For those of you who are lucky enough to have not seen any TV advertisements or Facebook harassment campaigns, Beachbody is a MLM program which sells a variety of workout DVDs – the most well known of which are P90X and Insanity – as well as equipment and nutritional supplements.
Last week, one of my clients asked me to write a post on my thoughts about the program. Oh brother.
The workouts and nutrition plans
Based on what the Beachbody infomercials and “coaches” will tell you, these programs will give you the body you have always dreamed of. The workouts are primarily based around high intensity cardio. The workouts which are classified as “resistance training” are still cardio, in my opinion.
While some of the before and after pictures are impressive, it is crucial to note that the programs only work when the accompanying diet is followed. The workouts themselves are far from revolutionary, and are usually pretty pointless in terms of creating long-lasting changes to your physique – jumping up and down for half an hour will indeed burn calories, but it’s hardly going to build muscle (which you need to achieve that coveted “toned” look) or make you a better or stronger athlete. I have never known a single person who made any serious changes to their body while following the exercise routine alone.
The dramatic transformations some people experience because of Beachbody programs ultimately comes down to the diet portion. The diets are extremely low in calories and often devoid of sugar, and very low in carbs in general. These plans ban entire food groups and even place restrictions on what types of vegetables are allowed.
These diets are impossible to maintain over the long term. Eventually, people will crack and eat some carrots or cauliflower or – gasp! – a cupcake. As is the case with any restrictive diet, the second these people try to eat “normally” again, their body will go into complete shock and regain the weight they lost – and then some, as their metabolic rate will have slowed. The majority of people who follow the Beachbody diet plans end up with extremely unhealthy relationships with food, and tend to develop restriction and subsequent bingeing problems.
Beachbody promotes its Shakeology product, a highly marked-up meal replacement shake which offers no clear benefits compared with others of 1/4-1/3 of the price. This post compares the cost per 200 calorie serving of Shakeology ($6.66), with other similar products such as Slim Fast ($0.63), Ensure ($1.03) and GNC’s Total Lean Shake ($2.36).
Drinking these shakes is a completely unnecessary strategy for anyone trying to lose weight. It is not sustainable, and there is no liquid meal replacement on the planet which will do the job real food does. This applies to all similar products, not just Shakeology.
Many of the women I have worked with are past users of the Beachbody programs, who dealt with terrible rebounds before turning to me. In that case, maybe I should promote these programs, as it’s good for my business… 😉
But, seriously, don’t bother.
Beachbody members are not “coaches”. They possess no formal exercise or nutrition qualifications and are nothing more than a salesperson. Half of these “coaches” apparently do not earn any income, yet they must pay a monthly fee to Beachbody to retain their title as a coach. Their income is solely based on commission, rather than a salary, which is their Facebook recruitment posts can come off as a little desperate.
The “coaches” are part of money-making schemes which pray to women’s insecurities. They will tell you what you want to hear, because they want your money. Unlike a proper, respectable coach who would turn you away if they felt you were not suitable for a training or nutrition program, these people will take your money and run.
Without tooting my own horn too much, I deal with conflicts of ethics all the time. Just last week, a young woman signed up for one of my metabolic repair programs. These programs are not cheap as they involve a lot of my time, and it would have been easy to turn a blind eye to the facts in front of me to make a quick buck. After emailing her, it became immediately clear that she did not need my coaching – she needed therapy to help overcome an eating disorder. And so I refunded her money and sent her in the direction of someone more qualified to help.
I have heard horror stories about Beachbody “coaches” who have promised similar women that their path to recovery can be achieved via Insanity and Shakeology. There is no amount of money that would be worth messing with someone’s life.
I have heard that some of the classes available for “coaches” include “How to never take no for an answer when trying to sign on new coaches” and “How to not take no for an answer when selling Shakeology”. It sounds really ethical.
What to do instead
If you’re looking for a support group, there are plenty of other online resources available – for free! Sites such as SparkPeople, My Fitness Pal and Bodybuilding.com offer free workouts and community support. There is no shortage of cheaper (or even free) workout videos in the market, however, my opinion is that your time and money would be better spent on one or two sessions with a personal trainer in a gym to learn about proper, heavy lifting.
If you are training properly, you do not need to live off shakes and rabbit food.
Have you ever tried a Beachbody program?