21 Day Fix Extreme - My Experience

Back in the spring, I was really excited for the release of 21 Day Fix Extreme. Many of my fellow coaches and challengers had done the original 21 Day Fix and LOVED it, and I thought this would prove to be an awesome new challenge for me. It boasted:
  • 30 minute workouts, each with weights and/or a resistance band
  • variety in the workouts - plyo, upper body, lower body, pilates, cardio & yoga
  • modifier for every exercise
  • food plan, complete with portion controlled rainbow-coloured containers
  • opportunity to get shredded 
I was super stoked to do this program and had a group of gals all set to do it with me...
And then I got the godzilla flu. I was out of commission for 10 days complete with fever, no appetite, lethargy, weakness and fainting. It was AWFUL!! It took me awhile to get back into the swing of things and I definitely wasn't in shape to do the program (Heck, I couldn't even get out of BED for 10 days, let alone do jumping jacks with weights!!)

After I regained my strength and my health, I got back into working out daily. I did many of the 21 Day Fix Extreme workouts and dabbled in the program, but never completed the full 21 consecutively and NEVER embarked on the meal plan. 

Why?

Back in 2006 when I first decided to lose weight I counted points, which at the time was a glorified way of counting calories. It did a great job of helping me learn about portion and was instrumental in me losing 35 lbs, but it also created an obsession with numbers.

Be it points or the number on the scale, I was a wee bit obsessed and not always in a positive, helpful way. A lot changed - I learned more about healthy eating and real food.

I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease and went gluten & dairy free.

I lost more weight in an unhealthy way after my break up then gained it all back + more. But I remained obsessed with numbers and the scale until I stopped counting points and banished the scale. I found freedom in not weighing myself and viewing all food as choices, rather than good or bad foods that had a number attached.

In doing so, I found a balance with healthy eating and finding those goods feelings inside myself - not based on any number. So I was resistant to try using the containers because I didn't want to feel restricted / inhabited / confined to numbers again.

In the 21 Day Fix system, the containers help with portions, focusing on whole foods and gives you a system to follow (each colour represents a food group). You count the number of each container you have each day, but those are the only numbers to follow. Watching my challengers and fellow coaches follow this plan and have super results was incredibly inspiring and I also wanted to really understand the program. Yah, I could read about and learn everything there was to know - but that's very different than actually DOING!

With all of the traveling I did this summer, I also had let a lot of treats creep into my daily routine. Treats are great and delicious - but they should actually be a treat, not a daily occurrence. 

21 Day Fix meal plan

So with all of that in mind, I declared that I was going ALL IN in October, committing to a full 21 days of the program and giving the containers a go. 

I loved all the variety in the workouts. There are 7 different workouts that you're doing, so over 3 weeks you only do each workout 3 times. I really enjoyed seeing myself get stronger each time I did a workout - be it with heavier weights, the ability to do more reps, use better form or not have to modify. I started out with 3, 5 and 10 lbs weights. I'm about ready to retire the 3's and need to pick up some 8's!! 

I find Autumn to be very motivating (and am also motivated by the handsome, bearded men in the workout - hah!!) She is fierce, but not scary. I want to work harder because of the things that she says!!
21 day fix meals for the day

I committed to the meal plan last week and found a few interesting things:
  • Planning is key- I knew that going in and do like to have a meal plan each week, but ensuring that you get the correct number of containers each day definitely requires some thoughtfulness and planning. If you have everything on hand, and can make a few big things to help you get through the week, you're golden!
  • There are so many snacks - I'm not usually a snacker, but in order to get in all of my containers for the day I was required to change that, which was actually awesome! My energy levels were stable and I felt like I was eating so much food. I also tried out a bunch of new, fun snack recipes and will be incorporating them into my routine. 

gluten free pumpkin muffin 21 day fix

  • I didn't feel restricted - I enjoyed having a plan to follow and I didn't feel like I was depriving myself because there was so much food. Counting containers didn't freak me out like I was worried it might and it was great to have a goal to work towards. 
  • More protein please - the meal plan forced me to focus on protein, which was a good thing! I was having protein at most meals and incorporating it into my snacks as well, which was great. 
  • Let's change things up a bit - I tried some new recipes that I really enjoyed. I made a bunch from the Fixate Cookbook and some from the 21DFX meal plan book. I haven't talked about this on the blog yet, but I started eating meat again back in the spring (it was part of my recovery after I was sick...) I'm focused on eating ethical meat from quality sources, and still eating a predominantly plant-based diet that is gluten & dairy free. It's been an interesting transition for sure, but I feel amazing. Cooking with meat is still foreign to me, so it's been good to try some new recipes and find new favourites. 

turkey chili 21 day fix

Some of my favourite meals included: Shakeology smoothies in the morning, big salads with tofu, hummus & lots of veggies, chili, taco salad, cashew & oat hot cakes and eggs with veggies & goat cheese. 

gluten free pancakes 21 day fix

Some of my favourite snacks were: sliced fruit with nut butter, plain (goat) yogurt with fruit & seeds, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin energy bites. 

gluten free pumpkin bites 21 day fix snack

I'm proud to report that on Sunday I finished Day 21 of the program and did a week of the container system. And as a result, I dropped 6 inches - not bad for 3 weeks!! I didn't take my own advice and didn't do progress photos -- I need to find a spot in my new house to take them! 

Autumn Calabrese bobblehead

I am proud to have completed all 21 days and am looking forward to more workouts with Autumn come the new year! I am going to be using more of the 21 Day Fix recipes (and continuing to play with the Fixate cookbook) and I think I will follow the meal plan hardcore again come January. 

If this sounds like a program you would like to try (either Extreme or the original) I would love to have you join me in one of our upcoming challenge groups! You can do anything for 21 days! 30 minutes a day at home + colour coded containers + support?? Totally manageable - and I'd be with you every step of the way! 

Where are my fellow 21 Day Fix-ers at? What is your favourite workout? Do you have a favourite 21 Day Fix approved recipe?

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