I was intrigued to be asked to try out the Do The Unthinkable program for five days. For context, I work out, though I focus on lifting rather than jumping up and down. I do eat moderately healthily, but struggle to be organized with meals, and also to get enough protein.
Do The Unthinkable gives you all the meals and snacks you require: three of each per day. You also get DVDs (I got the first DVD), a progress chart, and online PT support.
When you sign up to the program you choose your meals and snacks from an impressively long list. I didn’t actually choose mine, but was sent a representative selection. My only stipulation was no shellfish, as I’m allergic.
Two large boxes showed up on the front step! (This is only one, for some reason I didn’t take a picture of both together.)
These are the snacks! They don’t require refrigeration.
On top of the snacks was the welcome package and DVD.
As well as the letter and DVD, you also get this progress chart. It gives you a schedule for your workouts and rest days, and places to record your fitness scores and track your progress.
The DVD starts with a fitness test, which is two round of eight bodyweight exercises, one minute on, 30 secs off. The idea is that you count and record your reps, and then you can see as time goes on how your scores improve. This is a pretty good workout in itself, and certainly made me sweat plenty! You also have other workouts to complete Phase One. As you can see from the chart, after a month you switch to the next level, which I think ramps things up a little! I didn’t try that, but I can say that Phase One was a good challenge for someone in reasonably good shape.
The exercise sessions, led by the PT, also featured ‘regular people’ so you aren’t faced with a bunch of unrealistically perfect fitness experts all doing the same thing perfectly! Good motivation.
So, this is a good start, clearly laid out, and realistic.
Meals plus a couple of refrigerated snacks. These were packed with a load of frozen ice packs.
Basically the meals in the boxes are microwave meals, and the packets are raw chicken and vegetables, some with sauces such as chinese chicken curry and fajita.
Here were all my snacks and breakfasts. Breakfast is always protein-boosted porridge, easy to make. You add hot water to the pot, stir, leave for a few moments, then eat. Simple and, if necessary, portable.
You can see various protein bars there, which are high protein chocolate-bar like things. There’s also beef jerky (my favourite) and protein crisps, which sound strange but are really pretty good.
First of all, my thoughts on the food.
The meals were really impressive. They are all freshly made, there is no artificial crap in the ingredients, and they are surprisingly tasty. I’ve never actually eaten a microwave meal before (I use my microwave for heating baked beans and reheating coffee) so I was amazed they were so tasty. I did usually add a little extra salt, but I add salt to almost everything.
Of course, the spag bol isn’t covered with cheese like I would prefer, and the lasagne wasn’t oozing bechamel sauce, but you wouldn’t expect that! However the meat sauce was tasty, you could taste herbs and seasoning, and microwaved spaghetti really wasn’t bad at all. The portions were ample, and I felt full after every meal.
The food to be cooked for supper was equally good. First of all, it was nice to actually cook, and all that was required was a wok and a pan. Everything was portioned out, had simple instructions, and the results were excellent. I particularly liked the Chinese curry. Even the plain stirfry was fantastic with a bit of extra soy sauce.
I did struggle with a couple of things. I really don’t like porridge at all, and I really wanted there to be an alternative for breakfast, as I just can’t eat porridge every day. None of the flavours appealed to me at all, as it’s really a texture thing with me.
The protein bars were also a bit of an effort. I’ve never been keen on chocolate bars at the best of times, and I’d never, for example, just eat a Mars Bar or similar. So eating those wasn’t my favorite thing.
But the savory snacks? Amazing! The protein crisps, while a slightly odd texture, were just what I like from crisps – strong flavor and lots of crunch. I love pork rinds, and I absolutely adore beef jerky – I can eat that stuff endlessly. So those snacks were wonderful, and if I were choosing my own I’d definitely go for those. Also a mention for the chicken sticks (which were fresh so required refrigeration). Oh wow, they were amazing! Chicken breast is amazing for protein content, but not so much for flavour or moistness, moistness. But somehow this ‘chicken-on-a-stick’ managed to have wonderful flavours, not be dry and chewy, and have crap-free ingredients! Magic. I want more of them.
The way the program is organized, you have your carbs early in the day, and little to none later. So breakfast, morning snack, and lunch have carbs, and afternoon snack, supper, and evening snack are all heavy on the protein. You also eat plenty of veg with lunch and supper.
This program gives you everything you need in terms of exercise and nutrition. For someone who wants to get their eating in check and improve their fitness, this is really, really good.
The workouts are tough, and you will ache! But this is why you have rest days.
The first week or so is useful for figuring out what works for you, especially if you’re starting from not doing much! You also need to discover any adaptations you might need. For example, I train in the morning after the school run, and have always done fasted training, mainly because I am never hungry in the morning and dislike eating first thing. (I do have a couple of coffees though!) The first day, I tried eating the porridge before the school run, then trained. It did not go well. I was indeed correct that my body only wants caffeine before lifting. After, however, I was totally ready to eat. So I decided my breakfast would be more of a mid morning snack, after training. This worked much better, and of course protein and some carbs after lifting is perfect!
You do need to be organized yourself. Eating six times a day requires some planning, and I found the best way to deal with this was to set an alarm for each time I needed to eat. This was particularly important for me because I found I rarely got hungry from eating what felt like a lot, and I wouldn’t normally eat unless I was hungry.
I did punch the macros into MyFitnessPal, and discovered I was taking on a gratifying amount of protein. The calories, despite eating lots, were not as high as I had imagined.
The whole program is 90 days, which I think is both reasonable and realistic. I really don’t like these ‘Perfect Abs in Seven Days’ supposed miracle cures, and this is the exact opposite. 90 days is a reasonable amount of time to see real changes, both in your body and in your fitness, and I can see no reason why this program will not deliver, provided, of course, you stick to it!
I really like that the tracker chart uses measurements, not weight. Seriously, stay away from the scales, they are NO help at all! Measurements are a much better way of seeing your progress, along with the fit of your clothes. This program seems to be pretty good on the macros, lots of protein, and even though the exercises are bodyweight it definitely promotes building muscle. And if you’re losing some fat and gaining some muscle you are not going to see the numbers on the scales drop dramatically. Nor should you want to! Muscle is good.
My husband looked at my meals with some envy. His work patterns often make regular eating tough, and he is eyeing the MuscleFood website as a source of good snacks and even meals when he is working away.
In an ideal world I would like more breakfast options. I’d also like an alternative to the morning snack protein bars. Something like a protein shake would be perfect, as I don’t find those as sweet. But these are small details in the overall scheme.
I appreciate the laziness factor of being able to pull something out of the fridge and throw it in a pan or microwave. The snacks are portable and delicious, and the meals are great. You get the ease and convenience of microwave meals plus the satisfaction of cooking as well. The program is organized and I can totally see how it would produce great results. When you factor in having every single thing you eat provided, the cost is entirely reasonable. It’s not cheap, but it’s a reasonable comparison with a week’s shopping. And you don’t have to buy anything else, plus carrying snacks around will stop you cheating!