We’ve all had this experience sometime in our lives….we spend hours cleaning and organizing something, whether it’s our edit suite, our living room, or perhaps our car. You may have started out wearing a hazmat suit, but after a lot of sweat and elbow grease, you ditched the gas mask and had a spit-shined space you could be proud of. And the mere thought of letting even a speck of dust come in contact with your freshly-cleaned area is no longer an option.
Your body and your diet are no different. If you’ve spent years cramming in pizza, beer, and Twinkies, “What’s one more bad meal?” But once you’ve cleaned out your system and you start fresh once again, the mere thought of letting anything dirty touch your newly refreshed system is simply out of the question. This is my theory behind trying out the brand new Beachbody dietary program, the “3-Day Refresh.”
*Note: This blog is not endorsed by Beachbody, and I’m not automatically a fan of every single one of their products. In fact I’ve tried the “2-Day Fast Formula,” and I think it’s utter crap. That’s why you don’t see it anywhere on the Fitness In Post site. You only see things that I’ve put into my body that work. And this new program works.
WHAT IS THE 3-DAY REFRESH?
Let’s be very clear about one thing – THIS IS NOT A FAST. I actually ate really well during this program, I just had to be EXTREMELY selective. The plan is brilliantly laid out and very easy to follow. 75% of the food is already provided in the pack, and I had to provide the rest. Here are the basics:
For Three Days, I had to do the following:
Breakfast: Have Shakeology with 10 oz of water, plus I could add one serving of fruit from the recommended list (which was not restrictive)
Mid-Morning: Have the “Fiber Sweep” drink mixed with water.
Lunch: Have the “Vanilla Fresh” drink mixed with water (and a fruit option), as well as one serving of a vegetable which can include one serving of a healthy fat.
Mid-Afternoon: Another serving of a vegetable is allowed with a healthy fat.
Dinner: A second helping of “Vanilla Fresh” with water (no fruit allowed this time), and another helping of a vegetable and a healthy fat.
You can also throw in some caffeine-free green tea in a few places throughout the day if you prefer, but absolutely NO CAFFEINE of any kind.
Full disclaimer: I modified this program every so slightly to suit my own tastes. I did not cheat, per se, but on a few occasions I did substitute plain water for coconut water in my Shakeology and Vanilla Fresh to make it more palatable. I’m not a fan of Shakeology with just plain water, and I didn’t want to sabotage myself into hating this plan just because of that. The coconut water introduced 70-140 more calories per day, but the effects were pretty minimal. Otherwise I strictly followed the program all three days.
HOW DID IT TASTE?
I love Shakeology. Can’t go a day without it. Granted I couldn’t doctor it up with my usual recipe, but even the minimalist version still tastes really good with just one frozen fruit option. The “Fiber Sweep” drink is not the most pleasant taste I’ve ever experienced in my life, but compared to other similar products on the market, I didn’t have to choke it down. And the ‘Vanilla Fresh” was really good, no complaints there. Everything else in the program is your choice based on a recommended list of whole fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.
I quantified everything I ate during this entire program so I could correlate how I felt with what was going in my body. I basically ate the same thing all three days (with slight variations in the type of vegetable or fat in my salad), and I’ve posted an example of a day broken down using MyFitnessPal:
Unlike many people that may try this program, I started out eating a (pretty) clean diet to begin with. I no longer have processed foods, and I don’t have any sugar outside of natural sugar from fruits and coconut water. However, I wanted to “kick the tires,” so to speak, so I ate some crap the 2 days before. After all, if you want to buy a brand new vacuum, you don’t test it on spotless carpet, you throw some dirt around to see how it performs, right? This was no different.
DAY 1 – 8AM (184.1 pounds, 34″ waist)
Digestion a little irritable from eating the crap the day before, fairly low energy and groggy.
DAY 1 – 11:45PM (185.1 pounds)
Wasn’t terribly hungry all day, was high energy and very productive, no digestive issues, worked with clarity until 11:30 PM
DAY 2 – 6:45AM (184.1 pounds)
Awoke feeling a little groggy but gained energy quickly, was hungry at first but fine after finishing morning Shakeology.
DAY 2 – 10PM (185.0 pounds)
Found myself winding down earlier than usual, but I was more relaxed and it was easier going to sleep.
DAY 3 – 6:45AM (183.0 pounds)
Woke up feeling irritable and hungry, but the Shakeology took the edge off again.
DAY 3 – 10:15PM (183.7 pounds)
Earlier in the day around 3pm is the only time I found myself fighting willpower to curb cravings, but at 4:30 when I had my salad those cravings quickly went away. The rest of the day I had a surge of energy and felt amazing.
THE NEXT MORNING – 181.6 pounds, 33 1/2″ waist
Woke up hungry, but I wasn’t groggy at all and I had plenty of energy. My digestion is the best I’ve experienced in months, if not years. And most importantly, I wasn’t craving crap, I was just looking forward to eating a big meal of good clean food.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
I have done full-on fasts for up to 72 hours in the past, and they are torture. You are constantly hungry, light-headed, low energy, and CRANKY. I didn’t experience any of that with this program. Was I 100% satisfied? Of course not, I was eating less than half the calories I’m used to. But I was never shaky, anxious, or miserable.
I dropped almost 3 pounds from this program which I have been having a hard time losing the last couple months, and more importantly, I lost another 1/2″ of my waistline. Hello new belt loop! And my sleep score improved considerably (using the Sleep Cycle App, my score went from 69% to 82%).
Most importantly though, I know this program worked because during and after the program, I wasn’t craving Twinkies and Fruity Pebbles, all I could think about was having a great big salad or some vegetables dripping in grass-fed butter. Which means that not only was my body cleansed of impurities, but my mindset shifted to craving healthy foods because I didn’t want to undo the work I had done with this refresh.
I recommend this program for anyone looking to give their diet a jumpstart, whether or not they already eat healthy. The plan is easy to follow, the drinks are tasty, and the meal options are varied enough you can make something that tastes good. Just don’t expect to fill yourself up, this is a low calorie cleanse. I felt I had hit a bit of a plateau with my diet, and now I’m moving forwards again and have lots of new ideas to make my diet even cleaner and healthier. And as usual, Beachbody offers a full 30-day money back guarantee, so there’s nothing to lose if you don’t like it.
FINAL GRADE: A (updated from A-)
ONE WEEK UPDATE:
A week after doing this program, I have not gained ANY of the weight back. This is something I’ve never experienced with a fast or cleanse of any kind. Usually you lose a few pounds of water weight, go back to your old habits after the cleanse, then all the weight comes back. This time, I haven’t gained any of the weight back and I still fill great. So that’s why I updated by final grade from an A- to a solid A. This program works.