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?”

Doh.

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 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!?”

**Smacks head***

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.

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 an MLM structure, 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 listfree 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.

Let’s chat! Leave a comment on this post telling me your thoughts on Beachbody. Love it? Hate it? Have you tried it before? What was your experience? 

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  1. Preach! I’ve been approached by people to sell for beach body or whatever the “latest MLM craze” is and it drives me crazy. I see people I went to high school with that have zero qualifications in nutrition or fitness dishing out advice on some mystery pink liquid they’re selling and think is going to save the world. Oy.

    http://www.kaylainthecity.com

  2. Yep, that’s my biggest peeve- the ‘coaches’ have zero training on anything health or fitness related. Plus their obsessiveness with online presence is painfully annoying. BUT- I do have to say that a lot of the actual workouts are really great to have on hand for a quick and mindless workout at home. If you can stand the trainers personality 😉

    • Yes, the workouts are great. And I think the nutrition aspect is good for those who need to learn how to eat better. I did the 21-day fix, minus the shakeology mainly because I couldn’t afford it and I don’t care for stevia which it contains, and the workouts did get me sweaty! I found the containers to be a tad of a nuisance, so I’m back to counting calories and I’ve already lost more in a week than I did on one round of 21-day fix.

  3. This is awesome, Athena! I feel like I could write equally as long of a response lol (but I won’t!). You are so right. I, too, have been approached relentlessly ever since I started Hygge… and I’m like, “NO! It goes against everything I stand for. There’s no quick fix. No shake. No cleanse. No little cups. Just consistent healthy, positive choices – forever.” Can I also add that I just hate the emphasis on the before/afters pictures, too?! Life is not about a before/after picture. We should celebrate our bodies and make healthy choices because that’s what we deserve and that’s what makes us feel our best. If that results in weight loss, great! If not, that’s ok – it’s not always the most important thing! I also just feel like the entire “business model” is against what I stand for, too. There’s no get rich quick scheme here. It’s about actually helping people. And building a business takes a sh*t ton of hard work, time, dedication, and a *true passion*. Not a pyramid scheme. [end rant]

  4. Athena, you NAILED IT. This is an AH-MAZING post, and damn girl – way to be brutally honest! It’s funny – when I was studying for my GFI cert, a pretty-high-up-there BB coach reached out to me, and we actually chatted on the phone about me joining her team. The whole fitness industry was new to me at the time, so I was really excited. But something just felt off. I’m like you – not at all into the sell sell sell mentality, and the “you need these products in your life to be healthier and be fit.” No thanks.

    I will say that p90X is awesome for at home workouts, and I’ve taken a few p90x/Insanity Live classes and holy hell they are KILLER. In a good way. But on the whole, I completely agree with everything you said here. Preach it girl. LOVE your consistent honesty!!

  5. Thank you! I get so annoyed when people call themselves coaches and health coaches. I put so much into first getting certified in holistic health care and then into my ACE health coach certification so when people start calling themselves coaches and health coaches based on a buy in it makes me want to scream! But I’m also torn because some of these folks are good friends, they just don’t get why it would bug me.

  6. Maintenance was my biggest issue! I did the 21 day fix and while I was excited about my results I just couldn’t get myself to continue after that and every time I’ve thought of doing it again I’ve backed down and not followed through.

  7. I agree 100%. I’m not into diet unless it is something you will be maintaining for the rest of your life. I’ve tried the Shakeology mainly to see the taste and thought it was gross personally. I don’t understand why people would want to drink that over a homemade smoothie with real food.

    I am interested in trying the workouts though since I will need to work from home more once my baby is born!

  8. Great post Athena!

    I hate seeing friends become a part of any MLM scheme. 🙁

    I used to be a Leader for Weight Watchers – which has some sustainability claims, but all my weight came back when they changed the program from Points to “Points Plus”. I got very jaded because at the end of the day, none of these programs make money if the weight loss is sustainable.

  9. Amen Sista!!!! I was a gym rat for years and refused to try the beachbody workouts b/c I didn’t think they would be challenging enough. Fast forward to 3 kids later and very limited “me time”. The workouts are a perfect addition to fit into my fitness regimen when I can’t make it to the gym. And they are definitely challenging for all fitness levels. That being said I have never bought into the shakeology phenomenon. I’m not a nutritionist but I am a registered nurse and am quite educated when it comes to nutrition and clean eating. There is so much “stuff” in shakeology, names I can even pronounce. People continue to preach that’s it’s so amazing b/c it’s filled with “superfoods”. There is barely any protein, has a decent amount of sugar and is a whopping 170cals per scoop not to mention the exorbitant cost!!! Now I am a person that drinks a protein shake as recovery after a workout but there are so many cleaner, healthier, less expensive options on the market. To me I think it’s a great Ponzi scheme created by an amazing marketing team. Many of my friends will hate me for posting this but sorry beachbody coaches shakeology is not all that.

  10. Yes. Yes. Yes. Love.Love.Love.
    This is exactly why I continue to follow you and your blog, pages on fb, etc.

  11. As a “retired” Beachbody coach, I could not agree with this more. The fitness programs and trainers are awesome (well, most of them. I can’t stand Sagi), but the Shakeology preaching and lies are too much to handle. Thank you for posting this!

  12. I couldn’t agree more and have been approached about it in the past by multiple people. The facebook stalking is a little out of control. And they rely on lots of images to make women feel badly about their current body. So many things wrong with the approach. The worst part for me is that they sell “nutrition” supplements and none of them have any nutrition training, let alone are registered dietitians. Really, no one other than a registered dietitian should be giving specific diet advice other than simple things like “eat more fruits and vegetables,” and definitely not on supplemental shakes! It is pretty well established that replacing meals with shakes doesn’t work.

    You might find this related article useful. Ihttp://mobile.journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/_layouts/15/oaks.journals.mobile/articleviewer.aspx?year=2015&issue=09000&article=00008

  13. After spending thousands of dollars on my fitness and wellness education, I find it offensive when people call themselves a “coach”, and have no idea how the human body actually works, or how to deal with different injuries and conditions. Great post, thanks!

  14. While I loved the BB workouts, the shakeology and in your face sales EVERY FREAKING DAY turned me off. I refuse to give that company anymore money, and sold all of my workouts for fifty cents a piece to a “coach,” because I just can’t with that company. I get PM’s ALL DAY long about joining and if I read one more “hey girl,” PM, my eyes will roll out of my head!

  15. Excellent post! Echos all of my sentiments – healthy doesn’t have to be expensive! I do enjoy some of their workouts but I am too so so put off by the fact that you only have to be a good salesman to give and sell nutrition & exercise advice. Frustrating for those of us who spent so much money on education and training.

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