Before I begin, two things:
1) I am not a Beachbody coach. I will not be trying to sell you things and I have nothing to gain from posting a positive review.
2) Beachbody did not provide me with a sample NOR pay me to write this review. I do not have even close to the level of social influence needed for them to know or care that I exist.
So, in my unpaid, unbiased, and unfiltered opinion the short version is this: 21 Day Fix is an extremely effective program that is both sustainable and absolutely brilliant in it’s simplicity and ability to get results.
I’m really not one for mirror selfies, and I am CERTAINLY not one for posting them on the internet. However, for the sake of a meaningful review I am stifling my pride long enough to hit “publish” then immediately trying to forget that it happened. Anyway, that’s not really the point.
The point is (because a “results” post without results would be pretty crappy) I lost 5 pounds and 7.5 inches on (a modified) 21 Day Fix.
I say modified because I didn’t follow the Fix as precisely as maybe I should have on weekends. Ultimately, it was just too hard for me. I work at the gym on weekends and I want to see my friends. I’m not going to carry pre-portioned food around with me as I go about my life, it’s just not going to happen. I did my best to make healthy choices on the weekend, and I don’t feel the need to ask myself for anything more than that.
I feel stronger, leaner, and more balanced than I did before. I gain and lose weight very evenly throughout my body. Always have and probably always will. Those 7.5 inches came from roughly 1-1.5 in each arm, thigh, waist, and hips. At the end of the fix, I felt truly awesome. Strong and proud and confident for (and this is hard to admit) the first time in a long, long time.
Do I look drastically different? Maybe not. It’s always harder to see results on yourself than it is on other people. I work out a lot and eat a very healthy diet as it is, so I wasn’t expecting crazy results. I’m psyched with what I got, and I’m proud of the progress I made (Look at that baby bicep forming – LOOK AT IT!). It was a hard 3 weeks of diligent meal planning and preparation, and I am really proud of myself for sticking with it.
Please do excuse my hair and general appearance in these pictures. Mornings are hard.
Things I Learned (In no particular order):
- I need to eat more earlier in the day. A small breakfast at 7:30am then trying to stick it out til noon does not cut it for me. By adding a snack between breakfast and lunch I found myself not counting down the minutes until 12:00pm and actually feeling satisfied with the lunch that I brought (which translates into not raiding the snack closet immediately after finishing said lunch).
- I need to eat less at night. More specifically, I need to plan AND portion my dinner BEFORE I get home. By the time I get home after work my willpower is shot. I’m sleepy and hungry and probably grumpy, and left to my own devices I will eat everything in sight. Knowing exactly what foods and in what amounts I needed to eat when I got home kept me from overeating but definitely didn’t leave me feeling hungry either.
- 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough if you do it right. As in not going to the gym without a plan and end up lollygagging around for the better part of 2 hours trying to decide what to do and avoiding the things I don’t want to do (I’m looking at you, assisted pull-ups…). Work smart and work hard and 30 minutes is plenty.
- Carbs are still really delicious and there is nothing anyone can ever say or do that will make me want less of them. Sorry.
- ^Ditto wine.
Okay, here’s the deal. Shakeology is the bread and butter of Beachbody. They pitch it with every other product and program they market and I’m sure, given the price point, that they make a ton of money off of it. So I’m going to talk about it, and what I think after going through my free 7-day sample pack (I think they give the free sample to everyone who orders 21 Day fix without ordering Shakeology).
Let me start by saying that I really wanted to hate Shakeology. I wanted to tell you it sucks. That it is useless and tastes like chalk and to not waste your money. And the sole reason I wanted to tell you that is because sometimes I just like to be contradictory. If I have people blowing up my newsfeed telling me how great something is, my first instinct is to want to tear it down. That’s probably a character flaw that I should work on, but I digress.
I don’t feel that way. I actually ended up liking Shakeology (I chose the chocolate flavor, it comes in other flavors as well). It didn’t have that sicky-sweet, artificial flavor that a lot of protein powders have. For the sake of being PC, Shakeology is not a “protein powder” per se. It’s more of a meal replacement Shake, so it has more nutrients and recognizable ingredients than what you might see in a standard protein powder. I felt really good after drinking it. Heck, I even looked forward to it in the morning. I would blend it with 1 purple container of frozen berries and water, and it really tasted like a treat. In general, I have no complaints about Shakeology and am actually a fan of the product in and of itself.
But guys, seriously. Can we stop talking about this stuff like it’s made from unicorn blood and the tears of kittens?
Shakeology is not going to solve all of your problems. It is not going to save the world or cure cancer, so I think it would be helpful if people could stop talking about it like it is the greatest thing to come out of the health and fitness world since Richard Simmons.
If you replace a meal with Shakeology, yes, you will lose weight. Why? Because it has under 200 calories, and I would bet that whatever meal you are replacing it with had a lot more calories than that. It’s just math.
I’m not here to dispute the health benefits of Shakeology. I know a lot of people who drink it daily and absolutely love it because they feel much better doing so. That’s great, and if you have the money and desire to give it a try then go for it! Like I said, I liked Shakeology. It definitely has some great nutritional value and I very much enjoyed it while I had it. But please, for crying out loud, be realistic.
If your “healthiest meal of the day” is a powder that comes from a bag, you might want to reevaluate your diet as a whole. I’m not saying that to be mean, I’m saying that because you probably need a few cups of vegetables and some fruit in your life. A bag of powder does not equal a plate of real vegetables. It just doesn’t. No matter what Beachbody or anybody else wants you to think.
Also, Shakeology is really expensive. There is no getting around that. Compare it to a $4 Starbucks Latte or a $4 fast food meal all you want, but I’m not buying those things on a daily basis (or ever). Compare Shakeology with my usual breakfast of oatmeal with sliced banana and cinnamon, which comes out to ~$0.75 per serving, and I am not sold.
So, in summation, Shakeology is fine. If you are a person who has a hard time eating breakfast either because you feel like you don’t have time or just aren’t hungry in the morning, then absolutely Shakeology is a good option for you. It’s quick and nutritious and certainly better than not having breakfast at all. It’s also better than sugary cereals or bagels or other highly processed and refined (and delicious) carbohydrates. If you try Shakeology and love how it makes you feel, then great! But PLEASE don’t feel like this powder is the end all be all of your health journey. If you can’t stomach the price point (and right now, I cannot) then don’t drink Shakeology. There are plenty of other healthy alternatives out in the world for you to consume.
Dos and Don’ts of the 21 Day Fix
I think it’s pretty clear that I am a big fan of the 21 Day Fix and would recommend it to pretty much anyone. So to conclude this review – here’s a list of things to do and not do while on the 21 Day Fix.
DO plan your meals ahead of time. Especially towards the beginning of the program. The tally sheets are great, but don’t think that you can go into a day armed with just your containers and your tally sheets and no plan and think that it’s going to go well for you.
DO try the workouts that are provided to you. If you end up hating them then you don’t have to do it again, but they are curated to work with the eating plan so they are at the very least worth a shot.
DON’T sign on for aggressive physical activity if you can avoid it. I had signed up for a race well before I decided to try the fix. Energy levels were definitely not where they should have been, and while my time was actually better than I was expecting I definitely did not feel good during or after.
DON’T be too hard on yourself or give up the minute you slip up. You will slip up, I guarantee it. This is 100% NOT a big deal. Just get back on track as soon as you can. If you don’t slip up, you’re probably not human and we probably can’t be friends…
If you have used the 21 Day Fix and have tips, tricks, or recipes to share please leave a comment! I’d love to hear them for my next round (it will happen eventually…probably).