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Is Beachbody’s Shakeology a Scam?

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[Editor's Note: This article is long and I hope you find the information you need to make an informed decision. Towards the end, I have a special gift for you. (If you want to cheat, click here to get it now.)]

Is Beachbody's Shakeology A Scam?

Is Beachbody's Shakeology A Scam?

Happy Halloween everyone. I've got a tale of a scary MLM to share. It's my first attempt using a new writing tool, Scrivener and a new writing shorthand called Markdown. Normally, I'd put more time into proofreading the article and formatting, but having spent dozens of hours on it as it is, I need to bite the bullet and publish.

Regular readers know that I have a hobby of analyzing MLMs and showing consumers how they deceive you. Last week, I noticed that Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation had highlighted a friend who has grown a $4k a month business in an hour a day. Kellie Gimenez is doing it with an MLM called Beachbody. You may know of Beachbody’s workouts: P90X and Insanity are two of the most popular ones.

Truth is, I’ve been meaning to write about Beachbody for a couple of years now. I noticed a good high school friend of mine promoting it on Facebook. I pushed it to the back-burner because I wanted to believe it was legit for his sake. Also, I see nothing wrong with P90X. From what I’ve heard it is a great workout.

With Nick’s podcast and what Kellie said, I couldn’t ignore Beachbody any longer. Oh well, this could make for an awkward 20th reunion in a few weeks if we both go.

This is a long article so if you want the “TL;DR” version, it’s:

“Get the hell away from Beachbody's Shakeology and its 'business opportunity.' You are wasting your time and money. Every piece of information seems to show it is an illegal pyramid scheme according to the FTC’s guidelines. A former Beachbody Coach also gives good details into the pyramid scheme nature of the company. According to her, the focus is not on nutrition or fitness, but classes instead include: “How to never take no for an answer when trying to sign on new coaches” or “How to not take no for an answer when selling Shakeology.”

You can pick up Vega One available on Amazon which is extremely similar (and better in some ways) for half the price. A former Beachbody Coach mentioned Nature's Plus Spiru-Tein High Protein Energy Meal is a great choice at about a single dollar per serving, 1/4th price of Shakeology.

There's no reason to be a Coach to get a discount as you can get the Shakeology discount price on Ebay without paying coaching fees."

The Products

As I said in the introduction, I don’t mind the workouts. They seem legit.

What is extremely fishy is the Shakeology product. The product itself isn’t particularly, but the pricing. Before I cover it allow me to explain why pricing matters in an MLM.

Why Does Pricing Matter in an MLM?

This is a good question and few people seem to grasp it initially. One of the best explanations I’ve seen is by a commenter on FatWallet using an analogy:

”Say Mr Pyramid buys pens in bulk from Staples and sells them for $100 each. Who's gonna pay $100 for a pen? But tell them that they can also sell pens for $100, and we'll pay you $30 for every pen you sell, plus you can recruit people to sell pens as well, and you'll get $10 for every pen they sell, and $5 for every pen their recruits sell. Three levels, $45 commissions total on a $100 sale. Everyone has to buy 10 pens a month for personal use to participate in the program. Just find three people who find three people who find three people.... In the end, yeah, you are buying 10 pens a month for $1000, but you are getting $3150 in commissions, so don't sweat it. Why wouldn't you join?

Product is moving. The pens get used. No recruitment revenue, only product commissions. Absolutely 100% a pyramid scheme. The only real reason people are paying $100 for a pen is for the opportunity to make money off the sale of pens. Completely unsustainable as eventually, you run out of people to sell to and those at the bottom get hosed buying $1000 pens but not being able to sell them. This is an extreme example, but if you look at the world of MLM, there are some pretty big name companies out there that somewhat fit this mold on a less cut and dry basis.”

[I go into this analogy in more detail here.]

This is why The Verge and The Atlantic are writing about Herbalife which is being investigated by the FTC for being an MLM that is a pyramid scheme.

Back to Shakeology

Anyone who has read my ViSalus article knows this is a red flag. There I showed that ViSalus was charging $1.50 for a shake that any consumer could make with 3 simple ingredients for under 50 cents: whey protein, Fibersure, and a multivitamin. I know saving a dollar doesn’t seem like much, but in 10 minutes of time, you could save your $300 or more each year. Unless you are the CEO of company making millions this is exception use of your time.

Unfortunately Shakeology isn’t quite as easy to break apart. There are many ingredients. I found a nutritional label here, which is worth looking at.

There’s a pretty good product comparison of many shakes including Shakeology here. It criticizes Shakeology in quite a few places, but gives it an overall thumbs up for ingredient choices. His conclusion is interesting:

”Drinking shakes as meal replacements is not, in my opinion, a sustainable long term health plan. No liquid meal replacement satisfies the need to eat and chew solid food, which also stimulates the release of digestive enzymes in saliva… I do not recommend any of these products as a route to supreme good health. However, if you are going to drink a meal replacement, opt for Shakeology by Team Beachbody, it seems to be way better than the others in terms of the quality of the ingredients.”

So in fairness, Shakeology may have decent ingredients, but it isn’t necessarily a good health choice (according to this extensive review).

As we covered earlier, pricing does matter in MLM. According to Gimenez’ description on the Side Hustle Nation podcast, the meal replacement shake is around $4 or $120-130 a month. We’ll dig into pricing in a minute, but we are going to take a quick detour.

At the 11:50 mark of the podcast, Nick Loper politely says, “ummm, it didn’t really do it for me” while laughing (Translation: You don’t want to put this in your mouth.) Kellie says that some shakes “you can just shake in a shaker and go for it.” With Shakeology you need to “find your mix” and “you need to blend it.” She mixes the chocolate flavor with peanut butter, a banana, almond milk, ice.

This is where Shakeology starts to fall apart.

If you go back to the nutritional facts, it only has 140 calories a serving, not a good value for $4. It’s marketed a meal replacement, but I’ve never seen 140 qualify as a meal. The US RDA for calories in a day is around 2000 calories. (It varies with age/gender, but that is an average.) People typically eat three meals a day. Allowing for some snacks, a typical “meal replacement” should have between 400-500 calories.

Thus to get a true “meal replacement” you’d have to drink 3 shakes at a cost of $12. However, as Ms. Gimenez points out you need to “find your mix” and “blend it”, so it isn’t meant to be a “meal replacement” on its own. Let’s just say that for $4 and an additional dollar of mix ingredients, you can make yourself a $5 shake. That’s in your own home, not at a swanky restaurant as you might in Pulp Fiction (Note: adult language). If you are going to pay restaurant prices for a shake mix at home, you might as well buy $40/lb. steaks at your grocery store.

Wait, there aren’t any $40/lb. steaks at your grocery store? Are there any shake mixes that are $4 for 140 calories? The closest thing you can find is Carnation Breakfast Essentials, No Sugar Added, which has similar calories, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals for $0.62 a serving (nutrition label: http://www.nestlehealthscience.us/asset-library/PublishingImages/8.0PRODUCTSLocalLandingPage/Nutritional%20Panels/CBE-Powder-NSA.jpg). If you use the Subscribe and Save option, the price comes down to 50 cents a serving. Yes, I know Shakeology Coaches are going to try to rip me apart for the comparison saying that Carnation is full of bad ingredients. However, as long as shakes aren’t a good health choice (according to the review referenced above) to begin with, quibbling over the differences here doesn’t make sense. What’s vastly more important is that the nutrition label is very, very similar, but at around 1/6th or 1/8th the price of Shakeology. If you are looking to get into shape the important things are calories, protein, carbs, fiber, etc., not whether it has apple pectin powder or wheatgrass in it.

Update 1: I found a similar product, Vega One available on Amazon, that is $53.48 (as I write this) or $2.43 per serving. Looks like it almost identical with digestive blends, antioxidant blends, probiotic blend, tons of vitamins and minerals, similar calories/protein. Vega One has double the fiber and an Omega 3 blend, which arguable makes it better at a much lower cost. Oh and Amazon's autoship (Subscribe and Save) saves me an additional 20% off the $53.48 price making it $42.78.

Update 2: A former Beachbody Coach mentioned Nature's Plus Spiru-Tein High Protein Energy Meal as a great choice in the comments. It is about a $1.15 a serving or nearly 1/4th the price of Shakeology. The comment also gives good details into the pyramid scheme nature of the company. According to her, the focus is not on nutrition or fitness, but classes instead include: “How to never take no for an answer when trying to sign on new coaches” or “How to not take no for an answer when selling Shakeology.”

In a year, you would spend over $1200 a year drinking Shakeology, but save a thousand dollars going with Carnation Breakfast at $225. That buys a lot of Beachbody workouts, time with a personal trainer, or other things that will help you get in shape.

And let’s take a minute to mention how terribly inconvenient it is blend a shake if competing products have an option to “shake in a shaker.” You certainly aren’t paying for convenience with Shakeology… you are paying for inconvenience.

However, if you are going to go with blending route anyway, I suggest that you get a Nutribullet (here’s my review) and make this mix at home for around 50 cents a serving. I combine frozen fruit (around a cup), whey protein (1/2 scoop), Greek yogurt (a tablespoon), and some spinach (you’ll never know it is there) and blend away. Sometimes I get crazy and add flax seed. It tastes great and costs probably around 50 cents a serving… again a fraction of Shakeology. So for the health nuts that have a problem with the Carnation Breakfast option, this is another option that should eliminate all health questions.

Finally here are some other cheaper alternatives to look into:

To summarize, it seems like Shakeology tastes so terrible that you need to mask it with a plethora of other ingredients. It is so expensive that the pricing at a restaurant is famous in a movie for being outrageous. Shakeology may be healthy for a shake, but shakes aren’t healthy to begin with. It misrepresents itself as a meal replacement when it is really nothing of the sort at only 140 calories. In only becomes a meal replacement when you add the other ingredients… at which point you might as well just had the meal.

Beachbody Bummer has a great chart about how absurd Shakeology pricing is... Pricing for 200 calories: Slimfast is $0.63, Ensure is $1.03, GNC Total Lean is 2.36, Shakeology is $6.66. Yikes!

Given all the problems with Shakeology, a natural question to ask is, “Who is going to pay $4 a serving for Shakeology?” If that sounds like the “Who's gonna pay $100 for a pen?” from the Pen Pyramid Scheme, you are starting to get the idea.

What Can you Expect to Earn as Beachbody Coach

When someone presents you with a business opportunity it is always wise to crunch the numbers. Beachbody has posted an their income disclosure statement (PDF) on its website. You’ll want to click on that.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the document is from 2010-2011. Hmmm, that’s not a good sign. Giving Beachbody the benefit of the doubt, I dug deeper and found a Beachbody income disclosure statement from 2011-2012 at an obscure URL (see the link when you mouse over it).

I was unable to find information from 2012-2013. Maybe it exists, but I think Beachbody just gave up and didn’t release one. You’ll find out why I presumed they gave up as we analyze it.

To make things easy, these income disclosure statements are commonly referred to as an IDS in the MLM world, and I’ll keep the same convention. Also since they go from the end of December to the end of December, I’ll just use the year that encompasses 99% of the data. So I’ll refer to the 2010-2011 as simply the 2011 IDS and the 2011-2012 as the 2012 IDS.

I’ve evaluated IDSs from dozens of MLMs, and the first place to look is always the fine print. In footnote 2 of the 2011 IDS you’ll find that only 49.3 of Coaches earned a check from Beachbody… 50.7% earned nothing, nada, zilch. In the 2012 IDS it gets worse as footnote 3 says that only 45.9% earned checks… 54.1% earned nothing, nada, zilch.

Thus the chart that you see in each of the IDS’ is automatically missing half the data. It’s like analyzing hitter’s performance in baseball, by only looking at the hits and ignoring the outs he makes. Or it’s like evaluating a QB in football by looking at only the completed passes he makes and ignoring the incomplete passes.

It doesn’t make sense to sweep the failure of 50+% of the workforce under the rug in a footnote

…but it gets worse.

In each IDS footnote 1 says that it includes Coaches who were with Beachbody the entire period. Thus the data includes only experienced coaches who have been with Beachbody for a year. The growing pains of people new to Beachbody are excluded. This means that those who have put in a year in the business had a less than 50% chance of receiving a check of any kind.

Churn Rate in MLM

I Interrupt this analysis to talk about churn rate in MLM.

It’s important to note that there is a huge churn rate in MLM. It ranges from 60-90% from the few companies that have accidentally disclose it at one time or another. (It is never regularly reported by any MLM that I am aware of.) It’s not often that people will stick around in business when they aren’t earning a check. In fact, I go out on a limb and say that it is dumb to put a year in a business that isn’t paying you a check. It’s a crazy limb to go out on, I know.

There is a great article on Seeking Alpha that explains that the people at the top of the pyramid stay year after year while the people at the bottom quit when they make no money and are replaced by new people (i.e. churn).

Back to Beachbody IDS analysis

Getting back to the IDS analysis, all the people who got churned in under a year or were members from June to July (not qualifying for either IDS), are excluded from this analysis.

Here's what I would consider a more accurate representation of the Beachbody Income Opportunity. This chart has four "cases" depending on the churn rate that I don't believe is disclosed by Beachbody. It assumes 100,000 Coaches - I had to pick a number since I didn't see one disclosed. This is a nice round number to get an idea of the percentages... and in my experience it probably isn't too far off from the actual number of Beachbody Coaches in the United States.

From my experience with MLMs, "Case C" or "Case D" are the most likely cases accounting for the churn. So when you read this chart you'll see that somewhere between 4.59% (4,590 of 100,000 in Case D) and 18.36% (18,360 of 100,000 in Case C) of Coaches earn checks after accounting for typical churn for IDS 2012. From there you'll most of those (71%) are "Retail Seller" Coaches.

Beachbody Income Analysis

Beachbody Income Analysis (Click for Larger)

Beachbody Expenses

While Beachbody provides an Income Disclosure Statement, like all MLMs, it avoids any attempt to estimate expenses. Thus we are at a loss to figure out how much money a Beachbody Coach actually brings home.

The excuse they give is that the expenses vary with each person. They do, but many of them are consistent. Here are a few to think about:

  • Conference Fees - The Beachbody Coach Summit ranges from $99 to $295 depending on when you buy it. As I write this, 10/24/14, the price for the event on 7/16/15 (still nearly 9 months away) is $195. The early pricing was expired months ago (7/31/14).

The people who benefit from this early pricing are the people who are already in and already making good money… the people in the diamond ranks. It doesn’t seem right to me that the people who are making the most are going to end up paying the least. The new person who joins in 2015 is going to pay $245 or more.

This doesn’t count hotel, car, airfare, and food (restaurants are expensive), which reasonably add another $1500 in costs. Some will argue that conferences are optional. No doubt about it, they are.

However, the same people will talk out of the other side of their mouth saying that if you are serious about the business, you need to go. They’ll also say that the people who aren’t making money aren’t putting in the effort in doing stuff like this.

To those people, I’d say, “You can’t have it both ways.” Either going to the conference is a critical ingredient AND COST of doing the business or it is not. If it is not, then not going is not an example of something “not trying.”

  • Monthly Coach Fees - There is a monthly $15.95 fee to be a Coach. That pays for a website and a subscription to “Success.” I’ve covered this already when I wrote about the ViSalus scam, a similar MLM shake company, but it is worth mentioning here.

The “Success Magazine” is brainwashing material, more commonly known as propaganda, directed at the MLM business. If you look at the company that distributes it, they make it clear that their business is partnering with MLMs. Just go through all the partners at the bottom of the screen and you can see that they work (it appears 100% exclusively) with pyramid selling companies. If you’ve ever seen a copy of Success Magazine, you’d see that 90% of it is sound business advice designed to gain trust… but the other 10% of it is about legitimizing MLM. In contrast, pick up any other business magazine, Fortune, Entrepreneur, Inc. Fast Company, BusinessWeek, and you’ll see nothing about MLM being a legitimate business. In fact, Inc will tell you quite the opposite.

The problem is that most people buying into MLM are too brainwashed to see that “Success Magazine” is essentially an infomercial. You shouldn’t pay a monthly fee for propaganda… especially propaganda that sells advertisements. It is a combination of paying for the Metro and your company newsletter.

The website is another area where the company shouldn’t be charging money. Facebook, Tumblr, and other similar websites don’t charge money. They make their websites available to you for free and you don’t even work for them. Why would you pay Beachbody money for a website to sell their products? Does your current office job charge you for the use of the company’s email system? Of course not.

The website that Beachbody provides has almost no incremental cost to add coaches. It is similar to the cost that iTunes incurs when you buy music there: it is fractions of a penny to send the music. The real costs are in producing the product the first time. Same thing with the Beachbody website. I don’t know how often they roll out new tools on the website, but for the most part it should be very basic, something with minimal costs to produce the first time and very few ongoing costs to update pricing and policies.

It may not seem like the monthly $15.95 fee is outrageous, but it’s a huge deal when Netflix raises rates from $7.99 to $8.99. Netflix is a good example of a company that provides product in unlimited quantities that is extremely expensive to produce… and it’s priced at nearly half of Beachbody Coach fees. It is interesting to see how the $190 in annual Coach Fees stacks up add up to the income that is being earned.

  • Weekly Club Fees - I’ll let this Beachbody Coach explain this: “There is also an option to be Club Member that costs $2.99 a week and is billed quarterly. I consider the Club Membership as a cost of doing business, because in order to qualify for the customer lead program, one of the requirements is for a Coach be a Club Member. Some Coaches don’t like this, but to me $2.99 a week is a small price to have customer placed in my business.”

This is Mindbloggling. It is an annual fee of over $155 a year. It is almost as much as the Coach Fees themselves, but it can be overlooked since it is such a small number. It’s billed more often though. I realize this is “optional”, but many, like the Coach above, consider “a cost of doing business”, simply because the Beachbody created a policy to makes this fee a requirement for the customer lead program.

The customer lead program is a hairy best of complexity. Good luck wrapping your head around this 5 part series. The gist of it is that if someone signs up at Beachbody who wasn’t referred by a Coach, Beachbody will place that customer with a Coach who has paid this $155 annual membership.

Breaking it down, Coaches make money by either selling product or recruiting people to be Coaches who buy product… but this system allows Coaches to make money for doing neither. Essentially Beachbody’s website is doing the Coach’s job. Sounds like a nice free lunch, until you realize that it isn’t free.

It should be obvious that it is a strange game Beachbody is playing. They charge Coaches for websites, but when the Beachbody.com website makes money they disperse the commission to Coaches.

Shouldn’t Beachbody keep those commissions that they earned without any Coach’s help and use it to pay for the websites? That would make sense. The only reason I can see to NOT do it this logical way is that there are very few leads, and it is more profitable for Beachbody to collect the annual $155 in Club Membership fees from Coaches to qualify to get one.

Profit Analysis

It’s business 101 that income minus expenses equal profits. Making money is earning profits, not income. Here’s some analysis from Beachbody’s own information.

The easy expense is coaching fees. The $15.95 monthly fee comes is rounded down to $190 a year. The “cost of doing business” weekly fee to qualify for leads is another $155 a year. That’s $345 and you haven’t gone to a conference. You didn’t put gas into your car to go a meeting. You didn’t buy any sample product to give away. This is pretty close to the bare bones minimum.

When you fall into the 50% that didn’t earn a check after a year, the Beachbody people are going to say, “It’s because you weren’t committed.” However, by “committing” yourself, you are guaranteeing yourself of only one thing: greater expenses. As we see, the odds of greater income are extremely slim and there are certainly no guarantees.

If you start adding some of the expenses I listed it isn’t trivial. It can be thousands of dollars.

Using “Case C” of the 2012 IDS in the above chart, we see that only 18% (18,360 of 100,000) earned any income at all… 82% (rounded) earned nothing. Of those lucky enough to make a check, 71.4% had an average income of $467 Combine those two stats and 95% of Coaches are below Emerald who either lose money or maybe break even… earning no real profit for their time spent.

Using “Case D” of the 2012 IDS in the above chart, it gets worse with only 1% of Coaches making it to Emerald or above… around 99% either lose money or break even.

And remember these expenses are incurred from the start of the business, while the income is measured of those who have been there for a minimum of a year.

Is Beachbody a Pyramid Scheme?

That’s the question that people are going to ask when looking at MLM. Many people just jump to the conclusion that it is a pyramid scheme. That’s not a bad instinct and let’s look at why:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the authority on pyramid schemes and put together this document to help consumer tell whether an MLM is legit or if it is an illegal pyramid scheme. I’ll quote some important lines, but it is worth reading the whole document:

”Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It’s a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money…

… Avoid any plan where the reward for recruiting new distributors is more than it is for selling products to the public. That’s a time-tested and traditional tip-off to a pyramid scheme…

One sign of a pyramid scheme is if distributors sell more product to other distributors than to the public — or if they make more money from recruiting than they do from selling.”

In three separate places in one small document they’ve made it very, very clear… selling product to the public (people not in the MLM) is legit, making money recruiting people is a pyramid scheme. That’s consistent with every legal definition of a pyramid scheme that focuses on endless chain recruiting.

To summarize in caveman language: “recruiting hierarchy (”building a team”/pyramiding/[call it what you want]) is very bad. Selling to public (friends, family, etc.) is good.”

So with the FTC guidelines in place, I have to conclude that Beachbody is indeed an illegal pyramid scheme. I’m sure Beachbody’s lawyers are drafting their cease and desist letters now. To them I’d say, this is my constitutionally protected opinion based on the FTC’s guidelines and the information that I am going to (and have already) presented. While you may choose to conclude differently, I think your opinion would not be based on any evidence, so you might as well conclude the world is flat.

Before we Get started. Let’s debunk the pyramid scheme myths

To start I have to debunk the three pyramid scheme myths that MLMers always come to me with:

  1. A pyramid scheme doesn’t have a product or service. It seems this is part of a definition on Wikipedia. It simply isn’t true. Otherwise the FTC wouldn’t have put out the document on MLMs that I referenced above. MLMs clearly have products and services yet they can be pyramid schemes. Also, the FTC wouldn’t have shut down this MLM which was selling Dish Network products for being an illegal pyramid scheme.
  2. You can earn more than the person who recruited you, so it can’t be a pyramid scheme. That’s another common myth. Go through the FTC guidelines again and tell me where you see that. It’s a story that MLMers tell each other to convince themselves that they are legal. It’s not based on any case law or regulatory body that I’ve ever seen.
  3. Your company is a pyramid. This is the most common one. These people are confusing legal hierarchical organizations not based on recruiting with pyramid schemes that are based on endless chain recruiting. Think of it this way... A software engineer at Microsoft can make 6 figures a year without ever recruiting a single person. Typically zero percent of his annual salary is based on him recruiting others. If we go back to the FTC guidelines, this income is not based on recruiting, and clearly it is very legal. So no, Microsoft, nor your typical company, is not a pyramid scheme.

Here are some Beachbody Coaches spreading these myths (and a couple of others):

Coach 1 - Spreads "doesn't have a product" and "a company is a pyramid" myths.
Coach 2 - This Coach doesn't use any of the above pyramid scheme myths, but instead uses Donald Trump who licenses his name to MLM companies and sells books to MLMers. Of course Trump isn't a distributor or Coach with any MLM company.
Coach 3 - Spreads the trifecta: "doesn't have a product", "a company is a pyramid", and "you can earn more than the person above you" myths.
Lindsay Matway via YouTube video - Says a pyramid scheme is "making money not by selling product, but signing up people below them", which is an accurate definition of Beachbody, at least in the Gimenez case study above. She spreads, "no real product being consumed" myth. The example of the FTC shutting down a company used Dish Network TV service, which is certainly a real product and consumed by viewers. The rest of the video is fluff unrelated to definition of pyramid schemes.
Coach 5 - Spreads "You can earn more than the person who recruited you" myth. Doesn't address any of the key things that may make an MLM a pyramid scheme.
Coach 6 - Spreads "doesn't have a product" and "a company is a pyramid" myths. Documents the money that Beachbody pays him, despite misleading people with these myths.
Coach 7 - Spreads "bogus product" myth.
Coach 8 - Spreads "doesn't have a product" and "a company is a pyramid" myths. Creates a whole chart of misinformation such as legal MLM is generated ONLY by product sales which ignores the key difference of selling to recruits vs. selling to the public. Chart has a myth about the presence of a training program making a difference. Chart makes up a "get rich scheme" vs. "true work" myth. The only thing really accurate about the chart is the overpriced product being a sign of a pyramid scheme. As covered earlier, this points to Beachbody being a pyramid scheme. Spreads a myth about the BBB not accepting Beachbody as a member if it were a pyramid scheme, but the BBB page clearly says, "BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB." Spreads a myth about the DSA not accepting companies that pyramid schemes, but the DSA spreads a definition of pyramid schemes that doesn't match federal regulators.
Coach 9 - Spreads "doesn't have a product" myth. Doesn't cover any of the points brought up by the FDA.
Coach 10 - Spreads "a company is a pyramid" (via image), and "you can earn more than the person above you" myths.

That's 10 Beachbody Coaches I found in just a few minutes simply by going to Google and searching "Beachbody Scam" and "Beachbody Pyramid scheme." Not one of them had a legitimate reason that I could see why Beachbody is not a pyramid scheme. Not one of the coaches addressed the point about making more sales to the public than through its downline of distributors.

Some of them are making significant money. It is gross negligence on Beachbody's part to not sufficiently police the misleading of consumers. At a very minimum, Beachbody could put an official page on its site and tell distributors to not address the topic at all simply point to the website.

I just solved Beachbody's massive compliance issue in under an hour. This stuff isn't rocket science and any reputable company would have been all over it.

So How is the Money being Made in Beachbody?

The Kellie Gimenez case

Kellie made it clear in the Side Hustle Nation podcast that she makes $4000-4500 a month and that $500 comes from direct sales. The rest comes from commissions from her downline. Here is what she says at the 17 minute market of the podcast:

”A majority of your income isn’t going to be coming from the products. The majority of your income, as you grow a team, is going come from your Coaches and the volume they sell. Because you can only sell so many workouts a month… If they aren’t drinking Shakeology every month, I mean, they can buy one workout and never buy anything else from you.

… When I first started as a coach and didn’t have a team underneath me, I was making about $500 selling products. That’s not bad. It paid for our groceries. It paid for gas. It was a good income, but it’s definitely not something that could be a successful side hustle.

She’s clearly making more from recruiting than from sales to the public. Kellie is essentially saying this is how it is designed. She even is negative on making sales to public.

This fits the FTC’s definition of an illegal pyramid scheme exactly. Any reasonable person would have to conclude that using the FTC’s guidelines and definition, Gimenez is running a pyramid scheme. She may not even realize it, because of the myths of pyramid schemes that I presented above. She might be a fantastic person… certainly sounds like it on the podcast.

As a reminder Kellie is a Diamond level Coach in Beachbody. This is in the 0.4% or 0.1% of Coaches depending on “Case C” or “Case D” of the my IDS analysis chart above. If anyone in the organization should know the rules and is abiding by them, it should be diamond Coaches. Beachbody corporate should be "coaching" their distributors about the FTC's guidelines regarding pyramid schemes and at the very least look at its top distributors and see if they are making their money from the downline vs. selling to the public.

Let’s Look Back at Shakeology’s Pricing again

Ms. Gimenez’ quote in the previous section about which products are being bought is significant. If someone buys a workout, the commission is earned one time and then maybe never again. However, Shakeology is different as a customer spends consistently on it month after month. It seemed like Nick cut her off before she could say it, but it certainly sounded like she was ready to say that the emphasis is on selling the shakes.

In fact, if you go back and listen to the podcast, at the 11:30 mark, Kellie says that she tries to get everyone to buy the shakes.

Given what we saw with the Pen Pyramid Scheme analogy in the section about Shakeology, it fits the mold to be a pyramid scheme. Get people using vastly overpriced pens/shakes regularly and reward a fraction of the money back to the people at the top pyramid.

It might not be a smoking gun of a pyramid scheme, but it is another major piece of evidence against Beachbody. They could very easily offer an affiliate program that rewards Coaches for selling product without the pyramid of rewards for recruiting more Coaches. Such an affiliate program would quickly end any questions as to whether it is a pyramid scheme.

Beachbody’s own words on their Income Disclosure Statements

I thought that Beachbody’s own words in its Income Disclosure Statement interesting.

”Many of our Coaches have chosen not to build a business, but rather join for the opportunity to purchase our programs at wholesale and to be able to earn extra income by helping their friends and family purchase our programs. For this period, 33% of our Coaches decided to take advantage of the bonuses available for those who help the company recruit and enroll other Coaches and retail Beachbody® products to customers. This activity is rewarded through a binary compensation plan which pays bonuses at the Development and Leadership Ranks of Emerald Coach and above.”

First Beachbody makes the fundamental mistake that most MLMs make and have Coaches “join the [business] opportunity” to earn a discount. Many MLMers describe it like being a member of Costco. There’s fine, but Costco conflate a business opportunity with a discount.

The discount earned by joining is 25% according to Kellie in the podcast. That is a hefty chunk on the monthly price of Shakeology. The question becomes, who is left to buy the products at a retail price… the “public” mentioned in the FTC guidelines?

Next, the Coaches who join “to be able to earn extra income by helping their friends and family purchase our programs” are building a business contrary to the opening sentence of that quote. If selling product to family and friends doesn’t count, then it looks even more like a pyramid scheme when evaluated through the FTC’s guidelines.

The final two sentences of that quote are confusing at best. It makes it sound like earning a bonus is a decision that someone makes such as ordering a cheeseburger at McDonalds. It then bonuses are earned by recruiting and enrolling other coaches as well as retailing Beachbody products to customers. However, according to the first sentence retailing Beachbody products to friends and family are not running a business. So unless there’s some distinction of what a friend/family/customer is (and the FTC doesn’t seem to make this) apparently we can exclude retailing Beachbody products in the later part.

That leaves us with earning bonuses for recruiting and enrolling. As you can see, this is where the majority of money is earned. That’s hits the FTC’s guidelines for being a pyramid scheme on the nose.

Beachbody Bummer is a great resource

I stumbled upon Beachbody Bummer which lists federal warnings about pyramid schemes and MLMs. I would have like him/her to link to the SEC's guidelines, but nonetheless she/he does a great job at highlighting some of the important things like inappropriate pricing (as mentioned earlier).

The Beachbody Scam

As we’ve seen actual profits are very, very rare in Beachbody. Yet it doesn’t distributors from recruiting. They can’t see the “business opportunity” for what it is… a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Here’s a great quote from Harper's Magazine on Mary Kay and MLM schemes:

“The women I interviewed for ‘The Pink Pyramid Scheme’ told me stories about struggling to patch together daycare or to survive high-risk pregnancies while working long hours scouting prospects and hosting parties without any guarantee of a sale. Debts mounted, marriages failed. They couldn’t have it all because Mary Kay’s business model (like that of any multilevel-marketing enterprise) is designed primarily to profit from, rather than enrich, its workforce."

Think about those recurring expenses in relation to the average income. Suddenly the Coaches fees and Club Membership fees make sense.

Think about the high margins the company is earning on distributors buying Shakeology… even when distributors buy it wholesale Beachbody makes a substantial profit. It’s essentially the Pen Pyramid Scheme, but with (slightly) less exaggerated margins and purchased much more regularly. The Pen Pyramid Scheme doesn’t become less of pyramid scheme if they give distributors the right to buy pens for $80 instead of $100. A 20% savings looks good, but it is minimal when the pricing is so absurd.

Do the Ends Justify the Means?

Beachbody Coaches may argue that in the end people are getting healthy, so who cares about all the scammy stuff that goes along with it. If you are really interested in people’s health, then I suggest you simply coach them without Beachbody. Form a buddy system and keep each other in check.

There are countless other tools available. The free website SparkPeople is a health community. Additionally you could also use another site StickK.com (my article on it: StickK to Your Goals) is a way to keep people motivated.

I have no problem with Beachbody workouts, but there are numerous options available. Workout videos have been around for decades.

Just a few minutes of research can give you all the value of the “ends” without all the problems associated with the “means.”


My Gift to You

If you've read this far, I appreciate your dedication. Whether you found what you were looking for or not in the article above, I want to help you with your financial situation. It's what I do.

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For more visit my five minute financial fixes article. If neither of the above is helpful, I'm sorry. I appreciate you for just being here. The person recruiting you has a financial incentive to present only one side of the story. Kudos to you for searching for more information to make an informed decision.

Note to lawyers looking to send a frivolous lawsuit my way.

Most companies are smart enough to realize that such lawsuits trigger a Streisand effect that makes them look much, much worse. It invites media coverage. It's probably not a good look to threaten a consumer advocate, his military wife, and 1 and 2 year old that they are going to be homeless after a huge judgment. I maintain open communication channels via my contact form and this comments on this article, which is a far better way to resolve any differences in opinion your client may have.

Last updated on February 17, 2016.

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527 Responses to “Is Beachbody’s Shakeology a Scam?”

  1. Laura says:

    Thank you, Lazyman. I knew Shakeology was a pyramid scheme. My Facebook newsfeed is littered with “coaches.” It reminds me of when I was in college and everyone was doing candle and jewelry parties. I have an autoimmune disease, and 2 difficult pregnancies, back to back have left me in terrible health. I’m very thin, but very sick and out of desperation, I was going to buy a few bags of Shakeology to have in addition to my meals (without signing up for anything) to see if the claims of miraculous health were true. This article brought me back to my senses. . I can make shakes like you suggested and eat nutrient-dense food and save myself a lot of cash. Again, thank you for the logic smack!

  2. krys robb says:

    So I am a current beach body coach and honestly it’s too much work for not enough pay. My up line coaches are great and work really hard to recruit new coaches and give us the tools we need to succeed. When I first started I was super excited and thought I could make a ton of money for our family since I am a stay at home mom..the truth is while I do make some money from selling to people directly I do not have the time to recruit coaches and put in 10 to 12 hrs a day scouring the Internet for new customers or new recruits. They tell you to add to your network by adding people on facebook, instagram or twitter….random people whom you have a different kind of connection with other than working out. In my case a mom, diy person, texas, volleyball etc…all search words to look for people whom I have things in common with. While you can sell products to these people and possibly even get then to do shakeology…you’d have to get a whole lot of people to buy products, become coaches, sell products and drink shakeology for it to be profitable. If your life allows you to be on a computer 10 to 12 hrs a day then by all means…I am a mom of 2 under 2 I don’t have that kind of time. You have to convince people to do it and be a 100% committed…it’s harder than you think. I think a health coach should be knowledgeable about health and recruiting someone just to add them to the team doesn’t seem right to me…these people are trusting you with their health. My husband and I eat really healthy and workout to beach body products daily and we love them but getting people to spend 140 a month on a shake and profit from this kind of business is pretty impossible.

  3. Carlos says:

    It is a great article so thank you Lazy man.
    The question that I have is why isn’t the FTC shutting them down?
    These companies hurt consumers and legitimate fitness companies that are actually trying to help people.
    I workout daily, try to eat clean and the only supplement I use are 100% liquid egg whites. No need to sign up for anything and they make a great shake and good nutrition. They are cheap and accessible to everyone at local markets or Target/Wal-Mart, etc. All these companies pray on the lazy people that want an easy fix and all they do is hurt them on top of taking their money.
    Thank you for your time.

  4. Dee says:

    I became a coach over a month ago and was informed that as an independent coach, I may run my business as I see fit. I even received emails and were shown videos trying to show me how they are not MLM or scams. This is not the case from what I can see. Beachbody take you through a training and all you will here over and over is how to sign someone up under you as a coach in order to profit. (They leave out “In order for the upline coach to profit”)! Never is it mentioned about simply selling the products themselves without the VERY HIGH PRICED challenge packs. BLAH BLAH BLAH!
    Well, I do know fitness and I am going to conduct my business as I see fit. My goal was to help others without them going broke. I actually make calls or text them daily to check on their progress, Offer to workout with them over video chat, give them real advice on how to better their workout or their eating plan.The clients I have love me for it. Of course I won’t get rich (not even close), but I’m really helping people. That’s all I want to do. A REAL COACH! Sorry, somebody won’t be making any money off of my efforts!

  5. Carl Smestad says:

    I am sure it doesn’t matter what mlm company you review it will be a it’s a bad pyramid scheme. You obviously no nothing about the industry. There are allot of good products out there that you can only buy from a mlm company.Have you ever even tried Shakeology and if not what qualifies you to give a review on it. Are you a health expert. Why don’t you bring it to a doctor or homeopathic expert and have them tell you what they think of Shakeology. If you want to give a product a bad reviews at least try it or have some sort of a basis for your claims.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Carl, you should read this: Is Every MLM a Scam?

      I have studied dozens of MLM companies over the last 9 years or so, which includes tens of thousands of conversations documented here in the comments of articles. I typically know a lot more than the distributors themselves… which should be obvious with the section on their failures to understand what a pyramid scheme is.

      What qualifies me to review Shakeology is that I can read nutritional and ingredient labels. Everything useful is covered in there. Trying the product is only necessary if Beachbody is mislabeling its product, and I don’t think they are doing that.

      I’m not going to waste a doctor’s time by bring a protein shake to them and saying, “What do you think of this?” You can bring it to a dietitian and he/she would probably say, “I recommend you eat well, not depend on crutches like this stuff. However, it looks like a fine protein shake just like thousands on the market.”

      The dietitian is not going to go into the pricing, pyramid scheme, or a scam pretending to be a business opportunity. Maybe you should read the article again because it seems you missed these ideas.

  6. Ryan says:

    Lazyman-
    I have skimmed through your article after Googling for more information on this crap and couldnt agree with you more. My wife has fallen prey to this stuff as an “easy” way to lose weight, feel better, yada, yada, yada… I became physically ill when I saw the price for the BB package AS WELL AS the monthly subscription cost to the Shake crap.

    MLM stuff aside, I cannot believe the cost of this stuff and how people can willingly hand over money for it. I have had to take to Googling info on this, as she has been tight-lipped when I ask about it. (Translated- knowing I would have a fit, knowing this is the fifth or sixth diet scam/scheme that she has fallen for in as many years.)

    With hope, she will become bored and frustrated with it after about three or so weeks and quit (as usual). — just hoping that she DC’s the subscription though.

    Keep up the good work, and hope to read more of your posts.

  7. Gizmo says:

    Hi Lazy Man-

    Thank you for your efforts and analyzing of so many of the MLM companies.
    I have read the above regarding BB and many others you wrote now.

    I have considered MLM for many years now and I’m actually a member of a different company but in more of a consumer role. I love the food and find it a great alternative to many of the packaged items in the stores.

    I attended a BB event recently and while there was a lot about the opportunity as coach, the workout was intense. So while Shakeology is the main addition to the exercise programs, there are other options such as bars, supplements, etc which would qualify a coach to remain a coach. I was impressed with the attitude of the people. I’ve attended events for various companies that felt more scientific and false, and could I even say cult like? For paid events!!
    BB as a company supports their coaches as far as I can see. And while all coaches don’t get big checks, a lot of them are happy knowing they helped just a few people around them.

    I’m rambling. I’m debating if I want to kick off a business here. I think I can justify BB more than others based purely on the fact that it is an all encompassing program that does have a fitness community to keep people motivated. And there’s always new routines coming out that are advertised by the company. I’m trying to take the viewpoint that if I can help a few people, I can then help them help a few people. If that includes shakes, more power to them. I’m extremely picky about my shakes and how they taste on top of the value their ingredients provide. I don’t want to have to add things to a blender in hopes they might taste good. I haven’t tried all the flavors and done all my research so I’m not ruling out the shakes, but I can see looking at the other options too as that is what I need to really compare since I don’t order the shakes from the other company I’m involved!

    So while I agree that it does meet the regulations and definitions of a pyramid, is it a bad option if you’re more interested in spreading a healthy lifestyle and maybe a bit of financial relief to those around you?
    (The other options that might still be on the list are Isagenix (it’s got a lot of “doctor” stuff but a lot isn’t real), Juice Plus (they do have a lot of medical field members but I don’t like the fact it’s Soy based), Doterra (probably not but just to step away from health based options), and maybe Visalus (only because I have a friend who is EXTREMELY successful but probably not based on your review!))

    Thanks so much!!

    • Lazy Man says:

      Gizmo,

      It’s been consistently reported that 99% of people involved in MLM lose money. It’s not just that article that covers several MLMs, but I’ve seen it and shown it in others (such as MonaVie, which is now out of business).

      It isn’t financial relief that you are bringing people you introduce, it is financial harm. If you want to bring them relief, don’t point them to the extremely overpriced Shakeology products that they push. And yes quotas may be met with other bars and supplements, but they are probably just as bad. I’ve already spent more than enough time on this article and it is certainly long enough without extensively going into every product.

      There are plenty of ways to help people with their health. Why not sign up with some of the online communities that I mentioned in the article? Why not start a Diet Bet with them? They can take the thousands they save from avoiding overpriced products and use it to hire legitimate trainers, pay off debt, fund their retirement, or put it away for their kid’s colleges. If you run into the rare person that has all these well taken off, tell them they can help others by donating it to their favorite charity.

      Didn’t you see Visalus’ pyramid implode? I think the “EXTREMELY successful” friend is faking it to get you on-board.

  8. JaeBeeTee says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this article. I have a sibling that is now “drinking the kool-aid” and I’m trying to explain to her the chances of her making a long term income are little.

    In fact, at a recent online seminar, a member spoke about making $30,000 a year. This “member” was actually one of the owners, it seemed, but this led my sister to believe that she has the potential to make that much. She isn’t the best with fiscal responsibility.

    I’ve heard her quote this # several times, always following up with “I will be happy with 5,000 a month, though.”

    What really frustrates me about this company is that many of these “coaches” are just selling friendship. The women who pitched her the “job” is a leader at several church groups my sister attends. Now that my sister contributes to her income, this coach is her new BFF.

    My sister is considering quitting school to become a full time coach. The whole thing is making my head spin. I’ve even begun dieting the “right” way, to show her that the products aren’t a requirement for weight loss and social support.

    I’m sure she will pursue this brand, costing her tons of money, until she learns her lesson.

  9. Kate says:

    Thank you for this article….against my better judgement, I was toying with becoming a “coach.” But, I have now officially decided not to. I will admit, it was appealing; I am a stay at home mom ( their target demographic, I presume) and the idea of making money from home sounds excellent…but…. I am a (hobby) athlete (actually, I am a certified group fitness instructor and working on my trainer cert…not a big deal, I know, but it is some kind of professional training) and I know enough to be uncomfortable with these people calling themselves “coaches” and giving nutrition and fitness advice with no training. I think it is deceptive and dangerous.

    Also, a prior commentor was incorrect when he said if a coach buys shakeology they are exempt from fees. You still have to pay the 16/ month plus 38/quarter even if you order shakeology.

    Finally, shakeology gave me one horrible stomach ache. I mean, severe stomach cramps. I think it is the Maca root in there…. But a quick internet search will show you I am not the only one.

    Thank you for the well thought out article. I needed some sense and logic knocked into me.

  10. Carter says:

    Interesting article. I have signed as a coach twice over the past 18 months and allowed it to lapse. Reason? It was 16 dollars, I’m sleeping with the coach and I’d like to continue to do so!

    Anyway, both time that I’ve allowed the coach status to lapse, and without buying a product, I’ve received checks from Beachbody for “commission”. The first time the check totaled around $11. The last time I received two checks totaling around $24. After reading the IDS I’ve concluded that they are doing this in order to make the numbers look better regarding the number of coaches that received a check. Sneaky…

    The thing that bothers me most about BeachBody is the incessant showing of infomercials for the DVD workouts with no mention that there is going to be a “business opportunity” offered. Are you aware that every customer who places an order through the infomercials is assigned a “Personal Coach”, who is told to contact the customer to see if they “need any help”? This provides the perfect opportunity to try to sign THEM up as a coach. It never ends.

    The official propaganda now states that BeachBody expects 16,000 coaches at this years summit in Nashville. Even at the $195 lower rate that is a touch over 3 MILLION DOLLARS off the top. That covers the entire cost for BeachBody to put on the event, don’t you think? Then the money gets made from selling product at the event. And giving all the coaches a nice “RAH-RAH” kick in the backside to go spend MORE money and sign up MORE coaches!

  11. Intheprocess says:

    Hi,
    I’ve been looking into doing this for a while so I’m glad I found your page before I signed up! I do have a question about another business called Life Leadership. Is it in the same boat scheme wise as BB?

    • Lazy Man says:

      Well Lindsay on that page starts off by saying, “Did you know that 83% of women who make OVER $100,000 per year work for an MLM?” Since she presents no source.

      I think I’ve been at a pharmacist convention where there are more 100K women owners than all of MLM. There are around some 15-16M people in MLM in the United States last I checked (according to the DSA) and I don’t think 1 in 1000 make $100,000. That would make a total of 15,000 PEOPLE (not women) doing that (conservatively). The Bureau of Labor and Statistics says there are 290K pharmacists and 75% of them make 106K on average. This is just one profession. We’re not even getting women doctors, lawyers, executives, etc.

      Lindsay then proceeds to quote from this article on the FTC website. It’s important to not the footnote at the bottom, “The views I give, of course, are my own and do not reflect the official views of the Commission or any particular Commissioner.”

      This is one person’s views and is not necessarily the views of the FTC. The FTC has official guidance here.

      Re: Lindsay’s point about Beachbody having “REAL” products and thus not being a pyramid scheme. The successfully shut down Vemma despite their REAL product of an energy drink. Prior to that, they shut down Fortune High-Tech Marketing who sold DishTV a very REAL product.

      I don’t really feel the need to go any further, because she isn’t quoting from FTC guidelines, but from an outdated unofficial presentation from 1998 that clearly would be superseded by the 2012 guidance.

      She points to the DSA as if it were a legitimate organization, but it had Vemma as a member… and we saw how that went. Success from Home magazine is sponsored by a number of MLM/pyramid schemes. It’s one of the reasons I wrote about Nerium. People think it is an independent publication, but it appears to be an infomercial showing some legitimate business information to justify their MLM sponsors. They never point to a magazine with general circulation like Forbes, Inc., Fortune, Money, Kiplinger’s, Fast Company because those companies rarely cover MLM… and they almost never cover it favorably.

      I think that’s enough for now. If Lindsay updates her outdated information and refrains from citing MLM-sponsored organizations it might be worth a more in-depth analysis.

  12. Carter says:

    Andrew, Allow me. I’ve been a coach (see my last comment above) have a close friend who’s been a coach for several years and have read quite a bit on MLM/Pyramid. I’ve seen hours of Beach Body training and recruitment videos and I’ve been to numerous small and large functions. I think I’m qualified. If I make an error I’m sure someone will correct me.

    She says

    Beachbody spends millions of dollars every single year on informercials promoting REAL products that help the public achieve REAL results.

    Yes, they ARE real products and they DO achieve results. But after purchase you are encouraged to sign up as a coach to get a discount on products THEN you are hit up to recruit. And many other products will get the exact same results at lower cost.

    Majority of Beachbody’s profits come from retail sales from workout programs, Shakeology, and many other supplements. (Retail sales numbers comply with the DSA–more info on DSA requirements listed below).

    From what I’ve seen Beachbody is a two sided business. Yes, they make a huge profit from the infomercial sales. But I’d wager the majority of the sales of Shakeology and the supplements are to the “coaches”. Who are then encouraged to make some money by signing up others.

    Some people have made the argument that Shakeology is our product that we coaches are “forced” to purchase. This isn’t the case. Coaches are NOT required to purchase Shakeology.

    Correct. But coaches ARE required to make monthly purchases in order to remain coaches and WONDER OF WONDERS the monthly requirement is EXACTLY what Shakeology costs! A coach could make any purchase that amounts to (I believe) $90 a month. But they encourage Shakeology on autoship.

    Coaches may remain “active” coaches simply by selling retail products. If a coach sells 1-2 products every 35 days, they are considered an “active” coach. Whether a coach is “active” OR “inactive”, they are still eligible to receive retail commissions regardless. Any products coaches purchase can be returned for a full refund if not used.

    Technically correct but your personal “coach” will encourage you to recruit and you MUST do a certain amount of business to stay active.

    Aside from from the retail sales sold through infomercials, Beachbody encourages coaches to achieve “Success Club” monthly. In order to reach Success Club, coaches must help 3-5 new people with their health and fitness who are OUTSIDE of our network. This means, our income does not come solely from our coaches. It also comes from new customers monthly who are using our retail products—these customers are NOT within “our structure”

    Carefully worded BS. “Helping 3-5 people” means selling them products and RECRUITING THEM to become “discount coaches” who ARE within the network. Success Club requires the sale of at least three “Challenge Packs” a month, each of which costs around $150, including a workout and Shakeology.

    This is basically saying that in a Ponzi Scheme, recruiters make commission off of sign ups with no products being exchanged. Simply profiting off of people who “buy in”. Beachbody charges a $39.95 coach sign up fee, and coaches do not profit off of this sign up fee. This $39.95 sign up fee goes directly to Beachbody to start a legitimate business. Coaches do make commission off of those who sign up to be a coach IF they desire to purchase products during sign up. Purchasing products during sign up is optional. However, the (recruiting) coaches forfeit any further retail commission from these new coach sign ups because these (new) coaches receive a discount on all future products ordered (which would have been the recruiting coach’s retail commission).

    Read this: http://coachquestions.com/beachbody-coach-compensation-plan/ and tell me how that isn’t a pyramid scheme by any reasonable definition of the term. Go look at ANY MLM and the comp plan looks similar. Now go look up the plan for Vemma or any of the other MLMs that have been shut down. Looks the same, doesn’t it?

    The general public who purchases our products are not expected or required to join our network (or “MLM system”).

    Customers aren’t “required” to join in any MLM scheme. But they are certainly encouraged to do so. And if someone is using the product (ie, Shakeology) and plans to continue to use it, then signing up as a coach makes sense, for the discount. THEN you ARE part of the system. And the “encouragement” begins. One of the first things mentioned in the coach signup process is to sign up your spouse immediately and put them in one of your “legs”. This automatically doubles the coach fee, the club fee and the other fees that are required. And doubles the amount of sales to one household in order to continue to be active.

    I don’t think Beachbody sells any bad products. But I think (as Lazy has pointed out in the past) that there are other products which are just as good and available at lower prices. I am bothered by the concept of someone paying $39.95 and monthly fees and suddenly they are a “Coach” who supposedly can answer questions about health and fitness. There is no training involved whatever in either of those disciplines. What there IS are a bunch videos and links that teach the so-called “Coaches” how to sell the products and answer questions about the products.

    I’ve been approached by Amway in the past and have gone to several of their events. Beachbody events look VERY similar to those and others for various MLMs I’ve attended. It’s kinder. It’s gentler. It’s certainly more product focused. No, you don’t have to keep a product stock. But it’s STILL an MLM/Pyramid no matter how you slice it.

    One last quote, this from the site I linked above:

    It is important to understand that just starting out as a brand new Coach, the majority of the money you will earn will come from your retail sales. As you grow a team, your team cycle bonus will start out slow and slowly grow as your team grows. It is also important to understand exponential growth, and that is the early stages growing a team will be more challenging. For example, growing a team from 0 to 100 can be more challenging than growing from 100 to 1000. As you bring new Coaches, and they those new Coaches start to bring in Coaches, and all of those Coaches start to bring in new Coaches, and so on, and so on, things can start to snowball and grow pretty fast. The key is to be able to endure the struggle it takes to grow a team in the beginning.

    And THERE it is. Exponential growth. Bringing in new coaches. You have to “endure the struggle”. And if you DON’T “endure the struggle” and make thousands a month, that’s YOUR fault. Classic MLM. Thousands fail, dozens achieve.

    • Andrew says:

      Can you please give an example of a company with a legitimate MLM structure and explain how they are different from a company like Beachbody or It Works?

      • Lazy Man says:

        I can’t give you an example of a company with a legitimate MLM structure. It might be Vemma which restructured their plan after the FTC halted their previous plan that looks very similar to Beachbody’s to me.

        I explain that Vemma’s new restrictions might bring MLM scams to an end. Essentially they are being closely watched to ensure they aren’t a pyramid scheme. It’s interesting to see how Vemma has been in a tailspin with the new regulations.

        However, I’ll turn the question back to you Andrew. Can you give me an example of a company with a legitimate MLM structure? How can you be guaranteed of that (aside from Vemma’s which has been through the FTC).

        • Andrew says:

          ”Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It’s a pyramid scheme.”

          I’m asking because the above is referenced in your article. “Not all are legitimate” would indicate most are legitimate. This is the FTCs words, correct? What is multilevel marketing without the levels below you? By definition it’s a pyramid. The illegal “scheme” lies in the source of revenue and the independent viability of the underlying enterprise. Does Beachbody need the financial contributions of its new members to survive, or can it survive in its own?

          Beachbody was founded in 1998. Not until 2007 was “team” beachbody founded and Shakology introduced in 2009. It was a viable company beforehand by all indications.

          • Lazy Man says:

            Yes those are the FTC’s words. I don’t see anything in there that would indicate that most are legitimate. If I were to say “not all people have 7 eyes, it is entirely possible that zero people have 7 eyes.”

            From a logic standpoint, you simply can’t presume that “any” are legitimate from the statement itself.

            For example, I concur with this statement from Pyramid Scheme Alert: “Pyramid Scheme Alert has not examined every single MLM but, among the hundreds we have examined, we have not found one yet that met the simple test of legitimacy.” The article continues to explain why the author doesn’t feel any MLMs are legitimate.

            McDonalds can survive on it’s own… it has for decades. If it bought Vemma’s business would that fundamentally have made what Vemma was doing legal? I don’t believe that makes any sense.

            There’s also a theory out there that MLMs can be a sustainable pyramid scheme if they can simply keep the recruiting new victims as the old ones fail and leave.

            These may be great questions for you to present to the FTC. My feeling is… Why risk it? Why would you want to get involved in such shenanigans? If a company associates itself with pyramid scheme activity, shouldn’t you want to stay as far away as possible? If you tried to build a Vemma business, you’ve pretty much wasted years of your life to have it all wiped out overnight based on nothing you could control.

  13. Carter says:

    Andrew, I think the fact that Beachbody existed as a viable company for years before adding the MLM component is a shame, and has no bearing on how legal or illegal the current structure is. John DeLorean was a legitimate businessman before he started his own car company and got tied up in cocaine. That didn’t make the cocaine in the transaction legal.

    It seems obvious to me that someone approached Carl Daikeler (Beachbody CEO) or he approached someone else and they came up with the idea of adding another profit area with the MLM component. This MAY be the first time a company has done so. It’s the only one to MY knowledge that has.

    I noticed after I posted earlier that Lindsey Westbrook also uses the fallacy that EVERY company is a pyramid scheme, just like every other MLM out there. The business model is almost always the same. Occasionally there are small variations, but for the most part it’s all a combination of Amway and Herbalife.

  14. Dani says:

    Very interesting read. Definitely needed to see this to help give me the facts! I was approached for a coaching opportunity but the idea of having to drink Shakeology and pay fees up front so I can then be paid didn’t sit right with me. Especially when the coach I talked to about it said it was a bonus to have healthy eating in mind. Ummm, how can you be considered a “fitness coach” that helps others achieve their goals if you don’t have a decent grasp or interest healthy eating and nutrition. If you did have that knowledge you would know you don’t need these junky shakes anyways. Your body needs the physical act of chewing and your food so proper hormones can stay balanced during digestion and energy storage. For anyone looking to clean up their diet or change their relationship with food I HIGHLY recommend looking into the Whole 30 program. It’s absolutely incredible and will change your life in ways you wouldn’t expect. There aren’t any tricks either. You can buy the book if you are interested in really understanding the science side, or you can use the internet to get all of the info you need from it for free. Their website doesn’t cost anything and gives you anything you need. It’s a huge community about healthy eating and living that has encouraged me to reach out to others for the pure benefit of spreading knowledge and making friends, and not based off of making money selling shitty shakes and growing a “network”.

  15. Travis says:

    First off, I guess no one has tried shakeology. Since taking it, I feel so much better and I have so much more energy. This product has definitely made a change in my life. I don’t use it as a meal replacement. But in this fast pace fast food world we live in. It is a great choice over a lot of things that you can choose instead.

    Beachbody as a company. I think it is a good company. They are giving people a chance to make some extra income by basically sharing their health journey with others as well as guide them through theirs as well. There is proof that going through things with guidance is more beneficial than doing it alone. This is why they set it up as challenge groups. So you are not going through things alone.

    And those other products are NOT ANYWHERE close to the same as Shakeology. Just read and you will find out for yourself. I have had the Vega One and I thought they same until I took Shakeology. And it is not the same. The programs they promote and sell as well are amazing!! They really do work if you follow them from your home.

    I really don’t get most of your points due to the fact of lack of knowledge. A pyramid scheme is illegal. So this company would be shut down if it was. And I guess you have never tried the products. Cause they do work!! And Shakeology is 105 dollars a month. You don’t need to sell it if you don’t want to. But they have many other things that can help with your health journey. There is really no reason to bash this company. They are not prying on people. If you want to pry on companies you should look at fast food companies. They make a these meals for little to nothing and sell them for 7 dollars. And they are LITERALLY killing you from the inside out.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Travis,

      I think a lot of people have tried Shakeology… some of those people have even commented here. Not sure why you’d see so much more energy as it doesn’t appear to have much caffeine. You may feel some energy because you are exercising and perhaps eating better, but that would happen with the other products as well. Nutritionally they are functional equivalents. If you can point to a specific reason why Shakeology would set itself apart in delivering energy, I’d love to entertain that discussion.

      There are ways to give people a chance to earn extra income without MLM/pyramid schemes. Simply make it a single-level sales commission and you remove any pyramid aspect. You make it a lot easier to understand and ensure that it is legal (both HUGE improvements over an MLM structure).

      Those other products appear to be VERY CLOSE to Shakeology. I have read and I did find this out for myself. If you want to say otherwise, please state specific reasons to back-up your claim.

      It is very difficult to shut down pyramid schemes. The FTC has to go to court and prove them guilty which costs a lot of tax payer money for legal fees and such. Just one company can eat up a bunch of their annual budget. That’s why an FTC economist is looking for a Federal Pyramid Scheme Rule to make it easier. Sorry that you have a lack of knowledge in this area.

      According to this website, “the list price is $129.95 plus shipping of around $10-14 depending on your location.” That’s around $140, a far cry from $105. My understanding is that this is retail pricing and my understanding of MLM says that distributors must have retail sales of 70% of product based on the Amway rules for it to not be a pyramid scheme.

      People know what they are getting at fast food companies. The nutritional labels are there for anyone to see. People make an informed choice about the food they are eating. In MLMs, 99% of people lose money and the distributors are typically not trained to understand the FTC’s guidelines on what a pyramid scheme is. For this, and many other reasons, they are not able to make the same kind of informed choice that we make about fast food restaurants.

      I want to help people get that information. Once they have it, they can make an informed decision about buying the product if they want to. I sincerely hope that no one tries a build a business that can be shut down overnight for being a pyramid scheme like Vemma’s was. It’s too much work to have it all go up in flames because you weren’t informed.

  16. Meghan says:

    I’m curious. Have you done ANY empirical research? Or are we just cool with anecotal?

    [Editor’s response: I did empirical research by looking at the nutritional label. Unless you want to claim that Beachbody is mislabeling their products, that’s enough. I’m certainly not cool with anecdotal, which is part of problem here. People try to take an anecdotal of “I’m just selling product and not recruiting anyone, so it must be legal.”]

    Have you taken a look at the company’s PUBLIC compensation plan and found anything shady while referencing FTC’s guidelines? Have you actually met anybody that’s made real money as a coach? Because they exist….a lot of them. And guess what….they aren’t just the people who “got in first” and mislead people into signing up. Have you tried the product yourself?

    [Editor’s response: Did you read the article? I did look at the compensation and analyze it. I also referenced a podcast where Kellie Gimenez, who has “made real money” discussed that she did so by recruiting a pyramid and claiming that selling product isn’t nearly as profitable. I have not tried the product, as again, I’ve looked at the nutritional label, which as long as it is accurate is enough.]

    Here’s big one…. Have you considered that the reason many people don’t make $$ with MLMs is because they think it’s easy money and then realize they have to work hard to make $$? God forbid. They think it’s “get rich quick”….as opposed to “get rich slow” like any other entrepreneurial endeavor. But hey, if they didn’t make a bunch of money in the first 6 months…it’s probably the MLMs fault, right?

    [Editor’s response: The reason people don’t make money in MLM is that they losing money is mathematical certainty. This is why you can see that more than 99% of people lose money ACROSS MLMs. So yes, it is the MLMs fault.

    It isn’t a problem with people’s expectations or it would be fixed when those recruits signed the disclosure that 99% of people lose money ;-). Coaches to make people aware of that and make them sign a document saying that they are aware so we know they have accurate expectations right? Oh they don’t?!?! Then maybe Beachbody Coaches need to change.]

    In regards to your chart regarding percentage of coaches earning whatever…consider that withing the current 400K coaches there are, a very large number are “coaches” merely for a discount. No intention or attempt at more. So you can’t really infer a percentage of WORKING coaches who achieve a certain amount of income if you are just looking at data that includes anyone signed up as a “coach.”

    [Editor’s response: If a “coach” is there for a discount, they aren’t a salesperson and thus should be exluded by the chart. This is a game that MLMs play to explain the bottom of the pyramid. It’s not that they can’t recruit people, but that they simply don’t want to. It’s up to the MLM to draw a bright line between distributors and customers. Anyone signing up as a coach counts as “distributor”, not retail customer when you read the FTC guidelines.]

    Is having a job in SALES a problem? Reputable MLM reps don’t make money off of just signing up people. They make money off of their own efforts and then if THOSE people they brought in succeed. AND THEN only if they are still putting in a certain level of hustle. Pretty much the same as any legit sales operation. If some douchbag comes in into a reputable MLM and starts being dishonest and recruiting using deceptive tactics….shame on HIM not the MLM.

    [Editor’s response: A SALES job isn’t a problem. Let’s removing recruiting pyramid scheme portion so we can make it SALES job. Fair?

    If someone jerk on Napster shares copyrighted written music… shame on him and not Napster, right? Hmmm… ]

    If I bring in an amazing sales guy into my insurance company it’s ok I benefit from that too, right? Should MLMs not benefit from recruiting people and training them to be successful?

    [Editor’s response: Sure, you should get a one-time recruiting fee, like when I bring in a great software engineer into the company I worked for. Let’s make sure that none of these people have a Personal Volume (PV) requirement (i.e. pay-to-play) to earn commissions. That’s fair too, right?]

    I see few facts in your article. Actually i see a bunch of biased hearsay. It might be a FACT a Diamond level coach didn’t like Shakeology. So what? I think it’s nut my mom doesn’t like chocolate –but, hey, I guess those unicorns exist. It is definitely a fact Vemma got shut down. So what? Research the exact details as to WHY that happened (and BB’ comp plan) before you compare the 2. It had more to do with than their comp structure. But hey, just trying to make sure you are “informed.”

    [Editor’s response: It wasn’t just that the Diamond level person didn’t like, but the person running the podcast. Yes, it is a small sample size, but it’s both of them and one is extremely financially biased. That’s not typical of unicorns. Why don’t you tell us how the Beachbody compensation plan is substantially different from Vemma in the important ways that got Vemma in trouble with the FTC. Hey, just want to make sure you are actually “informing” us and not just throwing out unsubstantiated claims.]

    As far as energy (referring to comment to Travis above). Research the ingredients. Energy comes from other resources than caffeine in case you didn’t know (Maca root in Shakeology’s case).

    [Editor’s response: I did some research on Maca root and there wasn’t much information on it giving energy. It’s more likely that the small amount of caffeine give energy… but again, neither would make a person typically feel energy.]

    Oh, and feel free to share what products are functional equivalents to Shakeo….because I’d love to see. I don’t love spending $100 either…but it’s worth the value. show me a label with similar quality with better value and i am ON it.

    [Editor’s response: Again, read the article. The products are mentioned there. Thanks for conserving space in these comments.]

    Herein lies the problem…you’ve done minimal to legit research, put it in an article and invite people to believe what you haven’t even dug in to to find real data. And getting them to jump on your bandwagon. And you are now blanketing MLMers as snake oil salesmen??

    [Editor’s response: Most readers are amazed that I’ve done so much information. They ask me why I put in so much time. So not sure you can say that I’ve done minimal research. I’ve certain dug and cited real data. Real doctors have blanketed MLMers as snake oil salesmen, so I don’t need to.]

    Interesting….

    I’m not sure who is truly uninformed here.

  17. Meghan says:

    Gladly! I was trying to be respectful of YOUR slice of internet sales heaven knowing you’ve directed a great amount of traffic with a very catchy headline. Very smart marketing move! But since you insist: Meghan Eggleston, 10-Star Diamond, 2X Elite Coach. :)

    Real doctors actually support Beachbody too, FYI. So not really an argument. Real MDs on my team as coaches too. Just sayin.’

    OH, the Vemma stuff is easy to Google…just go to http://www.lmgtfy.com. (JK, I just don’t have time to do your research and my job)

    Just becuase you’ve had readers commend your research doesn’t make it true.

    SO much else I’d love to address! BUT this engagement has already cost me 10 minutes of my life better spent providing value to those in my life I can help

    until you can prove that it’s a “pyramid scheme” I’m not even going to address any response made under that assumption. I probably shouldn’t have engaged in this conversation because I know by now that it’s silly to try to explain myself when people can only really understand from their own level of perception. And yours has it’s own biases as will mine. I suppose I had to chime in on one of these discussions just this once because I was once JUST like you…not just skeptical but OPPOSED to MLMs because of things I had heard and read.

    And then I researched….a lot. and sat on it for a YEAR becuase i was more concerned with the PERCEPTION of MLMs than the reality of what I researched and understood about the REAL details.

    I had a TRUE desire to help people. And I do. Everyday. Tons of testimonials and real lab reports. And I have a vehicle to do that at a larger scale at home than I was doing the gym as a certified personal trainer and group fitness pro (with a BS and MS degree). But now I can do that at home with my babies….making a bigger difference through support and accountability. And yes, earning an INCOME…FPU, Dave Ramsey baby-stepping, gazelle-like, financially-free, paying cash, all that jazz…. And now I get to show other women how to do it AND be fulfilled providing REAL solutions to REAL people. I have 5 others on my team earning full-time income that I’ve trained and invested in. Just like any CEO or leader should.

    God blessed me with an opportunity and has called me to share it. My job is to do what love requires of me. And I can in good faith say that I am NOT deceiving anyone as a Beachbody coach or setting them up for failure.

    By the way, have to you talked to any of the people whose lives have been changed? That’s rhetorical…cuz I’m not returning to view a response….I’m gonna go EARN my 6-figure income. I have very successful team to go lead, and actual people to go help with their fitness goals which takes time, hustle, heart & sacrifice. But worth it 100X over.

    Oh yes I’m REQUIRED by the company’s legal team to share this next part when I reference any success, so here you go:
    *Team Beachbody® does not guarantee any level of success or income from the Team Beachbody Coach Opportunity. Each Coach’s income depends on his or her own efforts, diligence, and skill.

    I’m certain you’ll do your thing and attempt to discredit me. And that’s cool. Like I said, people only understand from their own level of perception so while it might be a fun discussion, neither of us will change our minds and, well, time is a finite resource I value dearly. Though I won’t return to check it out, you are welcome to email me if you wish to continue the discussion. Anyone else can find me on FB page and message me.

    God didn’t call me to impress people, only to love them ;) I sincerely wish you the best at you’re own sales endeavor. MLMs are certainly NOT for everyone :)

    Meghan

    P.S. It’s ironic that I had the option to click a Beachbody affiliate link on this page.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I don’t know why not leaving your name and hiding your level expertise was respectful of anything to me. I don’t think my traffic is due to a catchy headline. Anyone can use it and a number of people have variations of it. I think my traffic may be because I put in such extensive research into the article and follow it up with awesome customer service such as responding back to you. :)

      I’m sure real doctors support Beachbody. They are bad doctors just like bad people in all practices. It’s not surprising that some would try to earn some extra cash by leveraging their trusted profession.

      However, if you take Shakeology to an unbiased doctor or dietitian and ask them about it, you’ll probably get plenty of laughter, especially if you try to get them justify the pricing based on nutritional benefit.

      Thanks, I already looked up the Vemma thing. I did my research. Yes, Vemma got down for more the compensation structure, but it doesn’t mean that the compensation structure was legal. In fact, Vemma was allowed to operate again under a very different compensation structure. Beachbody’s compensation structure was very closely related Vemma. It is very far away from the approved compensation that allowed them to run again. Hope you like my research. If you don’t, then please feel free to add your own.

      Meghan said, “Just becuase you’ve had readers commend your research doesn’t make it true.”

      It’s probably been thousands of people now. Combine that with no one coming up with why it is untrue, and I feel pretty good about it.

      I’m with you, I probably shouldn’t have responded to your comment in the first place, because it is time away from me reaching out to help more people.

      I think I’ve shown enough evidence of it being a pyramid scheme between the FTC’s guidelines and Kellie Giminez’s own admission. If Beachbody wants to open up their books, I might be able to prove it, but I don’t think Beachbody is going to extend me that courtesy of reviewing their finances. So in the meantime, I’ll stand on the clear evidence I have presented and put the ball in your court to prove that Beachbody CAN NOT be a pyramid scheme.

      Remember, even if there’s a 1% chance it is, no one should get involved.

      Mine doesn’t have biases, because I’m not paid by MLMs. I got in via a blank slate of just wanting to learn more to help readers. What you call “bias”, is actually an informed opinion after years of studying MLMs.

      Yes, it looks all rosy and you have to make it look all rosy. It sounds like the Mary Kay people saying that everything is great and they are making income, while the pyramid scheme is destroying the lives of women as Harper’s Magazine put it.

      You can only see yourself at the top and the 5 people below you making a full time income. If you did the math for how much your organization spends on Shakeology, it is probably in the millions, maybe tens of millions. If everyone switched to any of the functionally equivalent products, your organization would have millions of dollars to tithe to your church (since you think God is so involved with this).

      You can read more about that idea here: The MLM Gas Station and $8/Gallon Gas. Maybe it makes more sense when you think of a gas station charging $8 for gas. You can recruit people and make money yourself that way too, but it is a fundamentally very stupid idea where the money goes the gas station owner and the few people at the top… such as maybe 10-star Diamonds.

      It’s a shame you are only focused on yourself earning that 6-figure income and not seeing how much damage you are doing to the rest of the organization with vastly overpriced product. However, as you said, it is your level of perception. I’m sorry it doesn’t allow for that complete view.

      Yes pyramid schemes are NOT for everyone. :)

      P.S.

      I want to clarify that I’m not a Beachbody affiliate. Of course that should have been abundantly clear in the review.

  18. Robert Christopher Bullock says:

    Re: MLMS.

    I think we can agree on some truths.

    1. There’s always someone at the top making way more money than the people at the bottom. http://fortune.com/2015/08/06/highest-ceo-worker-pay-ratio/ CEO pay was just over 300 times that of the worker vs 20x in 1965. The big difference is in an MLM, at least the people at the top have an interest, or should have, in helping those under them. Arguably more than a CEO , since all they care about is job performance. At least in my experience, Beachbody is about personal development physically and mentally, and not so much on sales. The sales will follow if you set a good example and put yourself out there.

    2. You don’t have to sell anything. I make some income just by signing up people who want a discount. We can argue all day long over the product price, efficacy, etc. but some people just like what they like. This is more fair than just recommending a company’s product and getting nothing at all for it. And yes, there are some commodities I buy elsewhere, like creatine and basic whey products.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Mr. Bullock,

      1) The pay scale of hierarchical organizations is not relevant to the compensation structure of MLMs. Sure Beachbody has a CEO who probably makes much more money than someone in their janitorial services department. These aren’t relevant to recruitment sales hierarchy that are mentioned in the FTC Guidelines.

      Please stick to relevant truths and omit the irrelevant truths to save space and discussion time here. Thanks.

      2) What you described would appear to be a pyramid scheme by the FTC Guidelines that cite making sales to the public. Signing someone up for the discount is recruiting a downline and not sales to the public.

  19. Robert Christopher Bullock says:

    It’s both. From the FTC you reference often:

    “In multilevel or network marketing, individuals sell products to the public”

    I do. Sometimes people I know, sometimes people I don’t. Like any other business.

    True statement with Beachbody: If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan.

    Kinda true statement: “If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It’s a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money.”

    You have to recruit 3 to get some small bonuses going. But I don’t sell things to them, they buy for their own use from Beachbody. In most cases, they came to me in some fashion because I put out info on the discount.

    I think in the second statement, the FTC means EXCLUSIVELY that: only selling to people you recruit.

    Beachbody makes it so the income is much smaller for people using it for the discount vs. selling it to them as a customer.

    Which is kind of the opposite you would expect for a pyramid scheme.

    But it would also not be fair to give you *nothing* for bringing in sales, so you do get something.

    Example: for a discount Coach buying Shakeology, I get $12.60 (basically, kinda) but a direct sale gets either $32.50 or $22.50 (if the buyer gets the 10% Club discount.)

    It takes the value of 1 bag Shakeology times about 3.3 for me to get $14. The direct sellers would get $97.50 to $67.50.

    There are some other variables and higher bonus rates, etc. but it does not scale up that much. Next level for me is $16 instead of $14 or something like that. Very small.

    I simplified the math, but it’s essentially the gist of how that part of it works.

    I’d MUCH rather moneywise to just sell you a bag. I put out the discount because I prefer to give the best deal I can.

    It’s a fair no-brainer to do for a buyer.

  20. Robert Christopher Bullock says:

    Quick notes on other areas:

    I *DO* review other products on Youtube. Example: Orgain that you have mentioned IIRC.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE3LagX2bVM

    Spirutein is pretty gross too, or at leas the 1-2 I tried. You can take a look there to see for yourself.

    If I am biased, it’s not as much as you think.

    • Lazy Man says:

      The second statement from the FTC isn’t about EXCLUSIVELY. In fact they’ve reinforced that with the latest work with Vemma. You can read some of that here. They obviously know that there’s a going to be mix of people who do both. Is it 99% selling to people outside (with 1% recruiting) or is it 99% recruiting (with 1% selling). Is it somewhere in the middle? It seems like it would be 90%+ recruiting, because as you say, people are signing up to be recruits for the discount. That’s bad news in my opinion.

      How much do you actually sell the product for? I’m curious if you are able to sell it for more than what I can buy it for on Ebay and still get good margins. For example if I buy a 30-day supply for $105 (which I can), you need to be able to sell it for less (say around $100) and still make $32.50 or $22.50. Otherwise you aren’t giving people a discount at all.

      As for the Orgain review, it sounds like exactly what the Kellie Gimenez (high BeachBody Diamond) had to say about Shakeology. As I mentioned in the article she said you need to “find your mix” which for her involved “peanut butter, a banana, almond milk, ice.” Probably sounds like you need that for Orgain as well, so we’ll call them equal in taste while recognizing that even biased people think that Shakeology isn’t very good.

  21. David R. says:

    I was approached by a “coach” with a job recently and I was excited… until I realized that it was just selling shakes to people. Paying a monthly fee just to advertise a product reeked and I rejected the “opportunity” on the follow up interview.

    People like Meghan above are THE WORST. While they claim to be doing this to help people, real help would be directing people to free resources (work out routines, diet websites) and not trying to get them to subscribe to overpriced services or sign up and pay for the right of advertising Beachbody’s stuff. She also presents no counterargument of her own, just makes a bunch of snippy comments saying (essentially) it’s all just opinion. She’s been enriched by Beachbody, but the numbers are this: only about 1 in 200 people (at best) make anything resembling a decent salary at all. This is for Beachbody and other MLMs. It’s not quite “winning the lottery” bad odds, but it’s still pretty bad. It basically relies on the person being a good salesman and finding a few other people who are good salesmen too, which is far harder than it sounds. While some people strike it rich, most people who even put full-time work in will make far less than minimum wage.

    With MLMs, the lesson is “Don’t quit your day job”.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I’m not an advocate of playing the lottery, but it is worth mentioning that it doesn’t require any time and effort.

      If you were to put, say $50, every month (potential savings from picking a non-MLM product), into the lottery your odds would be much better of winning. Yes, you will EXTREMELY likely lose, but comparing the lottery’s millions of dollars with a “decent salary” (as David R. explains) are worlds apart.

      Most people do not depend on taking a 1 in 200 chance to earn a “decent salary.”

  22. Nightcrawler says:

    David – even being a good salesperson and knowing other good salespeople aren’t enough. You have to be willing to lie and rip other people off. Even then, if you don’t get in at the very top of the pyramid, you still won’t suceed; it’s a matter of simple math.

    If you’re a good salesperson, you’re far better off taking a job selling cars or another legitimate product or service … something that doesn’t hinge on you “signing up” other people to “sell under you.”

  23. Robert Christopher Bullock says:

    First off, there are a lot of off the cuff statements here: “Be willing to lie to people”, etc.

    Newsflash: no business or ongoing concern is going to last very long doing that. Yet Beachbody has, so perhaps there’s something going on here.

    Some individuals’ perception would not seem to fit reality.

    Some responses to LM:

    “It seems like it would be 90%+ recruiting, because as you say, people are signing up to be recruits for the discount. That’s bad news in my opinion.”

    Not sure, but I can say my income is higher from sales than from recruiting. Also looking at the income report you’ve cited, there aren’t many people at the lowest rank, which means you signed up two people for the discount.

    So the data would suggest you’re wrong about the 90%. Otherwise almost everyone would be at least the lowest rank. The 2012 statement said that was 21.5%. I’m asking for a later statement.

    “How much do you actually sell the product for? I’m curious if you are able to sell it for more than what I can buy it for on Ebay and still get good margins. For example if I buy a 30-day supply for $105 (which I can), you need to be able to sell it for less (say around $100) and still make $32.50 or $22.50. Otherwise you aren’t giving people a discount at all.”

    We’re not allowed to sell on Ebay/Amazon/etc. We can’t discount. We can do prize giveaways and some other promo type things. If we gave discounts it would be a race to the bottom.

    I never said I gave discounts, what I said was people sign up with me for the Coach discount. There are a couple of little tips to save a bit more and get some different niceties, but I’m keeping those for my peeps. :) I don’t want to reveal all the tips here.

    “As for the Orgain review, it sounds like exactly what the Kellie Gimenez (high BeachBody Diamond) had to say about Shakeology. As I mentioned in the article she said you need to “find your mix” which for her involved “peanut butter, a banana, almond milk, ice.” Probably sounds like you need that for Orgain as well, so we’ll call them equal in taste while recognizing that even biased people think that Shakeology isn’t very good.”

    Orgain is far far worse to me than Chocolate Shakeology. I can drink it straight up with ice and water in a shaker and enjoy it. Many people like eggs. Seasoning and making them different is fun and keeps you form getting bored. That’s it. Data point: I had a lady say it was too chocolatey once.

    RARELY do I come across any shake that matches the chocolate flavor even closely, and have yet to find one that has the kitchen sink of ingredients. It’s made up of a lot of things,so there is some granularity to it.

    Some of this back and forth always reminds me of how Android is cheaper than Apple tablets, but you will find arguments and rabid fans of both.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Robert Bullock said, “Newsflash: no business or ongoing concern is going to last very long doing that. Yet Beachbody has, so perhaps there’s something going on here.”

      Bernie Maddoff’s business lasted 17 years doing that. It was only caught because of the housing meltdown. Let’s not use longevity as an indicator of validity.

      Robert Bullock said, “Not sure, but I can say my income is higher from sales than from recruiting. Also looking at the income report you’ve cited, there aren’t many people at the lowest rank, which means you signed up two people for the discount… So the data would suggest you’re wrong about the 90%. Otherwise almost everyone would be at least the lowest rank. The 2012 statement said that was 21.5%. I’m asking for a later statement.”

      The 21.5% is the Emerald rank. There are certainly people below that. Actually there are 71.4% at the Coach Level. Keep in mind that this only includes the 45.9% that were enrolled in the entire period who actually received a check. That small print is a big deal

      Robert Bullock said, “We’re not allowed to sell on Ebay/Amazon/etc. We can’t discount. We can do prize giveaways and some other promo type things. If we gave discounts it would be a race to the bottom.”

      You didn’t answer my question about how much you sell it for. I realize that you can’t sell on Ebay or Amazon. However, I can buy it for $105 on Ebay. You suggested that you are giving people a discount, but it looks to me that you are overcharging them.

      How do you convince people to buy the product at retail price instead of signing up for the discount? (You previously said that your income is higher from sales than recruiting and signing up is recruitment not sales).

      Robert Bullock said, “I never said I gave discounts, what I said was people sign up with me for the Coach discount.”

      In a previous comment you said, “In most cases, they came to me in some fashion because I put out info on the discount.”

      Putting out information on the discount is “giving people a discount” if they are buying from you. When you say that people “sign up with [you]” you are recruiting them. You are aware of that right? It seems like you are suggesting that they are customers. I don’t see how that is true given the sign up forms to be Coaches.

      Coaches are not customers and customers are not Coaches.

      Robert Bullock said, “RARELY do I come across any shake that matches the chocolate flavor even closely, and have yet to find one that has the kitchen sink of ingredients.”

      Yes, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that whole food is better than shakes. As my new favorite dietician writes: “Shakeology is marketed as ‘The Healthiest Meal Replacement Shake’, which I guess is a dubious honor – sort of like saying ‘the healthiest chocolate bar you can buy’. I mean, replacing a meal of healthy food that you can chew with a ‘meal replacement shake’ is not something generally regarded as being healthy.”

      So let’s be honest with people up front that we shouldn’t even be encouraging shakes in the first place, right?

  24. David R. says:

    LM: “[the lottery] doesn’t require any time and effort.”

    Ha, too true. The odds are much worse but the potential payoff (tens of millions of dollars for no work) is much better than making between $40k – $50k a year for what amounts to part-time work. While some people in MLMs make six or even seven figures, the odds there are roughly 1 in a 1000. Reaching any sort of success in an MLM (outside of luck) is dependent on factors like personal attractiveness, charisma, being able to win people over to your line of thinking, and natural salesmanship, and if you don’t have any of those things then all the hard work and seminars in the world aren’t going to help you make much money.

    Getting back to the point of the lottery, I made the comparison as a way of pointing out how getting involved in MLMs is like gambling, though LM notes that the lottery requires no effort and less fiscal investment. So the best way to think about it is this: you’re gambling with not only your money but your time as well, and just like in any casino, the odds are stacked against you.

    Nightcrawler: I totally agree that there are better things to do with your time if you have the knack as a salesperson than get involved with MLMs (not the least of which being that if the FTC brings the hammer down, then your whole enterprise goes bye-bye). However, I don’t think Beachbody’s products are necessarily a “lie”, but that’s the insidious part. If someone replaces their 500+ calorie junky breakfast with Shakeolgy of 150 calories (or anything at that calorie level) and goes from a mostly sedentary lifestyle to doing P90X (or any high-impact workout 30 minutes every day), they’re going to lose weight and be in better shape. The “lie” part is that you need to spend money and subscribe to this particular program to achieve it; there are better, cheaper ways. Worse still, you’re very likely to annoy your friends and family by posting social media messages (or confronting them in person) and encouraging them to sign up for these shakes.

    It’s all these downsides that make MLMs a bad bet, but they work because people often are terrible at cost-benefit analysis.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I often make the point about the lottery as well. The problem with the 1 in 1000 odds is that it takes hundreds, maybe thousands of hours to see if you are in that. And if that money comes from your “downline” you appear to be running an illegal pyramid scheme according to these FTC guidelines.

    • Nightcrawler says:

      The sad part is, David, the workout programs are sound. I love P90X and still use the workouts as cross-training for running. However, although the P90X program may have been worth ~$120 when it first came out, it’s not worth that much now. There are too many low-cost and free workout options that are just as good. As you pointed out, no one NEEDS P90X or any specific program to get in shape.

      Notably, when P90X first came out, Beachbody wasn’t an MLM company. Shakeology didn’t exist. They sold workout tapes, equipment, and supplements through infomercials — no “direct selling” at all. I don’t know why, instead of miring themselves in the MLM industry and destroying the company’s reputation, they didn’t instead start selling branded P90X products.

      Here’s another tidbit: About a year ago, Beachbody DID start selling branded P90X products–pull-up bars, bands, etc.–at retail stores. My husband and I saw a display at Target recently. I cannot help but wonder if Beachbody fears that the feds will soon come down hard on MLM’s, forcing the MLM side of the business to shut down, and the company is preparing for this day.

      However, because it has destroyed its reputation with the MLM nonsense, it may be too little, too late. There are many people who would never consider purchasing P90X just because the company that sells it is involved in MLM.

  25. David R. says:

    LM: Yeah, part of what MLMs try to sell you on is how quickly you can get to those statistically unlikely six and seven figure marks, and while I’m sure some people hit that in less than a year, I’m sure those odds do look like the lottery. 1 in 100,000? 1 in 1,000,000? Tough to say since MLMs try to obfuscate those facts by selling people on the dream of easy money.

    Nightcrawler: The sad part of this is that if it wasn’t for the MLM part of what Beachbody does, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. If they stuck to their workout programs and sold Shakeology on the open market there’d be nothing objectionable. To make a very nerdy paraphrase, “once you start down the MLM path, forever will it dominate your destiny”. I’m sure they were completely aware of what they were doing when they decided to launch their “coaching” program the way they did, and now it’s a huge part of their business. If the FTC cracks down and their MLM goes away, it might be a blow from which they never recover.

  26. Rob Bullock says:

    Let’s keep these short, since you’re so busy you miss fine points in my longer posts.

    Pyramind scheme. The Signup is free for veterans, and Challenge Pack purchasers. You can’t be ripped off for $0. Otherwise it’s $40. Not a lot of money. And it’s tax deductible. The monthly is $15.95 plus tax. No coach makes any money off this. You get 25% off, a special phone mumber that they answer quickly on, and the opportunity to maybe make a few dollars here and there. If you like the consumables, buy a few programs or gear (Black Friday sale!) here and there, and write off the fee, it’s not an amount of mooney that’s a big deal. If you order a few small things every 90 days, for veterans the fee is waived. Where’s the huge expenditure? There isn’t one. And you don’t have to buy anything ever, or stay a Coach, etc.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Thanks for keeping it short, Rob. It seems like you are the one who is too busy.

      You are like a pre-schooler shooting a puck at an Olympic goalie. For the 623rd time I’ve blocked you with no rebound. Rather than respond, you simply gear up another shot.

      As for the pyramid scheme aspect you’d probably do best to read the article again and the sources I cite. Pyramid schemes can be hidden in overpriced products such as the $100 Pen Pyramid scheme that I referenced. If I take a $40 pen and sell it for $120, it doesn’t help to give people a 25% discount. It certainly doesn’t help to charge them an additional $15/mo.

      For a lot of people a cost of $100/mo. is a good deal of money. It’s 10x the cost of their Netflix plan. It’s around $1200 a year. If you don’t think that’s much money, then feel free to drop a few hundred in my GoFundMe account to protect my free speech from companies bullying me on this topic.

      And I believe there are qualification requirements in Beachbody. It would be one thing if they didn’t have them, but I there are.

  27. Robert Christopher Bullock says:

    Since most of that comment was just jabs at me, I’ll address what I can dig out of your pile of retort:

    “If I take a $40 pen and sell it for $120, it doesn’t help to give people a 25% discount. It certainly doesn’t help to charge them an additional $15/mo”

    Focus with me here.

    1. What difference does it make if someone likes the pens? I like the pens. Other people like the pens. Someone bought 3 bags of Shakeology from me today. I guess she ran out of the 2 or 3 bags (I forget) she bought back in August. Yes, I have told MANY people about the 25% off, and the other discounts. Some people just like to pay retail I guess. I wrote her a thank you note, FWIW. I have never spoken to her, and she doesn’t open my emails. Hey, I try.

    2. I was going to send you $1 as a lark. But GoFundMe has a $5 minimum. I think if they really wanted to help people they’d take any amount, but that’s me.

    3. Who cares what Netflix etc. cost and how people spend their money? I drive a Nissan Leaf. I’d like a Tesla. The Leaf does the job. But I still want a Tesla. A car that really does the same thing. It’s lust. I like both.

    4. Finally, something serious I can reply to: There are some qualifications for different bonuses etc. But NOTHING to be a Coach. If you’d like to ask about a SPECIFIC qualification with some SPECIFICS I’d be happy to address them. Some things I qualify for, some I don’t. I let the chips fall where they may.

    • Lazy Man says:

      1. I like pens and I like protein powder too. I also like cars and gasoline that runs on them. I’m not going to pay $120,000 for a Honda Civic or pay $8/gallon for gas as part of what appears to be a recruitment scheme (again see Kellie Gimenez’ points). Even if you give a 25% discount of those prices, it is a bad invitation.

      Yes occasionally people make bad purchasing decisions based on bad information such as paying $120 or more for Shakeology when nutritionists say that it is worse than real food. It seems like it is rare to find these people and instead people become Coaches in the scheme. You’ve admitted that people do that previously.

      2. They probably don’t want 50% of your donation to go to the credit card company and their own fees. If you really wanted to help someone you’d probably give them at least $5.

      3. This is a personal finance website. If you don’t care about the value of things or wish to talk about how people spend money, you can show yourself the door and leave the conversation.

      4. Who cares about being a Coach? Would you like to be an Admiral Gas Consumer and pay $6/gal at my gas station? It’s a meaningless title, which is ironic, because it is the one that implies there should be some qualifications (i.e. training). I don’t have any specific questions on clarifying, I presume they are accurately spelled out in the compensation plan.

  28. Scootie says:

    I’m a coach. I am actually a diamond level coach and got there selling programs. I have done this 9 months and steadily made over $1,000- 1600 per month. I have not recruited a team. Most of the people I have now who are starting to get into the business side were customers of the shakeology and programs first. We are ALL about our customers. We do provide a service. I work with everyone in my group stop make sure their goals are set, they are following their meal plans and getting in their water and shake daily and their workout. I am getting certified through BB to teach their PiYo Program and I am getting certified in sports nutrition to better help my clients so I think it is very unfair to categorize it that way. The bulk of my professional development is health and fitness related and I do NOT listen to donald trump. I have earned one trip with them and I am half way to another now. Within 6 months I have worked my way up almost to the top 500 coaches in the company and my coach is in the top25. My Upline is good at what they do, all products of the product and know their stuff when it comes to these products. Selling products is a HUGE part of it for us, that is what gives us our success club points- not just recruiting new people. And just on the side, I love shakeology. I think it has a great taste. I drink it as a snack. Most of my people do. And its been really important for me when it comes to battling cravings and keeping me full. I am a skeptic and very weary of the “discounts” offered by MLM companies. I did not enter this for the “business opportunity”, the opportunity found me, I went with it and its replaced my income in a small amount of time.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I never suggested that it was impossible to just sell workout programs. It obviously is. However, it also seems possible to recruit a pyramid scheme… so why would a reputable company get mixed up in such Shenanigans, Scootie?

      Surely you can find some other workout programs to sell?

  29. Vogel says:

    Scootie said: “I have done this 9 months and steadily made over $1,000- 1600 per month….Within 6 months I have worked my way up almost to the top 500 coaches in the company… its replaced my income in a small amount of time.”

    There is no way to verify your income claims, but assuming they are correct, you are currently earning poverty level wages and yet claim to be one of the top 500 coaches in the company. Do you not realize how pathetic that is?

    Scootie said: “I am getting certified in sports nutrition…And just on the side, I love shakeology. I think it has a great taste. I drink it as a snack. Most of my people do.”

    From a nutritional perspective, Shakeology is crap. Reconciling your zeal for it with a certification in sports nutrition is an impossibility. The last thing the world needs is yet another a poorly educated individual blindly pontificating about nutrition while hawking overpriced garbage MLM products.

    • Nightcrawler says:

      ——There is no way to verify your income claims, but assuming they are correct, you are currently earning poverty level wages and yet claim to be one of the top 500 coaches in the company. Do you not realize how pathetic that is?——–

      LOL Great point. $1,600/month is a whole $19,200/year. A full-time job at the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour) would pay $15,080/year. And remember, this person said they make between $1,000 and $1,600/month, so they’re probably closer to $15k than $19k.

      Walmart or McDonald’s would be better career options. At least entry-level workers who show initiative and go to school (which McDonald’s will pay for, BTW) can move up into management and earn far more than the top 500 BB coaches in the country.

      • Scootie Dabbs says:

        Well, considering I’m a stay at home mom and make “poverty level wages” within my first month with the company, I don’t think that’s a bad deal. I get paid to help people get healthy and fit. At the same time I’m getting healthy and fit. It’s a win/ win for me. I don’t have to check in to an office or go to work at wal mart to make that. I expect to be earning at about 50k by the end of 2016. Not bad for a year in the business. People have their own thoughts on this, to each his own, but I’m making what I consider a great income and don’t have to put my kids in full time childcare to do so. If I were making $40k at a desk job I would be making less after all of my childcare expenses. So, yes, I’m coming out on top even though, as you say, I’m making Lovett level wages. Last week my check was $630. Only about $70 of that was from my team. I get that people make fun of what I do but I get to work on my time and make great money without the overhead of full time childcare for 3 kids. I think that’s winning. It works for me.

      • Scootie says:

        Just for the record, I’m pretty well educated. I have a bachelors degree from a wonderful university and a masters. I’m not a fool and don’t fall into things lightly.

        • Lazy Man says:

          Scootie,

          I have difficulty believing in your story. It doesn’t make much sense that you’d be able to find new people to sell programs to while you working from home. To make $1000 a month, you’d have to sell a lot of workouts (maybe a hundred or more each month). As Kellie Gimenez pointed out in the article, it can be good for around $500 a month. I’m not sure how you sell enough workouts to make $50,000 a year, especially with the number of them on Ebay.

          You also seemed to say that you didn’t recruit, but if you are diamond-level like you also claim, you have to have recruited two Emerald coaches who had to recruit themselves too. It feels like you aren’t just retailing workouts, Scootie.

          • Scootie says:

            I absolutely do not actively recruit. The coaches I have who decide to become active/ selling coaches do so on their own, by their own choice. I’m really good at what I do and I have a huge network in an unsaturated area. People have seen my results, tried it, loved it and referred me to friends. You don’t have to believe my story at all. I don’t care. All I am saying is that it’s not all a scam. Some people can become successful without luring people with the dreams of millions and suckering them into crap. I am very transparent and don’t recruit for a business opportunity. I share my story and help people achieve the health and results I have. Y’all can believe whatever you like, that’s on you. I’m not trying to change your mind. I’m just speaking to my experience.

          • Nightcrawler says:

            You’re right, Lazy Man. Coaches do not qualify for Diamond level unless they have a bunch of people “under” them. And, from what I recall, the majority of the coaches under you have to be “active,” meaning they’re buying Shakeology every month.

            There’s a lot of holes in this individual’s story.

          • Nightcrawler says:

            I found a diagram that explains this (and exposes the hole’s in that other person’s story). In order to reach Diamond level, you have to have a total of 12 people “under” you, and ALL of them have to be active … meaning they’re all buying Shakeology.

            http://coachquestions.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Diamond-Roadmap2.jpg

            Disclaimer: Technically, they COULD be “active” from buying workout programs, but even the most avid fitness enthusiasts I know don’t buy a new workout program every single month. These people are “active” because they’re buying Shakeology.

          • Lazy Man says:

            Scootie, it feels like you are changing your story now. You started off by saying that sold programs and didn’t recruit a team (more accurately referred to as a “pyramid” due to the levels). Now you say that you didn’t “actively” recruit a team, but by declaring yourself as a Diamond, you seem to admit that you do have an extensive team.

            And of course coaches do what they do by their own choice… no one suggested that you held them at gun point. As Nightcrawler points out, qualification very likely happens by the purchase of the Shakeology product. So “suckering them into crap” is subjective, but as we’ve shown it appears to many that’s exactly what is going on… unless you show a breakdown that your pyramid is really all coming from everyone buying workout programs and there’s no pay-to-play qualification such as described here.

          • Scootie says:

            I have a team. I don’t make much money at this point off my team. Almost every one of my coaches is a “coach” for the discount. Of the 75 coaches I have, 5 actively coach others. Of the 5 who do, all started with programs, loved them and wanted to help others. I don’t approach people about a business opportunity. You can find holes in whatever you like. The people I have in my group drink shakeology because they love it.

            I’ve always found it really interesting how people call most anything a “scam” these days. Yes, I sell products for a MLM Company. No, I do not approach people to get into this for a business opportunity just to further myself. They have to want to do that on their own. And every team is different. Keep that in mind. Every coach above me on my team is elite. And they work hard. So you can call this whatever you like- I call it a passion. I enjoy helping people, and I do help people. So you can interpret all of this any way you like. I don’t view this as a “scheme” and if you think it is, then don’t buy the products. Don’t become a coach but why give those of us who enjoy this and do love it a hard time? I don’t need to explain myself any further. I wasn’t swindled. I don’t swindle others. I don’t lose money each month, I make 150% of what I spend and what I spend IS money on a product I love. MLM companies are doing everything these days and most do have great products. If you don’t like them, go to the mall. It’s that simple. Until then I’ll be getting ready for my next reward trip and enjoying my free coach summit :-) good evening, gentlemen. Is been fun.

          • Lazy Man says:

            Well a pyramid of 75 certainly seems significant. Remember that a coach for the discount is a recruited person in your downline, not a retail sale of product. If you have 75 people under you consistently buying Shakeology, I find it hard to believe how you aren’t make a significant amount from that vs. sales of workouts every month. Maybe you can upload a screenshot of the breakdown?

            I try to interpret it how the FTC guidelines interpret it… and that leads me to the opinion that it is a scam. Pyramid schemes do NOT help people. If you really wanted to help people, you’d tell the people to get the substantially equivalent products for much, much less money. That’s helping people.

            One of the problem with MLMs is that people don’t even realize that they are being swindled. You probably should have learned from the article how overpriced the Shakeology product is and realize that’s the swindle. And yes, you may be able to make 150% of what you spend, but not all 75 of the recruited people do. In fact they probably don’t close.

  30. Carter says:

    I’d like to point out to all the Beachbody coaches out there (and interested parties) NOW Beachbody is strongly encouraging the coaches to sign up for (and sell) Beachbody On Demand. $2.99 per week (more than Netflix!) for access to a number of workouts in streaming format. Bet the coaches aren’t getting a piece of THAT action, either. $38.87 billed quarterly IN ADVANCE and it includes a 10% discount on things you buy AND your very own personal (untrained but highly motivated to sell you Shakeology)Coach!Plus you get all the documentation that goes with the workouts, including all the meal plans, the majority of which mention or recommend Shakeology. Bet the streaming has adverts for Shakeology as well. Gotta sell those shakes!

  31. David R. says:

    LM: “If you really wanted to help people, you’d tell the people to get the substantially equivalent products for much, much less money. That’s helping people.”

    Yep, exactly that. What those at the top of the pyramid often fail to see most is everyone else losing money, gaining dependency on an outside system for their fitness goals and basically paying to advertise a company’s product. There are cheaper dietary, fitness and support group models out there to help people. But hey, those things wouldn’t pay for the “reward trip” and “free coach summit” Scootie seemed so proud of.

    The lady that tried to sell me on this seemed educated too – she said she was an editor of a local newspaper before doing this full time and I have no reason to disbelieve her. I “interviewed” with her and was only vaguely aware of what I would be doing, maybe something along the lines of a personal fitness instructor. It was only 25 minutes into the pitch video I was sent that the hard facts came – this is about buying and slinging Beachbody products and there were NO qualifications to be a “coach”. While she didn’t strike me as a stupid person at all, she wasn’t necessarily qualified to be giving fitness/dietary advice. What she did have was a kind demeanor and a clear talent for networking with people and that’s the insidious thing – she totally bought in and believed everything Beachbody told her. Those indoctrinated into selling things as Beachbody wants them to are completely devoted and those are much more convincing to outsiders to try Beachbody products.

    • Nightcrawler says:

      Unfortunately, highly educated people get caught up in scams all the time. Watch a few episodes of “American Greed” on CNBC sometime. Many of the victims on that show are highly educated, skilled professionals.

      If you go back through my own posts here, you’ll see that at the time I got sucked into Beachbody, I’d completed a bachelor’s in math & computer science and was studying for my MBA. I was an older student who’d gone back to college later in life, not a kid. Despite my education and skills, I lived in a severely economically depressed area, couldn’t find gainful work, was looking at losing my house and ending up on the streets, and was desperate … which made me the perfect target for an MLM. All I wanted to do was work and support my household, and the woman who recruited me promised that I’d be able to do that. A nagging voice inside me told me that BB was a scam, but I ignored it and told myself what I wanted to hear. I made myself believe that all the promises were true.

      Thankfully, I got out of it after only a few months, without losing more than a couple hundred bucks, and without alienating anyone other than a couple of strangers on a message board. A lot of people aren’t so lucky.

      No matter how educated you are, if you are desperate enough, or if the con artist is clever and personable enough, you CAN fall prey to a scam.

  32. GG says:

    I assume this is irrelevant to some, but take a look at Herbalife….they recently had to settle something with the FTC and I got the privilege to meet Bill Ackman (look him up). MLMs are in a lot of heat right now in this industry. People are finding that there are loopholes in many MLMs because there are certainly some MLMs that are now abiding by the FTC’s guidelines (like Vemma now) and people wonder if others are too before joining. Right now, there is a hesitation that is causing people to steer away more and more or demand more information about how their MLM is run. Much like buying a car….you don’t just buy a BMW or Mercedes just because its a great model car with a well known reputation in the Auto Industry…you first need all information on mileage, condition of the car, MPG, etc.

    The bottom line is this…Beachbody does a great job “hiding” the aspect of selling the products at a discount through Auto-Ship to these “discount coaches” when very soon, the FTC could come out and determine that you can’t do that anymore, needing a full restructure of the MLM to abide by FTC guidelines.

    Maybe…If they change the entity to discount “customers” instead of “coaches”, it could make or break the company of existing a year or so down the line but those who still want to continue with the coaching aspect of things would have to adjust to selling more product to multiple “non-Beachbody” individuals in order to make their $ … only if they financially are able to which I’m afraid, unless you are in the top 0.001 % it looks very Grimm.

    What anyone’s thoughts on this?

    • Lazy Man says:

      I think the FTC’s investigation with Herbalife is still ongoing, but there’s some talk about some settlement progress being made there. I would love to meet Bill Ackman. I think he could have gone after an easier and more obvious pyramid scheme and work his way up to Herbalife.

      I’ve covered Vemma on this website before and I’m not sure how much longer they’ll be in business now that they are abiding by the FTC’s guidelines.

      I think over time the FTC is going to say you can’t have qualification minimums that are met with personal volume (PV). They’ll probably also impose the Vemma guidelines (you must sell have of the product to people outside the company). The combination of the two would like topple most of the pyramid schemes trying to say they are MLMs.

  33. Vogel says:

    Scootie said: “I get paid to help people get healthy and fit.”

    No you don’t. How can you be so ignorant about the nature of your own “job”? You get paid (minimally) for selling overpriced pyramid scheme shakes, and for the shakes sold by those who you recruit into the scheme. There are no metrics for assessing whether you help anyone get fit or healthy.

    Scootie said: “I expect to be earning at about 50k by the end of 2016.”

    You won’t. Your expectations are completely unrealistic. Even in the highly unlikely event that you were to make 50K, it would be at the expense of all the people in your downline who you ripped off and who failed to profit.

    Scootie said: “I get that people make fun of what I do but I get to work on my time and make great money without the overhead of full time childcare for 3 kids. I think that’s winning. It works for me.”

    BS! You have presented no verifiable evidence that you are making even minimum wage, let alone “great money”, and the overwhelming odds are that you are not. You also cannot be trusted to provide a realistic assessment of the time and effort you put into the business. You’re lucky if you’re making $2 an hour after expenses.

    Scootie said: “Just for the record, I’m pretty well educated. I have a bachelors degree from a wonderful university and a masters. I’m not a fool and don’t fall into things lightly.

    Just for the record, you have a BA in English from UAB, which is ranked #149 among US national colleges and has an 86% acceptance rate. Not so wonderful.
    http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/search?name=uab&state=

    According to your LinkedIn page, you have been enrolled in an MA program in theology at low-tier Spring Hill College since 2005 and still haven’t completed the program.
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/scootielambertdabbs

    Neither of those dubious achievements have given you any qualifications for work in the health and fitness industry. In fact, one would have to assume that your abrupt change in career path is a badge of failure. But most of all, it is your involvement in Snakeology that calls your intelligence into question.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Lifehacker, a site that I love, answered a question about meal replacement shakes today that was specifically targeted at Beachbody.

      The result nutrition analysis that was what you’d expect if you just look at the product itself. In short, it is fortified to make it look healthy, is very expensive (even for shakes), not really regulated since it is a supplement, and not as good as you could make on your own (they give a suggestion). Also the point was made that, “There’s nothing magical about meal replacement shakes themselves for weight loss…”

      The bright side is that they didn’t say the shakes would be that bad for you either.

      Unfortunately, they didn’t go into the MLM aspect at all, but did note, “I agree with you that the Kool-Aid hype is strong in this one. There’s a lot of fanfare around Shakeology, and social proof is one of the most powerful biases to get people to believe something may be good, or at least worth trying.”

      Of course we know that fanfare and social proof are a result of the MLM scheme.

      • Lazy Man says:

        ESPN Magazine (I know, crazy source) released a very, very in-depth article about another MLM called AdvoCare. I think there’s a lot of relevant points to Beachbody, but one specific quote caught my attention since there was recent talk about them banning Ebay and Amazon sales:

        “(AdvoCare forbids distributors from using sites like Amazon or eBay; widespread availability would undermine the direct-selling model.)”

        My thought is that companies looking to sell products should WANT widespread availability of their products. I can understand why a pyramid scheme designed to recruit distributors would be against it, but it doesn’t make business sense for a legitimate company. Also, Ebay is the most common example of “direct sales” in the United States today.

  34. Geoff says:

    Hey Lazy,

    I just had a recent revelation. I was reading about direct sales vs. indirect sales, and trying to figure out what makes these companies claim they are direct selling companies, because they have so many independent contractors. It finally hit me that if they are direct selling companies, then they would have to know that their distributors (independent contractors) are the targets for their business not the general public, which goes against their legitimacy in the eyes of the FTC. It is insulting to call them a direct selling business if the majority of their business is supposed to come from retail sales, and those retail sales are generated by 3rd party contractors. Obviously stats show that a majority of the business is direct selling to the “ultimate user” a.k.a distributors, but to claim they are selling to the general public rather than their contracting staff, AND they are a direct selling company makes it sound as though they are playing both sides of the fence.

    Please correct me if I am off base here, but I believe this is an important distinction to raise, because they are continuously being deceptive in the buzz words they use to describe their business. Needless to say they will call it anything they like whether it makes sense or not. My final take on this is that, by calling themselves a direct selling business they are openly admitting that it is a pyramid scheme, because the people they sell a majority of their product to directly is their distributor force, and not the general public.

  35. GG says:

    LM – They have a ton more controversy than Beachbody….This is just another staple in the whole list of pages that they have been subject to controversy (one of the worst being going after youths). The government won’t do a thing either…its too sensitive a subject and unless they strike gold with Herbalife, its going to take baby steps to prove AdvoCare has joined the Pyramid Scheme club.

    They pretty much are matched up against Herbalife in that its a top 10 MLM that has a huge market, next to big companies like Mary Kay, Young Essentials and Isagenix. It would take a lot more time and effort.

    Back to Beachbody….The thing about Beachbody that might be good for their own benefit, is seeing whats happening now and make a major push to drop the schemish acts of pushing their product Shakeology down everyones throats and just stick to the workouts. It may not generate the same amount of revenue, but you legalize the methods of sale and possibly make a killing with selling the products only via Beachbody.com’s website (NOT that other site). If people want to become sales people selling the products, sign a contract that states minimum sales requirements, refrain recruiting methods and their bonuses, and add commissions based SOLELY on sales to NON-Beachbody customers….then you got a sound product to sell with no illegal activity.

    When they push do their actual fitness products releases, they aren’t bi-partisan like other companies that say, “You can buy this product to enhance your health benefits…but if you don’t, you will still get results!”

    Unfortunately, its not the case. Its being pushed to being mandatory for “coaches” to buy…and nothing in life should be mandatory if you don’t feel comfortable both financially…and even physically taking it. If someone kept pushing me to do or consume something every time they saw me and I said, “No” every time, I would be hesitant to wonder wtf is going on…in a way, its also harassment.

    Keep up the good work!

  36. Vogel says:

    Geoff, as we both know, there’s no mistaking that when MLMs use the term “direct sales” it is a purposeful obfuscation intended to distance themselves from the horrid reputation that MLM has earned. The reality is that the PR situation for these companies is so bad that the mere mention of the word MLM is enough to send people running away. The premise they use to justify calling what they do “direct sales” is that the distributor does the face to face selling/recruiting but the product is ultimately shipped by the company to the buyer/recruit, rather than being handed over directly from distributor to end user. They also suggest that using the internet to process these orders somehow constitutes direct sales.

    I suppose they think that this premise gives them some protection against the perception that distributors have to load up on inventory to sell, but in reality this has nothing to do with the definition of MLM (or pyramid schemes), and in fact many MLM distributors do get saddled with excess inventory because they have to purchase the products themselves in order to stay qualified for discounts, commissions, rank advancements, bonuses, etc.

    Pride of ownership doesn’t exist among the consortium of dodgy companies that constitute the so-called “MLM industry”. These companies are all clearly identifiable (and have been clearly identified) as MLMs and yet they all try mightily to masquerade as something else. If they were half-way legit they would be saying, “yes of course we are MLMs, and proud of it!”, rather than lurking behind camouflage. Yet what we hear is literally always the exact opposite of that — something along the lines of “we’re a vertically-aligned multi-tiered direct relational marketing network-based business opportunity.” And it always screams “duplicitous parasitic pyramid schemers”

    The ultimate problem that MLMs have is that everyone considers them to be synonymous with pyramid schemes. It’s no surprise that the first thing they teach distributors on day 1 of grafter school is how to react when their intended victims respond to a sales pitch with objections like “your company is a pyramid scheme”. They are taught to follow a script of evasive responses, which include classics like:

    “Ha, ha! The pyramids are those things in Egypt right?”

    “Well then I guess Microsoft, Coca Cola, Mom’s apple pie, the girl next door, and everything else in the universe is a pyramid scheme too!”

    “Pyra-what? You’ll have to ask my upline about that?”

    “You don’t think that (retired nobody) Doctor X or (washed-up former midling) pro athlete Bobby Y would be endorsing our company if it was a pyramid scheme, do you?”

  37. Geoff says:

    Vogel,

    You said, “I suppose they think that this premise gives them some protection against the perception that distributors have to load up on inventory to sell, but in reality this has nothing to do with the definition of MLM (or pyramid schemes), and in fact many MLM distributors do get saddled with excess inventory because they have to purchase the products themselves in order to stay qualified for discounts, commissions, rank advancements, bonuses, etc.”

    It is funny that you mentioned this because I was on Craigslist looking for yard sales the other day to pick up some tools at an affordable price. As I was looking through the listings I saw an ad for a Mary Kay “store” closing, and the person was trying to unload the unnecessary product she was “saddled with” as you put it. The people who claim that front end loading doesn’t exist anymore, because the distributors buying the junk are only supposed to buy a minimum to qualify and then teach others to do the same are so full of crap, and that Craig’s List posting proved it. Also, by suggesting to buy the bare minimum and then teach others to do the same is a clear sign of a pyramid scheme as you are not concerned with selling product, but rather getting many people to filter in a bit of money to the top. (Bit of money turns into a whole heck of a lot, and these schemes seem to understand it is better to get $1 from 1,000,000 people over a long period than it is to get $100 from 10,000 people in a short time. People don’t seem to notice as quickly where their money is going, and it is easier to maintain the facade. (Sorry for the random tangent there)

    Vogel said, “Yet what we hear is literally always the exact opposite of that — something along the lines of “we’re a vertically-aligned multi-tiered direct relational marketing network-based business opportunity.” And it always screams “duplicitous parasitic pyramid schemers””

    When it was pitched to me, the term MLM was never mentioned. It was always network marketing, and the first time that I ever hear the term MLM was with the Robert Kiyosaki text. The best way that I could describe the practice after experiencing that first hand is, a guy came to me trying to sell horse manure. In the process of trying to get me to join in selling his magical horse manure he used lots of buzz words such as, unlimited potential, short term investment in a long term residual income, this is the best opportunity to support your family, your marriage will be stronger than ever etc. etc., and never actually mentioning the part about selling horse manure. Then when I asked, what am I doing to generate this magnificent lifestyle he would deflect saying, you will be buying a small quantity of our fine Caca de Cheval (I know that isn’t a perfect translation but it suggests the point), and then teach others the magical uses and get them to introduce it to their lifestyle each month. Just utilize your network, and eventually the dollars will just roll into your account. They are looking for a door to enter, you just need to create the opening.

    Vogel Said, “The ultimate problem that MLMs have is that everyone considers them to be synonymous with pyramid schemes. It’s no surprise that the first thing they teach distributors on day 1 of grafter school is how to react when their intended victims respond to a sales pitch with objections like “your company is a pyramid scheme”. They are taught to follow a script of evasive responses, which include classics like:”

    The only line I ever heard that you mentioned from your examples was the one about Corporate America. Of course at the time, I had no way of proving that it was a fallacy even though I clearly understood something was faulty with the comparison. The other lines that I frequently heard were, it can’t be a pyramid scheme because it has a product exchanging hands, and if the company has been around for 60 years, why hasn’t anyone stepped in to stop it?

  38. David R. says:

    Nightcrawler:

    What you say is so true – particularly in this era where there’s no guaranteed work and high college debt. It does sound so appealing… money for little to no work, and maybe with the side benefit of getting in good shape! Sadly, your story is probably representative of most people’s results: a waste of time and money, having probably annoyed friends and family in the process.

  39. Vogel says:

    This sums it up well.

  40. Robert Bullock says:

    Let’s try to make one point / counterpoint at a time. I’ll say again:

    Beachbody DOES NOT have any ordering requirements whatsoever to be a basic Coach. You always get a (in the main) a 15-50% commission. This means 15% on Club Member’s purchases up to 50% on the Club Membership sales. 25% for a normal customer retail purchase. There are some things like clothing that are lower, or shaker cups that are smaller, have smaller bonuses, etc. But those are negligible outliers.

    There are comments in this thread talking about required purchases. You may want to make a disclaimer on those or redact them since they aren’t true of Beachbody, yet this is what the thread is about.

    It might be construed to a lawyer as misrepresentation of Beachbody’s model. Dissociation statements added might be a good idea.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I don’t think anyone has argued that there’s an ordering requirement to be a Coach. I’m fairly sure that I at least have never said such a thing. If I have, please point out where so I can fix. Otherwise, please don’t make statements on things we agree on. You might as well state that it’s 2016. If we agree, please omit it to conserve space.

      The point was made that personal volume (PV) is required to earn commissions. This is typically done by people buying product to qualify. This, according to one lawyer who DEFENDS MLMs, is the Pay-to-Play Dilemma facing MLM/pyramid schemes. Beachbody seems to be taking the #1 option in that article which is “Stand pat, do nothing, and hope you don’t get caught. Just excuse me when I politely say, ‘told you so,’ when the FTC suddenly receives unilateral control over your company.”

      The term “required purchases” is simply shorthand for the above paragraph. We’d never get anywhere if we had to spell this out every time. My assumption is that the reader has made themselves familiar with all the FTC links that I’ve referred people to in the article/comments.

  41. Geoff says:

    Robert,

    You said, “Beachbody DOES NOT have any ordering requirements whatsoever to be a basic Coach. You always get a (in the main) a 15-50% commission. This means 15% on Club Member’s purchases up to 50% on the Club Membership sales. 25% for a normal customer retail purchase. There are some things like clothing that are lower, or shaker cups that are smaller, have smaller bonuses, etc. But those are negligible outliers.”

    This is part of what makes me people join MLM’s. There is no barrier to entry as LM has put in other threads, and many times over. Nobody would ever argue that you have to meet a certain purchasing criteria to be a coach, however there is a certain amount of purchasing and selling to be a viable “ACTIVE” or commissioned sales coach. This is the same crap with every MLM, as long as you pay the entry fee, you are instantly a member. Just pay your yearly’s or monthly’s and you will always be a member and be qualified to get those “super sweet” discounts…

    You said, “There are comments in this thread talking about required purchases. You may want to make a disclaimer on those or redact them since they aren’t true of Beachbody, yet this is what the thread is about.”

    If you saw anything relating to required purchases, then you misunderstood the complete context of what was being stated. There is a certain amount of required purchases/sales a month to become a commissioned sales coach. If this is some attempt to twist words, or make things seem ugly on this forum, it is a waste of your time.

    You said, “It might be construed to a lawyer as misrepresentation of Beachbody’s model. Dissociation statements added might be a good idea.”

    This statement could be construed as a threat…it might be a good idea to analyze your thought process before spewing it out onto the forum. This is a place for people to come together and share opinions, stories, facts, research. This is not a place for people to bringing up that kind of garbage, and there are plenty of disclaimers to show opinions of members on the forum are not a reflection of LM’s position, and cannot be utilized against him in a court.

  42. Rob Bullock says:

    What does this statement mean: “there is a certain amount of purchasing and selling to be a viable “ACTIVE” or commissioned sales coach”

    You’re eligible for the commissions I posted on day 1.

    Heck you can usually even backdate commissions if you have a friend who wants to give you their sale, within a recent timeframe.

    If I join as a Coach, and you buy a box of protein bars, I make $6.

    That sweet discount gets me them shipped for about $1.70. 65g weight, 20g protein. Macros are pretty decent: C/F/P is 120/72/80 caloriewise. Just about the 50/25/25 for two of the three phases in a bulk plan.

    I don’t need to threaten you. Tearing someone else down gains me nothing. I’m just trying to get it right for anyone else reading this.

    Prime example, your quoted statement at the top of this comment. I simply do not understand what you mean.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Rob, please see the “Active Status” Glossary term on page 43 of the compensation plan. See the sentence, “Active Status must be maintained by continuing to have accumulated 50 PV or greater as the Bonus Qualification Period rolls forward each week.”

      Your comment doesn’t address “ACTIVE” and the need to maintain the PV. You simply didn’t address the lawyer’s website that I replied with last night about “Pay-to-Play” schemes with PV requirements.

      None of this has to do with calories of protein or a sweet discount. We’re not going to get anywhere if your response to a compensation plan question is “calories” and response to a health question is “you don’t understand the compensation plan.”

  43. Mike says:

    Very interesting article, and I agree 100% with everything that was said.
    I used to have to fend off people that came at me with “Quixtar” A.K.A. Amway years ago, and Beachbody is EXACTLY the same thing.

    I’m not going to through exact quotes by some of these posts by Beachbody coaches on this forum, but I do find it amusing how when you challenge them with FACTS, their story changes to benefit themselves, or paint a portrait of themself, like their doing yeoman’s work. I.E. “I sell products, and help people get in shape, and eat healthy.” etc etc, when they have ZERO background on fitness, or nutrition.

    I have been a HUGE advocate of fitness for the last 6 years of my life. I’m 40 years old, and in the best shape of my life (6’1 222lbs 7.5% body fat) I worked my ass off for the last 6 years. I did all of my OWN research. Studied nutrition, workout regimens, exercise plans etc etc, and I did it all for FREE! There’s this wonderful thing called the internet that has a multitude of info.
    As one person said above, if Scootie really wanted to “help” people get in shape, she wouldn’t be shoving an inferior “meal replacement” shake down people’s throat at $120 a rip.

    I’ve also always LOVED the MLM rhetoric about how a “JOB” is bad. Well at my “JOB” I am GUARANTEED to make a check EVERY week. I can plan my expenses, and lifestyle as such without depending on others to earn my check for me.

    The other thing MLM bots seem to talk about, even at the highest levels (Scootie mentions $1000-$1600 a month as a top “coach” which is kind of laughable anyway. And I do not believe for a single, solitary, second that she has not spent any time recruiting, and pimping Beachbody, and that all of her “clients” just happened to fall into her lap)
    do indeed, WORK. How many hours do these top end distributors spend trying to maintain that high level? I mean, after all if their recruits go “inactive” they’ll lose that top spot, and the bonus checks would become less, and less, and that they’d have to WORK even longer hours trying to maintain such a high level. This is something they fail to mention.

    Also, is Scootie’s $1000-$1600 a month gross sales, or NET income? I’m not sure about Beachbody’s exact model, but I do remember with Amway, in order to get those commission checks, and qualify for “leadership programs” you needed to buy certain materials, and go to EVERY conference/meeting etc. Those things costed upwards of $500-$600, and that did not include food, hotel, gas, etc etc.
    How much do even the highest level “coaches” actually make? Who knows. They all lie about income. They always have.
    I can remember seeing a youtube video on Quixtar, and one of the “IBOs” (Independent Business Owners, as they were called) claims to have bought “A thousand dollar Rolex just for kicks.” LOL! Where can I get a REAL $1000 Rolex?
    “Fake it until you make it.” MLM slogan.
    I also love how a lot of these Beachbody “coaches” are so out of shape LOL! Why would you take fitness, or diet advice from someone who’s overweight?

    Anyway, sorry this is so long. GREAT article! Very informative, and accurate. I cannot stand MLM formats!

  44. Lucy Esparza says:

    I work for a 3 party company named Triton technologies. We sell different Beachbody products n exercise DVDs when callers call in we upsell the vitamins for a buck n team Beachbody club with Beachbody on demand clubs for a free trial. The following month both go up. Our company goes through several employees every week n can’t keep them because of all the upsells that we have to say n many customers get psst n either hang up or threaten to cancel so only then to we go to end to save sales! I am so glad I read ur article.

  45. Chickadee says:

    I have lost many friends to the insanity of MLM companies. By far the worst was due to Beachbody, we couldn’t even get together for coffee without the desperate push to sign just one more person. It never ends and I can’t understand how people are so gullible.

    I am talking from the view point of a stay at home mom, I feel like we are specifically targeted because of the difficulty we have in finding work with adequate childcare and flexible hours. Even with all the frustration as a not so well educated woman who changes shitty asses for a living; I still cannot wrap my head around ever falling into such a scheme. It takes less than five minutes and a calculator to realize almost every pitch is unrealistic and nothing but a waste of money. Even after explaining to many friends…amyway, beachbody, it works, isogenix etc they still fall in wallets ready and then expect me to support them by either joining their ‘team’ or buying ridiculous over priced crap I could purchase literally anywhere for much cheaper.

    Rant over, I have been sitting with that on my chest for the better part of a year.

    And I encourage everyone to sign up with rantaboutit, it has a small start up fee but if you bring 2 friends with you its FREE! Then you can all work and rant together! 3x the angry success! Join Now.

  46. Geoff says:

    Chickadee said, “I have lost many friends to the insanity of MLM companies. By far the worst was due to Beachbody, we couldn’t even get together for coffee without the desperate push to sign just one more person. It never ends and I can’t understand how people are so gullible.

    All pun intended I hope with the “insanity” of Beachbody. (For those who don’t understand, that is the name of one of their extremely successful workouts). Sorry about not being able to go out for coffee, but I hear they are not much better in homes as they will probably bring out a whiteboard and some power point slides for entertainment.

    There will always be someone smarter, stronger, faster, and there will also be many dumber, weaker, and slower…

    Chickadee said, “Even with all the frustration as a not so well educated woman who changes shitty asses for a living; I still cannot wrap my head around ever falling into such a scheme.”

    LOL, I have never heard anyone refer to their job description that way before…

    Chickadee said, “Even after explaining to many friends…amyway, beachbody, it works, isogenix etc they still fall in wallets ready and then expect me to support them by either joining their ‘team’ or buying ridiculous over priced crap I could purchase literally anywhere for much cheaper.”

    When desperation meets charisma and answers (no matter how bad the answers are), it’s not hard to see people make bad decisions. I also believe it is human nature to want more, and to want what others have…if you show enough people the lifestyle of a “winner” someone will bite.

    I like to go with the Walmart/Costco rebuttal on this one. Walmart and Costco have vastly higher overheads, and yet their products are competitive (Nice way of saying better), and cheaper. Why would I believe you are smarter than they are?

    Chickadee said, “And I encourage everyone to sign up with rantaboutit, it has a small start up fee but if you bring 2 friends with you its FREE! Then you can all work and rant together! 3x the angry success! Join Now.”

    You may be surprised at how much success you could actually have with this…gofundme could be a hilarious resource, and at least you won’t be conning anyone. It could definitely be a funny way to stick it to the MLM’s and the people posting on Facebook when you show them your gofundme page has generated more revenue for joining anti MLM protests than those who are in MLM’s slaving away to recruit people.

  47. Dede Leinmueller says:

    Thank you for all the well researched information. I can not believe some of these people making comments that it is not a pyramid scheme. Sorry, but anyone with common sense can see what this is. I have a business degree from USC and we had one great and extensive lesson on these schemes. What I find disturbing is the methods used to reel people in. Targeting young mothers, using guilt, etc…just awful.

  48. Timothy Schneider says:

    I would just like to point out the irony of this article about beachbody coming from a website called lazymanandmoney. A lot of coaches help motivate and push their team to become healthy and hold each other accountable for workouts. It’s also a billion yes not million but billion dollar company. You don’t have to order shakes you can order a new program every month and still hit the requirement to stay active. But back to the irony I’m assuming everyone commenting is like the lazymanandmoney himself and couldn’t handle a beachbody workout anyways. So enjoy your McDonald’s breakfast guys nothing wrong with choosing the lifestyle you do but no need to bash people that are actually helping others out there live a healthier one.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Timothy, I’d like to point out the irony of your comment considering the the part about your email address involving “naked butts.” But if weren’t so lazy yourself, you might have read My About Page here and the tremendous amount of work here and realized your misinterpretation of my use of “Lazy.”

      Also, if you had read my article, you’d have known that I don’t bash anyone trying to help people live a healthier life. I actually do exactly that at the end by giving people free resources such as SparkPeople and Stickk to do that.

  49. Nightcrawler says:

    —— You don’t have to order shakes you can order a new program every month and still hit the requirement to stay active.——-

    He says that as if it’s no big deal. Who in the world needs a new program *every month*?

  50. Geoff says:

    Timothy said, “A lot of coaches help motivate and push their team to become healthy and hold each other accountable for workouts. It’s also a billion yes not million but billion dollar company.”

    It would be nice if those “coaches” were formally trained in kinesiology, nutrition, personal training, or anything else actually pertaining to the field other than being a sales associate.

    That’s nice that Beach Body is a BILLION dollar company, and I have made many comments supporting their workout programs (I am currently on month 2 of Insanity and it is…INSANE), but Enron was also a BILLION dollar company…and they didn’t seem to be above the law.

    Timothy said, “But back to the irony I’m assuming everyone commenting is like the lazymanandmoney himself and couldn’t handle a beachbody workout anyways. So enjoy your McDonald’s breakfast guys nothing wrong with choosing the lifestyle you do but no need to bash people that are actually helping others out there live a healthier one.”

    Well, as I previously commented I am currently doing a beachbody workout and I don’t support their shakeology business model. However that is anecdotal and I don’t expect you to believe what I say.

    Is there a need to be so presumptuous about people if they are not on a beach body plan? Do you honestly believe everyone who doesn’t do beachbody workouts/shakeology is a fat person eating McDonald’s breakfast? I’m fairly confident that one trip to a gym will prove there are multiple ways for people to earn the healthy body they have striven to achieve.

    I agree that we need more people to help coach and support those struggling in their pursuit of achieving a healthy lifestyle. However, I believe those positions do not need to be filled with manipulative, deceitful, monetarily driven folks that have no accreditation for the field they are supposedly representing.

  51. Vogel says:

    Timothy Schneider said: “But back to the irony I’m assuming everyone commenting is like the lazymanandmoney himself and couldn’t handle a beachbody workout anyways. So enjoy your McDonald’s breakfast guys nothing wrong with choosing the lifestyle you do but no need to bash people that are actually helping others out there live a healthier one.”

    What a dazzlingly idiotic assumption. I’m one of the commentators you’re indirectly impugning. I could bench press you with one arm and I don’t eat McDonald’s breakfast. But that has nothing to do with the illegitimacy of Beachbody. Selling people overpriced pyramid scheme shakes is not helping them to get healthy; it is simply helping yourself to other people’s money under false pretenses.

  52. Nightcrawler says:

    I’ve done both P90X and Insanity, and I still use some of the P90X workouts as cross-training. I’m a marathon runner now. I completed a half marathon last week, my fourth one of the year and my 14th overall. I’ve also done two fulls. Next week, I’m doing a challenge weekend where I’m running a 12K on Saturday and a half on Sunday. My goal for this year is twofold: (1) Run 1,200 miles and (2) Complete 12 halfs.

    I don’t like McDonald’s food. I haven’t eaten there in years.

    Saying that someone NEEDS Beachbody — or any workout program in particular — to get fit is like saying someone NEEDS Weight Watchers or a particular weight-loss program to lose weight. I love P90X and Insanity, and I thought that Weight Watchers was a great program until Oprah took over, and the company altered it to be like a goofy 80’s fad diet. However, plenty of people get fit without using any particular workout programs, and plenty of people lose weight without using a particular weight-loss program.

  53. David R. says:

    Nightcrawler: “plenty of people get fit without using any particular workout programs, and plenty of people lose weight without using a particular weight-loss program.”

    Yep, I liken it to a description I like for college: the purpose of a college education is learning to be able to teach yourself. Ultimately, the best workout/diet programs should eventually teach you how to manage your own fitness goals and eating routines, rather than become dependent on a particular system.

    • Nightcrawler says:

      ——- the best workout/diet programs should eventually teach you how to manage your own fitness goals and eating routines, rather than become dependent on a particular system.——-

      This is actually one of the reasons why Weight Watchers is struggling. The problem with WW — even their pre-Oprah plan, which I thought was quite good — is that users are bound to WW’s “points” system. Food manufacturers provide information about calories and nutrients, not WW points. Then, to make things worse, every few years, WW decides to “update” its points system, necessitating that members purchase new materials and adjust to a new system.

      A lot of people don’t want to be married to WW and required to hand them money for the rest of their lives. They’d rather just count calories. That “method” never changes — and it’s free.

      A similar problem exists with Shakeology and other weight-loss “shakes.” Even if a shake is relatively inexpensive and not sold through an MLM, most people aren’t going to want to be married to it for life.

  54. Robert Bullock says:

    http://www.beachbodycoach.com/uploads/fckeditor/mdbody/File/downloads/statement_of_independent_coach_earnings.pdf

    Not too hard to get to Emerald. I’ve been one for about 5 years I guess? I fall toward the high side of that range.

    Getting rich? No. Worth doing? I’d say yes.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Robert,

      Once again you seem to leave a comment without addressing the rebuttals to your previous comments. It feels to me like you are admitting being wrong and just trying to go again with something else.

      Did you read my analysis of the Beachbody IDS in the article? I’m not sure this is very different.

      The first tiny footnote says “Information based on Coaches enrolled for the entire period. Of these Coaches, 55.27% received a bonus or commission check from Team Beachbody”

      From my understanding this says that for all the coaches who were enrolled for a full year, around 45% of them never received a check. Typically MLM has an annual churn rate of 50-80%, so there’s probably a TON of people who don’t meet the full-year requirement for this disclosure. So my rough math (which we can discuss if it’s wrong) has around 70% of Coaches at some point not getting a single check.

      It certainly seems difficult to me to even get a check. Is that fair, Robert?

      The average Emerald is in it for 2 years… so we are talking a lot of churn with two sets of an estimated 50-80% that aren’t included in this snapshot. Only 22.3% of coached even make it (really not that big). The average earnings is $3106, but I estimate product cost to qualify alone at around $1200, fair? So now you are looking at an income of around $1900 a year or around $150 a month. And that’s assuming that you never have any other costs (website hosting/advertising, traveling) and you certainly never go to any annual retreats or junk like that. Is it really worth the long odds of achieving it and spending 2 years of your life?

      I started dog sitting in August of last year and I was almost immediately profitable making $300 a month. Now I make around $1000 a month. I think some Uber drivers can easily do about the same.

      My opinion is very different than yours. I don’t think it’s worth doing. I think you might agree if Beachbody had no recruiting component to their compensation structure biasing you to spin the “business” in a positive light.

  55. Rob Bullock says:

    Part of the problem with rebutting you is you don’t listen, bring up the Wookiee defense, and misinterpret bonus requirements among other things.

    Etc etc.

    Example: you couldn’t pay me to dog sit. Want to talk about fitness and getting in shape? I’m in. I have a passion for it. Dogs? Take some of mine, please!

    Also I can’t prove my results because my progress album link will get edited out. Which hurts my credibility: pics or it didn’t happen.

    Points:
    There is no cost other than the monthly fee that includes several lightly customizable sites. Also lots of marketing materials. You really don’t need a website. Youtube has been better for me.

    You don’t have to buy anything to be Emerald, or any other rank. Sales and purchases both count. Mix and match.

    Being active is never required for commissions. Only bonuses. And active status and rank can come and go.

    I imagine many Coaches don’t get a check. Some are just here for the discount.

    I’d be interested to see how many of the 70% are discount Coaches.

    Military Coaches never pay a dime if they meet the small order reqs, but they don’t get a check either. I bet that’s a good percentage.

    Of course people don’t make rank: it’s similar to those who join a gym but never go, or buy the program but never do it. Or eat too much junk.

    Hasn’t been that hard for me to do all of the above.

    Discount Coaches count. Bonuses can roll over until you hit a rank again. Happens to my wife then she gets the bonus.

    I have never gone to a retreat or even seriously considered it.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Actually MLMs use the the Chewbacca defense seems to be how MLMs structure their compensation plans. I’ve had math majors at prestigious schools say that they can’t follow it.

      Thanks for clarifying how Beachbody uses the terms of bonus and commissions. Usually these aren’t separated in MLM. As I’ve explained before, I don’t see how anyone has any significant commissions (difference in product sales) as everyone can buy the products for Coach cost on Ebay. To make more than that doesn’t seem honest to me. As we’ve found with Kellie Giminez the bonus can be much, much more than the commission and the need to be qualified for that is the Pay-to-Play that lawyers warn people and companies about.

      Let’s review these FTC guidelines: “Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It’s a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money.”

      This would seem to say to me that if Beachbody is paying someone more in bonuses than commissions they are paying someone to be an agent of a pyramid scheme. Is that a fair statement that we can agree upon? If not, why is it unfair? If we do agree on that statement, how does Beachbody actively correct this problem and publicly disclose it?

      You realize that there’s no such things as a “discount coach”, right? You won’t find the phrase anywhere in the Beachbody compensation plan. It’s just Coach. The creation of the discount buyer in MLM is a construct to obscure the failing bottom of the pyramid. This is detailed by experts here. See section #4: Exclude Economic Losers from “Income” Chart.

      You wouldn’t have the 50-80% churn rate in MLM is those discount buyers really liked the product.

  56. […] and research, I figured out the deal. I’m not going to go into too much detail, because this website breaks it down much better than I ever could, but I’ll give the […]

  57. David R. says:

    Nightcrawler:

    Weight Watchers is at least something that can work, but you’re absolutely right in that it weds people to this somewhat arcane system for determining what they eat, rather than simply counting calories. Just like with different shakes that MIGHT work, it only lasts as long as you use it.

    I’ve mostly avoided calling out specific quotes but this one really struck me for the mental gymnastics required. “There is no cost other than the monthly fee”. That’s… a cost, to the tune of about $15 a month. It’s also assuming that you don’t pay the Club Member fee, which is roughly as much per month.

    As far as the “discount coaches” it seems like another way to portray something as a good deal which are really just more hooks for MLM. Even with this discount, there are still equivalents on the open market which can be bought for cheaper. Not to mention the fact that the health benefits of various “shakes” are dubious at best, as is detailed in the above article.

  58. Robert Bullock says:

    “Discount Coach” is a common term used by other coaches, customers, etc. It’s accepted to mean they are a Coach not to make any money but get the discount and tax deductions. Maybe once in a while they sell something but I have 6-8 of them and they just use the discount.

    For David R: No one who is a Coach solely for the discount should be paying the Club fee. That’s 10% discount (less than 25% Coach discount) and it doesn’t stack.

    That said, if a spouse were to buy a Club membership so you get access to the streaming programs, the other spouse would get 50% of it in commission so it would be $20 for 3 months. Not bad considering the $$thousands in programs. $6.xx a month.

    I’ll say it again: the tax deductions for most brackets should make the $17ish total per month nearly free. In the 15% effective bracket, if you write off $100 a month roughly, it’s a wash. Or perhaps you save some via discount and write off some and cover it that way. Negligible.

    I think if one thinks in these small terms and play the long game, you can make money over time. I’d never say get rich quick, or at all, but if you like fitness, putting yourself out there, and just trying to help people, it’s worthwhile.

  59. Robert Bullock says:

    Here’s another thought I had on someone mentioning the cost of the website, and another thought on the backend of an online business.

    1. You never have to see a product, ship it, handle a return, or a refund, etc. Beachbody does all that. You could consider yourself an affiliate, but at MUCH higher commissions than most affiliate programs. 10-50%. I have seen purchases and returns and they never eve contact me. Even when I send them a nice thank you email. That’s life.

    The fee could be considered as paying for some of the fixed cost of that, since the commission is so much higher. Example: there is no monthly fee to be an Amazon affiliate but you’ll never see more than what, 7% I think is the top tier? I’ve never hit more than 6% IIRC.

    2. There are several websites you get with the fee. Shakeology specific, your store, and Ultimate Reset. Plus your Coach page. SOME of the fee should surely go to that. Godaddy, whom I use, is $4 to start per month and then $8 per month after that.

    3. If there were NO FEE, everyone would do it, so a little barrier to competition is good.

  60. Geoff says:

    Robert said, ““Discount Coach” is a common term used by other coaches, customers, etc. It’s accepted to mean they are a Coach not to make any money but get the discount and tax deductions. Maybe once in a while they sell something but I have 6-8 of them and they just use the discount.”

    There lies the problem, and horrifying truth of the scheme as I shall explain. This ambiguity to define who is a distributor and who isn’t leads to the pyramid effect. If you are “signing up” for the discount, and you have friends who want it as well, then they can sign up underneath you. Now if they have friends that sign up under them, and all of you are just there for the discount, why are you making money? Not only did you not find the friends of friends, but you never sold a single product. This needs to be resolved.

    Robert said, “You never have to see a product, ship it, handle a return, or a refund, etc. Beachbody does all that. You could consider yourself an affiliate, but at MUCH higher commissions than most affiliate programs. 10-50%. I have seen purchases and returns and they never eve contact me. Even when I send them a nice thank you email. That’s life.”

    Doesn’t that bother you? You’re only job is to consume your own products and teach others to purchase regularly and consume products…this is almost a mirror image of Amway. If you spend $300 in Amway a month, then you fulfill your minimum requirement to receive a bonus check, and the rest of the time you focus on teaching people below you to do the same. You are never taught to go door to door, cold call, start a brick and mortar, or just have meetings to sell products. This can also be directly related to Beachbody and their products. As long as you are consuming monthly amounts of shakeology and utilizing your discounts, then teaching others to do the same who teach others to do the same…that is not a real business.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Rob, continuing on your other comment that isn’t about tax fraud…

      As for the cost of the website:

      1. Rob said, “You never have to see a product, ship it, handle a return, or a refund, etc. Beachbody does all that. You could consider yourself an affiliate…” None of this is the about cost of website. However, you are making a strong point that you aren’t even selling a product. Again this seems to be a problem with the FTC guidelines at least according to my interpretation.

      Rob said, “The fee could be considered as paying for some of the fixed cost of that, since the commission is so much higher.” So if 300 million Americans signed up as Beachbody Coaches today, that ~$16 monthly fee is fair? At a minimum, what you describe as “discount coaches” should not have to pay such a fee, right? Is there a checkbox where “discount coaches” state that they don’t want to pay the $16 fee as they are not intending to actively distribute product?

      Also, maybe you find Beachbody’s “commission” so much higher because the cost of Shakeology is so much higher. As you know, this website is about avoiding these high costs to help with financial freedom.

      2. Amazon’s affiliate program doesn’t pay on recurring recruitment sales volume, right? Amazon allows people to create to a “store” for free. You also “never have to see a product, ship it, handle a return, or a refund, etc.” at Amazon. Is any of that legal activity even in question with the FTC guidelines on pyramid schemes.

      Facebook and Tumblr also allow people to create free websites. I’ve run websites for a long time, GoDaddy does not charge me $4 per month to start or $8 per month after that. Imagine if Facebook had to pay $8 a month for it’s one billion users? Facebook investors would go crazy a $8 billion monthly cost… especially since it would be nearly a trillion dollars a year in just “GoDaddy” fees.

      That’s a very poor comparison. Which is part of my point in the article? Fair?

      3. Rob said, “If there were NO FEE, everyone would do it, so a little barrier to competition is good.”

      There is “NO FEE” to be part of Amazon’s affiliate program, and clearly “everyone” isn’t doing it, right?

    • Lazy Man says:

      Thanks Geoff… you are always the voice of reason.

      Let’s hope that Robert responds to address the points that you and I brought up.

  61. GG says:

    It’s been a month since I have looked at this blog and what amazement that this continues to be a very hot topic.

    I am going to take some words from LazyMan (if you don’t mind) in saying that the FTC is going to sanction Herbalife, maybe not to the point of shutting it down but to put in guidelines (FINALLY) to say to all MLMs that (this is LazyMans words) “You can’t have qualification minimums that are met with personal volume (PV).”

    That means….goodbye “discount coaches” and all that “Triangle” shaped structures to construct the use of getting some extra $ in your pocket, solely from sitting around and social media signing everyday people to the MLM.

    You either “purchase the product” at FULL PRICE for yourself…OR choose to want to sell it solely to make commissions (and maybe bonuses if you sell like 100 a month) in which you yourself can be entitled to purchase what you would like at a discounted rate (like 25%). That eliminates the “recruiting” part and the scheme aspect is now defunct. Plain and simple.

    The famous Vemma guidelines that force their salespeople, even within a “downline” to be required to sell product to ONLY people outside the company at full price of the product still works fine. No signups, no discounts, no tax-rebates (thats disgusting that the government would allow that…isn’t there enough stuff being taxed?), etc.

    I’ve said this before….I’ll say it again.

    Beachbody does a great job “hiding” the aspect of selling the products at a discount through Auto-Ship to these “discount coaches” that get rigged into the joy of using the product….when very soon, that could be abolished.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I’m not sure that the FTC is going to sanction Herbalife. I’m not sure they can even choose to do that. From this article, it appears they’d need to sue them in a federal court, which is a long, long process.

  62. Robert Bullock says:

    Well, first a thought: this thread is so long I doubt anyone is going to read through it, and I’m tiring of the ‘Well what about…’ and then a sort of apples to oranges comparison.

    Example: Well, anyone can make a website for free. Sure, but is that company going to add fresh content and populate it with professional looking content to begin with? Is everyone technically savvy enough to make it look good? And of course I can’t post what they did for me.

    This:
    “There is “NO FEE” to be part of Amazon’s affiliate program, and clearly “everyone” isn’t doing it, right?

    Well of course not. Who cares what everyone isn’t doing? I said barrier, as in, cuts down on the number of people doing it. Selling fitness and health is HARD. If I sold a pill that promised it, it would be easier. I can promise if you work and eat right (to keep it short) it will happen, and I will help. It’s like coffee. You can pay 10 cents for an instant Folger’s or go to SBUX. I like this ‘flavor’: Beachbody.

    Let’s also stop acting like Shakeology is the only product Beachbody sells. (I’m sad to say they are discontinuing the protein bars however.) I’m fine if no one ever buys it. I sell programs and accessories and such, you know. Percentage wise? Dunno. I do a pretty good amount in the streaming, which is a pretty good bargain.

    Fairness of the fee: Who cares? Sign up, don’t sign up. Why should veterans get it for free? (Devil’s advocate here.) Again: tax deductions so it doesn’t matter. Again, the website is PART of it. Not the whole. Maybe each product is a tiny bit cheaper because of the Coach fee. Who knows? Body Beast is a GREAT program and it’s $40. Best one I’ve done. 18 months in.

    “you are making a strong point that you aren’t even selling a product.” Does a car salesman buy the car, take it home, park it in his driveway until it sells? No. He could sell it over the internet…like Texas Auto Direct. Does he get a commission? Yup. The dealer does a lot of the legwork.

    “You’re only job is to consume your own products and teach others to purchase regularly and consume products”

    Not at all what I do. You’re making assumptions. Others? Don’t know, don’t care.

    “Now if they have friends that sign up under them, and all of you are just there for the discount, why are you making money?” Because I brought business to the company? Comcast has a refer your friends bonus. Uber does. Etc. etc. I did P90X for 13 months before I became a Coach, then just used the discount, then got sorta serious.

  63. Geoff says:

    Robert said, “Does a car salesman buy the car, take it home, park it in his driveway until it sells? No. He could sell it over the internet…like Texas Auto Direct. Does he get a commission? Yup. The dealer does a lot of the legwork.”

    First of all, the car salesman analogy is off because they are a hired solo level commission salesman. They are not responsible for investing any money into the products in order to qualify for commissions. If they are straight commission he does not get paid unless the car sells, and he does not make money teaching others to sell cars underneath him…he must move the unit himself. That is the main point in a nutshell…As a beach body coach you are not held accountable for the other products being sold…only the products that you are getting through your monthly autoship.

    Robert said, “Not at all what I do. You’re making assumptions. Others? Don’t know, don’t care.”

    This isn’t an assumption, this is how the pay scale works. There is no reason for you to be getting paid based on the people below you teaching others to consume products monthly. You should only be responsible for the people you are selling to, and being paid according to the amount of product you are moving to them. This emphasizes recruitment over product sales PERIOD.

    Robert said, “Because I brought business to the company? Comcast has a refer your friends bonus. Uber does. Etc. etc. I did P90X for 13 months before I became a Coach, then just used the discount, then got sorta serious.”

    Robert you did not bring them business, because you had nothing to do with your downline bringing in new customers. These are isolated moments. If you are making any money based on what your immediate downline’s downline has brought in, then that reflects a pyramid. You are not bringing in business…you are not relevant at that point. Again, if a car salesman spends all of their time teaching others to sell cars, rather than selling cars themselves they make no money and are well on their way to living in the streets.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Rob, you didn’t seem to address the GLARING tax fraud (in my belief) issue. Well you did, but you doubled down saying, “tax deductions so it doesn’t matter.” Please clearly address the tax fraud article that I pointed you to in your next comment.

      Rob said, “Well, first a thought: this thread is so long I doubt anyone is going to read through it, and I’m tiring of the ‘Well what about…’ and then a sort of apples to oranges comparison.”

      Well does anyone read the 6300 comments on my MonaVie article before that billion dollar MLM collapsed? If anyone is seriously a “business opportunity” they should, right?

      Rob said, “It’s like coffee. You can pay 10 cents for an instant Folger’s or go to SBUX. I like this ‘flavor’: Beachbody.”

      Well we know that Starbucks has overhead. They also make coffee which Folger’s does not. As you wrote, this is “a sort of apples to oranges comparison.” Maybe compare Starbucks to Dunkin Donuts or Pete’s next time?

      Rob, original said, “If there were NO FEE, everyone would do it…”

      Now Rob says, “Who cares what everyone isn’t doing?” The point was to show that everyone would NOT do it.

      Rob also says that “Selling fitness and health is HARD”, which contradicts his previous point that “everyone would do it.”

      Rob said, “Let’s also stop acting like Shakeology is the only product Beachbody sells.” As I wrote in the article, “Also, I see nothing wrong with P90X. From what I’ve heard it is a great workout.” As I noted when I wrote the article, a top ranking distributor, Kellie Gimenez, seem to state that it is about Shakeology. If McDonalds bought MonaVie in 2009, it would still be fair to talk about MonaVie right?

      Rob said, “Well, anyone can make a website for free. Sure, but is that company going to add fresh content and populate it with professional looking content to begin with?”

      Well MyFitnessPal and Fitbit populate their websites with professional looking content, right? If you are a Beachbody salesman, I think it is fair to ask them to pay for it, right? I’ve never heard of a company charging it’s employees for access to email or IT. Can you address my previous point, “Imagine if Facebook had to pay $8 a month for it’s one billion users?”

      Rob said, “Fairness of the fee: Who cares? Sign up, don’t sign up… Again, the website is PART of it. Not the whole.”

      So we now need to address the whole and not parts? It’s like someone stating that can’t discuss tax code since any useful comment is likely to be a “PART of if. Not the whole.”

      When reading my article, did you get the impression that the website was “the whole” of it? Or did you read something about Shakeology (which is not a website)?

      Rob said, “Maybe each product is a tiny bit cheaper because of the Coach fee.”

      I hope that Shakeology isn’t “a tiny bit cheaper because of the Coach fee.” It certainly is far from “cheap” as I tried to show in my article. If you want to do a cost-analysis, I’d love it… that’s what this website is about… value.

      Rob said, “Does a car salesman buy the car, take it home, park it in his driveway until it sells? No. He could sell it over the internet…like Texas Auto Direct. Does he get a commission? Yup.”

      I believe that most car salesmen work “on the lot” and they earn a commission on sales that is in NO WAY related or based to recruiting other car salesmen (as best I can tell).

      • Lazy Man says:

        I missed something in my response… “Comcast has a refer your friends bonus. Uber does. Etc. etc.”

        Well, neither Comcast nor Uber has a controversial MLM/pyramid scheme program.

        Does anyone have a “business” referring people to get Comcast and Uber? If so, can you please link me to Comcast and Uber’s Income Disclosure Statement

  64. Geoff says:

    LM said, “Well, neither Comcast nor Uber has a controversial MLM/pyramid scheme program.”

    Neither of these practices are viable business opportunities. Comcast has a limit of $500 every calendar year for 3 referrals. After that, you are basically a good samaritan in their eyes. You can see the way their refer a friend structure works here, http://referafriend.xfinity.com/FAQ. This is the direct quote about the subject, “$100 Visa Prepaid Card for the first referred new customer who qualifies under the Program
    An additional $200 Visa Prepaid Card for the second referred new customer who qualifies under the Program
    Plus, an additional $200 Visa Prepaid Card for the third referred new customer who qualifies under the Program.
    A referring Advocate can receive up to $500 in referral rewards in a calendar year.”

    Obviously nobody is going to be able to live on $500 worth of prepaid cards.

    Uber’s refer a friend plan just gets you free Uber rides. You can see here, https://help.uber.com/h/3a80367e-a160-47a0-b63e-99d39c380c39. The direct quote being,

    “You can earn free rides or Uber account credit by inviting your friends to signup and ride using your personal invite code.”

    Clearly this is also not meant to be a business opportunity, especially since they don’t give you a valid form of currency…last I checked you can’t buy food with Uber credits.

    Rob’s point here is terrible, and even worse these opportunities involve the two parties directly. There is no ability to teach others to refer friends who teach others to refer friends, and then make money off of their abilities to teach more friends how to refer friends…whew what a tongue twister.

    The bottom line is that Rob has failed to address the significant issue…it is not a sustainable business model when people are busy teaching others to spend a certain amount monthly on products, and then teaching them how to teach others to do the same to generate yourself income. Eventually there will be nobody left to teach, and bringing in excessive teaching competitors to the market makes your chances of success horrendously worse as each level develops in your downline.

  65. GG says:

    LazyMan,

    There are no companies (that I’m aware of) that try to sell services of Comcast OR Uber through a referral system…..because they are aware of a company called, “Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing” …..and they were shut down by the FTC for trying to sell Wirefly Wireless service and DISH tv satellite through their so called “referral program.”

    To everyone else on this blog…lets get one thing straight. Businesses like UBER (which I was a partner with for a year and still am but drive very infrequently) give a ton of referrals….to the contracted employee and ONLY the contracted employee. You have to personally invite friends or others to sign up and be contracted “TO DRIVE” and you can make a few hundred $ ONLY AFTER THEY MAKE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TRIPS.

    WOW !!! It sounds so so familiar.

    HOWEVER, One thing that separates a legal referral from that of one that isn’t (which is making $ through illegal recruitment).

    UBER gives referral incentives based on how much driving is done, not by how many times an UBER contracted person invites another person to drive their car with UBER. In this case, what UBER is legally doing right is saying, “drive your car with us for a certain amount of times, and whoever referred you can get a incentive.”

    THERE IS ALSO NO MONTHLY FEE REQUIRED TO DRIVE….THANK GOD.

    But if that person doesn’t fulfill that amount of driving, the person is never entitled to the incentive, and that is what makes it all legal vs. the illegal side of things of just signing random people up to drive with UBER, but being tasked with throwing them a monthly “maintenance fee” upon signing up, which is all signs of a scheme to begin with.

  66. MandM says:

    Despite what Robert Bullock has said, I have read most of the comments, because I hate Beachbody/MLM that much and appreciate the comments and opinions of like-minded individuals who also hate Beachbody/MLM.

    Geoff hits the nail on the head. It doesn’t matter whether you feel like you are helping people or not, or signed up to be just a discount coach or more, the fact of the matter is that the company is structured as such that if you sign up to buy an overpriced shake and workout dvd before someone else does, then you’re making money off of them, and everyone else that buys after them, just for being “first”. This isn’t what would happen if you went down to GNC and bought some protein powder and then posted about it, which then prompted one of your followers to go get some protein powder at GNC; you wouldn’t make money off of them just for being the one to go and buy it first. So why is it okay to make money off your friends for exerting no effort of your own?

    The part that bothers me the most is the manipulation employed by the coaches who are trying to “build their business”. The various strategies that Beachbody coaches are told by Beachbody to use are all summarized very nicely here: https://shillology.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/signs-of-facebook-manipulation/ (and no that’s not my own website, but I wish that the person running it would post more because it is a breath of fresh air).

    Beachbody coaches and other MLM distributors are predatory, morally corrupt, hope peddlers who are pushing the opportunity to be successful before they themselves are even successful. Because they can’t BE successful until they sell enough of the hope to others, who then have to sell their hope on to new victims in order for them to gain success. This is how it works because this is how the company is structured. You are not selling a shake or a lifestyle so much as you are pre-promising the dream of wealth and freedom to someone else before you have even gotten there yourself. With no guarantee that either of you will ever make it.

    Beachbody in particular goes out of its way to hide the “pyramid” structure of the scheme by showing that you can only have two active legs. The part they hide, however, is that to reach the next level, those legs have to expand under you. Into a pyramid, by coincidence. It’s also easy for a new coach to be fooled into thinking that there is infinite wealth to be obtained by building a team, but the team cycle bonuses (i.e., the commission) is capped at a certain dollar amount per week. That cap is based on your level. Once you hit that cap, you are left with only commission from your personal sales. So yes, the potential to make a 6-figure salary is there, but only if you keep advancing to higher and higher levels. And the only way to get there is to recruit, recruit, recruit.

  67. Sam says:

    Ok, so just a small thing about your segment on the nutritional value of Shakeology.

    If the typical US citizen eats an average of 3700 calories, this is no where near the recommended 2000cal. If the typical working American is not exercising, and is sitting at a desk all day, they are at an excess of 1700 calories per day (roughly) and since 3500cal = 1lb of body weight, this is a significant potential for weight gain.

    Now, suppose you were to introduce someone to a shake, with 130calories and more nutrients than they would typically eat for lunch. Why is this not a valuable asset to human health? Why slander a product that is helping to reduce the standard intake by roughly 1000 calories for one meal, while not reducing the nutritional intake?

    I think a 1000cal reduction in intake with a boost in nutrients is pretty significant, especially if it does take away cravings and keep you full.

    Definitely worth $5 per day. And considering a vast majority of working Americans are eating out and not eating healthily, I think a reduction in calories and a boost in nutrients is excellent. Especially considering typical take out would be $8-10 including a sugary drink…

    When someone is active and requiring the 3700cal (like myself) then we use Shakeology as a post workout snack to boost nutrients and halt cravings while getting a decent amount of protein.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Well the USDA seems to have recommendations ranging from 1000 to 3200 calories. It’s a big range and I’m not sure you can say that 2000 calories fits all.

      And if you were accurate with the excess of 1700 calories per day and the 3500 calories being a pound of body weight… a person would eat 620,500 excess calories a year… and add 177 pounds of body weight every year. It seems that you are saying that that the average “US citizen” (not sure what citizenship has to do with nutrition) puts on more than 1770 pounds of weight in 10 years.

      I don’t think any human in recorded history has weighed 1770 pounds. Is my math wrong or should we rethink this?

      Sam says, “Now, suppose you were to introduce someone to a shake, with 130calories and more nutrients than they would typically eat for lunch. Why is this not a valuable asset to human health?”

      And let’s suppose you could introduce someone to a shake with similar calories and more nutrients than they would typically eat for lunch for a lot less money? For example, I pointed out
      Vega One in the article. (That’s not the only product that fits the description or lower calories and more nutrients.)

      Why not accomplish the health goal and save people money too? Please note that this is a personal finance blog and saving people money is a focus here.

      Aside from that, people don’t typically stay on shakes for their life. SlimFast has been around for a long, long time and I don’t know anyone who has permanently replaced their lunch with it. It’s not like shakes are some kind of new innovation to “human health.”

  68. Brandy says:

    WOW… It seems the author has it out for Beachbody. Anyway I absolutely love Shakeology and the Beachbody workouts. I lost 24 pounds, 18 inches, and dropped 4 sizes ( from 11 to 7) in just 8 weeks following the Cize meal plan, Shakeology, and working out. To me the price doesn’t matter since I tried so many things and nothing worked until Now. Being able to reach your goal is priceless. Guess that’s why so many chose Beachbody over others.

  69. Geoff says:

    Brandy said, “WOW… It seems the author has it out for Beachbody.”

    Well, not exactly, as LM posted in the article, “As I said in the introduction, I don’t mind the workouts. They seem legit.

    What is extremely fishy is the Shakeology product. The product itself isn’t particularly, but the pricing. Before I cover it allow me to explain why pricing matters in an MLM.”

    This, to me, suggests that he is giving a fair analysis and giving credit where credit is due. This article is specifically directed at a part of the Beachbody business, and not at the whole thing, however that part of the business does sully the rest of the company.

    Brandy said, “I lost 24 pounds, 18 inches, and dropped 4 sizes ( from 11 to 7) in just 8 weeks following the Cize meal plan, Shakeology, and working out.”

    Congratulations on your accomplishments, and hopefully you can find a way to maintain the hard work you have put in. With that being said, from a scientific perspective, you have too many variables to suggest that your results had anything to do with Shakeology. In fact, according to the article, and many other nutritional articles such as this http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/protein-shakes-really-work-7372.html,

    “In some cases, drinking protein shakes can actually be harmful, especially if you regularly exceed daily dietary protein requirements. Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky states that following a long-term, high-protein diet may lead to digestive problems, nutrient deficiencies and elevated risk of heart disease or kidney problems.”

    The Mayo Clinic is well respected, and the article does suggest that shakes have positive correlations at early stages of use, but tend to not work for a long term effect.

    It is safe to say that with positive diet and exercise, the shakes were not the source of your achievement per se, but rather were a nice mental motivation to keep going. Also, you have to take into account their bias for wanting to sell the shakes. You can get shakes as stated in the article for far cheaper with better ingredients, but it is in their best interest to sell you Shakeology (Always keep that in mind when using advice from a business).

    Brandy said, “To me the price doesn’t matter since I tried so many things and nothing worked until Now. Being able to reach your goal is priceless. Guess that’s why so many chose Beachbody over others.”

    Again, it is unfair to say that this change was from Shakeology, or that Shakeology even had an effective part in your results. The price should always matter, unless you are financially free. It would seem your hard work and dedication to a good meal and work out regimen is far more important and long lasting than a shake.

    I’m going out on a limb here and thinking you have more of a bias than you are leading on with this post. You have not suggested that you are a beach body coach, but it seems odd that you would read this whole article as it does not pertain to the subject of your body transformation. Your financial bias toward shakeology makes you a poor advocate for your cause.

  70. Ashley Mahon says:

    But have you TRIED their fitness programs and Shakeology? Seems to me that would be an important thing to do before publishing something like this. I had amazing results following a Beachbody plan. I became a coach simply because people kept asking me what I was doing and would I please help them. $4 for a shake may seem high, and I thought so too for months into my program. People spend $3 on a lean cuisine without batting an eye, and those things barely qualify as food. I bought a program that I can use at home and not pay a monthly gym membership that I can’t use outside of certain hours or holidays or weather conditions. Can you get amazing results from a Beachbody program without using shakeology? Definitely. Are there a lot of people who will benefit from a convenient shake that will keep them from skipping breakfast and grabbing a donut at work? Yes. Are there whey protein shakes that are cheaper? Yes. Are they as good? No. I’ve tried them all. There’s more than protein and probiotics in shakeology. The adaptogens do amazing things for my energy, mood, appetite. Maca root alone is $65.00/lb at my local bulk nutrition store, and that’s just one ingredient. Please feel free to truly duplicate what is in that shake, and then also account for the time it took you to do so and what you consider that time to be worth. I feel like a different person now that I drink Shakeology. Did I feel like a different person drinking Vega One or GNC brand shakes? No. I think they were helping me build muscle. After three days of drinking shakeology I knew I wanted to continue because it was the first time I could remember going three days without wanting chocolate. I don’t know who these coaches are who keep telling people you have to make a smoothie out of it or its not good. I mix the strawberry powder with water and it tastes delicious. I drink that and eat a banana on my way to work. Not a lot of calories, but I eat frequently. I’m sure there are dishonest people in this business, just like any other, but everyone who I have come across is amazing, uplifting, supportive, and genuine. No, odds are you won’t become a millionaire doing this, but that’s one thing that makes Beachbody different. If that’s why you are doing it, people can tell, and you should find another company. You can probably make more money selling Nerium bc it’s a quick fix that people want and it flies off the electronic shelves. That’s not what this is about. It’s a community. It changes people’s lives. And there are some people who have made a lot of money, but I guarantee they have changed people’s lives. The coaches who “bugged” me for months, I thank them for not giving up on me! That’s what “don’t take no for an answer,” is about. Does your doctor take no for an answer when he tells people to stop smoking and they refuse? No, because he knows they will be better off and he is trying to help them. #endthetrend Try it yourself before you cut it down.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Ashley,

      I’m not sure why it matters if I try the fitness programs or drink.

      First, I openly admit that there’s probably good value to the fitness programs just like any fitness programs out there. Heck, Sweating to the Oldies is a fine fitnesss program and it’s been around forever.

      As for the Shakeology, I’m not sure what you want me to try. From the podcast I cited the taste didn’t seem to be that good according to the Beachbody salesperson and the person running the podcast. Taste is subjective anyway. When I look at the nutritional label, I don’t see anything in there that would set it apart from some of the cheaper products ex-Beachbody members have suggested. I’m obviously not arguing that the nutritional label in any way.

      A Lean Cuisine qualifies as food more than a shake in my opinion. You don’t even need to add anything to it. Plus, why not compare like things such as shakes vs. shakes.

      Ashley said, “Are there whey protein shakes that are cheaper? Yes. Are they as good? No. I’ve tried them all.”

      I again defer to the podcast that inspired me to write the article. If you think it tastes good, then congrats to you, I guess. As I said, taste is subjective.

      I can find Maca powder for $27/lb. on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Organic-Gelatinized-Enhanced-Absorption-Certified/dp/B017ES3OD0/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1466101049&sr=8-1&. That’s the good organic stuff too. I certainly wouldn’t be overpaying $65/lb. for it.

      There are communities like SparkPeople as I mentioned.

      I think there’s a difference between a doctor giving you sound smoking advice and your friend Shannon annoying you about spending $100+ a month on shakes.

  71. Geoff says:

    I have a few additions to LM’s critique,

    Ashley said, “Are there a lot of people who will benefit from a convenient shake that will keep them from skipping breakfast and grabbing a donut at work? Yes.”

    Ashley…do you have any literature to support this claim? This seems to be something bold that you pulled out of this air, because this article http://blog.fooducate.com/2015/10/12/shakeology-nutrition-scam-waste-of-money/, and this article, http://www.dietspotlight.com/shakeology-review/ beg to differ. If you are looking for the science, then you should check out what the Mayo Clinic has to say on the subject here, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/protein-shakes/faq-20058335 because they do a thorough and accurate job of research and developing their opinions.

    The bottom line is, the dietary shakes are a good jumping off point at best, but human beings need real food. The cravings will return, the mood will change, and eventually people will give up.

    Ashley said, “Can you get amazing results from a Beachbody program without using shakeology? Definitely.”

    I think you should focus on this statement, because it brings the whole point to a close. Coaches will claim Shakeology is a necessary part of the Beachbody System, and yet even you admit that the system works without this nuisance. You got into this position because you worked hard and succeeded where most have failed. You are being asked for help, and using people’s trust to facilitate personal monetary gains and a poor diet structure.

    If you can openly admit that these programs work without Shakeology, then why not do the noble thing and stop selling this junk. Why not help encourage the people who look up to you with motivational goals, be a good and wholesome work out buddy, and help teach people to earn what you have achieved the right way.

    The worst part about Shakeology is, as you mentioned, you aren’t even getting rich off of it. Beachbody is the one taking all of the money while you are working your butt off in the field trying to sell it. The only one winning in this scenario is Shakeology and they are doing it in a deceitful manner. They are pretending to involve you in their business, and giving you a pittance for your connections and efforts.

  72. Vogel says:

    Ashley Mahon said: “But have you TRIED their fitness programs and Shakeology? Seems to me that would be an important thing to do before publishing something like this.”

    Well you’re wrong. One only needs to look at the mundane ingredients and exorbitant price of the shakes (as well as the plethora of misleading claims). Nothing magical is going to happen by trying it in spite of how bad the product looks on paper.

    Ashley Mahon said: “I had amazing results following a Beachbody plan. I became a coach simply because people kept asking me what I was doing and would I please help them.”

    That seems like a pretty dumb premise. My friends ask me how I keep so fit (answer – working out regularly), but that doesn’t prompt me to open a gym.

    Ashley Mahon said: “$4 for a shake may seem high, and I thought so too for months into my program.”

    It doesn’t “seem” high. It is high. That’s precisely the point.

    Ashley Mahon said: “People spend $3 on a lean cuisine without batting an eye, and those things barely qualify as food.”

    It qualifies as food more so than the shitty shakes you’re plugging. But that’s a false dilemma anyway. The choice here isn’t limited to your idiot shakes vs Lean Cuisine.

    Ashley Mahon said: “I bought a program that I can use at home and not pay a monthly gym membership that I can’t use outside of certain hours or holidays or weather conditions.”

    Another stupid premise. That’s like arguing that it’s more convenient to cook at home than to go to a restaurant, and therefore it makes sense to pay 10 times more for a home cooked meal than an equivalent meal at a restaurant. Obviously, that’s absurd. Do you have multiple weight machines and stacks of free weights at home? Treadmills, stationary bikes, stair climbers, etc? No! Now stop making such absurd comparisons.

    Ashley Mahon said: “Can you get amazing results from a Beachbody program without using shakeology? Definitely.”

    Right, and that’s why we’re saying that shakes are a worthless add-on expense with no real value.

    Ashley Mahon said: “Are there a lot of people who will benefit from a convenient shake that will keep them from skipping breakfast and grabbing a donut at work?”

    How about simply not eating the donut? Omitting calories doesn’t cost money. Or how about simply buying a shake that isn’t sold at an insultingly high price by a bunch of MLM con artists?

    Ashley Mahon said: “Yes. Are there whey protein shakes that are cheaper? Yes. Are they as good? No. I’ve tried them all.”

    BS! All shakes not sold by MLM parasites are both less expensive and more trustworthy.

    Ashley Mahon said: “The adaptogens do amazing things for my energy, mood, appetite.”

    Adaptogens??? That fluffy meaningless MLM marketing jargon is laughable.

    Ashley Mahon said: “Maca root alone is $65.00/lb at my local bulk nutrition store, and that’s just one ingredient.”

    You seem to have an impediment to understanding simple concepts like weights and measures. Does a can of Snakeology have a pound of Maca in it? No, it has milligrams, worth pennies at best, not $65 as your erroneous and wildly misleading comparison implies.

    Ashley Mahon said: “I feel like a different person now that I drink Shakeology.”

    What kind of person would that be? A dishonest delusional MLM parasite?

    Ashley Mahon said: “After three days of drinking shakeology I knew I wanted to continue because it was the first time I could remember going three days without wanting chocolate…I mix the strawberry powder with water and it tastes delicious.”

    Pffft! Shakeology has no impact on chocolate cravings and it is delusional to suggest otherwise. My guess is that you’d say dog shit tasted good if there was a way for you to make a buck off it through an MLM.

    Ashley Mahon said: “I’m sure there are dishonest people in this business, just like any other…”

    Like the kind who would try to make a misleading value proposition for Snakeology by quoting the price of a pound of Maca, when in fact Snakeology only contains milligrams of that ingredient?

    Ashley Mahon said: “…but everyone who I have come across is amazing, uplifting, supportive, and genuine.”

    Funny, every proponent of Snakeology I’ve come across is a misinformed self-serving dipshit.

    Ashley Mahon said: “No, odds are you won’t become a millionaire doing this…”

    No shit! Odds are that they won’t even break even.

    Ashley Mahon said: “Does your doctor take no for an answer when he tells people to stop smoking and they refuse? No…”

    Um, yes. What choice would a doctor have if their patient refused to follow medical advice? Again you resort to stupid comparisons. Smoking has adverse consequences that are thoroughly proven. Your idiot shakes have no direct health benefits whatsoever.??

  73. Nightcrawler says:

    I don’t need to “try” the psychic hotline before deeming it a scam.

    Although, as I’ve mentioned before, I do like some of Beachbody’s programs. I just did a P90X workout this morning. However, I do think they’re way overpriced in light of all the free and low-cost exercise programs they are competing with in the modern marketplace. $120.00 for the P90X DVD’s may have been worth it when the program first came out, around 2003. It’s not worth that much now.

    I suggest that anyone who wants to try P90X, or Insanity, or any of the other Beachbody programs pick up a used copy on eBay. It’s way cheaper, and you won’t be hammered by an annoying “coach” afterward.

    That said, although I like the P90X workouts, to say that it’s absolutely necessary to buy them in order to get fit is a lie. I know plenty of people who are way more fit than I am who’ve never done P90X or bought any workout DVD’s. There are plenty of paths to getting fit; P90X is only one of them.

  74. David R. says:

    Bottom line is that eating solid foods is better for you and there are means to get in shape without the MLM hooks. For those reasons alone, it’s worth avoiding Beachbody.

  75. TMGar says:

    I actually did take a lot of time to read through this and I’m curious about one thing you still have not addressed to correct.. “Active status” is NOT required to make commission. You seem to have stated that multiple times. You can be a coach and make commission no matter what as long as your $15.95 monthly fee is paid (which again is waived for vets/wounded warriors/active duty&tactics duty spouses). You clearly haven’t done ALL of your homework.. And because of that simple yet important face that u do indeed have wrong, it makes me question all of the other information in this post…?

    • Lazy Man says:

      TMGar, I think you misinterpreted what I said regarding active status. Because of the misunderstanding, you say that I’m “WRONG” and then take that to presume that everything else here must be in question. That last part is a strange leap since you claim to have read through this which presumably means the nearly 500 comments that haven’t brought up anything else to be questionable.

      When I talk about being Active, I am referring to receiving money from the downline/pyramid/recruitment hierarchy ranks that are designated with terms such as Diamond, Ruby, Emerald (though not limited to those terms).

      If I can clarify this in some place in article or comments, please point me to it so I can do so. I don’t want anyone to misinterpret what I’m stating.

      And finally, perhaps it’s best to look at the important points and concepts made in the article and not something that is meaningless to the overall point.

  76. TMGar says:

    I’d also like to add – you do not make any kind of significant income simply off signing up coaches or “recruit signups”. U could sign up 100 coaches but if they all just did it for the discount, you would be a $14 diamond. If you don’t train them to thrive themselves and have retail volume themselves, your income would basically remain the same.. So while u can recruit recruit recruit as you say, Retail is a HUGE part of Beachbody.. As again – u could signup 100coaches and it wouldn’t matter. They don’t thrive, you don’t thrive. You need to help your coaches become successful through their RETAIL and yes – also their team, and in turn you would then also become successful. I don’t see that as a scam, I see that as everyone winning? There’s no real “bottom feeder” losing money ?

    • Lazy Man says:

      TMGar said,

      “I’d also like to add – you do not make any kind of significant income simply off signing up coaches or ‘recruit signups.’ U could sign up 100 coaches but if they all just did it for the discount, you would be a $14 diamond…. You need to help your coaches become successful through their RETAIL and yes – also their team, and in turn you would then also become successful.”

      I think you kind of just described why one could view it as a pyramid scheme. There is an argument by the MLM industry in general that “discount distributors” should count as retail sales. Some companies even called these people “preferred customers.” The argument is that if distributors recruit these people, it is legal. It’s a tenuous argument because they signed distributor contracts and thus can not be considered customers by any reasonably unbiased person.

      Nonetheless, you are admitting that there’s little value ($14) in what amounts to making ongoing retail sales… even 100 such ongoing retail sales. That seems to be a pretty damning admission on its own. However you then go on to add “and yes – also their team”, which takes it a step further to show that it is about growing a team/pyramid/downline.

      I thank you for helping to prove the point I’m trying to make, TMGar.

  77. pricelessmect says:

    Did you also know that most of these “shakes” Beachbody and idealshape also contain lead? Unless you live in CA (other reporting states unknown) you will not get the label in it stating….be warned…these things are deadly..who the heck puts LEAD IN FOOD?

  78. Terriann says:

    LazyManAndMoney…marry me. Your writing makes me feel patriotic, hopeful not everyone is a sheep, and excited for future reads. Thank you. Really.

  79. Sophie says:

    I’ve been reading through a few of your reviews on several different products and companies….. you just don’t like anything!

  80. Bernie says:

    I read the entire article, every comment and several links, despite what Robert said about no one reading all of this stuff.

    I am entirely fascinated by the arguments on both sides. Coming into this with a completely open mindset I am convince by LazyMan (and the others) who argue that Beachbody is a pyramid and morally corrupt. This statement, I believe, accurately portrays the company and their downline believers.

    “Beachbody coaches and other MLM distributors are predatory, morally corrupt, hope peddlers who are pushing the opportunity to be successful before they themselves are even successful. Because they can’t BE successful until they sell enough of the hope to others, who then have to sell their hope on to new victims in order for them to gain success. This is how it works because this is how the company is structured. You are not selling a shake or a lifestyle so much as you are pre-promising the dream of wealth and freedom to someone else before you have even gotten there yourself. With no guarantee that either of you will ever make it.”

    I think, at this point, I am making a commitment to not buy or participate in any of these type of products (beachbody, isagenix, juice +, etc.). I also will be removing all facebook friends who participate in these schemes (I don’t use facebook to be sold on joining these schemes).

    Thanks LazyMan for such thoughtful and thorough analysis.

  81. Katie Fox says:

    I wish I would have read this article, or listened to my mother (who is always right) before I wasted 2yrs worth of money on a scheme. Since I was a kid I always fell foe infomercials and get rich quick schemes. I became a beachbody coach bc an old high school friend introduced me to beachbody. I wasn’t informed that if I bought a challenge pack that I wouldn’t have to pay the $40 coach sign up fee. But “my friend” paid that fee for me. She told me if I sold 3bags of shako a month that would cover the cost of my shakeology. Well I spent the 100/month on shako and the 16/month fee for my website for 2yrs and only made 100 in that 2yrs. I was not informed on the fine print of the scheme. That to stay an active coach you must buy shako EVERY month. Also in order to get leads (you know ppl who order from infomercials and don’t have a coach) you must be an emerald coach and hit success club ea month. Now to get to emerald you have to have 2 active coaches under you. I still don’t totally understand SC bc my coach once she realized I wasn’t making her money stopped talking to me and “encouraging” me. Granted I love shakeology but I’m extemely poor and fell for the $4/day analysis not realizing I could have bought a new used car by now. The only ppl who are making millions are the top coaches who started when the company 1st started. And that could be a lie who knows. Every coach I spoke to said they quit their full time jobs as lawyers, teachers, drs, etc or they are about to quit bc they make so much money w beachbody. When I would try talking to my coach about how unsuccessful I was I was told “you’re not trying hard enough, you’re not dedicated, etc” meanwhile I would copy and paste the exact same script that the rest of the coaches use. Then I was told I’m too negative on social media and who would want to deal with me. Well sorry I’m not a salesperson (which I was told I didn’t have to be) and my family and friends are apparently smarter than me bc they all have $$ & didn’t purchase anything. I was also told sign up for summit and by the time you go the trip will pay for itself. Luckily I don’t have 1000 laying around or I would have been suckered into that too. I quit in the beginning of July and they won’t let you quit over the phone. You have to fill out the quit form online. I did that and thought I was done. Well i got my credit card statement and was charged my coach fee and for shako. So I call coach relations (who are kind when you’re not quitting) and they said “yes we got the form but your signature didn’t show up so it’s invalid & we sent you an email and you didn’t respond so we charge you.” Well I received no email, I have the screenshot of my signature and on the form itself they ask for an email and a phone #. So if they were so concerned about “their employees” don’t you think they would have called me? Beachbody has lost all my respect (what little they had left) & now I 1000% know it’s a pyramid. Network marketing is just another less scary way of saying pyramid scheme. I hope they get shut down bc it’s generally stay at home moms and poorer people who fall for this stuff while the rich keep getting rich. They should be ashamed of themselves. I’m angry w myself for being dumb and falling for this scam more than anything.

  82. Brandi says:

    Shakeology may be expensive, but there is no doubt that it works, my cousin now no longer has to take blood pressure medicine because of it. I agree with most of your statements, but Shakeology is worth it.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Brandi, I’m not sure that as a Coach, you should be making claims Shakeology is a substitute for medication. I believe that might be one of the prohibited things you can say.

  83. GG says:

    As a former coach, it does say that….so I’d watch your B-hind when promoting that because there are people who work for secret agencies who try and catch people unlawful to their policies of promoting products.

    3.7.2 Product & Testimonial Claims
    No claims (which include personal testimonials) as to therapeutic, curative, or diagnostic properties of any products offered by
    Beachbody may be made except those specific claims contained in official Team Beachbody literature. Such claims may only be
    repeated or republished in exactly the same format as that published by the Company and the claim must be republished in its totality.
    In particular, no Coach may make any claim that Beachbody products are useful in the cure, treatment, diagnosis, mitigation, or
    prevention of any diseases. Such statements can be perceived as medical or drug claims. Not only do such claims violate Beachbody
    policies, but they potentially violate federal and state laws and regulations, including the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and
    the Federal Trade Commission Act. Whenever a Coach is using any Beachbody product or opportunity materials, the Coach must
    always include any and all notices, warnings and disclaimers provided by Beachbody. For example, when discussing supplements
    (including Shakeology®) and their beneficial effects, the following statement should be included: These statements have not been
    evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

  84. David R. says:

    Katie Fox:

    “I’m not a salesperson (which I was told I didn’t have to be)”

    Anyone who said that is a flimflam artist. To be successful with BB, you have to be a pretty natural salesmen (which is a hard thing to teach) and also be somewhat lucky. In the end, there are better things those skills could be put towards.

  85. Katie Fox says:

    Brandi, yes I love shakeology it helped me wIh a lot of things like cravings.
    And yes I should have known when I was told I didn’t have to be a sales person. Red flag #1 lol…oh well u live n learn

  86. Christine says:

    thank you so much for this report.
    I have a woman who I have never met texting me almost daily on Instagram asking me to be a beachbodies coach. This article has given me a lot of information on how to say no, to someone who will not take no for an answer

  87. Michelle says:

    Excellent article! I am an accredited financial counselor as well as a certified group fitness instructor with a love of all things fitness and finance! (www.sempermoney.com and http://www.semperwellness.com) It’s hard for me to see so many people sign-up for these types of “employment” opportunities. As you mentioned, there are so many less expensive, healthy meal options that are sustainable in the long-term. Thanks for taking the time to write out the details!

  88. Beth says:

    This article is rediculous. The percentage of coaches that didn’t make money are called “discount coaches”. They don’t sell shakeology, therefor don’t receive commissions.
    I’m pretty sure paying $4 per shake vs. a Carmel frappacino will better serve you. I also would like to point out that before writing an article you should do your research. The ingredients in shakeology are super foods. If you were to price out each ingredient (30 day supply) it would be well over $300.
    The bottom line is: this product has changed people’s lives. Thousands of pounds have been lost and I encourage you to attend one of their events and then privide your review. Taking the opinions of disgruntled coaches who obviously thought that by selling shakeology they would get rich quickly is just pathetic. You need to want to help people and see them succeed in order to be a good coach. I hate this article. Get a life.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Sorry you didn’t like the article Beth.

      If people are signing up to be “discount coaches”, it limits the ability for coaches to sell the products at retail and make a profit. I don’t meet too many people who are against getting a discount.

      The FTC recently smashed Herbalife in a settlement requiring them to separate preferred customers (“discount coaches” in Beachbody) and distributors. Because Beachbody hasn’t made that clear distinction (as far as I know/remember), they have to be counted as coaches like any other. If you have a problem with that, please direct it to Beachbody and tell them to make a preferred customer category. As it stands now, Beachbody has to live with the decision they’ve made, fair?

      People don’t typically choose to spend $4 on a shake instead of their frappacino. They tend to spend on both… they have to get caffeine too. You are comparing two things that aren’t the same or similar.

      Why don’t you compare a $1 shake with a $4 shake instead?
      Why don’t you make a bigger difference in people’s lives by saving them as much as a thousand dollars a year?

      It doesn’t seem like you want to help people.

  89. Katie says:

    Well Beth just used the example that all “coaches” are told to use “if you can afford a $4-$5 starbucks coffee ea day, then you can afford shakeology. It’s all about prioritizing your health.” I never once bashed shako bc I personally think it is a great product. With that being said when I first got recruited I asked well isn’t this a pyramid? & I was told no no no it’s network marketing. I said well what’s the difference? And their justification is bc they are providing a product it’s not a scam. And for a coach on this thread to say that if someone isn’t making $$ they aren’t working hard enough, or if they are just in it for $$ then they should not be coaches is bullshit! I started off as a disct coach lost a lot of weight and inches and then of course wanted to help others. I would show my results and get great feedback and then ppl who were Interested if I didn’t answer right away; my coach would jump on the inquiries and steal awat my potential client’s. Thats shady AF! I had to hide my friends list bc other coaches will tell u “go thru your friends lists and start conversations about kids, spouse’s jobs etc and then bring up beachbody.” I did every thing to a T and I made 100-120$ in 2yrs. Yet I was shelling out $117/month for shako & coach business.fee (2808 out of pocket in 2yrs) Believe me up until a few months ago I probably would be just as angry and rude as beth was in her comment on here. It’s funny bc BB is all about positivity and ignoring negative ppl, articles and comments LOL. ..yet you will see BB coaches bashing “it works” yet they are also a mlm/pyramid. I’ve seen many coaches on vacation who thank BB for this awesome life yet they are the 1% & were lawyers w lots of connections and lots of $$ to begin with. My coaches husband works a full time job as does my coach and for the past 2yrs she has said she is almost ready to quit her job. (She’s been at it for 5yrs & she is constantly working the business and still works full time) I’m sure she gets her shako for free, but I’m very curious as to what they make a month in commission. Also a word of advice. ..if you join as a coach just know it is a huge headache to quit and then you become a 2nd rate citizen and all the coaches who said they “really care about you” stop talking to you and some even delete/block you. And I’m not a disgruntled coach, I defended BB for 2yrs even wo making a penny. But it most certainly is a pyramid (even if they have a product). My coach hasn’t spoken to me in 6months bc I wasn’t making her $$ & as soon as I quit and am no longer her client, she messaged me how sorry she is that we haven’t spoken in awhile and how am I doing!? Smh lol…well I’m almost 3grand in the hole while she makes team volume bonuses and other bonuses. Every coach I know personally all have high paying real jobs as do their spouse’s but on social media they are all quitting their high paying jobs. I wasn’t informed on how every thing worked when I signed up bc my coach wanted to hit success club and make a higher rank. And even if you make the higher rank you have to keep recruiting and make sales and hit sc every month to keep that rank. And yes I’d love to check out one of their events (summit) but I don’t have $200-300 for the ticket plus hotel and airfare. Real jobs that want you to learn and be better at what you do, don’t make you pay for training events. It’s very typical of BB coaches to blame other coaches of their intentions when the company is bad mouthed. Call it what you want network marketing mlm etc all =pyramid scheme and that’s what’s “pathetic beth” I knew from day 1 it wasn’t a get rich quick scheme, bc that’s what the coaches tell you on why they’re not a pyramid lol. Of course I wanted to help ppl w their health and see them succeed. So you claim that this article and disgruntled coaches are pathetic, but I think it’s pathetic for you to judge coaches who didn’t succeed and decided to quit. I know less money for the coach who signed you, therefore it’s my fault I didn’t do well. Even though I would use the same exact script/posts as the 1% (which I was told to do) and nothing. So walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you make ASSumptions!

  90. David R. says:

    Katie: “my coach would jump on the inquiries and steal away my potential clients”

    And there’s the rub (or one of the rubs) when it comes to things like BB – “coaches” are inherent competition with each other, particularly if they’re in the same area and/or know the same circle of people. This conflict is part of what makes the BB program (and others like it) so flawed.

  91. Kristina Hunt says:

    So many things in this article are not fully researched and tell half a story; either that or Lazy Man is purposefully leaving half the story out. Regardless, so many people have changed their lives with the help of Beachbody.

    I became a coach because my quality of life improved so much and I couldn’t wait to help others that were looking to do the same for themselves. If I made money at the same time, great. If not, well, I would never give my Shakeology anyway. Don’t slam coaches as scammers or sales people. Many of us are simply good people who found a new way to achieve their goals.

    (and Summit this year was the most amazing thing I have ever done!! Funnest vacation I have had in years. Completely worth the money for the entertainment they provided in amazing venues. FREE David Bowie concert. FREE JoDee Messina concert and so much more. If it isn’t for you, don’t go. But it was worth every penny for me :) )

    • Lazy Man says:

      Kristina Hunt, please tell me what you feel needs more research and/or what other parts of “being left out.”

      If coaches want to help others they should recommend the products that are nutritionally equivalent and much, much cheaper. Sure, you won’t make any money, but at least you aren’t pitching others do the financial equivalent of buying $8/gallon gas.

      Many victims of MLM are very good people. As more than a few ex-Beachbody coaches have told me, they can’t believe they were so blinded by the hype.

      David Bowie died January 10th this year. Are you sure you got a free concert with him? Also you said it was worth the money, but then you mentioned that the concerts were “FREE.” I don’t see how that can be the case.

      • Nightcrawler says:

        The “free David Bowie concert” had me scratching my head as well. Was there a TARDIS at this Coach Summit?

  92. Katie says:

    @David, yes there are many flaws with the company. You’re 100% right that everyone is in competition w one another. And I truly believe you have to be great at selling yourself and “the dream”.
    @Kristina hunt, noone said that BB “coaches” were bad ppl. I was a coach and dont consider myself a bad person. I had the same goal. I got healthy felt great and wanted to help others do the same. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me (and I gave my all for 2yrs) but I also wasn’t fully informed on how things worked. I still think shakeology is a great product. But I’m so disgusted w the level of deception I received that even after quiting being a coach last month; I will no longer even buy shako bc I’m not going to give the person (my coach) & all the coaches above her a single dime in commission. The system is truly flawed. IMO I think “coaches” would do much better if every one was given leads no matter what rank they are. Like distribute them evenly amongst all “coaches”. I also realized how flawed it was when you make more money keeping someone as a customer instead of them becoming coaches themselves. Bc that’s a guaranteed $33/month from every person who gets shako on auto ship. If they become a coach you don’t get a commission unless they sell to other ppl and sign up more coaches. As far as summit, I’m sure it’s a blast it looks like a ton of fun. But all the “free” events aren’t free you paid for them when you paid $300 to go to summit. (And was bowie in hologram at this concert?) Also as far as ppl and changing their lives….that person has to want to change. Drinking shako by itself isn’t going to make u lose weight and give u energy by itself. (If it did BB wouldn’t sell an energy supplement as well) it’s a combination of eating right and exercise. It’s a lifestyle change. I hada friend who didn’t want shako just the workouts (which she didn’t use anyway but that’s on her) but she already was a clean eater all organic, made her own shakes w fruits veggies, chia and flax seed (some of the same ingredients that are in shako) and she lost weight just by eating the right foods. And even tho she didn’t purchase anything besides the fix I added her to the challenge groups, you know for personal accountability. And yes these groups help some ppl but bottom line the person has to want it. Just bc the super fit coaches post their pix doesn’t mean the client is going to get off the couch and exercise.

  93. MandM says:

    I’m pretty sure Kristina Hunt means Billy Idol. LOL. And, no, that concert wasn’t free. You paid for it: by paying for a ticket to summit, by paying your coach fees, by paying for Shakeology on autoship every month. The Beachbody coach is Beachbody’s best customer.

    I love all the coaches on here who tell Lazy Man that he hasn’t done his research, and then they go on and regurgitate the exact language that Beachbody tells them. Time to start thinking for yourselves, ladies, you certainly don’t need a company like Beachbody instructing you what to say.

  94. Miki says:

    This was really interesting! And exactly what I thought. Why though are these Pyramids allowed to operate? Too much work to investigate and prosecute? Thank you for the info! Much appreciated.

  95. Jay says:

    Great article!

  96. Marisa says:

    I’m not a coach but I do drink shakeo by MY choice – no one bugged me to buy it, no one forced me to look up information – I made the decision on my own. The comment made that people have to drink the shake AND get a coffee is far from true. I pour my shakeo straight into my coffee and shake away. There are extracts you can add to the shakeo to make it taste just like a carmel frap. I think trying to classify that all the people who drink shakeo also NEED to buy coffee is ridiculous. The fact I can get immense amount of nutrition as well as my caffeine is amazing. I used to buy coffee nearly every day at work and I’d eat out at least once a week…do you know how much that costs!? Ridiculous. I’d much rather get the best of both worlds and give up buying starbucks and fast food. I think everyone has their own views on this. I used to drink Vega and the taste of shakeo vs vega is incomparable. My vegan chocolate with just cold water – nothing else – is so smooth and chocolaty with no grittyness or bitter taste.
    To each their own…just don’t sit there and try and make it seem like we are spending double what the price is.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Marisa wrote, “I used to buy coffee nearly every day at work and I’d eat out at least once a week…do you know how much that costs!? Ridiculous.”

      Do you know that this is a personal finance website that often touts the value of frugal living? The idea isn’t to replace one expensive thing with another expensive thing… especially if there are great practically equivalent options for much less money.

      Everyone is entitled to make whatever purchasing decisions they want to. In my opinion, I happen to agree with the pen pyramid scheme analogy that I borrowed in the article.

      So why aren’t you a coach Marisa? Beachbody Coaches seem to be talking about “discount coaches.” You have no interest in saving money on your product?

  97. Mizz Mitz says:

    This has been the most thorough article I have read on this subject. Love it! I had signed up to be a ‘coach’ a little less than a year ago. I really just wanted the discount on the shakeology because I had heard good things and wanted to give it a fair shake. (at least a few months usage just to see if it improved my results) The results were not better, but not halted either. Im currently looking into a more affordable substitute (great pen analogy!)
    Like it was mentioned above numerous times by a variety of people….if ‘coaches’ really truly wanted to help others, there are a multitude of ways. I personally have decided to start a blog…I will probably mention shakeo and some of the bb exercise programs…but only because I actually tried them, and will give an honest account of my experience.
    There is one thing that irks me thats not necessarily bb company related, but rather about all the before and after pictures these ‘coaches’ are posting. They slump forward for their before and stand straight up and suck in for their after. I see it all the time, in fact, ive taken my own ‘fake’ before and afters…literally 1 minute apart, yet I look as if ive lost 20 pounds in the after. Other indicators…Its pretty clear in their befores they are wearing clothing that is a size to small, the pose is different (like an angle which will skew the ‘results’) and the lighting is different. Heck one ‘coach’ even posted before/afters that were marked that it was her 60 day results, yet she had just mentioned not even 10 days prior that she had just signed up with bb and was excited to TRY the products. But wait, your pic indicates youve been at this for 2 months?!?! Or how about one ‘coach’ tried to contour abs (with makeup!) onto her flat tummy…why? its clear you lost weight, why do you have to fake greater results?! Or the ‘coach’ that is so rail thin and lacks any muscle definition, like really if she were doing these workouts daily there would be at least some definition in the abs or arms, or heck, calves…but nothing. I just couldnt take the fake-ry anymore…be real, be honest. ugh. Anyways, thank you for the excellent article…ive just shared it with a friend who just signed up to be a coach. I hope she will read it and really understand what shes getting herself into. thank you!

  98. mm1970 says:

    I’m really happy I found this site. I don’t have time to read through all 500+ comments.

    I have been a discount coach for 2+ years. I had my second baby after 40 and man, could NOT take the weight off. A friend at work suggested a new program coming out (she’d lost 50 pounds). I got it with the shakeo with the plan to cancel right after. Except I really liked the stuff and kept drinking it.

    Fast forward…I have to wonder why people think this is sustainable? I like the shakes, but really don’t like the price tag (note: my grocery bill, outside of shakeo, is about $5600 a YEAR for a family of four). So shakeo seems excessive.

    Also, I’ve gotten to know many coaches. Some of them are very successful. Those that seem successful to me have it as a side business to their actual business. They own their own gyms, or have degrees in nutrition. They provide *free* workouts at their gyms. They provide nutrition counseling. I think if you provide that, you are probably earning your money.

    Recently though BB came out with “on demand”. (So, that $3/ week club fee? Now comes out with access to the workouts.) Well, at first I wondered, “why would I pay for online access when I already have the DVDs?” (I have about four different workouts.) Then I tried it and wow, there’s a lot on there. Good info. Great workouts.

    The question is…why would anyone *need* a coach after awhile? I can see if you are just getting started, it can be helpful. But even if I don’t have access to the *latest* workouts, there are literally HUNDREDS of workouts, and full programs, available with the $3 a week club membership. I don’t ever need to buy a program again. (So, coaches are the ones buying the programs I assume?)

    So when I see friends going on these great free trips (where they have to pay for 4 plane tickets and a hotel first), and I see their income, I have to wonder…it’s not exactly free, is it? And in order to “qualify” for these things, you have to get a certain # of *new* customers each month for a full year. (I’m not so solid on the details because I don’t sell stuff.) So it’s all Shakeology?

    Like I said before, I like the stuff, but I’m working to wean myself off of it. $1200 a year seems a bit much. The workouts are high quality. The eating plans are simple. But if someone I know was starting from scratch and wanted to know what to do? I’d suggest they buy 21-day fix (no shakeo), and if they like working out at home regularly, sign up for on-demand (to get more variety). Done! But that’s a one time sale.

    Sorry, rambling. Can you tell I’ve been thinking about this for a few months?

    • Lazy Man says:

      I have no problems with Beachbody’s workouts. I hope I said that enough in the article and in the comments. As best I can tell, they are a decent value.

      I think I’ve explained my view on the shakes in the article well enough. If the “coaches” were certified personal trainers or registered dieticians, I might be able understand the value of the instruction, but as best I can tell, anyone can sign up as a “coach”, such as “discount coaches.” Personally, I find the term “coach” misleading if the person doesn’t have extensive training. I haven’t seen any evidence that Beachbody requires that training before obtaining the title of “coach.”

      • mm1970 says:

        Beachbody requires no training to become a “coach”, just your cold hard cash.

        After all, there’s no “certification” (nationally) to call yourself a coach, right? Sneaky that.

        It’s kind of a cult.

    • Guy Fawkes says:

      I have a friend who has been involved in BB for several years, attends conferences, buys Shakeo and the new “addition” (some sort of “dried greens”) monthly, buys every new workout (and doesn’t do them) and spends by my estimated 3-4 thousand dollars a year on the “business”. I saw their income breakdown from BB recently. Best month’s income in four years? $120. Average month’s income seems to be between $0 and $10. Believe me, even the “free” trips wouldn’t be “free”.

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