What Is the Beachbody 21-Day Fix?

beachbody diet

Verywell / Debbie Burkhoff 

At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

What Is the Beachbody 21-Day Fix?

The Beachbody 21-Day Fix is a diet and exercise program that promises quick weight loss of up to 15 pounds. The diet plan emphasizes whole foods without unprocessed ingredients. However, some people may find they're not getting enough daily calories to convert to energy for exercise.

The plan also encourages 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day, which is helpful for weight loss and heart health.

What Experts Say

"The 21-Day Fix claims people can lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days. By portioning foods into color-coded containers and exercising, weight loss is promising, but probably not to the promised degree. Experts dislike the short-term focus and suggest some may find it too restrictive."
Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH

What You Can Eat

The 21-Day Fix eating plan calls for three meals and three snacks a day, made up of the number of servings determined by your calorie need. However, the portion sizes are quite small, which means that some people may find they're not getting enough daily calories, even for just the 21 days of the plan.

Fruits and Vegetables

Like all Beachbody plans, the 21-Day Fix recommends eating plenty of whole fruits and vegetables. A serving is 1 cup. Depending on your calorie count, you will eat three to six servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit per day.

  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Leafy greens
  • Asparagus
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Citrus

Lean Proteins

The 21-Day Fix eating plan recommends lean proteins. A serving is 3/4 cup. You will eat four to six servings a day.

Complex Carbohydrates

The grain serving size is small (1/2 cup) and the plan calls for two to four servings per day, again depending on your calorie count. Three times per week, you can swap out one of these carb servings for a treat such as dark chocolate or dried fruit.

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Legumes such as peas and lentils
  • Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes

Healthy Fats

The serving size is 1/3 cup and regardless of calorie goal, the plan limits this group to one serving a day. Two to six teaspoons of nut butters and oils are also allowed daily. One 2-tablespoon serving of salad dressing is allowed for all calorie ranges. The 21-Day Fix eating plan includes recipes for salad dressings that meet its criteria.

  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Cheese
  • Nut butter
  • Oils
  • Salad dressing

What You Cannot Eat

While you're on the 21-Day Fix, you should avoid foods that are not considered "whole foods."

Refined Carbohydrates

  • White bread
  • White pasta
  • Crackers
  • Cereal

Sugars and Sweeteners

  • Candy
  • Sweets
  • Baked goods
  • Artificial sweeteners

Processed and Fried Foods

  • Deli meat
  • Packaged snacks
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Hot dogs
  • Potato chips
  • Deep-fried foods

Alcohol

  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Spirits

How to Prepare Beachbody 21-Day Fix & Tips

The 21-Day Fix eating plan includes recommendations for daily calorie counts ranging from 1,200 to 2,300. Beachbody says that if your calculation indicates you need fewer than 1,200 daily calories, you should round up (and consume 1,200 calories per day); for counts above 2,300, round down.

The nutritional approach for each Beachbody program varies slightly, but most plans, including the 21-Day Fix, follow a 40/30/30 model. This means you consume 40% of your calories from carbs, 30% from protein, and 30% from fat.

On the 21-Day Fix, people first calculate their daily calorie needs based on current weight and using a formula supplied by Beachbody. This calorie target then determines the number of servings to eat from the color-coded portion-control containers.

Each brightly colored, reusable container is designed to help you eat the right amount of different foods at meals so you'll learn healthy eating habits for long-term weight maintenance. Grocery shopping guides and meal planning worksheets are also provided. Keep in mind, however, that the system will require a consistent time commitment (as does any healthy eating program) in order to make it work.

Beachbody's Shakeology shakes are not required for the program, but the products are heavily promoted. They are also expensive. You need to buy the shakes in large quantities (a carton of 24 packets is the smallest size offering that is available), and you'll pay up to $129.95. The price is likely to be higher than the cost of making your own protein smoothies at home. 

If you are gluten-free or vegetarian, you can adapt the 21-Day Fix eating plan to meet your dietary needs. Recommended foods include gluten-free and meat-free options.

A workout plan is also an integral part of the 21-Day Fix. It includes six different 30-minute workouts. You'll do at least one every day.

If you already know that you need to follow a specific diet, this may not be the best program for you, because you won't get professional or personalized nutritional advice. Similarly, if you have an injury or medical condition that requires you to modify movement, you may do better with a qualified personal trainer or coach who can guide your exercise program safely.

Pros of the 21-Day Fix

The before and after photos are compelling, but does the Beachbody 21-Day Fix really work? The diet plan encourages a healthy lifestyle and promotes long-term healthy habits like portion control, but the program itself is not a successful method for long-term weight management.

  • Whole foods: During the 21-Day Fix, people are directed to favor whole foods and avoid anything processed. This is generally a good strategy for both weight loss and health because it encourages the consumption of foods that are rich in nutrients and fiber and low in calories, added sugar, and salt.
  • Balanced nutrition: The 21-Day Fix eating plan does not restrict any particular group of nutritious foods, and it aims for a healthy mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
  • Controlled portions: The Beachbody portion-control container kit is a smart system for people looking to lose weight. The program is appealing to many consumers because you don't have to count calories to use it (although the system is based on reaching programmed calorie targets). 
  • Exercise included: Unlike many eating plans, the 21-Day Fix comes with a series of workouts designed to be used in combination with the diet. This could help people seeking long-term weight management start new, healthy exercise habits they can stick to. Research continues to show that proper nutrition combined with regular physical activity is a gold standard not just for weight management but also for the prevention of chronic disease as we age.

Cons of the 21-Day Fix

Despite these benefits, experts do have some concerns with Beachbody in general and this program in particular. There are no common health risks associated specifically with the Beachbody 21-Day Fix, but there are several drawbacks.

  • Calorie restriction: The formula that the 21-Day Fix uses to determine calorie goals could result in a suggested daily calorie count under 1,500 calories. This would not be enough calories for energy and health for many people, especially when you factor in the daily workouts.
  • Short-term solution: Beachbody promises quick results with the 21-Day Fix, and the program is only meant to last for three weeks. During this time, people will probably need to avoid eating out and must find time to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Returning to previous habits and portion sizes after the 21 days could mean regaining lost weight.
  • Expensive: The 21-Day Fix kit costs about $60, and it includes the portion control containers, workout videos, and eating plan, along with other resources and information. However, purchasing whole, unprocessed foods can be pricey. In addition, you may be encouraged to buy more Beachbody products, such as shake mixes.
  • Multi-level marketing: Peer support and recruitment are the Beachbody system's cornerstone. However, because the peer support is tied to financial compensation, the company has come under fire from some experts in the industry for promoting "coaching services" by sales representatives with no exercise or nutrition credentials who make a commission when they sell the company's products.
  • May lead to nutrient deficiencies: Calorie restriction could lead to nutrient deficiencies, which may cause fatigue. Other studies have shown that prolonged calorie restriction could slow the body's metabolism. In some cases, a reduction in bone density and muscle mass was shown in older adults. Still, in general, the long-term effects of calorie restrictions in humans remain somewhat inconclusive.

The company says that individual distributors are qualified to provide support and encouragement because they have been successful in Beachbody programs themselves. But no formal exercise or nutrition training is required. Coaches also earn a percentage of each product that they sell and any product sold by a coach that they recruit, so they are heavily incentivized to network and sell.

Is the Beachbody 21-Day Fix a Healthy Choice for You?

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests a daily calorie intake of 1,600 to 2,000 calories for weight loss, depending on age, sex, weight, and activity level. Yet the 21-Day Fix calorie-target equation does not factor in age, sex, or weight, which means their recommended number could be wrong for you.

You might have more success with this tool, which does include these variables. Nutrition experts continue to recommend calorie counting for successful weight loss and long-term weight management.

The 21-Day Fix suggests a balanced mix of protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy, albeit in small serving sizes. Though this in line with USDA recommendations for filling your plate with a mix of all these foods, it is not a long-term solution for weight management.

A Word From Verywell

Commercial diet or fitness programs like Beachbody are convenient because many of the elements (such as specific workouts and eating plans) are organized for you. But these plans come at a cost that is often not sustainable. Do-it-yourself weight loss programs require more time and effort to set up, but that investment may help you create a personalized program that you can successfully stick with longer.

When weight loss and overall health are your goals, it's important to think about your lifelong plan for wellness rather than the short-term "after" photo. Focusing on long-term weight maintenance will help you set up a system that works for you.

A program like Beachbody might be a smart springboard to launch your diet and fitness program. Or you might choose to go it alone. Regardless of the plan you choose, reach out for support and use common sense as your guide to keep your body healthy and well. It's also important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise or diet program.

Remember, following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you and many diets out there simply don’t work, especially long-term. While we do not endorse fad diet trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision that works best for your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.

If your goal is weight loss, remember that losing weight isn’t necessarily the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors also play a major role in your overall health. The best diet is always the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.

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7 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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