Ah, the dreaded before and after shots. As someone who still hasn’t gotten up the nerve to run in only a sports bra, even when it’s over 100 degrees, this is not something I would normally post to be saved on the internet forever. But here goes.
So, do I look more toned?
Man, those shorts aren’t very flattering from the front.
And, for comparison, my measurements, which actually changed more than I expected (actually I’m surprised my chest didn’t shrink more…that’s always the first thing that goes). I should have taken measurements when I started playing around with recipes and whatnot because I think I lost more weight/inches just eating better off and on for a few weeks before actually starting (I’m pretty sure I was around 116 at the doctor in July), but I rarely weigh myself, so who knows. I don’t even own a scale; my initial weight measurement was taken with my Wii Fit and then double checked on Jonathan’s scale the next day (there was a 0.7 difference within the 12 hour period, so I just went with the higher number–the Wii Fit).
||9.5 in each
||9.25 in each
||-0.5 in total
||20 in each
||19 in each
||-2 in total
Review and Tips
This is going to be long, so bear with me. For full disclosure, here are the things I did differently than the program says:
- First of all, I was glad that I tried out all the workouts a few times before officially starting my 21 day timer. The first time I did the Cardio Fix, I could barely move for five days afterwards! I can’t imagine being that sore when I was supposed to be doing the exercises every single day. Getting my muscles prepared was key to making sure I didn’t miss a workout (except for that first yoga fix, oops).
- I didn’t buy/use a set of heavier (8 lb) weights until week two, so all of week one was done with just my lighter (5 lb) weights. I think this was good enough for me, as that was still a rough workout!
- I didn’t use containers on the weekends. My activities are too unpredictable, and I’m usually not even home. I still tried to eat well, but I just didn’t concern myself with getting every. single. container. in or even the correct number of containers. I did monitor my calories though to make sure I stayed in the right range. I ate mac and cheese once.
- I ran 3-4 times a week. The program doesn’t give any indication about how to fit in any exercise other than the ones provided, so I just tried to keep my runs easy and sometimes allowed myself an extra carb or two (usually in the form of milk). I did double up all my workouts on the third week like the program recommends, but on days that I ran, I only did one other 21 Day Fix workout.
- As far as the meal plan goes, I made a few modifications. I didn’t always eat fresh foods. Sure, I could have peeled and cut carrots myself, but the canned ones are so much easier, even though they add a little bit of sugar. And I used the Chobani yogurt with the fruit already in it instead of adding fruit myself. It was
probably definitely less fruit than would fit in a purple container, but oh well. Also Chobani is 2% milkfat and the program says to use 1%. I sometimes salted things (the nurse raved about my blood pressure last time it was checked, so I wasn’t terribly concerned with that, though I did cut back).
- I didn’t do the final three day thing where you eat fish and coconut oil and don’t drink Shakeology. No thanks.
I do appreciate that I was still able to go out to restaurants from time to time and didn’t have to become completely anti-social to do the program. Some places we went where I was able to stay on the plan include Olive Garden (garlic rosemary chicken with asparagus), Chili’s (lighter choice sirloin with broccoli), and The Smiling Elephant (I’m guessing curry is allowed…there were veggies!). We also went out to Mellow Mushroom and Peg Leg Porker, which weren’t really on the plan, but I just considered them my only two cheat meals.
The toughest part was dealing with freebies like doughnuts and cupcakes being handed out, soft pretzel day (!!) at work, and the fact that Grilled Cheeserie, my most favorite food truck ever, finally came within reasonable distance to my office, and I couldn’t eat it because CARBS. Surprisingly, not drinking while socializing with friends who were drinking was not difficult, but I’ve never really been a drinker anyway. (That said, I am ready for some wine!)
So how do I feel after three weeks? Honestly, not much different. For some reason, I expected to have all this energy and my skin would be better and all this stuff that people say comes from eating clean, but…I feel the same as I did when I was eating pizza three times a week. Actually, I felt really bloated all through week two. No idea why, since I was mostly consuming foods that are recommended to STOP bloating and it wasn’t PMS.
That said, I do feel somewhat stronger. At least, when I touch my stomach, my abs feel harder. I like that. I’m not as squishy. And there are the aforementioned biceps that I wasn’t expecting. I feel stronger when I run too, as I can actually feel my glutes and core activating and doing something.
Before I got the program, I was mostly curious about the workouts. How hard would they be? Would I even be able to do them? Thankfully, every workout has one person (Kat) who shows modified versions of pretty much every move. Typically, I would try the non-modified version first and only switch to the modified version when I had to, but there were a few starting out that I had to modify from the beginning.
As for a breakdown of each workout, here you go:
- Total Body Cardio Fix – This has four rounds of two exercises. Each exercise is done for one minute and you get 20 seconds of rest in between. Each round is repeated before moving on to the next one. It starts with surrenders, which Autumn says is the hardest exercise of the day. I have no problems with surrenders. The hardest one to me is the frog crunches, which is right at the end. Those things kill. Actually, I have a hard time with any of the things that require me straightening my legs in the air.
- Upper Fix – Arm day has two rounds of five exercises each. They are all one minute long with 15 seconds of rest between, and you repeat each round. I don’t think this one is too bad. The toughest part to me is the push-ups because I can’t do them unmodified (although I did manage to do TWO unmodified in week three…progress!). The scissor twists are also kind of brutal right at the end (again, straight legs in the air).
- Lower Fix – Leg day has four rounds of two exercises, a minute in length with 15 seconds of rest. Each round is repeated. None of the exercises in this are bad, but about halfway through she starts making you hold positions for the last ten seconds. This KILLS. Screaming helps, trust me.
- Pilates Fix – This is probably my favorite of all the workouts. Nothing is really hard (toughest is the leg raises in the ab series, but that’s just another legs-in-the-air exercise) but it just burns so good. This one isn’t broken into rounds; it has different “series”, like the plank series and the C series. Nothing is repeated though. It just moves straight through.
- Cardio Fix – Easily my least favorite. It is made up of four rounds with two exercises each, which are repeated. I’m not fond of cross jacks. Mountain climbers suck. Burpees are awful. The down and ups in the bonus round (do we really need a bonus round in this one??) wouldn’t be so terrible if it weren’t for everything else in this workout. This, of course, is the very first one I tried, so the others didn’t seem so bad in comparison.
- Dirty 30 – Another one with four repeated rounds of two exercises. The very last exercise, the Side Plank Raise, is the worst. (Do side planks kill anyone else’s ankles? Maybe I need to wear shoes?) I don’t really mind any of the others.
- Yoga Fix – I like the yoga fix when I’m in the right mindset. Unfortunately, I’m usually in the ugh-I-don’t-wanna-do-a-workout-right-now mindset and it takes me a while to get all zen and into it. It begins with a sequence of sun salutations, then moves into chair pose, warrior one, warrior two, and angle pose. After ten minutes of that, you start the balance series. I like balance pose and tree pose (they remind me of taking ballet), but I have a hard time with the ones where you bend all the way forward to stand on your palms. I’m not that flexible. After that, you do some cat & cow, supermans, and several stretches before finally hitting my favorite exercise out of every exercise in the program: corpse pose. Ahhhhh. Nothing feels better than corpse pose.
- 10 Minute Fix for Abs – I only did this one twice. It’s only ten minutes, but it’s killer because you don’t get any breaks! It’s basically a bunch of crunch variations. I like the Pilates Fix better for abs, personally.
- Plyo Fix – I haven’t even opened it. I kept meaning to try it, but since it wasn’t listed in the schedule, I wasn’t entirely sure where to stick it. So I will eventually try it out now that the 21 days are up. I think it’s probably something that could help with my running.
As for tips, I do recommend trying out everything (workouts, recipes, drinking water) before officially starting. I think this helps with the shock of everything and will help you stick with it. I started drinking about 70-80 ounces of water per day a few months ago, so it was easy to keep doing it once I started 21 Day Fix because I was already in the habit (drink 32 oz before lunch, 32 oz between lunch and 5pm, and the remaining in the evening). I still had some kinks once I started (like how to spread out the containers over the course of the day), but it was nice to not have to worry about EVERYTHING all at once.
My only other tip is to plan, plan, plan. Plan your meals and cook everything ahead of time. Look ahead at your schedule and plan your workouts. If there is even the smallest possibility your friends could invite you out right after work, which is when you usually do your workout, do it in the morning instead so you aren’t stuck doing it at midnight.
My Take Aways and After Thoughts
- My jeans are falling-off-of-me loose. I need new jeans.
- I want to try to stay eating three veggie servings a day. I think that seems doable.
- I probably won’t continue eating four protein servings a day, at least not meat-based. I just don’t normally eat a lot of meat, and this was hard for me. I may continue drinking a protein drink for breakfast, eating meat once a day, and the occasional yogurt. And let’s not forget my precious black-eyed peas that I love but got relegated to a yellow container!
- I’m excited to getting back to not working out every single day for a few weeks. Recovery days are important! My running has suffered a little, so I’m glad that I will be able to get it back to normal. That said, I will probably continue doing at least the arm and leg workouts once a week and probably the pilates from time to time.
- Speaking of working out every day, I have a running streak coming up, and sticking with this for 21 days showed me that I could find the time to work out every day for a few weeks. Even though I had to get up early a lot of days.
- I forgot how much I love grapes until I started this. I will continue eating grapes. They did help curb my cravings for things like Teddy Grahams and cheesecake.
- I like meal planning. It makes my life easier.
- Healthy food is freaking expensive. My grocery bill practically doubled during these three weeks, even when I was buying a lot on sale.
- As a runner, I really probably needed more carbs than this program allows. I actually think they make me feel better, but that’s probably all in my head. I’m going to try to cut back on the refined carbs, but I’m not cutting them out completely (I had significantly LESS GI issues while running before I tried to cut them out).
- Excited I’ll be able to start drinking chocolate milk after my runs again! I’ve missed it!
- Finally, the fact that I potentially lost five pounds while only halfway doing the meal plan in the month before I started tells me that it’s ok to still eat a pizza from time to time or to have a cupcake or doughnut when they are being handed out at work. I was happier then too. Yummy foods aren’t inherently evil, and denying yourself of them will drive you crazy. If it weren’t for my “it’s only 21 days” mantra, I think I would have broken down a few times!
If you want to use the same format I did for meal planning, here is a blank version of my Google doc. I just cut and pasted the colored squares from the “Leftover” column as I filled out the week. Of course, if you are in a higher calorie bracket, make sure to add the additional containers before you begin! I used the space underneath each week to jot down my shopping list, so I would know what to pick up at the store on Sunday before I started prepping.
I’m going to post some of my favorite recipes coming up soon!