Every month, I lead a fitness and nutrition challenge with the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme programs. For the past three months, I've been doing the workouts along with my challengers, and the past two months, I've mixed in the Extreme workouts along with those of the original Fix. I get bored easily, so this is perfect for me... even three straight weeks of doing the same workouts (even though each session is only done once a week) is a bit too much for me.
Now that I'm well acquainted with both programs, I thought I'd write a bit about the differences between them. I'll focus mostly on the exercise side of things; I previously reviewed the nutrition plan; the Extreme nutrition plan is quite similar, but has a more limited list of foods and no "treat swaps"—so no wine, cookies, or chocolate! The Extreme program also includes the "Countdown to Competition" plan that Autumn Calabrese, the program's creator, follows when she is preparing for a figure competition.
As far as the workouts, I actually love both programs, and I don't think the Extreme workouts are much harder than the workouts from the original Fix. They're just different. The intensity of either one depends a lot on what weights you use; I've started using weights for some "unweighted" moves when I do the original Fix workouts, and a lot of the Fix Extreme moves are totally doable for beginners if you done without weights.
Both programs follow a schedule of exercising 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week. (I tell my challengers to take one full rest day if they feel their bodies need it; both programs also include a yoga session to stretch out those sore muscles and a Pilates session for targeted strengthening with less heart/lung intensity, so there are two days per week that are considered "active recovery.")
Both programs have a modifier demonstrating low-impact and/or lower-intensity moves. However, the modified versions are definitely emphasized more in the original Fix. In the Extreme version, Autumn doesn't mention much what the modifier is doing differently; it's mostly up to the individual participant to take a look at what the modifier is doing. This is probably the biggest reason I would recommend that people complete the original Fix before moving on to the Extreme program. It's important to know your body and what you're capable of so you can decide when to push yourself and when to follow the modifier, and the Extreme program provides less guidance in that regard.
Both programs contain sessions and moves that use free weights and/or a resistance band. However, in the original Fix, most sessions and most exercises are body-weight only, meaning you don't need any extra equipment. (It is still recommended to have a resistance band and weights for the moves that do require them.) In the Extreme program, the vast majority of exercises use weights or a resistance band. Even the Pilates Fix Extreme session uses a resistance band, and the Plyo Fix Extreme session uses weights. Imagine doing squat jumps while holding a 15 lb weight in each hand... I've done it!
In general, the Extreme moves are intensified versions of the original Fix moves (e.g., Burpees with a push-up instead of regular Burpees). Both programs incorporate a wide range of types of movement, so there's lots of variety. Neither program has any choreography to learn; you'll do a move for 1 minute (or 30 seconds, in the case of the Plyo sessions) and then move on to something different.
Intrigued? Click on over to my 21 Day Fix page to learn more and find out when the next program starts!