COVID19 Fitness

Day 50: 21 Day Fix Extreme Review & Next Step

May 4, 2020

Did you catch that # up there? 50. I am starting to recognize that the end date for this series may be unclear, but will plan on continuing these numbered-day posts until it feels like the tides have shifted in my area.

(There are certainly a lot of conversations about shifting, but for all intents and purposes we are all still social distancing and life is nowhere near the old version of ‘normal’, so will continue!).

Fitness: 21DFX Review


First of all, here’s my usual disclaimer that I am not (and do not plan on ever being) a Beachbody coach/salesperson. I don’t love their marketing practices or MLM structure, but when both my SIL and Josh’s aunt raved about the programs (neither of them are coaches either), I figured they were worth a try.

Thus far, I’ve completed:

  • 21 Day Fix
  • A Little Obsessed (this is just 5 days)
  • 21 Day Fix Extreme

All have been led by trainer Autumn Calabrese (who I love — she is the least annoying video trainer I have ever had!). I also enjoy the fact that she’s close to my age & even my height. Makes my aspirations feel slightly realistic (though they are not; I’m sure she spends 5 hours/day working out).

I wanted to report back after my completion of 21 Day Fix Extreme. Prior to the lockdown era, I was doing Autumn’s workouts interspersed with runs (last race was this January!). However, something about lockdown just made me want to complete the programs as a daily routine, and I wanted a break from running. SOOO, I shifted to daily Autumn sessions + walks instead of runs.

It has been nice. I am not saying I won’t run again (I do miss it sometimes!) but these workouts are definitely challenging and contain enough cardio that I do not feel I need to run, and I do think I have gotten somewhat stronger.

21 Day Fix Extreme Workouts are 30-35 minutes long and are 21 consecutive days. 2 of the 7 days are calmer and less intense (Pilates & Yoga).

The schedule is:

Monday: Plyo — lots of jumping (this is a theme for 21DFX. If you have cranky knees, this program may not be for you). Serious muscle fatigue for me. But the workout goes fast. (Strength factor: 5/10; Sweat factor: 8/10)

Tuesday: Upper — I really like this workout! She starts you off with pushups which for me serves as a nice test as to whether I am getting any stronger. There are 3 sets with 4 exercises, some of which are more brutal than others. I felt like my shoulders got a better workout in Extreme compared to Fix. For reference, I used 8 for my “light” weights and 12 for my “heavy”. (Strength factor: 7/10; Sweat factor: 5/10)

Wednesday: Pilates — MEH. I actually only did this one once. I greatly prefer the Pilates workout in the regular 21DF, so I subbed that in the 2nd 2 weeks. One caveat was that I did not have the specific band she recommends (ended up ordering it, but it came after I was done!). The exercises were really awkward. I should go back and try it with her recommended band, though. (Strength factor: 3/10; Sweat factor: 2/10. However, the original 21DF Pilates is a nice core workout and can be easily subbed here.)

Thursday: Leg day — This one really grew on me! It has more jumping than a traditional strength workout, but the combination of plyo & strength is effective. By the 3rd week, I definitely felt like I was getting some improvement in lower body strength. (Strength factor: 8/10; Sweat factor: 6/10)

Friday: Cardio – this workout was tough. She has these little jumps which reminded me soooo much of my cheerleading days, except that you do them holding a weight! Ouch. Doing this one after leg day is tough b/c many of the exercises use the same muscle groups. But it’s definitely effective at inducing elevated heart rate/sweat. This was the workout I dreaded a bit each week, but it was effective. (Strength factor: 3/10; Sweat factor: 9/10).

Saturday: Dirty 30 – the last “real” workout of the week! I think I like the 21DF Dirty 30 better (it goes soooo fast!) but this workout is still decent. Burpees and a good amount of upper body worked in. (Strength factor: 6/10; Sweat factor: 6/10).

Sunday: Yoga! This is a fairly traditional yoga session, and I loved how it fit in with the others. I looked forward to it every week, and it was great to have a workout that was less intense but more focused on stretching. By the 3rd round I remembered how to do crow again, so that was fun. I’m glad she included this in both Fixes, and I liked this version even more than the first.

So there you go! I recognize that before/after pix are missing from this review. Honestly, I find that visible changes are soooo much more likely to be due to change in nutrition than workouts, and I am skeptical about many of the pix I see. BUTTTTT I also think a photoless review feels a little bit disingenuous in this day and age. So, here you go. In all of my almost-40-year-old glory.

Taken this AM – it’s my “after” 21DFX pic & my “before” 80DO pic!

And now . . . time to start my next program, which is the 80-day-long 80 Day Obsession! I will provide updates along the way, of course. And if nothing else . . . it will be quite a nice distraction from . . . well, the outside world.

Okay! Gotta go b/c the first 80DO session is an HOUR and I have to finish it before anyone wakes up! Wish me luck . . .


scooter girl

Dinner last night! Shrimp ramen bowls (added egg, scallions, & seaweed as inspired by Jean Wang).

Meant the eggs to be soft-boiled — oops. But it was still good.


  • Reply gwinne May 4, 2020 at 8:23 am

    You look fantastic.

    And your dinner looks fantastic. We do not currently have any thin rice noodles in the house (I’m GF) or I would do this in a second. Hmmmm.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 4, 2020 at 8:29 pm

      The even more miraculous part is that all 3 kids ate it 2 nights in a row without complaining! (Annabel skipped the shrimp bc she is not a fan but otherwise they ate it!)

  • Reply Sarah May 4, 2020 at 9:08 am

    After hearing you talk about Beachbody for a while now, I finally took the plunge (my SIL is a coach) and love it! I generally agree with your perspective on BOBW and your book recommendations on the blog, so appreciate your perspective on Beachbody as a non-endorsed spokesperson – a neutral third party. It’s been perfect for me to fit into my lifestyle as a mom of a little one with limited time who lives in the Midwest where weather does not always encourage outdoor activity. Thanks for sharing your workout journey and inspiring others!

  • Reply Grateful Kae May 4, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Great review! I sort of started 21DFX after completing my first round of 21DF real time but I wasn’t loving it as much as I really liked the 21DF! I especially did NOT like the pilates extreme workout (which you warned me about!). My band was not as “stretchy” as theirs seemed to be and it all just felt really awkward. I had planned to complete it anyway but then ended up switching after a few days to The Work to join a friend who was starting it. You might consider checking that one out down the road, someday…it’s been INTENSE and really awesome, in my opinion!! Will be excited to hear about 80 Day Obsession.

  • Reply Ana May 4, 2020 at 10:49 am

    I skip the pilates workouts, I don’t like either one (21DF or extreme) and they make my back hurt. Overall I basically just pick and choose what I feel like doing (within the goals of one upper/one cardio per week) alternating with running. I’ve never gone all the way through. Today we did Leg Day after seeing your post, it was great!

    I cannot commit to one-hour long workouts on a daily basis, so 80 day obsession is out for me.

    Also, you look amazing.

  • Reply jjiraffe May 4, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Wow – your abs look fantastic! Mine….do not. Hiking/walking the dog is just not doing it, and I’ve gained a few pounds since this whole thing happened. I have a deep-in-my-bones opposition to MLM programs, and listening to “The Dream” podcast did not help.

    BUT my favorite HIIT workout ever was going to my local Orange Theory Fitness class, and I’ve noticed that they are doing classes online. I should bite the bullet and check it out. Thanks for the motivation!

  • Reply Rinna May 4, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    What kind of equopment do you need for 21DF and 21DF Extreme? You look amazing. Kudos to you for staying so in shape as you head into your 40s!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 4, 2020 at 8:27 pm

      Just weights and resistance bands! Weights – I use mostly 8, 10, 12lb. Any cheap band will do – not a ring shape for 21DFX (only for 80DO!)

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 4, 2020 at 8:28 pm

      And a mat – yoga mat works fine!

  • Reply Staying Fit During Covid-19 | Too Many Fish to Fry May 19, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    […] decided to add a strength training workout to the mix, after reading this post from of a blogger who streaked for 21 days, using an at-home video series. I used to work out at […]

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