We all know that everything can change in a day. But what about three weeks? Is this really enough time for you to completely transform your body and your health? In this 3 Week Diet review, we’ll be diving in and finding out.
Overview and Features: What is the 3 Week Diet?
The basic idea behind the 3 Week Diet is simple: it’s a diet from fitness guru Brian Flatt that promises to help you see significant changes to your body shape in just three weeks (or 21 days). By that time, you should have burned a significant total of 23 pounds total.
To give you an idea of what that actually means, it’s roughly 17 pairs of shoes. Imagine carrying 17 pairs of shoes around with you every single day and you’ll have a great idea of why this is a rather big deal!
That weight loss doesn’t all magically fall off on the last day though of course. Rather, you’ll be burning 1-2 pounds of fat each day. When you look at it like that, it becomes obvious that this is a very achievable goal and the aim of the 3 Week Diet then is simply to help you stay on track.
Why the 3 Week Diet
So why the 3 Week Diet? When there are so many other options available out there, what is it that has led to this diet gaining a fair amount of traction and momentum?
The answer is simple: everyone is looking for a quick-fix.
There are countless scenarios in our everyday lives where we need to change our bodies quickly. Maybe you’re about to get married and you want to change your body shape ready for the big day? Maybe you’re about to go on holiday. Or perhaps you have a big photoshoot coming up as part of your job?
This is something that actors and celebrities actually have to do all the time: they often find themselves prepping for weeks on end ready for their big ‘topless scene’ where they’ll need to show off their abs. It’s all building up to that one day and as fans, we get to see their bodies undergo incredible transformations, often in a very short amount of time. This might leave you wondering… could you perhaps do the same?
The 3 Week Diet is designed to answer that question with a big yes – by promising to help you get into shape in just 3 weeks. Of course though, what’s important is that this happens in a healthy and sustainable way. In other words, it’s no good losing weight rapidly if you’re also ruining your health. And in fact, it’s very easy to lose weight if you don’t care about your health… just stop eating altogether!
There are other reasons why people are drawn to concepts like the 3 Week Diet though. For many, the idea of doing something intense but relatively short in terms of duration, is actually preferable to doing something that lasts a lot longer. It’s kind of like ‘ripping off a plaster’ rather than gradually peeling it back – it’s less painful in many ways.
And not only that, but doing something a little more intensive in the short term like this might also help some people to stay focussed and to keep their eye on the prize. They can feel the thing working and there are no guessing games. Diets like this are simple to follow, straightforward and immediate in the feedback they provide the body with.
Before we go further though, it’s worth mentioning a few caveats and considerations. Firstly: this diet is not for everyone. Not everyone is cut out for the kind of intensity and short-term approach that is offered by the 3 Week Diet. That’s fine: there are plenty of other diet strategies and protocols out there for you to choose from.
What’s key to recognize here as well, is that the 3 Week Diet is not just about what you eat. It’s also about your lifestyle – and in particular, it’s about how you train.
This is an intensive program and not something that’s going to come easily. It requires a bit of commitment and willpower. But you know what they say: no pain, no gain!
Does the Weight Come Back?
The perceptive among you might also have thought of one more important question: do the benefits of the three week diet continue after the three weeks are up?
The good news is that this is something that has been considered by the creator. Of course, you can’t diet for three weeks and then expect your body to simply ‘stay’ slim! Thus, the diet includes clear instructions on what you need to continue to do after the program is over, in order to keep losing weight and to keep getting slimmer (or maintain your current shape once you’re happy).
What’s more, is that this can be used as the perfect ‘springboard’. That is to say that it can help to get any other diet off to a flying start.
The hardest part of any training program or diet plan is often the beginning. It just takes so long to start seeing results that often we will give up before we get to that point. So why not start off with a diet program that will immediately burn through calories and get you to visibly see the difference? This will shift your body into a fat burning state that will make any subsequent weight loss much easier. What’s more though, is that it will switch your mindset as well in order to help you improve your adherence (this is the technical term for your likelihood of sticking with a diet plan) and that will give you the motivation to keep going.
And the best part? There is nothing to stop you from using the 3 week diet over and over. You might find that you don’t see the same huge results after the first 3 weeks – this is due to something called the ‘law of diminishing returns’ which basically states that it is harder to go from 10% bodyfat to 9% bodyfat, than it is to go from 30% bodyfat to 29% bodyfat.
But How Does it Work?
The question then is how the diet works. How do you design a program intended to lose fat so quickly? This is what you need to concentrate on when looking at any diet plan or training program, because it is ultimately what is going to allow you to make a judgement call regarding the efficacy of that plan.
So, here’s what you need to know…
First of all, the 3 Week Diet is split into four distinct phases (imaginatively named Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, and Phase 4). These are not all the same length. The first phase – which is also well known to be the hardest – will last 7 days. The second only lasts for a single day, but is in some ways more effective and important than the other longer phases. The third phase lasts from day 9-11 and is completely unique and different to any diet you have ever tried.
Finally, Phase 4 lasts from day 12 to day 21. Here, you’ll also learn the best strategies you can use in order to sustain the weight loss and keep that positive momentum up for a long time.
Let’s take a look at some of the specific strategies that are used in the plan. Of course, we can’t share all of the information (the author needs to charge for something!), but we can still peel back the curtain just a little to see how the process works in theory.
While we won’t go into the specifics, there is a large component of the 3 Week Diet that revolves around fasting. This is part of the way that the plan is able to trigger such rapid weight loss over such a short amount of time.
So what is fasting?
Of course, the basic idea behind fasting is simply not to eat for an extended period of time. In the scientific literature, this is sometimes referred to more simply as ‘restricted eating’.
Restricted eating of this type can take on many different forms. One of the most common is the ’16:8 diet’, which is also sometimes referred to as the ‘lean gains’ diet. The idea here is that you are fasting for 16 hours and eating for eight. There are periods during this program when you will be encouraged to skip breakfast, and that is effectively what you are achieving here.
But there are many other types of fast too. There is the 18:6 fast for instance, which pushes your ‘window’ for eating back just a little further. Then there is the 5:2 diet, which involves fasting for entire days – though you aren’t completely restricting your food intake, just eating a very small number of calories.
These fasts are peppered throughout the plan and help to ‘kick start’ the body in various different ways.
So, what is the benefit of fasting? Why is it so popular? And is it right for you?
Actually, there are many benefits to fasting and many different reasons that it works so well and is so popular right now.
For starters, fasting is simply a very easy way to control your calorie intake. That is to say that when you skip breakfast, you are going to find it much harder to go beyond your AMR (see the next section – it’s all explained by the diet) than you would otherwise. In other words: if you have a calorie target of 2,500 calories and you only eat for 6 hours… then you’ll find it hard to eat more than you should! And what that means is that you no longer have to worry about what you’re eating – you can just eat whatever you’re in the mood for at that given time.
But that’s not all that this is about. There’s more to fasting than that!
For starters, when you fast, you will be depleting your ‘glycogen stores’. These are supplies of glucose that are kept in your body, ready to be used when you need them. Think of them like a back-up fuel reserve once your blood-sugar is depleted.
Now, if you eat consistently, you’re going to keep topping up those stores and that means you’ll eventually start looking for somewhere else to store that energy. You guessed it: that means your belly/bum/face in the form of fat.
Likewise, if you exercise or do anything else that requires energy, then you will normally get the necessary energy from the glycogen in your liver and in your muscles. In other words, there’s no need for your body to burn fat.
But by fasting, what you can do is to reduce the amount of glycogen that is stored and thereby leave your body with no other recourse than to turn to your fat in order to fuel movement and activity. The result is that fasting makes it much easier to lose weight.
Great right? But there’s actually more too!
For one, intermittent fasting is more ‘muscle sparing’ than other types of diet. This makes it a great choice to go along with the resistance training that I’ll get to in a moment. Not only that, but intermittent fasting also helps to trigger a release of additional HGH into the body (human growth hormone). This is game changing, seeing as HGH is responsible for building muscle, burning fat, and generally helping us to perform at our very best. It even reverses some of the negative effects of aging, and is actually often used in an illegal and exogenous form by athletes and celebrities. This is one way you can get those benefits safely, naturally, and healthily!
IF also helps you to control your diet. When you get used to refusing to eat during the early hours of the morning, you help to disassociate some negative connections in your brain. That urge to eat snacks whenever you feel tired, bored, or sad will change. And you’ll find that you feel your hunger less powerfully too.
Then there’s the fact that you’ll have more energy and feel more awake. This appears to be something to do with the sheer fact that you aren’t expending energy on digestion. That means you have more energy for everything else. And as a side note, you’ll also probably find that you become a lot more productive. Why? Because you’re no longer needing to spend time getting food prepared in the morning, or sitting down to a big breakfast. It can even help to break some bad habits – if you drink too much coffee for instance (you’re either switching to black or stopping!).
There’s some interesting research regarding ‘autophagy’ – a state that the body goes into that will help your body to restore and replenish cells. And how about the fact that this might help to shift your body to begin showing more preference for burning fat rather than burning sugar alone?
This is how our bodies would have worked in the wild. We would have regularly gone for long periods without eating – while we tracked our prey. This ‘give and take’ is an important and natural part of our biology.
The Basics of Calculating a BMR and AMR
One of the simplest and most straightforward approaches you can take to fat loss is to ensure you maintain a caloric deficit.
This basically means that you aim to burn more calories during the day than you consume. This in turn means that your body needs to burn calories from your fat stores just to keep you functioning.
This is a great idea, but it means you need to have some idea of how many calories you’re actually burning, so that you can set yourself a good target. This is where your AMR (Active Metabolic Rate) and BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) come into play.
This is something that is explained in the 3 Week Diet toward the end – as it gives you the tools you need to continue to lose weight, even after you’re finished with the program. Understanding this can help a great deal with your transformation, and it’s also a reassuring demonstration that the creator knows what he’s talking about.
What These Figures Mean
So a BMR is essentially an indicator of the calories your body burns simply to keep you alive. This accounts for breathing, for digesting and for blinking. Even if you didn’t move a muscle, you’d probably burn a good 1,500 calories just being alive.
But chances are you will move a muscle and this then is where the AMR comes in – a figure that shows you how many calories you burn when you add movement to the mix. This is the total for your average calories burned in a day.
Working Them Out
To work these numbers out, simply follow these guidelines:
BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
To turn this into your AMR, you then multiply that amount by:
• 1.2 if you’re sedentary (little or no exercise)
• 1.375 if you’re lightly active (you exercise 1-3 times a week)
• 1.55 if you’re moderately active (you exercise or work about average)
• 1.725 if you’re very active (you train hard for 6-7 days a week)
• 1.9 if you’re highly active (you’re a physical laborer or a professional athlete)
You’ll gain more information and tips in the full diet plan.
So what good is this to you?
Simple: if you can maintain a calorie deficit, meaning that you are burning more calories than you’re consuming, then your body has no option but to burn through your fat stores in order to help you get back to full health. This is simple math. And likewise, if you eat more energy than you burn off, then that energy has to go somewhere. Where does it go then? It gets stored as fat, of course!
Thus, if you work out this number, if you track the number of calories going in (again, the guide shows you how) and if you ensure that you’re always left with a negative figure for the total… then you can successfully lose a lot of weight.
And training will help you to burn even more calories, so that you can maintain that deficit all the more easily…
As well as the diet, there is also a training component. Users will engage in exercise and workouts in order to increase their fat loss and to accelerate the benefits.
But of course, workouts are a dime a dozen on YouTube (actually, they’re free!). So, the question you might have, is what is different about the approach recommended in this diet?
The answer has to do ‘resistance cardio’ or ‘concurrent training’.
That is to say that these are workouts that are designed around the idea of losing weight (of course!), but which are also comprised predominantly of resistance training-style workouts. That means that you’re using your bodyweight to exercise or you’re lifting weights.
So what is the benefit of this?
One of the best ways to mix up your training is to change the type of exercise that you’re using in your HIIT routines. The first thing to consider is combining cardio and resistance training together in the form of ‘resistance cardio’ – also called ‘concurrent training’.
Concurrent training is essentially a type of cardio where your movements are challenged by some form of resistance. In short, it’s like weightlifting combined with cardio. An obvious example is to increase the resistance setting on a stationary bike, or to run on sand.
But actually, there are much better examples. One is to perform pull ups quickly, or to perform press ups quickly. You can also try punching a heavy bag (which requires muscle power in the shoulders in particular), or you can try running while pushing or pulling something heavy behind or in front of you.
This has a huge number of advantages, the principle one being that it is even more protective against muscle deterioration. That is to say that you can perform this kind of cardio and burn a lot of calories without worrying that you’ll lose much muscle. This is because you’re engaging even more of your fast twitch muscle fibers and you’re driving blood and metabolites to your muscles where they will stimulate growth.
At the same time, that increase in growth hormone and testosterone (triggered by the breakdown of muscle) will mean an improved level of fat burning and muscle building. Anabolic hormones such as these don’t only encourage the body to build muscle but also to burn fat – which is why steroid users look so incredibly lean as well as being incredibly strong. Of course, steroids also have a ton of very serious side effects, so this is a way that we can get the same kind of anabolic results without the dangers associated with them.
What’s more is that when you use resistance training, you also increase muscle tone which will elevate your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is the amount of calories that you need to burn simply in order to stay upright and move around – the energy cost that your body needs to be paid!
In other words, simply by having more muscle, the body needs to work harder to keep you alive and full of energy. Therefore, it will burn more calories to maintain that muscle and you’ll burn more calories even while you sleep!
Building muscle at the same time as burning fat will help you to create a much superior physique too and this is something that a lot of people don’t realize. If you’re unhappy with your current physique right now and you want to look more attractive in and out of your clothes, then simply losing weight will make you either look very skinny or potentially even flabby if you have lots of loose skin left over.
Want to get rid of cellulite? Losing weight won’t do it. The only way to get rid of it is to tone up your legs, buttocks or whatever the offending area may be.
Want to get a flat stomach? Far from burning fat, the best way to do this is actually to strengthen the ‘transverse abdominis’ – the muscle that wraps around your mid-section and that is responsible for keeping your organs and your gut ‘pulled in’.
In other words, losing weight doesn’t guarantee that toned and attractive look you’re going for. Men wanting to get rid of fat pads under their lower abs will do much better with weights training. Women who want to get shapely buttocks like those Instagram models should definitely focus on resistance training as well as pure cardio.
But wait! Won’t I get really strong?
Women reading this might now have a bit of a concern – that lifting weights is going to make them look muscular and bulky. This isn’t the look that most women want!
And this is why so many women avoid lifting weights or engaging in calisthenics: preferring instead to become ‘cardio bunnies’ or to focus predominantly on things like HIIT (both of which can work…).
But here’s the thing: you are at zero risk of suddenly becoming a hulk. In fact, this is something of a pet hate among strength athletes. When you ask someone for a training program but tell them you ‘don’t want to become gross’, that’s kind of irritating. Not only is it clearly offensive (it rather implies you think they are too muscular) but it also shows a complete disregard for the sheer amount of work and effort that it takes to build 14 inch biceps… let alone 17 or 21 inch.
In other words: no one gets bulky ‘by accident’! You’re not going to wake up in the morning with plates of new muscle all over you like that scene in Spider-Man. And that goes double for women, whose hormone balance and various other factors makes it harder for them to pack on muscle.
And even if you did build muscle that you didn’t want… you would just lay off the weightlifting for a while until it dissipated.
The bottom line? Training with high intensity resistance movements will burn more calories in the short term because they require more energy. They’ll burn more calories in the long term because of the changes they make to your hormone balance and your metabolism. And they’ll help you to look and feel much better than ever before, because you’ll now be toned and strong.
Oh and building muscle also has a host of other health benefits – ranging from improved brain function and mood, to lower likelihood of injury, and even increased lifespan!
This is a great choice and definitely one of the smartest aspects of the program.
Who is Brian Flatt
Brian Flatt is the now-somewhat-famous creator of the 3 Week Diet as well as several other diets (including the 2 Week Diet… can you guess the difference?).
Brian is a biologist and fitness expert who graduated from San Diego University and went on to launch the fitness chain REV Fitness in South California. He has been training people and helping them to lose weight for a long time and eventually decided to put the information together into a simple product that anyone could buy and benefit from.
When creating the 3 Week Diet, Brian claimed to look through over 500 medical studies, dozens of different diet books, hundreds of diet systems and more… And we’re only scratching the surface.
This is very apparent when looking at the program. This is not just a program that relies on a single fad. Rather, it marries many of the currently most popular dieting and health strategies: from metcon-style workouts, to intermittent fasting, to calorie restriction. These are all powerful and useful tools, but they work much better when used together.
There is some speculation on the web as to whether or not Brian Flatt is a real person. This of course is a cause for concern, and it’s something that puts a lot of potential users off of the diet.
But there are a few things to consider here. Firstly: this is unproven. Secondly: it is not uncommon for a company to create a ‘front man’ (or woman) to represent them. Tony the Tiger isn’t really either you know!
What’s really important is that the program works. That it uses verifiable techniques. The good news here is that it does. Criticisms of the methodology (regarding the advice to eat more fats for instance rather than carbs) are actually very outdated and a quick look around the web will confirm that. This is nothing new or crazy – it’s just a lot of great techniques combined into a single program.
Do your own research. But rest assured that the science here is sound.
Will You Lose Weight?
There is no guarantee when looking at any diet that you will lose weight. Were I to tell you that you would definitely lose weight, you should hopefully consider that statement with a healthy amount of scepticism.
But what is fair to state, is that this is a workout that will give you a very good chance of losing weight. That is for several reasons:
- Adherence – As we’ve seen throughout this extensive breakdown, this is a program that should be relatively easy to adhere to. That’s because it has such a short-term focus, and it’s because it is so cleverly put together.
- Tools – More importantly though, you’ll also gain tools that will help you to understand how everything works and how to fit your diet around your own lifestyle. That final stage that teaches how to calculate and use a BMR and AMR are absolutely game-changing.
- Multi-pronged approach – Finally, it’s a very positive thing indeed that this program utilizes a ‘multi-pronged approach’. In other words, it’s great that it incorporates disparate ideas such as IF and calorie restriction. It’s great that it also has an exercise component. Why? Because not only does this make you feel better all round, but it also means that you’re trying everything. We’re all different, we all respond to different types of training, and different types of diet. This program should contain something that works for you!
Again, it’s impossible to say whether you will definitely lose weight – especially if you don’t finish the program. But if you do, then you should see at least some change and for many, that change is quite drastic.
If nothing else, this is a great way to get out of some bad habits and improve your health. And you’ve now seen all the reasons why this is the case.
What You Will Get Out of This Diet
Of course, when you use the 3 Week Diet, you should find that you lose some weight. You may lose the advertised 23 pounds, you may lose a little more, or you may lose a little less.
Either way, chances are that you’re going to see some body recomposition. But this is a potentially short-term benefit if you don’t stick with it. What makes the 3 Week Diet so powerful is that it also provides you with a large range of other amazing benefits that we are going to look at here.
A Useful Hack You Can Use Anytime
Firstly, the 3 Week Diet is as mentioned something that you can use multiple times. This is a quick ‘go to’ detox that you can use at any time to see quick results. That’s a great thing to have in your back pocket the next time you need to get into amazing shape for a big event.
The section on ‘mindset’ is an absolutely crucial aspect of this whole program. It’s designed to help you ensure that you can stick with this program and any other.
Expect to feel amazing after this diet. That’s thanks to the resistance training (feeling strong is great!) and it’s because of the fasting (which we’ve seen can boost your immune system, energy levels and more).
- The unverifiable nature of Brian Flatt’s identity
- You will need some equipment (dumbbells)
- May not be a great choice for those with pre-existing health issues – check with your doctor!
- No videos – all exercises are well explained with the help of diagrams. But it would have been nice to see some videos demonstrating the moves too.
- Rapid results
- A combination of all the popular dieting and training techniques in a single, smartly designed program
- Lots of health benefits that go beyond just weight loss
- Should be particularly effective for a wide range of people, thanks to the multi-pronged approach
- Very good value for money in terms of what you get
- Well written, well presented, and simple to follow
- Advice on what to do going forward
- Mindset stuff is an excellent addition