low-impact, method to gain strength.

If you've talked to your doctor, you'll know that gentle strength training is crucial for healthy joint. Don't take my word for it though, if you do have health problems TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.

 These videos always have a low-impact option (just follow Kat!).

 My boyfriend and I both have bad knees and were able to follow this program without any issues. We also found the program pretty challenging depending on what weight you choose - it's customizable so we both found it was a challenge.

The 21 Day Fix Workouts

Doing some chest exercises in 21 Day Fix

These workouts are designed so you can walk in with very little fitness knowledge and hop right in to the workouts. 

Don't get me wrong, they're not a cakewalk, but all the moves are fairly simple. They're named descriptively so you'll quickly catch on to what's coming next. The modifier - Kat - also gives easier versions of the moves. On Beachbody On Demand you'll even have an option to view Kat for the entire workout if you're just starting out.

 If you're looking for your first workout program 21 Day Fix is a really good contender. 

This is one of the only workout programs I've seen that actually has a plus size cast member for the modifier! The workouts are all 30 minutes (actually!) and come with a leg day (Lower Fix), arm day (Upper Fix), pilates (Pilates Fix), yoga (Yoga Fix), abs (Flat Abs Fix) and cardio videos (Dirty 30, Total Body Cardio Fix and Cardio Fix)  on two DVDs.

 The only video we didn't like was the abs video because it's basically 10 whole minutes of CRUNCHES. 

Circle crunches, bicycle crunches, normal crunches - you name it they're in there. The next day my neck hurt from all the crunches and my workout partner refused to do the video ever again. My favourite videos were probably Lower Fix and Total Body Cardio Fix. I also liked the option on the DVDs to play them without music (so you can play your own stuff rather than be annoyed by the same music for weeks on end).

What You Need for the 21 Day Fix Workouts

Using my 5 lb weight in the weighted cardio exercises in 21 Day Fix
I could just write "resistance bands" and be done with it but I'll elaborate a bit. 

The whole program can be done with just resistance bands if you wanted. I find I like using dumbbells because I have a better idea of how much weight I'm lifting (I love tracking numbers) and how much I'm increasing by.

 If you're just starting out some really light weights and slightly heavier weights (like 2 lbs and 5 lbs) will get you going.

 After one round you should be thinking about increasing the weight in Upper Fix and Lower Fix. I used 5 lbs and 10 lbs for the program and my boyfriend used 10 lbs and 25 lbs. You may also want a yoga mat for the floor work in yoga fix and pilates fix.

The Colour-Code Portion Control Containers

Portion Fix Colour Coded Containers demonstrating one meal of spinach, corn and feta cheese in correct portions.
The colour-coded portion control containers - lifesavers! 
These containers are absolutely brilliant. If Autumn did really come up with this idea for the program like they say then she is a genius!

Yes, yes, you could just use measuring cups or tupperware containers to measure out your food, sure. But, will you? 

Having the containers ready to go along with the food guide means you might actually use them! When most people see the containers they say to me "oh my lord is that all you can eat in a day?! That's not enough food!". The answer is no! That's not all you eat.

Think of the set of containers as one meal

Depending on your weight you're supposed to make sure you get a certain amount of meals per day - all balanced in protein, carbs and fat. The food guide is designed so you pick foods that are more nutritious and therefore you'll feel more full and won't be as tempted to binge. Seriously these containers are brilliant.

 The food guide has great recipes that I actually tried out (I'm a bit of a recipe snob) and Autumn's new book Fixate is awesome as well.

 The recipes are easy to make, actually taste good and are super nutritious. I kind of wanted to hate Fixate since Autumn is a bikini model but I can't, it's actually really great. Will you be hungry with the containers? You might be slightly hungry, but drink water, space out your meals and make sure you're choosing food at the top of the list (the list is sorted from most nutritious to slightly less nutritious) and you will not be starving on this plan. This is meant to be a plan you can use longterm without having to count calories. You can also buy just the containers and book called Portion Fix.

My 21 Day Fix Results

My 21 Day Fix Results: I lost 3 lbs in 21 days
Okay so I didn't have mind-blowing results from this program. Since I had just dropped 15 lbs with PiYo and Shakeology my goal with 21 Day Fix was to build muscle and maintain my weight. This is why I didn't stick to the meal plan to a T (I was very, um, flexible with the plan). I didn't even follow the workout plan exactly.

I did do workouts six times a week and drank Shakeology every day and dropped 2 lbs in three weeks just based on being consistent.

 I kept pressing play on this program because the workouts gave me targeted results - you work your muscles hard but give them time to recover before working them again. I do have to admit Autumn isn't my favourite trainer. I don't really connect with the whole bikini competition vibe (she's a bikini competitor in case you didn't know) and I don't think she really reaches through the screen like Tony or Chalene.

Autumn does a good job of motivating you and explaining the workouts though. 

I had no issues getting motivation to "keep pushing play" on the workouts. On the other hand, some people find Tony Horton annoying so if you love Autumn Calabrese than more power to you! Try the free workout on Beachbody on Demand to make sure you like Autumn before you buy the whole program.

Why Should You Choose 21 Day Fix?

If you want a total health makeover and want the power of good nutrition, portion control and simple to follow workouts then 21 Day Fix is a great choice. 

This program is doable as a couples workout (my boyfriend and I did it in the living room) and not too complicated for someone just starting out. The two of us were not new to fitness and weren't bored by the workouts either. If a long 90 day program seems like way to overwhelming for you then 21 Day Fix is a great way to get in the game.

Plan to give yourself one round of 21 Day Fix for every 3-4 lbs you want to lose. 

Typically people find they lose a lot more than that in the first round and then it will slow down. Keep increasing the weight and using the containers and you'll be able to fight those plateaus. Once you drop enough weight don't forget to reevaluate your container count because you may be in a new category.

How to Start 21 Day Fix

The best way to get 21 Day Fix is a challenge pack - it's the most cost effective way to see amazing results with Shakeology as one of your red containers.

 Remember, your shake is one of your meals on the 21 Day Fix - it's not just a recovery drink and not an addition to your meals.  Be sure to set yourself up with a coach when you join - if you'd like me to be your coach sign up here. 

I've been through the program so I will be cheering you through it and we'll be in accountability groups together to keep the momentum up (with prizes!). 

Set a start date and take photos and measurements. The photos give you some awesome motivation and you'll be able to get a free t-shirt and enter the Beachbody Challenge to win some cash for your awesome efforts (you can enter once every month and multiple rounds of a program still count! Some of the winner have done a program for a year and win!) Read the 21 Day Fix food guide and do some healthy grocery shopping. Get your spouse on board! Throw out your junk food. Put your workout calendar on the fridge with your goals!

Decide, Commit, Succeed!

Have you tried the 21 Day Fix? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

PS. 11 Ways to Actually Complete a Fitness Program (This Time!) and Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos

Follow me on Facebook: