Yesterday I finished 21 Day Fix, a BeachBody programme by ‘Celebrity Trainer’ Autumn Calabrese. Basically the idea is that you follow the programme for three weeks, eat according to their plan and you end up with the body you always wanted. Now, clearly three weeks is never going to be enough for some people as it very much depends on your starting point, so it is a rather bold claim to make! On the other hand, Autumn has amazing abs as mentioned elsewhere, so it may be worth a shot!
The exercise programme contains 7 different workouts which means you do something different every day of the week and you only have to do each one once a week. Yes, I know, very simple maths! Considering my short attention span and tendency to get bored very, very easily it is a good thing that there is so little repetition, and even better that the programme only lasts for 21 days. In terms of diet, you are supposed to follow a portion control system which they simplified with colour coded containers which helps you to understand how much protein, fruit, vegetables, etc. you are allowed to eat. This seemed a bit kindergarten to me so of course I ignored it (the fact that I love eating out and a sneaky glass of wine also may have had something to do with it!).
In general the DVDs follow the same format of four rounds, with each round consisting of two exercises that you do twice for a minute each time, i.e. each round lasts 4 minutes, with breaks in between.
I’m not going to post any before and after pics, not only because I didn’t take any, but also because I don’t want you to vomit on your keyboard or sue me for unnecessary pain and suffering. I’ll do a quick run-through of each DVD explaining how I experienced it:
- Total Body Cardio – Day 1 – You start with a three minute warmup, which is really easy, and by the time we were windmilling our arms and doing side stretches I thought this exercise routine was going to be a walk in the park as it didn’t seem very advanced. Approximately one minute later I was swallowing my words/thoughts when Autumn started inflicting the torture. I’ve been doing some Focus T25 with the occasional Insanity session thrown in so I was fairly fit, but what sets 21 Day Fix apart is the addition of weights to the basic moves, as well as the fact that you do everything for one full minute, which can turn into an eternity very quickly. TBC covers legs, cardio and abs and by the end of it I was a sweaty mess that couldn’t get up off the floor. Still, it felt good to do something different with new moves from what I’m used to, and I could definitely feel my muscles working, especially my legs on the squats. This workout consistently came out as the one I burned the second most calories doing.
- Upper Fix – Day 2 – No longer fooled by the deceivingly easy warmup, I wasn’t looking forward to this at all. This workout does what it says on the tin – it focuses on the upper body; with a bit of ab work thrown in for good measure. To be fair, most of the routines on all the DVDs involve core work as you are always encouraged to tighten your abs on every move as well as being told to ‘squeeze that booty!!!!’ by Autumn. I didn’t mind this workout too much, and would say it is a very good upper body workout as it is doable yet challenging. This one differs from the others as it only has two rounds, with 5 exercises in each round that you repeat, instead of four rounds of two.
- Lower Fix – Day 3 – By this point I struggled to walk due to the squats involved in Day 1, so again wasn’t looking forward to it, especially with it being Lower Fix, AKA Leg Day. The word squat is definitely overused in this routine and you have to hold squats for 10 seconds at a time at various places – this is murder on the upper legs! By the end of the workout I felt a really good burn and I knew my body has done some work! I had to force myself to do it though, due to only being able to shuffle around instead of being able to walk properly with my sore muscles…
- Pilates Fix – Day 4 – What relation this routine bears to Pilates I really don’t know, but I didn’t like it and all it did was hurt my back. Not what I would call a ‘keeper’ and not one I am bound to repeat. A lot of people would disagree with me, but I see no point in doing this routine – yes, it is supposed to help your flexibility but I would rather do separate exercises that are specifically focused on flexibility if you have issues with it.
- Cardio Fix – Day 5 – By this point I was still REALLY aching, despite being relatively fit before starting, but I persevered. Day 5 gave me the highest calorie burn rate over the three weeks so it is fair to say it is quite intense! But I really liked this one; it makes you sweat so good and I could do most of it as it is pure cardio without the use of weights. Definitely a keeper!
- Dirty 30 – Day 6 – Dirty 30 is another full body workout that gets the blood pumping nicely and lunges, squats, plank raises and upright rows all feature. I enjoyed this one as well and would happily keep doing it past the 21 day mark, other than the side plank raises at the end.
- Yoga Fix – Day 7 – See Day 4 – basically I treated this as a rest day!
Some general words of advice:
- Watch the routines before you do it for the first time so that you know the moves as it just makes it easier.
- The warmup is very perfunctory, and it may be worthwhile doing a more comprehensive warmup on you own before you start the routine; I tweaked a couple of muscles doing 21 Day Fix which isn’t something that’s ever happened with the other programmes where you spend more time warming up properly.
- I would also break down each of the seven DVDs on a spreadsheet so you can keep track of how many of each exercise you do as you want to be able to track your improvement over the three weeks. This is something that Autumn mentions occasionally during the routines but she never really focuses on it.
In summary, warmup is the same for each day, while cooldown differs somewhat, depending on which muscle groups you worked during the workout. Autumn is a very good trainer and doesn’t annoy and get on your nerves like some of the others I’ve been subjected to, though she is of course intimidatingly fit. 21 Day Fix is a fun, interesting workout to do and I see no issue with carrying on and doing it for another round of 21 days. If you follow the exercise programme as well as the recommended eating guidelines there is no way that you won’t lose weight and tone up your body, so well worth doing! I could feel myself getting stronger and more toned throughout the three weeks although I didn’t really lose weight (lifestyle choices being a problem!) but I enjoyed it and have to say this is the closest I’ve probably ever come to completing an entire BeachBody programme properly without getting fed up or bored halfway through (mostly because it is only 21 days). Like Autumn keeps saying, ‘you can do anything for 60 seconds’ – and I would add you could commit to most things for 21 days – so do this programme if you can!
Detailed schedule now here.
(If anyone wants an exact breakdown of all the exercises for each day, please comment below and I can post that as well)