On January 1, 2020 I made a commitment to myself that this would be the year I finally put myself and my own health first, which meant putting my health before my business so I could thrive alongside my business. This mindset is necessarily new for me. I’ve been prioritizing my mental health, sanity, and time away from work for many years and my success with that is what led to the creation of my program Profitable Project Plan.
What is new, however, is making exercise a regular part of my self care habits. I wasn’t interested in joining a gym, so I hopped on the Beachbody On Demand bandwagon — a $99/year subscription gets you access to all of the different workout programs in the Beachbody library. My thought was that it’s way cheaper than the gym and the risk is minimal.
My Beachbody coach recommended that I get started with 21 Day Fix Real Time and 21 Day Fix Extreme Real Time, as 21 Day Fix is for beginners and it’s only three weeks, and “Extreme” is a continuation of 21 Day Fix that gets a little harder. I totally didn’t listen and got started with Focus T25 because it’s what I already knew, the workouts are only 25 minutes, and I love me some Shaun T!
After seeing several people post about 21 Day Fix in the Beachbody group I joined, however, I decided to see what all the fuss was about and worked my way through all six weeks of the two programs.
21 Day Fix + 21 Day Fix Extreme Real Time
The sales pages for these fitness programs created by celebrity trainer Autumn Calabrese — author of the FIXATE and FIXATE Vol. 2 cookbooks and Lose Weight Like Crazy Even If You Have a Crazy Life — make some pretty big claims:
- 21 Day Fix Real Time: Get a major calorie burn, tone your muscles, and lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days with a different 30-minute real-time workout every day. Build on the moves weekly to get total-body results, faster.
- 21 Day Fix Extreme Real Time: Get serious results in 21 days with portion control and intense 30-minute workouts that progress from week to week for faster results.
The structure of the two fitness programs are the same and all of the workouts are about 30 minutes long. Both programs include:
- 21 circuit training, cardio, and core workouts
- Several 10-Minute Abs workouts (two per week)
- An extra bonus workout
Both programs also provide a list of fitness equipment you need to have on hand, like dumbbells, resistance bands, a yoga mat, resistance loops. (More on this later.)
The “Real Time” Approach:
The original 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix EXTREME programs were more like Focus T25 — seven workouts you repeat each week for three weeks. This meant the Day 1 workout is the same as the Day 15 workout, which isn’t very beginner friendly.
The “real time” approach is so much better!
Real time simply means that the 21 Day Fix cast moves through the program in real time just like you do at home. So when you’re on Day 1, they’re on Day 1; when you’re on Day 6, they’re on Day 6; when you’re on Day 17, they’re on Day 17. I loved that every day of the program is a new workout, with new banter, and new jokes — it’s far less boring and helps you feel more engaged.
This approach also makes it safer and easier to get started without injuring yourself because the program can progress naturally from easier to harder as you build your own strength and stamina. For example, the Day 1 workout is easier than the Day 8 workout, and the Day 8 workout is easier than the Day 15 workout.
My 21 Day Fix Real Time Review
I definitely didn’t lose 15 pounds.
I also didn’t follow the Ultimate Portion Fix nutrition program that’s designed to accompany this fitness program — this was during the height of my “coping with COVID-19” stress eating.
I did, however, stick with Shakeology each day, stick with the 2B Mindset nutrition program for my main meals, and complete the two three-week programs in six weeks, and I noticed a significant improvement in strength and stamina and enjoyed better fitting clothing!
Overall, I really liked 21 Day Fix Real Time and 21 Day Fix Extreme Real Time and I see now why my Beachbody coach recommended that I start there to ease into a fitness routine.
What I liked about the programs…
- As Autumn leads the workouts, she provides positive reminders that results won’t come over night but with time, and a healthy realistic weight loss plan should aim for two pounds per week.
- The entire cast isn’t rail thin and ripped.
- One cast member does a low-impact modified version of every exercise if you need it.
- Because it’s “real time” you get to hear the cast complain about being sore from yesterday’s workout too or groan about tacking on 10-Minute Abs!
- The workouts rotate through cardio, legs, upper body, Pilates, Yoga, and more so you’re never doing the same kind of workout two days in a row.
- As the program progresses, the cast moves up in weights, which provides helpful benchmarks.
- The equipment isn’t required. I didn’t have dumbbells and was still able to go through the program using things I had at home like resistance loops, a yoga mat, water bottles, and even heavier jugs of laundry detergent.
- Both programs come with workout calendars and tracking tools.
During 21 Day Fix Real Time, as I got better, the workouts naturally got more challenging and by Day 21, I was able to complete exercises I couldn’t do on Day 1.
Honestly, I figured that moving into 21 Day Fix EXTREME would simply continue that progression and boy was I wrong. There is a significant difference and it’s clear, Autumn didn’t come to play but to really challenge you to dig a little deeper and try a little harder. 21 Day Fix Real Time is a beginner/intermediate program, while EXTREME is an advanced program. I’m really glad I had the first three weeks to get me ready for the next three weeks — and I felt amazing after completing both!
What I didn’t like about the programs…
- There are no rest days — not a single day off to give your body a break.
- I know the program mixes up different types of workouts to work different muscles but I hated the yoga days. I know some people love them, but I found these workouts to be slow and boring and repetitive, and I found it difficult to muster up the motivation to get them done.
- Holy boobs Batman! The camera focuses in on Autumn’s boobs squeezed into her sports bras quite often! Even my kids who walked by during my workouts commented on it!
Like I said, I see why my Beachbody coach recommended that I get started with 21 Day Fix Real Time. It’s perfect for those just starting out on their fitness journey and three weeks is a totally doable commitment.
I did 21 Day Fix Real Time and 21 Day Fix EXTREME Real Time back-to-back, but many people do 2-3 rounds of 21 Day Fix first before moving on. That’s one of the things I think I like most about Beachbody — it’s like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books that I read as a kid.
- You can choose the program that best fits your needs.
- You can try a few workouts from a program and decide it’s not for you.
- You can work as hard as you want by upping your weights or adding weights.
- You can progress through a program any way you want and add rest days if you need it.
I like Autumn’s realistic, non-nonsense approach to health and fitness. She talks/coaches just enough through the workouts to motivate you to keep going and remind you to take care of yourself without it being too much.
If you’re interested in trying 21 Day Fix Real Time or 21 Day Fix EXTREME Real Time, there are lot of options to choose from when you reach the Beachbody website!
You can gain access through the Beachbody On Demand subscription. You can pair it with a nutrition program like 2B Mindset or Ultimate Portion Fix. You can add Shakeology (which I love). You can invest in what they call “Challenge Packs,” which are just product bundles that save you money.
Do your homework and do what works best for you, your goals, and your budget.
You can get started and see results with nothing more than the Beachbody On Demand (BOD) subscription that gets you program access for far less than a gym membership. If you’re curious about the Challenge Packs, what program would be to get started with, or anything else, however, I’m happy to answer any of your questions with zero pressure and no obligation to buy anything.