21 Day Fix EXTREME – is it right for you?

You might be wondering about the 21 Day Fix EXTREME and if it’s right for you.

Well, the easiest way is to tell you about my experience and let you decide from there.  (WARNING:  This is a long one.)

I was disappointed by my results, but the only one to blame is me.  I went into the program thinking:  this is going to be easy and quick and won’t take much effort.  Boy, was I WRONG.  The thing is, losing weight and eating healthy does take a lot of effort and it doesn’t happen overnight.  I started seeing a little weight gain – AKA I couldn’t fit into my skinny jeans!  And it freaked me out.  But, of course, there are several reasons for this (e.g. we sometimes build muscle before we lose or tone up the fat, water weight, muscle tears and mends – especially for those who aren’t used to working out).  But I gave up because I wanted to be skinny, not muscular.

Anyway, let’s start with the workouts.  There are 7 different workouts for each day of the week.  All are approximately 30 minutes and you don’t get a “rest” day.  You need a set of weights – medium and heavy, a yoga mat, and a resistance band, so equipment is minimal.  It was fairly easy to find the time to get the workouts done and I would usually do them right after work.  But for someone who is out of shape or not used to exercising daily they are HARD.  It’s not just 30 minutes of light work, you are really working your ass off to look and feel better in a short 3-week period.  My favorite workouts were the ones that focused on legs and yoga because I felt like I could do them.  All of the others kicked my butt x10.  I wanted to stop.  I paused the videos to take a breather.  I missed a few reps. I asked myself why I was doing this.   I didn’t put in 110%.

Then there is the second component.  Nutrition is HUGE, maybe even more important than the workouts.  Think about it:  if you’re stuffing your face with cheese burgers and ice cream and working out 30 minutes each day, you are barely burning off the bun.  So, the idea is to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks throughout the day and not cheat! You are given 7 containers that help you use the correct portions for each food category and stay within your daily caloric range.

My allotted containers were:

3 Green – Veggies

4 Red – Protein

2 Purple – Fruits

2 Yellow – Carbs

1 Blue – Healthy Fats

1 Orange – Seeds & Dressings

2 Teaspoons – Oils & Nut Butters

It might sound like a lot – and for some people it is too much, but for the first week I was STARVING every night.  And not just “wow, I’m bored, let me go have a snack” hungry, I mean stomach growling and aching hungry.  It was uncomfortable and I wanted to quit.

Looking back, I can see why I didn’t have amazing results like many others have.  Maybe I should have started out slower, such as with the 21 Day Fix, sans EXTREME.  Maybe I should have planned more in advance and did my research.  Okay, not maybe.  I should have.

But I’m glad I had that experience because this is what I learned…

Hold yourself accountable –  And get yourself a great accountability partner (from the start) to help you when you just aren’t feeling it.  Someone who isn’t afraid to say “I don’t care if you stayed out late, get your ass out of bed and get to it!”  Know that you can’t always do it alone, and even if you can, it is always better to have more support J

Know your body – After some research I found out that I wasn’t getting enough fiber into my diet and that was causing my constant feelings of hunger.  I now pack so many nutritious (and filling) foods that I couldn’t possibly be hungry!  Don’t be afraid to experiment with what works for you.  Try new foods and incorporate them into your diet.

Drink plenty of water – Sometimes you think you’re hungry, but it’s really just thirst.  Make sure you are getting enough water and fluids every day.  Try drinking a full glass of water before each meal.  Experts say you will eat less.  Remember that sodas and juices provide more empty calories than nutrients.  If you truly hate drinking plain water, there are zero calorie / zero sugar flavoring options available.

Just do it – Perhaps the times you need to work out most are the times you don’t want to.  Feeling sad or tired?  Working out will boost your endorphins and make you happy and energized.  Just do it and your body will thank you.  Three weeks out, you will thank you when you see your smokin’ bod!  Focus on that.

Make time – The workouts are only 30 minutes. Surely you can find time for that.  It’s about 1/3 of my morning commute to work.  Wow!  And make time to meal plan and prep either completely ahead of time or once a week.  It’s easier when you already have a plan and all your snacks and meals ready to go.  If you don’t, you risk grabbing for a donut or chocolate bar in the afternoon.  SABOTAGE!

Know that all bodies react differently – Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.  If you aren’t seeing the results you want, don’t worry about it, work for it.  Know that you might see some weight gain or bloating, which is your body’s natural reaction to changes in diet and activity level.  She’s saying:  What the hell are you trying to do, kill me with these EXTREME workouts and healthy foods??  Exactly the opposite.  Give it time.  If you have followed the program “to a T” and by day 21 you still aren’t happy with the results, you could always do another round and swap out some of the yellow (carb) containers for more veggies or proteins.  You WILL see changes.  Again, give it time.

Have a clear and solid why – This is, perhaps, the most important key to success.  Why are you working out?  Are you doing it for you?  What do you hope to accomplish?  What is your biggest goal/wish?  I didn’t have a solid why when I started; I just did it because a friend asked if I wanted to.  At the very least, do it to be better than you were the day before.  Do it for you.

So, is the Fix for you?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But if you decide to take the challenge, do yourself a favor and don’t half-ass it, just delve right in.  I’m currently on day 8 of Hammer & Chisel – 60 days of workouts and the same meal plan/container counts from the Fix.  And I plan to rock it!

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