The Body Coach 90 day plan was designed to save yo-yo dieters from unhealthy fad and restrictive diets. The program promotes healthy eating and high-intensity interval training, HIIT workouts.
Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, has been sharing inspirational recipe and workout videos on Instagram since 2014. He began his career as a personal trainer before progressing to an online coach and setting up the 90 day SSS plan. SSS stands for Shift, Shape and Sustain. The whole aim of the plan is to help participants lose fat, shape their bodies with weight training and sustain their gains.
I’ll be honest, The 90 Day Plan has been my lifeline since lockdown was introduced in March 2020 due to Covid-19. Spending so much time at home, I worried that I’d struggle with so much time on my hands and no routine.
However, I have mostly managed to combat the lock down blues by setting a plan for myself. One key element of my plan has been to focus on my health and fitness.Follow This Extra Life with Bloglovin
Well, I’ll be honest, this was actually one of my main focuses at the beginning of the year. NOT a New Year’s Resolution (because I always break them!) but something I actively wanted to work on this year…
Setting a goal
1st January 2020, I set a goal of losing 20 – 25kgs. Maybe not necessarily all in this year but this was and still is my overall goal.
Initially, I started tracking my calories and macros in MyFitnessPal. Then cutting out the foods that aren’t necessarily good for me. Like crisps, processed foods and reducing my intake of fizzy drinks.
I began doing some HIIT workouts on The Body Coach YouTube channel. I hadn’t worked out in quite a while so I thought this would be the best way to get back into some sort of fitness routine.
Towards the end of January, I had lost 5kgs but found that restricting myself to 1200 calories per day was making me MISERABLE!
I had so little energy and I was constantly hungry. My mood was at an all-time low; I recognised that this way of life could not be sustainable for me in the long term. I had to change tactics to something that was healthier and would last the distance.
Signing up to The Body Coach 90 Day Plan
I attempted The Body Coach 90 day plan back in 2017 but stalled at Cycle 2 for a few reasons.
2017 wasn’t my year, a long list of heavy life things were happening pretty much all at once and I couldn’t keep up. I lost focus trying to hold everything together and unfortunately, the one thing that fell by the wayside was the 90 day plan.
I knew the new 90 day plan would help me get on my way to achieving my goals but I really wanted to put some thought into doing the plan again. I did not want to be a failure. Twice.
After mulling over signing up to the new plan for about a week, I talked it over with the hubby. Then, I decided to give it a go and make sure I completed the plan this time.
Kindly, hubby agreed to give me a nudge (huge boot up the backside) if he felt I was giving in to temptation and reverting back to old habits.
Admittedly, he has been a massive support over the last few months. I was determined to make a positive change to my lifestyle. However, it was helpful to have someone to check me if I slipped.
So at the end of January I began my Body Coach 90 Day Plan journey.
The Body Coach 90 Day Plan review: Cycle One
Cycle one promotes a cleaner diet, improved cardiovascular health with HIIT workouts and boosting your metabolism to encourage fat loss.
Cycle One Workouts
Personally, I find HIIT workouts to be the perfect form of exercise for me. They can be done at home so no need to go to the gym – a win for the super self-conscious! Although, if you are a bit of a gym bunny, you can easily knock out a HIIT workout at the gym too.
You don’t need any equipment for HIIT workouts as you can still perform a good workout only using body weight.
Depending on how much time you have spare, HIIT workouts can be completed in as little as twenty minutes. The intensity comes from the amount of effort that you put into your workout.
Cycle One focuses on HIIT workouts as the main forms of exercise. You’ll receive 5 brand new workouts featuring cardio and bodyweight exercises which are 25 minutes long.
You should aim to complete all five HIIT workouts each week, but it doesn’t really matter which order they are done in.
The workouts were akin to the beginner routines I was using on YouTube. They have been designed in such a way that will allow a complete novice to complete the routines, but also provide a challenge to those more experienced in regular exercise.
Again, the difficulty and intensity of the workout comes down to how much effort you are putting into the moves.
Cycle One Eating Habits
On Cycle one the eating habits consist of two reduced carbohydrate meals and one carbohydrate refuel meal for after a workout. Then, of course, two snacks. On the rest day, you will eat three reduced carbohydrate meals and two snacks.
Note that this is a LOW carb plan, not a NO carb plan. Carbs are an important element of a healthy diet and shouldn’t be vilified.
Adapting to this way of eating wasn’t too difficult for me because I had cleaned up my diet at the beginning of January.
I certainly wasn’t hungry now and I was happy to be eating food that tasted pretty amazing and would fuel my body without leaving me feeling bloated.
I didn’t really notice any difference in energy levels by reducing my carb intake. However, I did notice how light I felt by eating healthy nutritious food.
Cycle One Water Intake
A number of studies support the benefits of drinking water when trying to lose weight. It helps with digestion, muscle function and to suppress your appetite. Water is also essential to burn stored fats and carbohydrates.
I’ll be honest, before starting the plan I lived on coffee and Pepsi Max. I rarely drank water because I found it so bland. Naturally, as I had been consuming so much artificial sweeteners.
However, once I read about the importance of drinking water for weight loss and fat burning, I cut out the sugary drinks completely. I also reduced my coffee intake to one cup per day.
In total, throughout this cycle I stuck to three litres of water per day.
It was a struggle at first but once I got into the swing of it, I found it quite easy. One of the best investments I made was a water bottle with markers detailing the quantities. This made life so much easier.
The body Coach 90 Day Plan review: Cycle Two
Cycle Two continues with similar principals: more healthy food choices with a range of new delicious recipes. There are also five new HIIT workouts which now incorporate weights which will help you to continue burning fat whilst building lean muscle.
I loved Cycle One, however when the 30 days were up, I was very happy for the next challenge of Cycle Two.
Cycle Two Workouts
The workouts on Cycle Two introduce weighted exercises. This will increase the intensity of the exercises to help you to build lean muscle and shape your body.
There are five different workouts on Cycle Two ranging in intensity which are all approx. 30 minutes long. Aside from workout one, which is designed to get your body used to lifting weights with correct form, the workouts include a mixture of cardio, body weight and weighted exercises.
Examples of the weighted exercises include weighted lunges, squats, bicep curls and shoulder presses.
I found the workouts to be a slight step up but very much enjoyable. I loved being able to lift weights and increase the weight each week. I started Cycle Two lifting 3kg on each hand, and finished Cycle Two lifting 8kg.
Cycle Two Eating Habits
In Cycle Two, the eating habits changed slightly. On rest days, you will still eat three reduced carbohydrate meals and two snacks. However, on training days, you are encouraged to each two carbohydrate refuel meals, one reduced carbohydrate meal and two snacks.
There are a couple of reasons for the increase in carb meals. By introducing weights, your body will burn more calories, and in turn, will need to consume more glycogen to enhance muscle building. Cycle Two also tests how your body responds to using either fat or carbohydrates as a fuel source.
Cycle Two Water Intake
In Cycle Two, along with your amounts for food and ingredients, your water intake may increase or decrease.
Although my water intake decreased to 2.75L, I continued to drink 3L per day as my body had gotten used to it.
90 Day Plan During Lock Down
When the lock down came into force on 23rd March, I was midway through Cycle Two.
I won’t lie, there were times when it was difficult to find all the ingredients I needed due to the panic buying. However, I stuck to plan as best as I could and when I needed to, I swapped out some ingredients to those with similar macro (fat, protein and carb) values. This is where the Body Coach Swaps page came in handy!
As I’ve said, I am a creature of routine. Instantly losing my normal weekday routine when the lockdown came into effect threw me. For the first few days, I did struggle to fit in all the meals, but I still managed the workouts.
Admittedly, my struggle with meals was not because I was too full, it was because I lost my rhythm and ‘set time’ to eat.
However, I realised that life will usually throw a curve ball when least expected. Therefore, I needed to put in a little extra effort to stay on track or I’d lose all my progress so far.
So I put my big girl pants on and continued. I completed Cycle Two, which was further than I managed to get back in 2017.
I was delighted with myself if I’m honest. There were a lot of factors that threw me off course in 2017 but here I was in 2020, in the middle of a pandemic. Where half the world (if not more) has been locked down. And although there was most definitely a wobble, I was able to get my act into gear and go further than before. This to me was a mini achievement, or NSV (non scale victory) to say the least.
The Body Coach 90 Day Plan review: Cycle Three
Cycle Three is another step up in terms of fitness. The principles are similar to the previous cycles, however, you can decide which eating habits suit your body best.
Cycle Three Workouts
In Cycle Three you’ll receive yet another five workouts built around weight training, bodyweight exercises and Tabata is also introduced. There are also two challenges at the end of workout 3 and workout 5. A two-minute burpee challenge and a two-minute plank challenge.
The workout duration increase to 35 minutes
Cycle Three Eating Habits
Cycle three also has a range of delicious new recipes to try. In fact, the food throughout the whole plan is pretty amazing.
As I’ve mentioned throughout, how to eat has changed on both previous cycles. I.e one or two reduced carb meals on workout days.
In cycle three, the choice is yours on whether to revert to one carb refuel meal after a workout. Or continue with two carb refuels meals on workout days.
The plan aims to teach you to listen to your body and the choice is based on how your body reacted to the increasing carbohydrates in Cycle two.
I decided to revert back to one carb refuel meal during Cycle three. Although I didn’t feel sluggish on Cycle two like a lot of leanies have reported, I was more intrigued to see how my body would respond to weight training on lower carbs and if this would help me burn more fat. I have a lot of fat to burn.
I thoroughly enjoyed Cycle three. It was a challenge, but I threw myself into it and I completed the 90 day plan on 3rd May 2020.
Don’t get me wrong, I won’t say the whole plan has been 100%. I have enjoyed a few alcoholic beverages here and there. However, I’ve tried not to drink too often because alcohol will impact your ability to lose weight.
I have also enjoyed one treat at the end of each cycle. Sometimes that has been a take out, or a little extra chocolate or a touch of ice cream (shout out to all my halo top lovers) because life is for living.
The Body Coach 90 Day Plan review: Results
I started out at the beginning of January aiming to lose between 20 to 25 kgs as my overall goal. I was at my heaviest of 85 kgs and only standing at 5ft 2in, I was basically short and round.
Although BMI is an outdated concept, my BMI at my starting point on the 1st of January was 35, meaning I was obese.
During the month of January I managed to lose 5kgs on my own by restricting myself to a miserable 1200 calorie diet. I knew this could never be sustainable and I had to find a better way to achieve my goals. Luckily I took the plunge and bought the 90 day plan.
In total, throughout the 90 day plan, I lost 6kgs. It doesn’t sound like an awful lot compared to some others who have completed the plan. However, everybody is different. Everyone will respond differently and I am delighted to have lost 6kgs bringing me down to 74kgs at graduation.
What is probably more impressive is that I lost 24 inches across my body.
And my stupid BMI has reduced to 30 (although I’m still technically obese).
I am under no illusions, I still have a journey ahead of me. My hard work isn’t over and never will be, because staying healthy requires a bit of intention.
In saying that, I feel fitter and stronger than ever. The first 11kgs are gone for good and the next 14kgs will follow suit.
I have muscles I didn’t even know existed, I can hold a plank for two minutes, complete thirty full chest to floor burpees without dying. My skin is glowing, my mood is stable and my sleep is uninterrupted.
It’s All About Your Mindset
One of the biggest things for me has been a change in mindset.
Before starting the plan, if I had a bad day, I would have ‘treated’ myself with a takeaway and a little too much booze. Plus probably all the crisps known to man.
Now, I realise that I can still do those things but it won’t actually make me feel any better. Sometimes I still enjoy the odd drink or takeaway but it’s not my crutch. And it’s not a frequent occurrence.
My attitude towards exercise has changed too.
Instead of thinking ‘oh no, I HAVE to workout today’ I’ve had the mindset of ‘excellent, I GET to work out today. I get to push my body further and become stronger each day’. No lies, the rush of endorphins after a workout is slightly addictive.
The 90 day plan, and exercising, really have focused my mind throughout this pandemic. Rather than worry about all the awful things going on in the world, I have something positive to look forward to 5 days per week.
I hate to use the cliche, but the 90 day plan has been a life-changing experience for me. Although I may not be exactly where I want to be right now I am making positive moves towards my goal. I really have never felt better in my life and it’s all thanks to the 90 day plan.
If you decide to take the plunge and join the 90 day plan, I guarantee you will not regret it.
Life after The Body Coach 90 Day Plan: The 90 Day Grad Plan
I had put a bit of thought into my next moves after the 90 day plan.
I had some options; go it alone and hope for the best, consider another plan such as JSA, or continue onto The Body Coach 90 day Graduate Plan.
After a bit of research into my other options and also asking some Body Coach Graduates, I decided to continue my journey with the 90 day graduate plan.
Are you on a weight loss journey? Thinking about it? Or have any tips on great workouts or plans? Drop a comment below!