Before I begin this, let me say that I’m no longer a Beachbody coach, so there’s no agenda (or affiliate links) here. This also isn’t a story of bitter resentment. I like Beachbody and I quite enjoyed my experience with the brand. If it were not for the fact that it is an MLM, I’d probably still be connected to the company. But it is, so I am not. Here’s my story…
How I got started as a Beachbody Coach
I became a Beachbody coach in January of 2015. I had a fitness blog at the time, some fitness credentials and a hope to expand that into an online business somehow, so when I came across the Beachbody opportunity, it felt like a good fit. What made me pull the trigger was that my coach wasn’t pushy. She felt authentic, genuine and honest.
It took me 5 months before I actually had the nerve to start a “Challenge group”, the model Beachbody recommends for selling products. Essentially, you bring 10 or so people together online in a private Facebook group, and you all go through a workout program together and drink their meal replacement shakes.
Now, part of this model is really smart. Home workouts are great for people who don’t have the time, resources or inclination to go to a gym. The programming of the workouts are good, really good in some cases, and if people follow the programs, they get results, generally. The issue I have is that in order to be successful as a coach, you have to push the meal replacement shake, which after giving it a very good college try, I just can’t get behind.
Shakeolgy – the meal replacement shake and really the bread and butter of the beach body business.
Coaches will tell you that this is the end all be all, and I think some of them actually believe it. Anecdotally, I have taken the shake daily for a long period of time and saw no results from it. If you dive deep into the ingredients you won’t find anything bad, but you also won’t find anything that even remotely justifies the $100+ price tag. It’s an overpriced product that’s “free’ if you’re selling it to enough people. But from a value standpoint, it’s a poor player in the supplement market overall. It’s not organic, it has a high sugar content and a low protein value for the money. Coaches will argue that you’re getting 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, but it’s hard to believe that a powdered supplement can ever replace the real thing. If you want a scientific opinion of Shakeology, I recommend checking out the independent study that’s been done on the product’s viability on Labdoor.
I want to underscore that I don’t see anything inherently damaging about the product, it’s just not worth the price and the sugar content is sub-optimal. You could do much better for less I you’re really into drinking your calories.
The Beachbody Workouts
I’m a fan! The workouts are great. I don’t love them all, but the more advanced workouts are actually really good. I like the periodized programming (it gets progressively harder as you develop strength and skill), the positivity of the instructors and the ease of the online platform. I give them 5 stars for delivering a solid workout product almost every time.
The Beachbody Meal Plans
I’ve tried my best to work with these plans and the small portion containers, but I fundamentally disagree with how they’ve arrived at the volume of carbs, fats and proteins for each user, based on some pretty basic math. My allotted calorie range allowed me 4 cups of green veggies a day. That’s generally what I have for lunch and couldn’t bring myself to suggest others to abide by silly restrictions like that. They also leave no room for treats. That’s not sustainable for most people looking to lose weight and create a healthy lifestyle. A macro-based/flexible dieting approach would make much more sense.
Beachbody Coaching Experience – The Pros
Perhaps what I miss the most about being a coach is the positive energy of the culture. These days everyone has something to complain about on social media, from the POTUS to the weather, but Beachbody coaches always keep it positive. The restraint to keep the vibe high is admirable until there’s a natural disaster or something tragic happens and then their posts about loving drinking their strawberry shakes before a workout seems out of place and almost offensive.
The social media training you receive as a coach is also really insightful. Regardless if you plan to be a coach, there’s value in the training that many of the teams within Beachbody deliver. That said, one could spend hours soaking up training but do nothing to implement it (a lesson learned from experience).
One big advantage of being a coach is that you’ve got to walk the talk to be successful in the business, so it does keep you focused on your own fitness and nutrition. I kept myself honest by talking about my workouts and meals, and that’s a powerful way to maintain strong habits.
Beachbody Coaching – The Cons
The biggest problem with the Beachbody opportunity is that there’s a lot of people trying to make a living from it, but very few that are actually successful at it. For the majority of the coaches in the network, (over 400,000 people) the cost of being a coach exceeds their income from it, and I’m not even talking about their hours invested. The real cost of coaching is $15 per month for “the website” and then $40 per quarter for Club Membership. Now, keep in mind, that will only keep you active. If you want to take advantage of the team cycle bonus (the true revenue generator which only happens when you have a substantial organization below you) you have to buy a certain amount of product each month ($90 or more) and you have to sell a certain amount as well (about $500 per month). This requires a lot of hustle which quite frankly, I didn’t have the appetite for.
The only way to make a substantial amount of money in this business is to build a big organization, but that’s a moving target. People come and go as it’s really hard to see progress and most people don’t have the patience for it, so your rank and income, which is based on the number of people you recruit, is constantly moving. I can’t speak from experience because I never reached a high rank, but my coach said it was quite normal to fluctuate in rank and you just had to go with it and not let it get you down. Personally, the lack of control over my own income would most certainly get me down.
The biggest issue I had with being a Beachbody coach was the selling. Coaches are expected to message anyone and everyone with the means to pay for a workout and a shake, from your 4th-grade teacher to the girl you most hated in college. It feels very disingenuous to connect with people you otherwise wouldn’t want to talk to with an agenda to sell them something.
Overall, I spent a ton of time and money with little to show for it other than some increased muscle mass and a few new friends, which is nothing to sneeze at!! While I often enjoyed my experience and I was always honest about the good and the bad, I knew early on it wasn’t going to replace my “day job” salary.
What I don’t like about Beachbody
Many of the coaches in the network are stay at home moms looking to make a little extra money. I totally get that and I think it’s a good way to make some extra cash if you are willing to spend a LOT of time hustling to make those sales. But one of the “selling points” of being a successful coach is to “bring your husband home and enabling him to retire”. I can sort of understand this if your husband is in the military and you don’t want him to get shipped off to a war zone, but the idea of making enough money in a highly unstable business so that your husband can quit his otherwise stable job with health benefits and a regular paycheck to sit at home in his underpants all day is a total head-scratcher to me.
Why would you want to make your family entirely financially dependent on a business that is not truly your own? Beachbody as an organization could close up shop tomorrow. They probably won’t, but they could. They could also change their revenue model, product portfolio or reward structure at any time and that could completely change the compensation of the top earners with zero recourse because it’s not their business. With that being said, why oh why is it a good idea to encourage your husband to quit his job because you’re making “just enough” to have him retire? This is a big selling point for the top earners and it makes me cringe every time I hear it.
What I do like about Beachbody
They do stand behind their products. You can get a 30-day money back guarantee on all of their products, which is great. You have to be careful, however, as they will put you on an automatic delivery if you sign up for Shakeology and without realizing it, the product will show up at your door once a month. You do have to pay for the return shipping fee, so it’s an oversight you won’t want to make.
Should You Become a Beachbody Coach?
If you’re a SAHM who’s looking to get in shape and find something mentally engaging to get involved in, then sure – go for it. It can be a fun pass time, you will learn a few things about selling and social media and you may even improve your fitness as a side benefit! But if you’re looking for a legitimate way to make money, especially if you want to replace a full-time income in less than 3 years, then I’d say this isn’t where you want to invest your time and energy because for 95% of the people who try coaching with that intention, fail. Also, after 2+ years of trying, I found that I could make more money through other online avenues, such as affiliate marketing with less time and effort.
The other key thing to note about Beachbody coaching is that getting clients is only 50% of the battle. Once they sign up with you, they expect to be coached! That can mean a variety of different things depending on your skill level, but be prepared to answer endless questions about food, fitness and why their order isn’t going through properly. As with any customer-facing business, you often need to deal with undesirable people, which can be really hard.
Also, note that selling product and running monthly groups is not what brings in the big bucks with Beachbody. On top of all that I’ve mentioned, you also need to build a team which is yet another huge area of dedication. Successful coaches will tell you how much they love it (and I’m sure many do), but what you’re not hearing about is the failures, the heart-ache, and the countless hours spent building a business that truly isn’t your own.
Thoughts? Questions? Have you ever tried coaching with Beachbody? How was your experience?