The 21 Day Fix Meal Plan, also known as The Ultimate Fix, is a portion-control meal guide that compliments the popular 21 Day Fix home workout program. It's a great program that delivers solid results, but there is one issue you should know about before you dive in.
The problem with the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan
As I mentioned - it’s a solid plan. If you're someone who is willing to take the time to plan your meals and track your food - you’re going to see success. However, you might have a hard time sustaining it.
Because the 21 Day Fix meal plan is simply too low in overall calories. For some, it’s also too high in carbs, but that’s a discussion for another post.
Let’s stick with overall calories for now.
How to figure out your meal plan for 21 Day Fix
If you invest in the workout program, you’ll automatically get access to the meal plan, but I’m going to share the basics with you here. You can also follow along with the program without the containers.
To find your overall caloric intake they ask you to do the following:
- Take your current weight and multiply it by 11 = ___________ (this is your basal metabolic rate - the amount of energy your body needs to function every day).
- Now take that number and add 450:_____________(this is the amount of energy you need to maintain your current rate. If you want to lose weight, then follow the next step.
- Minus 750 from the figure in step 2:________ This is your target intake to generate a caloric deficit and in my professional opinion, it’s too low.
Let’s use me as an example - a 135 lb woman.
If I follow these numbers with a goal of losing weight (135 lb x 11 = 1485 minus 450 = 1935 minus 750 = 1185), I’ll be eating less than 1200 calories a day (they tell you to round up to 1200 if it’s lower).
That’s not enough calories to:
- Get through 30 minutes of intense workouts
- Build lean, toned muscle
- Get through a day that may include other activities (chasing after toddlers or cleaning the house)
- Keep your hormones and body functions going with a sustainable level of vitality.
In fact, I don’t know how anyone can build lean muscle while starving themselves (which is what I think this recommendation is dangerously close to). To be clear, I’m sure there are times when reducing calories to this level is a good idea (like, if you’re on bed rest?) but not while doing an aggressive level of exercise. That’s just not smart.
It’s not that I think you need a LOT more calories, but their caloric calculations are simply too aggressive. You can still lose weight without starving yourself.
So what to do instead?
- Want to lose weight? Take your current body weight and multiply it by 12 to be in a caloric deficit.
- Want to maintain your current weight? Multiply your current body weight by 14. That’s it.
Now, based on this new calculation, my target calories are 1620 (135 x 12= 1620). That’s an additional 420 calories per day and I can assure you - I could still lose weight at this rate, but I won’t go hungry.
How to integrate your new calories into the 21 Day Fix meal plan
Now that you have a more tolerable calorie target, you can go back into the meal planner and find your new range. For me, at 1620 calories per day, I would follow ‘Plan 2”, rather than Plan 1. That would afford me an extra serving of carbohydrate, fat and fruit.
Now personally, I do not follow the 21 Day Fix Meal plan to the letter. Instead, I’ve modified it to suit my low carb lifestyle. If you prefer a higher carb diet - than you can still get results if you move yourself up to the next level on the meal plan.
Portion Control Vs Counting Calories or Flexible Dieting
I have had great success with portion control meal plans, especially while training for a fitness competition. However, as a “lifestyle”, this level of accuracy can be hard to sustain unless you’re committed to planning your meals in advance all the time.
If I’m not following a weight loss meal plan, then I generally just follow a flexible dieting plan where I count calories and macro nutrients (also known as counting macros). I find this is an easier way to manage my food intake with a busy lifestyle where I'm always on the go, and often grabbing meals at Starbucks!
Does the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan Work?
100% yes - as long as you give it 100% of your effort. If you give it 75% effort, you’ll get 75% results, which is still really good!
I think that if you aim to keep your calories in the 12 x body weight range (or go up one level from the program’s recommended range) and eat based on their food guide you’ll do great!
Most of my clients that have gone through the program (including the workout) rave about their results. It’s a short, fun, program that delivers some great results and it doesn’t require hours at a gym.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in trying, I recommend purchasing the 21 Day Fix Bundle package that includes all the measuring cups and a month’s worth of superfoods as well. It’s a killer value and the perfect way to get started working out (with a plan) at home.
How to order the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan or the Ultimate Fix
I recommend buying the meal plan along with the workout bundle, which also gives you the superfood smoothies (so good!) and the containers for measuring. If you only want the nutrition plan and not the workouts, you can purchase the Ultimate Fix on its own.
Go ahead and drop a comment below or feel free to reach out to me any time. If you sign up through my link, you’ll get access to me as your coach to help you get started and stay on track.
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and ADHD Coach. As the founder of The Fit Habit, she shares ADHD-friendly self-care, food & fitness inspiration, along with practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.