Beachbody Ultimate Reset Review and Training Update

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On August 15th, 2012, I finished Beachbody’s Ultimate Reset 21-day cleanse program and I think it is time to give you a full review so you know what to expect if you decide to do it. In general there were things that I liked and things that I didn’t like about the program. Once again, though, Beachbody has succeeded in putting out a program that is not a magic pill or some kind of trick…this program has you eating real food and intends to change the way you think about food and it takes hard work to complete it. That is exactly what I have come to expect from Beachbody…basically, no-nonsense hard work and real solutions. This program is really no exception in the general sense…but, don’t worry, I will be open about what I didn’t like about the program.


I think it is important to give you the background on why I chose to do the Ultimate Reset at this particular point because I think it is fairly significant and maybe even “risky”.

When the Ultimate Reset was released by Beachbody in spring of this year (2012), I had my entire year of endurance racing planned out and was trained and ready to run the Eugene marathon (race report HERE). Since the Reset requires 3 weeks off from any strenuous workouts, it did not seem like something that would fit into my schedule until much later in the year. Besides the Eugene marathon in late April, I also had a half iron in July (race report HERE) and then a full Ironman (Arizona) in mid November. So, in my head, my plan was to try out the reset after Thanksgiving and before Christmas (which is probably a great time to do it…except for all of the baked goods that are likely in your face the whole time during that time of year).

However, I kept hearing stories from trusted friends and fellow coaches about how amazing the program is so I was getting excited to try it later in the year. Then, I went to the Beachbody Coach Summit in Las Vegas in late June (just a few weeks before my half iron race). Darin Olien, Shakeology and Ultimate Reset co-creator, spoke at Summit several times and mentioned that he was a former endurance athlete and really went over the benefits of the reset in more detail. In addition, Carl Diakeler (CEO of Beachbody) challenged all of us coaches to get an Ultimate Reset group together with 5 people before the end of August. This was one of just a few challenges that he really sincerely asked us all to take on. So, I thought about it a while longer and came home and talked to my wife and decided to take 3 weeks off shortly after my half iron and before ramping up for my Ironman in November. I had already planned on taking 2 weeks of easier workouts to let my body recover a bit and get ready for the big push to Ironman training, but this was going to be 3 weeks of no workouts…not 2 weeks of lighter workouts. That is a BIG difference.

So, needless to say, I was a little worried about it. For some reason though, I felt it was the right decision for me. Besides the things that I heard at Summit and the testimonials from friends, I had other reasons to do the Reset now as well. For one, I had people that I coach asking me about it and I wanted to be able to give them first-hand knowledge. I felt that November was too far away for that. Also, I had been pretty poor with my nutrition this year starting with 13 hour work days back in January/February. So, I was heavier than I wanted to be for racing. So, even though I knew I would lose some fitness, the weight loss would be good for racing weight.

So, I did my half iron race on July 14th (RACE REPORT), raced a full weekend with a 3.2 mile open water race (RACE REPORT) and a sprint tri (RACE REPORT) the next weekend, and then started the Ultimate Reset on Wednesday, July 25th. With the 3 weeks of the reset, that would leave me 13.5 weeks to build up for Ironman. Ideal? Probably not. Good enough? Well, that depends on how much fitness is lost during the Reset, I guess.

Here is my account….

Week 1: Phase 1: Reclaim

What is it about?

Phase 1 is all about removing the foods that put stress on your system by putting your blood pH in an acidic state. Things like red meat and dairy are removed during the first week or so. Actually, you never have any red meat during this program but you do have dairy, eggs, chicken, and fish. In general though, you are removing the type of foods that have an acidic reaction in your body.

During this phase, you introduce 4 of the 6 supplements. Minerlize (basically Himalayan Salt that you add to distilled water), Oxygenize (drops you add to distilled water to help deliver oxygen), Alkalanize (a powder you mix with water that is kind of like a wheat grass shot that helps balance pH), and Optimize (Pills that have enzymes to help restore and optimize bodily functions including how your body absorbs nutrients). 3 of the 4 are easy to take. The alkalinize is pretty horrible tasting in my opinion though. We used lemon and lime wedges to chase it after drinking it…like a shot of Tequila.

What is the food like?

The food in Phase 1 is MOSTLY amazing! Seriously, it is almost all REALLY good! You eat things like:

Scrambled Eggs, Toast and Steamed Kale (yes, Kale for breakfast is a little odd to me…but not bad)
Microgreen salads
Salmon, potatoes, and asparagus
Greek Salad with chicken breast
Bean and Rice Tacos
Nori Rolls with Tempeh and Veggies (surprisingly good)
Fruit Plates
Stir-fry Veggies
Brown Rice
Baked Tempeh (um…not my favorite at all)

How Did I feel?

Some days I was hungry and some days I was not. In general, I felt pretty good but I was often tired and sometimes hungry. I think the main reason I was tired was because I was staying up late every night working and not going to bed at a decent time. I really don’t blame it on the Reset. I never had any headaches or anything like that. However, I am not a caffeine user at all so I am not surprised by that. My wife drinks coffee and had some headaches during the first week. So, if you use caffeine, you may do better to slowly work your way out of the caffeine BEFORE you start the reset.

The Numbers?

I lost 6 pounds on the first day! What? Yes, I went from 196.5 to 190.5 on the morning of the second day. Water loss? I guess. It never came back though. By the end of the first week, I was down 10 pounds!

The Pictures

Week 2: Phase 2: Release

What is it about?

Phase 2 is all about releasing the toxins built up in your body. Now that you have removed all animal proteins from your diet and balanced your pH, it is time allow your body to release those toxins.

You also add the 5th supplement: Detox. Detox is a mixture of seeds like chia and flax as well as some other “earthy” substances that help flush things out. It is not very pleasant to drink (mixed with water like alkalinize). I had one person in my group that bought vegan gelatin capsules and filled them instead of drinking it mixed with water. You can do that but it is about 20 or more pills a day (which is why Beachbody didn’t package it that way). So, this one and alkalinize are unpleasant but all of the rest are easy to take.

I should note here that you would expect that this phase would bring LOTS of trips to the bathroom. While that is true throughout the program due to the vast quantity of distilled water you drink (80+ ounces), there was literally NO “cleansing” effect like you would expect. In other words, I was NOT sitting on the toilet 10 times a day. In fact, I actually sat on the toilet less regularly than normal. Completely opposite of what I was expecting, but this is a different kind of cleanse…it is not a diuretic cleanse.

What is the food like?

We found some more GREAT food in phase 2. The food throughout this program is amazing. In this phase you eat things like:

Sweet Potato soup
Fruit Plates
Rice and Beans
Quinoa Lentil Pilaf
Miso Soup
Roasted Beets
Coconut Collard Greens
Kabocha Squash with Garlic Tahini Filling (so amazing! We eat this all the time now)
Lemon Pepper Kale
Roasted Corn and Edamame Succotash

How did I feel?

I started to feel a little better on week 2 as far as energy level. I was still a bit tired, but again I was staying up late and not paying attention to the sleep recommendations. I enjoyed the food very much in week 2 and that helped a lot.

We had a short overnight trip to the Columbia Gorge for a concert and we were able to take our salads and squash and supplements with us in a cooler and we did so good! It felt really good to stay rock solid on travel and do well!

The numbers?

15.5 pounds! So, I lost another 5.5 pounds in week 2.

The Pictures?

Week 3: Phase 3: Restore

What is it about?

Here you refine your diet even more and cut back on grains and eat mostly fruit and vegetables. It is not a lot different than the diet in Week 2 but it is a bit more on the fruit and veggie side.

You also introduce the last supplement: Revitalize (and also get rid of Detox…yay!). Basically, revitalize is probiotics and enzymes that help restore flora in the digestive tract.

What is the food like?

Fruits and Veggies! You eat things like:

Fruit plates
Sweet potatoes
Various kinds of salads (asian, greek, Moroccan carrot)
Curried Cauliflower (very good!)
Delicata Squash
Stir Fried Veggies
Cucumber soup (yuck)

How did I feel?

I was pretty used to this now and felt good. Things seemed pretty easy at this point and fruit did, in fact, taste like candy. Still tired and sometimes hungry but that was probably because there were a few things I didn’t like (the cucumber soup especially) in the last week.

The Numbers?

Final tally was 17 pounds! Not bad for 3 weeks.

The Pictures?

How about a list of tips?

1. Prep Veggies and anything you can ahead of time so you can just grab it and go. This works really well for salad toppings like red bell pepper, cucumber, etc. Just cut a bunch of it up at once and put it in a Tupperware or Ziploc in the fridge and you can make your salads quickly.

2. Look ahead at the meals and make sure that you make extra quinoa, rice, or soup (or whatever is on the menu) that is going to be used during the lunch or dinner the next day.

3. If the Alkalanize and Detox bother you too much in taste or texture, go to the health food or supplement store and get vegan gel capsules and stuff them with those supplements. It will be a lot of pills to swallow (which is why they didn’t do it that way to begin with) but it may be more tolerable and may keep you from quitting if you hate it that bad. Don’t give up…overcome!

4. Tell your friends and family that you are doing this! You will need their support.

5. If you have a family function that involves food, consider offering to make the meal and make them all a great Reset meal! We did it with our family and just had some chicken available for those not on the reset. It seemed to work pretty well.

6. Use this time to learn about new foods. So, don’t just assume you won’t like it. Give every meal a try.

7. If you go on travel for a day or so, try moving the menu around to get the easiest things to eat on the road to fall on the right day. That is better than trying to keep on the menu verbatim and trying to cook something difficult in a hotel room or something. We took Kabocha squash with us (already cooked) on our overnight trip and just microwaved it. We had fruit for breakfast and salads for lunch and took it all in a cooler with us.

8. Shakeology (vegan flavors) can be used to replace breakfast in week 1, and as a snack (half serving) in weeks 2 and 3. We actually used it as breakfast a couple of times even in week 2 and 3 and I suspect, based on conversations I have seen, that Beachbody will come out with new guidelines for using Shakeology every morning for breakfast. When in doubt (or when you have to throw away your dinner because you just don’t like it….might happen but not often), have a Shakeology with water and some fruit if you like.

What am I eating now?

After the Reset, the guide tells you to slowly add meat, dairy and other foods back into your diet a little at a time if you choose to do so. Some people decide to stay Vegan…we did not. We stayed vegan for about 2 or 3 days after the reset and then added dairy back in. I saw no change in how I felt so we are leaving that in. Then we added eggs and then meat.

Our new plan is to follow my 90/10 challenge format for our eating with the following additional guidelines:

1. We will have at least 2 vegetarian days per week
2. We will drink no more than 1 alcoholic beverage per day (which is mostly the way it is on 90/10 anyway)
3. We will have red meat no more than 1 meal per week.
4. We will plan our menu at the beginning of the week!

You can see the menu from our first week HERE.

How is the Training Going?

Well, I started off with just a 3 mile run on the day after the reset (a Wednesday). That was not bad. I kept a decent pace and felt fine. I felt like my form was a little off and it felt choppy but it was fine.

Thursday I didn’t do much other than ride the bike on the trainer a little (very little).

On Friday, I ran about 3.5 miles. That felt like crap but it was on the treadmill late at night.

Saturday, I did a 22 mile bike ride followed by a 4.5 mile run. The bike felt AMAZING and my AVG speed was good. I felt like the bike was just like old times, which was surprising. The run, on the other hand, was a bit slow. Not terrible but just slower than I wanted it to be. Overall, I felt good for the whole workout.

Sunday morning I ran 5 miles and it was absolutely horrible. I was dreadfully slow and felt terrible. At this point, I had still not eaten any meat. I ate some chicken at lunch and then went to the lake and swam 1.5 miles. I was not able to keep up with the tempo that I did Fat Salmon at just a month earlier…I had to slow it down. Obviously some fitness loss going on…but not sure how much at this point.

I took Monday off and then got back in the pool on Tuesday and had a great swim workout and then did P90X Plyo X at night and really felt like I pushed hard and crushed the workout.

So, honestly, with a week of workouts under my belt since the reset, it has been a mixed bag of horrible workouts that made me feel like I had lost fitness to workouts that made me feel like I was in top shape. Notice that the running was the main thing that didn’t feel good. It is possible that the loss of core strength and the weight-bearing nature of running make it the most likely source of noticeable fitness loss.

As I post this, I only have this one week of workouts to pull data from so that is all I can tell you. However, I plan to update this as I go through my Ironman build up to let you know how quickly I return to form and can start really building for the Ironman. If you are reading this in October or November of 2012 (or later) and don’t see any updates, just email me at and I will fill you in on how it went.

Have I gained any weight back?

No!  It has been over a week now and I am still sitting at 17 pounds down from before the reset.  My diet has stayed clean but not completely vegan or even vegetarian.  I am no longer taking the supplements and my water consumption is down a little bit (still drinking quite a bit of water).  I have not gained back a pound.

The Final Picture Comparison

Ready to do the Reset for yourself? If you don’t have questions, you can click the banner at the top or the bottom of the post and you will be directed to the store to purchase or you can look for the challenge pack on the left menu after you click the banner. You can also join a group HERE

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