When I tell people that I left my corporate job last March to start an online fitness business, the first response I usually get is, “wow, that’s awesome!”
That initial exclamation of excitement is usually followed up with a question.
“So how does that work? What do you, like, make money through ads?”
I definitely could make money through ads, but I’ve honestly never taken the time to set that up on my website, and it’s simply not a priority for me. I don’t really want my readers to get bombarded with ads anytime they come to Achieve with Athena.
I don’t get into too much of that in person, especially if it’s with someone I don’t know that well. Instead, I simply explain that my income comes from a variety of sources actually: in person personal training, distance personal training, teaching fitness classes at the gym and around the city, some sponsored blog partnerships, a handful of corporate wellness gigs, through both my 1:1 and group coaching programs like #MasterYourMealPrep that I offer via my website, etc.
Then a get my next most common response:
“Ohhhhhh, I know someone who does what you do. My cousin’s girlfriend is a Beachbody coach! She sells that Shakeology stuff! That 21 Day Fix is pretty intense, huh!?”
This fires me up like nobody’s business, and quite frankly, I’m sick of it. Today I’m here to clarify that I am NOT a Beachbody coach, and why I have zero intentions of ever becoming one.
Why I Don’t Sell BeachBody (or Isagenix, Advocare, etc.)
1. The Lack of Education Requirements
When it comes to health, fitness, and nutrition, it’s pretty important to have some sort of background in what you do and sell, don’t you think? In order to become a Beachbody coach, there is no certification or education requirement whatsoever. None. Now, I am sure there are some legit fitness pros out there who also sell Beachbody on the side, but they are an exception.
Beachbody is a multi-level marketing system, so all you have to do to sell the products is be recruited by another Beachbody person. Then you fork over a ton of money, and boom: you’re calling yourself a coach, and your recruiter is making money off whatever products you sell and whomever you recruit next. It’s not so much this MLM structure that bothers me, but as far as fitness is concerned, it’s just not really appropriate to go around calling yourself something that you aren’t. Selling and coaching aren’t words that should be used interchangeably. Call yourself a consultant. My cousin used to work for Rodan & Fields, and she didn’t go around calling herself a dermatologist.
Real life example: I recently got together with a friend who stopped selling Shakeology. She told me that upon signing up, she was added to a Facebook community group with all the other Shakeology “coaches.” People would use the group to post things like, “I have a women who is pregnant and wondering X about X product. What should I tell her?” or “This person has X medical condition and takes X medication. Is X product safe for them?” She said the responses were scary, and I 100% believe it.
As a coach, it is your responsibility to know what is and what is not within your scope of practice. As a certified personal trainer, I write people customized workout programs. If I were only a group fitness instructor without the PT cert along with it, I couldn’t. Without a nutrition specific cert, I cannot write people meal plans. But having gone through a wellness coach training program, I can coach people around their habits and behaviors surrounding their food choices.
If you don’t know enough yourself, it’s irresponsible to say you can help. Plain and simple.
2. The In Your Face Sales Process
With Beachbody, money is made by a heavy sell, sell, sell online and pushing products. This is just not my style. Over the past year, I have learned the art of inbound marketing for my business with social media shares, blog posts, and messages to my email lists. However, something that I’ve learned through my own business coaches in the past year is to always add value. Before most things I post make it to social media, I take a step back and consider what lesson I’m communicating. As a business skill, I think I’ve gotten pretty darn good at figuring out what things from my day-to-day can teach people something!
Even during my launch weeks, where yes, I am 100% selling my latest product or service, I will never send an email that’s like “oh hey, buy this, ok bye!” I preface the sale with a story, or I give away something like a workout or recipe for free. This way, even if someone is NOT buying, they still receive some tangible insights or strategies from me that day. I will never, ever just add someone to my free email list, free Facebook community, a challenge I’m hosting, etc. without them opting in first.
I find that Beachbody coaches tend to simply post these ridiculous before or after pics, along with something like “I feel so great!,” and then end it at that. These types of posts don’t really add much value other than cluttering up my newsfeed. I never learn anything new about HOW I can change my behavior specifically so that I can feel so great too. It’s like… secretive or something? Coy?
Also, if one more person sends me an individual message telling me that they have an offer I won’t be able to turn down because it is “such a good fit for my health and fitness business,” I am going to scream. Neighbors, get ready.
3. The Supplements are Bullshit
I have never tried the workouts themselves (Insanity, P90X, etc.), but the same friend I mentioned above who stopped selling Shakeology loved the workouts because they were short, intense, and something she was able to do from the comfort of her own home while being a new mom. From what I’ve read and heard about the workouts, I think they can be great. I’d probably like them.
It’s the supplement piece I have a problem with: Shakeology, 3-Day Refresh, Ultimate Reset, etc. UGH! First of all, it’s all so pricy. People go around complaining that buying healthy fruits and vegetables is too expensive, but then they’ll spend $130 for 24 single serve shake packets. What!? For this price, the products should at the very least be organic. Not that organic is everything, but c’mon!
Also, I just can’t get on board with the laundry list of ingredients in these products that I can’t pronounce. Sure, there is SOME nutritional goodness in there, but there’s also enough other stuff that makes me cringe. Plus, if you look at some of the recommended recipes on the website, they advise you to mix the shake packets with things like Jello and other chemical filled stuff. Can’t we just stick with REAL food and learn how to make it taste good? The right seasonings and some citrus are gonna be a lot cheaper, I can promise you that!
4. The Sustainability Factor
Finally, out of all the reasons why I will never sell Beachbody products (or those of its competitors), this is the main takeaway: I simply don’t believe in the sustainability of them. I hear from sooo many women during initial consults that they’ve tried the 21 Day Fix, for example. They always say, “it worked, but I just couldn’t make it last.” Well, guess what? It didn’t work.
If you look on the Beachbody website, you’ll see a ton of testimonials. The Beachbody coaches flaunt their before and after pictures and flash big numbers of total pounds lost all over social media. But my question is: where are the maintenance claims?
For sustainability of my nutrition habits, it’s a personal preference of mine to EAT my food (I don’t make a ton of smoothies/shakes, just when I’m craving them or feel like it), and I don’t believe in meal replacements. My food philosophy is to #likehowyoueat, and for me this is accomplished by eating real, whole, nutritious foods that nourish and fuel me so that I can maintain my health for the long haul. Of course with the occasional treats thrown in, moderation/non-deprivation style!
Unless you like the taste of those shakes enough to drink them forever (and have enough money to pay for them), then the Shakeology diet just does not align with my #stressfreefitness brand. What happens when you stop drinking Shakeology? Does the weight stay off? Have you learned how to navigate eating scenarios and how to make mindful choices? Do you know how to actually listen to your cravings and what your body is telling you? I don’t think so.
So. Those are just four reasons why I am not a Beachbody “coach” and will never sell Shakeology, Isagenix, or anything of the like. If you like Shakeology, then by all means, carry on. However, when you are sick of the quick fixes, shake diets, and gimmicks, I’ll be right here, standing strong behind my beliefs, and ready to help you get back to basics.
If this post resonated with you, and you are looking for program that teaches sustainable changes instead of one that offers a quick fix, you may be interested in my signature #MasterYourMealPrep program.
#MasterYourMealPrep is the flexible nutrition solution that allows you to prepare actual healthy meals and still have Sundays to yourself. You’ll learn how to establish lasting nutrition habits, manage your time and energy in the kitchen, and learn how to love how you eat.
Enrollment is open through Sunday 3/12 ONLY, as we start right away on Monday 3/13.
Welcome! I'm Athena, and I coach women in the areas of movement, fuel, and mindset. I'm basically here to help you realize that healthy living doesn't have to be so hard! Together, we can achieve your goals through methods that are realistic, sustainable, shame free, and fun.